The League of California Cities advocates before the courts through the Legal Advocacy Program because laws affecting cities are made in the courts as well as in the Legislature. Cal Cities weighs in on legal issues when participation is likely to affirmatively advance cities’ collective legal interests by establishing a legal precedent that will help cities more effectively serve their communities. For Cal Cities to become involved, cities should agree on the preferred outcome and no city should be adversely affected by its efforts.
Legal Advocacy Committee
Comprised of city attorneys from across California, the Legal Advocacy Committee helps Cal Cities determine which cases and Attorney General opinions — which hold “great weight” in the courts — merit statewide support. Legal advocacy often comes in the form of amicus assistance — a brief filed by an entity or individual who is not a party in a given lawsuit but may be affected by the outcome. Amicus briefs can take a broad perspective, advising the court about the implications of resolving the issues presented.
The full process for filing an amicus brief can take several many months. It is critical that a request is made at the earliest possible opportunity. Amicus assistance is evaluated by the Legal Advocacy Committee, which meets quarterly. In certain cases, an executive committee meeting may be scheduled before the next full meeting.
Cal Cities Legal Advocacy Delivers
Together, with our members, the Cal Cities Legal Advocacy Program participates in cases of importance to cities statewide and influences appellate courts to issue rulings favorable to cities. The program has accomplished the following in 2021:
considered by the Legal Advocacy Committee for amicus support
21 Amicus Briefs
or letters filed advancing arguments on behalf of cities
12 Favorable Rulings
issued in cases where Cal Cities provided amicus support
Notable Rulings and Legal Victories
The United States Supreme Court declined to review the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in a case that was initiated by a coalition of local governments and local government associations — including Cal Cities — against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The case challenged orders adopted by the FCC in 2018 to accelerate the deployment of 5G wireless technology by limiting local governments’ authority to regulate the installation of small cell wireless facilities. The Ninth Circuit’s decision was largely positive for local governments because it struck down aspects of the orders that limited cities’ ability to regulate the location and design of such facilities.