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State and Local Government Law

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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Democracy Principle In State Constitutions, Jessica Bulman-Pozen, Miriam Seifter Mar 2021

The Democracy Principle In State Constitutions, Jessica Bulman-Pozen, Miriam Seifter

Michigan Law Review

In recent years, antidemocratic behavior has rippled across the nation. Lame-duck state legislatures have stripped popularly elected governors of their powers; extreme partisan gerrymanders have warped representative institutions; state officials have nullified popularly adopted initiatives. The federal Constitution offers few resources to address these problems, and ballot-box solutions cannot work when antidemocratic actions undermine elections themselves. Commentators increasingly decry the rule of the many by the few.

This Article argues that a vital response has been neglected. State constitutions embody a deep commitment to democracy. Unlike the federal Constitution, they were drafted—and have been repeatedly rewritten and amended— to ...


Federalizing Tax Justice, Reuven Avi-Yonah, Orli Avi-Yonah, Nir Fishbien, Hayian Xu Feb 2021

Federalizing Tax Justice, Reuven Avi-Yonah, Orli Avi-Yonah, Nir Fishbien, Hayian Xu

Articles

The United States is the only large federal country that does not have an explicit way to reduce the economic disparities among more and less developed regions. In Germany, for example, federal revenues are distributed by a formula that takes into account the relative level of wealth of each state (the so-called Finanzausgleich, or fiscal equalization). Similar mechanisms are found in Australia, Canada, India, and other large federal countries. The United States, on the other hand, has no such explicit redistribution. Each state is generally considered equal and sovereign, and the federal government does not distribute revenues to equalize the ...


Criminal Record Relief For Human Trafficking Survivors: Analysis Of Current State Statutes And The Need For A Federal Model Statute, Ashleigh Pelto Feb 2021

Criminal Record Relief For Human Trafficking Survivors: Analysis Of Current State Statutes And The Need For A Federal Model Statute, Ashleigh Pelto

Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

This Note defines criminal record relief and analyzes the effectiveness of three state criminal record relief statutes at protecting trafficking survivors. This analysis is based on State Report Cards: Grading Criminal Record Relief Laws for Survivors of Human Trafficking by Polaris, a leading human trafficking nonprofit. It next discusses the absence of federal criminal record relief and how a statute at the federal level could provide relief for survivors with federal convictions while simultaneously providing a model for states to ensure their statutes incorporate best practices for record relief moving forward. This Note then discusses how Polaris’s report stops ...


Designing Legal Experiences, Maximilian A. Bulinski, J.J. Prescott Feb 2021

Designing Legal Experiences, Maximilian A. Bulinski, J.J. Prescott

Book Chapters

Technological advancements are improving how courts operate by changing the way they handle proceedings and interact with litigants. Court Innovations is a socially minded software startup that enables citizens, law enforcement, and courts to resolve legal matters through Matterhorn, an online communication and dispute resolution platform. Matterhorn was conceived at the University of Michigan Law School and successfully piloted in two Michigan district courts beginning in 2014. The platform now operates in over 40 courts and in at least eight states, and it has facilitated the resolution of more than 40,000 cases to date. These numbers will continue to ...


The Role Of Trust Law Principles In Defining Public Trust Duties For Natural Resources, John C. Dernbach Jan 2021

The Role Of Trust Law Principles In Defining Public Trust Duties For Natural Resources, John C. Dernbach

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Public trusts for natural resources incorporate both limits and duties on governments in their stewardship of those natural resources. They exist in every state in the United States—in constitutional provisions, statutes, and in common law. Yet the law recognizing public trusts for natural resources may contain only the most basic provisions—often just a sentence or two. The purpose and terms of these public trusts certainly answer some questions about the limits and duties of trustees, but they do not answer all questions. When questions arise that the body of law creating or recognizing a public trust for natural ...


A Fresh Start: The Evolving Use Of Juvenile Records In College Admissions, Eve Rips Jan 2021

A Fresh Start: The Evolving Use Of Juvenile Records In College Admissions, Eve Rips

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Questions about criminal and juvenile records in the college application process are common and frequently fail to account for the unique characteristics of juvenile justice systems. The ways in which colleges and universities ask about juvenile records often encourage applicants to disclose information in spite of statutory protections. These questions fly in the face of the public policy underlying a range of legal safeguards that are intended to help individuals with records from juvenile systems in moving forward and receiving a second chance.

