- Professor Lee Strang, Toledo Law
- Maurice Thompson, 1851 Center for Constitutional Law
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.
AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center
University of Texas at Austin
On March 17th the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit heard oral arguments in The State of Tennessee et al. v. FCC. This appeal involves a challenge to the FCC’s March 2015 order that preempted certain provisions of Tennessee and North Carolina state laws, which impose restrictions on the deployment of municipal broadband services. The Sixth Circuit will determine whether the FCC has the power to intervene and define the relationship between state and municipal governments when it comes to providing these services. Our expert discussed the FCC’s order, the parties’ arguments, and the takeaways from the oral argument.
Everyone has heard of the Clean Power Plan, but fewer people actually understand its contours and requirements. Most recently, on February 9, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed implementation of the rule, pending judicial review. Our expert discussed the scope and impact of the rule and the latest developments in the litigation.
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
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
Simi Valley, CA