Lisa Soronen

Author Articles

If you did, you may view and listen to a recording of the webinar here:  https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/938598930

In this webinar Lisa Soronen, SLLC Executive Director, discusses the most important cases accepted so far affecting state and local government including four environmental cases, four Fourth Amendment search cases, a Chevron deference case, and a voter registration case out of Arizona; a few of the Court’s likely big grants (same sex marriage, constitutionality of Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, Fair Housing Act disparate impact claims); and the Court’s most prominent grant to date (a challenge to the University of Texas-Austin’s affirmative action program). 

To say the Supreme Court’s October 2011 term was “all about the states” is hardly an overstatement.  The two most prominent cases of the term—the Affordable Care Act case and the Arizona immigration case—were both about states’ rights.  (And if the Court takes a gay marriage case next term it will be states’ rights round two). 

So far the most controversial case the U.S. Supreme Court has accepted for its October 2012 term involves the University of Texas-Austin’s affirmative action plan.  Will it take a gay marriage case is the big question.  If the Court’s objective is to lie low after deciding two particularly controversial cases—the Affordable Care Act cases and Arizona immigration case—stormwater runoff might be a safe subject matter to take up.  This perhaps explains why the Court has accepted not one but two stormwater runoff cases! 

The Ninth Circuit (AK, AZ, CA, HI, ID, MT, NV, OR, WA) has a reputation for listening to the beat of its own drummer.  And the Supreme Court has a reputation of taking the drum back and correcting the beat.  Will this happen in Los Angeles County Flood Control District v. Natural Resources Defense Council?  The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) has filed an amicus brief in this case, which CSG has signed onto, and thinks (and hopes!) so. 

The controversy in Los Angeles County Flood Control District v. Natural Resources Defense Council is over whether the Los Angeles County Flood Control District has violated a federal permit because of the level of pollutants from stormwater that it gathers in municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) located in two California Rivers.        

If you did, you may view and listen to a recording of the webinar here:  https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/599978554

In its October Term 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide four significant and prominent federalism cases involving states. These cases include the Affordable Care Act cases, the Arizona immigration case, the Texas redistricting case and the California Medicaid case. The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed amicus curiae briefs in four cases to be decided this term affecting state and local government, including the California Medicaid case.

If you gamble at a casino there is no question whether you have won or lost.  Nevertheless in a recent Supreme Court case affecting state government, involving land to be used for a casino, victory or defeat...depends.   

This week the U.S. Supreme Court held in Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians v. Patchak that the United States can be sued for acquiring land per the Indian Reorganization Act.  And a private citizen who lives near the acquired land has “standing” to bring the lawsuit. 

The last week of June likely will be big even for Americans who generally don’t give a second thought to the U.S.  Supreme Court because the Affordable Care Act cases and the Arizona immigration case will be decided then. 

But for at least state government and the State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) this week has been exciting!  The Supreme Court issued opinions in two cases where the SLLC filed an amicus brief:  Armour v. Indianapolis and Reichle v. Howards.  Remarkably, the SLLC’s brief was cited in Armour v. Indianapolis.     

If a proposed bill granting inheritance rights to children conceived after a parent’s death crosses your desk you might reasonably wonder who exactly this law is intended to benefit and why it is being proposed now.  The simple answer probably is the proposed law is intended to grant children conceived by in vitro fertilization after a parent dies social security benefits.  It is likely being proposed now in response to a recent a U.S. Supreme Court decision Astrue v. Capato.

In this case the Supreme Court unanimously held that children conceived after their parent’s death may only receive Social Security survivor benefits if they qualify to inherit from their deceased parent under state intestacy law.  Karen Capato’s twins were born 18 months after her husband died of cancer with the help of in vitro fertilization using her husband’s frozen sperm.  After her application for Social Security survivor benefits for the twins was denied she sued. 

The Supreme Court heard oral argument in Arizona v. United States where the Court must decide whether federal law preempts four provisions of Arizona’s immigration law. 

Supreme Court reporters and watchers seem to agree the Supreme Court will uphold the portion of Arizona’s law requiring police to check the immigration status of anyone stopped or arrested when there is “reasonable suspicion” the person is here unlawfully.  As Justice Roberts pointed out, if the federal government does not want to pursue deporting someone, it does not have to.   But a number of Justices seemed concerned about the amount of time it would take to confirm someone’s immigration status.

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