Suspended Over the Abyss: A City's Quest for Local Autonomy in Institutional Reform Litigation
46 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2011
Date Written: October 14, 2011
This Article examines the conflict between preserving local autonomy and remedying constitutional violations in the context of school desegregation. Part I articulates the problem by exploring the role of the city and its part in institutional reform. The first section explains what is meant by local autonomy. The second section examines what constitutes institutional reform. The third section discusses an example of the clash between local autonomy and institutional reform in the context of the ongoing struggle in Kansas City, Missouri. Part I1 examines how the Supreme Court has viewed the relationship between the remedial powers of district courts and municipal autonomy of local governments. Finally, Part I11 argues for a more coherent system of balancing judicial involvement and local government autonomy in fashioning remedial orders. The Article concludes that consideration of local autonomy only belongs in the formulation stage of the remedial process. A local government's cooperation and participation in the formulation phase will lead to a remedial plan that can be more successfully implemented than one that is court-imposed.
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