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Constitutional Law I
University of Cincinnati School of Law
Williams, Verna L.

Marbury v. Madison (1803)

Established judicial review

All laws passed by Congress are beneath the Constitution, and it is the duty of the judiciary to determine what the Constitution says:

“It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular cases, must of necessity expound and interpret that rule. If two laws conflict with each other, the courts must decide on the operation of each.”

District of Columbia v. Heller (2008)

Challenge of DC Statute barring possession of usable handguns in homes

“Originalism” – looking at the text from the time of the framers to interpret the meaning of the Constitution

“Dead Hand” Theory – No one alive today was part of the ratification process; Amendment process is too cumbersome

Textualist (Scalia) – searches for “original public meaning”

McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)

Congress has the power to perform its Article 1 duties

Affirms the supremacy of federal law

States cannot tax the federal government

“The great principle is, that the constitution and the laws made in pursuance thereof are supreme; that they control the constitution and laws of the respective States, and cannot be controlled by them.”

Baker v.

ly demonstrable constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinate political department;

(2) or a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving it; (problem is so amorphous that the Court can’t create a standard for resolving it)

(3) or the impossibility of deciding without an initial policy determination of a kind clearly for nonjudicial discretion;

(4) or the impossibility of a court’s undertaking independent resolution without expressing lack of the respect due coordinate branches of government;

(5) or an unusual need for unquestioning adherence to a political decision already made;

(6) or the potentiality of embarrassment from multifarious pronouncements by various departments on one question.”

Vieth v. Jubelirer (2004)

Political gerrymandering

Question was nonjusticiable because the court lacked a standard of review and the Constitution gives the task of dealing with political voting areas to the House of Representatives.

Bush v. Gore (2000)

Affirms Court’s role in elections established by Baker v. Carr

We just read it for fun