Thursday, June 5, 2014

Research Q of the Week: You've Got an Amicus in LMC (6/5)

Question: What is the Municipal Amicus Program?

Answer: The League uses several ways to promote the adoption of public policies favorable to cities. The most obvious method is through the legislative process.

The less obvious but equally important method is through the judicial process. Since 1987, the League has been advocating for city interests at state and federal appellate courts through its Municipal Amicus Program (MAP).

Through the MAP, the League submits about five to seven amicus curiae (friend-of-the-court) briefs each year in appellate cases that address significant city issues.
The League’s amicus briefs provide appellate courts with information and legal analysis about the impacts that their decisions will have on Minnesota cities.

In recent years, for example, the League has focused its legislative efforts to advocate for refinements to the 60-Day Rule regarding state agency deadlines. At the same time, the League has filed several amicus briefs in appeals involving the 60-Day Rule which have resulted in court decisions favorable to cities. It's a one-two punch of good government advocacy.

How it works
The majority of requests the League receives for amicus assistance come from cities, but it also receives requests from other government entities including towns, counties, school districts, and state agencies. A board made up of city attorneys and city officials considers these requests. If the MAP Board approves a request, the League files a court document seeking permission to participate in the appeal. If the court grants the League permission to participate, League staff file an amicus brief according to court-provided deadlines.

To read summaries of  recent court decisions resulting from appeals in which the League filed an amicus brief, see the latest "From the Bench" columns in Minnesota Cities magazine.

This blog post conveys general information. It’s not legal advice. Please check with your city attorney before acting on this information.  

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