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Constitutional Law I
Villanova University School of Law
Lanctot, Catherine J.

 
Con Law I Lanctot Spring 2015
Dormant Commerce Clause – states restricted from discriminating against, or unduly burdening, interstate commerce.
Due Process Clause – 14th Amendment
–          Substantive due process – limits the “substantive” power of the government to regulate certain areas of human life (i.e. child-bearing)
–          Procedural due process – imposes certain “procedural” requirements on government when it takes an individual’s “life, liberty or property”
Equal Protection Clause – 14th Amendment
–          Prevents government from making certain types of “classifications,” mainly ones that unfairly treat similarly-situated people differently.
Standards of review:
–          Rational basis – court will uphold the governmental action as long as:
o   1) There is a legitimate government objective
§  Normally health, safety, or “general welfare”
o   2) The statute is rationally related to the legitimate government objective
o   Presumption that statutes and other government actions are valid
o   Challenger has burden of persuasion
–          Strict scrutiny:
o   1) Must show a “compelling state interest”
o   2) The means chosen must be narrowly tailored
o   Presumption that statutes and government action is invalid
o   Government has burden of persuasion
 
I.                   Constitutional Structure
Marbury v. Madison – Judicial review à if conflict between constitutional provision and a congressional statute, the Court has the authority to declare the statute unconstitutional and refuse to enforce it.
–          Checks: Amendments, Appointments, Impeachments
Exceptions Clause – Art. III §2
–          In all cases not falling within the Supreme Court’s original Jurisdiction, the Supreme Court shall have “appellate Jurisdiction both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.”
Ex parte McCardle – If Supreme Court loses jurisdiction because Congress repeals part of an act before a decision is handed down, the Supreme Court cannot “inquire into the motives of the legislature”
–          Congress has authority to withdraw appellate jurisdiction of Supreme Court any time before judgment is entered
o   Appellate jurisdiction is conferred with such exceptions and under such regulations as Congress shall make.
Klein – Congress can change substance and procedural law but CANNOT direct the Court on how to decide
–          Congress cannot decide the merits of a case under the guise of limiting jurisdiction
–          Here, Congress’ statute was unconstitutional because it manipulated the rules to effect how the Court decides a case à violated separation of powers and invaded judicial function
 
II.                Federal Legislative Power
Limited, enumerated powers à three branches can only assert those powers specifically granted by the Constitution
State governments – “inherent” powers à general “police power” to protect the health, safety or general welfare of state residents
Federal action – 1) only those enumerated and 2) must not violate any particular limitation on federal power given in the Constitution
–          No general police power
–          Art. I § 8 – tax, provide defense, regulate commerce, declare war, make laws which shall be necessary and proper
McCulloch v. Maryland – doctrine of “implied powers” à federal government may validly exercise power that is incidental to the carrying out of one of the constitutionally-enumerated powers (as long as it does not conflict with specific constitutional prohibitions)
–          “We must never forget that it is a Constitution we are expounding.”
–          Necessary and proper clause served as justification
o   “Necessary” – all means which are appropriate, which are plainly adapted to that end, which are not prohibited
o   Means must be at least rationally related to a constitutionally specified object
Comstock – Congress is given “large discretion” in choosing the particular means to carry out a given enumerated power.
–          “Broad authority to enact federal legislation” (citing McCulloch)
–          Reaffirms McCulloch – see whether the statute constitutes a means that is rationally related to the implementation of a constitutionally enumerated power
 
COMMERCE CLAUSE
Gibbons v. Ogden – no area of interstate commerce is reserved for state control à power is vested in Congress, “complete in itself”
–          Commerce = all “commercial intercourse” (including navigation) à may affect “intrastate matters” so long as the activity had some commercial connection with another state
–          Concept of dua

   Congress’ findings are weakened because they relied too heavily on what was already rejected (piling inference upon inference)
Raich (aggregation principle marijuana for medical purposes) – Congress can regulate purely intrastate activity that is not itself commercial if it concludes that failure to regulate that class of activity would undercut the regulation of the interstate market in that commodity
–          Similar to Wickard aggregation principle
o   “Fungible commodity for which there is an established, albeit illegal, interstate market”
–          “quintessentially economic” à unlike Lopez and Morrison à CSA regulated production, distribution, and consumption of commodities for which there was an established, and lucrative, interstate market
o   One of many “essential part[s] of a larger regulation of economic activity.”
–          Congress had a “rational basis for concluding that leaving home-consumed marijuana outside federal control would similarly affect price and market conditions.”
Sebelius (health insurance or pay penalty) – Congress may not use its Commerce Power to “compel individuals to become active members in commerce by purchasing a product,” even if the individuals’ combined failure to do significantly affects interstate commerce.
–          Held à unconstitutional under commerce power
o   If the individual mandate is targeted at a class, it is a class whose commercial inactivity rather than activity is a defining feature
§  There must be commercial activity à cannot force activity
o   Cannot compel individuals not engaged in commerce to purchase an unwanted product
–          Broccoli argument – (slippery slope) if Congress could force people to buy health insurance because lack of widespread health insurance, they could force everyone to buy broccoli to fight obesity problems and associated health costs