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Law school podcast: Cities, states and the Trump administration

Northwestern Law professors discuss current state of sanctuary cities, climate change laws

CHICAGO - There are looming conflicts between the Trump administration and local governments on a number of issues, including sanctuary cities and climate change laws.

In the 13th episode of Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s Planet Lex podcast series, host Dean Daniel Rodriguez discusses these hot-button topics with Kirkland & Ellis Professor of Law David Dana and Associate Professor of Law Nadav Shoked.

Together they discuss the current debate over sanctuary cities, the response to the Trump administration pulling out of the Paris accord and the ongoing clash between federal authorities and state and local government. Excerpts below.

On the rights of sanctuary cities

“Cities are allowed to say, ‘We’re not cooperating’ (with federal authorities). They are not allowed to just block the federal government, obviously,” Shoked said. “So what does the Administration do if they want to incentivize cities to cooperate? What they’ve been trying to do is say, ‘We’ll take away money from you if you don’t cooperate.’ When they say they’re not going to tolerate sanctuary cities, what they are actually saying is ‘We’re not going to tolerate the paying of federal funds to cities that do not cooperate.’ The threat only becomes effective if the federal government says they are going after allmonies that the city or county is getting from the federal government. But that’s also when the question becomes: is it even legal to do that, because it might not be discretionary.”

On cities fighting climate change following U.S. withdrawal from Paris accord

“In some of these cities, Republican mayors are looking at real climate effects that could affect their cities. So if you’re Virginia Beach, Va., and you’re dealing with the ocean and the effects, it matters what happens on climate change,” David Dana said. “Just from a practical viewpoint, they have to deal with it. I also think there’s a spectrum in the Republican party, and it appears at the local level there’s more room for being less ideological and more pragmatic. At the national level, it seems that climate change has almost become a litmus test.”

About Planet Lex

Northwestern Law Dean Rodriguez hosts and the Legal Talk Network produces the Planet Lex podcast series. The podcasts typically feature interviews with prominent Northwestern faculty members, discussing the law’s role in changing global, societal and technological landscapes.

Topics of earlier episodes include defending Brendan Dassey; the evolution of music copyright law; sexual misconduct on campus; the regulation of public corruption; technological advancements and the law; law enforcement and implicit bias; integrating the law and STEM-focused multidisciplinary education; online privacy and cybersecurity; and the U.S. Supreme Court.

Listen to all 13 episodes.

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