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Constitution Class Court Cases
Terms in this set (83)
McCulloch v. Maryland
The Marshall Court and the rise of national supremacy:
Congress established 2nd federal bank-- Maryland tries to tax it
Can Congress create national bank? Can States tax national bank?
Court agrees with Hamilton-- Allows banks-- Doesn't allow taxation
Articles of Confederation says "no implied powers"
The federal power came through the people
3 constitutional provisions: necessary and proper clause, supremacy clause, 10th amendment
Dual federalism would have had states having the only banks
Power to tax is the power to destroy -- can be abusive
The Framers And Federalism
The word Federalism doesn't appear in Constitution
Framers had a some general vision of the sort of govt. they wanted -- or didn't want
They rejected a unitary system as wholly incompatible with basic values and traditions already existing within the states
They also rejected a confederation in which power would reside solely in states -- Articles of Confederation sucked after all
wrote into constitution a elaborate allocation of powers
Constitutional Allocation of Powers
The different levels of government have some exclusive and some concurrent powers but they are also prohibited from operating in certain spheres
Always a debate if it meant relationship between the people and national government, and that the people empower the national government
Others argue it meant a contract between the states and the national govt. where states create national govt.
Powers Exclusive to National Government
Coin Money, Regulate Interstate/Foreign Commerce, Tax imports, Make treaties, make all laws "necessary and proper", make war, regulate postal system
Powers Exclusive to state governments:
Run elections, regulate intrastate commerce, establish republican forms of state and local governments, protect public health, safety, and morals
All powers not delegated to the national government or denied to the states by the Constitution
Concurrent Powers to both Federal and State Governments
Tax, borrow money, establish courts, charter banks and corporations, make and enforce laws, take property (power of eminent domain)
Expressly prohibited to the National Government
Tax Exports< Change state boundaries
Expressly Prohibited to state government
Tax imports and exports, coin money, enter into treaties, impair obligation of contracts
Expressly prohibited to both federal and state governments
pass bills of attainder, pass ex post facto laws, grant titles of nobility, impose religious tests, pass laws in conflict with the Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments
Necessary and Proper Clause
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 18
Congress has the power "To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution its powers ad all other powers vested by this constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof"
Jefferson was more of a constructionist, strict reading of constitution
Hamilton thought that they could do whatever they wanted unless constitution said it couldn't
Article 2, Section 2
"This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made under the Authority of the United States which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and judges in every state shall be bound thereby, and Thing in the Constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding"
Concerns about the inability of Congress to carry out its duties
Madison wanted Congress to be able to veto state legislation to avoid free riding
The Compromise was the Supremacy Clause
The 10th Amendment
Powers reserved to states
"The powers not delegated to the united States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
The 11th Amendment
State courts real with state citizens
In reaction to Chisholm v. Georgia
State Sovereign immunity
Restricted power of the federal courts to hear disputes brought against a state by the citizens of another state or by citizens of other nations
Some Courts also worked to limit exceptions to the 11th Amendment an to advance "new judicial federalism"
Advocates of states' rights argue that Constitution represents an agreement between the states and the federal government in which the states empower the central government and that, therefore states are not subservient to the federal government
Dual federalists invoke the 10th amendment, arguing that it creates an "enclave" of states' rights that Congress may not invade--especially if Congress encroaches on a traditional state function
Proponents argue that the people, not the states, created and animated the federal government
This view holds that the supremacy clause and the necessary and proper clause, not the 10th amendment, control the balance of power between the federal government and the states
10 amendment, according to cooperative federalism, grants no additional powers to the states -- it serves only to emphasize that the federal government is limited to the powers the Constitution assigns to it
As long as Congress bases the law on an enumerated power (or implied), the law passes constitutional muster -- 10th amendment creates no bar
The Doctrinal Cycle of Nation-State Relations -- General Trends
The history of nation-state relations issues before the Supreme Court has been characterized by swings back and forth between variants of cooperative federalism and dual federalism
Marshal Court (1801-1835): Cooperative federalism (as long as Congress can ground a law in its enumerated or implied powers, the 10th amendment does not serve as a bar)
Taney Court (1835-64): Dual Federalism (states' rights)
Civil War/Reconstruction Courts (1865-95): Cooperative Federalism
Laissez-faire Courts (1896-1936): Dual Federalism (grounded in laissez-faire philosophy)
Post-New Deal Courts (1937-75): Cooperative federalism
Burger Court: National League of Cities v. Usery (1976): Dual federalism (traditional state functions)
Burger Court: Garcia v. SAMTA (1985): Cooperative federalism (the electoral process serves as a check on Congress)
Burger and Rehnquist Courts (1969-2005) New Judicial Federalism
Rehnquist Court )1986-2005): Limited deal federalism, a milder form of dual federalism (states cannot be treated as administrative units of federal government)
Roberts Court (2005-): Yet to be determined -- some indication it will continue Rehnquist approach
The Marshall Court and the Rise of National Supremacy (Cooperative)
John Marshall was a strong federalist
In case after case (in particular, Cohens v. Virginia, 1821), he was more than willing to elevate the powers of the federal government above those of the states -- even when he knew that some states were questioning the authority of the Court or failing to respect its decisions
Used McCulloch to send a statement of national power over the states
Its strength les in marshall's treatment of the three relevant constitutional provisions: the necessary and proper clause, 10th amendment, and the supremacy clause
The Taney Court and the (Re)emergence of States' Rights (Dual)
After Congress passed a tariff act that the south thought unfairly burdensome, South Carolina adopted an ordinance that nullified the federal law -- they threatened to use military force and succeed from union to uphold this nullification. Andrew Jackson warned states that they couldn't succeed. Marshall then dies and Taney becomes Chief Justice -- a Jacksonian Democrat. It was at this critical moment that the Taney Court interceded in both issues -- slavery and federal supremacy -- by planting its feet firmly in the states' rights camp (Scott. v. Sanford)
