On March 10, 2023, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court reversed a decision of the state’s Appellate Tax Board, finding that a tax concession granted to the developers of urban redevelopment projects extends to the capital gains realized from the sale of those projects. The SJC had transferred the case on its own initiative from the Appeals Court. Pioneer Public Interest Law Center — then known as PioneerLegal — had submitted an amicus brief in the case.
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Entries by Chris Sinacola
BOSTON, March 7, 2023 — In an opinion that reinforces political speech rights at public meetings throughout the Commonwealth, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts has declared that Southborough’s civility code governing participation at public meetings violates Article 19 of the Massachusetts Constitution.
In the fall of 2022, Pioneer Public Interest Law Center (PPILC), then known as Pioneer Legal, filed an amicus brief in the case of Barron v. Kolenda et al., pertaining to free speech rights at a public meeting in Southborough, Massachusetts. In a landmark decision on March 7, 2023, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that municipal “civility codes” meant to govern the public’s participation at town meetings constitute viewpoint discrimination and violate citizens’ constitutional rights.
The implications of key cases currently before the U.S. Supreme Court were explored at a March 1, 2023, forum sponsored by PioneerLegal, the Federal Bar Association, and the Social Law Library. Access a recording of the program with time stamps to each of the cases discussed.
In December 2022, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of U.S. Auto Parts Network, Inc., in a case that involving taxation of online sales. Pioneer had submitted an amicus brief, arguing that the application of Wayfair retroactively was impermissible. The ruling will apply in other instances where the DOR seeks to expand tax liabilities retroactively, an invidious technique that has been seen in other contexts.
On June 21, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Carson v. Makin that a Maine school tuition law that excluded religious schools was unconstitutional. Pioneer Public Interest Law Center, then known as PioneerLegal, had filed an amicus curiae brief urging the Court to strike down the Maine law. The ruling is an important win for religious liberty and parental school choice throughout the U.S.
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