Category: Supreme Court

In Knick v. Township of Scott, Graveyards, Trespassing, and the U.S. Constitution

Like many cases accepted by the Supreme Court, the case of Knick v. Township of Scott involves a common theme in judicial circles. One party is asking to overturn long-standing Supreme Court precedent. Unfortunately for states and local governments, the precedent on the chopping block arises in the property rights context (where the more conservative

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What Happens When Wildlife Conservation and Economic Impacts Collide?

According to the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (FWS) may designate land a “critical habitat” for an endangered species. The act mandates that FWS consider the economic impact of specifying an area as a critical habitat. FWS may exclude an area if the benefits of excluding it outweigh the benefits

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Supreme Court Considers Gerrymandering in Texas

In Abbott v. Perez, a number of persons and advocacy groups challenged the Texas Legislature’s 2011 state legislative and congressional redistricting plan claiming it discriminated against black and Hispanic voters in violation of the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause and the Voting Rights Act. In 2011, a three-judge district court issued a remedial redistricting plan which

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Appeals Court Affirms Chicago’s Win in Sanctuary Jurisdictions Case

In July 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) added two new requirements for states and local governments to receive federal Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (Byrne JAG) for law enforcement funding. In response, Chicago sued Attorney General Jeff Sessions, arguing he lacks the statutory authority to impose these conditions. In September 2017, an Illinois

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Supreme Court Hears Internet Sales Tax Arguments in South Dakota v. Wayfair

In South Dakota v. Wayfair South Dakota is asking the Supreme Court to overrule precedent and hold that states and local governments may require retailers with no in-state physical presence to collect sales tax. The National Conference of State Legislatures estimated that states lost $23.3 billion in 2012 from being prohibited from collecting sales tax

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In Kisela v. Hughes, Confronting Police Who “Shoot First and Think Later”

In the annals of the Supreme Court, summary reversals overturning a lower court decision without briefing or oral argument are common. But rare are summary reversals that receive media attention — because such action is “usually reserved … for situations in which the law is settled and stable, the facts are not in dispute, and the

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California Sues Trump Administration Over Census Citizenship Question

This week, on the same day that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced his plan to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census, California filed a complaint seeking an injunction preventing the question from being added. The next day, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced he would lead a multi-state lawsuit challenging the

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In Benisek v. Lamone, the Supreme Court Confronts Gerrymandering

The challengers to the redistricting of Maryland’s Sixth Congressional District just might win — if the Supreme Court actually decides their case. In Benisek v. Lamone, in 2011, the Maryland legislature needed to move about 10,000 voters out of the Sixth Congressional District to comply with “one-person one-vote.” It moved about 360,000 Marylanders out of the

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Trump Administration Sues California over Sanctuary Laws

Most of the Trump administration’s disagreements over protecting undocumented immigrants have been with local governments. From Chicago to San Francisco, city leaders have drawn challenges over so-called “sanctuary city” policies, with mixed results on both sides. But on March 6, the Trump administration escalated its dispute in a serious way — by filing a complaint

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