Embedded in Taney's holdings is a strong commitment to dual federalsim. Taney believed the 10th amendment was a brake on the federal government. This helped cause the civil
Scott v. Sandford
The Taney Court and the (re)emergence of states' rights:
State vs. National citizen -- if you aren't U.S. citizen you don't have the rights, including suing in federal courts
Missouri Compromise: Taney found it unconstitutional and that Congress had no right to regulate slavery in territories
Curtis points out there were free African Americans at time of Constitution
Scott was still a slave for the following reasons:
Although Scott could become a legal citizen of a state, he could not be considered, in a legal sense, to be a citizen of the United States -- as a result Scott could not sue in federal courts
Congress had no constitutional power to regulate slavery in the territories (court strikes down Missouri Compromise), the Constitution protects the right to property, a category that according to Taney included slaves
The status of slaves depend on the law of the state to which they voluntarily returned, regardless of where they had been
This ruling is a strong commitment to dual federalism -- viewed 10th amendment as a brake on the federal government
Dual Federalism and Laissez-Faie Economics
Dual federalism resurfaced in a somewhat different form in the courts from the 1890s to the 1930s. The Court seemed less concerned with states' rights than with invalidating regulations on business and the economy. A lot of commerce clause cases because of Congress trying to assert federal power over states occurred. The Court during this period sided with the states, determining these cases to be about intrastate commerce not interstate. They felt it was up to the states to determine and regulate these affairs. Not the same as Taney's dual federalism. The Court was concerned about the prohibition of any state or federal interference with the growth of the nation's booming private sector economy. They used the 10th amendment as a vehicle to strike down federal regulation of business coupled with a narrowed interpretation of Congress's commerce power. At the same time, the Court limited the ability of states to pass similar legislation because that would restrict liberties. Dual federalism and the 10th amendment was just a ask for laissez-faire philosophy.
The (Re)emergence of National Supremacy: Cooperative
Amid increasing pressure for change, including President Franklin Roosevelt's Court-acking scheme, came the famous "switch in time that saved the nine" and with it the demise of broad interpretations of the 10th Amendment. United States v. Darby (1941) -- modern day statement of Congress's power under the commerce clause. Government took a cooperative approach to interpretation the 10th amendment. It merely reserves to the states "the powers not delegated to the United states" -- is it not a limitation upon the exercise of the powers delegated to the federal government is confirmed by the "history of its adoption." The 10th amendment adds nothing to the Constitution.
The various levels of government shared policy-making responsibilities. National government took lead in formulating policy goals, which it expected state and local officials to implement.
Return of a milder form of dualism
Reagan also would have applauded efforts by subsequent Courts to provide additional protection to the states. Court makeup changed leaning more towards states' rights. Court had to decide if federal government could command states to carry out federal policy -- the Court decided no it can not force states to comply. The federal government may provide incentives for states to comply, but the federal government can't force a state to comply. When a problem is "uniquely governmental" as is the disposal of radioactive waste, the 10th Amendment prohibits Congress from compelling the states to act, from "commandeering state legislatures." States are also not merely administrative units of the federal government as seen by the Printz case. This Court is different than Taney Court though. The majority sought to remind us that the under the US constitutional system the states retain significant independent sovereignty Congress may achieve is goals by cooperating with the states or by providing incentives to encourage states to participate in the administration of federally established policies -- but central govt. can't force states to do anything.
New York v. United States
Milder Dual Federalism
Low-Level Radioactive Waste Policy Act -- made it the responsibility of each state to deal with the disposal of its radioactive waste or enter regional compacts. 3 incentives: give money, charge money, and "take title" if not done in time. New York declared incentives and Act unconstitutional
The majority clearly stated that the Constitution does not allow the federal government to command the states to pass legislation to implement federal policy. The Federal government may provide incentives for the states to act, but the constitutional division of authority between the general government and the various states is offended when the states are compelled to act.
Printz v. United States
Milder Dual Federalism
The Gun Control Act of 1968 forbids firearms dealers to transfer firearms to convicted felons, unlawful uses of controlled substances, fugitives from justice, persons judged to be mentally defective, persons dishonorably discharged from the military, etc. In 1993 Congress amended it with the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. This provision would require the attorney general to establish by November of 1998, a national database allowing for an instant background check on anyone attempting to buy a handgun. It required local sheriffs to essentially perform federal background checks on their area's gun sales. They argued that the federal government had no authority to command state or local officials to administer a federal program.
The decision gave a clear position on federalism. States are not merely administrative units of federal government. Scalia invoked the term "dual sovereignty" to describe the constitutionality mandated divans of power between the central government and the states.
NFIB v. Sebelius (Medicaid Expansion)
Milder Dual Federalism
The Court's complex decision on the Constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 suggests that milder dual federalism is going to continue. The Court did not believe that the act's requirement that most Americans purchase health insurance was a valid exercise of commerce power, but the Court also nonetheless upheld the so-called individual mandate as within Congress's power under the Taxing Clause of Article 1. The Court also also agreed to expanding Medicaid coverage put too much pressure on the States. Congress has no authority to order the states to regulate according to its instructions. Congress may offer the states grants and require the States to comps with accompanying condiments, but the States must have a genuine choice whether to accept the offer. Losing all medicaid funding is not a genuine choice. This violates 10th amendment because of coercion.
