Hills on Local Gov’t on Prawfsblawg

For those who may have missed it, my former professor Rick Hills posted a fascinating discussion on Prawfsblawg regarding New York City’s authority (or not) to impose congestion pricing.  In highlighting the distinction between “legal conventional wisdom” and “legal reasoning,” Hills has hit on a recurring theme in local government law.  Despite the detailed state “municipal codes,” many of the basic questions about local authority appear to be settled by “conventional wisdom” — “habits,” “slogans,” “half-truths” — rather than basic legal reasoning.  I addressed one of these “slogans” — “the private law exception” — in a recent article.  Perhaps the tension highlighted by Hills is just a run-of-the-mill clash between legal formalism and legal realism, but it does seem to play a particularly important role in local government law and, I would argue, warrants more focused study in this context.

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About pdiller

Paul Diller is an associate professor at Willamette Law whose research focuses on local government, policy innovation, the police power, and related issues of state and federal constitutional law. His scholarly work has appeared in, among other journals, the Stanford Law Review, The University of Chicago Law Review, the Michigan Law Review, and the Georgetown Law Journal. In recent years, Diller has worked on local obesity prevention policy with a leading nonprofit public health organization. Diller graduated from the University of Michigan Law School and the University of Pennsylvania, both magna cum laude. In his spare time, he enjoys baseball, snowboarding, drinking coffee, and spending time with his family.

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