State & Local Government

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General Enrollment Course
Full Year Course:

Course Description

This survey course will explore the nature and significance of state and local government law, topics that often have lived in the shadow of federal government law, but have become increasingly relevant in recent years, especially given the increasing prominence of states like Pennsylvania on the national political stage.  The course will examine the role of state legislatures and courts in protecting liberty and property rights under their own constitutions, and most notably whether they should construe these guarantees to offer protections that the federal courts have not provided in construing the federal constitution. Relevant examples include litigation involving voting rights and school funding as well as discussions involving such diverse topics as reproductive rights, property takings, and the free exercise of religion, among others. We also will consider the amendment procedures of state constitutions, the election of state court judges, and other structural issues.

This course also will take a  look at the law governing the powers and duties of local governments, mainly municipal entities such as cities, boroughs and townships (towns).  The course will study the sources of municipal powers, the limits on those powers, the relationship between municipalities and the state including the relationship between state and local law, and various examples of the relationship between the municipality and the state including home rule, as well as some issues in municipal finance and zoning power.  Where possible, we also will consider the intersection of state and local government law and important current events both locally and nationally.

Course Offerings 2024-2025

Term Class #
Fall Term 2024-2025


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