Select Page

Constitutional Law I
University of Kansas School of Law
Levy, Richard E.

I.                    General Introduction
 
                                                               i.      The Constitution
II.                  Articles of Confederation
a.       National power limited
                                                               i.      No executive branch, no judicial branch
                                                              ii.      Little ability to enforce
b.       Various problems
                                                               i.      States disregarded national treaties
                                                              ii.      Retaliatory trade practices against each other
III.               Constitutional Convention
a.       Limited charge
                                                               i.      Meant to propose amendments to the Articles.
b.       Dramatic debate and compromise
                                                               i.      For example, bicameral legislature
c.        Key choices
                                                               i.      Broad Enumerated Powers
1.       Regulation of Commerce
2.       Taxation
3.       Necessary & Proper clause
                                                              ii.      Structure of Federal Government
1.       Separate Executive Branch
2.       Separate Judicial Branch
                                                            iii.      Principles
1.       Direct Federal Action
a.       Before constitution, states had to enact what Congress passed. Now it automatically became effective
2.       Federal Supremacy
IV.                Ratification Process
a.       Didn’t follow process to amend Articles
b.       Each state held a convention to ratify the Constitution
V.                  Federalist Papers
VI.                Bill of Rights
a.       Many criticized Constitution because of the Bill of Rights
b.       Madison reluctantly agreed to add the Bill of Rights
VII.             Civil War Amendments
a.       Context
b.       Substantive Rights & Federal Power
c.        Implications for Federalism
VIII.           Enlightment/liberal philosophy
a.       Representative democracy
b.       Separation of powers
c.        Individiual liberties
IX.                Text & Structure
a.       Structural features
b.       Federalism (vertical division)
c.        Separation of powers (horizontal division)
X.                  Protection of Ind. Rights
a.       Most in Bill of Rights
b.       Reconstruction Amds
 
                                                               i.      Marbury v. Madison and Judicial Review
XI.                Fundamental Importance
a.       Precarious Constitutional Situation
                                                               i.      Historically, heated political background
                                                              ii.      There was a fundamental questions of what direction the country should go
b.       Established rule of law
c.        Courts as Arbiters of Consitution
                                                               i.      Judicial Review: courts can examine the meaning of law
d.       Other principle
                                                               i.      Political question Doctrine
                                                              ii.      Original Jurisdiction of Supreme Court
                                                            iii.      Removal of Officers
2. The Opinion in Marbury
I.                    Right to Commission-Yes
a.       Signed/sealed; delivery unnecessary
b.       Appointment for Term of Years
                                                                           i.      Had a right to the commission and to serve in public office
II.                  Entitled to Remedy-Yes
a.       Rule of Law (Negative proof)
b.       Political question
III.               Writ of Mandamus from USSC?? No lack of jurisdiction
a.       Mandamus proper remedy
                                                                           i.      Directive issued by a court to the government official requiring the official to perform his duties.
b.       No original jurisdiction for USSC (Judicial review)
3. Key Aspects
I.                    Rules of Law & Executive Action
I.                    Government of laws not men
a.       Even high officials are bound by the law.
b.       Government is of laws, not the individuals that occupy the position
II.                  Negative proof
a.       ROL requires remedy
                                                                           i.      Violation of a right requires a remedy
b.       U.S. is a ROL state
c.        Lack of remedy inconsistent with ROL
                                                                           i.      Therefore Marbury has a remedy to his commission
III.               Acts of political discretion v. Political questions
a.       Distinguished from legal duties
b.       Nature of act not status of officer
                                                                           i.      Is the officer making a political statement, the courts have no power to review.
                                                                          ii.      If the officer follows duties, the courts do have power to review.
c.        Repeated
 
4. Judicial Review of Legislation
I.                    Presentation of Issue
a.       Location in Opinion
b.       Phrasing of question
                                                                           i.      If an act of the legislation is against the Constitution is it binding?
II.                  Constitution as superior law
a.       No point in having Con. Unless superior to all other forms of law
b.       Contrary legislation is void
c.        Void legislation does not bind judges
d.       Judges say what the law is
                                                                           i.      Repsonsibility of courts to decide if there is inconsistency between Constitution and statute
III.               Constitutional Text
a.       Inference from prohibitions
                                                                           i.      Constitutions provides for court to enforce certain prohibitions
b.       Oath
                                                                           i.      Why would the court ignore the Constitution when it has to uphold it.
c.        Supremacy Clause
                                                                           i.      Only statutes made in pursuance of the Constitution are valid laws
d.       States were also using judicial review, Federalist papers discussed judicial review.
 
