Commentary

The International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA) made history this year when Amanda Karras became the first woman to ever be its Executive Director and General Counsel.  This new leadership deserves a new introduction. In 14 years, Amanda has built a family (with her husband and two daughters) and legal career—majority of which has been with IMLA.  Her legal journey began after she graduated Colby College in Maine.  What would turn into a gap year, she worked in a social-worker-type position...

Happy Women’s History Month! IMLA is MARCHing its way through U.S. Women’s History Month.  We would like to recognize and celebrate the women of our membership, who were nominated by their peers for their extraordinary work in local government.  IMLA continues its mission to maintain intentional efforts to provide helpful resources for initiatives related to diversity, equity, and/or inclusion.  March is a reminder that women have and still face adversity (in employment, law, healthcare, etc.) as a single class or under...

Happy Black History Month! February is nationally recognized to celebrate the achievements of African Americans.  As our society and legal profession have become increasingly aware of historic inequities that still impact people of color and in particular—Black Americans—IMLA works hard to provide our membership with the most updated resources on equity, bias, and racial injustice.  IMLA acknowledges that legal advancement co-exist with new legal barriers.  IMLA will not falter in its mission to aide local governments in achieving sustainable, equitable and...

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.”),...

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...

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...

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...