Community Rights and the Municipal Police Power
51 Pages Posted: 3 Aug 2015 Last revised: 12 Aug 2015
Date Written: August 1, 2015
From small New England hamlets to major mid-Atlantic cities to sea-side California counties — in largely unnoticed fashion — at least 150 local governments across the country have adopted ordinances proclaiming “community rights” and a right to self-governance that defies long-established legal norms. Though still nascent, the movement may be one of the most rebellious, and radical, in American local government today. The movement may also come to redefine the police power, the very foundation of local government regulatory capacity more often defined as the power to regulate for health, safety, welfare and morals. This article uses the community rights movement as a means of investigating whether the police power, reconceived through the lens of rights, might prove a sufficient rationale for supporting not only those rights enumerated by the community rights movement, but also other aspects of community that have previously been viewed as theoretical.
Keywords: police power, local government, property, community rights, liberty
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