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Constitutional Law I
University of Alabama School of Law
Krotoszynski, Ronald J.

Krotozynski Constitutional Law Outline – Spring 2010 –
I.            Judicial Power and Judicial Review
a.       Judicial Review/Invalidation of Federal Law
                                                   i.      Marbury v. Madison –
1.       President Jefferson’s Secretary of State, James Madison (∆), refused to delvier a commission granted to Marbury (P) by former President Adams. The Supreme Court held that the Supreme Court has the power implied from Article VI, Section 2 of the Constitution, to review acts of Congress, and if they are found repugnant to the Constitution, to declare them void. Thus the Supreme Court not congress has the authority and duty to declare a congressional statute unconstitutional if the Court thinks it violates the Constitution.
b.       Invalidation of State Law
                                                   i.      Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee (invalidation of state laws)- (1816) The Virginia Supreme Court refused to accept the U.S. Supreme Court’s holding that Martin (P) was entitled to certain land, inherited from a British Subject because of a 1974 treaty. The court held that the appellate jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court extends to all cases in which does not have original jurisdiction and the Constitution not only contemplated but meant to provide for cases within the scope of the judicial power of the United States, which might arise before state tribunals. Thus it upheld the constitutionality of section 25 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 which empowered the Supreme Court to review certain decisions of the highest state court which, generally speaking, ruled adversely to some federal right or claim. The Court rejected Virginia’s position that its courts’ interpretations were not subject to federal review regarding federal law.
c.        Supreme Court review of state court decisions
                                                   i.      If there is a federal question in the state case, the Supreme Court may not review the case if there is an independent and adequate state ground for the state court’s decisions. 
d.       Federal judicial power
                                                   i.      Article III, Section 2 sets out the federal judicial power: cases arising under the Constitution or laws of the U.S.; cases of admiralty; cases between two or more states; cases between citizens of different states; and cases between a state or its citizens an d a foreign country or foreign citizen. 
e.        Interpretive Issues
                                                   i.      Textualism – Literal reading of the words; problem is whether textual ambiguity arises.
                                                  ii.      Originalism – Original intention of the framers.
1.       Benefit: Judicial decision-making looks less subjective b/c implementing the will of the drafters. 
2.       Problems: History is often ambiguous and some of it is very self-serving
                                                iii.      Natural Law – Popular at time Constitution was written. “That which God intended and all people have a right. 
                                                iv.      Pragmatism – pick bit and pieces of anything that works. Pragmatist uses text, intent and philosophical arguments to argue for a particular reading.
                                                 v.      Precedent – how do we deal with the fact that every now and again S.Ct overturns something
f.        Using Foreign Law to Interpret the Constitution
                                                   i.      Roper v. Simmons – decision in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that it is unconstitutional to impose capital punishment for crimes committed while under the age of 18. The 5-4 decision overruled the Court’s prior ruling upholding such sentences on offenders above or at the age of 16, in Stanford v. Kentucky. The appeal challenged the constitutionality of capital punishment for persons who were juveniles when their crimes were committed, citing the Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment. . Finally the Court pointed to “overwhelming” international opinion against the juvenile death penalty. Kennedy stated that it was proper to acknowledge the overwhelming weight of international opinion against juvenile opinion. While not controlling out outcome it does provide respected and significant confirmation for our own conclusions. Dissent argued that the Court’s argument that American law should conform to the laws of the rest of the world should be rejected. They are especially critical on the reliance of the court on United Kingdom. They also state that it in fact does lessen our fidelity in the Constitution
g.        Limits on the Judicial Power
                                                   i.      The Constitution gives Congress some power regarding creating and presumably abolishing federal courts. Marbury ,on the other hand, states that the structural principle of the rule of law requires that there be judicial remedies for violation of rights
                                                 ii.      Exceptions to and Suspension of Habeas Corpus
1.       Exparte v. McCardle
a.       McCardle (∆) appealed from a denial of habeas corpus to the S.C., but Congress passed an act forbidding the Court jurisdiction. The court held that although the S.C. derives its appellate jurisdiction form the constitution, the Constitution also gives Congress the express power to make exceptions to that appellate jurisdiction. Thus Congress has the general power to decide what types of cases the Supreme court may hear, so long as it does not expand the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction beyond the federal judicial power. 
b.       Note: Congress may also decide what lower federal courts there should be and what cases they may here as long as this is within the federal judicial power.
