Just when we thought that this year’s Thanksgiving holiday was behind us, the U.S. Supreme Court gave PLF client Edward Poitevent—and all Americans—another huge reason to give thanks.
For years, Edward fought the federal government’s designation of his private property in Louisiana as a critical habitat for a threatened frog that does not—and cannot—even live on his property. In fact, this species of frog hasn’t even been seen in Louisiana in 50 years, and it couldn’t live on his property even if someone put it there.
Edward’s case, rolled into Weyerhaeuser v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was the very first to be heard by the High Court on the opening Monday of the October term.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court announced its unanimous decision that the government far exceeded its constitutional authority by stretching the definition of critical habitat. This absurdity rankled Chief Justice John Roberts enough to quip in the opinion, “According to the ordinary understanding of how adjectives work, ‘critical habitat’ must also be ‘habitat.’ Adjectives modify nouns."
Even more, the Court killed a pernicious practice whereby courts refuse to review the decisions of regulatory agencies. The takeaway is a very clear, severe message the Justices sent to government agencies intent on abusing their administrative powers: stop exploiting your power!
On behalf of all of us at PLF, I invite you to join me in celebrating this epic Supreme Court victory—our third win this year alone and 11th overall. (And, we’re awaiting a decision in another property rights case, which will be reargued in front of the Supreme Court in 2019.)
This record of success is unmatched by any other organization of our kind. It speaks volumes about the dedication of our team in defending—and delivering!—liberty and justice for all.
Of course, our success is your success. Thank you for standing with PLF as we empower everyday Americans to fight the goliath of Big Government.
Steven D. Anderson
President and CEO