Thursday, August 3, 2017
As law profs are preparing for fall classes, they may be expanding their syllabi to cover one issue in greater depth: state preemption of local laws. It is an issue with profound implications for local human rights implementation. The state preemption issue has hit the news most recently because of Texas' preemption of local sanctuary laws, Missouri's preemption of St. Louis' living wage law, and continued disputes regarding transgender rights at the local and state levels.
An excellent state-by- state overview of this issue is the National League of Cities report, City Rights in an Era of Preemption. The organization Preemption Watch also provides state-by-state analyses of preemption in a number of areas, though it does not cover sanctuary initiatives. Pew Charitable Trusts has weighed in on the philosophical and practical issues raised by state preemption of local laws. The University of Michigan has canvassed local government views of state preemption, with some nuanced results.
A growing number of scholars are addressing local preemption issues. Lori Riverstone-Newell's May 2017 article in Publius provides a clear overview from a policy perspective. Paul Diller's article in the 2009 B.U. Law Review, Intrastate Preemption, provides a thoughtful grounding in the legal issues. A more recent article, Kenneth Stahl, Preemption, Federalism and Local Democracy, 44 Fordham Urb. L.J. 133 (2017) updates the developments and examines the implications of state preemption for democratic values.
Are there other resources on state preemption that you would recommend? Post in the comment section, or send to the editors so that we can include it in a future blog.