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Constitutional Law I
University of Illinois School of Law
Pfander, James E.

I)       Role of the Supreme Court
A)    Marbury and Judicial Review
i)        Main Point: Judicial Review=Supreme Court, not Congress has authority and duty to declare statute unconstitutional
ii)       Factual Background
(1)   Marbury was appointed as a justice of the peace by outgoing federalists in an effort to pack the judiciary with Federalists
(2)   Marbury wants Madison to turn over his commission
iii)    Right –Marshall decided that Marbury and other justices were entitled to commissions once they were signed by the President. Due to separation of powers the president has oversight authority of people in the executive branch
iv)    Remedy – basic idea is if person has an individual right, they should have an opportunity to have the right vindicated. Marshall distinguished this from political acts which are non-reviewable, refusal to deliver commissions is reviewable
v)      Proper Court – Supreme Ct = proper venue. §13, Judiciary Act of 1789- provision for SC to issue writs of mandamus in all cases.
(1)   Writ of mandamus- directive to take affirmative action  
vi)    Article III, §2 in Conflict w/ Judiciary Act §13
(1)   § 13 purports to assign additional jurisdiction, while Constitution says that all jurisdiction has been assigned & SC only has original jurisdiction in “cases affecting ambassadors or other public ministers in which state shall be a party”
(2)   Constitution is Supreme & Judicial Review is created: the court has the authority and duty to declare statute unconstitutional and to refuse to enforce it
vii) Separation of powers issues often implicate rights of individuals
viii)            Pardons and vetos not subject to judicial review
ix)    Cooper v. Aaron
(1)   Main Point: Judicial Supremacy: Federal judiciary is supreme in the exposition of the law of the Constitution
(2)   Summary of dispute: Arkansas governor refuses to abide by decision of Brown v. Board of Education. SC concluded that the SC’s interpretation of the Constitution is binding on state legislatures and executive and judicial officers.
(3)   Departmentalism: accords deference to SC within judicial branch of govt, but recognizes legislative and judicial are free to act on their own accord
x)      Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee: Review of State Laws
(1)   Main Point: SC can review the constitutionality of a decision by a state’s highest court
(2)   Virginia’s Argument
(a)   Challenges jurisdiction of SC- SC only operates as an appeals ct from federal ct’s, but state courts are sovereign
(b)   If litigation starts in state court and federal issue pops up there should be no power to remove to federal court
(3)   SC’s Holdin

ii)      Muskrat v. United States
(1)   Main Point: SC can’t issue advisory opinions, no declaratory judgments if the action is not presented as a case or controversy.
(2)   Summary of Dispute
(a)   Congress passed statute allotting lands to Cherokees and then passed another statute reducing that abmout of land
(b)   Cherokees questioned the constitutional validity of the 2nd statute
(c)    Third statute was passed creating a mechanism for determining constitutionality of 2nd statute & assigns responsibility of hearing it to Court of Claims which is subject to review by SC
(3)   SC’s Response           
(a)   Court of Claims is part of the executive branch (Article I), not judicial. This court doesn’t have authority to resolve a dispute and can only issue advisory opinions on constitutional questions
(b)   SC is an Article III court and can’t give advisory opinions
Article III, §2 confines federal court jurisdiction to cases and controversies, to rule on either constitutional or statutory issues, an Article III court must have a case or controversy