Local Government Law (Feder)
TR 10:30AM - 11:50AM
Silverman Hall 270
Local governments often affect our daily lives in far more concrete ways than do the federal or state government. Local laws and services can determine where we live, build, or work; how our children are going to be educated; and the quality of life in and outside our neighborhoods. This course will explore the legal structure of local governments, including the sources of local government authority, limits on local government actions, the tension between state and local control, and the internal decision-making structures of local governments. We will read cases from around the country, and draw on examples from Philadelphia, from Pennsylvania, and from other jurisdictions, with a non-exclusive focus on urban government.
Through a combination of lecture and much class discussion, we will consider whether it makes sense for more or fewer government functions to be performed at the local level; we will examine the mechanisms in place to promote well-informed decision making in the public interest; and we will examine the factors that go into local government policy-making. Topics of study likely will include home rule, preemption, internal separation of powers, land use regulation, public education, government contracting, revenue generation, legislative process, and the role of the local government lawyer. We also will look at how the law affects local government’s ability to address current pressing issues; possible topics include homelessness, COVID-19, policing, and racial disparities.
You will be evaluated on the quality of your class participation (10%); one short paper discussing a local government meeting of your choosing (30%); and one cumulative final exam (60%). Regular attendance is expected.
Constitutional Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of constitutional law; Perform legal analysis in the context of constitutional law; Communicate effectively on topics related to constitutional law; Demonstrate an understanding of constitutional law affects other areas of law.
Perspectives on the Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate an understanding of how the law affects, and is affected by, the individual course topic; Perform legal analysis in the context of the individual course topic; Communicate effectively on the legal and other aspects of the individual course topic; Demonstrate the ability to use other disciplines to analyze legal issues relevant to the individual course topic, including economics, philosophy, and sociology, as appropriate.
Administrative and Regulatory Law Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of administrative and regulatory law and the administrative process, including the role of statutory authorization and work of administrative agencies; Perform legal analysis in the context of administrative and regulatory law; Communicate effectively on topics related to administrative and regulatory law; Demonstrate an understanding of the role administrative and regulatory law play in our legal system and in society as a whole.
Public Interest Learning outcomes: Demonstrate a core understanding of the varied legal aspects of public interest law; Perform legal analysis in the context of public interest law; Communicate effectively on topics related to public interest law; Demonstrate an understanding of how public interest law is connected to and affected by a wide variety of legal and regulatory structures and doctrines.
"Local Government Law" by Baker, Gillette, Schleicher