When we speak of "government" in the law school curriculum, we too often forget that public governments in the United States include those of the 50 states and their more than 89,000 political subdivisions: 3,000 counties, 19,000 municipal corporations, 17,000 townships, 13,000 school districts, and 37,000 special districts. This offering focuses on America's sub-national governments in discussing questions such as: Which level of government (if any) should provide a particular good or service or regulate activity in a particular area? How should the goods and services provided by states and localities be paid for, and who should decide? How should our local "communities" be defined in practice, and who should decide? What is and should be the relationship that states and localities have with the federal government, their citizens, and other states and localities?
In addition to traditional legal materials such as cases, statutes, ordinances, constitutional provisions, and law review articles, we will draw upon materials from a wide range of other disciplines: political theory, public choice theory, public finance, and political economy.
Aspiring governors, senators, mayors, state attorneys general, and school board members welcome!
Written requirements: In-class essay examination. Casebook: L. Baker and C. Gillette, Local Government Law Foundation (4th ed. 2010).
Prerequisite: None; 3 hours credit.