Sanctuary Jurisdiction webinar

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Past Briefs

Below is a listing with links to the briefs filed since October Term 2007.

October Term 2015

End of term summary chart 

Birchfield v. North Dakota 

States may criminalize an arrestee’s refusal to take a warrantless breath test  

United States Army Corp of Engineers v. Hawkes

A court may review an Army Corp of Engineers approved jurisdictional determination that property contains “waters of the United States”  

Heffernan v. City of Paterson, New Jersey

A public employer violates the First Amendment when it acts on a mistaken belief that an employee engaged in First Amendment protected political activity

Franchise Tax Board of California v. Hyatt

A state court apply a damages cap, which applies to the state, to foreign states and local governments sued in its court  

Hughes v. Talen Energy Marketing

Maryland’s program which guarantees a power plant generator a contractual rate rather than the “clearing price” wholesale rate set at a federally-approved capacity auction is preempted by the Federal Power Act 

Luis v. United States

The Sixth Amendment right to counsel includes allowing a criminal defendant to use untainted substitute assets to hire an attorney 

Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company

ERISA preempt a Vermont statute requiring health insurance companies to report claims data to the state 

United Student Aid Funds v. Bible 

Supreme Court should overturn Auer deference to federal agencies (certiorari denied)   

October Term 2014

End of term summary chart 

Kingsley v. Hendrickson

The objectively unreasonable standard applies to pretrial detainee excesssive force claims. 

City of Los Angeles v. Patel 

Hotel registry ordinances that allow police inspections without precompliance judicial review violate the Fourth Amendment; Fourth Amendment facial challenges are possible.

Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona

Treating temporary directional, political, and ideological signs differently is a content-based regulation subject to strict scrutiny. 

EEOC v. Abercrombie & Fitch

To bring a religious accommodation claim an applicant/employee need only show that the need for a religious accommodation was a motivating factor in an employment decision.

Comptroller v. Wynne

Maryland's failure to offer residents a full credit against income taxes paid to other states is unconstitutional.

City and County of San Francisco v. Sheehan

Police granted qualfied immunity for reentering the room of armed, violent, mentally ill person.

Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association 

Federal agency do not have to engage in notice-and-comment rulemaking before changing an interpretive rule. 

Alabama Department of Revenue v. CSX Transportation

Railroads can be compared to their competitors when determining whether a tax is discriminatory in violation of the 4-R Act. Different taxes paid by railroads and their competitors must be compared with determining whether a tax railroads pay is discriminatory. (Summary)

Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl 

The Tax Injunction Act does not bar a federal court from deciding whether a state law that attempts to increase use tax collection on purchases from remote vendors is unconstitutional.

North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC 

When the majority of state board members are market participants, the board must be "actively supervised” to be exempt from federal antitrust law. 

T-Mobile South v. City of Roswell

Local governments must provide reasons contemporaneously to denying a cell phone tower construction application. 

Integrity Staffing Solutions v. Busk

Time spent in security screenings is not compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

October Term 2013

Sprint v. Jacobs 

Federal courts may not invoke federal abstention under Younger and refuse to hear a case just because a pending state-court case involves the same issue.

Brandt v. United States

Railroad rights-of-way are easements under federal law, and landowners are no longer burdened when railroad companies abandon rights-of-way.

Plumhoff v. Rickard

Police may use deadly force to stop a significant threat to safety until they are reasonably certain that the threat has ended. 

Wood v. Moss

Secret service agents are entitled to qualified immunity in a suit alleging viewpoint discrimination against protesters because their actions were in response to a legitimate security threat to the president.

McCullen v. Coakley

A Massachusetts law, which prohibited standing in a public area within 30 feet of an abortion clinic or other reproductive health facility, is unconstitutional.

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby

The federal government must exempt privately and closely held companies from a requirement to provide employees with no-cost contraceptives, so as not to run afoul of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

October Term 2012

Decker v. Northwestern Environmental Defense Center

A provision of the Clean Water Act, which places limitations on suits that challenge EPA decisions, neither applies to nor bars a suit by a private citizen against an alleged violator of the Act.

LA County Flood Control District v. NRDC

Allowing the flow of water from an improved portion of a waterway to an unimproved area of the same waterway does not qualify as pollution under the Clean Water Act.

Wos v. EMA

Federal Medicaid anti-lien provision supersedes and pre-empts states' attempts to recover monetary portions of tort settlements that are not designated "for medical care."

Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District

Municipalities and other land-use agencies imposing conditions, including monetary conditions, on granting land development permits must ensure that the condition is proportional and that there is a reasonable nexus between the condition and the development permit.

McBurney v. Young

The State of Virginia did not violate the Privileges and Immunities or Commerce Clauses of the Constitution when it passed a law allowing Virginia citizens access to public records but giving no such privilege to non-citizens.

Maryland v. King

States may utilize DNA testing in routine police booking procedures so long as its primary purpose is identification.

