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Constitutional Law

Updated 2009-09-30 04:06

Case Issues

Question Answer
Marbury v. MadisonDoes petitioner have a right to the commission?
Marbury v. MadisonIf he has a right, is there a remedy at law to realize it?
Marbury v. MadisonIf there is a remedy, is it one that can be issued from the Supreme Court?
Ex parte McCardleIf appellate jurisdiction is derived from the Constitution, can Congress pass a law to limit appellate jurisdiction?
Hamdan v. RumsfeldDoes the Court have jurisdiction to hear apppeals from Guantanamo detainees?
Hamdan v. RumsfeldDid the president act legally in establishing the military commissions?
Hamdan v RumsfeldWere the procedures followed by the military commissions in violation of either the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) or the Geneva Conventions?
Hamdan v RumsfeldIs conspiracy an offense legally triable by a military commission?
Baker v. CarrIs legislative reapportionment a political question and therefore non-justiciable?
Nixon v. USDos the Impeachment review constitute a nonjusticiable political question?
Flast v. CohenDoes a taxpayer have standing to sue the government to prevent an unconstitutional use of taxpayer funds.
McCulloch v. MarylandWhether or not Congress has power to establish a national bank?
McCulloch v. MarylandDid the state exceed its powers in seeking to tax a federal entity?
Scott v. SandfordIs Dred Scott citizen or slave?
Scott v. SandfordDoes the Supreme Court have jurisdiction over the case?
US v. DarbyCan Congress set regulations to minimum wage and overtime pay in pursuant to interstate commerce or in violation of the 10th amendment?
National League of Cities v. UseryCan Congress regulate working conditions under the Commerce Clause, or does the 10th Amendment bar it?
Hammer v. DagenhartDoes Congress have the authority to regulate child labor pursuant to the interstate commerce clause?
Martin v. Hunter's LesseeDoes Congress have the power to expand the Supreme Court appellate jurisdiction?
Eakin v. RaubShould state laws be voided by court decisions?

Case Facts

Question Answer
Marbury v. MadisonPresident Adam's appointments were not delivered by Sec. of State John Marshall. James Madison, under orders from newly elected President Jefferson, refused to deliver at least 5 commissions. William Marbury and 3 others petitioned Supreme Court to issue a "writ of mandamus" (command public official to do their job) Sec. 13 of 1789 Judiciary Act gives the court the power to issue writs of mandamus.
Ex parte McCardleAfter civil war, radical republican congress enacts reconstruction laws. A journalist publishes articles that oppose the reconstruction laws. He is arrested for publishing allegedly libelous articles and petitions for a writ of habeas corpus. Congress enacts laws to repeal 1867 Habeas Corpus Act.
Hamdan v. RumsfeldBin Laden's former driver, a detainee at Guantanamo Bay, tries to stop the proceedings (charged with cnosiparcy to commit offenses triable by a military commission) before the military commission by filing for a writ of habeas corpus in a federal district court.
Baker v. CarrStates were under no federal mandate to reapportion because of Colgrove decision. Citizens and organizations wanted to force legislatures to reapportion but could not do so under the guarantee clause so they tried to 14th amendment equal protection clause.
Nixon v. USFederal District Judge was convicted of a felony. House of Reps voted for impeachment and went to senate for trial. A senate committee heard the evidence and reported findings. The district judge challenged the committee rule on the grounds that it violated impeachment clause of the constitution.
Flast v. CohenElementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 allowed states to apply to the fed government for grants to assist in education of low-income families. Some of the funds disbursed from the act were used to finance textbooks in both religious and sectarian schools, violating the First Amendment.
McCulloch v. MarylandCongress established a national bank. Maryland, who didn't like the bank, passed a law that taxed the special paper the national bank must use. A cashier in the national bank refused to pay the tax.
Scott v. SandfordA slave was taken to a free state to live for a while by his owner. They eventually returned to a slave state. The slave sues his owner's widow for his freedom.
Eakin v. RaubJustice John Gibson, Pennsylvania State Supreme Court, challenges Marshall's ruling in Marbury v. Madison
National League of Cities v. Usery
US v. Darby
Hammer v. DagenhartCongress wanted to regulate child labor by banning products of that labor from interstate commerce. Under the new law, children between ages of 14-16 couldn't work more than 8 hrs/day, overnight or more than 6 days a week. A man whose children would not be able to work anymore argued the law was unconstitutiona.
Martin v. Hunter's LesseeVirgina confiscated land from British Martin because of a VA law that specified no enemy could inherit land. Martin began selling tracts of the land resulting in a suit contesting the title.

