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.