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Constitutional Law I
University of Toledo School of Law
Zeitlow, Rebecca E.

Federal Judicial Power

Source of power – Article III section 1: the judicial power of the united states shall be vested in one supreme court and in such inferior courts as the congress may from time to time ordain and establish

Subject matter limits – Article III section 2 limits the jurisdiction of the supreme court to

i. Cases arising under the constitution, laws of the united state and treaties
ii. Cases affecting ambassadors, public minister and consuls
iii. Cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction
iv. Controversies to which the united states shall be a party
v. Controversies between two or more states
vi. Cases between a state and citizens of another state, and
vii. Cases between citizens of different states

Case or controversy – federal judiciary powers are extended to all cases and controversies arising under the constitution

Judicial power and other branches

Judicial review – the most fundamental protection afforded by the doctrine of SoP is the power of the courts to review legislation and executive acts to determine their constitutionality, and to preserve constitutional rights from obliteration by the majority
Power over executive

i. No immunity for any office – all are subject to mandamus and injunction
ii. Political discretion – court will not order acts that are within political discretion

Congressional control over judiciary

Congress must grant jurisdiction in the positive – Article III: the supreme court has appellate jurisdiction as to law and fact subject to exceptions made by congress

i. McCardle: congress can take jurisdiction away

Exceptions to congress’ power to control jurisdiction

i. Congress can’t strip legal principles or exercise judicial power
ii. Constitutional limits: cannot violate other constitution provisions

US Supreme Court – jurisdiction stripping

i. Original jurisdiction: supreme court has jurisdiction in all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls and those in which a state shall be a party
1. in all other cases the supreme court will have appellate jurisdiction
ii. Essential functions argument:
iii. Practice problems
1. Freeze SCT precedent
2. lack of uniformity in lower court decisions

Lower federal courts – jurisdiction stripping

i. Even fewer federal li

Constitutional requirements – based on Article III, the court in some cases will lack the power to hear the case. This cannot be overridden by legislation

i. Elements – party bringing suit must show that it has
1. suffered an injury in fact,
2. which has caused by the complained of conduct, and
3. that a favorable judicial ruling would redress that harm
ii. Actual injury – an invasion of a legally protected interest which is concrete and particularized and actual or imminent rather than conjectural or hypothetical
1. “Injury-in-fact” requirement – persons are required to show that they have in fact been injured in order to have standing to challenge the validity of laws that apply to them. 88 f3d 1280
2. No taxpayer standing – the fact that one pays taxes does not afford him standing in the absence of actual injury
Exception: challenge congressional spending when the allegation is that the spending violates the establishment clause (in support of religion)