Conference To Examine Local Government Law

January 14, 2005

Conference to Examine Local Government LawThe structural soundness of America's local government law will be examined at a conference at the Law School Saturday, January 29 in Caplin Pavilion. Legal experts from across the country will convene to discuss the implications of such common problems as suburban sprawl and the decay of urban centers, the privatization of public services through homeowners' associations, the viability of regional governmental organizations, the effect of local government actions on American constitutional principles, and the innovations localities have made in responding to such pressures. The student-run conference, "Democracy in Action? The Law and Politics of Local Governance," is sponsored by the
Journal of Law & Politics
. Admission is free and open to the public.

8:00-8:30 Registration
Class of 1965 Student Lounge (diagonally right from the Morris Law Library)
8:30 - 10:00 Federalism, Localism, and Constitutionalism
Local governments may be superior to both state and federal government in shaping the constitutional principles governing our lives. Are we in need of a more robust constitutional localism, or does current constitutional doctrine adequately allocate power between the three levels of government?


  • Lynn A. Baker, Frederick M. Baron Chair in Law, University of Texas School of Law
  • Roderick M. Hills, Jr., Professor of Law, University of Michigan Law School
  • Michael Libonati, Laura H. Carnell Professor, Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law
  • Mark D. Rosen, Associate Professor of Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law
  • Richard C. Schragger , Associate Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law

10:15 - 11:45 Shape of the City: Suburbanization and Urban Sprawl
Suburban sprawl and the decay of the urban core oblige a reconsideration of our understanding of the "city" concept. What do cities look like, and how do we conceive of our relationships to them?


  • David Barron, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
  • Vicki L. Been, Elihu Root Professor of Law, New York University School of Law
  • Sheryll D. Cashin, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
  • William A. Fischel, Patricia F. and William B. Hale ‘44 Professor in Arts and Sciences, Dartmouth College
  • Gerald E. Frug, Louis D. Brandeis Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
  • Georgette Chapman Poindexter, David B. Ford Professor of Real Estate, University of Pennsylvania Law School
12:45 - 2:15

The Regional Solution
Regional government is proposed as a solution to the disparate concentration of wealth and poverty in localities. Will regionalism provide relief, or do more harm than good?


  • Keith Aoki, Philip H. Knight Professor, University of Oregon School of Law
  • William W. Buzbee, Professor of Law, Emory University School of Law
  • Clayton P. Gillette, Vice Dean and Max E. Greenberg Professor of Contract Law, New York University School of Law
  • Janice C. Griffith, Professor of Law, Georgia State University College of Law
  • Peter W. Salsich, Jr., McDonnell Professor of Justice in American Society, Saint Louis University School of Law
2:30 - 4:00

The Privatization of Public Services
Private, sub-local institutions, such as homeowners associations, are increasingly occupying the space once monopolized by local government. How have these institutions affected the way citizens understand their communities? Have these institutions replaced the role of local government in the lives of local citizens, or are the two complimentary? Should we suppress these institutions, or is suppression futile due to the power of the market economy?


  • Carlos A. Ball, Professor of Law, Penn State Dickinson School of Law
  • Jack M. Beermann, Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law
  • David L. Callies, Benjamin A. Kudo Professor of Law, University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law
  • Laurie Reynolds, Professor, University of Illinois College of Law
4:15 - 5:45

Left Behind: The Status of American Cities
The social, economic, and political ills that plague urban centers are well-known. The innovative ways in which local governments have addressed these ills, however, are underappreciated. Is the local government form a viable vehicle to resolve the plight of American cities?


  • Richard Briffault, Vice Dean and Joseph P. Chamberlain Professor of Legislation, Columbia University Law School
  • Lee Anne Fennell, Associate Professor and Associate Director of the Illinois Program in Law and Economics, University of Illinois College of Law
  • Audrey McFarlane, Associate Professor of Law, University of Baltimore School of Law
  • Wendell Pritchett, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School
  • Michael Selmi, Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School

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