Sovereign Immunity and General Trends
Protects a state from suits to which it did not consent
Origins in common law, which held that a king was immune from suits from his subjects on the ground that he had established the law, and, therefore, could be held accountable in courts he created
Quite early on, it appeared that the United States wouldn't adhere to this principle though - Chisholm v. Georgia (two citizens trying to collect a debt) because of this states adopted 11th amendment to their constitutions so that out of state citizens couldn't sue them.
Then Cohens v. Virginia happened and determined that citizens could sue their own states.
Then in Hans v. Louisiana after the civil war, the Court determined that Marshall's dicta was not binding and declared that citizens couldn't sue states without their consent.
People can sue their states in federal courts if it deals with federal laws though.
Then a trend started where the Court and Congress attempted to restrict sovereign immunity (Fitzpatrick v. Bitzer, Pennsylvania v. Union Gas Co)
Then in 1996 Court overruled Union Gas Co. case in Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida. Court decided Congress couldn't make laws that require states to give consent to being sued. Alden v. Maine pushed it even further. Congress cannot subject non consenting states to private suits for damages even in their own courts.
A break in this restricting trend occurred in 2003 -- Nevada Department of Human Resources v. Hibbs -- states are not immune from suits brought in federal court by their employees under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (necessary and proper clause to ensure equal employment of men and women)
Court differentiated Hibbs and Kimel
Central Virginia Community College v. Katz then allowed state to be sued federally.
Then in 2012 the Court denied someone the right to sue the state in Coleman v. Court of Appeals of Maryland (failed to show enough pattern evidence of violations of state constitution)
Steven's History and Opposition to Sovereign Immunity (SA)
In countries with kings back in the day, it was assumed the king could do no harm so he had sovereign immunity
Not only has this way of thinking vanished but it is unacceptable for America
Hamilton and others argued that sovereign immunity was a common law defense, but the Supreme Court's 1793 decision in Chisholm v. Georgia thought differently
Sovereign Immunity: The Eleventh Amendment, banning a citizen of one state from suing another state in federal court, was prompted by states that wanted to dodge their war debts. Their reasoning leaned on "sovereign immunity," a principle that holds the "sovereign," any of the individual states in this case, above the law, shielding it from court action. Stevens says that this doctrine "should never have been adopted in a democracy." He notes an argument against it from the famous Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes: "It is revolting to have no better reason for a rule of law than that it was so laid down in the time of Henry IV. It is still more revolting if the grounds upon which it was laid down have vanished long since and the rule simply persists from blind imitation of the past." Since the arrival of Rehnquist, the Supreme Court has made a series of rulings that stretched sovereign immunity and weakened state compliance with national law. For example, in 1974 a Rehnquist opinion let Illinois skate on paying damages for past non-compliance with a federal law for aiding aged, blind and disabled persons. And in 1999 the Rehnquist Court, citing an unwritten state sovereignty rule imagined to be in the "plan of the [Constitutional] Convention," forbade Congress to authorize suing a state for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. To Stevens, striking down the sovereign immunity doctrine is a matter of simple justice. A state-owned hospital, school, or police force should not have a defense to federal claims that a private one does not. To right this wrong Stevens adds an amendment:
New Judicial Federalism
Doctrine refers to the renewed willingness of state courts to rely only on state law, especially state constitutional law, when deciding cases involving individual rights -- it suggests a role of increased importance for state courts in the American system of government. US Supreme Court has encouraged this trend by rearticulating standards for reviewing state decisions.
The Court in Murdock v. City of Memphis said that it would not review state decisions unless the state court's interpretation implicated issues of federal law. This traditional view is called "adequate and independent state grounds test": so long as a state court decision rests on adequate and independent state grounds, the Supreme Court will not resolve either the state or the federal issues in the case. So courts can interpret their own state laws as long as their decision rests on independent and adequate state grounds their decisions cannot be reviewed by federal courts
This way of thinking allowed state courts to reach more liberal decisions without conservative federal courts getting in the way
This changed when conservative Supreme Court members intervened in Michigan v. Long which held that lower state court opinions must clearly expressly say they they made their decision on state grounds otherwise federal courts can review the case
There is debate on whether this independent state grounds test helps or hurt state courts' power
Michigan v. Long
David Long was convicted for possession of marijuana found by Michigan police in the passenger compartment and trunk of his car. The police searched the passenger compartment because they suspected Long's vehicle contained weapons potentially dangerous to the officers. After a state appellate court affirmed the conviction, the Michigan Supreme Court reversed. The Michigan Supreme Court held that the search violated the Fourth Amendment and the Michigan Constitution.
Did the Supreme Court have jurisdiction over state court decisions that rested on "adequate and independent" state grounds?
The Court, after admitting that it had not developed "a satisfying and consistent approach" regarding lower court references to independent state grounds, held that it had jurisdiction in the case. The Court held that when state court decisions appeared to rest primarily on federal law, it would infer that state courts believed that federal law required them to do so. State courts could expressly state that independent grounds were being used in cases as opposed to constitutional grounds. The Court reasoned that this approach would avoid the rendering of advisory opinions and would decrease the intrusive practice of requiring state courts to clarify decisions to the liking of the Justices. In the case at hand, the Court affirmed the constitutionality of the search and affirmed Long's conviction.
