APA works to advance planning through the judicial process by filing amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs in selected cases of national importance.
Recent APA Amicus Briefs
APA and APA's California Chapter joined in a brief to the California Supreme Court in Lynch v. California Coastal Commission. The case deals with the authority of state or local government agencies to modify, rescind, or impose conditions setting time limits on permits in the event of a change in circumstances, such as sea level rise. The case is particularly important in the context of planning for climate change and potential hazard impacts.
APA and other friends of the court argue that the benefits of continued recognition of a disparate impact standard under the Fair Housing Act substantially outweigh the minimal costs that the standard imposes.
The brief from APA and other friends of the court focuses on the legal status of digital billboards using lighting to display alternating commercial messages adjacent to federal roadways in four-to-ten-second intervals. Are such billboards in keeping with the Highway Beautification Act and observance of the "consistent with customary use" limitation on lighting?
APA Applauds Supreme Court Decision Preserving Fair Housing Tool (June 25, 2015)
Today's U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project reaffirms the value of disparate-impact analysis in ensuring fair housing. The decision also adds clarity for planners, local officials, and courts on how disparate-impact analysis can be used.
APA is pleased with the outcome and applauds the Supreme Court for preserving such an important tool for localities. Find out what the ruling means for planners during the 2015 Planning Law Review on July 1.
Supreme Court Decision Strikes Down Arizona Sign Law
The U.S. Supreme Court's June 18, 2015, decision in Reed v. Town of Gilbert, Arizona, is likely to affect sign rules and regulations in many communities across the country.
The American Planning Association (APA) filed an amicus brief in support of the Town of Gilbert. APA is disappointed in the outcome; however, planners are ready to work with communities in implementing updated regulations that continue to respond to the needs and interests of local residents.
For more information about the case, register online for APA's 2015 Planning Law Review audio/web conference to be held on Wednesday, July 1, 2015.
The APA Amicus Curiae Committee is one of the more visible parts of APA. Through its efforts, APA files "friend-of-the-court" briefs in state and federal courts in cases of importance to the planning profession and the public interest.
Planning and Law Division
The Planning and Law Division of the American Planning Association serves those with a professional or personal interest in the diverse legal issues that affect the planning profession. PLD's membership includes attorneys, planners, students, and others.