Summary of major PLF cases in 2015 for economic liberty, free speech, and property rights

Direct download: year_end_review.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
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PLF is representing parents and schools in challenging a Department of Revenue rule that prevents parents from using privately funding scholarship to send their children to religious schools.

Direct download: MontanaSchool.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 4:27pm PST
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The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a PLF case in which PLF argues that property owners should have a right to judicial review when federal regulators label their land as “wetlands” subject to federal oversight.

The court granted the government’s petition for certiorari in Hawkes Co., et al. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a case in which PLF was victorious at the court of appeals.  PLF, which has long litigated to establish judicial review of wetlands designations, supported the Hawkes petition, which opens the prospect of winning a Supreme Court ruling for that principle. Our Courting Liberty podcast features a discussion of this major development in the Hawkes case with PLF Principal Attorney Damien Schiff; Mark Miller, managing attorney of PLF’s Atlantic Center; and host, Harold Johnson, PLF’s media director. The Hawkes case is the 9th direct representation case that PLF attorneys have successfully petitioned the High Court to review.

Direct download: Hawkes_supreme_court.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 10:43am PST
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Agency blocked a couple from rebuilding a home on their vacant parcel – in a residential area, where a house previously stood for 30 years before the Angora fire.

Direct download: 12-10-15_pod_burns2.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 4:47pm PST
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PLF is supporting Abigail Fisher’s challenge to race-based admissions criteria at the University of Texas-Austin.   The case is before the U.S. Supreme Court for a second time, and a ruling for Fisher could force universities across the country to finally stop the demeaning and unconstitutional practice of color-coding students.

Direct download: 12_2_15_fisher_update.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
Comments[1]

Join PLF President and CEO, Rob Rivett, and PLF's Chief Development Officer, Bob Dean, in this discussion of the options people have to support PLF's pro-freedom mission in the nation's courts.   Hosted by Bob Krauter, the discussion covers the gamut of year-end giving opportunities, including donations on #GivingTuesday, December 1 and Cyber Monday as donors can purchase eligible merchandise at Smile.Amazon.com and donate proceeds to PLF.  As a nonprofit, tax exempt foundation under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code, PLF operates its litigation program on the strength of charitable donations.

Direct download: thanksgiving2.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
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PLF is suing Palo Alto for denying a family-owned mobile home park the right to go out of business, unless the owners pay millions of dollars to their tenants.

Direct download: 111915_Buena_Vista_Mobile_Home.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 9:00am PST
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PLF attorneys are opposing a proposed rule by the Montana Department of Revenue to ban religious-based schools and their students from participating in Montana’s new Scholarship Tax Credit program.  In testimony before a recent hearing on the department’s proposal, PLF Attorney Wen Fa argued that the proposed regulation violates the program’s intended purpose of expanding educational choices and opportunities for Montana families and school-aged children; and that it violates the Constitution’s guarantees of religious freedom and equal protection of the laws.   Enacted by the Montana Legislature this year, and due to take effect at the beginning of 2016, the Scholarship Tax Credit program is intended to encourage educational choice, by allowing individuals and businesses to donate to non-government, nonprofit scholarship organizations in return for a corresponding income tax credit.  The scholarship organizations, in turn, provide tuition scholarships to help students attend a public or private school of their choice. In our podcast, Fa and PLF Principal Attorney Joshua Thompson discuss the state’s assault on school choice and religious freedom, which will be challenged in court by PLF if the rule is not withdrawn.

Direct download: 11-11-15_Montana_pod_proj.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:30am PST
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PLF is opposing a radical ESA suit that would brand innocent people as environmental criminals, for accidental harms to federally listed species.

Direct download: 11_4_15_Wildearth.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:38am PST
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PLF has asked the Supreme Court to hear our constitutional challenge to Obamacare, based on its violation of Article 1, Section 7, the “Origination Clause.”  That provision is designed to protect against oppressive taxation by requiring all “revenue-raising bills” to start in the House, the chamber closest to the people.  Our client, Matt Sissel, joins PLF Principal Attorney Timothy Sandefur in a discussion of the issues.

