Author: Lisa Soronen

Permits and Pollution: Next Steps for the Clean Water Act

If a state or local government discharges a pollutant from a point source to a navigable water it must obtain a permit under the Clean Water Act (CWA). But what if that pollutant is conveyed in something—say groundwater—between the point source and the navigable water? Must the state or local government still obtain a permit?

Continue reading

Supreme Court to Review Census Citizenship Question

In April the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case that will determine whether a citizenship question will appear in the 2020 census. A decision in Department of Commerce v. New York is expected by the end of June, in time presumably to include or exclude the question from the print version of the

Continue reading

What’s Next for the Affordable Care Act?

While a federal district court ruled the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional on December 14, the Act and the litigation will continue. The judge didn’t issue a nationwide injunction which would have had the effect of immediately ceasing all aspects of law. Unsurprisingly, the states defending the law have stated they will appeal this ruling

Continue reading

Supreme Court Will Hear First Amendment Retaliatory Arrest Case

Every year, the Supreme Court hears and rules in a wide variety of difficult cases. And when it comes to the legal matters at stake, some tend to pop up once, while others recur over years or decades. But in recent years, no issue has vexed the court quite like one nagging question: whether probable cause

Continue reading

Justice Neil Gorsuch and the Case of the Graveyard Invaders

Over the past year, the Supreme Court has issues consequential rulings on labor, free speech, international travel and more. But in October 2018, as it begins a new term, the Supreme Court will start with a Halloween-appropriate case. In Knick v. Township of Scott, the Supreme Court will decide whether to overturn Williamson County Regional

Continue reading

What Justice Kennedy Meant to Cities

As of July 30, the last day of this year’s historic Supreme Court session, Justice Anthony Kennedy is retired. For states and local governments, he will be forever remembered — not least as the justice who championed allowing online sales tax collection. In March 2015, Justice Kennedy wrote that the “legal system should find an

Continue reading

Supreme Court Sends Qualified Immunity Win Back to Lower Court

In the past, many academics have complained about the Supreme Court frequently reversing lower court decisions that have denied police officers qualified immunity. Last month, in Sause v. Bauer, the court reversed (and remanded) a grant of qualified immunity. In a unanimous per curiam (unauthored) opinion, the Supreme Court remanded this case back to the

Continue reading

What City Leaders Should Know about the Supreme Court’s Union Ruling

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court held 5-4 in Janus v. AFSCME that state statutes allowing public sector employers and unions to agree that employees who don’t join the union must still pay their “fair share” of collective bargaining costs violate the First Amendment. The court also held that employees must “affirmatively consent” to join the

Continue reading

Supreme Court Blocks Disclosure Requirements for California Pregnancy Clinics

On Tuesday, in a 5-4 decision in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, the Supreme Court ruled that a California law requiring licensed pregnancy clinics to disclose they don’t offer abortions and unlicensed pregnancy clinics to disclose the fact they are unlicensed likely violates the First Amendment. The ruling has significant implications

Continue reading