Supreme Court

As CSG implements its Focus on Federalism Initiative, the Supreme Court is a good place to keep an eye on.  The Court relied heavily on federalism when striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act and Section 4(b) of the Voting Rights Act last term.  Sprint Communications Company v. Jacobs won’t be a blockbuster decision like those two cases, but the Justices will take into account federalism when ruling in this case.  CSG signed onto a State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) Supreme Court amicus brief in this case.

Younger abstention requires federal courts to refrain from interfering with ongoing state court proceedings in some circumstances.  The question before the Supreme Court in Sprint is when exactly does Younger abstention apply? Should federal courts abstain from deciding a case when there is a related state proceeding that is “remedial” not “coercive”?

The Supreme Court’s October Term 2013 already promises to be a big one for states even though the Court has thirty or so more cases to accept.  Here is a highlight of a few of the cases the Court has agreed to hear so far affecting state government.

In Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action the Court will decide whether a state constitutional amendment banning affirmative action by public...

In a compromise decision that avoids the hot-button political issue of affirmative action in postsecondary education, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled a federal appeals court was wrong to dismiss a case that the University of Texas illegally discriminated against a white college student when it rejected her application for admission.

This term the U.S. Supreme Court will hear at least five cases involving Fourth Amendment searches.  Two involve drug sniffing dogs, one involves warrantless blood draws from DUI suspects, and another involves detaining a person who has left the premises before executing a search warrant.  In Maryland v. King the Supreme Court will decide whether the Fourth Amendment allows states to collect and analyze DNA, without a warrant, from people arrested and charged with serious crimes. 

The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus brief in Maryland v. King, which CSG signed onto, because this case involves a challenge to the constitutionality of a state statute.  In fact, twenty-eight states and the federal government have adopted DNA arrest laws. 

Remember Nollan and Dolan?  The U.S. Supreme Court will decide a case which the Florida Supreme Court calls the clearest inconsistency in the interpretation of the scope of Nollan and Dolan in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District.  CSG signed onto an amicus brief filed by State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) in this case.  

Need a Nollan and Dolan refresher?  In these cases the U.S. Supreme Court held that when the government requests the dedication of land as a condition for issuing a permit there must be an “essential nexus” between the dedication of land and denying the permit and “rough proportionality” between the dedication of land and the impact of the development.