In recent years, a series of legislative and institutional changes have begun to restrict how colleges and ...


Sovereign Immunity And Interstate Government Tort, Louise Weinberg Jan 2021

Sovereign Immunity And Interstate Government Tort, Louise Weinberg

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This paper argues that the Supreme Court made a serious mistake last term, when, in a case of interstate government tort, it tore up useful options that should be available to each state for the rare cases in which they would be of service. In seeking to insulate a state from liability when its employee intrudes on a sister state’s territory and causes injury there, the Court stripped every state of power, in cases of interstate government tort, to try injuries occurring on its own territory to its own residents—an unprecedented disregard of a state’s acknowledged traditional ...


Is There A Delaware Effect For Controlled Firms?, Edward Fox Jan 2021

Is There A Delaware Effect For Controlled Firms?, Edward Fox

Articles

The impact of Delaware incorporation on firm value remains a central question in corporate law. Despite the difficulty scholars have had in agreeing on an answer to this question, there is a consensus that Delaware has long enjoyed stable and important advantages in the expertise of its judiciary and its extensive case law. These advantages are believed to be particularly important for firms with a controlling shareholder. This Article attempts to empirically measure the effect of Delaware incorporation on these controlled firms and thus helps us understand the market value of Delaware’s judiciary and case law. It finds, surprisingly ...


Looking Toward Restorative Justice For Redlined Communities Displaced By Eco-Gentrification, Helen H. Kang Jan 2021

Looking Toward Restorative Justice For Redlined Communities Displaced By Eco-Gentrification, Helen H. Kang

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

MJEAL chose to publish Helen Kang’s piece, Looking Toward Restorative Justice for Redlined Communities Displaced by Eco-Gentrification, because it offers a unique analytic approach for analyzing the roots of environmental racism and the appropriate tools to help rectify it. She offers an argument for why restorative justice needs to be the framework and explains how we can accomplish this in the context of a whole government solution. MJEAL is excited to offer what will be an influential approach for environmental restorative justice to the broader activist and academic community.


The Relationship Between Social Innovation And Active Mobility Public Services, Silvia Stuchi Cruz, Sonia Paulino Nov 2020

The Relationship Between Social Innovation And Active Mobility Public Services, Silvia Stuchi Cruz, Sonia Paulino

Journal of Law and Mobility

This article aims to discuss the relationship between social innovation and public services on active mobility. Two active mobility initiatives are considered in the city of São Paulo, and analyzed based on 11 variables that characterize social innovation. Through the mapping of recent Brazilian regulatory frameworks for active mobility and a low-carbon economy, we can propose the following relationship: the more local (municipal) the public policy, the greater its social influence and participation. However, despite the advances indicated by both experiences of active mobility analyzed (highlighting the role of organized civil society), and by the progress in the regulatory framework ...


Towards An Urban Disability Agenda, Samuel R. Bagenstos Nov 2020

Towards An Urban Disability Agenda, Samuel R. Bagenstos

Articles

The overwhelming majority of Americans with disabilities live in metropolitan areas. Yet those areas continue to contain significant barriers that keep disabled people from fully participating in city life. Although political and social debate has periodically turned its attention to urban issues or problems — or even the so-called “urban crisis” — during the past several decades, it has too rarely attended to the issues of disability access. When political debate has focused on disability issues, it has tended to address them in a nationally uniform way, without paying attention to the particular concerns of disabled people in cities. Even when city ...


Serving-Up The Ace: Understanding Adverse Childhood Experiences (“Ace”) In Dependency Adoption Through The Lens Of Social Science, Cynthia G. Hawkins, Taylor Scribner Oct 2020

Serving-Up The Ace: Understanding Adverse Childhood Experiences (“Ace”) In Dependency Adoption Through The Lens Of Social Science, Cynthia G. Hawkins, Taylor Scribner

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform Caveat

Almost certainly, every child who enters the foster care system has endured some sort of trauma. It is unrefuted that childhood trauma correlates with mental, physical, and behavioral problems well into adulthood. In 1998, one of the first major studies of the relationship between certain forms of childhood trauma and adult behavior and disease was reported. Collectively, these traumas are called “Adverse Childhood Experiences” (ACE).

