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State Constitutions

2017 Annual Western Chapters Conference

Saturday, January 28, 2017 - Register now! Saturday, January 28, 09:00 AMRonald Reagan Presidential Library
40 Presidential Drive
Simi Valley, CA 93065
Reagan Presidential Library from distance

Forty years after Justice Brennan's call for the development of state constitutions (State Constitutions and the Protection of Individual Rights, Jan. 1977, Harvard Law Review), have state courts and practitioners since heeded this call? 

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.

Featuring:

  • 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