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State and Local Legal Center Advocates to the Supreme Court for Local Governments

By: Lisa Soronen, executive director, State & Local Legal Center

November 13, 2015
Since 1983 the State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) has filed amicus curiae briefs to the United States Supreme Court on behalf of the “Big Seven” national organizations representing the interests of state and local government.
The Big Seven groups include: the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, Council of State Governments, the National League of Cities (NLC), the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National Association of Counties, and the International City/County Management Association. The International Municipal Lawyers Association and the Government Finance Officers Association also belong to SLLC.   
State leagues participate in SLLC through NLC. Many state leagues contribute financially on an annual basis to support SLLC.
In 2014, the Arkansas Municipal League defended a high speech police chase case before the Supreme Court. SLLC filed an amicus brief supporting the league.    
SLLC files an amicus brief in a Supreme Court case where three of the seven members of SLLC want a brief written and two organizations do not veto participation. Each SLLC member decides whether to sign onto an SLLC brief after reviewing its contents. 
To date, SLLC has filed over 300 Supreme Court briefs. SLLC generally files briefs in cases involving federalism and preemption and in other cases where the interests of state and local government are at stake.
It is not unusual for the Court to cite or quote an SLLC brief in an opinion or discuss a SLLC brief at oral argument. 

Lisa Soronen is the executive director of SLLC. She is a resource to the Big Seven on the Supreme Court. SLLC also offers moot courts to attorneys arguing state and local government cases before the Supreme Court. Each year SLLC offers Supreme Court Review, Preview, and Mid-Term webinars and articles focusing on cases from the term affecting state and local government. Soronen also writes about Supreme Court cases affecting cities on the NLC blog, the Weekly, and the Federal Advocacy Update.    
To learn more about SLLC and to read the briefs SLLC has recently filed, visit SLLC’s website. Follow SLLC on Twitter for up-to-date information on Supreme Court grants and decisions affecting state government. 

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