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Constitutional Law I
University of Connecticut School of Law
Macgill, Hugh C.

The Supreme Court’s Authority and Role
1)       Power of Judicial Review
a)      SC’s power of judicial review came from a case of undelivered commission
i)        the nature of the act that is asked for is within the scope of judicial power
b)      taken to have established judicial review
i)        was judicial review in the Const already?
Marbury v Madison,1803
Issue: Does the SC have the bower to review acts of Congress and declare them void if they are against the Con? Basically, can the court issue a mandamus?
H/R- Yes
·         Pres has political powers and uses his discretion in exercising them. He is helped by officers who act in his authority, therefore their acts are his act — no power to control the discretion of his agents
·         when specific duty is assigned by law, and individual rights depend upon the performance of that duty, it seems equally clear that the individual who considers himself injured, has a right to resort to the law of his country for a remedy
o    Marbury has the right to the commission
o    the refusal to deliver was in violation of the right—this case is one for mandamus
·         Judiciary Act of 1789 established and authorized US courts to issue them in courts or persons holding office under US authority. Madison falls within it
·         only way SC would be powerless to issue the writ would be if the Act was unconstitutional
·         Art III gives SC jurisdiction on all cases affecting ambassadors, public ministers, consuls and where a state is a party
·         judicial branch decided what the law is. Any law which is against the constitution is void so the mandamus is denied
o    granting of appellate jurisdiction is the power to revise and correct proceedings already instituted—doesn’t create cause
political question doctrine: have to deal with the risk that your client’s case has a political question, and thus the court will not take a look at it.
à deals with a question of original jurisdiction and appellate jurisdiction. Supreme Court has original jurisdiction over mandamus. Marshall looking at the same language says that the first Congress seems to have added to the jurisdiction. “SC shall also have appellate jurisdiction… and shall have the power to issue… write of mandamus…”
àIf the statute can be construed so the SC wouldn’t have original jurisdiction, then Marshall doesn’t not have anything to stand on, and Marbury would not get the mandamus.
à up to the court to say what the important/key law is. Pres is also amenable to judicial process. Jefferson refused to allow Marbury to be cited as if it was good law.
Background and Meaning
·         Recusal- Marshall knew what was going on with Marbury
o    his bro provided an affidavit to show that some of the commissions existed
§ had returned several of the commissions to his bro’s office since he couldn’t carry all
§ Since Marshall was involved in the controversy, he may have disqualified himself
·         Common Law- Marshall determined the commission (a form of property) vested when it was signed and sealed—could have decided that it wasn’t vested as a matter of law until it was delivered
o    this was Marbury wouldn’t have been entitled to the benefit of the commission even though it was signed and sealed by the previous administration
o    statutory construction- Marshall saw sect 13 as expanding juris of SC by allowing it to issue writs of mandamus to executive officers
§ could have found that the Acts gave mandamus powers only opposite to appellate juris, and dismissed the case for lack of juris since this wasn’t an appeal
o    constitutional interpretation- could have interpreted Art 3, Sect 2, cl. 2 as an illustrative floor, not a ceiling. This way the statute wouldn’t have been unconstitutional even if it were interpreted as an expansion of the Ct’s original juris since Art 3 wouldn’t have prevented the expansion
o    most impt statement of judicial power made said that the justices should join the pres in the veto process—Record of Federal Convention of 1787
o    rejected on the assumed existence of judicial review
§ thought the association of the judges with the pre would was a dangerous innovation
§ constitutionality of laws will come before the judges in their proper official character
o    federalist papers are more explicit
§ Hamilton and Federal 78: judiciary as the least dangerous to the political rights of the const since it will be least in capacity to annoy or injure them
§ the judiciary has no influence over wither the sword or the purse, no direction either of the strength of the wealth of the society and can take no active resolution whatever
·         judicial branch can’t catch us
§ legislative body are themselves the constitutional judges of their own powers and that the construction they put upon them in conclusive upon the other depts.