Foundations of the Commerce Power: Commerce and the Constitutional Convention
One of the reasons the Constitutional Convention was called was the inability of the government under the Articles of Confederation to control the country's commercial activity effectively
Before the Constitution, the states were almost exclusively in charge of economic regulation
With each of the states working independently the national economy continued to slide into stagnation, and, for all practical purposes, the central government was powerless to respond effectively
Article 1 removed certain powers from the states and gave the federal government powers it did not have under the articles
States could not print money, impair the obligation of contracts, or levy import duties
The federal government obtained the authority necessary to impose uniform regulations for the national economy
Among the powers granted to the central government were the authority to tax and impose custom duties, to spend and borrow, to develop and protect a single monetary system, and to regulate interstate and foreign commerce
The power to regulate interstate commerce, however, was a different story -- Congress viewed it as business activity happening within the borders of the individual states and were slow to grant federal power to interstate commerce
Not until Interstate Commerce Act of 1887
Gibbons v. Ogden
Marshall Defines the Commerce Power
A New York state law gave to individuals the exclusive right to operate steamboats on waters within state jurisdiction. Laws like this one were duplicated elsewhere which led to friction as some states would require foreign (out-of-state) boats to pay substantial fees for navigation privileges. In this case Thomas Gibbons -- a steamboat owner who did business between New York and New Jersey under a federal coastal license -- challenged the monopoly license granted by New York to Aaron Ogden. New York courts consistently upheld the state monopoly.
Did the State of New York exercise authority in a realm reserved exclusively to Congress, namely, the regulation of interstate commerce?
Commerce involves more than buying and selling -- it includes commercial intercourse between nations and states, and therefore transportation and navigation clearly fall within the definition of commerce
Commerce among the states begins in one state and ends in another; it does stop when the act of crossing a state border is completed
Commerce that occurs within a state may be part of larger interstate process
Once an act is considered part of interstate commerce, Congress, according to the Constitution, may regulate it
The power to regulate interstate commerce is complete and has no limitation other than what may be found in other constitutional provisions
Marshall rejects Ogden's argument that the 10th amendment serves as such limit
Attempts to Define the Commerce Power in the Wake of Industrial Revolution
Marshall opened door for expansion of Commerce Clause Power but it wasn't really used or defined until the industrial revolution
This commercial growth brought prosperity to some but is also caused horrendous social problems
Congress began to express its power -- opponents argued they were abusing their power and argued they were controlling intrastate commerce not interstate commerce
Defining Interstate Commerce
Interstate commerce act of 1887 - established a mechanism for regulating the nation's interstate railroads
Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890 -- Purpose was to break up monopolies that restrained trade
Shreveport Doctrine: Federal government has the power to regulate intrastate commerce when a failure to do so would cripple, retard, or destroy interstate commerce
ICA established the ICC to regulate railroads and set rates
The Court upheld the creation of the ICC, but removed the ability to set rates
Congress established the right to set rates and overall the Court upheld the law
In the Shreveport Rate Case (1914), "the Court held that the federal government had the power to regulate intrastate commerce with a failure to regulate would cripple, retard, or destroy interstate commerce
The Court held in Houston, E. & W. Texas Railway Co. v. United States that the federal government had the power to regulate intrastate commerce when a failure to regulate would cripple, retard, or destroy interstate commerce.
Congressional authority extends to these carriers "as instruments of interstate commerce," and that it "necessarily embraces the right to control their operations in all matters having such a close and substantial relation to interstate traffic"
United States v. E.C. Knight
The Congress passed the Sherman Anti-Trust Act in 1890 as a response to the public concern in the growth of giant combinations controlling tranportation, industry, and commerce. The Act aimed to stop the concentration of wealth and economic power in the hands of the few. It outlawed "every contract, combination...or conspiracy, in restraint of trade" or interstate commerce, and it declared every attempt to monopolize any part of trade or commerce to be illegal. The E.C. Knight Company was such a combination controlling over 98 percent of the sugar-refining business in the United States.
Did Congress exceed its constitutional authority under the Commerce Clause when it enacted the Sherman Anti-Trust Act?
The Act was constitutional but it did not apply to manufacturing. Manufacturing was not commerce, declared Fuller for the majority; the law did not reach the admitted monopolization of manufacturing (in this case, refining sugar). Although American Sugar had monopolized manufacturing, the Court found no violation of the Sherman Act because the acquisition of the Philadelphia refineries involved intrastate commerce. The trust did not lead to control of interstate commerce and so "affects it only incidentally and indirectly."
To the Court, commerce is different from manufacturing and production because "commerce succeeds to manufacture, and is not a part of it." As a result, manufacturing affects interstate commerce only indirectly and Congress may not regulate it; rather, it is a local matter that is up to the states to regulate. Federal authority becomes activated only when the intrastate activity has a direct effect on interstate commerce. In the sugar trust case, Fuller concluded that the challenged monopoly of refining facilities had only a indirect effect on interstate commerce and thereof was not subject to federal regulation.
Stream of Commerce Doctrine
Swift & Company v. United States -- Justice Holmes:
Allows federal regulation of interstate commerce from the point of its origin to the point of its termination. Interruptions in the course of that interstate commerce do not suspend the right of Congress to regulate.
Stafford v. Wallace
In 1921, Congress enacted the Packers and Stockyards Act in an attempt to regulate activities of meat packers that were unfair, discriminatory, or deceptive and encouraged the formation of monopolies. Stafford sought an injunction against the enforcement of the Act. After his application was denied, he sought review by the Supreme Court. This case was decided together with Burton v. Clyne.
Did Congress have authority under the Commerce Clause to pass and enforce the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921?
In a 7-to-1 decision, the Court held that the activities controlled by the Act did indeed burden the freedom of commerce and fell within the regulatory jurisdiction of Congress. The Court argued that Congress did not have to wait until after deleterious economic monopolies had developed to regulate particular industries. Drawing on its decision in Swift v. United States, the Court found that business done in the stockyards was an essential part of interstate commerce and thus subject to national legislation.
