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Fall 2023 Course

Local Government Law

Prerequisites: None

Exam Type: No Exam

This course examines the most pervasive and complex form of public law in the United States–the law of local governments. In examining the doctrine (and lack thereof) defining local government law, the course provides a foundation for the many areas of legal practice that deal with local issues, disputes, and concerns. More broadly, the course asks whether local governments serve or impede broader commitments to equality, democracy, inclusion, and participation. We will focus on issues such as federal and state control of city decision-making, the conflict between central cities and suburbs and among the suburbs themselves, alternatives to city-delivered services and to city taxation as a source of local revenue, and the ways in which racial and ethnic division fracture American metropolitan areas. Above all, this is a course about local democracy. For that reason, among others, active class participation is an integral part of the course and will be expected of every student enrolled in it.