News & Publications

United States Supreme Court Rejects Minor Party Challenge to California’s Top Two Primary

On October 13, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court denied plaintiffs’ petition for certiorari in Rubin v. Padilla, a constitutional challenge by California’s “minor” political parties to California’s Proposition 14 (the Top Two Candidate Open Primary Act). The Court’s refusal to take up the petition means the Court of Appeal’s decision upholding the Act is now final. See Rubin v. Padilla, 233 Cal. App. 4th 1128 (2015).

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District Pencil

Governor Brown Signs New Voting Rights Bills

Eases general law cities’ move to district-based voting in response to threatened litigation and signs bills to combat low voter turnout; vetoes other proposed voting rights bills.

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American Bar Association (ABA) Business Law Section 2015 Annual Meeting, Panelist, “Political Law Update 2015”

San Francisco Ballot Measure Rundown

Voters in San Francisco will have a crowded ballot to sort through at the upcoming City general election on November 3, 2015. In total, the fate of eleven measures will be decided at the ballot box on a variety of issues including affordable housing policies, lobbyist registration and reporting requirements, development plans, and renewable energy standards.

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District Pencil

Legislature Considering Bills to Expand California Voting Rights Act

California cities and other jurisdictions have become familiar-some through expensive litigation-with the California Voting Rights Act (“CVRA”) and its goal of invalidating at-large electoral systems that would not be vulnerable under the federal Voting Rights Act. The voting rights landscape in California could change again, radically, if one or more bills currently pending before the Legislature become law. For example, the “safe harbor” of single-member districts could be stripped away, while at the same time cities are forced into a district-based electoral system, and adjusting district boundaries is subjected to scrutiny and final approval by the California Secretary of State.

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Nielsen Merksamer Co-hosts Leading Corporate Political Compliance Events in Washington D.C. this September

On September 10 and 11, Nielsen Merksamer attorneys will again speak at the Practising Law Institute’s (PLI) annual two-day conference Corporate Political Activities 2015: Complying with Campaign Finance, Lobbying and Ethics Laws.  Senior partner Chip Nielsen has co-chaired and co-organized this popular conference since 1977.  Jason Kaune, who heads the firm’s political law section, has served on the PLI faculty since 2000.

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Chris Skinnell Selected as One of Sacramento Magazine’s Top Lawyers of 2015

Nielsen Merksamer is pleased to announce that the publication Sacramento magazine selected Chris Skinnell for inclusion in its list of Top Lawyers of 2015. Attorneys were selected for inclusion on the list through a survey of Sacramento-area attorneys conducted for Sacramento magazine by Professional Research Services.

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Nielsen Merksamer Named One of California’s Top Ranked Law Firms™ for 2015 by Martindale-Hubbell®

Nielsen Merksamer is pleased to announce that Martindale-Hubbell® has named Nielsen Merksamer as one of its Top Ranked Law Firms in California for 2015.  Top Ranked Law Firms are those firms headquartered in the state with 10 or more attorneys, in which at least one out of five of their lawyers achieved the AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Ratingˢͫ.  This rating indicates the rated lawyer has been deemed by his or her peers to have demonstrated the highest level of ethical standards and legal ability.  Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings are driven by the confidential opinions of lawyers and members of the judiciary who provide reviews of lawyers about whom they have professional knowledge.

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U.S. Supreme Court Decides Major Election, Free Speech and Property Rights Cases

Every term of the United States Supreme Court sees a number of blockbuster decisions, but few are as significant as the one just completed.  As a result, the biggest of the big – landmark rulings on marriage equality, the Affordable Care Act, regulation of greenhouse cases, and housing discrimination – have somewhat overshadowed other significant decisions with significant implications for elections, free speech, voting rights and property rights. Some of the key “overshadowed” decisions from the final two months of the term include:

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Steve Merksamer Selected for Inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2015

Nielsen Merksamer is pleased to announce that the publication The Best Lawyers in America© selected Steve Merksamer for inclusion in the 2015 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, an honor he has received every year since 2008.  Merksamer was chosen through an exhaustive and rigorous peer-review survey in which thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluated their professional peers.

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