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Constitutional Law I
West Virginia University School of Law
McLaughlin, James A.

Constitutional Law Outline
Chapter 1 – The Nature and Sources of the Supreme Court’s Authority
I. Judicial Review – General Information
Judicial Review – review of the actions of other government issues by the judiciary
3 Layers of Judicial review:
1)      Do the courts have the power to second guess the judgments of the other branches of gov.
2)      Assuming Judicial Review, should it be EXERCISED in a particular case
3)      What should be the STANDARD OF REVIEW
Issues of Adjudications:
1.      political question: non-justiciable
a.       Separation of powers: committed by the constitution to other branches
b.      Prudential concerns: unwise if not unconstitutional to decide the case
2.      standing: significant stake in controversy to merit his being the one to litigate.
a.       What kind of interests in the outcome of the controversy are sufficient
3.      ripeness and mootness
a.       Mootness: events occurring after the complaint if filed have deprived the litigant of an on-going stake in the controversy
b.      Ripeness: not yet become sufficiently concrete to be worthy of adjudication
4.      abstention doctrine – all prudential
first 3 – constitutional and prudential
History of Marbury v. Madison:
Big political partisan struggle between Adam’s federalism and Jeffersonian republicans
Before Adam’s term ended federalists tried to load the judiciary with federalism
p. 3 Marbury v. Madison 1 Cranch (5 U.S.) 137 (1803)
Facts: Marbury sued Madison for a writ of mandamus from the Supreme Court in order to get his commission to be a justice of the peace for DC. The commission was signed and sealed but never delivered before President Adams left office. Jefferson refused to deliver the commission.
1st — Does Marbury have a right to the commission?
2nd — Do the laws afford him a remedy?
3rd — Is a mandamus from the Su

P. 26 Cooper v. Aaron – dealt with desegregation of Ark. High school who believed that because they were not a party to Brown they didn’t have to follow the desegregation order
Held that states are bound to enforce court orders even if they were not a party to the original cases; backed up by federal statutes
P. 29 Dickerson v. U.S. – can’t overturn a court decision on the constitution with a statute; must be a constitutional amendment
            ► Dickerson and Cooper stand for the proposition that neither the congress nor the states can act to overturn a decision of the supreme court on an issue of constitutional law
II. Political Questions
Political question – mainly deals with separation of powers, not federalism (as in this case)