2.       INS v. St. Cyr- Petitioner was set to be deported after pleading guilty to crime. Prior to AEDPA and IIRIRA Attorney general had broad standard to waive deportation. AEDPA and IIRIRA restricted what could be over turned and this was established after Petitioner had plead guilty. District court granted habeas corpus because Petitioner pled before the resurrection of AEDPA and IIRIRA. The courts said that AEDPA and IIRARA did not strip away jurisdiction based on habeas corpus. They did not intend to strip the federal district courts of their authority to hear habeas petitions from deportable aliens and that the AEDPA and IIRIRA did not deny § 212(c) relief to aliens who would have been eligible for such relief at the time of their convictions
3.       Rasul v. Bush -challenging the U.S. government’s practice of holding foreign nationals captured in Afghanistan during the war against the Taliban regime and al-Qaida in detention indefinitely. The detainees had been designated enemy combatants and did not have access to counsel, the right to a trial or knowledge of the charges against them. The Court held that the U.S. court system has the authority to decide whether foreign nationals (non-U.S. citizens) held in Guantanamo Bay were wrongfully imprisoned.  
                                                iii.      Reversal of Judicial Decisions
1.       Miller v. French -: : In 1975, inmates at the Pendleton Correctional Facility filed a class action lawsuit, which ultimately led the District Court to issue an injunction to remedy Eighth Amendment violations regarding conditions of confinement. In 1996, Congress enacted the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (PLRA), which sets a standard for the entry and termination of prospective relief in civil actions challenging prison conditions. The PLRA provides that a motion to terminate such relief “shall operate as a stay” of that relief beginning 30 days after the motion is filed and ending when the court rules on the motion. The prisoners of Pendleton moved to enjoin the operation of the automatic stay, arguing that the automatic stay provision of the PLRA violated due process and the separation of powers doctrine. The court held that Congress clearly intended to make operation of the PLRA’s automatic stay provision mandatory, precluding courts from exercising their equitable power to enjoin the stay and that the PLRA does not violate separation of powers principles.
                                                iv.      The Case or Controversy Limit
1.       Justiciability generally: In order for a case to be head by the federal courts, the plaintiff must get past a series of procedural obstacles which we collectively call requirements for justiciability: 1) the case must not require the giving of advisory opinion; 2) the plaintiff must have standing; 3) the case must not be moot 4) the case must be ripe for decision; and 5) the case must not involve a non-justiciable political question.
a.       Advisory Opinions – The federal courts are prevented from issuing opinions on abstract or hypothetical questions and thus cannot issue advisory opinions. (Article III § 2
b.       Standing
                                                                                                                           i.      Plaintiff must have a significant stake in the controversy to have standing to assert his claim.
1.       Litigant must show that he has suffered an injury in fact; thus the plaintiff must show that he has himself been injured in some way by the conduct that he complains of.
                                                                                                                          ii.      Standing rule keeps out two main types of cases:
1.       Non-individuated harm where harm suffered by plaintiff is no different that the harm suffered by a very large number of people not before the court.
2.       Were rights that are violated are not the plaintiff but a third parties who are not before the court.
                                                                                                                        iii.      Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife – absence definite plans of visiting remote locations (like buying a ticket) then the plaintiffs did not have standing.
                                                                                                                        iv.      Friends of the Earth v. Laidlaw Environmental Services Inc. -: Laidlaw Environmental Services, Inc. bought a wastewater treatment plant and polluted too much in waterway.   Ultimately, Friends of the Earth and others (FOE) filed a citizen suit under the Clean Water Act. Laidlaw moved for summary judgment on the ground that FOE lacked standing to bring the lawsuit. The trial court held that the it was moot once Laidlaw complied with terms of the permit. The S.C. held the Court held that a citizen suitor’s claim for civil penalties need not be dismissed as moot when the defendant, after commencement of the litigation, has come into compliance with its NPDES permit. The Court also ruled that FOE had standing to bring the suit on behalf of its members.
