State and Local Legal Center Urges Supreme Court to Wait for Right Internet Sales Tax Case

The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus brief encouraging the Supreme Court to not hear a case arguing that a Colorado law requiring remote sellers to inform Colorado purchasers annually of their purchases and send the same information to the Colorado Department of Revenue is unconstitutional.

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SLLC Files Supreme Court Amicus Brief in Pretrial Detainee Excessive Force Case

Imagine having to operate two jails:  one for pretrial detainees and one for post-conviction detainees.  This could be the practical effect of Kingsley v. Hendrickson, depending on how the Supreme Court rules.  The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) filed an amicus brief in this case, which IMLA joined, arguing that the same or similar standard should apply to excessive force claims brought by pretrial detainees and post-conviction detainees to avoid this result. Continue reading


SCOTUS Rules No Notice and Comment for Interpretive Rules No Matter What

In 2006 the Department of Labor (DOL) stated in an opinion letter that mortgage loan officers were eligible for overtime but then changed its mind in 2010 in an “Administrator’s Interpretation.”

In Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association the Supreme Court held unanimously that federal agencies do not have to engage in notice-and-comment rulemaking pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) before changing an interpretive rule, like the 2006 opinion letter in this case.  The Court overturned a nearly 20 year-old precedent from the D.C. Circuit, Paralyzed Veterans of America v. D.C. Arena, which the State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) argued in an amicus brief that the Court should affirm.  Paralyzed Veterans held that an agency must use APA notice-and-comment when significantly altering an interpretive rule that interprets a legislative rule.  Continue reading


Multiple Taxation Vexation

Taxpayers X and Y live in the same state and have the same income but Taxpayer X earns all of her income in-state while Taxpayer Y earns all of her income out-of-state.Supreme Court  Taxpayer Y pays more in taxes because she pays income taxes out-of-state and pays a county income tax in her home state.  Unfair?  (Not necessarily.  After all, Taxpayer Y receives government services in the county where she resides.)  Unconstitutional?  The Supreme Court will decide.

The Supreme Court hasn’t decided a state and local government tax case since Armour v. Indianapolis, during the Court’s 2011 term.  In Comptroller v. Wynne it will decide an issue of first impression:  whether a state must offer a credit to its residents for all income taxes paid to another jurisdiction.  A decision against Maryland’s Comptroller would limit state and local taxing authority nationwide. Continue reading


Does the Dormant Commerce Clause Prohibit a State from Taxing All of Its Residents’ Income?

A recent cert petition raises an important question about how the federal Constitution limits State and local taxing authority.

In Maryland State Comptroller of the Treasury v. Wynne, the Maryland Court of Appeals held that the dormant Commerce Clause requires every state and subdivision to give its residents a full tax credit for all income taxes that they pay in another state or subdivision. The U.S. Supreme Court has never applied the dormant Commerce Clause to reach that result, and it appears to conflict with cases in other states. Not surprisngly then, the Maryland State Comptroller of the Treasury has asked the Supreme Court to take the case.

This week, IMLA joined the United States Conference of Mayors, the National Association of Counties, the International City/County Management Association, and the Maryland Association of Counties in filing an amicus brief supporting the petition. The brief argues that the decision violates basic principles of federalism, and is inconsistent with the State’s sovereign powers to tax its residents.

We’ll continue to monitor the case and will bring you any updates.


A Supreme Court DIG, and a Lesson About Appellate Jurisdiction

The first significant case affecting local governments in this new Supreme Court term  — Madigan v. Levin  ended poorly. The Court resolved the case with a DIG — the Court dismissed it as improvidently granted. Supreme Court3

What went wrong? And what can we learn from it about appellate jurisdiction?

An Important Question

The case had all the hallmarks of a classic Supreme Court case.

The question presented was important. It asked whether when a state or local government employee alleges that his employer has discriminated against him because of his age, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”) provides his exclusive remedy, or whether he may also bring a claim under 42 U.S.C. 1983 because the discrimination violates the Constitution’s Equal-Protection Clause.

The question had divided the lower courts. The Seventh Circuit acknowledged that its holding — that the ADEA does not prevent the employee from bringing a Section 1983 claim — created a deep circuit split.

And it had far-reaching implications. It could literally impact every state and local government.

What Went Wrong?

So why would the Court, after granting cert. and hearing oral argument, suddenly change its mind and toss the case?

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Thousands of Appellate Briefs on the Internet

8122523_ab151ea98b_zSample briefs written by experienced attorneys can be an excellent source of information and guidance in drafting briefs, both as to style and substance.  No matter how experienced a writer may be, there are things to learn from the ways other writers approach a problem.

The Internet makes available a variety of appellate briefs worthy of review.

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