Author: Lisa Soronen

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

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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

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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

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President Trump Wins Travel Ban Supreme Court Case

On Tuesday, in a 5-4 decision in Trump v. Hawaii, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of President Trump’s travel ban. The third travel ban indefinitely prevents immigration from six countries: Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria and Yemen. Hawaii and others had sued President Trump claiming the ban was illegal and unconstitutional. The court

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States and Local Governments Win Landmark Online Sales Tax Case

On Thursday, in South Dakota v. Wayfair, the Supreme Court ruled that states and local governments can require vendors with no physical presence in the state to collect sales tax. According to the court, which ruled in a 5-4 decision, “economic and virtual contacts” are enough to create a “substantial nexus” with the state allowing

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Man Arrested for Disrupting Council Meetings Can Sue, Supreme Court Says

According to the Supreme Court, Riviera Beach, Florida, resident Fane Lozman may be the only person to fit within a “unique class of retaliatory arrest claims.” It may not be a very auspicious honor — but the designation was all it took for Lozman to win his (second) Supreme Court case. In an 8-1 decision

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On Gerrymandering, Supreme Court Decisions Offer Little Clarity

In 1986, a majority of the Supreme Court agreed that partisan gerrymandering may be unconstitutional in certain circumstances. But in that case, and since then, the court has failed to agree on a standard for when partisan gerrymandering crosses the line. This week, that streak continued. In Gill v. Whitford and Benisek v. Lamone the

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What the Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Decision Means for Cities

This week, the Supreme Court held in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute that Ohio’s processes of removing people from the voter rolls does not violate federal law. The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus brief in this case supporting Ohio — and twelve other states maintain their voter rolls using a similar process. For city

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Federal Court Rules “Sanctuary Cities” Statute is Unconstitutional

As of Tuesday, states and local governments who have sued the Trump administration over immigration policy — including the so-called “sanctuary jurisdictions” executive order, the adding of conditions to receive Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (Byrne JAG), and the requirement of  documentation to prove they comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373 — had won all their

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Cake Maker Wins Same-Sex Marriage Cake Case in Narrow Opinion

In America, many local governments have public accommodations provisions that include sexual orientation and may enforce them as they see fit. But following Monday’s Supreme Court decision, they may want to start taking religious objections even more seriously. In a 7-2 decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission the Supreme Court reversed a ruling

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