For most Americans, their primary interactions with the government are with local government: the schools that care for their children, the police departments that exercise deadly force on their behalf or against them, the zoning boards that decide where and how they can live, and the countless sanitation and transportation agencies on whose services they rely daily. This class examines those local governments. We will both study the law governing local governments’ powers generally and explore the specific functions our political system has chosen to entrust to the lowest level of government. In doing so, we will consider what authority and responsibilities local governments have been granted and denied, how that authority may be exercised, how conflicts between local governments and other private and public entities are resolved, and who is empowered and excluded by these governance decisions. We will pay close attention to the institutional structures of local government: with more than 90,000 local governments in the United States, local governments are designed and operate very differently from each other, not to mention from the federal government. And throughout, we will ask how these legal choices about local government affect the most pressing policy issues of today—and how you, as local government lawyers or citizens of local government, can affect them in turn.