CCL filed a amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of state and local government groups, arguing that appeal from a remand order that rejects removal on federal-officer grounds, when other removal grounds was also asserted, is limited to that one issue. 

     In addressing this technical civil procedure issue, CCL's brief argued that the removal statute's text, Congress's intent, congressional ratification of prior court precedent, and legislative history all support affirming the decision rendered by the Fourth Circuit in this case, BP Plc v. Mayor and City of Baltimore, No. 19-1189. Federalism principles further support the reading advanced by CCL's brief, because Congress would only abrogate state court authority through the most explicit statutory direction, as past Supreme Court decisions have required. 

     The brief also defends the capability and impartiality of state courts when confronted with issues of this kind. Furthermore, it argues that BP's myopic focus on the word "order" in the statute as authorizing an appeal of all grounds rejected by a district court in a single ruling takes the word out of context. It cites the late Justice Scalia's book on interpretation to explain that a good "textualist" is neither a literalist nor a nihilist, but that BP's approach would make the Court both. 

      Baltimore, like a number of states and local governments, brought what are largely public nuisance actions under state law in state court, seeking relief from oil companies for their contributions to climate change. BP and the other oil company defendants tried to remove the case from state court to federal court, claiming that its responsibility for climate change was a function of following the federal government's directions and making them the equivalent of a federal officer, who has a right to have any case against that officer heard in federal court. BP does not really defend that ground, but uses it as a basis to bring its other grounds as a basis for appeal. Federal law does not allow the other bases to be grounds for being in federal court. CCL argues that this misuse of federal-officer removal is a matter of gamesmanship. Any competent lawyer would make the allegation in order to obtain appellate rights for more serious arguments.

     In the amicus brief, CCL represents the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments, the National Association of Counties, the National League of Cities, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the International City/County Management Association, and the International Municipal Lawyers Association.