Tag: SCOTUS

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

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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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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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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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Is Your City Ready for Sports Gambling?

In a 6-3 decision in Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association the Supreme Court declared the federal Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional. PASPA, adopted in 1992, prohibits states from authorizing sports gambling. The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus brief asking the Court to rule PASPA violates the Constitution’s

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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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