Today ACE refers to ten common forms of trauma that individuals may have experienced as children. To put this issue in perspective, it is currently estimated that 34.8 million children in the United States ...


United/States: A Revolutionary History Of American Statehood, Craig Green Oct 2020

United/States: A Revolutionary History Of American Statehood, Craig Green

Michigan Law Review

Where did states come from? Almost everyone thinks that states descended immediately, originally, and directly from British colonies, while only afterward joining together as the United States. As a matter of legal history, that is incorrect. States and the United States were created by revolutionary independence, and they developed simultaneously in that context as improvised entities that were profoundly interdependent and mutually constitutive, rather than separate or sequential.

“States-first” histories have provided foundational support for past and present arguments favoring states’ rights and state sovereignty. This Article gathers preconstitutional evidence about state constitutions, American independence, and territorial boundaries to challenge ...


Innovation In A Legal Vacuum: The Uncertain Legal Landscape For Shared Micro-Mobility, David Pimentel, Michael B. Lowry, Timothy W. Koglin, Ronald W. Pimentel Sep 2020

Innovation In A Legal Vacuum: The Uncertain Legal Landscape For Shared Micro-Mobility, David Pimentel, Michael B. Lowry, Timothy W. Koglin, Ronald W. Pimentel

Journal of Law and Mobility

The last few years have seen an explosion in the number and size shared micro-mobility systems (“SMMS”) across the United States. Some of these systems have seen extraordinary success and the potential benefit of these systems to communities is considerable. However, SMMS have repeatedly ran into legal barriers that either prevent their implementation entirely, confuse and dissuade potential users, or otherwise limit SMMS’s potential positive impact.

This paper reflects a detailed study of state laws relating to SMMS and the platforms commonly used in these systems. The study uncovered many inconsistencies with micro-mobility laws across the country. Currently, many ...


State Vehicle Electrification Mandates And Federal Preemption, Matthew N. Metz, Janelle London Aug 2020

State Vehicle Electrification Mandates And Federal Preemption, Matthew N. Metz, Janelle London

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

By requiring that new vehicles sold after a certain date be electric, states can lower drivers’ vehicle operating costs, boost local employment, and lower electric rates. But there’s a widespread perception that states can’t take advantage of these opportunities because a state vehicle electrification mandate would be preempted by federal law.

Not so.

While the Federal Clean Air Act (CAA) prohibits state regulations “relating to” the control of emissions in motor vehicles, and the Federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) prohibits state regulations “related to” fuel economy standards, there is a strong rationale for federal courts to ...


Incrementalist Vs. Maximalist Reform: Solitary Confinement Case Studies, Margo Schlanger Aug 2020

Incrementalist Vs. Maximalist Reform: Solitary Confinement Case Studies, Margo Schlanger

Articles

Among criminal justice reformers, it has long been hotly contested whether moderate reform helps or harms more efforts to achieve more thoroughgoing change. With respect to solitary confinement, do partial and ameliorative measures undermine the goal of solitary confinement abolition? Or do reformist campaigns advance—albeit incrementally—that ultimate goal? Call this a debate between “incrementalists” and “maximalists.” I offer this Essay as an appeal for empirical rather than aesthetic inquiry into the question. After summarizing nationwide reform litigation efforts that began in the 1970s, I try to shed some factual light by examining solitary reform efforts in two states ...


Voting By Mail: Issues And Resources, Virginia A. Neisler Aug 2020

Voting By Mail: Issues And Resources, Virginia A. Neisler

Law Librarian Scholarship

As the world navigates the worst pandemic in living memory, America has been faced with the prospect of holding a federal presidential election amid a public health crisis. In the spring of 2020, when the coronavirus began to spread rapidly in the United States, election officials in many states opted to extend absentee voting deadlines or postpone elections altogether to reduce the risk of disease transmission. In anticipation of a resurgence of COVID-19 in the fall, the scheduled November election has caused concern for many officials who have searched for potential solutions to make the upcoming presidential election safer.


