On October 18th, the Supreme Court granted qualified immunity to officers in two cases on a per curiam basis, summarily reversing lower courts in each: Rivas-Villas v. Cortesluna and City of Tahlequah v. Austin.  IMLA filed an amicus brief in the Rivas - Villegas v. Cortesluna case in support of the officers.  In both cases, the Supreme Court relied on video evidence and therefore undisputed facts.  And in both cases, the Court concluded the law was not clearly established given...

On September 29th and October 1st during our 86th Annual Conference in Minneapolis, MN, IMLA was able to announce and recognize our 2021 award winners. These award winners are MLA members who have gone above and beyond the field of municipal law and were nominated by their colleagues to receive these awards.   The Charles S. Rhyne Lifetime Achievement In Municipal Law Award The Lifetime Achievement in Municipal Law Award is the highest award given by IMLA. The award honors the recipient’s lifetime...

For more than 30 years, from September 15- October 15, the United States has recognized and celebrated National Hispanic Heritage Month.  This month-long recognition is meant to celebrate the contributions and achievements of members in Hispanic and Latin(o/x) communities.  IMLA and its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Group are committed to providing our members resources that highlight DEI issues affecting Hispanic and Latin(o/x) attorneys and the communities they represent. Attorneys with Spanish-speaking roots have slowly made their mark on U.S. legal history...

As discussed in a prior article, Spain is divided into 17 “autonomous communities” which comprise 50 provinces. Within these provinces, there are more than 8,000 municipalities, which are the basic territorial division in Spain. Municipalities have legal personality and their own territory, population, and organization. Municipalities are also sometimes referred to as “Town Halls”, given that the current structure dates back to the nineteenth century. Although municipalities are a common political subdivision in the whole country, they are not the...

“We the People”.  These three simple words embody the very idea of self-governance and establish the foundation for a political structure of government that Abraham Lincoln once described as “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”  In form and substance, they represent a government that emanates from the people, whose powers are granted by them, and are to be exercised for their benefit.  That government belongs to “We the People” of the United States of America (“U.S.”),...

IMLA is pleased to announce that Executive Director and General Counsel Chuck Thompson is the recipient of the American Bar Association’s 2021 Jefferson Fordham Award for Lifetime Achievement  – the Daniel J. Curtin Award.  As most of you know, Chuck has led IMLA since late 2006, navigating our organization through economic challenges and helping us to become a more responsive and diverse organization. The ABA Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes Chuck’s contributions to the practice of local government law over more than...

It is generally said that in the American system of impartial justice—which we Spaniards know (I admit) basically through cinema, films, and television—the weight of judicial precedent is fundamental when it comes to judgments issued by the courts. This, in principle, might seem very different from the Spanish civil law system, which is based on comprehensive legal codes and the premise that judges and courts are subject “to the rule of law.” However, there are more things that unite us than...

The Basics of the Federal Judiciary By: Chris Balch The Constitution of the United States establishes the judicial power of the National Government in “one Supreme Court and in such other inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time create.” The same document authorizes “original” actions, which are cases where the Supreme Court sits as a trial level court in very limited circumstances. There is nothing said about the authority of the Court, the standards it is to employ, or...

In a per curiam decision, the Supreme Court summarily reversed the Eighth Circuit’s grant of qualified immunity in Lombardo v. City of St. Louis.  While the majority’s decision to reverse left a lot to still be decided, the case may be indicative of the Supreme Court’s attempt to signal to lower courts that qualified immunity is less protective than some courts are currently applying it.  Alternatively, perhaps Justice Alito is right in his dissent that the majority did not want...

In Pakdel v. City & County of San Francisco, the Supreme Court held the Ninth Circuit erred when it required the petitioners who had alleged a regulatory taking to comply with the agency’s administrative procedures for seeking relief because it is a “settled rule” that “exhaustion of state remedies is not a prerequisite to an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.”  quoting Knick v. Township of Scott, 588 U.S. __ (2019) (emphasis in original).  In what could end up as...