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Constitutional Law Review Lecture


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Constitutional Law Review Lecture

  1. 1. American Constitutional Law Review
  2. 2. Lawmakers <ul><li>Legislative Branch = lawmakers </li></ul><ul><li>But they do much more: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Administrative powers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Taxing & Spending powers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Supervisory powers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Establishment powers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>War powers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Regulatory powers </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Commerce Clause <ul><li>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 . . . .” </li></ul><ul><li>What's really at issue here? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Federal v. State powers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Key questions are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is “interstate” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What is “commerce” </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Necessary & Proper Clause <ul><li>Congress may choose any means, not prohibited by the Constitution, to carry out its express authority. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Necessary means useful or desirable, not indispensable or essential. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This does not equate to limitless authority. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Must further enumerated power </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Must not violate the Constitution. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Federal v. State: Which Controls? <ul><li>Power Breakdown </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Those granted exclusively to the federal government or expressly denied to the States, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Those exercised concurrently with the States. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Supremacy Clause </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Those reserved to the States exclusively, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>because they do not fall within enumerated powers of the Congress. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>10 th Amendment </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Executive Power
  7. 7. Limits on Power: The Jackson Approach <ul><li>Concurring opinion set forth three zones of Presidential authority. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>President has most power when he acts pursuant to express or implied authorization from Congress. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>President's power is weaker when acts absence Congressional authority. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>He must rely solely on his own independent powers. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>President's power is weakest when he against the wished of Congress </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Treaty v. Executive Agreement <ul><li>Treaty = an agreement between U.S. and foreign country that is negotiated by President and ratified by Senate. </li></ul><ul><li>Executive Agreement = agreement between U.S. and foreign country that is effective when signed by President. </li></ul>
  9. 9. War Powers <ul><li>An invitation for a struggle: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Article I give Congress power to declare and fund military. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Article II makes President Commander-in-Chief and gives him power to use military to “defend” the country. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Article III <ul><li>The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. </li></ul>
  11. 11. What can Federal Courts Hear? <ul><li>Three-Step procedure to determine jurisdiction: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>nature of the dispute – subject matter jurisdiction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>case or controversy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>political question </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Judicial Review <ul><li>Who decides whether a law is violates the Constitution? </li></ul><ul><li>Art. III does NOT expressly provide for judicial review of constitutional questions. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Marbury v. Madison – Court said it has right to review constitutional questions. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This applies to state and local actions as well. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Civil Liberties <ul><li>Liberty (fundamental rights) and Equality (equal protection) rights apply only to government. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Private conduct generally does not have to comply with the Constitution. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Constitution applies to government at all levels </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Federal, State, Local </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>and to actions of its officers </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Levels of Scrutiny <ul><li>The test that is applied to determine if the law is constitutional </li></ul><ul><li>Levels </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rational Basis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Middle Tier </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>intermediate, proportionality </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Strict Scrutiny </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>compelling interest </li></ul></ul></ul>Note – most cases fall under Rational Basis test
  15. 15. First Amendment <ul><li>Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. </li></ul><ul><li>How many rights are in here? </li></ul>
  16. 16. Analyzing Speech Issues <ul><li>What is protected speech </li></ul><ul><li>What is NOT protected </li></ul><ul><li>Presumptively invalid regulations of speech </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Content-Based, Overbroad, Prior-Restraint </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Potentially valid regulations of speech </li></ul>
  17. 17. The Two Clauses <ul><li>Establishment Clause </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion . . .” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Free Exercise Clause </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“or prohibiting the free exercise thereof </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Establishment Clause v. Freedom of Speech <ul><li>Generally these cases involve private religious speech on government property or with government funds. </li></ul><ul><li>Generally, courts deem restrictions of these sorts as content-based and impermissible under strict scrutiny test. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Free Exercise <ul><li>General Rule – government may not compel or punish religious beliefs </li></ul><ul><ul><li>people may think and believe anything that they want. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Freedom to believe (absolutely protected) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Freedom to act (not absolutely protected) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Exception - cannot be used to challenge a neutral law of general applicability. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Equal Protection Analysis <ul><li>What is the Classification? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the Appropriate Level of Scrutiny? </li></ul><ul><li>Does the Government Classification Meet the Level of Scrutiny? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Court will look at the ends and means </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Justifications for Strict Scrutiny <ul><li>long history of discrimination </li></ul><ul><li>relative political powerlessness of group </li></ul><ul><li>unfair to discriminate for characteristic that is acquired at birth and cannot be changed </li></ul>