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Our Localism: Part I--The Structure of Local Government Law

Briffault, Richard

This Article presents a study of "Our Localism"-- of the legal powers of contemporary American local governments, the practical social and political ramifications of local legal power in a system characterized by wide divergences in local fiscal capabilities and needs and the ideological commitment to localism that sustains and legitimates local autonomy. It does so by pursuing a middle path, attempting neither a ground-level account of the law or politics of individual states or local governments nor a high theory examination of local autonomy as a matter of general political philosophy. Instead, it seeks, through a focus on a handful of selected legal issues, to provide a general treatment of the law of state-local relations with particular attention to the question of local power, and to make an argument concerning the proper scope of local autonomy within the specific setting of contemporary metropolitan America. Part I presents a critical reading of the law of state-local relations. The first half of Part II addresses city-suburb differences and examines the role of local government law in the rise of the suburb as a distinctive and increasingly dominant form of urban community. The second half of Part II takes a more normative approach.

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Also Published In

Title
Columbia Law Review
DOI
https://doi.org/10.2307/1122837

More About This Work

Academic Units
Law
Published Here
September 16, 2016
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