NFIB Fights Against Government Overreach on Behalf of Small Businesses

Date: January 06, 2022

In two December 2021 cases, NFIB opposed government overreach on small business

Across the country, the NFIB Small Business Legal Center is involved in dozens of court cases to protect the rights of small businesses. In December, the Small Business Legal Center filed a pair of amicus briefs in high-profile cases where small businesses will  be adversely affected by government overreach.  

“Whether it’s the federal EPA or a local zoning ordinance, small businesses face significant headwinds from government officials imposing mandates that hurt their ability to do business,” said Small Business Legal Center Executive Director Karen Harned. “In each of these cases, the NFIB Small Business Legal Center is fighting to ensure our nation’s small businesses can stay in business.” 

West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency. On December 20, NFIB filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court, urging they reverse a D.C. Court of Appeals decision  giving the EPA significantly more authority to address climate change, without necessary Congressional approval.  

Specifically, the case concerns whether the Clean Air Act (CAA) gives EPA authority to make sweeping changes to the energy sector, such as enacting extremely strict carbon emission standards on coal-fired fuel plants. In its brief, NFIB argued that the EPA needed clear authorization from Congress before imposing costly and significant regulations on the energy industry. 

“Energy costs are already a large expense for most small businesses across the country and increasing those costs will impact their bottom line significantly at a time when they can least afford it,” said Karen Harned. “If the D.C. Circuit’s decision is upheld, small businesses will not only face a rise in electricity costs, but thousands of jobs will be lost in the electricity, coal, and natural gas sectors.” 

Elijah “LIJ” Shaw et al., v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. On December 9, NFIB filed an amicus brief in this case before the Tennessee Supreme Court. The lawsuit was filed by two homeowners challenging a Nashville metropolitan code provision that prevented them from serving customers at their home-based businesses.  

“Many small businesses begin in people’s homes and on their private property,” said Karen Harned. “Small business owners have a fundamental right to earn a living and the right to use their property. Unreasonable zoning restrictions, as highlighted in this case, interfere with those rights.” 

“Small businesses are a crucial part of Tennessee’s economy and local communities,” added Jim Brown, NFIB Tennessee State Director. “The government is punishing small businesses who work out of their home-based business without evidence that their business caused harm or disruption to neighboring homes. We urge the court to stand up for Tennessee’s small businesses and reject this standard.” 

The NFIB Small Business Legal Center acts as the voice for small business in the nation’s courts and the legal resource for small business owners nationwide. Learn more here 

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