Direct download: 10_28_15_sissel.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:30am PST
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PLF’s College of Public Interest Law (CPIL) welcomes its Class of 2015 --- Julio Colomba, Ray Nhan, and Caleb Trotter.  In this podcast, hosted by Bob Krauter, these recent law school graduates discuss their background, their interest in constitutional law, and what they’re learning in the first few weeks as CPIL fellows.  

Direct download: _10_21_15_cpil.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
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A family-owned puppy business turned to PLF after the City of East Providence, Rhode Island, passed a law banning pet stores – and didn’t pay them a penny in compensation.

Direct download: Perfect_Puppy.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 9:00am PST
Comments[7]

In continuation of last week, this week's podcast comes from PLF's DC Center with Todd Gaziano and Shauneen Werlinger adding their insights to more of the cases currently before the Supreme Court. They tackle Fisher v. University of Texas, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association and a special update on Sissel v. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services by Timothy Sandefur, PLF principal attorney who was in Washington, D.C. testifying on Capitol Hill.

 

Don't miss these exciting cases including an update on Kent Recycling v United States and Hawkes v. United States.

Direct download: 10-7-15.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:14am PST
Comments[6]

PLF attorneys discuss petitions currently before the Supreme Court, including petitions dealing with wetlands, mandatory affordable housing, and the forced merger of parcels for the purpose of avoiding compensating landowners.

Direct download: 9_30_15_sup_ct_prev_1.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
Comments[1]

As friend of the court, PLF is supporting a victim of an outrageous scheme in the District of Columbia, where residents who owed small tax bills saw their homes sold – with the city pocketing the proceeds.

Direct download: _9-23-15_coleman.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
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PLF and the California Building Industry Association have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review San Jose’s “inclusionary housing” law.  It punishes providers of new homes – and violates the Constitution’s ban on takings – by forcing homebuilders to set aside units for below-market sale to city-designated buyers.

 

 

Direct download: 9_16_15_CBIA.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is exceeding its manatee regulatory powers by proposing to limit boat speeds in a pair of popular Pinellas County basins with few or no manatees — indeed, where the commission’s own staff recommended against regulations because of the infrequency of manatee sightings.  In this podcast, PLF Attorney Christina M. Martin and PLF client, Bill Thomas, discuss an administrative challenge that has been filed against the Commission’s proposal.

Direct download: 9_915manatee.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
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PLF attorneys are challenging the unjustified Endangered Species Act listings of the Stephens’ kangaroo rat in Southern California, and the Southwestern Willow flycatcher throughout multiple western states.

Direct download: 9-2-15_flycatcher.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 5:00pm PST
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Wyoming farmer Andy Johnson built a stock pond with state approval.  EPA is threatening him with astronomical fines (nearly $40,000 per day!) if he doesn’t remove it – even though it benefits the environment, and even though EPA has no jurisdiction over livestock ponds.
 
Direct download: 8_27_15_andy_johnson.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 3:21pm PST
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PLF seeks Supreme Court review of an important “relevant parcel” property rights case.  The case asks whether government can forbid development on a private parcel, without compensation, simply because the owners also own the adjacent, partially developed, lot.

Direct download: 8-19-15_murr.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
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PLF President Rob Rivett hosts this podcast discussion with PLF Principal Attorney Timothy Sandefur on the next steps in the constitutional challenge to the Affordable Care Act.  PLF sought en banc review by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, but that request was denied, setting up a petition to the Supreme Court.  PLF’s challenge is based on the fact that Obamacare’s individual mandate “tax” started in the Senate, not in the House of Representatives, as required by the Constitution’s “Origination Clause” (Article 1, Section 7).

