Supreme Court Report 2007-2008

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This article reviews the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court for the 2007-2008 Term that are of particular relevance to state and local governments including those involving voting and elections, speech, class-of-one equal protection claims, immunity, taxation, preemption, and the Fourth and Sixth Amendments.

Against the backdrop of the 2008 presidential election between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain, and an economy plagued by recession and federal bailouts of the finance and mortgage industries, the Court continued in a largely conservative vein, reflecting the policies and predilections of the majority of justices. The Court reasserted its distaste for unfettered punitive damage awards, and facial constitutional challenges, but continued to enforce the habeas rights, as it did last Term, of those caught up in the Bush administration's far-reaching war on terrorism. For state and local government lawyers and officials, the Court gave with one hand and took away with the other, sometimes enforcing the decisions of states and local governments as the Court did when it upheld the Indiana voter identification law in Crawford, but other times leaving them adrift as the Court did in Heller when it struck down the District of Columbia's attempted solution to the problem of urban gun violence.

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Urban Lawyer