On October 2, the U.S. Supreme Court officially began its 2017–2018 session, marking the first full term with Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was appointed and confirmed last spring. The nine justices will deliver opinions on a range of high-profile cases in the coming months, including several cases that could impact counties.
The National Association Counties (NACo) signed onto amicus briefs — legal documents filed with a case, designed to advise the court by providing relevant and additional information — with the State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) for the following cases: Artis v. District of Columbia; Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute; and District of Columbia v. Wesby.
Artis v. District of Columbia
In this case, the Supreme Court will decide what it means for a statute of limitations to “toll” under 28 U.S.C. 1367(d). According to SLLC, “28 U.S.C 1367(d) states that statutes of limitations for state law claims pending in federal court shall be “tolled” for a period of 30 days after they are dismissed (unless state law provides a longer tolling period).” Governments incur greater costs and burdens when statutes of limitations periods are functionally extended. The longer local governments remain subject to suit, and the more that period of time varies case-by-case, the greater the costs and burdens constrain local governments resources.
The SLLC amicus brief agrees with the District of Columbia Court of Appeals decision that Stephanie Artis filed an untimely claim when she waited 59 days to file a state law claim after the federal district court dismissed her case.
Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute
In this case, the Supreme Court will decide if it’s constitutionally permissible for states to remove an individual from voter rolls if the state sends them a confirmation notice after they have not voted for two years, the voter does not respond to the notice, and they do not vote in the next four years. The state being sued in this case is Ohio, but twelve other states have similar processes in place.
The SLLC amicus briefs supports the State of Ohio, noting state and local governments are tasked with registering voters and maintaining voter rolls, and need clear directions to successfully execute their duties in order to avoid being sued for keeping ineligible voters on the rolls.
District of Columbia v. Wesby
In this case, heard by the Supreme Court on October 5, the Court will determine whether law enforcement officers must believe a suspect’s version of a story when making arrest decisions, even when circumstantial evidence suggests otherwise.
The SLLC amicus brief argues the District of Columbia Circuit Court erred in its opinion that when making arrest decisions law enforcement must believe a suspect’s version of the story, deviating from the court’s consistent rulings that law enforcement officers must use probable cause when making search and arrest decisions. Counties play a significant role in ensuring the safety of residents. and law enforcement officers should be given deference based on their training and expertise in search and arrest decisions.
For more information or questions, please reach out to Daria Daniel, NACo Association Legislative Director, at email@example.com or 202.661.4212.