The NCSL Blog

Civil and Criminal Justice

05
Supreme Court Denies Prison Officers Qualified Immunity

In a very brief, unauthored opinion the U.S. Supreme Court denied qualified immunity in Taylor v. Riojas to a number of correctional officers who confined Trent Taylor to a “pair of shockingly unsanitary cells” for six days. The court didn’t hear oral argument in this case, and Justice Amy Coney Barrett didn’t participate in it. 

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14
Revisiting Kentucky’s Juvenile Justice Reforms

New data shows a big impact on Kentucky’s juvenile justice system arising from the state’s passage of comprehensive juvenile justice reform legislation in 2014.

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13
States Work to Reduce the Number of People With Mental Illness Who Become Justice-Involved

Individuals with mental illness are often arrested for behavior associated with their disability, including administrative offenses and non-violent “qualify of life” offenses. For those in the midst of a mental health crisis, the criminal justice system and jail are all too often the first or only available response—but not necessarily the best.

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09
What Might a Justice Barrett Mean for States and Local Governments?

The confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett begin on Monday. She undoubtably will be asked about her views on the Affordable Care Act, guns, and abortion. Like her predecessors, she will try to say as little as possible about her views on hot button issues. But what about her thoughts on less controversial topics the Supreme Court decides on a more regular basis, upon which states and local governments may have more agreement like land use, qualified immunity, and free speech?

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28
State/Local Government Cases SCOTUS Will Hear While Down a Justice

Unless something surprising happens, Judge Amy Coney Barrett is expected to take the bench before the Supreme Court hears the most recent challenge to the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act on Nov. 10. But before she is confirmed the court will hear 10 cases in its October siting with only eight justices on the bench. 

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08
Debt Collection in State Courts

The nation’s civil legal system handles debt collection cases and a new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts, “How Debt Collectors Are Transforming the Business of State Courts,” examines debt collection lawsuits in America.

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05
COVID-19 in U.S. Prisons and Jails

Inmates in federal and state prisons are experiencing a disproportionate amount of COVID-19 cases and deaths, which are tracked by the Marshall Project in partnership with the Associated Press using data from state corrections departments and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).

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21
The Inside Story of How Mississippi Retired Its State Flag

Of all the actions taken by lawmakers in 2020, none was more unexpected than the Mississippi Legislature's rapid and bipartisan vote to retire the state's official flag and it's prominent Confederate battle emblem.

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09
 SCOTUS Holds a Sitting President May Be Issued a State Criminal Subpoena

President Donald Trump's tax returns are unlikely to be available to the public soon as a result of two Supreme Court cases.

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30
SCOTUS Strikes Down Louisiana Abortion Law

In a 5-4 decision in June Medical Services v. Russo the Supreme Court struck down Louisiana’s admitting privileges law. Five justices agreed that Louisiana’s law created an unconstitutional “substantial obstacle” to women obtaining abortions.

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About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.