State and Local Government Law

Law 285W






This course is about how power is decentralized in the United States. Its focus is on the legal construction of cities and other local governments in American law. We will examine the legal doctrines that determine the power and authority of local governments, their relationship with the state, and the role of local democracy in our federal system. Emphasis will be placed on state law, including how local governments are legally constructed by state constitutions and the extent to which they are subject to state control. In addition to legal doctrines, we will also explore the profound consequences that the legal structure of local governments have on the organization of American society. Topics covered include school financing, sprawl and land-use, housing policy, local economic development, city-suburb relations, and racial and class segregation.

The course is related to those on federalism, state constitutional structures, and law and democracy. It examines similar issues as those covered in land use law, education law, election law, housing law, and discrimination, but through the unique lens of local government power and administration. Students from graduate programs in such fields as political science, public administration, public policy, government, and planning are encouraged to enroll.



M. Dorosin, R. Su

UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106 | Accessibility

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