5. Judicial Review of States
Generally
The state sovereignty issues
Nullifciation and Resistance
Key Cases
Martin & Cohens
Appeals from State supreme court decisions
                                                               i.      The USSC may review the state decisions
Broader Implications
Importance
 
                                                           iv.      Constitutional Method and Reoccurring Themes
Interpretation
I.                    Text of the EP Clause: No state shall deny to any person equal protection of the laws.
a.       Does it resolve the issue in Romer?
b.       Ambiguity is unavoidable- most Constitution is open-ended
c.        “A law declaring that in general it shall be more difficult for one group of citizens than for all others to seek aid from the government is itself a denial of equal protection of the laws in the most literal sense.”
II.                  How should ambiguity be resolved?
a.       Original meaning or intent: look at historical background of the Constitution
                                                               i.      Can judges be prevented from, activisim
b.       Precedent
                                                               i.      Person tends to stick with./own doctrine. What he has learned already.
c.        Underlying values
III.               Criteria for good opinion;: intellectual honesty
IV.                Countermajoritarian Difficulty (Romer, no laws to favor homosexuals)
a.       The court overruled an act the legislature passed.
b.       What justifies the court, non-political; to undermine the elected legislature meant to represent the people.
c.        Argument: court meant to preserve enduring values.
V.                  Political Process Reasoning
a.       One way to respond to the countermajoritarian theory.
b.       Action of the legislature might not be aligned with the majority’s opinion
c.        Vote dilution
d.       Not as many people had access to the voting process.
e.        The rule of the political process may be countermajoritarian and judicial review would bring this back to the interest of the people.
VI.                General points
a.       Burdening Access to Political Process (for gay rights in Romer)
b.       Animus Motives,

                   i.      People have more chance to influence policies at smaller levels.
                                                              ii.      State governments are more familiar with the area than national government.
b.       More politically responsive
III.               Laboratories of Experiment
a.       Gives people choices
                                                               i.      Each state can try different policies. Other states can copy.
b.       Learn from each other
 
III.                 McCulloch
B. Marshall’s Preliminary Points
1. Relevance of the Bank’s History
a. Early Political Decisions as Precedent?
i. People who made these decisions were the same people who made and passed the Constitution
ii. This tells a little bit about what the Con was meant to mean.
iii. Some courts look back at these decisions almost as judicial precedent.
b. Practice as “Historical Gloss.”
i. If a practice exists in history, and repeated, this almost becomes part of the Con itself.
ii. Similar to course of dealing in contract practices.
2. Source of the Constitution
a. From the People-Marshall’s argument.
                i. Marshall defeats the argument that Con gets power from the states.
b. Why Does it Matter? (link)
i. States: Con comes from the states. It’s like a treaty that led to the national government. If staes gave national gov. power, then they are more powerful than the fed. gov. This would lead to a narrow construction of national power
ii. Marshall: source of Con comes from the people who approved the Con during conventions. Therefore, the people divided the power between the federal and states governments. In the Con, people gave the federal gov. more power.
C. Implied Powers
1. Significance of Corporate Charters
I.                    Federal gov. issues corporate charters.
a.       Charters were a monopoly granted by the gov. Therefore, the right to charter corporations was an important power.
b.       Marshall: no enumerated power to grant a federal charter, but the broad power of gov. to lay and collect taxes and borrow and spend money. The chartering of the bank will carry into effect these powers.
2. Powers Imply Means
                a. Preliminary: Articles of Confederation 7 10th Amd.
i. All powers not enumerated in Articles are reserved to the state. However, 10th Amd. states that all powers not conferred on federal gov. are reserved to the state. Read this to mean there were implied powers of the gov.
ii. Implied powers are inherent in the granting of the enumerated powers.
iii. The necessary & proper clause doesn’t grant implied powers, but confirms them.
a. Enduring Nature of the Constitution
b. Practical Necessity
3. N & P Clause Confirms
a. Not “Absolutely” Necessary
i. Term Has Various Uses: good, appropriate, suited
ii. Absolute Necessity Impractical, if necessary, doesn’t have to be absolute
b. Textual Arguments: Placement & Wording
i. Necessary & proper clause comes after list of granted powers. There is a separate section that limits power of the federal gov. If meant to limit powers, it should have been placed in the limiting section.
 
4. McCulloch Test (like ends-means scrutiny)
a. End: Legitimate w/in Enumerated Power
                i. Within the scope of the Con.
b.Means:
i. Appropriate (plainly adapted to the end)
ii. Not inconsistent with Constitution
c. Application
i. Deference to Legislative Judgments
1. If legislature thinks it’s appropriate, it will be accepted, unless seen as a pre-text.            
ii. Bank N & P to Taxing & Spending Ends
 
D. Federal Supremacy
1. States Retain Power to Tax