Select Page

Local Government
Wayne State University Law School
Mogk, John E.

Under the Articles of Confederation there were small sovereign states operating individually with a weak Federal Government, so @ the Constitutional Convention – idea of federalism
·        Certain enumerated powers given to the Federal Government – a piece out of the entire ‘pie’ of powers
Federal Government
o       Congress
o       President
o       Judiciary
·        Supremacy Clause- Fed. Gov takes precedent but only in certain instances
·        The rest of the ‘pie’ of power left to the States à defined overtime through caselaw
·        From those powers comes a State Constitution
State Government – powers flow into State Constitution [adopted by the people of state] o       Legislative – can create local units of government [87,000 political subdivisions] §         Local units of governments have NO inherent power of their own – it is delegated to them by the State à either from (1) legislature or from (2) home rule in the State Constitution [i.e. when a local governmental unit exercises a power, it is exercising a State power] Local Government Units are set up by the State
§         State constitutions are documents of limitation.
o       Executive
o       Judiciary
§         State Power-Bill of rights (grants state power over Federal)
1.      Police Power- protect residents of their state
2.      Power to tax
3.      Power to spend
EX:Challenging a Local Ordinance – ASK – Is the ordinance w/in the power of the delegate to the local government unit by the State? Was it improperly adopted?    Does the property owner have any rights to be protected against the unit’s action? [@ Federal level they are found in the Bill of Rights – until 1968 these only applied to federally delegated powers] Is there a State Constitution, US Constitution or Federal act which nullifies the state act and limits the legislature’s reserve power?
1.      Does the state have the delegated power to do this state action? –
2.      If Yes is this action infringing on the right of the person?
a.      Under 14th protection from Federal, 5th A protection from State
b.      The highest standard of the two must be met????
·        1968 – Adoption of 14th Amendment – protected individuals from States’ reserved powers
·        PRE-1968 the Bill of Rights did NOT protect citizens of the States – ONLY applied to Federal Power
·        States began to put rights into their own State Constitutions so now there are 2 levels of protection (1) Federal Bill of Rights & (2) the rights w/in State Constitutions
o       The highest standard of the 2 needs to be met
 [29] Tiebout’s Theory – “People vote with their feet” – they choose where to live based on numerous considerati

overnments – more rural in character, typically serving sparsely populated areas, only existing in 20 States
o       In Midwest – counties are divided into townships [6 x 6 miles] – usually perform more ltd government functions & governed by board of 3-5 trustees/supervisors
o       General purpose govs, Incorporated have more authority
·        Special Purpose Districts – most common = school districts
o       Can cross local unit boundaries or an existing function of local gov.
o       they are independent
o       single purpose governmental entities-
o       operated by an elected board
·        Other Special Districts – vast majority of special districts are located entirely w/in a single county & 1/3 have same boundaries as other unit of local government [township, county, etc] o       To qualify as a Special District Government the entity MUST exist as an organized entity, have governmental characters & substantial autonomy
o       May be single purpose [i.e. sewers, taxing authority] o       May be multi-purpose [i.e. drainage, developmental, or recreational authority]