Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



As creatures of the states, our municipalities occupy a unique position in our governmental scheme. Not endowed with sovereignty, the municipality possesses no inherent powers, and can only do that which is authorized by the state.' The exercise of local powers, therefore, becomes the exercise of those powers which have been conferred upon it by state legislative action. Possible exceptions to this are those states in which "home rule" has been constitutionally conferred upon municipalities, by which authority to form local governments and to administer municipal affairs in the manner desired by the local electorate prevails. In view of the fact, however, that every action taken by a nonhome-rule municipality or any of its officers, agents or departments amounts to an exercise of a power which is derived, expressly or impliedly, from a statute, it is patent that the construction of such statutes is of paramount importance to cities, for through such construction the legality of local action is determined.