American Trucking Association v. Los Angeles

It is a violation of the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA) for the LA Board of Habor Commissioners to require trucking companies to adhere to strict regulations on trucking.

City of Arlington v. FCC

Courts must apply Chervon deference to an agency's interpretation of a statutory ambiguity concerning the scote of the agency's jurisdiction 

October Term 2011

Reichle v. Howards

Police officers are entitled to qualified immunity if they are being sued for violating a right that was not recognized at the time of the arrest.

Armour v. Indianapolis

The City of Indianapolis had a rational basis for differentiating between those who paid taxes in a lump sum and those who paid in installments. Because of this, they were justified in later providing reimbursements to installment taxpayers and not providing them to the lump sum taxpayers.

Filarsky v. Delia

An individual temporarily hired by the government is entitled to qualified immunity.

October Term 2010

Connick v. Thompson

A prosecutor's office may not be held responsible for inadequate training of employees when a plaintiff can prove only one violation of the Brady rule (requiring that prosecutors disclose information, even if it is favorable to a defendant). 

Borough of Duryea v. Guarnieri

State and local government employees cannot sue employers in a retaliation claim using the Petitions clause of the First Amendment if the employee's speech was not a matter of public concern.

Douglas v. Independent Living Center of Southern California

Medicaid providers and recipients may not maintain a Supremacy Clause action claiming that the federal Medicaid Act supercedes a state law, if that state law has been declared consistent with the federal law by CMS. However, they may still maintain an action on separate grounds.

October Term 2009

Alvarez v. Smith

Case dismissed where there was no longer a material dispute about the ownership of state police-seized property.

Perdue v. Kenny A

In extraordinary circumstances, a court may award unusually high attorney's fees to counsel that delivers exceptional performance.

Pottawattamie County v. McGhee

Case dismissed pursuant to Rule 46 of the Supreme Court, and the matter was settled by the parties.

Graham County v. United States Ex Rel. Wilson

The False Claims Act does not allow private citizens to sue defrauders on behalf of the government and receive a portion of the recovery if the fraudulent activity has already been discovered and made public by the government.

Stop the Beach Renourishment v. Florida

Residents cannot have a valid takings claim against Florida government and Florida Supreme Court for giving newly created shoreline land to the government where they cannot show that they had a valid, existing interest in the land at issue.

City of Ontario v. Quon

Police officer is not entitled to privacy of text messages when messages are sent using government-owned pagers, particularly when the messages were discovered pursuant to a reasonable pager use auditing scheme.

Doe v. Reed

As a general rule, disclosure of the signatures of persons who sign petitions for ballot referenda does not violate the First Amendment. 

October Term 2008

Pearson v. Callahan

The Court broadened the two-step immunity analysis promulgated in Saucier v. Katz to make it less restrictive and non-mandatory, giving courts the discretion to apply the two-step analysis as they see fit.

Carcieri v. Kempthorne

Because the Narragansett tribe was not under federal jurisdiction at the time the Indian Reorganization Act was passed, the Secretary of the Interior had no right to seize the tribe's land from state control to federal control.

Van de Kamp v. Goldstein

Prosecutor was entitled to immunity because prosecutor's actions were "intimately associated with the judicial phase of the criminal process."

Arizona v. Johnson

Police may order a passenger out of a vehicle and conduct a pat-down search in a routine traffic stop if police reasonably suspect that the passenger is armed and dangerous.

District Attorney’s Office for the Third Judicial District, et al. v. Osborne

Convicted persons do not have a due process right to access DNA evidence for post-conviction re-testing.

Forest Grove School District v. T.A.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provides for reimbursement of private special education expenses if the public school system does not provide a "free appropriate public education," regardless of whether the disabled individual previously received public special education.

Cuomo v. The Clearing House Ass'n

The National Bank Act does not give the federal Comptroller of the Currency the power to pre-empt state law enforcement against national banks.

Vermont v. Brillon

Trial delays should generally be attributed to defendants, rather than to appointed counsel, when conducting a speedy trial analysis.

October Term 2007

Dept. of Revenue of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, et al v. Davis

State of Kentucky acted constitutionally in implementing a program that incentivized buying bonds issued by the state and municipalities.

Rowe v. New Hampshire Motor Transport Association

The Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (FAAAA) preempts a state law that requires air and motor carriers to take steps to ensure that tobacco is not sold to minors.

Kentucky Retirement Systems v. EEOC

The use of age as a determining factor in allocating retirement plans is not arbitrary, and therefore the system is not discriminatory.

Warner-Lambert v. Kent

A state law permitting plaintiffs to sue for faulty products that would not have reached the market absent a company's fraud is not pre-empted by a federal law prohibiting fraudulent communications to government agencies.

Florida Dept. of Revenue v. Piccadilly Cafeterias

The Bankruptcy Code's tax exemption applies only to sales made after a Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan has been confirmed, not simply after one has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Engquist v. Oregon Dept. of Agriculture

Public employees are excluded from bringing class-of-one (personal) equal protection claims against employers.