Select Page

Constitutional Law I
Southern Illinois University School of Law
Macias, Steven J.

Macias Constitutional Law I Fall 2017
Generally three major themes
Separation of powers – branches of federal government
Federalism – State government and federal government separations
Individual Rights – Private party and either federal or state government
Judicial Power Article III 
Covers SEVEN topics about the federal judiciary 
Created a federal judicial system 
“The judicial powers of the United States shall be vested” 
Vested power in the Supreme Court and “in such inferior courts as Congress may from time to time ordain and establish” 
Establish Congressional power to create lower courts and the federal appellate court 
Independence of the federal judiciary by according all federal judge’s lifetime tenure 
“During good behavior” – Only through impeachment may a judge be removed/lose salary
Salaries cannot be decreased during a judge’s time in office 
Difference between state judges and federal judges 
State Judges may be subject to electoral review 
Defines federal judicial power as 9 categories of “cases and controversies” 
Arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the US
Of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction
Where US is a party
Between two or more states
Between a state and a citizen of another state
between citizens of different states
between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states and
between a state of citizens thereof and foreign states, citizens, or subjects.  
Allocates judicial power between the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts 
Supreme Court has original jurisdiction over 
cases affecting ambassadors 
cases involving other public ministers and consuls 
cases where the state is a party
In all other cases, the Supreme Court has appellate jurisdiction
Limits on Federal Judicial Power 
Article III 
Expressly limits the scope of federal judicial power through subject matter jurisdiction by defining cases and controversies
Judicial Interpretation has created crucial doctrines that restrict access to the federal courts 
Political Questions, Standing, Ripeness, and Mootness
The Supreme Court has held that a Federal Court may only hear a matter where there is both constitutional and statutorial authorization 
Article III Sect. 2 – Gives Congress the power to create exceptions and regulations to the Supreme Court’s appellate jurisdiction
Marbury v. Madison established the authority for the judiciary to review the constitutionality of executive and legislative acts 
Textual argument: Article III, §2: “The judicial power shall extend to all cases… arising under the Constitution.”
Congress cannot expand the court’s jurisdiction beyond Article III
 
Justiciability Doctrines – judge-made, restricting the ability of courts to hear cases 
Political Questions
Separation of powers – deems some cases inappropriate for judicial review because there are areas of law that should be left to the legislative or executive branches to interpret 
Constitutional text assigns responsibility for the decision to another branch of the government 
Justifications 
protects federal judiciary’s (fragile) political legitimacy
respects the political expertise of the other branches
protects against self-interested decisions
separation of powers
Critiques 
by definition, constitutional questions are legal, not political
the federal judiciary’s legitimacy is not fragile
confuses deference with abdication
Baker v. Carr, 6 factors to determine whether issue is a political question 
a textually demonstrable commitment of the issue to a coordinate political department 
indicated through the actual language of the Constitution. 
Powell v. McCormack
Congress argued that Article I contained a textually demonstrable commitment on the issue of Congress’s judgment of the qualification of its members
the Court, however, held that the issue was not a political question because the House could not refuse to seat an elected Congressman because, under Article I Sect. 3, Congress “is limited to the standing qualifications prescribed by the Constitution” in judging the qualifications of its members 
Although there is a textually demonstrable commitment, Congress cannot refuse to seat on grounds not found in the Constitution
a lack of discoverable and manageable standards for resolving the issue 
court must be able to develop a judicial test for later courts to apply and follow that requires something more than a case-by-case evaluation every time.
the impossibility of deciding the case without an initial policy determination of a kind clearly for nonjudicial discretion 
The Court will not enforce a policy already established by another branch of government 
the impossibility of a court’s undertaking independent resolution without expressing lack of respect to the other branches of government
unusual need for unquestioning adherence to a political decision already made by other branches of government
potential of embarrassment from multiple pronouncements by various departments on one question 
underscoring 4, 5, and 6 is judicial deference to decisions reached by legislative or executive branches; the importance of finality in decision making; and presumed constitutionality of Congressional decisions. 
Chevron, so long as the decisions were made in a reasonable way (not arbitrary or capricious), then the court will defer.  
For Congress, if it is a power specifically enumerated in the constitution, the court will not step in and interpret Congress’ discretion in its 
 
 
Baker v. Carr also provided “suspicious” categories where it is more likely that a majority of the Baker factors will be present (though not automatic, it’s a strong indication that a political question is present) 
matters involving foreign relations
the dates of duration of hostilities 
deals with Congress’ power to declare and end war
Commercial Trust Co. v. Miller Court decided that the power to declare and end wars is vested exclusively in Congress
the validity of enactments 
allows Congress, and the Executive, the opportunity to fully implement a statute before the Court will strike it down as unconstitutional, Coleman v. Miller 
will the statute actually be implemented in an unconstitutional way?
the status of indian tribes
challenges brought under the guarantee

Injury in Fact 
Concrete and Particularized
Plaintiff is alleging immediate harm, or has suffered harm 
Causation – Plaintiff’s alleged injury is traceable to defendant’s actions
Redressability – Plaintiff must allege that a favorable decision from the court would give redress 
Prudential limits for standing: 
Court mandated prudential standing (prudential limits are matters of policy, based on courts’ sense of which plaintiffs are best suited to raise a particular claim) 
Jus Tertii (Third Party Standing):  party can only assert their rights, and not the rights of a third party. 
in order to bring a claim based on third party standing, the claimant must be exercising the third party’s legal claim while also showing injury, causation, and redressability to herself
Other requirements to Jus Tertii: 
Congressional authorization 
Congress can create statutory rights, the alleged deprivation of which can confer a standing to sue, even where no judicially cognizable injury would have otherwise existed
Special relationship 
Schools
Parents
Vendors/Customers
Genuine obstacle that prevents a right-holder from presenting their own claims 
Doctor patients 
No generalized grievances (typically taxpayer grievances) 
Should be vindicated, like all public interest, through the political process
Warth v. Seldin
Plaintiff alleged that the purpose of the statute was to keep low income families out of town 
Low income minority plaintiffs: 
Injury was they were prevented from living in the town
Causation was indirect – there was no low-income housing because no one had built it because of the zoning
Redressability – there was no redressability because there was no allegation that a favorable judgment would amount that plaintiffs would find housing 
Court determined there was no standing 
Property Owners and Taxpayer Plaintiffs 
Injury suffered – the plaintiffs had to pay higher taxes because of Penfield’s zoning ordinance 
Causation – Court did not find a line of causation because there was no necessary link between taxes in Rochester and the taxes in Penfield 
Redressability – Court said there was no substantial likelihood that if the ordinance was stricken, Rochester would lower its taxes. 
Court determined taxpayers were asserted third party standing, but since the plaintiffs were not themselves subject to the zoning ordinance, they could not assert standing over the action 
Associations (homebuilders) 
Injury – the court determined that there was no specific injury