Direct download: 8-12-15-Podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:00am PST
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Pacific Legal Foundation has filed a lawsuit to challenge the City of Oakland’s ordinance that requires developers of commercial and residential projects to fund public art works. In this podcast, PLF Senior Staff Attorney Tony Francois discusses the ordinance and PLF’s federal lawsuit that was filed July 23 on behalf of the Building Industry Association of the Bay Area.  PLF’s challenge argues that Oakland is violating constitutional protections for property rights and free speech — and unjustly raising costs for home buyers and businesses — by forcing builders of homes and commercial projects to fund art works that have no reasonable connection to any public needs created by their building projects.

Direct download: 8-5-15_Oakland.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
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PLF is supporting a challenge to laws that compel public school educators to help foot the bill for the teachers union even if they aren’t members.  PLF Principal Attorney Timothy Sandefur explains the First Amendment issues that are at stake in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, which will be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this fall.

Direct download: CTA.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
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On behalf of a group of concerned local residents, PLF is challenging Seattle’s food-waste law for treating key freedoms as disposable.  The new law violates privacy and due process rights by commissioning garbage collectors to engage in intrusive surveillance of people’s trash.

Direct download: 7-22-15_Bonesteel.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
Comments[1]

PLF is suing over the feds’ sweeping new definition of “waters of the United States,” which is so broad that it could impose The Clean Water Act on virtually any water – and land - anywhere.

Direct download: 7-15-15_Podcast.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:31am PST
Comments[6]

 

A discussion of the University of Texas-Austin's race-based admissions, and why PLF argues the policy is unconstitutional.

Direct download: fisher_update_2.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
Comments[5]

 

On the week of Independence Day, PLF Principal Attorney Timothy Sandefur discusses the meaning of the Declaration of Independence, and how PLF’s work carries forward its spirit of liberty.

Direct download: 7-1-15_pod.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
Comments[3]

PLF’s Jim Burling leads a discussion of the recent rulings in the Town of Gilbert and Hornecases, in which free speech and property rights, respectively, were the winners.
 
Direct download: 6_24_15_pod.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:30am PST
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Can a city withhold a permit to build new housing units unless the builder ‘donates’ 15% of the new home units at a price below the cost of building the homes? PLF challenged just such a shakedown scheme enacted by the City of San Jose, CA.  This week, the California Supreme Court released its unfavorable decision in California Building Industry Association v. City of San Jose. In this podcast, Tony Francois, PLF Senior Staff Attorney who argued the case before the CA Supreme Court, explains why this ruling is terrible for all residents in California, no matter what their income, and what the next steps might be to take the case to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Direct download: San-Jose-Decision-6-17-15.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
Comments[1]

On Tuesday, June 2, 2015, Pacific Legal Foundation and Competitive Enterprise Institute held a joint event on Capitol Hill to discuss the constitutional limits of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). 
 
This podcast highlights that event and the landmark case, where a federal district judge in Utah recently ruled in favor of a challenge by People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners (PETPO), holding that the federal government has no constitutional power to regulate private activities affecting the Utah prairie dog on non-federal property because the species does not have a substantial effect on interstate commerce.
Direct download: 6-10-15_PETPO_in_DC.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
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The Obama Administration has issued an open-ended new definition of "waters of the United States" that gives Clean Water Act regulators nearly limitless jurisdiction over landowners nationwide.   PLF's Reed Hopper and Todd Gaziano discuss how the new rule violates the law and the Constitution -- making a legal challenge inevitable.

Direct download: wotus_reax.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
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PLF Senior Attorney Ted Hadzi-Antich joins host, Bob Krauter, for a discussion about Ted’s recent testimony before a senate subcommittee that is seeking to make EPA’s Science Advisory Board more transparent, effective, and fair.  The hearing included testimony on S. 543, legislation that is being proffered in response to criticism that EPA is not using the Board properly to provide peer review of the scientific bases of its regulatory proposals.  Ted’s testimony criticized EPA’s failure to send proposed regulations governing carbon dioxide emissions to the Board for expert analysis before finalizing the rules. 

