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

Constitutional Law
a.       Nature of Constitutional Law
v There is a degree of uncertainty
v There must be elaboration (interpretation)
v Con law is vague because it is so open ended
o    Uncertain content
o    Uncertain result
b.       Written for 13 Sts under limited technology
c.        The text is intact
                                                               i.      It is an adapting instrument for changing times
d.       Everything is value laden
                                                               i.      Little issues relate to fundamental issuesEX: flag burning _a divisions of power
e.        The court has changed doctrine
                                                               i.      Ex: the Warren Court
                                                              ii.      Thus the court operates w/in that area of Uncertainty making issues open ended
f.        The Onion Methodology
                                                               i.      Determine the Underlying Policy/Concept?
1.       the court is always seeking a balance of sets of interestEX: strong Gov’t v. independent Sts
2.       federalism is driven by balance
                                                              ii.      Basic Doctrine
1.       in most areas the S.Ct. has already established a test
                                                            iii.      How do the Facts plug into the test/legal frame work?
1.       what really matters to the argument in the test?
                                                            iv.      Factual analogy
1.       critical step
                                                             v.      interconnectivity
1.       what ideas are repeating themselves over and over?
EX: political process failure
g.        Non-democratic nature of the court must be taken into account
                                                               i.      The members of the court are there for life
                                                              ii.      They step in when the political process fails
h.       Const.’s Historical Background
                                                               i.      Articles of Confederation
1.       a congress only
2.       limited federal authority
3.       problems
a.       no taxes/taxing power
b.       Sts pursued independent foreign relations policies
c.        trade wars between Sts because of no national authority
                                                              ii.      Constitutional Convention
1.       decided to toss rather than Ame
2.       limited charge
3.       dramatic debates and compromise
4.       ratification process for acceptance
                                                            iii.      The Enlightenment/Liberal Philosophy
1.       new structure was a representative democracy
                                                            iv.      Structural Features
1.       federalism
2.       separation of powers
                                                             v.      Protection Of Individual Rights
1.       there were limited provisions in the text
2.       Thus the Bill of Rights was inducted
3.       rights were expanded w/ the Reconstruction Ames
                                                            vi.      Questions to Pose
1.       How do we interpret Constitutional texts?
2.       Why does the Constitution bind us?
b.          Marbury v. Madison and Judicial Review
a.       Introduction
                                                               i.      Fundamental Importance of Marbury
1.       Nature of the Constitution—legally binding rather than political purpose only; it binds all actors in the political system
2.       Rule of Law—all actors are bound by law and must respect it including governmental officials
3.       Judicial Review—established the courts as arbitrators to determine “what is legal”; everyone is bound by what the court says
4.       Other key Principals and ideas
                                                              ii.      Setting:
1.       this happens after a really nasty election where Adams lost to Jefferson
2.       Adam’s Defeat
a.       Political acrimony
b.       Loss for the federalists
3.       all last minute activity where Secretary of St (Madison) refused to deliver papers of appointment to Marbury post election—former Secretary Marshall “forgot” to do it.
b.       Overview of case Issues
                                                               i.      Right to Commission
1.       it was signed, sealed so is delivery necessary to vest the appointment?
2.       appointment is for a term of years, which is unremovable for that time
                                                              ii.      Entitlement to Remedies because of his right to commission and failure of delivery
1.       rule of law (negative proof)
2.       Political Question
                                                            iii.      Writ of Mandamus send to supreme court
1.       mandamus was proper to deliver to the court
2.       HOWEVER the original action should never have been brought to the S.Ct. because the statute which allowed it into St court is unconstitutional
c.        Marshall’s Great Escape
                                                               i.      Marshall’s Dilemma
1.       unnecessary Legal exposure from the decision
2.       Political Vulnerability—judges were being impeached and the Federalist party was very unpopular
3.       he also wants to help his party/Federalist’s cause
                                                              ii.      The Solution
1.       Marbury has a right to the commission
2.       courts have power to order its delivery
a.       officers of the country are bound by law
b.       their status as officers does not exempt them from being bound
3.       BUT jurisdiction in the case was impropper
d.       Review of Executive Action Established
                                                               i.      Rule of Law Premise—
1.       executives are bound by law
                                                              ii.      Negative Proof (p.3-casebook)
1.       Rule of Law Required remedy for violation of rights (p.3)
2.       the US is a rule of law St
3.       THEREFORE if there is no remedy, the US is not a rule of law St
                                                            iii.      Acts of political discretion/Political Question Doctrine (p.3and4)
1.       they are distinguished from legal duties
2.       It is the nature of the acts not the status of the office, which makes it necessary
e.        SO
                                                               i.      Madison should have delivered it
                                                              ii.      Marbury had a right to it
                                                            iii.      The court can enforce it
                                                            iv.      But the statute made the case improperly filed
f.        Marshall’s Judicial Review of Legislation Argument
                                                               i.      Phrasing: “a void act of congress cannot bind the courts” (p.6)
                                                              ii.      Presentation of the Issue
1.       location–@ end
2.       phrasing—see above
                                                            iii.      Constitution as Superior Law
1.       contrary ordinary acts of legislation are void
2.       if legislation is void, it does not bind the judges
3.       so judges determine what the Constitution says
                                                            iv.      Interference from prohibitions
                                                             v.      Textual Arguments
1.       judges take an oath to obey the Constitution
2.       Supremacy Cl.
{Big Ideas w/ Text as an Afterthought}
Article 3, sec, 2, Cl. 2—this is the only appellate jurisdiction which says original jurisdiction can only be for certain cases , which is not this one.
