Supreme Court Tag

One of the significant Supreme Court cases affecting local governments this term has been resolved through settlement. The case is Mount Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action. It asked whether a plaintiff bringing a claim under the Fair Housing Act must show intentional discrimination, or whether a "disparate impact" is sufficient. This marks the second time that the Supreme Court has granted certiorari on the question but then not been able to resolve it. Magner v. Gallagher was also settled last year....

Today, the Supreme Court heard argument in Town of Greece v. Galloway, No. 12-696, which asks whether the Town's legislative-prayer practice violates the Establishment Clause. We previously discussed the case here. Here is a transcript of the oral argument. And here is a recap from Lyle Denniston. He concludes by building on a comment from Justice Kagan: Justice Kagan tried to sum up: Isn’t the question here, she said, whether public meeting prayers with references to Jesus Christ “will be allowed in a public...

The State and Local Legal Center hosted an excellent Supreme Court Preview Webinar this afternoon. The panelists -- Tom Hungar, Kannon Shanmugam, and David Savage -- discussed the following cases: Town of Greece v. Galloway -- Is the Town's legislative prayer practice consistent with the Establishment Clause? EPA v. EME Homer City Generation -- Did the EPA properly enact rules addressing State air pollution under Clean Air Act's "good neighbor" provision? McCullen v. Coakley -- Does a Massachusetts law forbidding speakers from entering or remaining on a...

The first significant case affecting local governments in this new Supreme Court term  -- Madigan v. Levin -- ended poorly. The Court resolved the case with a DIG -- the Court dismissed it as improvidently granted. Supreme Court3 What went wrong? And what can we learn from it about appellate jurisdiction? An Important Question The case had all the hallmarks of a classic Supreme Court case. The question presented was important. It asked whether when a state or local government employee alleges that his employer has discriminated against him because of his age, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA") provides his exclusive remedy, or whether he may also bring a claim under 42 U.S.C. 1983 because the discrimination violates the Constitution's Equal-Protection Clause. The question had divided the lower courts. The Seventh Circuit acknowledged that its holding -- that the ADEA does not prevent the employee from bringing a Section 1983 claim -- created a deep circuit split. And it had far-reaching implications. It could literally impact every state and local government. What Went Wrong? So why would the Court, after granting cert. and hearing oral argument, suddenly change its mind and toss the case?

SupremeCourt2(1) Next Term Over at Cities Speak, Lisa Soronen of the State and Local Legal Center outlines upcoming Supreme Court cases that could affect local governments: And Wednesday, Irene Zurko discussed the case of Sprint Communications v. Jacobs. For a full preview, register to hear from Tom Hungar, Kannon Shanmugam, and David Savage on October 22nd here. (2) More on Town of Greece SCOTUSblog has some interesting commentary on Town of Greece, a case that we previously addressed here. Eric Rassbach says that those challenging the Town's prayer practice have reached a "'Hail Mary'" moment" where "facing imminent disaster" they "stake[e] everything on one desperate, final gambit:"

When is it appropriate for a federal court to decide a case that is pending in state court?Supreme Court On the Supreme Court’s docket is a case that addresses this very issue, giving the Court the chance to once again ponder the limits of the Younger abstention doctrine. That case, on appeal from the Eighth Circuit, is Sprint Communs. Co., L.P. v. Jacobs, Case No. 12-815. At issue is whether Younger abstention applies only when the underlying state proceeding is “coercive” or whether it is sometimes appropriate for federal courts to abstain from hearing cases that are “remedial” in nature.  Many cases dealing with Younger abstention have turned on that distinction. But the difference between “coercive” and “remedial” proceedings, and the way courts classify cases as one or the other, is anything but clear-cut.  Indeed, the distinction could turn on whether the government or a private party initiated the action, as “coercive” proceedings are typically described as those that are criminal or quasi-criminal in nature.

[caption id="attachment_72" align="alignright" width="300"]Federal preemption provisions must be read sensibly Federal preemption provisions must be read sensibly[/caption] [This is the second in a series of posts reviewing unheralded but noteworthy decisions for State and local governments from the Supreme Court’s last term. See Koontz here.] State and local-government attorneys often battle federal preemption—including against broad readings that strain common sense. The case of Dan’s City Uses Cars, Inc., v . Pelkey reminds you why it’s worth it. It’s the story of Robert Pelkey.

[caption id="attachment_48" align="alignright" width="300"]If you condition a land-use permit on mitigation or other responsibilities, you may have to defend the condition under Koontz. If you condition a land-use permit on mitigation or other responsibilities, you may have to defend the condition under Koontz.[/caption] With the Supreme Court recently concluding its 2012 term, now is a good time to look back. You have likely heard plenty about the Court’s high-profile holdings, including that: But it’s often the decisions that slip by quietly that impact you most. We’ll be publishing a series of posts about decisions that didn’t get a lot of press, but that are worth revisiting.

Some fun items about the Supreme Court. (1) The Supreme Court’s Best Writer Legal-writing guru Ross Guberman recently guest blogged at the Volokh Conspiracy. He’s the author of Point Made, which dissects appellate briefs from leading attorneys. He turned his attention to the Supreme Court’s best writers. Here’s his case for Chief Justice Roberts. And here’s his case for Justice Kagan. They’re both great picks.