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PRL 101 Class lecture slides, Feb. 1, 2011
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PRL 101 Class lecture slides, Feb. 1, 2011


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  • 1. Chapter 5: American Legal Heritage and Constitutional Law
  • 2. Quiz
    • Closed book/closed notes
    • You may collaborate with your team
    • You are responsible for the answers on your quiz
    • You do not have to choose the same answers as your team
  • 3.  
  • 4.  
  • 5. Natural law
    • “ the Laws of Nature”
    • “ We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
  • 6.  
  • 7. Positive Law
    • “ We, the People, in order to form a more perfect union . . . do ordain and establish this constitution.”
    • 5th Amendment: “No person . . . shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”
  • 8. SO?!?
  • 9. In re: Troy Davis
    • Scalia: “This Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is 'actually' innocent.”
    • Stevens: “The substantial risk of putting an innocent man to death clearly provides an adequate justification for holding an evidentiary hearing. Simply put, the case is sufficiently 'exceptional' to warrant our original habeas jurisdiction.”
  • 10. Sources of Law
  • 11. Common Law
  • 12. Stare decisis
    • “ To stand by things decided”
    • Precedent: similar cases ought to have similar results
    • Mandatory
      • Issued by a superior court in the same jurisdiction
    • Persuasive
      • Issued by a different jurisdiction
  • 13. Precedent
    • Case of first impression
      • No precedent
    • Factual Distinction
      • Different facts = different results
      • Note factual differences regardless of whether they help client
    • Overruling
  • 14. Legal Citations
    • Standard form is Vol. Reporter Page (Year)
    • 517 US 559 (1996)
      • Volume 517
      • US Reports
      • p. 559
      • Decided 1996
  • 15. Briefing Cases
    • Summary of cases
      • Different situations call for different summaries
      • Many cases have multiple issues, and only a few may relate to a particular client
    • Finding
      • Questions of fact
    • Holding
      • Questions of law
  • 16. Brief Outline
    • Facts
      • Relevant facts necessary for purposes of decision
    • Issue
      • What question(s) must the court decide?
    • Holding
      • How did the court rule?
    • Rationale
      • Why did the court rule?
  • 17. Constitutional Law
    • “ Supreme Law of the Land”
      • Limits state action
    • Federalism
      • Dual sovereignty
        • Federal: powers enumerated in Art I § 8
        • State: all other powers (Amendment 10)
  • 18. Separation of Powers?
  • 19. Checks and balances?
  • 20. Supremacy clause
    • Art. VI: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land.”
  • 21. Commerce Clause
    • Art. I, sec. 8: “The Congress shall have the Power . . . To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;”
  • 22.  
  • 23.  
  • 24. Wickard v Filburn (1942)
    • “ But even if [Filburn]'s activity be local and though it may not be regarded as commerce, it may still, whatever its nature, be reached by Congress if it exerts a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce”
  • 25. Police powers
    • States have the power to regulate public health, safety, morals, and general welfare.
  • 26.  
  • 27.  
  • 28. Spending Clause
  • 29. Equal protection
    • Suspect class/fundamental rights: strict scrutiny
      • Narrowly tailored to meet a compelling government interest (least restrictive means)
    • Gender/illegitimacy: intermediate scrutiny
      • Substantially related to important government interest
    • Everything else: rational basis
      • Rationally related to legitimate government interest
  • 30. Tuscaloosa Billboard ordinance
    • Billboards as defined in section 24-132 shall not be mounted, affixed or attached to a vehicle, motor vehicle or trailer and operated, maneuvered or towed in or upon any street, avenue, alley or right-of-way within the corporate limits of the city. Such prohibition shall include vehicles, motor vehicles or trailers designed and built or used specifically for and as mobile advertising billboards.
    • Billboard: An outdoor advertising device which contains at any time a commercial message
  • 31. Tuscaloosa Couch Ordinance
    • It shall be unlawful for any person residing in or having charge or control of any dwelling within the City of Tuscaloosa to leave or permit to remain outside of any such dwelling any household appliances or household furniture in such a manner that the same are exposed to the elements.
  • 32. Photo credits
    • Law:
    • Jefferson:
    • Madison:
    • Lemonade stand:
    • Speed Limit:
    • 29 alcohol: