Legislative Powers, Part II                           The Commerce Clause                                    &            ...
Definitions          Interstate – crossing state borders          Intrastate – activity within state borders          Fede...
Commerce Clause          Art I, §8: “The Congress shall have the power . . . [t]o          regulate Commerce with foreign ...
What is Interstate          “among the several          states” = Interstate          concerning more than          one st...
Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)          What are the material facts and          issue in this case?          Does the Court stri...
U.S. v. EC Knight (1985)          Facts of the Case           ➢   Congress passed law banning monopolies engaged in       ...
Lochner v. New York (1905)          The “Lochner Era” is a term used to describe the          period when the U.S. Supreme...
Hammer v. Dagenhart (1918)          Federal law prohibit interstate shipment of goods          produced by child labor.   ...
Adkins v. Childrens Hospital (1923)          Adkins dealt with a D.C. Law (federal) which created a          minimum wage ...
“The Switch In Time That Saved Nine”          The Lochner Era came to end in 1937 after President          Roosevelt and t...
NLRB v. Jones (1937)           Can Congress pass laws           regulating disputes between           unions and employers...
U.S. v. Darby (1940)          Congress passed Fair          Labor Standards law in          1938.          Law sought to r...
Wickard v. Filburn          Federal law regulated how       Where is the effect?          much wheat a farmer          cou...
Heart of Atlanta Motel v. U.S.U.S. Constitutional Law                                         Page 14                     ...
Questions          What are some of the key characteristics of the Heart          of Atlanta Motel?          Why did the m...
Other Examples          Regulation of surface            Application of civil rights          mining.                     ...
United States v. LopezU.S. Constitutional Law                                       Page 17                               ...
Questions          What federal law is being challenged in this case?          What does Chief Justice Rehnquist say are t...
Post-Lopez: US v. Morrison          Violence Against          Women Act (U.S. v.          Morrison)           ➢   Congress...
Gonzalez v. Raich (2005)                                Woman in legal possession of pot                                un...
The Affordable Care Act          In March 2010 the U.S. Congress passed a law which,          among other things, required...
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Congressional Power Part II: Commerce Clause

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Part of a series of lectures given to students in the Unvierstiy of Osnabrück's foreign law program.

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Congressional Power Part II: Commerce Clause