Stockyards affect the stream of commerce so Congress can regulate it
Utilities: Usually public or Quasi public services
Regulating Commerce as a Federal Police Power
Businesses also attacked certain kinds of laws as beyond congressional power on the ground that they regulated morality and not commerce. They claimed Congress was inappropriately using the commerce clause as a federal police power.
States have police powers but Federal government has to have enumerated, implied, or inherent powers in order to make a law.
Commerce power acknowledges no limitations, other than are prescribed in the Constitution. As long as activity falls under the definition of commerce among the states then Congress has the right to regulate it as long as it doesn't violate a constitutional limitation (such as 1st amendment). The commerce clause itself imposes no limitations on the motivations for such legislation.
Champion v. Ames
The defendants in the case were arrested and convicted under an Act of Congress of 1895 that made it illegal to send or conspire to send lottery tickets across state lines.
Did the transport of lottery tickets by independent carriers constitute "commerce" that Congress could regulate under the Commerce Clause?
he Court emphasized the broad discretion Congress enjoys in regulating commerce, noting that this power "is plenary, is complete in itself, and is subject to no limitations except such as may be found in the Constitution." The Court argued that Congress was merely assisting those states that wished to protect public morals by prohibiting lotteries within their borders.
Sets the precedent that Congress may indeed use the commerce clause in much the same manner as states use their police powers. In the years following this case, the legislature passed a number of laws designed to accomplish social, not economic goals through the exercise of the commerce power
Hammer v. Dagenhart
The Keating-Owen Child Labor Act prohibited the interstate shipment of goods produced by child labor. Reuben Dagenhart's father -- Roland -- had sued on behalf of his freedom to allow his fourteen year old son to work in a textile mill.
Does the congressional act violate the Commerce Clause, the Tenth Amendment, or the Fifth Amendment?
Just when it seemed the Court would allow Congress continued federal police powers through the commerce clause, it dealt a huge blow. It perpetuated the distinction drawn in E.C. Knight case between the manufacturing/production of goods, which the Court regarded as intrastate commerce and therefore to be regulated only by the states, and their shipment in interstate commerce, which Congress could regulate. In this case, the Court saw the law as a regulation of the manufacturing stage rather than a regulation of interstate commerce. 10th amendment is also a brake on commerce power.
The Supreme Court and The New Deal
The narrowing of the Commerce power in Knight and Hammer was probably less about states rights and more about maintaining the free enterprise philosophy
In 1920s, the American people were pretty against regulation as some were prospering
This attitude changed overnight when the stock market crashed
Democrats took over Congress and the White House, but despite power given to them through Swift and Stafford, they were obstructed by Knight and Hammer and the Court wouldn't reverse those decisions at first
The Depression and Political Change
In the 1932 presidential election, voters rejected incumbent Herbert Hoover and swept Democratic candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt into office by a huge margin
With a majority in House and Senate, FDR began combating the Depression with policies he called the New Deal
Republicans were reduced to almost a minor party
Following the crash, however, the Court remained 6-3 conservatively favored (1929)
By 1932 the Court had 3 new justices and the Court was now 5-4 conservative majority
Not until 1940 did the Court have a majority favoring FDR
Congress passed a lot of controlling legislation justifying it with: powers to tax, spend, and regulate interstate and foreign commerce
The 1920s were a boom time and there was general opposition to regulation
After stock market crash in October 1929, economic conditions worsended
The Great Depression began and within a few years the situation was dire (24.9% unemployment)
Huge electoral shift away from Republicans (laissez-faire) towards Democrats (pro-regulation)
In 1932, FDR was first elected as president and Democrats took the House and Senate
FDR's programs were very popular and Democrats made big electoral gains generally
The Court Attacks the New Deal
Conservative business interests began to challenge their constitutional validity
The Court and the New Deal Democrats fought over the constitutionality of an expanded federal role in managing the economy
During this period, the justices struck down a number of important New Deal statutes
Of 10 major programs, the Supreme Court approved only two--the Tennessee Valley Authority and the emergency monetary laws --- the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse
Panama Refining Company v. Ryan and the striking down of the Railroad Retirement Act of 1934 were two big blow to the New Deal Government
Furthermore, Black Monday occurred, Humphrey's Executor v. United States, invalidation of the 1934 Lemke Act (provided mortgage relief), and A.L.A. Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States (struck down provisions of NIRA)
A.L.A. Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States
FDR decides codes -- in this case there is a code regarding poultry
Epstein and Walker identify two reasons that the NIRA was vulnerable to constitutional challenge: A lot of intrastate commerce and the president can do whatever he wants (nondelegation doctrine)
Without standards for the president he is essentially legislating
According to government sick chickens affect interstate commerce: 97% of the chickens that came from this company came from out of state -- also citizens can't tell if chickens are safe or not and they might not trust so it is up to government to tell us and to make sure we don't just stop buying
Indirect -- at some point things are related to the stream of commerce
Direct -- like railroads things that clearly are interstate
The Schechter decision classified the slaughtering and local sale of chickens as intrastate commerce just as the Court held that sugar refining was a manufacturing stage not part of interstate commerce and, therefore, the federal government could not regulate it
This case also determined that slaughtering only had an indirect effect on interstate commerce
Court Packing Plan
FDR was impatient so he designed a new judicial branch which streamlined jurisdiction and added more judges and used the excuse that they were overworked and needed more help and asked Congress to add a supreme court judge for every judge who is active and is over 70 -- all a smoke screen
Basically everyone knew it was a plan to pack the court with justices who would vote his way
FDR took 98% of the electoral votes in the 1936 Election
By 1937, Democrats controlled around 80% of Congress
The Court Packing Plan was announced on February 5, 1937
Would have allowed the President to appoint up to 6 justices for every justice that reached 70 years plus 6 months
Public was not happy about court packing plans
15 judges on supreme court
Switch In Time that Saved Nine
The decision in West Coast Hotel v. Parrish (March 29, 1937) seems to have been the tipping point regarding public opinion
Justice Roberts voted with the liberals and upheld a state labor law
Two weeks later (April 12th), the Court produced the decision in National Labor Relations Board v. Jones Laughlin Steel Corporation
The Court was also a beacon of civil rights for many
20 days after FDR's broadcast came the 5-4 decision in West Coast Hotel v. Parrish, which upheld the validity of a Washington State law regulating wages and working conditions for women and children
Even though it was a state law and not a federal law and dealt with substantive due process and not the commerce clause it was still an important case
Justice Roberts, a long ally of the Four Horsemen voted with the liberal bloc to approve the legislation
Just months earlier, Roberts had voted with Conservatives striking down an identical New York law
West Coast Hotel v. Parrish
Elsie Parrish, an employee of the West Coast Hotel Company, received sub-minimum wage compensation for her work. Parrish brought a suit to recover the difference between the wages paid to her and the minimum wage fixed by state law.
