The Center for New York City Law has developed a comprehensive
curriculum focused on the law of local government that accomplishes the
dual task of educating lawyers headed into government service and
fostering scholars specializing in New York City and urban law issues.
The course explores administrative process and procedure. It
examines specific agencies as bureaucratic institutions, considers
approaches to regulatory reform, and emphasizes the courts’ roles in
redressing abuses of agency discretion.
Environmental Law and Policy (3)
Designed for students who
wish to understand how, in broad outline, the law protects the environment
and how to litigate environmental issues.
Education Law and Policy (3)
Focuses on the intersection
of public schools, educational policy, and the law, exploring the crucial
role education plays in sustaining a democratic society.
Municipal Finance (2)
Studies financing of
state and local governments in detail, including taxes, user charges,
special assessments, borrowing, debt and expenditure limitations, impact
of federal tax policy, and related issues of litigation.
New York City Government (2)
of New York City charter and extent and limits of power exercised by city
officials. Examines institutions, processes, and legal framework for city
decisions on use of resources. Raises questions about city status in state
and national contexts.
New York City Law
Seminar and Workshop (4 — Harlan required, selective admission)
Seminar on city law and the legal skills needed to work in city government
combined with a closely supervised externship in a counsel’s office
of a New York City agency.
Current Problems and Issues (2 – Harlan required) - This course
takes as its main focus New York City’s rich history of official
corruption. Many of the current rules and procedures of urban government
can best be understood when viewed through the lens of corruption
prevention. Among the past episodes of official corruption studied in the
course are: the rise and fall of Boss Tweed, the success of Tammany Hall
as explained by G. W. Plunkitt, the forced resignation of Mayor James J.
Walker as a result of the Seabury Investigations, the circumvention of
rules by Robert Moses, the bribery of Mayor John V. Lindsay’s Water
Commissioner, and the several corruption schemes of the 1980s that
surrounded the Parking Violations Bureau scandal and the suicide of Queens
Boro President Donald Manes. A short, weekly paper will be required related
to the reading assignments. During the term experienced guest lecturers
will occasionally meet with the class. We will also schedule a tour of the
infamous Tweed Courthouse.
State and Local
Government (3 — Harlan required) Surveys major legal and
governmental issues of state and local government, emphasizing both
historical antecedents and current problems. Offers a national
perspective, but uses New York State precedents where applicable.
State and Local Taxation (2) Introduction to tax
systems of state and local governments.
Use Regulation (2)
Explores constitutional tensions between public
health, safety, and welfare, and private rights in property with focus on
common law nuisance, zoning, subdivisions, historic preservation, growth
controls, wetlands and other environmental issues, free-speech conflicts,
and unconstitutional takings.