Recognizing that the federal court system is responsible for much of the law affecting cities and their scope of authority, NLC provides a vehicle for NLC to support cities involved in significant litigation or administrative adjudication that could affect municipal organization, operation, powers, duties, or financing through legal advocacy. NLC presents, or assist in presenting, sound and persuasive legal arguments to the courts through appropriate cases on principles and issues important to good municipal government, such as:
Local legislative discretion;
Protection of local public revenue authority;
Opposition to federal unfunded mandates and preemption; and
Judicial deference to policy determinations by local governing bodies.
Through legal advocacy, NLC serves as a more effective and aggressive advocate for legal issues of national importance to local governments.
The Legal Advisory Committee is a standing advisory body that, with the assistance of NLC legal staff, has responsibility for surveying pending legal matters, evaluating requests for assistance, and making recommendations to the NLC Executive Director about cases that NLC should initiate or seek to participate in by filing an action, intervening as a party, filing or signing onto an amicus brief, providing financial support, or otherwise as appropriate.
NLC is a trustee member of the State and Local Legal Center, a collaboration of seven national organizations representing state and local governments. The Center prepares and files amicus briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of state and local governments, conducts moot courts for attorneys arguing in the Supreme Court, and provides other assistance to states and local governments in connection with Supreme Court litigation.