Did the minimum wage law violate the liberty of contract as construed under the Fifth Amendment as applied by the Fourteenth Amendment?
In a 5-to-4 decision, the Court held that the establishment of minimum wages for women was constitutionally legitimate. The Court noted that the Constitution did not speak of the freedom of contract and that liberty was subject to the restraints of due process. The Court also noted that employers and employees were not equally "free" in negotiating contracts, since employees often were constrained by practical and economic realities. This was found to be especially true in the case of women. This case explicitly overruled the Court's decision in Adkins v. Children's Hospital (1923).
Although this case involved a state law rather than a federal statute and concerned issues of substantive due process rather than the commerce clause, it had great significance. It signaled a change in the Court's voting coalitions. Roberts had switched sides.
NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation
With the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, Congress determined that labor-management disputes were directly related to the flow of interstate commerce and, thus, could be regulated by the national government. In this case, the National Labor Relations Board charged the Jones & Laughlin Steel Co. with discriminating against employees who were union members.
Was the Act consistent with the Commerce Clause?
Yes. The Court held that the Act was narrowly constructed so as to regulate industrial activities which had the potential to restrict interstate commerce. The justices abandoned their claim that labor relations had only an indirect effect on commerce. Since the ability of employees to engage in collective bargaining (one activity protected by the Act) is "an essential condition of industrial peace," the national government was justified in penalizing corporations engaging in interstate commerce which "refuse to confer and negotiate" with their workers.
"That power is plenary and may be exerted to protect interstate commerce "no matter what the source of the dangers which threaten it.""
A couple months earlier Roberts voted the opposite way even though cases nearly identical
It affects commerce so it counts -- expansive view
Effects of manufacturing do fall under commerce
McReynolds dissents: Questioned Congress's power to control this under commerce clause, wonders where power to regulate will stops, remember all those other cases, 10th amendment stops this
Court Packing Plan failed: Cases along with public opinion leads to 10-8 decision from Judiciary Committee to strike down FDR's plan
Evidence that Roberts did not in fact switch to save the Court: Sick of hardline conservatism, just following public opinion, decided case before FDR's court packing plan went Public
Consolidating the New Interpretation of the Commerce Power
By 1940 FDR had appointed a majority of the sitting justices (the 4 horsemen were gone by 1941)
Gone were the old notions that production, manufacturing, mining, and processing were exclusively intrastate affairs with insufficient direct effects on interstate commerce to activate federal commerce powers
United States v. Darby
In 1938, Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act to regulate many aspects of employment including minimum wages, maximum weekly hours, and child labor. Corporations which engaged in interstate commerce or produced goods which were sold in other states were punished for violating the statute.
Was the act a legitimate exercise of Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce?
The unanimous Court affirmed the right of Congress to exercise "to its utmost extent" the powers reserved for it in the Commerce Clause. Relying heavily on the Court's decision in Gibbons v. Ogden (1824), Justice Stone argued that the "motive and purpose of a regulation of interstate commerce are matters for the legislative judgment . . . over which the courts are given no control." Congress acted with proper authority in outlawing substandard labor conditions since they have a significant impact on interstate commerce.
The 10th Amendment is a truism
Wickard v. Filburn
Filburn was a small farmer in Ohio. He was given a wheat acreage allotment of 11.1 acres under a Department of Agriculture directive which authorized the government to set production quotas for wheat. Filburn harvested nearly 12 acres of wheat above his allotment. He claimed that he wanted the wheat for use on his farm, including feed for his poultry and livestock. Filburn was penalized. He argued that the excess wheat was unrelated to commerce since he grew it for his own use.
Is the amendment subjecting Filburn to acreage restrictions in violation of the Constitution because Congress has no power to regulate activities local in nature?
According to Filburn, the act regulated production and consumption, which are local in character. The rule laid down by Justice Jackson is that even if an activity is local and not regarded as commerce, "it may still, whatever its nature, be reached by Congress if it exerts a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce, and this irrespective of whether such effect is what might at some earlier time have been defined as 'direct' or 'indirect.'"
