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Constitutional Law I
University of North Carolina School of Law
Nichol, Gene R.

 
Nichol – Constitutional Law – Spring 2014
 
      I.            Scope of Federal Judicial Power
a.       Constitutional Source and Scope of Federal Judicial Power
                                                               i.      Source
1.       Article III, Section 1 à provides that the federal judicial power “shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish” (thus congress is NOT required to establish any lower courts or grant them full jurisdiction to decide all matters within federal judicial power)
                                                             ii.      Scope
1.       Article III, Section 2 à Federal courts are of limited jurisdiction
a.       Limits federal courts to cases (among others):
                                                                                                                                       i.      Arising under the Constitution, an act of Congress, or a federal treaty
                                                                                                                                     ii.      In which the US is a party
                                                                                                                                    iii.      Between a state and citizens of another state
                                                                                                                                   iv.      Between citizens of different states (diversity cases)
                                                            iii.      Types of Jurisdiction of Supreme Court
1.       Original Jurisdiction
a.       Article III  à SC has original jurisdiction over cases affecting “Ambassadors, other public ministers, and Consuls and those in which a state shall be a Party.”
                                                                                                                                       i.      Congress can neither restrict nor enlarge SC’s original jurisdiction
                                                                                                                                     ii.      Federal Courts may not gain jurisdiction by consent
                                                                                                                                    iii.      Today à SC’s original jurisdiction is mainly occupied by “controversies between two or more states”
2.       Appellate Jurisdiction
a.       Article III à SC shall have appellate jurisdiction in all other cases before mentioned with such “Exceptions and under such Regulations” as the Congress shall make
b.      Power of Judicial Review
                                                                                                                                       i.      Marbury v. Madison à established that appellate jurisdiction includes the power to hear appeals regarding the constitutionality of:
1.       Acts of branch of the federal government (Executive/Congress)
2.       State Statutes
3.       State court judgments (ONLY if they are based federal law issues and not state law issues AND there would be no adequate and independent remedy in state court)
c.       Restrictions on Appellate Jurisdiction
                                                                                                                                       i.      Constitution (Article III) à defines maximum extent of federal subject matter jurisdiction
1.       Justiciability Doctrines à further limit access to federal courts
a.       Standing
b.      Ripeness
c.       Mootness
d.      Political Question
                                                                                                                                     ii.      Congress à Can statutorily limit federal court jurisdiction
1.       Ex parte McCardle à SC interprets Article III to mean that if Congress does not directly confer appellate jurisdiction over a particular type of case, it should be assumed that SC does not have jur. for that type of case
b.      Power of Judicial Review (Marbury)
                                                               i.      Judicial Review (Definition) à the power of the SC (and federal courts) to invalidate or regard as invalid the actions of the legislative and executive branch, state statutes, and state court judgments if they collide with the US Constitution
                                                             ii.      Marbury v. Madison (Source of Judicial Review)
1.       Facts à Marbury was seeking writ of mandamus to be placed in his position as Justice of the Peace of DC
2.       Holding à SC cannot provide remedy because Judiciary Act of 1789 which gave SC jurisdiction over a case like this is unconstitutional because Congress cannot expand breadth of SC’s original jurisdiction under Article III
3.       Justice Marshall’s Logic:
a.       Judiciary has supreme power to interpret the Constitution (“It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is”)
                                                                                                                                       i.      Necessary to preserve SOP and system of checks and balances:
1.       If Congress can both write and interpret their laws – there is no check on Congress
b.      Constitution is “supreme law” and should control over all acts of Congress (when laws conflict à Constitution must trump)
c.       Constitution imposes limits on government’s powers that would be meaningless unless the Judiciary can enforce them
                                                            iii.      Authority for Judicial Review of Executive Actions (From Marbury)
1.       JR of Executive actions depends on the context:
a.       Ministerial Acts à judiciary has authority to review executive action involving individual rights and government duties
b.      Political Acts à judiciary does NOT have authority to review acts within the President’s “discretion” (the only check is the political process)
                                                           iv.      Authority for Judicial Review of Legislative Acts (From Marbury)
1.       Judiciary has authority to review legislative acts and invalidate laws that conflict with the Constitution
c.       Limitations on Judicial Power
                                                               i.      Interpretive Limitations à Question = how should the constitution be interpreted?
1.       Originalists à believe in need to limit power of unelected judges in a democratic society
a.       Believe interpretation of the Constitution should be limited to what is expressly stated or clearly implicit in the written Constitution (textual focus)
b.      Believe Constitution should ONLY evolve via amendment
2.       Non-Originalists à believe judges should have substantial discretion to interpret Const.
a.       Believe Constitution should evolve by interpretation (not only be amendment)
b.      Believe Constitutional interpretation is not bound by history, but is instead updated and adapted for each generation
                                                             ii.      Congressional Limitations
1.       Congressional Control over Federal Court Jurisdiction (Exceptions & Regulations Clause)
a.       Article III à “SC shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.”
b.      General Rule – (Ex Parte McCardle) à under “Exceptions Clause” of Article III, Congress may sometimes restrict SC’s appellate jurisdiction
c.       Two Interpretations of Exceptions Clause:
                                                                                                                                       i.      Broad Interpretation à Exceptions Clause gives Congress broad control over SC jurisdiction as a check on the judiciary’s power
                                                                                                                                     ii.      Narrow Interpretation à Exceptions Clause was only meant to restrict SC from overturning a jury’s findings of fact in state cases
d.      Separation of Powers as a Limit on Congress’ Authority to Control Courts
                                                                                                                                       i.      General Rules:
1.       Klein à Congress MAY NOT direct the decision making of SC in pending cases under an existing statute
2.       Robertson à Congress MAY make a new statute that affects jurisdiction in pending cases as long as the new statute is const.
3.       Klein à Congress MAY NOT limit appellate jurisdiction by stating that SC can only hear a case if it will rule a certain way
                                                            iii.      Justiciability Limitations à 5 Doctrines limiting matters that can be heard in federal court:
1.       (LIMITATION #1) – Prohibition on Advisory Opinions à Federal courts may NOT issue advisory opinions
a.       Two Criteria Necessary to Avoid Being an Advisory Opinion:
                                                                                                                                       i.      Must be an actual dispute between adverse litigants
                                                                                       