                                                                                                                         v.      Standing requirements:
1.       to satisfy Article III’s standing requirements, a plaintiff must show (1) it has suffered an injury in fact,
2.       (2) injury is fairly traceable to the challenged action of the defendant; and
3.       (3) it is likely, as opposed to merely speculative, that the injury will be redressed by a favorable decision
c.        Ripeness
                                                                                                                           i.      A case is not ripe if it has not yet become sufficiently concreted to be easily adjudicated.
d.       Mootness
                                                                                                                           i.      A case cannot be heard if it is moot in which a

                  iv.      Domestic Affairs/ Line Item Veto
1.       Clinton v. City of New York –The Line Item Veto Act of 1996 allowed the president to cancel provisions that have been signed into law. Parties affected by President Clinton’s cancellation of a provision of the Balanced Budget Act of 1007 challenged the constitutionality of the Act. The court held that the cancellation provisions authorized by the Line Item Veto Act are not constitutional because they violate the Presentment Clause which states that once a bill passes both houses it is presented to the President. The dissent by Breyer and Scalia argued that there is no different between a regular veto and a line item veto and that it would almost force congress to divide a bill into separate pieces so the President could veto or not veto the bill.
                                                 v.      Foreign Affairs
1.       United States v. Curtiss – Wright – In an effort to reduce civil wars in South America, Congress issued a Joint Resolution that authorized the President, “to prohibit the sale of arms if he found that such a prohibition would contribute to the establishment of peace in the region.” Roosevelt used the authorization to prohibit exports of weapons and military equipment to some South American countries. Curtiss-Wright argued that the regulation was not being made by Congress but by the President, and that’s unconstitutional. The court held that while the Constitution may not explicitly say that all ability to conduct foreign policy on behalf of the nation is vested in the President, that it is nonetheless given implicitly and by the fact that the Executive, by its very nature, is empowered to conduct foreign affairs in a way which Congress cannot and should not.   The basic ruling here is that when Congress authorizes it, the President gains the power to make laws via executive order that he wouldn’t normally have. We want one voice in conducting foreign affairs.
2.       Dames & Moore v. Regan – President Jimmy Carter’s Executive Order 12170, which froze Iranian assets in the United States on November 14, 1979 in response to the Iran hostage crisis which began on November 4, 1979. During Iranian hostage crisis, Carter uses International Emergency Economic Powers Act to prevent transfer of Iranian property out of US. As part of negotiations to end crisis, Carter agrees to stop claims in US courts against Iran as part of the crisis, and to transfer Iranian funds in US to Bank of England for pre-agreed payments to terrorism claimants Reagan implements agreement, orders cases stopped. The Supreme Court upheld these actions by Donald Regan, Treasury Secretary in the Reagan Administration, finding that these presidential actions were authorized by law by the IEEPA. The Supreme Court also approved the suspension of claims filed in U.S. courts even though no specific statutory provision authorized that step. In so doing the Court relied on inferences drawn from related legislation, a history of congressional acquiescence in executive claims settlement practices, and past decisions recognizing broad executive authority.
                                               vi.      Executive Privileges and Immunities
1.       Presidents have qualified right to refuse to disclose confidential information relation to their performance of their duties. This is executive privilege. However, this privilege may be outweighed by compelling governmental interests. (U.S. v. Nixon)
a.       United States v. Nixon – A subpoena was issued by the special prosecutor directing President Nixon (∆), to turn over taped presidential conversations and transcripts. Nixon refused to do so and claimed executive privilege. The court held that neither the doctrine of separation of powers nor the need for confidentiality of high level communications, without more, can sustain an absolute, unqualified presidential privilege of immunity from judicial process under all circumstances. Thus NO man is above the law. 
2.       The President has absolute immunity from civil liability for his official acts (Nixon v. Fitzgerald) , but there is no immunity for the President’s unofficial acts, including those committed before taking office. (Clinton v. Jones) Most other federal officials receive only qualified immunity for their official acts
a.       Clinton v. Jones – Jones(P) claimed Clinton (∆) sexually harassed her during events that took place prior to Clinton assuming the presidency. Clinton wanted it dismissed based on presidential immunity. The court held that presidential immunity does not apply to civil damages litigation arising out of unofficial events occurring prior to the assumption of office. 
3.       Cheney v. U.S. District Court – prevents abuse of private.
d.       Congress, President, Court and War