Category: Civility

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

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Labor Day Essay: Aretha Franklin, John McCain, and the Embodiment of Respect

As summer winds to its unofficial close and we take a moment to celebrate the social and economic achievements of U.S. workers, it’s remarkably appropriate that we’re simultaneously celebrating the labor and legacy of two American icons. One, the Queen of Soul and the voice of a generation. The other, a war hero and dedicated

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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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Public Spaces and Local Democracy

On Tuesday, the Tennessee House of Representatives voted to exact revenge on the city of Memphis — approving a measure to withhold $250,000 in funding that had been appropriated for the city’s bicentennial anniversary celebration. A little backstory is required. In December, two statues of Confederate leaders were removed from Memphis parks — a long-awaited

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Senator George Voinovich on Public-Private Partnerships

This is a guest post by NLC President Matt Zone, councilmember, Cleveland, Ohio. As president of the National League of Cities, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with hundreds of other city leaders. I’ve come to understand just how many common values and challenges we share — and it has made me a better leader.

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Policing Will Change

This is a guest post by Jack Calhoun. The post originally appeared here. Firefighters work to extinguish street fires in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, Calif., August 1965. The historic Watts riots occurred after neighborhood residents watched two white officers scuffling in apprehending a suspected black drunk driver. (image courtesy atlantablackstar.com) Author’s note: After

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The Best Lifestyle Might Be the Cheapest, Too

This is a guest post by Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert. It originally appeared here. If you were to build a city from scratch, using current technology, what would it cost to live there? I think it would be nearly free if you did it right. This is a big deal because people aren’t

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Unqualified Win in Qualified Immunity Cases

The Supreme Court resolves circuit splits (where federal circuit courts of appeals have decided the same issue differently) and isn’t an error correcting Court.  But you would not know that if you looked just at the Court’s two unanimous qualified immunity decided this week. State and local government officials can be sued for money damages

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Roadmap for Constitutional Prayer at City Council Meetings

Justice Kennedy is better known for his rhetorical flair than his practical guidance.  But his majority opinion in Town of Greece v. Galloway provides a roadmap cities can follow to stay out of trouble when beginning city council meetings with a prayer. While anyone could give a prayer at a Town of Greece board meeting,

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A Term of Recurring Themes

Lisa Soronen is the Executive Director of the State and Local Legal Center and a regular contributor to CitiesSpeak. If you follow the Supreme Court’s docket, one theme from this term is unmistakable:  patent cases.  The Court has taken at least five patent cases (out of less than 70).  But patents don’t worry the State and Local

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