Interstate Compacts

  • Typically offered every other year

Interstate Compacts - Professor Jeffrey Litwak

  • Course Number: LAW-365
  • Course Type: Highly Specialized
  • Credits: 2
  • Enrollment Limit: Determined by the Registrar
  • Description: This seminar-style course is designed to introduce students to the world of

    intergovernmental relations, mostly through the law and politics of interstate compacts, which are formal agreements between states. More than 250 interstate compacts are currently in force involving environmental protection, natural resource management, interstate river allocation and flood control, bridges and other infrastructure, crime control and corrections, financial policy, education, public health, mutual aid and emergency management, professional licensing, and more. Countless other non-compact intergovernmental agreements also exist. However, only a mere handful of attorneys nationwide understand the unique law and administrative complexities of creating and maintaining cross-border intergovernmental cooperation.

    We study the various ways that governments cooperate with each other on policy and law by surveying constitutional requirements and issues, restrictions on states and the federal government, federal and state court jurisdiction, when state law is superseded, special problems with administrative procedure, drafting and interpreting compacts, history of compacts dating to the early colonial period, and different forms of compacts, including agreements between states and foreign governments. In addition to the law, this course examines why compacts and other forms of intergovernmental cooperation necessarily have a different body of jurisprudence, the politics of entering into and maintaining such cooperation, why courts struggle with the unique arrangements that intergovernmental cooperation produces, and current events. We necessarily touch on the subject matter of compacts, but do not study them in depth.

    Students are expected to choose a compact to study for class discussion, write a course paper, and present their paper topic to the class. The reading materials include an electronic casebook that students must download or may purchase a hard copy and other electronic materials on current events.

  • Prerequisite: none
  • Evaluation Method: Grading is based on the course paper, presentation, and participation in class discussion.
  • Capstone: With professor permission for a limited number of students.
  • WIE: With professor permission for a limited number of students.