Policy Area

Beginning this week for the first time ever the Supreme Court is holding oral argument over the phone and allowing the public to listen in live. Today’s argument in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania illustrates the myriad ways live, phone argument is different from the traditional in-person version. 

Other than Justice Thomas asking questions, the Chief Justice’s role is the most...

There have been many innovative and diverse ways for coalitions to form in state legislatures. As the groups of people who participate in the political process change, one such innovative legislative tool to ensure all voices are heard would be a legislative caucus.

Like the constituents they serve, state legislatures across the country are made up of policymakers with diverse viewpoints, backgrounds and life experiences. The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 30 years ago represented in a fundamental...

The Supreme Court refused to lift its stay of federal court orders that prevented the Trump administration from making changes to the definition of public charge. 

Immigrants who are deemed a “public charge” are ineligible to receive green cards/lawful permanent resident status. The most recent definition of public charge, adopted in 1999, included immigrants who demonstrated a need for “institutionalization for long-term care at government expense” or “receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance.”

In...

A number of Pennsylvania business owners have requested that the U.S. Supreme Court stay enforcement of Governor Wolf’s executive order “compelling the closure of the physical operations of all businesses and entities that he deemed to be nonlife-sustaining.”

Governor Wolf allowed non-lifesustaining businesses to apply for a waiver; 18,746 waiver applications have been denied to date.

The business owners allege the executive...

Amy Howe at SCOTUSblog aptly describes Maine Community Health Options v. United States as “relatively low-profile but super-high dollar!” In this case the Supreme Court held 8-1 that health insurance plans can sue the federal government to recover unpaid Risk Corridors payments under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The Risk Corridors program was designed to...

In Georgia v. Public.Rescource.Org the Supreme Court held 5-4 that non-binding, explanatory legal materials created by state legislatures cannot be copyrighted.

The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) contains various non-binding supplementary materials including summaries of judicial decisions and attorney general opinions and a list of law review articles related to current statutory provisions. The OCGA is assembled by the Code...

In a two-page per curiam (unauthored) opinion in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. City of New York, the Supreme Court held that a challenge to New York City’s rule disallowing residents to transport firearms to a second home or shooting range outside of the city is moot. The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an...

When President Trump tweeted that he intended to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States due to COVID-19 no one quite knew what to expect.

The presidential proclamation prevents foreign nationals who are outside of the United States now and for the next 60 days (possibly longer if the proclamation is extended) from applying for legal...

In County of Maui, Hawaii v. Hawaii Wildlife Fund the Supreme Court held 6-3 that when there is a “functional equivalent of a direct discharge” from a point source to navigable waters an appropriate permit is required under the Clean Water Act.

The Clean Water Act forbids the “addition” of any pollutant “from a point source” to “navigable waters” without a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. In this case the County...

The Supreme Court is known for its ceaselessness. Government shut downs, snowstorms, anthrax, and vacancies haven’t slowed down the High Court. But it has not been spared by this global pandemic.

This term the Supreme Court is expected to issue about 56 opinions—about...

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