Direct download: 5_27_15_EPA_testimony.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
Comments[4]

Representing a married couple who want to start a moving business, PLF is challenging Pennsylvania’s law that allows existing movers to “veto” new start-ups.  Our lawsuit says the constitutional right to earn a living is on the line.

Direct download: 5-20-15_Lascos.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
Comments[9]

PLF attorneys discuss recent victories over laws that give established businesses a veto over new competitors from entering their markets.

Direct download: 5-13-15_pod.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
Comments[3]

Reed Hopper, a PLF principal attorney and head of the organization’s environmental litigation team, discusses the EPA’s and Army Corps of Engineers’ proposed “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule that vastly expands federal control over water bodies in the nation.  Joining Reed is Todd Gaziano, executive director of PLF’s DC Center and a senior fellow in constitutional law.  Reed recently appeared on a panel at The Heritage Foundation, an event co-sponsored by PLF, to separate the facts from fiction about the controversial rule. He spoke on the panel moderated by Heritage’s Daren Bakst that included Don Parrish of the American Farm Bureau.

Direct download: 5-6-15_WOTUS_pod.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
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PLF attorney Tony Francois discusses how government water management agencies are prioritizing wildlife values over the needs of human communities as California enters its fourth year of severe drought

Direct download: 4_29_15_drought.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
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Because of a new circuit split, PLF has submitted a petition for rehearing in the Kent Recycling case.  PLF is asking the justices to rule on landowners’ access to the courts when their property is labeled “wetlands.”
 
Direct download: 42215_Kent_Rehearing.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
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PLF Principal Attorney Joshua Thompson describes how the California Supreme Court has blocked a major school district from shortchanging charter schools in resources and facilities.

Direct download: 4_1_5_15_LAUSD.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
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Host Bob Krauter discusses key developments in two coastal land rights cases, one of which resulted in a favorable settlement for a former PLF client.  PLF Principal Attorney J. David Breemer and PLF Staff Attorney Jennifer Thompson analyze the settlement for Nags Head property owner, Roc Sansotta, who waged a five-year battle to prevent his beachfront property from being seized without compensation.  We also discuss the recent opening brief filed in another North Carolina takings case that involves a retired couple, Greg and Diane Nies, and the Town of Emerald Isle.  The property owners are fighting the town’s unconstitutional imposition of a 20-foot-wide government “expressway” on their private, sandy beach property.

Direct download: 5-8-15_pod_proj.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:30am PST
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In oral argument on April 8 before the California Supreme Court, PLF is challenging a city “affordable housing” law that imposes a stiff financial penalty on the providers – and purchasers – of new homes.
 

Direct download: 4_1_15_BIAB.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
Comments[5]

Pressed by a PLF lawsuit, the Alexandria City Council has repealed a decades-old law that prohibited “For Sale” signs in vehicles parked on public streets.  Without discussion, and by unanimous vote, the Council struck down the ordinance that attracted a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of PLF client, Scott McLean, who was ticketed and fined for placing a “For Sale” sign in his vehicle.  Host Bob Krauter discusses the favorable outcome with PLF Attorney Christina Martin of our Atlantic Center, and with Scott McLean.

Direct download: 3-25-15_pod.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
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PLF is challenging federal rules that have severely restricted human access to Plumas National Forest in northern California.  Our clients include two counties, two major recreation associations, and individuals – including a disabled person whose long-time access has now been taken away.
 

Direct download: 3-18-15_Amy.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
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Mark Miller, managing attorney for PLF’s Atlantic Center, offers his analysis of the Supreme Court ruling in Yates v. United States, a favorable decision for Florida commercial fisherman, John Yates, ending his eight-year battle with the federal government about some undersized fish in his catch.  PLF filed an amicus brief in support of Yates in a case of the federal government misusing its law enforcement authority to threaten Americans with exorbitant penalties for conduct that does not pose a threat to health, safety, or the environment.  Federal authorities charged Yates with violating several federal criminal laws, including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, a law that was passed in the wake of the Enron scandal on Wall Street.

