I. Introduction to the Constitution of the United States
A. The Document and its Plan of Government
A. I. Powers of the Legislature
A. II. Powers of the President/Executive
A. III. Powers of the courts
A. IV. Statehood
A. V. Powers of Amendment
A. VI. Supremacy of the Constitution and Federalism
B. The Articles of Confederation, the Constitutional Convention, Ratification, and Bill of Rights:Compromise between strict democracy and states’ rights position; creation of Senate & its representation highly controversial.
Checks and Balances: Congress checks president by declaring war v. commander in chief; senate approval on judiciary; impeachment and trial; ratification of treaties (as opposed to leg-exec agreements). President Checks Congress: Signature of laws passed by congress, itself checked by veto-override. Supreme Court checks both by declaring laws unconstitutional. People can throw the bums out.
C. The Idea of Judicial Review:
Marbury v. Madison (1803): Most important event in democratic history—peaceful transfer of power between factions after a vote. Judiciary Act of 1789 arguably allowed S.Ct. to hear this writ of mandamus to compel delivery of Marbury’s commission. Marshall claimed that the Court didn’t possess jurisdiction to grant the writ—they did, however, have original jurisdiction in conflicts with Constitution. They declared the portion of the Judiciary act of 1789 to conflict with Constitution and thus threw it out.
Logic: Courts have job of interpreting the lawàConstitution is part of the law that the court interpretsà When laws conflict the courts must decide what to follow àWhen Constitution and laws conflict, courts must follow the Constitutionà in conflict, the courts must declare a non-constitutional law void.
Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee(1816):In a conflict between a grant by Virginia and a (Jay) treaty declaring amnesty for English grants of land. Virginia claimed that S.Ct. didn’t have jurisdiction; Court said: 1. Text; 2. Drafting & Original Intention; 3. History & Precedent; 4. Constitutional policy. There is always a bias toward state law in local courts. Supremacy Clause puts Constitutional law higer; Article III gives S.Ct. jurisdiction. Arising Under jurisdiction or Federal Question jurisdiction. Southern states feared that Congress/the courts could use Martin to outlaw slavery.
Cooper v. Aaron(1958):Every officer of every state is bound to follow the Constitution—invoking Marbury’s proposition that the S.Ct. is supreme in exposition of the law of the Constitution. Implicit in the claim was the state govt. ability to refuse an order of the court; all 9 justices claimed authorship of the decision. Court and all levels of govt. obliged to follow constitution.
II. Legislative Power
A. The Doctrine of Implied Powers: “Necessary & Proper” (Art I., §8, c. 17)
McCulloch v. Maryland (1833): Bank of the U.S. had been allowed to run out; state was enacting a confiscatory tax on the renewed 2d bank of U.S. Arguments in this case followed the line of Jefferson/Hamilton debate over incorporating bank—State argues that there are powers in the states that exist pre-Constitution; incorporation and banking aren’t enumerated powers. Marshall’s response: the states didn’t give power to the fed; the people did. Constitution must be broader than a simple code; it allows us to infer implied powers—necessary and proper. Standard of review here is deferential; requires only that the regulation have a rational (not crazy) basis.
Logic: Structurally, necessary/proper is placed among powers, not restrictions; Ends-means, Article I is about ends of government, goals rathe
al legislation—1936, FDR threatens to start growing the court by adding a new justice for every one over 70.
A.L.A. Schechter Poultry Corp. v. U.S. (1935): Regulations for conditions of labor/production of poultry; challenged b/c whole activity stays in NY; court distinguishes between direct and indirect effect on interstate commerce, states that thi is evading the 10th Amdt. regulatory powers and is over scope of Congress’ power.
Carter v. Carter Coal (1936): Price of coal fixed (maximum); employees allowed to organize; employers not allowed to coerce employees. Coal mining held not to be commerce, but rather production. Act goes to production and is local production; employer-employee relations are local relations. This oversteps Congress’ authority.
New Deal Switch in Time (1937): Justice Owen Roberts votes with modernizers in Jones & Laughlin, saving 9-justice court. Long period of deferential review that essentially amounts to blank check to Congress.
NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel (1937): Hammer-era ruling would be that employer-employee relations were local & not touchable by Congress; here, business is seen to be tied to multiple states; interdependence strongly affects interstate commerce; regulation okay.
U.S. v. Darby (1941): Min. wage/max hours provision for manufacturing lumber—court formally overrules Hammer; as a means legitimately adapted to achieving the legitimate ends of having goods produced under OK labor, it is a reasonable restriction.