Constitutional Law Outline
I. Introduction to the Constitution
a. The Idea of Judicial Review
i. Marbury v. Madison – established the authority for the judiciary to review the constitutionality of executive and legislative actions.
1. Authority for judicial review over executive acts
2. Holds that Congress can’t expand the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court beyond the enumerations in Article III. Maximum jurisdiction of the federal court.
3. Authority for judicial review of legislative acts – it’s “emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is”
Those who apply the law must interpret it.
ii. Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee – established authority for the Supreme Court to review state court decisions
1. Argument that the Constitution presumed that the Supreme Court could review state court decisions. The Constitution created the Supreme Court and gave Congress discretion whether to create lower federal courts. If Congress chose not to establish any lower tribunals, the Sup. Court would be powerless to hear any cases except for those few that fit within its enumerated, original jurisdiction, unless it could review state court rulings.
2. Constitution recognizes that there may be state biases à there’s a need for Supreme Court review to ensure uniformity in the interpretation of Federal Law.
iii. Cooper v. Aaron – established that Supreme Court had the authority to review the constitutionality of state laws and the actions of state officials.
II. Legislative Power
a. Doctrine of Implied Powers
i. McCulloch v. Maryland – established that Congress had the authority to create the Bank of the United States based on (a) historical practice (establishment of the 1st bank of the US as a justification for the 2nd); rejected the argument that states have ultimate sovereignty since they ratified the Constitution. He stated that the people ratified the Constitution, so the people hold ultimate sovereignty.
1. Federal government is supreme over the states, and states have no authority to negate federal actions
2. Expansively defines the scope of Congress’s powers, by invoking the necessary and proper clause, and finding that necessary is a broad use. It finds that Congress may use any means – “Let the end be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the constitut
’s a complete power that may be exercised to its utmost extent.
ii. After Gibbons, Congress started to use the Commerce Clause more extensively to regulate business.
1. In the 1890s, the Supreme Court narrowed the scope of Congress’s commerce power based on an expressed concern for leaving regulatory matters to the state governments.
2. Application of 10th Amend. To reserve a zone of activities for exclusive state control and invalidation of federal laws within Congress’s commerce power that usurped state prerogatives
3. Commitment to laissez-faire, unregulated economy à hostility to government’s regulations
iii. Early 20th Century View (limited Fed. Commerce Power)
1. Period when the Supreme Court actively used judicial review to invalidate federal and state laws. Three main doctrines developed during this period. Court applied them mostly with regard to economic regulation, not as much to federal morals regulation.