November 5, 2007
Vermont Auto Emissions Regulations Upheld in Face of Preemption Challenge
In Green Mountain Chrysler Plymouth Dodge Jeep v. Crombie, the federal district court of the district of Vermont held that states other than California may adopt California's standards for controlling greenhouse gases from cars, without running afoul of federal preemption doctrine. The Clean Airt Act section 209(a) requires the EPA to waive preemption under certain circumstances, and states other than California may adopt such standards where waivers have been granted. The Vermont standards were sufficiently unrelated to fuel economy to avoid express preemption, Congress did not intend CAFE (corporate average fuel economy) standards to occupy the field, and the Vermont standards did not impermissibly intrude into the realm of foreign affairs or conflict with foreign policy.
Local Governments and Immigration
In recnet months, several local governments have tried to crack down on undocumented immigrants living within their boundaries. A recent important decision relates to the ordinances adopted by Hazelton, PA, stuck down in Loranzo v. City of Hazelton, PA. Hazelton had required those living in apartments to secure residency permits (upon a showing that they were citizens or lawful residents), prohibited owners of dwelling units from knowingly renting to illegal immigrants, and barred business entities from hiring or continuing to employ unlawful workers. The court found that plaintiffs had standing, and rested its decision on preemption, 42 USC 1981, and constitutional grounds.
Zoning Basics in an Hour
I recently was asked to present "zoning basics" in 60 minutes to new municipal attorneys attending the yearly International Municipal Lawyers Association Conference in Nashville, TN. For those who face similar teaching challenges, I've attached my manuscript and slide presentation.
Garcetti aftermath: free speech and election races
In the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Garcetti v. Ceballos, caselaw continues to be confusing. In Murphy v. Cockerell (6th Cir. 2007), two employees of the county property valuation administrator's office faced off in an election for the permanent position of property valuation administrator (the Republican had been appointed as the interim administrator, then moved the Democractic candidate to a back office). The victorious Republican fired the Democratic contender for her political speech during the election campaign. The Sixth Circuit held that there was no right to candidacy and concluded that the Democrat could be fired for running, but could not be fired for her political speech during the campaign. The court concluded that there was no evidence that the Democratic candidate's speech had impeded her ability to perform her duties, and that the Democratic candidate was also not a confidential employee subject to discharge under Elrod-Branti analysis.
State and Local Government in a Federal System (6th Ed) 2007 update
Readers of this blog who use the casebook on which I am a co-author (Mandelker, Salsich, Netsch, Wegner, Stevenson and Griffith, State and Local Govenrment in a Federal System, 6th Edition (Lexis 2007) ) lmay find the attached 2007 update letter of interest.
Excellent New Land Use Blog
Professor Patricia Salkin of Albany Law School has started an outstanding blog on land use law developments: http://lawoftheland.wordpress.com/about/ It's highly recommended.
Returning from Hiatus
I'm returning from a hiatus that has gone on longer than I'd hoped. If some readers of this blog are interested in joining in as affiliated editors, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.