Civil Rights Ecosystems, Joanna C. Schwartz Jun 2020

Civil Rights Ecosystems, Joanna C. Schwartz

Michigan Law Review

The Philadelphia and Houston Police Departments are similarly sized, but over a recent two-year period, ten times more civil rights suits were filed against Philadelphia and its officers than were filed against Houston and its officers. Plaintiffs in cases brought against Philadelphia and its officers were awarded one hundred times more in settlements and judgments. What accounts for these differences? Although the frequency and severity of misconduct and injury may play some role, I contend that the volume and outcome of civil rights litigation against any given jurisdiction should be understood as a product of what I call its civil ...


The Right To A Well-Rested Jury, Caroline Howe May 2020

The Right To A Well-Rested Jury, Caroline Howe

Michigan Law Review

The vast amount of control that state trial judges exercise over the dynamics of their courtrooms is well established. The length of trial days and jury deliberations, however, has received little scholarly attention. Longstanding research has conclusively established the disruptive effects of sleep deprivation on many of the mental facilities necessary for juries to competently fulfill their duties. By depriving juries of sleep, trial judges may be compromising the fair rights of criminal defendants for the sake of efficiency. This Note argues that trial judges must use their discretion to ensure juries are well-rested, keeping jurors’ needs in mind. Further ...


A New Urban Front For Shareholder Primacy, Anne Choike Apr 2020

A New Urban Front For Shareholder Primacy, Anne Choike

Michigan Business & Entrepreneurial Law Review

The hundredth anniversary of Dodge v. Ford marks an occasion to reflect upon what, if anything, has changed about shareholder primacy in a century. Seizing this opportunity, in this Article I analyze new local laws and ordinances that promote stakeholder governance and engagement, which seek to protect the interests of non-shareholder constituencies such as workers, the environment, and the communities in which corporations operate, among others. In doing so, I argue that such local laws meaningfully differ from traditional stakeholder protections, most significantly in the way that they weaken managerial accountability to shareholders. The emergence of these city laws challenges ...


Dismantling The Master’S House: Toward A Justice-Based Theory Of Community Economic Development, Etienne C. Toussaint Apr 2020

Dismantling The Master’S House: Toward A Justice-Based Theory Of Community Economic Development, Etienne C. Toussaint

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Since the end of the American Civil War, scholars have debated the efficacy of various models of community economic development, or CED. Historically, this debate has tracked one of two approaches: place-based models of CED, seeking to stimulate community development through market-driven economic growth programs, and people-based models of CED, focused on the removal of structural barriers to social and economic mobility that prevent human flourishing. More recently, scholars and policymakers have turned to a third model from the impact investing community—the social impact bond, or SIB. The SIB model of CED ostensibly finds a middle ground by leveraging ...


The Title Ix Contract Quagmire, Bryce Freeman Apr 2020

The Title Ix Contract Quagmire, Bryce Freeman

Michigan Law Review

Courts and scholars have long grappled with whether and to what extent educational institutions are in contract with their students. If they are, then students can sue their private universities for breaching that contract— ordinarily understood as the student handbook and other materials—when the institution levies a disciplinary action against the student. But what promises, both implicit and explicit, do private universities make to their students that courts should enforce? This question has resurfaced in the Title IX context, where courts have largely drawn clear dividing lines between the rights of public and private university students. This Comment provides ...


Rethinking Foster Care: Why Our Current Approach To Child Welfare Has Failed, Vivek Sankaran, Christopher Church Apr 2020

Rethinking Foster Care: Why Our Current Approach To Child Welfare Has Failed, Vivek Sankaran, Christopher Church

Articles

Over the past decade, the child welfare system has expanded, with vast public and private resources being spent on the system. Despite this investment, there is scant evidence suggesting a meaningful return on investment. This Article argues that without a change in the values held by the system, increased funding will not address the public health problems of child abuse and neglect.


The Dormant Commerce Clause And State Clean Energy Legislation, Kevin Todd Mar 2020

The Dormant Commerce Clause And State Clean Energy Legislation, Kevin Todd

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

This Note analyzes recent litigation concerning the constitutionality of state renewable portfolio standards (RPSs) and similar environmental legislation designed to promote clean energy. It begins with a discussion of the current state of both federal and state responses to climate change. From there, it analyzes several legal challenges to state RPSs and other climate-related laws that focus on potential violations of the dormant Commerce Clause. It concludes with a brief exploration of how these cases fit the history and purpose of the dormant Commerce Clause. The Note argues that a narrow view of the doctrine is consistent with the purpose ...


