Constitutional Law– Spring 2013
PART I: Federal Government
I. The Federal Government: Federal Judicial Powers
Grant of Powers: Review of Congressional legislation & State Legislation
Limits: Internal & External
A) GRANT OF POWER/AUTHORITY FOR JUDICIAL REVIEW (III)
Article III: Grants federal courts subject matter jurisdiction over all cases arising under Constitution. This implies that federal courts have power to hear & decide such cases, entails interpreting the Constitution.
Article III §1: creates only one court, and leaves it up to Congress to establish the others.
Article VI: declares the Constitution to be the supreme law of the land, along with all federal laws.
Rule Synthesis: Constitution gives Judicial Branch power to decide constitutionality of acts of other branches.(Marbury) The Federal Court does have the power to review state court decisions (Martin) and all criminal cases.(Cohens)
1) Marbury v. Madison:
Holding: reads the Constitution as endowing the Court with the power to police the other branches; as the central guardian of constitutional principles and the special enforcer of Constitutional norms. The judiciary can decide the constitutionality of the actions of other branches.
The SC has the implied power from the Constitution to review acts of Congress and to declare them void if they are found to be repugnant to the Constitution. SC review assures federal uniformity
Rule1: Congress does not have the power to expand the judicial powers
Rule2: Constitution gives Judicial Branch power to decide constitutionality of acts of other branches
· Article III is the ceiling of federal court jurisdiction; federal court can only exercise powers given by the Constitution (enumerated powers).
a. Congress cannot expand the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court
b. Congress can’t authorize federal courts to hear cases beyond what is specified in Article III. The Court can’t gain jurisdiction by consent.
B) Authority for Judicial Review of State Judgments
àFederal Court supremacy over state courts
2) Martin (1816) & Cohens (1821)
Establishes the authority for judicial review of state court decisions including criminal law.
Cooper v. Aaron (1958) Civil rights case– Affirms all previous cases.
Significance: Stands for the Judicial Branch’s power to override strong opposition—even a state's interpretation of the Constitution (States must defer to fed courts in cases of equal protection).
C) Limits on Federal Judicial Powers
The judicial branch’s affirmative grant of power is limited by both (1) external and (2) internal limits
How do grants of power to other branches limit the Article III Judicial Powers?
Synthesized Rule: Congress is allowed to withdraw jurisdiction (McCardle) but the exception is Congress cannot use its control over jurisdiction to dictate an outcome over a particular case. Needs to be future oriented, not substantive. (Klein)
Even though the Supreme Court’s appellate jurisdiction is derived from Article III of the Constitution; its conferred subject to whatever exceptions and regulations Congress chooses to make (McCardle); however based on the principle of separation of power, the legislative branch may not impair or direct the exclusive powers of the judicial or executive branches (Klein).
1. Standing-Considers WHO is bringing a case- Must Establish (injury, causation, & remedy).
o Rule Synthesis: (Allen v. Wright) Must Establish
(1) Injury: There must be an injury in fact or imminent harm.
1. It cannot be a stigmatic harm or a future harm (Lyons).
2. The injury cannot be merely speculative, abstract, hypothetical, amorphous or conjectural– they must be concrete, finite, or imminent. (Allen)
3. If a Constitutional right is violated, the injury requirement is satisfied.
(2) Causation: It must be fairly traceable to unlawful government action
(3) Remedy: It must be redressable by judicial action
o Timing (ripeness or mootness)This prevents advisory opinions
o Prudential Reasons (Not in Constitution-So Congress may override these limits by statute):
(1) No third party harms—a party may only assert his rights
(2) No generalized grievances (tax payers)
(3) “Zone of Interest” requirement (Allen v. Wright)
2. Ripeness – not too soon –Considers WHEN review is appropriate/ It’s a case (so does Mootness)
3. Mootness – not too late (pg. 97) There must be a CONTROVERSY at all stages of litigation!! If anything occurs while a lawsuit is pending to end the plaintiff’s injury, the case is to be dismissed as moot.
