Lisa Soronen

Author Articles

The Supreme Court will no longer hear oral argument in the travel ban case—previously scheduled for October 10—for now. The Court has asked the parties to brief whether the new travel ban makes the case moot, meaning the dispute, and therefore the case, is over.

The president’s March 6 executive order prevented people from six predominately Muslim countries from entering the United States for 90 days. In June the Supreme Court temporarily prevented it from going into effect against those with a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” This travel ban was set to expire on September 24.

On September 24 the President issued a presidential proclamation indefinitely banning immigration from six countries:  Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, and Yemen. Also, certain government officials and their families from Venezuela may no longer receive non-immigrant visas.

The Supreme Court will no longer hear oral argument in the travel ban case—previously scheduled for October 10—for now. The Court has asked the parties to brief whether the new travel ban makes the case moot, meaning the dispute, and therefore the case, is over.

The president’s March 6 executive order prevented people from six predominately Muslim countries from entering the United States for 90 days. In June the Supreme Court temporarily prevented it from going into effect against those with a “bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” This travel ban was set to expire on September 24.

On September 24 the President issued a presidential proclamation indefinitely banning immigration from six countries:  Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, and Yemen. Also, certain government officials and their families from Venezuela may no longer receive non-immigrant visas.

In July the Department of Justice (DOJ) added two new requirements for states and local governments to receive federal Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (Byrne JAG) for law enforcement funding. Chicago sued Attorney General Jeff Sessions arguing that these new requirements and another requirement are unlawful and/or unconstitutional. An Illinois federal district court granted Chicago’s request for a nationwide preliminary injunction temporarily disallowing DOJ from imposing the two new requirements.     

Congress created Byrne JAG in 2005 to provide “flexible” funding for state and local police departments. In April 2017 DOJ required Chicago (and eight other jurisdictions) to provide documentation that it complies with 8 U.S.C. 1373, which prohibits states and local governments from restricting employees from sharing immigration status information with federal immigration officials.

Following its predictable loss before the South Dakota Supreme Court, South Dakota is expected to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that its law requiring out-of-state retailers to collect sales tax is constitutional. Doing so will require the U.S. Supreme Court to take the unusual step of overruling precedent.  

In Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, decided in 1992, the Supreme Court held that states cannot require retailers with no in-state physical presence to collect sales tax.

This article discusses eight Supreme Court cases of interest to states during the 2016–17 term. This term lacks any blockbuster cases at least partially due to being down a Justice most of the term. The court will decide three First Amendment cases (one religion, two speech), one education case, one preemption case, and a few other interesting but narrow cases.

In Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association New Jersey Governor Chris Christie argues that because the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) prohibits the state from repealing laws restricting gambling it amounts to unconstitutional commandeering. The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus brief supporting Christie.

PASPA, adopted in 1992, makes it unlawful for states and local governments to authorize gambling.

In Christie v. National Collegiate Athletic Association New Jersey Governor Chris Christie argues that because the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) prohibits the state from repealing laws restricting gambling it amounts to unconstitutional commandeering. The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus brief supporting Christie.

PASPA, adopted in 1992, makes it unlawful for states and local governments to authorize gambling.

Since his Presidency began President Trump has been rolling back (or trying to roll back) many of the actions of President Obama. Sometimes (at least in theory) it is easier (practically if not politically) to do this than other times.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program allowed undocumented persons who arrived in the United States before age 16 and have lived here since June 15, 2007, to stay, work, and go to school in the United States without facing the risk of deportation for two years with renewals available.  

DACA was established through a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Memorandum during the Obama presidency. Getting rid of a statute requires action by Congress or the U.S. Supreme Court. Getting rid of regulations requires going through the Administrative Procedures Act lengthy notice-and-comment process. Getting rid of an agency memorandum requires issuing a superseding memorandum, which DHS has done.    

A federal district judge in Texas has invalidated Obama overtime regulations which would have made it more likely states and local governments would have had to pay more employees overtime.

Per the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), executive, administrative, and professional “white collar” employees do not have to be paid overtime if they work more than 40 hours a week. Per Department of Labor (DOL) regulations, adopted shortly after the FLSA was adopted in 1938, employees must perform specific duties and earn a certain salary to be exempt from overtime as white collar employees.

On May 23, 2016, DOL issued final rules nearly doubling the previous salary level test for white collar employees from $455 per week, or $23,660 per year, to $913 per week, or $47,476 per year. The rules also automatically update the salary level every three years for white collar employees.

The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) states that when an inmate recovers money damages in a confinement conditions case “a portion of the judgment (not to exceed 25 percent)” shall be applied to his or her attorney’s fees award. The question the Supreme Court will decide in Murphy v. Smith is whether “not to exceed 25 percent” means up to 25 percent or exactly 25 percent.   

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