The Municipal Pardon Power, Hayato Watanabe Feb 2020

The Municipal Pardon Power, Hayato Watanabe

Michigan Law Review

At the state and federal levels, the pardon power can be used to restore the dignity and legal rights lost by a criminal conviction. Unfortunately, those facing similar consequences from municipal convictions may not have access to a pardon. Although clemency is exceedingly rare at any level of government, municipal defendants face a unique structural problem that deprives them of the possibility of a pardon. Specifically, many cities have simply failed to create a local clemency power. This Note argues that the authority to grant pardons for municipal offenses is part of the toolbox of powers provided to cities through ...


The Urbanization Of International Law And International Relations: The Rising Soft Power Of Cities In Global Governance, Chrystie Swiney Jan 2020

The Urbanization Of International Law And International Relations: The Rising Soft Power Of Cities In Global Governance, Chrystie Swiney

Michigan Journal of International Law

This article examines the rising influence of cities in global governance and on international law, despite the existing international legal and political framework, which is designed to exclude them. It explores the various strategies and tools utilized by city leaders to leapfrog over their national counterparts in order to autonomously access the international policymaking and law-making world. These include (1) coalescing together to form large networks, which engage in city or “glocal” diplomacy; (2) allying with well-connected and well-resourced international organizations; (3) gaining inclusion in UN multilateral agendas; (4) mirroring state-based coalitions and their high-profile events; (5) harnessing the language ...


Dispossessing Detroit: How The Law Takes Property, Mary Kathlin Sickel Jan 2020

Dispossessing Detroit: How The Law Takes Property, Mary Kathlin Sickel

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Introduction for the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform's Symposium “Dispossessing Detroit: How the Law Takes Property,” hosted on November 9 and 10, 2019.


Dispossessing Resident Voice: Municipal Receiverships And The Public Trust, Juliet M. Moringiello Jan 2020

Dispossessing Resident Voice: Municipal Receiverships And The Public Trust, Juliet M. Moringiello

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

The residents of struggling cities suffer property dispossessions both as individual owners and as municipal residents. Their individual dispossessions are part of a cycle that often begins with industrial decline. In Detroit, for example, more than 100,000 residents have lost their homes to tax foreclosure over a four-year period that bracketed the city’s bankruptcy filing. Falling property values, job losses, and foreclosures affect municipal budgets by reducing tax revenues. As individual dispossessions exacerbate municipal financial crises, residents can also face the loss of municipal property. Struggling cities and towns often sell publicly owned property—from parks to parking ...


Prenatal Drug Exposure As Aggravated Circumstances, Frank E. Vandervort Nov 2019

Prenatal Drug Exposure As Aggravated Circumstances, Frank E. Vandervort

Articles

In Michigan, "a child has a legal right to begin life with sound mind and body." Yet the family court may not assert Juvenile Code jurisdiction until after birth. In re Baby X addressed the question of whether a parent's prenatal conduct may form the basis for jurisdiction upon birth. It held that a mother's drug use during pregnancy is neglect, allowing the court to assert jurisdiction immediately upon the child's birth. In deciding Baby X, the Court specifically reserved the question of whether parental drug use during pregnancy might be sufficient to permanently deprive a parent ...


Re(Writing) The Rules Of The Road: Reflections From The Journal Of Law And Mobility's 2019 Conference, Raphael Beauregard-Lacroix Oct 2019

Re(Writing) The Rules Of The Road: Reflections From The Journal Of Law And Mobility's 2019 Conference, Raphael Beauregard-Lacroix

Journal of Law and Mobility

On March 15th, 2019, the Journal of Law and Mobility, part of the University of Michigan’s Law and Mobility Program, presented its inaugural conference, entitled “(Re)Writing the Rules of The Road.” The conference was focused on issues surrounding the relationship between automated vehicles (“AVs”) and the law. In the afternoon, two panels of experts from academia, government, industry, and civil society were brought together to discuss how traffic laws should apply to automated driving and the legal person (if any) who should be responsible for traffic law violations. The afternoon’s events occurred under a modified version of ...