§ the interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts
·         a constitution is in face and must be regarded by the judges as a fundamental law
§ the interpretation of the law is the proper and peculiar province of the courts
2)      Supreme Court Authority to Review State Court Judgments
a)      Marshall court decision which legitimated SC authority to review decisions of state cts (Hunter’s Lessee)
b)      involved a controversy over Sect 25 of Judiciary Act of 1789
i)        provided for SC review of final decisions of the highest state courts reject claims based on federal law—including fed const law
c)       decision arose from the refusal by VA Ct of Appeals to obey SCs mandate which resulted from a land dispute which concerned Lord Fairfaxx
d)      no other federal cts in the Const—states already had cts, why would they need more?
i)        compromise was that there may be inferior federal cts if Congress said so
ii)       otherwise the appellate jurisdiction could only be exercised by the state cts
e)      VA ct of appeals didn’t like being instructed on a matter they felt the SC had no say in
f)       if the state’s views stayed, you would never have uniformity
Martin v. Hunters Lessee,1816
Issue: Can federal courts hear appeals brought from state court decisions? Basically, has VA appropriated Fairfax’s property because he was a Tory?
H/R: Yep (reverses previous judgment and Martin gets the land)
·         Article 3 grants appellate jurisdiction to the SC where it doesn’t have original jurisdiction
o    only exception is Congress has limited the appellate jurisdictions
·         state judges are not independent from the federal system and the Constitution says that they are subject to it
·         appellate power over state cases is necessary for uniformity because state courts can interpret the same statute differently
·         SC is in charge of construing the Constitution as written
·         Constitution provides for federal appellate jurisdiction over cases arising in state courts
Rule of Law: Federal courts may hear appeals

right of standing based on a generalized grievance against govt allowing a P to est standing without showing injury in fact, causation and redress?
H/R: Nope. Ruling in favor of P
·         P has to show injury in fact, causation and redress
·         P failed to establish the injury in fact part
·         someday future intentions doesn’t establish actual or imminent injury
·         speculation that anyone anywhere is harmed by a single project affecting some species without a specific connection
·         Didn’t address redressability.
o    other agencies wouldn’t be bound by an injunction
o    no evidence that any other country would reduce harm to an endangered species in US support was stopped
·         ct may not hear cases where the P merely has a generalized grievance against govt
·         Congress can’t give power to cts which the Constitution doesn’t say they have (p 36)
·         ct must be sensitive to Congress’ ability to create new standing rights [Scalia] o    Congress must ID the injury it wishes to vindicate and relate the injury to ppl who can sue
o    citizen suit provision fails to do either
·         not enough proof that Congress intended the consultation requirement of 7(a)(2) to apply to activities in foreign countries [Stevens]  
·         P only needs to show genuine issue of material fact to get standing on summary judgment
·         lots of environ injuries cause harm far from the challenged activity
·         funding agencies would be bound by an injunction based on their involvement in the case
·         Congress imposes procedural restraints on exec power
o    the cts do not violate the sep of powers by enforcing these procedures
redressability: requirement that in order for a ct to hear a case, there must be an injury that is redressable or capable of being remedied
MA v EPA, 2007
Issue: Does a P have standing if it demonstrates a concrete injury that is both fairly traceable to the D and redressable by judicial relief?
H/R: Yes, P has standing
·         juris of fed cts is limited to cases and controversies
o    P satisfied those requirements
·         P proceeds it its quasi sovereign capacity and caselaw supports applying dif standards of justiciability for such
·         injury for P is damage to its coastline and that will continue
·         that injury is traceable to the EPA, even small effects on an injury satisfy the causation requirement
·         Ps injury can be redresses even though the outcome may be delayed
Dissent: [Roberts] ·         redress of Ps injuries should be left to the political branches
·         calls this a relaxing of standing requirements which does not have precedent
·         Ps injury is not concrete and particularized
o    injuries to humanity at large aren’t enough