This class provides an introduction to local government--cities, counties, townships, and the like--and its place in the American federal system. We will dive into the black-letter law governing the allocation of responsibility and authority between states, localities, and the federal government, as well as the obligations local units of government have to residents and to other people. We'll also examine the role local governments play in state and federal courts, and consider a local entity's authority to sue on behalf of its residents.
Through it all, we'll focus on big questions: Which government should make which laws? How should we decide? Which government is most likely to be responsive to the polity? Is responsiveness always a good thing?
Though the course will focus on local government broadly, it will place particular emphasis, as a case study, on the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan.