10 U.S. Supreme Court Cases That Matter for State and Local Governments

The Supreme Court is back in session, which is big news for California’s cities and counties. This term the court is hearing cases on a range of issues that could have major impacts on local governments around the country. 

Cases involving religious freedom in state prisons, taxes on railway carriers and protocol at routine traffic stops are all on the agenda.

The prisoners’ rights case stems from a debate over grooming in Arkansas. Governing Magazine reports "attorneys general from 18 states have written to support Arkansas, contending that 'uniform grooming policies serve compelling interests in security, order, hygiene and discipline.' Judges should defer to prison officials in balancing religious rights with public health and safety, the attorneys general say.

“The attorneys general supporting Arkansas note that in other state prisons, inmates have hidden shanks, wire, rocks, razor blades and  hand cull keys in their hair and beards. They also say that when inmates are allowed to grow facial hair and then shave it, the dramatic change in appearance posts a security risk.”

"The State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) has identified 10 cases, including Holt’s, that might affect state and local government. The center files amicus briefs with the Supreme Court on behalf of the National Governors Association, the Council of State Governments, the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities and the International City/County Management Association."

Governing Magazine runs down the entire list here.


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