Constitutional Law

  1. Constitutional requirements for standing
    • Injury in fact - Plaintiff must have been or iminently will suffer an injury that is concrete and particularlized
    • Causation - must be a traceable link between the complained conduct of the defendant and the injury
    • Redressibility - a favorable court decision will cure the injury the party has asserted
  2. Prudential requirements for standing
    • May be waived by Congress or the Supreme Court:
    • Prohibition on 3rd party claims
    • Exceptions:
    • A very cose relationship with the party whose rights are being asserted (doctor/patient), and injuries are sufficiently alligned; or /and
    • There are genuine obstacles that keep the injured party from suing on his own behalf (representing parties who don't have access to the market)
    • Prohibition on generalized grievances - a greivances as a citizen or a taxpayer concerned witht the government follwing the law
    • Exceptions:
    • Challanges of Congressional legislature violating the Establishment clause advancing religion. Taxpayer must show that:
    • 1. The legislature was enacted under the T/S power (this establishes a link between the taxpayer and the legislation being attacked)
    • 2. Must show that the challanged enactment exceeds the constitutional limits of the T/S power (advancing religion)
    • 3. Only applies to suits against Congress, no standing to sut agains the executive branch, since the actions are funded by general appropriations and not T/S power
  3. What is the justification for the Political Question doctrine?
    Supreme Court has held that some issues are better left to the political branches to interpret and enforce, the primary justifiaction is the importance of seperation of powers.
  4. What issues are considered non-justiciable under the Political Questions doctrine?
    • 1. Impossible to resolve without the need to make an intial policy determination calling for non-judicial discretion (cause the Court to move beyond an area of judicial expertise)
    • 2. Issues have been historically managed by other government branchs (committed by the text of the Constitution to a coordinate branch of government)
    • 3. Impossible to resolve without expressing a lack of respect for other branches of government
    • 4. Need for unquestioning adherance to a political decision already made
    • 5. Lack of judicially discoverable standards for resolving the issue
    • 6. Potential embarrassment may result from a variety of pronouncemetnts by different branches of government

    Neumonic device PHRASE

    • Also:
    • 1. Malapportionment - not justiciable under the Guarantee clause, but could be under the Equal Protection clause
    • 2. Politcial Gerrymandering - lack of managable and discoverable standards, this doesn't apply to racial gerrymandering
    • 4. Congressional self-government - Congress may govern itself internally w/o the inference of the courts unless it involves a textual commitment to a Constitutional provision
    • 5. Foreign Policy
    • 6. Impeachment and removal
  5. What are the 3 standards of Judicial review?
    • 1. Strict Scrutiny (applies to fundamental rights and when state's are found to have discriminating legislature)
    • a. State must show a compelling interest
    • b. That is narrowly tailored to the governemt's interest and the government must show that it is using the least restrictive means necessary to achieve the end
    • 2. Rational Basis (applies to non-fundamental rights and legislation passed by Congress under the Commerce Clause) - only mere rationality is required:
    • a. Legitmate state interest - very broad, almost any type of health, safety, or general welfare goal will be upheld
    • b. Rational relation - minimal rational relationship between the means chose and the government's objective, only will fail this test if found to be completely arbitrary
    • 3. Interest Balancing - (used for laws challagned under the Dormant Commerce Clause that are non-discriminatory) somewhere between S/S and RBR, government must show
    • a. Important government interest - balance the government interest against the competing interests it infringes on and the existence of any less restrictive alternative - the interest is mininal and the burden is great the law will likely not be upheld and no need to consider part b
    • b. Substainally related means - how close are the means of acheiving the interest related to the government's interest
  6. What type of powers does Congress possess?
    • Enumerated powers - expressed in the text and structure of the Constituion
    • Implied powers - given to Congress under the Necessary and Proper clause which gives Congress the expansive power to create any laws necessary and proper to execute its enumerated powers
    • Inherent powers - not enumerated or implied within the text of the Constitution but inherent in the idea of Federal governement - mostly over foreign affairs
  7. What is the signifigance of Marbury v. Madison?
    • Marbury v. Madison holds 3 major principles:
    • 1. The Court has the authority to review federal executive acts. If the President acts in a way that effect individual rights, and an individual is who's right's are effected is injured, it is the duty of the federal judiciary to provide a forum for the individual to seek a remedy.
    • 2. The Court has the authority to review legislative acts. It is the duty of the judicial branch to say what the law is. Those who apply the law must also interpret and expound the rule. If two laws conflict, the Court must decide on the operation of each. The authority to decide if a law is Constitutional give an implied authority to determine whether a law is unconstitutional.
    • 3. Article III is the ceiling of federal Court jursidiction. Congress cannot expand the scope of this jurisdiction.
  8. What are the limits to Congress's Commerce power to regulate interstate commerce amongst the states?
    • Internal limits:
    • 1. The scope of interstate commerce
    • 2. Rational basis review standard: legitmate government interest and means chosen to achieve that interest are reasonable related to the end

