TCAA, in conjunction with the Texas Municipal League, files amicus briefs and comments in support of cities on many issues. To keep up to date on the status of these issues, go to http://www.tml.org/p/AmicusBriefUpdate_111716.pdf.
Excessive Force: Hunter v. Cole, No. 16-351, in the United States Supreme Court. TML and TCAA joined IMLA, TAC, CLEAT, and the cities of Arlington, Garland, Grand Prairie, and Plano in filing this amicus brief. Amici urge the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the Fifth Circuit decision. After outlining how excessive force claims have been analyzed by the Fifth Circuit, amici argue that the court disregarded its own established standards and judged the officers in a manner contrary to current law. At a bare minimum, the officers should have been entitled to qualified immunity. Amici then explain that without clear standards it will be difficult for local governments to hire and retain officers. The brief was filed on October 19, 2016.
Sign Regulation: Auspro Enters. v. Texas Dep’t of Transportation, No. 03-14-00375-CV in the Texas Supreme Court. The Texas Highway Beautification Act (Act) essentially bans signs and billboards near state highways, but sets forth a number of exemptions to the ban. For example, election signs are among those exempted. The dispute in Auspro related to a store owner placing a political sign supporting Ron Paul for president alongside a state highway. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) ordered the property owner to remove it because state law allows political signs along state highways only during certain periods before and after an election. Following the recent U.S. Supreme Court holding in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, the Texas Supreme Court concluded that the content-based exemptions in the Act are unconstitutional. TML and TCAA joined in an amicus brief in support of TxDOT’s motion for rehearing. The amicus brief focuses on the remedy. The Texas Supreme Court struck down the entire Act. Amici argue that only the election sign exemption should be struck down, and that the remainder of the Act should be left in place. The brief was filed on October 7, 2016.