Lisa Soronen

Author Articles

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...

In a 7-2 decision in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania the Supreme Court held that religious employers and employers with moral objections may be exempted from the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) contraceptive mandate.

The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus ...

Without explanation, without referring the matter to the entire Court, and without calling for a response, Justice Kavanaugh denied a request for an emergency injunction to strike down Illinois Governor Pritzker’s executive order limiting gatherings to 50 people while exempting religious gathering.

Likely Justice Kavanaugh refused to grant the injunction because the standard is high. The Supreme Court only grants...

In Chiafalo v. Washington, the Supreme Court upheld Washington state’s law fining “faithless” electors that do not vote for the candidate that won the state’s popular vote. Likewise, the Court reversed the Tenth Circuit’s decision in Baca v. Colorado Dept. of State, which held that removing a “faithless” elector was unconstitutional. Justice Kagan wrote the opinion...

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