Final Exam Study Guide
Marbury v. Madison, p. 2: The Supreme Court has the power, implied from Article VI, § 2 of the Constitution, to review acts of Congress and if they are found repugnant to the Constitution, to declare them void.
Other nations do not have the doctrine of judicial review either because they have Parliamentary Supremacy or a Civil Law system which has separate Constitutional courts.
District of Columbia v. Heller, p. 13: The D.C. code’s (1) general bar against the registration of handguns, (2) prohibition against carrying a pistol without a license, and (3) requirement that all lawful firearms to be kept unloaded and either disassembled or trigger locked violate rights of individuals under the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amend., which permits individuals to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes, even though they are not affiliated with any state-regulated militia.
Scalia wrote the majority. He saw the prefatory language (of the 2nd) as not limiting the second clause. Scalia saw this right as a pre-existing right that applies to everyone. Scalia also said the second clause was much broader than the first (which was limited to militia). The second clause allows guns for protection, hunting, etc.
The dissent saw the prefatory language as modifying the second/operative clause.
Congressional Limits on Judicial Power, and Justiciability:
There are limits on federal judicial power, which limit the kinds of matters that can come before the courts.
The Constitution Limits the Supreme Court’s original and appellate jurisdiction. Congress can make exceptions or regulations to appellate jurisdiction.
Ex Parte McCardle, p.35: Although the S.C. derives its appellate jurisdiction from the Constitution, the Constitution also gives Congress the express power to make exceptions to that appellate jurisdiction.
U.S. v. Klein, p.37: A statute violates the separation of powers by commanding a court to draw a certain conclusion from evidence before it and by directing the court to dismiss an appeal for lack of jurisdiction when it encounters such evidence.
· Congress was trying to change laws were cases were pending. Court said this was interfering with their powers. Court said that Congress can change laws, but they cannot interfere with pending cases.
Plaut v. Spendthrift, p. 43: Congress may not retroactively command the federal courts to reopen final judgments without violating the separation of powers doctrine.
· Congress cannot make the court change final decisions/final judgments.
Justiciability – Article III limits federal courts to “Cases and Controversies” – must be some adversarial aspect of the case. People must be involved in real disputes that court can resolve.
· Five kinds of Cases:
2. Advisory Opinions – federal courts are precluded from giving advice to other departments outside of formal cases or controversies.
3. Political Question
· In order for a party to bring a lawsuit where that party is asking the court to invalidate the law because it is inconsistent with the Constitution, that party must:
1. Suffered a real, distinct, palpable injury. Concrete injury – actual or imminent.
2. Injury must me traceable to the unconstitutional law/conduct. Causation.
3. Injury must be likely to be redressed/remedied by a favorable decision. Redressibility.
· Massachusetts v. EPA, p. 53: A plaintiff has standing if it demonstrates a concrete injury that is both fairly traceable to the defendant and redressable by judicial relief.
– Court says that Congress can bypass the requirements (not all, but some).
– Here, Court said the Case was justiciable because it was a state rather than an individual that sued.
· Hein v. Freedom from Religion Foundation, p. 84: Taxpayers do not have standing to bring an Establishment Clause challenge against executive branch actions funded by general appropriations rather than by any specific congressional grant.
– Courts generally do not allow taxpayers to challenge U.S. laws simply because someone is a taxpayer.
– Exception: where there is a particular type of tax that affects a group of individuals – may have standing (is not just a general tax)
– Flask exception – Taxpayer status must be linked to the Congressional enactment. Conte says this should have been overruled because you need more than taxpayer status for standing.
Political Question Doctrine:
· Issue here is whether the court should be making this decision or whether it should be left to one of the political branches.
· Baker v. Carr, p.104: The fact that a suit seeks protection of a political right does not mean it necessarily presents a political question. Apportionment cases are justiciable under Baker (where before they were not because they were considered political ?) Here it was brought under the equal protection clause.
– Elements of a political question:
1. A textually demonstrable constitutional commitment of the issue to a coordinate political department;
2. Or a lack of judicially discoverable and manageable standards for resolving it;
3. Or the imp
tate. Commerce does not occur until later when the product is distributed.
– Here the court limited the federal power and commerce clause power while it increased the state’s powers.
– States are to regulate for the health, safety, and welfare of the people in the states.
Hammer v. Dagenhart, p. 154: Congress cannot, under its commerce power, pass a law prohibiting the transportation in interstate commerce of products of companies that employed children as laborers in violation of the terms of the law.
Lottery Case, p. 157: Federal government has powers over products with some evil associated with them, like gambling. Don’t want the evil products in interstate commerce, so this could be protected by the commerce clause.
Wickard v. Filburn, p.166: Farm production that is intended for consumption on the farm is subject to congress’s commerce power, since it may have a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce.
– Court said that commerce was not going to be defined by the name of the activity, such as manufacturing or production.
– Now, must look to the effect the activity has on commerce. The activities that have a substantial effect can be regulated.
– Here court looked at the aggregate of the farmers together, and that growing their wheat for their own consumption creates less of a demand for wheat on the market.
Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc v. U.S., p169: Congress, under the CC, may regulate business local in scope, if their business activities have some impact on interstate commerce.
– Court here says that the discrimination discourages minority travelers which would have a harmful effect on interstate travel/commerce
– Court allows the regulation or protection of things within the “channels of commerce” even though the activities were local in nature.
– This case established the principal that the scope of the CC was so broad that almost any sort of activity could be touched thereby. Essentially, after this case, Congress’s regulatory power has been unlimited, a result almost certainly not intended by the Constitution’s framers.