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Constitutional Law I
University of Illinois School of Law
Mazzone, Jason

Mazzone – Constitutional Law 1 – Spring 2015

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW: COURSE THEMES

I. Federalism

A. National gov’t must point to enumerated powers (see 10th Amendment)

1. Commerce Clause (Article I §8)

a. US v. Lopez: Three outer limits on where Congress may regulate:

1) Channels of interstate commerce

2) Instrumentalities of interstate commerce or persons & things in interstate commerce

3) Activities having a “substantial relation” to interstate commerce. Here the activities must arise out of or be connected to a commercial transaction, which viewed in the aggregate, substantially affects interstate commerce

b. US v. Morrison: Congress may only regulate economic activities that substantially affect interstate commerce

c. Gonzalez v. Raich: Where necessary to make a regulation of interstate commerce effective [under valid Commerce Clause powers], Congress may regulate even those intrastate activities that don’t themselves substantially affect interstate commerce [under its Necessary & Proper powers] – Scalia’s concurrence

d. NFIB v. Sebelius: Congress can’t create commerce out of inactivity in order to regulate it

2. Taxing & Spending Clause (Article I §8)

a. South Dakota v. Dole: Use of taxing & spending power must

1) Pursue general welfare

2) Make conditions unambiguous to enable the states to exercise their choice knowingly

3) Make conditions related to the federal interest in particular national projects or programs

4) Not violate constitutional provisions that provide an independent bar to the conditional grant of federal funds

b. NFIB v. Sebelius: Taxing & spending power cannot coerce states to adopt a federal program (5% of highway funds different than 20% of entire state budget)

c. United States v. Butler established that this power is independent (need not be linked to another enumerated power)

d. Coyle v. Smith – Suggestion that some things may go too far (moving capital)

3. Declaration of War (Article I §8)

4. Necessary and Proper Clause (for the foregoing powers) (Article I §8)

a. US v. Comstock: To be upheld under the Necessary and Proper Clause, a statute must be a means rationally related to the implementation of a constitutionally enumerated end (pretty broad – concurrences preferred “substantial link” test)

b. NFIB v. Sebelius: Anything not consistent with the letter ad spirit of the Constitution isn’t “proper”- fed gov’t can’t compel people to buy something

c. Gonzalez v. Raich: Necessary not to undercut scheme valid under another power

5. Suspend Writ of Habeas Corpus (Article I §9)

a. Congress can either totally suspend writ or totally leave it in place, but no in between (Boumediene v.

er (Article 2 §2)

a. Treaty power very broad (not limited to Article I § 8 list) and is tied with Congressional laws for Supremacy Clause purposes (so whoever most recent wins) (Missouri v. Holland)

b. Treaties won’t be overturned by the “invisible radiation” of the 10th Amendment , but express words of Constitution may be a limit (Missouri v. Holland)

B. State gov’t can act, unless:

1. Interfering with Fed Gov’t (Supremacy Clause Article VI)

a. Gibbons v. Ogden: When laws conflict so that they can’t coexist,

b. Wilson v. Black-Bird Creek Marsh Co.: When there’s no conflict between state and federal laws, there is no problem with Supremacy Clause (though brings up dormant commerce clause idea)

2. Dormant Commerce Clause – Pike Balancing Test

a. Balance legitimate local public interest against effects on interstate commerce (Pike v. Bruce Church)

b. “Per se invalid” if discrimination against people from other states (City of Philadelphia v. NJ) unless

1) State is market participant (Hughes v. Alexandria Scrap Corp.)

2) Congress has approved of the law (