Part One- Separation of Powers
0. Introduction – Historical Background to Constitution
A. Colonial Period
· each colony had governor, judiciary, legislature
· governors were royal appointees, judges were appointed
· legislatures “colonial assemblies” only made suggestions
eventually outlawed bc of dissent, met anyway.
more legitimate in popular mind. “assemblies of the People”
13 independent states organize under Articles of Confederation
· no president, no national courts, Congress only made proposals
· no power to tax
· everything had to be unanimous
· worked well enough to win a war.
Problems with Articles of Confederation
· no coordinated commerce. protectionist trade wars b/w States
· some States wouldn’t pay debts of US after War
· need taxes for national defense
C. Rise of Federalism – 1780s
· new State constitutions were assembly run
· no veto power for governor, no judicial review
· Congressmen getting rich, rewarding friends, punishing enemies
· momentum grows for strong central government
D. Separation of Powers – Big Idea of First Half of Class
· checks and balances to ease fears of anti-federalists
· horizontal – b/w three branches. vertical – b/w federal and state
· uniquely American. Parliamentary systems have no judicial review
they think it countermajoritarian. Parliament = People
actually it is supermajoritarian bc Article V- ⅔, ¾; Constitution = People
ideas of People occur outside of gov’t. (colonial assemblies)
I. Article III – The Judiciary
A. Power – judicial review
1. Horizontal review – Marbury v. Madison
Marbury has the right to his post, but Court doesn’t have original jdx over this
asserts but does not exercise power over executive branch
asserts and exercises power over legislative branch
§13 of Judiciary Act held unconstitutional
can’t expand jdx of Sup. Ct. beyond Art III §2.2
Why give Courts not Congress power to decide whether law is constitutional?
conflict of interest for Congress. Art III judges no worries about reelection
2. Vertical Review
a. over state courts
Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee
Martin inherits land from British loyalist. VA confiscates and gives to Hunter
SCOTUS reverses and finds for Martin bc of treaty with England
VA says Sup.Ct. can’t reverse VA interp. of US constitution
claims that §25 of Judiciary Act is unconstitutional. (28 USC 1257 survives)
Story makes two pronged argument – text and policy
text – Art. III §2 if fed cts not created, where r appeals coming from? state cts
policy – uniformity, esp. re: treaties, rights as national citizens
–need constitutional questions interpreted by Art III unelected judges
Michigan v. Long –
SCOTUS can’t hear appeal if there is an independent and adequate state ground
But if State Sup.Ct. issues decision unclear if it’s based on fed or state law,
then SCOTUS will presume it’s based on fed law, reverse it and send it back.
Then state must show independent and adequate state ground.
b. over lower federal courts
Justiciability – must be live case or controversy (anyone can object, not just litigants)
else SCOTUS gets dragged into legislative process.
need zealously interested parties bc Court relies on litigants for factfinding
Four doctrines of Justiciability
1) Standing (Warth v. Seldin – EP claim re:multi-family housing in Rochester)
a) injury in fact (in the past or threat of injury)
b) causation (“but for” & redressability)
c) can’t raise third party claims (some statutory exceptions)
d) nor generalized grievance (except. establishment clause, taxpayer standing- Flast v. Cohen-narrowed by Valley Forge – spending, not gift of property
2) Mootness (DeFunis v. Odegaard – law student aff. action, in last semester)
decision will make no difference bc of events occurring after filing
exception–claim is capable of repetition & always evades review (abortion)
3) Ripeness – court won’t hear claim for declaratory relief if too early
e.g. line item veto couldn’t be challenged until Clinton used it.
4) Political Questions – Court won’t get involved
a) text of constitution reserves this to another branch, e.g. impeachment
b) no judicially discoverable standards
c) need for “One Voice” in war, sensitive diplomatic issues. e.g Vietnam
B. Limits on Power of Judiciary – Congressional Oversight
1. Lower Federal Courts – Congress can choose not to create them or limit their jdx.
2. Supreme Court – Congress can create “exceptions” See Art. III § 2
Ex Parte McCardle –
newsman put in prison by Reconstruction military, seeks habeas corpus
wins at trial level, loses at federal court of appeals, appeals to SCOTUS
Congress passes exception to appellate jdx power in 1868. SCOTUS upholds.
but McCardle only about Sup.Ct. not power to escape all fed ju
s doesn’t have to prove economic impact, as long as it believes it
presumption that local commerc. activity has subst. impact on int’rst. commerce
Heart of Atlanta Motel – ICC used to prevent private businesses from race discr.
Katzenbach – Ollie’s BBQ. zero impact on IC, but still in “class of activities”
Is Congress’ power under ICC unlimited? seemed so ‘til Rehnquist- modern era
Lopez–Gun Free School Zones – 1st time in 60yrs law void for overextending ICC
Morrison – federal civil remedy for gender based violence “cost of crime” argument rejected bc could lead to federal police power. Why unconstitutional?
Federalism – policy arguments for it not from text but original understanding
· accountability and participation better if local
· liberty protected through vertical separation of powers
· laboratory of the states
Gonzales – feds seize medical weed. upheld, economic activity. Wickard still good
“Rehnquist revolution” not that radical.
Test for power to regulate under ICC – Three categories
3) activities that substantially affect
a) economic/commercial activities – deferential, rational basis
b) non-economic activities-if show direct & substantial impact
c) jurisdictional “hook” in statute that ties it to IC
c) Comstock – defer to Congress whether fed prison of mentally ill is “necessary”
Five factors: 1) McCulloch analysis of necessary and proper
2) history of federal involvement or traditionally left to States
3) sound reasons
4) does statute accommodate state interests?
5) narrow in scope v. too attenuated a link to enumerated power?
cf. congruence/proportionality in Boerne
don’t pile inference upon inference