Lisa Soronen

Author Articles

The Supreme Court refused to overturn a consent decree in which Rhode Island state government officials agreed, due to COVID-19, to not enforce state law requiring the signature of two witnesses or a notary public for mail ballots.

The Court issued a statement noting that it stayed a court order in a case from Alabama similar to the consent decree in this case. However, according to the Court, in this case no state officials object to the consent...

The Supreme Court has not allowed a federal district court order to go into effect which required Oregon to include a ballot initiative with only 50 percent of the signatures required by Oregon’s constitution, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Oregon Constitution requires advocates of ballot initiatives to obtain signatures equal to eight percent of ballots cast in the most recent governor’s race (here about 150,000) four months before the...

Without explanation the Supreme Court stayed a preliminary injunction requiring the Orange County California jail and jail officials to implement safety measures to protect inmates during the COVID–19 pandemic.

Justices Breyer and Kagan, without explaining their reasons, indicated they wouldn’t have granted the stay. Justice Sotomayor and Ginsburg dissented from the Court’s decision to lift the injunction and explained why. 

According to the...

In Idaho to get a citizen’s initiative on the ballot, petitioners must obtain signatures from six percent of electors by April 30. Reclaim Idaho asked to be temporarily allowed to gather signatures online due to COVID-19. It sued after state government officials informed it that Idaho statutes don’t allow electronic signatures for petitions and the governor didn’t intend to take executive action.

As the Supreme Court explained, “[t]he District Court in...

A federal district court has ruled that as long as there is a declared national health emergency related to COVID-19, the public charge rule may not go into effect.

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...

The presence of federal officers in Portland has generated significant litigation. Two of the cases brought so far get to the heart of a big question for local governments nationally:  what authority do federal officers have to do police work in local communities?

Both lawsuits...

In Calvary Chapel Dayton Valley v. Sisolak the Supreme Court allowed the Nevada governor’s COVID-19 restrictions on the number of people who may attend religious services to stand.

The lower courts refused to grant the church an injunction in this case so they...

The question the Supreme Court will decided in Uzuegbunam v. Preczewski is whether the government changing a policy after a lawsuit has been filed renders the case moot if the plaintiff has only asked for nominal damages.

Georgia Gwinnett College students Chike Uzuegbunam and Joseph Bradford sued the college over its Freedom of Expression policy, which only allowed students to engage in expressive activities in two designated areas after getting a...

In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court held in McGirt v. Oklahoma that for purposes of the Major Crimes Act (MCA) three million acres, including most of the City of Tulsa, is a Creek reservation.

Per the federal MCA only the federal government may prosecute Native Americans who commit specific crimes within “Indian country.” Oklahoma state court convicted Jimcy McGirt, a member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, for three serious sexual...

The President’s tax returns are unlikely to be available to the public soon as a result of two Supreme Court cases. Nevertheless, Trump v. Vance is a victory for state and local government authority. In this case the Supreme Court held 7-2 that the U.S. Constitution doesn’t “categorically preclude, or require a heightened standard for, the issuance of a state criminal subpoena to a sitting President.”  

Regardless of this decision, the...

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