Professor Ross Sandler
New York City's government is among the nation's most active. Each year through its budget (over $30 billion in recent years), the City must determine what services to provide and projects to build and who should bear their cost. Approximately 25% of this budget is used to purchase a multitude of goods and services, such as provisions for foster children and the homeless. Other City decisions, such as those involving land use, can uproot or preserve communities, create new communities, and cause fortunes to be made and lost. This course examines the institutions and processes by which the City decides how to use its resources, and the legal framework in which these institutions and processes operate. It also raises questions about the status of the City in the state and national contexts, the applicability of federal (e.g., voting rights) and state law to City structures and procedures, the importance of certain, often competing, values (e.g., efficiency and representativeness) to City government, and the manner by which the structure of City government is changed and the history and reasons for such changes. Materials include the City Charter, the state constitution, state and federal statutes, case precedent, and law review articles and other scholarly writings . Current controversies place a stamp of reality on the course and engage students' analytical skills. Grades are based on one or more papers of moderate length.
Required for Harlan Scholars affiliated with the Center for New York City Law.