are patients
                                                                                                                                     ii.      (REQUIREMENT 2) à Prohibition on generalized grievances
1.       General Rule à no standing if asserted harm is a “generalized grievance” that is shared in a substantially equal measure by all or a large class of citizens
2.       Examples:
a.       No standing for taxpayer to challenge gov. spending
                                                                                                                                                                                                               i.      Narrow exception if taxpayer can prove the spending is unconstitutional
b.      No standing for a citizen to sue to force government to follow the law
                                                                                                                                    iii.      (REQUIREMENT 3) à Party must raise a claim within the zone of interests protected by the statute in question
c.       Statutory-Created Standing (COURT IS ALMOST ALWAYS EXTREMELY DEFERNTIAL TO CONGRESS WHEN THEY CREATE STATORY STANDING)
                                                                                                                                       i.      General Rule à Congress has the authority to create statutory standing in parties that would not meet the traditional standing requirements – if this is the case, question becomes does the statute give the particular P in question standing?
1.       (ONLY EXCEPTION) Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife à court denied standing to wildlife organizations despite a statute stating that “any person may commence a civil suit on his own behalf to enjoin any person/agency … who is alleged to be in violation of any provision of [the Endangered Species Act].”
a.       Probably just because this statute attempted to flat out do away with standing requirement by saying anybody has standing – COURT IS JUST SAYING THERE MUST BE SOME LIMITATIONS ON CONGRESS’ RIGHTS TO CREATE STATUTORY STANDING
3.       (LIMITATION #3) – Ripeness à separates matters that are premature for review from those that are appropriate for federal court review – because the injury is merely speculative and is not yet actual
a.       In order to satisfy RIPENESS requirement à there must either have already been actual harm OR an immediate, specific threat of harm must exist
b.      2 considerations:
                                                                                                                                       i.      Hardship of the parties of withholding court consideration
                                                                                                                                     ii.      Fitness of the issue for judicial decision
4.       (LIMITATION #4) – Mootness à a personal interest and injury must exist when the suit is filed (to satisfy standing requirements) and must continue through the litigation (mootness) à if the case/harm would be resolved before the litigation would conclude, the case is moot
a.       General Rule: A case is moot and cannot be heard if it raised from a live controversy at the time the complaint was filed, but events occurring after the filing have deprived the litigant of an ongoing stake in the controversy
                                                                                                                                       i.      DeFunis v. Odegaard à SC denies for reason of mootness a case involving a P who sued D (state law school) claiming that admission policy was racially discriminatory but was allowed to attend the law school during the lawsuit – by the time it reached SC, P is 3rd year and will be allowed to graduate regardless