Direct download: 3_11_15_yates.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
Comments[4]

Pacific Legal Foundation Principal Attorney Timothy Sandefur discusses the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in North Carolina Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC, an antitrust lawsuit in which the Federal Trade Commission sued a state agency that regulates the practice of the dental industry. The Board claimed that it was immune from antitrust laws, and could therefore prohibit people from practicing the harmless trade of teeth whitening without a license, without having to answer to federal laws that forbid restrictions on economic competition.  Tim joins host, Bob Krauter, in a discussion about the importance of the ruling to free competition.

Direct download: 3_4_15_NC_dental.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
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PLF is representing Wyoming farmers, among others, in opposing a drive to get the North American Wolverine added – unjustifiably – to the Endangered Species Act list.

Direct download: 22515_wolverine.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
Comments[3]

Nevada forces entrepreneurs in the transportation industry to ask their competitors for permission before starting or expanding a business.  PLF is challenging this Competitor’s Veto procedure on behalf of small business owners Ron and Danell Perlman, who operate a limousine company in Reno, NV, and father and son moving team Steven and Patrick Saxon, who are based in Sacramento, CA.

Direct download: 2-18-16_Danell.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
Comments[4]

A state appellate court has struck down onerous new regulations on recreational freshwater fishing because California state bureaucrats drafted them without allowing public review and comment.   The ruling came in PLF’s legal challenge to the regulations on behalf of the California Association for Recreational Fishing.

Direct download: 2-11-15_CARF.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
Comments[1]

PLF Principal Attorney Timothy Sandefur, and PLF client and entrepreneur, Tracie Pabst, discuss a new challenge to Montana’s Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity provision for taxi companies. Pabst, an experienced owner of a shuttle company that operates in Texas and New Mexico, seeks to start a taxi business in her hometown of Big Sky, but the state’s law contains a “competitors’ veto” provision making it unlikely that she could obtain a license.  Under the law, Pabst must prove there’s a public need for her taxi service, but then she can have an established competitor object or “veto” her application.

Direct download: 2_4_15_pabst.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:30am PST
Comments[2]

This week is National School Choice Week.  PLF litigates for school choice in courts across the country.  For National School Choice week, PLF Senior Staff Attorney Joshua Thompson interviews Andrew Coulson, Director for Educational Freedom at the Cato Institute.   They discuss a variety of school choice issues from teachers’ unions to tax credits to school choice programs around the world. 

Direct download: 1_28_15_school_choice.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:30am PST
Comments[4]

John Groen, Pacific Legal Foundation’s newest principal attorney, describes his passion for returning to PLF after a career in private practice.  Host Bob Krauter delves into John’s prior PLF experience as a law clerk and fellow in the College of Public Interest Law.  Before joining PLF earlier this month, John served as a member on PLF’s Board of Trustees.
 

Direct download: john_groen_proj.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
Comments[6]

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a PLF challenge to heavy-handed Delta smelt regulations that have led to draconian water cutbacks for Californians.  But PLF isn’t giving up.  We will continue to litigate on various fronts to eventually establish a more balanced, sensible approach to ESA regulations nationwide.

Direct download: 1_14_15_smelt_denied.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
Comments[2]

Based on compelling scientific evidence that the California gnatcatcher doesn’t belong on the Endangered Species Act list, PLF has formally petitioned for its removal.   The feds’ initial response is positive, acknowledging that we’ve offered “substantial information” that “delisting” might be warranted, and further review is appropriate.

Direct download: 1_7_15_gnatcatcher_pod.mp3
Category:Non-Profit -- posted at: 8:00am PST
Comments[3]

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