If all farmers acted as Filburn it would screw everything up
Historic Perspectives on the New Deal Changes to the Constitution: Friedman
Switch in Time is important because the American Public makes it very clear that the Constitution can change in meaning depending on circumstances -- there should be flexibility
As more and more Court decisions struck down FDR's proposals -- the more they began to disagree with the Court and interpret the Constitution more expansively
Even in Great Depression the people resisted change -- perhaps because of distrust of government
Voters handed Roosevelt one of history's greatest electoral victories -- a remarkable new coalition of urbanites, blacks, labor, northern liberals, reliefers, Jews, and Catholics flocked to the Democratic Party banner, transforming American Politics for decades to come
After Butler the President received a huge volume of mail; many letters focused on the ages of the justices -- Age limits were suggest by the New York Times
Polls showed that Americans supported a mandatory retirement age of justices by huge margins
The Case Against Court Packing "Proposal will lead to a deprivation of civil liberties"
FDR's plan fell upon the country at a time when the fear of totalitarianism had become widespread
FDR was blinded by his own hate for the Court and didn't work to build public support before he released his plan
Court upheld a lot of racist legislation but started to protect minorities in the 30s -- Torture laws, mob trials, Jury discrimination, and right to counsel
The Switch In Time That Saved Nine "Why shoot the bridegroom after a shot gun wedding"
Historic Perspectives on the New Deal Changes to the Constitution: Ackerman
People didn't vote for New Deal they voted for anything but Hooverism
FDR would have appointed a southern Democrat anyway so it would have taken a while even if he did get an appointment opportunity in his first year
While judicial resistance angered New Deal loyalists during FDR's first term, it emphasized to the larger public that the Democrat's initiative raised questions far beyond the ordinary competence of elites in Washington to resolve; and that it was up to the People to decide whether the traditional values elaborated by the conservative Justices were worth preserving
The reality was more complex - By casting their ballots for FDR, most Americans were certainly voting against Hoover and all he stood for; but what they were voting for was a lot less clear
Hoover's election marked a shift to the Progressive wing of the Republican Party that had been shunted to the sidelines by Harding and Coolidge
Hooverism -- states and local concern but Republican values kept feds out of it
Historically speaking, it was the Republicans, not the Democrats whose heroes included proponents of national power like Lincoln and (Theodore) Roosevelt -- Democrat President Grover Cleveland confronted Panic of 1893 with conservative action, more conservative than Hoover's
People like Paul Douglas (later a liberal Democrat from Illinois) urged the organization of a new party in 1932
If FDR didn't get nominated or didn't respond the way he did we could have ended up with another 1860s era of many political parties and the democrats would have failed to handle the Great Depression mirroring Grover Cleveland again
The First Wave:
FDR passed National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), signed into law less than four months after the inauguration
The act did not try to cure a particular abuse of the free market system -- as the Interstate Commerce Act had focused on railroad monopolies or the Pure Food and Drug Act on health risks
It proposed to abolish market capitalism and replace it with a corporatist structure under Presidential leadership
Henceforward each industry would legislate its own code of economic life--in which the interests of organized labor, no less than organized capital, would be represented
The NIRA was set to expire unless Congress renewed it
Returning to the people:
Republicans lost more seats and the only ones who remained were progressive republicans
It was Supreme Court resistance that forced him to sober second thought: Would the People really support him if he made the 1936 election into a mandate for the NIRA?
Not corporatism, but nationalism, would serve as his watchword
FDR went silent after that first press conference for the rest of his first term as the Court continued to strike down his New Deal Legislation
It was far more important for the President to come up with well defined alternative to the NIRA
He needed to win a mandate with his second "New Deal"
FDR urged congress to not adjourn over the summer -- they created: The Wagner Labor Act, Social Security Act, and Public Utility Holding Company Act
The Era of Expansive Commerce Clause Jurisprudence
With the Darby and Wickard decisions, the Court entered a new era of commerce clause interpretation
They made clear, as Stone wrote in Darby, that "the power of Congress over interstate commerce is not confined to the regulation of commerce among the states. It extends to
those activities intrastate which so affect interstate commerce or the exercise of the power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce."
Daniel v. Paul -- isolated recreational facility -- Court used very faint evidence to claim interstate commerce and justice Black dissenting saying it went too far
Six decades of an expansive understanding of the Commerce Clause
Darby The 10th Amendment is a truism
Even while the Commerce Clause was read broadly, justice sometimes expressed concern/doubt s to its limits
Daniel v. Paul -- Justice Black railed against a broad reading of the Commerce Clause
Perez v. United States - Justice Stewart similarly responded to a broad reading of the Commerce Clause
Civil Rights Activists then turned to commerce clause to defend Civil Rights Act of 1964
Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States
Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbade racial discrimination by places of public accommodation if their operations affected commerce. The Heart of Atlanta Motel in Atlanta, Georgia, refused to accept Black Americans and was charged with violating Title II.
Did Congress, in passing Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, exceed its Commerce Clause powers by depriving motels, such as the Heart of Atlanta, of the right to choose their own customers?
The Court held that the Commerce Clause allowed Congress to regulate local incidents of commerce, and that the Civil Right Act of 1964 passed constitutional muster. The Court noted that the applicability of Title II was "carefully limited to enterprises having a direct and substantial relation to the interstate flow of goods and people. . ." The Court thus concluded that places of public accommodation had no "right" to select guests as they saw fit, free from governmental regulation.
Employing same sweeping language as in Wickard and Darby, the Court's opinion gave Congress broad powers to use the commerce clause as authority to regulate moral wrongs that occur in interstate commerce. This case complied with the Court's decision and a new era of civil rights in public accommodations began. The Court's interpretation of the commerce clause turned that provision into one of the most powerful weapons in the federal regulatory government's arsenal.
Limits on the Commerce Power: The Republican Court Era
Remember: National League of Cities v. Usery -- Landmark case -- the Court held that Congress could not expand FLSA to states as employers. Softer dual federalism approach.
