June 15, 2019 Print

Steven Anderson, president and chief executive officer of Pacific Legal Foundation, accepts the 2019 North America Liberty Award from Atlas Network President Matt Warner.

Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) has won the 2019 North America Liberty Award for their multi-year project, “Overturning the Unconstitutional Regulatory State in the U.S. Supreme Court,” which focuses on their efforts to advance strategic, precedent-setting litigation that ends judicial deference to regulatory overreach. The award, which was announced at FEECon on June 15, includes a $10,000 cash prize and a $20,000 project grant from Atlas Network for future work promoting free enterprise and individual liberty.

“The ever-growing, runaway regulatory state represents the most significant threat to liberty today,” said Steven Anderson, president and chief executive officer of PLF. “We’re grateful for Atlas Network’s recognition of our strategic litigation to beat back the unconstitutional expansion of government power.”

Since 1973, PLF’s public interest legal team has directly represented clients in 13 cases before the Supreme Court, with 11 victories that are considered landmark cases in property rights, economic liberty, freedom of speech, and environmental regulation. In 2018, PLF launched the Center for the Separation of Powers, which is designed to overturn the legal precedents that enable the unconstitutional regulatory state to exist. 

PLF’s most recent successful appearance before the Supreme Court was on behalf of Louisiana landowner Edward Poitevent in Weyerhaeuser v U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which challenged the designation of Poitevent’s St. Tammany Parish property as “critical habitat” for the dusky gopher frog. Poitevent was prohibited from developing more than 1,400 acres of his land, even though the frog has not been seen in Louisiana since the mid-1960s. 

In a unanimous 8-0 opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts last November, the court vacated the decision of a federal appeals court that had upheld the Fish and Wildlife Service’s designation. Roberts pointed out that the appeals court should have considered the benefits and costs of the designation, and that “agency discretion” is not sufficient grounds for protection. “The nation’s hardworking property owners can rest easier tonight knowing government-sponsored land grabs just became a lot more difficult,” said PLF attorney Mark Miller. 
 
 PLF’s efforts to defend liberty and fight against government overreach and abuse continues, and Atlas Network is delighted to recognize their work with the first iteration of this annual prize. “This award shines a spotlight on Pacific Legal Foundation’s solutions,” said Anderson, “and we hope it will also inspire other freedom-loving allies to join us in this battle to protect individual liberty for every American.