Call for Papers: Local Government Law Works-in-Progress Conference

Marquette University Law School is pleased to announce that it will host the first annual Local Government Law Works-in-Progress Conference on Friday, September 21, 2012 (possibly Saturday, September 22, 2012 as well, depending on interest).  The conference will provide an opportunity for local government law scholars to present works-in-progress and receive feedback from their colleagues in the field.

Registration Deadline: Monday, August 13, 2012


Abstracts and Papers: Deadline Tuesday, September 4, 2012; submit papers to

Conference Organizers:

Matt Parlow, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Marquette University Law School
Ken Stahl, Associate Professor of Law, Chapman University School of Law
Rick Su, Associate Professor of Law, SUNY Buffalo Law School

Recommended Hotel

Ambassador Hotel (ask for Marquette University Law School conference rate)
2308 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee, WI  53233

For more information, please contact Matt Parlow at


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.


Ohio court invalidates state preemption of Cleveland trans fat ban

As reported in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere, a trial court judge in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, invalidated the Ohio state legislature’s attempt to preempt Cleveland’s ban on trans fats, passed in 2011.  The analysis in the judge’s brief order (quoted in the Journal article) is nonetheless complex due to the Ohio Constitution’s home-rule language.  For another case analyzing this constitutional language but coming out the other way, see the Ohio Supreme Court’s opinion in Lima v. State, which upheld state preemption of city employment residency requirement ordinances.