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...

When I was asked to write an article discussing the concept of Pride and what it means, it was quite honestly a daunting task.  I was confronted with a sizeable dose of imposter syndrome, because as the Assistant General Counsel for the City of Middletown, Connecticut—who only recently stepped into the shoes of Pride organizer—I acknowledge that there are (and have been) so many LGBTQIA+ activists and non-profit organizations locally, statewide, and across the country, who have been in the...

In a 6-3 opinion the Supreme Court, likening the protection of property rights to the preservation of freedom, held in Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid that a California regulation that provided union organizers access to agricultural employers’ property for up to three hours per day, 120 days per year, was a per se physical taking under the Fifth Amendment.  While the case was a loss for the State, looming larger in the case was the question of how the decision...

Fifty-two years ago, just after midnight on June 28, 1969, eight officers with New York’s now-defunct Public Morals Squad descended on 53 Christopher Street in Greenwich Village.  Their target was the Stonewall Inn, a well-known gay bar and safe haven for the LGBTQIA+ community.  The infraction which brought them was an alleged violation of liquor laws.  More than 200 patrons were lined up, required to produce identification, subjected to anti-gay slurs, and needlessly subjected to force. Police raids in gay bars were...