Case Decision/Reasoning

Question Answer
Marbury v. MadisonEstablishes Judicial Review. He has a right to the commission, he is entitled to a remedy, but cannot be issued by Supreme Court because Sect. 13 of 1789 Judiciary Act sought to expand the original jurisdiction, which cannot be done. The constitution is the supreme law of the land.
Ex party McCardleCongress can amend appellate jurisdiction, not original jurisdiction. The court had no jurisdiction in the case because Congress rescinded the court's appellate jurisdiction.
Hammer v. DagenhartThe law is void and unconstitutional because it would expand the commerce clause and take over states rights.
US v. DarbyCongress has constitutional power to regulate commerce. They argued that the purpose of FLSA was to prevent states from using substandard labor practices for economic advantage.
National Leave of Cities v. UseryCongress cannot exercise its power so as to impair on the state's integrity or their ability to function effectively. Compensation of state employees should be seperate and independent from Congress' power to regulate business commerce.
Martin v. Hunter's LesseeCongress has the authority to give court appellate jurisdiction. There is no clause in the Constitution that restrains or limits appellate jurisdiction.
Eakin v. RaubLegislature has every right as judiciary to put construction on constitution. Interpretation and support of Constitution is responsibility of every officer of government.
Hamdan v. RumsfeldDetainee Treatment Act of 2005 doesn't explicitly discuss the jurisdiction over pending cases in court.
Baker v. CarrNo, it is not a political question and therefore justiciable. established the 6 factor test to determine political questions.
Nixon v. USThe claim is not justiciable because the constitution commits sole power to the senate, and legislatures only check is on the judiciary is by impeachment.
Flast v. CohenThe taxpayers have standing because it meets both critera in the two-prong test: Logical connection between taxpayer status and the claim; the law violates some type of constitutional limitation of Congress
McCulloch v. MarylandMarshall shares opinion of the court. As long as what Congress does is rationally related to a Constitutional objective, the means itself is Constitutional. There are express powers in the taxing/spending clause "elastic clause", States cannot tax because acts upon institutions created by people whom they claim no control over.
Scott v. SandfordThe court lacks jurisdiction because blacks cannot be citizens of the US. The Constitution means only the territories that were there during the time of the adoption, which was the framers intent.


Question Answer
Clark's concurring decision (Baker v Carr)There is a problem and the democratic process has failed, no other routes have worked.
6 factor testDoes the constitution text commit the issue to another branch of government?, Are there judicially discoverable and manageable standards for revolving the question?, would it embarrass the gov if diff branches have diff views?
Advisory opinionsCourt cannot answer hypotheticals. Need an actual dispute. Court does give other indirect advice (lobby congress, opinion)
Collusive SuitsLitigants want the same outcome, no real adversity, merely testing the law
StandingThe person bringing the suit has to have a significant stake in the claim, they have to have been affected in some way in order to offer the best arguments before the Court.
MootnessThe issue has already been resolved before being heard by the court. Exceptions: issue capable of repetition (pregnancy) or defendant voluntarily ceases conduct.
RipenessCase brought too early
Political Questionan issue that is not amenable to a judicial resolution
Holmes' Dissent (Hammer)Congress can advance commerce clause, if it hurts states rights then that is an indirect effect.
Appeal as a matter of rightissues Congress has deemed so important that a ruling by Supreme Court is necessary
CertificationAny federal court of appeals judge can file a writ of certification to clarify the law
CertiorariTo be made more certain
Rule of Fournumber of justices it takes to decide to review the case
Rule 102 appellate courts disagree, disagreement w/ lower decision, importance, political prudence
Judiciary Act of 1789established lower federal courts
Amicus Curiae brieffriend of the court, used to draw the justice's attention

Decision Making

Question Answer
Original Intent/Understandinglooked to intent of framers to reach conclusions about the disputes before them
Textualismlook to constitutional text for answers
Polls of other Jurisdictionsprobe English traditions, or early colonial/state practices to determine how public officials interpreted similar words or phrases of the constitution
Logical Reasoningreasoned analysis
Stare Decisis"let the decision stand", justices should decide based on previously established precedent.
Cost-Benefit Analysislooking ahead to consequences
Judicial Attitudesimportance of judicial ideologies
Judicial Roleidea of what a good judge/court should be
Strategic approachesrealize their ability to achieve goals depends on other relevant actors
External factorspublic opinion, partisan politics, and interest groups


Question Answer
Luther v. BordenRI citizens wanted to change voting requirements or hold a convention to write a constitution because it was still operating under royal Charter. Government rejected the proposals, so citizens wrote own constitution and created their own government. Luther sued on the basis that RI charter violated the guarantee clause. CJ Taney held that court could not answer political questions
Colegrove v. GreenFailure to reapportion legislative districts deprived voters of their right to a republican form of government (Art 4:Guarantee Clause). The Court ruled that it cannot answer political questions
Frothingham v. MellonTaxpayer did not want to see her tax dollars spent on program to reduce infant mortality rates. Court ruled that she did not have standing to bring litigation.
Strader v. GrahamSlaves taken from Kentucky to Ohio and back to Kentucky. Status of slave depended on state they were brought back to. Court ruled they had no jurisdiction.

The Constitution

Question Answer
Article 4Guarantee Clause "The US shall guarantee to every state in the Union a Republican Form of government"
Article 1, Section 8express powers to national government, taxing and spending clause
10 Amendmentreserved power to states
Article 2executive
Article 3judiciary