4. Political Question Doctrine: Some maters are political in natures, and not of the court’s concern. Court cannot as a matter of proper function resolve some issues.
o Rule Synthesis: Just because the case is political, doesn’t mean the court won’t hear it. The court will take into account 6 factors to decide if a particular case is barred by the political question doctrine. : (Baker)
i. A textually demonstrable constitutional commitment to a coordinate branch
ii. A lack of judicially discoverable standards
iii. Impossible to decide without initial non judicial policy decision
iv. Impossible to decide without disrespect to other branches
v. Unusual need to adhere to existing political decision
vi. Potential for embarrassment due to conflicting pronouncements from different branches
II. The Federal Government: Congressional Power
Grants of Congressional Power: Commerce Clause, & Taxing & Spending, 14th Amendment §5 DP, EP
Limit: 10th Amendment, which protects state government, may act as a limit on Congressional power.
Important questions to ask:
1) Does Congress have the authority under the Constitution to legislate?
2) If so, does the law violate another constitutional provision or doctrine (ex: infringing upon separation of
A. Necessary and Proper Clause
McCulloch v. Maryland
Supreme Court ruled that Congress had the authority to charter a national bank based on the “necessary and proper” clause of the Constitution.
Reasoning: Necessary & proper clause gives Congress the discretion & power to choose & enact the means to perform the duties imposed on it by the Constitution (useful not absolutely essential).
o Significance: The fact that something is not in the enumerated list of Congress’ powers, doesn’t mean they can’t do it!
o Necessary and proper is there for this reason – no way to list EVERY power Congress could have.
§ Congress has power to “raise revenues” so they can do this by chartering a bank.
o Argument: Way to get from express power to implied power.
§ What is required to meet the Necessary and Proper Clause (definition of what Congress can do)
§ What is a “constitutional law”?
1. Ends legitimate
2. Means appropriate
3. Not prohibited by spirit or letter of constitution
§ Courts will NOT strike down a congressional action so long as:
1. Congress has employed a means not prohibited by Constitution, and
2. The means is rationally related
tizens from lottery tickets on moral grounds
· Hammer v. Dagenhart (1918)- Congress can’t regulate based on morals! Overruled by Darby.
àExpansion of national power but no pattern in these cases.
Commerce power after the New Deal
New Deal shift (foundations of current doctrine): NLRB, Darby, Wickard (expansive view of CC)
· NLRB v. Jones and Laughlin Steel(1937)- Congress has power to regulate J&L because they do business all over the US.
o “Affecting commerce”- burdening or obstructing commerce or the free flow of commerce.
o TEST: “affecting commerce”/”close and substantial relation” standard between interstate commerce and the activity regulated. (rejects Knight direct/indirect test)
o “It is the effect upon commerce, not the source of the injury, which is the criterion”
· US v. Darby(1941)- Congress can directly regulate hours/wages of workers who produce goods that become a part IC – because Regulating wages & hours of employment in production is a means to the enumerated end of excluding interstate shipment of certain goods.
o TEST: means/ends (Ct. uses Deferential Standard) & rejects 10th Amend. Limit. (p.165)
o SC further held that if Congress is permitted to regulate these activities, it may choose the means reasonably adapted to the attainment of that end, thus they can regulate internal production (reasonable basis test)
· Wickard v. Filburn (1942): outer limits for “substantially effecting IC
o Aggregation theory: Congress may regulate any activity which in the aggregate affects IC
o TEST: “substantial economic effect on IC (but are there really any limits to how Congress can apply this and to what they can regulate? –seems endless.)
· Heart of Atlanta Motel v. US(1964): Court held that Congress may enact regulations that prevent racially discriminatory policies in hotel accommodations because of the negative effects of those policies on interstate commerce.
o Rule: The power of Congress to promote IC also includes the power to regulate the local incidents thereof, including local activities in both states of origin and destination, which might have a substantial and harmful effect upon that commerce. Congress may regulate commerce that concerns more than one state and has a substantial relation to the national interest.
o TEST: activity sought to be regulated is “commerce which concerns more states than one?” Then, can regulate. (Moral interest here!)
· Katzenbach v. McClung(1964)- Congress can use commerce power to forbid racial discrimination by a restaurant because some of the food it serves comes from outside states.
o TEST: connection needs to be demonstrated between the movement of food and its effect on IC
§ Did Congress have a rational basis for thinking there was an impact on IC? (easy to satisfy!) —- Deferential Standard
§ “[W]here we find that the legislators, in light of the facts and testimony before them, have a rational basis for finding a chosen regulatory scheme necessary to the protection of commerce, our investigation is at an end.”