State Constitutions

Local Control or Abdication of Individual Rights? - Event Audio/Video

Second Annual Texas Chapters Conference
Phil King, Andrew P. Morriss, Don Zimmerman, Michael Massengale, Roger Borgelt, Leonard A. Leo September 22, 2016

A growing number of Texas municipalities are passing so-called "nanny state" restrictions and regulations that may interfere with Texans’ personal liberties, property rights, and livelihood. Advocates of these types of regulations defend them by citing a theory of “local control,” which posits that government works best when it is closest to the people. Our republic is founded upon the notion that all powers not granted to the federal government are reserved to the states or to the people. Some say the notion of local control being anything other than a specific grant of authority from the state government is a misunderstanding of federalism. This could lead to "grassroots tyranny" in which individual liberties of Texans are encroached by local government. Should the Legislature enforce strict limits on municipalities or should it defer to the will of a geographical majority? How can the Legislature reassert its primacy as the state’s lawgiver and defender of individual liberty if existing statutes are overlooked by the courts?  In short, this panel will discuss a theory of local control and determine whether the Texas Legislature has abdicated too much lawmaking authority to political subdivisions throughout the state.

This panel took place on September 17, 2016, during the Second Annual Texas Chapters Conference in Austin, Texas. The theme for the conference was "The Separation of Powers in the Administrative State".

Panel Two: Local Control or Abdication of Individual Rights?
1:15 p.m. - 2: 45 p.m.

Amphitheater 204

  • Hon. Phil King, Texas House of Representatives, District 61
  • Dean Andrew P. Morriss, Dean and Anthony G. Buzbee Dean’s Endowed Chair, Texas A&M University School of Law
  • Hon. Don Zimmerman, Council Member, District 6, Austin
  • Moderator: Hon. Michael Massengale, First Court of Appeals, Texas
  • Introduction: Mr. Roger Borgelt, Principal and CEO, Borgelt Law
  • Introduction: Mr. Leonard A. Leo, Executive Vice President, The Federalist Society

AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center
University of Texas at Austin
Austin, TX

Who Controls Fracking?: Two Critical Court Decisions - Podcast

Environmental Law & Property Rights Practice Group Podcast
Eric R. Claeys, Hannah J. Wiseman May 24, 2016

Unconventional oil and gas production (or "fracking") has generated new wealth, new jobs, and new sources of energy for many Americans. But fracking has also generated local congestion and pollution problems, and some believe that it creates significant risks for state fresh water supplies or global climate change. In many states, localities opposed to fracking are trying to ban the practice or impose long moratoriums on it within municipal limits, notwithstanding statewide political support for fracking. The tensions between state-level energy policies and local restrictions raise legal questions about when statewide energy regulations should preempt local efforts to restrict fracking using local powers over land use. Earlier this month, the Colorado Supreme Court handed down two new and important preemption decisions, City of Fort Collins v. Colorado Oil & Gas Association, and Longmont v. Colorado Oil & Gas Association. Our experts discussed both cases, their significance in Colorado, and their implications for fracking and preemption law elsewhere in the United States.


  • Prof. Eric R. Claeys, Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law
  • Prof. Hannah Wiseman, Attorneys' Title Professor, Florida State University College of Law

Federalism and Religious Liberty - Event Audio/Video

2016 Annual Western Chapters Conference
John C. Eastman, Marci A. Hamilton, Carlos T. Bea, Joel Ard February 17, 2016

How should federalism affect “moral” issues like abortion, traditional marriage, and state RFRA laws? What about the intersection of equal protection and religious liberties? Should pro-life state attorneys general, for example, file lawsuits against abortion providers like Planned Parenthood? Is religious faith and morality inherently in tension with fidelity to the rule law?

This debate was part of the 2016 Annual Western Chapters Conference at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA on January 30, 2016.

Federalism and Religious Liberty

  • Prof. John Eastman, Dale E. Fowler School of Law, Chapman University
  • Prof. Marci Hamilton, Paul R. Verkuil Chair in Public Law, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University
  • Moderator: Hon. Carlos Bea, U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit
  • Introduction: Mr. Joel Ard, Member, Foster Pepper PLLC

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
Simi Valley, CA

Keynote Address by Governor Pete Wilson - Event Audio/Video

2016 Annual Western Chapters Conference
Pete Wilson, Thomas F. Gede February 17, 2016

Former California Governor Pete Wilson delivered the Keynote Address at the 2016 Annual Western Chapters Conference on January 30, 2016, at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA. Thomas F. Gede of Morgan Lewis introduced the Governor.

Keynoted Address

  • Gov. Pete Wilson, Former Governor of California ('91-'99)
  • Introduction: Mr. Thomas F. Gede, Principal, Morgan Lewis Consulting LLC and of counsel, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
Simi Valley, CA

Address by Tim Cerio - Event Audio/Video

2016 Annual Florida Chapters Conference
Tim Cerio, Edwin A. Scales February 03, 2016

Tim Cerio, General Counsel to Governor Rick Scott of Florida, delivered this address at the 2016 Annual Florida Chapters Conference on Saturday, January 23, 2016, at Disney's Boardwalk Inn in Lake Buena Vista, FL. He was introduced by Judge Ed Scales of the Florida Third District Court of Appeal.

Address by Tim Cerio

  • Mr. Tim Cerio, General Counsel to Governor Rick Scott
  • Introduction: Hon. Edwin A. Scales III, Florida Third District Court of Appeal

Disney's Boardwalk Inn
Lake Buena Vista, FL