    • External limits:
    • 1. Necessary and Proper clause
    • 2. 10th Amendment
    • 3. Other provisions of the Constitution
  9. How has the Court defined Congress' Necessary and Proper power under Art. 1, §8?
    Broadly. This is based on the clauses placement in the Constitution, it is listed with the clauses that expand Congress' power, not limit it. Congress may use the N/P clasuse to make laws necessary and proper to execute its enumerated powers, as long is end is legitimate and within the scope Constitution. Any means that are appropriately adapted to that end are not prohibited by the Constitution.
  10. What is the scope of Congress' §5 power to enforce under the 14th amendment?
    • it is only the Court's role to determine the right's protected by the Constitution.
    • Congress can only use its enforcement power to enact laws that remedy or prevent violations of Court determined rights.
    • There must be a congruant and proportional relationship between the injury being prevented and the means adopted to that end.
    • Congress' §5 enforcement power is more narrow than its N/P power of Art. 1, §8.
  11. What power does Congress have under the 13th Amendment?
    Congress may use the 13th Amendment to regulate private condut only to ensure an end to slavery, not to eliminate discrimination. However, the Court has given Congress the discretion to determine what the badges and incidents of slavery are, and the authority to translate that determination to legislation.
  12. What is the Dormant (negative) Commerce Clause?
    The principle that state and local laws are unconstitutional if they place an undue burden on interstate commerce. There is no Constitutional provision for this, the Court has inferred it from the Commerce Clause of Article 1, §8.
  13. What is the needed for Congress to delegate its decision making authority?
    • The Court has deemed that Congress may delegate its legislative powers to agencies when accompanied by an intelligible principle. This requires Congress to make its initial descions as to what its goals and requirements are, and the agency may develop the standards and rules to enforce that principle.
    • EXAMPLE: Congress makes an initial determination as to what clean air is, then the agency uses this goal as its intelligible principle to regulate.
  14. What is the modern definition of Commerce under Congress' Commerce power in Article 1, §8?
    • 1. Channels of interstate commerce (highways, rivers and waterways, and railroads)
    • 2. Instrumentalities of interstate commerce (planes, trains, and automobiles)
    • 3. Activity having a substantial effect on interstate commerce:
    • Consider whether the activity is economic in nature?
    • Is it commercial or non-commercial?
    • What are the aggregate effects on interstate commerce?
    • Does it regulate an entire subject matter (DEA)?
    • Would failure to regulate the commodity undercut the interstate market?
    • Are legislative findings available (the Court has found they are helpful but not really necessary)?
    • Is the regulation allowing Congress to have something too close to a police power (regulating non-economic violent crimes)?
    • Is it an area traditionally left for state regulations (better controlled by state's police powers?
    • Is there a jurisdictional element that links the law to interstate commerce?
    • After determining that activity has a substanital effect on interstate commerce, the legislation only needs to meet the rational basis review standard.
Card Set
Constitutional Law
Article I, II, III, 10th Amendment, Federalism, Due Process