g.        Jurisdiction Review of St Acts
                                                               i.      Only two cases where the court struck down federal law: Marbury and Dred Scott
                                                              ii.      Power of the court is more to super intend is more important than that over Sts
                                                            iii.      Sts are more vulnerable
1.       resisted federal authority over them
2.       ex. Sts nullified tariffs.
h.       Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee (W/ Cohens v. Virginia—review of St matters over federal statutes; J. Story)
                                                               i.      Why the Federal Government has authority over the Sts
1.       distrust of St mandates or they will follow Federal Law
2.       need for uniformity of interpretations of National Law—Sts don’t always agree
3.       all jurisdictions have to be vested or congress can strip courts of jurisdiction to decide certain cases {art. 3 gives Congress that authority}
c.          Constitutional Method and Reoccurring Themes
a.       Marbury as Foundation
                                                               i.      Nature of Constitutional Order
1.       constitution is superior law
2.       operation of the rule of law effects everyone
                                                              ii.      Court’s Power to determine “what law is”
1.       Executive compliance w/ law or legal duties (they get to push them around)
2.       Constitutionality of legislative acts
3.       this is extended to the Sts in Martin and Cohens
4.       developed the role of the courts in determining what the law is and what legally all people here can do in the S.Ct.’s role as ultimate arbitrator
                                                            iii.      Other ideals
1.       movement in all countries is towards more judicial review
2.       appointment of term of years exempts people from removal w/out cause by president THUS Congress can restrict the President
3.       Political Question
a.       Only check on president—all are still bound by laws even when acting in political fashion though they do not act truly politically.
b.       Article 3 and its importance
4.       the court always is deciding if it can intervene in political actions
b.       Romer v. Evans
                                                               i.      Case:
1.       CO’s Ame violated Equal Protection Cl.—pr

                                                                           iii.      are familiar w/ local conditions and thus make better decisions.
4.       When problems are local Sts would be better at handling it.
a.       Sts as laboratories of Experiment
                                                                                                                                       i.      How Sts respond to solutions
1.       gives people choices
2.       allows St to learn from each other—Darwinian vision of St policies
5.       Basis System of Federalism
a.       Enumerate Federal Powers—federal government only gets powers, which are listed in the constitution. This doesn’t in St constitutional questions because St can act w/out specific authority.
b.       Once the power is enumerated to the Federal Government, its laws will supercede any St law so that its laws will be supreme in its sphere.
                                                              ii.      McCulloch Overview
1.       considered Marshall’s greatest decision
2.       arose from a bank controversy, if government could create a federal bank, despite no enumerated power in the Constitution. Hamilton v. Jefferson.
3.       War of 1812—government realized it would help war effort if you have a bank.
                                                            iii.      Preliminary Points
1.       History of the Bank
a.       Early political decisions authoritative(they did draft the constitution—they say ok—it’s ok)
b.       Practice as Historical Gloss—meaning can be gleaned by practice over time.observations are relevant but not binding
2.       Source of Constitution
a.       From the people not the Stssets the tone
FROM THE STS                                                                                  FROM THE PEOPLE
National Government
National Government
From the people National Gov’t; could supercede the Sts.
People can circumvent the Sts and give all power to the national government
                                                            iv.      Implied Powers
1.       Granting Corporate Charters
a.       i.e. special favors, special permission to operate w/out liability
b.       it was proposed to be one of the enumerated powers, but it is conspicuously absent.
2.       Each enumerated power carries implied powers
a.       Broad reasoning/Nature of the Constitution
b.       Practical necessity of Broad Construction to effectuate its ends
3.       Necessary and proper Cl.
a.       What does it mean…necessary?
                                                                                                                                       i.      Variety of uses
                                                                                                                                      ii.      “Absolutely necessary” can be impractical—use most conducive means
                                                                                                                                    iii.      absolutely necessary not used as it was in other places
b.       Textual argument
                                                                                                                                       i.      Placement of argument was intended to be an expansion of power
                                                                                                                                      ii.      The wording it important
                                                             v.      McCulloch Test/Ends-Means Test (p.97)
1.       Ends must be legitimate w/in enumerated powers
2.       Means
a.       They must be appropriately adapted to achieve the end result
b.       They must not be inconsistent w/ the Constitution
3.       Application
a.       On the fact (omitted from the text)
b.       In general
4.       Currently (modern expansion):
a.       The test has been expanded to apply to all Federal Actions in one way or another—taxing, spending, voting, etc.
5.       Deferential—Court should respect Congress’ choice of means
6.       Ease of Application—A national bank makes sense for taxing and spending