  1. 1. Legislative Powers, Part II The Commerce Clause & The Affordable Care ActU.S. Constitutional Law Page 1 Legislative Powers
  2. 2. Definitions Interstate – crossing state borders Intrastate – activity within state borders Federalism - A system of government in which power is divided between a central authority and constituent political units. Sherman Anti-Trust Act – federal law outlawing monopolies, encouraging competition.U.S. Constitutional Law Page 2 Legislative Powers
  3. 3. Commerce Clause Art I, §8: “The Congress shall have the power . . . [t]o regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes . . . .” Whats really at issue here? ➢ Does Congress have to power to enact a given law? ➢ Is this something the states should be doing? Key questions are: ➢ What is “interstate” ➢ What is “commerce”U.S. Constitutional Law Page 3 Legislative Powers
  4. 4. What is Interstate “among the several states” = Interstate concerning more than one state Generally, Congress may regulate when commerce has interstate effects, even if the commerce occurs within a single state.U.S. Constitutional Law Page 4 Legislative Powers
  5. 5. Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) What are the material facts and issue in this case? Does the Court strictly interpret the Commerce Clause? What does Ogden claim “commerce” means? How does the Court eventually interpret “commerce”? Above, a 19th century rendition of the Port of What does the Court say that New York “among the several states” means?U.S. Constitutional Law Page 5 Legislative Powers
  6. 6. U.S. v. EC Knight (1985) Facts of the Case ➢ Congress passed law banning monopolies engaged in interstate commerce. ➢ The EC Knight owned 98% of sugar production in the U.S. Question – did Congress have power under Commerce Clause to pass this law? Holding - The Act was constitutional but it did not apply to manufacturing. Manufacturing was not commerce.U.S. Constitutional Law Page 6 Legislative Powers
  7. 7. Lochner v. New York (1905) The “Lochner Era” is a term used to describe the period when the U.S. Supreme Court consistently struck down both federal and state regulations of commerce. The Lochner case dealt with a New York state law regulating the number of hours a baker could be forced to work. The Court held that this state regulation interfered with the “liberty of contract,” which it deemed to be part of the Due Process clause that protects “liberty.”U.S. Constitutional Law Page 7 Legislative Powers
  8. 8. Hammer v. Dagenhart (1918) Federal law prohibit interstate shipment of goods produced by child labor. Father of 15 year-old claimed this violated his sons right to contract for employment and Congress lacked power. Court held that this dealt with production of goods, not transport like in Gibbons, and thus fell outside of Congresss power. Court also noted that only states had the power to regulate child labor.U.S. Constitutional Law Page 8 Legislative Powers
  9. 9. Adkins v. Childrens Hospital (1923) Adkins dealt with a D.C. Law (federal) which created a minimum wage for women and children working in hospitals. The law was challenged using the same argument as put forth in Lochner (liberty of contract) The Court held that while there are “exceptional circumstances” under which this “right” might be limited by government, this was not one of them. ➢ This seems to recognize how the dicta in Hammer diverged from the holding in Lochner.U.S. Constitutional Law Page 9 Legislative Powers
  10. 10. “The Switch In Time That Saved Nine” The Lochner Era came to end in 1937 after President Roosevelt and the Democrats in Congress threatened to increase the number of Justices on the Supreme Court in order to “pack” it with Justices who would overturn Lochner and similar cases. A series of cases between 1933 and 1935 struck down elements of the New Deal. ➢ This resulted in Roosevelts threat to pack the Court. In West Coast Hotel v. Parrish the Court overturned Adkins after two Justices changed their votes.U.S. Constitutional Law Page 10 Legislative Powers
  11. 11. NLRB v. Jones (1937) Can Congress pass laws regulating disputes between unions and employers. ➢ Under prior Commerce Clause decision, labor was not deemed to be “commerce” 5-4 decision, the Court abandoned its prior rulings regarding labor and commerce.U.S. Constitutional Law Page 11 Legislative Powers
  12. 12. U.S. v. Darby (1940) Congress passed Fair Labor Standards law in 1938. Law sought to regulate working conditions at those companies engaged in interstate commerce. Court upheld the law relying on language in Gibbons concerning these Children working on a weaving loom being questions for legislatures, not courts.U.S. Constitutional Law Page 12 Legislative Powers
  13. 13. Wickard v. Filburn Federal law regulated how Where is the effect? much wheat a farmer could grow. ➢ Amount of wheat he needed above and Filburn grew more than he beyond limit should was allowed, but claimed have been purchased in all of it was for his own use interstate market for and thus not part of wheat. interstate commerce. ➢ By growing he more, he Court held test is whether was taking away activity has effect on business from the interstate commerce. market.U.S. Constitutional Law Page 13 Legislative Powers
  14. 14. Heart of Atlanta Motel v. U.S.U.S. Constitutional Law Page 14 Legislative Powers
  15. 15. Questions What are some of the key characteristics of the Heart of Atlanta Motel? Why did the motel get sued? What arguments does the motel raise as a defense? What does public accommodations mean? The Court struck down civil rights laws in the late 1800s. Why is this earlier case deemed not to be precedent by the Court? Why does the court reject defendants claim that is only involved in local commerce?U.S. Constitutional Law Page 15 Legislative Powers
  16. 16. Other Examples Regulation of surface Application of civil rights mining. laws to local restaurant ➢ Court held ➢ Purely local restaurant environmental laws refused to serve blacks. could reach mining ➢ Court held that mere activity contained within purchase of food from only one state. interstate market ➢ Environmental impact brought activity within crossed state line Commerce Clause?  But what activity are we talking about here?U.S. Constitutional Law Page 16 Legislative Powers
  17. 17. United States v. LopezU.S. Constitutional Law Page 17 Legislative Powers
  18. 18. Questions What federal law is being challenged in this case? What does Chief Justice Rehnquist say are the three areas that modern Commerce Clause cases have allowed Congress to regulate? Which one of these three areas of regulation are at issue in Lopez? Why does Rehnquist say that Lopez is different than the far reaching case of Wickard? How does the Government claim that the federal law does substantially affect interstate commerce?U.S. Constitutional Law Page 18 Legislative Powers
  19. 19. Post-Lopez: US v. Morrison Violence Against Women Act (U.S. v. Morrison) ➢ Congress passed law allowing civil action against rapist. ➢ Court struck down law claiming Congress did not have power to do this as there was activity associated with commerce.U.S. Constitutional Law Page 19 Legislative Powers
  20. 20. Gonzalez v. Raich (2005) Woman in legal possession of pot under Cal. law for medical purposes charged with violating federal drug laws. She claims application of law to purely intrastate cultivation of pot is outside Congresss power. Court holds drug possession is part of a “class of activity” that impacts interstate commerce.U.S. Constitutional Law Page 20 Legislative Powers
  21. 21. The Affordable Care Act In March 2010 the U.S. Congress passed a law which, among other things, required all American to purchase health insurance or face a penalty. This so-called “individual mandate” was challenged by 27 States who claimed Congress lacked the power to pass such a law. Taking current case law (1937-present) into consideration, decide whether Congress has the power to pass such a law.U.S. Constitutional Law Page 21 Legislative Powers

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