Constitutional Law Elections & Politics

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Supreme Court Update: Michigan V. EPA (14-47) And Arizona State Legislature V. Arizona Independent Redistricting Comm'n (13-1314)

The last day of school is always anticlimactic, with finals done and yearbooks already signed. That may have described the atmosphere on First Street yesterday, but make no mistake: The Court ended October Term 2014 term with...more

Supreme Court Decides Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission

On June 29, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistrict Commission, No. 13-1314, holding that a State legislature has standing to challenge a State constitutional amendment...more

N.J. Supreme Court Finds Chapter 78 Did Not Create an Enforceable Contract Right

In Burgos v. State of New Jersey, the New Jersey Supreme Court held that the 2011 pension and health benefit reform statute, known as Chapter 78, did not create an enforceable contract that was binding on the State to make...more

Irrigation District Sues, Says State Board Lacks Jurisdiction to Curtail Senior Water Rights

On June 26, the Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID) filed a petition for writ of mandate in Contra Costa County Superior Court requesting that the Court set aside the State Water Resources Control Board’s June 12, 2015...more

Supreme Court Upholds Authority of Redistricting Commissions

This morning in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a constitutional challenge to the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (“IRC”). The U.S....more

Baker's Openness to Changing State Flag Could Lead to Something Much Better

Governor Charlie Baker gave a jolt of energy recently to an idea that’s been languishing at the State House for years and that came to the fore this week because of the racially motivated slaughter of nine African-Americans...more

In Suing Commonwealth of PA, Clean Air Council Takes A Stand For Up-To-Date Building Codes

There is a war on building codes across the United States, and Pennsylvania is ground zero. After years of regular building code updates, a law was passed in 2011 (Act 1) at the urging of the Pennsylvania Builders...more

Another Bill to Expand the Wire Act: Bad Law Clothed in a Lie

This past week’s focus on the presence of the Confederate battle flag on the grounds of the South Carolina capitol (and elsewhere) brought back to the fore the specter of “states’ rights” – the seemingly high-minded excuse...more

Catching-Up On House Judiciary Committee’s Revised Innovation Act

Recently the House Judiciary Committee voted 24-8 to approve a revised version of the Innovation Act. As we previously discussed, the Innovation Act was re-introduced in the House earlier this year in the same form approved...more

Bitcoin and Bullets: An Unexpected Alliance

At first blush, one might not expect the digital currency and firearm industries to have much in common – when was the last time you heard someone utter Bitcoin and guns in the same breath? Recently, however, the two...more

Governor Brown Nominates Two for Fish and Game Commission

Governor Brown has announced the nomination of Eric Sklar and Anthony Williams to serve on the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission). The five-member Commission is established under article IV, section 20 of the...more

Proposition 218 Guide for Special Districts

In this Guide: - Taxes (Article XIII C) - Assessments, Fees and Charges (Article XIII D) - Assessments (Article XIII D, Sections 4 And 5) - Property-Related Fees and Charges (Article XIII D,...more

Supreme Court Update: Zivotovsky V. Kerry (13-628), Mellouli V. Lynch (13-628) And Order List

The Court issued only one decision this week, but it was a biggie: Zivotovsky v. Kerry (13-628), aka the "Jerusalem passport case," which will surely find its way into the separation-of-powers chapter of Con Law casebooks in...more

Supreme Court Decides Zivotofsky v. Kerry

On June 8, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Zivotofsky v. Kerry, No. 13-628, holding that the President of the United States has the exclusive power to grant formal recognition to a foreign sovereign. ...more

North Carolina General Assembly Week in Review

The Senate began its budget process last week, releasing a draft schedule to senators outlining precisely how the General Assembly can have a budget in place by June 30th. Senate budget leaders have already indicated that the...more

Appellate Court Confirms that Convicted Felon Cannot Run for School Board Seat

On May 13, 2015, the Illinois Appellate Court’s First District held that the former Board President of an Illinois high school district’s Board of Education was ineligible to fill a vacancy on the board following his previous...more

2015 Florida Legislative Update: Environment, Growth Management and Water

The Florida Legislature concluded its 2015 regular session on May 1, 2015. However, for all practical purposes, the session ended on April 28, when the House unexpectedly adjourned three days early after it became clear the...more

Redevelopment By Any Other Name Would Still Be Redevelopment…

It appears the state assembly is trying to get California back on the redevelopment wagon…again. (For a brief history lesson on redevelopment, see below.) Assembly Bill 2 (AB2), which passed the assembly earlier this month,...more

Federal anti-SLAPP Statute Proposed in Congress

With the District of Columbia Circuit holding that the DC anti-SLAPP act does not apply in federal court, and at least four judges in the Ninth Circuit concluding that Circuit erred in applying state anti-SLAPP statutes in...more

Free Speech for All . . . Except Judges?

Last month, in one of the most closely-watched cases of the October 2014 Term, the U.S. Supreme Court held that States may prohibit judges and candidates for judicial office from personally soliciting campaign funds. The...more

Federal Court Upholds Federal Contractor Union Notice Requirement

A federal court in the District of Columbia has upheld the validity of the Department of Labor's (DOL) rule requiring covered federal contractors to post a notice informing employees of their rights under the National Labor...more

Changing the Rules in the Middle of the Game: Oregon Supreme Court Allows Prospective Modifications to Public Pension Benefits

The national debate on public pension plans is beginning to resonate in the court system. On April 30, 2015, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of two legislative amendments that modified certain benefits...more

Senate adopts Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act

On May 7, 2015, the US Senate voted 98-1 to adopt the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (the "Act"). The Act is the culmination of months of legislative maneuvering and a debate over foreign policy and separation of...more

Wake-Up Call: Second Circuit Declares NSA’s Mass Telephone Surveillance Program Illegal; Defers Injunction While Congress Ponders...

Whatever your opinion of Edward Snowden, the shockwaves from his leaks of classified material continue to roil all three branches of the federal government. The latest wave broke last week when the United States Court of...more

Illinois Supreme Court Rules Pension Reform Unconstitutional

On Friday, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that pension reform legislation passed in 2013, commonly referred to as Senate Bill 1, violates the pension protection clause of the Illinois Constitution. The Court upheld a...more

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