A mainstay of state and local government advocacy on the federal level since 1983, the State and Local Legal Center (SLLC) ended operations on Friday, September 2nd.
SLLC was most known for filing amicus curiae briefs in support of states and local governments in the U.S. Supreme Court. It also conducted moot courts for attorneys arguing before the Supreme Court and served as a resource to states and local governments on the U.S. Supreme Court. During the Supreme Court’s most recent term, the organization provided advocacy in several complicated, high-profile cases, including Sackett v. EPA (water standards), Kennedy v. Bremerton School District (school prayer), Vega v. Tekoh (Miranda rights), and New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen (gun rights).
In addition to the National Association of Counties (NACo), SLLC provided representation to several other organizations (collectively known as the “Big 7”):
- National Governors Association
- National Conference of State Legislatures
- Council of State Governments
- National League of Cities
- United States Conference of Mayors
- International City/County Management Association (non-elected officials)
The International Municipal Lawyers Association and the Government Finance Officers Association (associate members)
The Big 7 offered the following joint statement concerning the dissolution of SLLC:
After a careful review and considering a number of strategic alternatives, The State and Local Legal Center Board of Directors unanimously resolved on August 1, 2022, to dissolve the Organization. The decision by the Board to approve the dissolution of SLLC follows a comprehensive internal evaluation of the Organization, led by an outside independent firm.
The Board stands united and resolute in advancing the principles of federalism, and a separate entity collectively representing all member organizations on legal issues is no longer needed. The Big 7 Organizations have and will continue to cooperate and actively work together in the interests of state and local governments. Additionally, each of the Big 7 Organizations is poised to vigorously work under the auspices of their independent organizations to represent their members’ interests before the federal court system and the U.S. Supreme Court.
In the near term, NACo intends to work with the National League of Cities, U.S. Conference of Mayors, and other organizations to explore options to support two core functions:
- Monitoring federal court cases impacting local governments and keeping members (and state associations) informed… and mobilize as required; and
- Organizing and filing amicus curiae briefs in support of local governments before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Conduit Street will continue to provide updates as NACo reconfigures its federal advocacy. Regardless, Maryland’s counties are thankful for SLLC’s many years of advocacy and guidance.