The majority opinion noted that the Commerce Clause was confined by other amendments, including the Tenth
The Court retreated from the opinion almost immediately via a series of cases
Rehnquist: Court would look to whether the congressional law touches on decisions that implicate functions essential to the states' separate and independent existence so that Congress may not abrogate the states' otherwise plenary authority to make them. Area of traditional operations of state and local governmentsL firefighting, police protection, sanitation, public health, and parks and recreation.
National League of Cities v. Usery
In 1974, Congress passed amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. The purpose of the amendments was to regulate minimum wage and overtime pay for state and local government employees. The National League of Cities, as well as several states and cities, challenged the constitutionality of the amendments.
May Congress, acting under its commerce power, regulate the labor market of state employees, which the Tenth Amendment reserves to the states?
Congress may not regulate the labor market of state employees. The Tenth Amendment prohibits Congress from enacting legislation which operates "to directly displace the States' freedom to structure integral operations in areas of traditional governmental functions." While the power of Congress under the Commerce Clause is "plenary," that power has constitutional limits. In this case, the exercise of the commerce power ran afoul of the Tenth Amendment which protects the states' traditional activities.
Court says 10th amendment protects state
Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority
The San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority (SAMTA), the main provider of transportation in the San Antonio metropolitan area, claimed it was exempt from the minimum-wage and overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. SAMTA argued that it was providing a "traditional" governmental function, which exempted it from federal controls according to the doctrine of federalism established in National League of Cities v. Usery (1976). Joe G. Garcia, an employee of SAMTA, brought suit for overtime pay under Fair Labor Standards Act.
Did principles of federalism make the San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority immune from the Fair Labor Standards Act?
In a 5-to-4 decision, the Court held that the guiding principles of federalism established in National League of Cities v. Usery were unworkable and that SAMTA was subject to Congressional legislation under the Commerce Clause. The Court found that rules based on the subjective determination of "integral" or "traditional" governmental functions provided little or no guidance in determining the boundaries of federal and state power. The Court argued that the structure of the federal system itself, rather than any "discrete limitations" on federal authority, protected state sovereignty.
Court returned to the expansive approach to the commerce clause power that characterized Perez case. Court would generally trust Congress to make appropriate use of its commerce power as log as it is not interfering with an individual right or liberty, such as the first amendment -- but not the 10th. Made it clear that the Court would not hold Congress to a higher standard just because the law was aimed at states rather than the private sector. States should look to the political process, not the Court (or 10th amendment) to protect their interests as long as Congress is constitutional exercising its power.
United States v. Lopez
Alfonzo Lopez, a 12th grade high school student, carried a concealed weapon into his San Antonio, Texas high school. He was charged under Texas law with firearm possession on school premises. The next day, the state charges were dismissed after federal agents charged Lopez with violating a federal criminal statute, the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990. The act forbids "any individual knowingly to possess a firearm at a place that [he] knows...is a school zone." Lopez was found guilty following a bench trial and sentenced to six months' imprisonment and two years' supervised release.
Is the 1990 Gun-Free School Zones Act, forbidding individuals from knowingly carrying a gun in a school zone, unconstitutional because it exceeds the power of Congress to legislate under the Commerce Clause?
Yes. The possession of a gun in a local school zone is not an economic activity that might, through repetition elsewhere, have a substantial effect on interstate commerce. The law is a criminal statute that has nothing to do with "commerce" or any sort of economic activity.
For first time since New Deal battles, Court invalidated a federal statute as falling outside the authority granted to Congress by the commerce clause. Warning to Congress that it must justify its legislation by showing the relationship between the activities regulated and interstate commerce. Had Congress explicitly demonstrated that it was responding to the negative impact school violence has on the economy, they asserted, it is likely that the Court would have found no fault with the law. More of a detour and not a full scale retreat from the commerce clause power. Some viewed t as a sweeping blow, a signal that the Court was restricting commerce power.
United States v. Morrison
Brief Fact Summary. The Respondent, Morrison (Respondent), was sued under part of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (Act), which penalized crimes of violence motivated by gender. Now Respondent argues this section of the Act is beyond the scope of Congress' power to regulate commerce.
Does Congress have the authority to enact the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 under either the Commerce Clause or Fourteenth Amendment?
No. In a 5-4 opinion delivered by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, the Court held that Congress lacked the authority to enact a statute under the Commerce Clause or the Fourteenth Amendment since the statute did not regulate an activity that substantially affected interstate commerce nor did it redress harm caused by the state. Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote for the Court that [i]f the allegations here are true, no civilized system of justice could fail to provide [Brzonkala] a remedy for the conduct of...Morrison. But under our federal system that remedy must be provided by the Commonwealth of Virginia, and not by the United States." Dissenting, Justice Stephen G. Breyer argued that the majority opinion "illustrates the difficulty of finding a workable judicial Commerce Clause touchstone." Additionally, Justice David H. Souter, dissenting, noted that VAWA contained a "mountain of data assembled by Congress...showing the effects of violence against women on interstate commerce."
By the same 5-4 vote as occurred in Lopez and using the same reasoning, the Supreme Court struck down the Violence Against Women Act
4 months later in Jones v. United States, Court said a man who threw molotov cocktail into his cousin's house was a private matter and couldn't be regulated
The opinions in Lopez, Morrison, and Jones, taken together with other Rehnquist Court federalism and taxation decisions, provide some indication of the Court's modified commerce clause jurisprudence
Court ends up following Lopez and determines that gender related crimes aren't economic -- if we decided this it would lead to everything being related to the economy
In contrast to Lopez there were congressional findings about the impacts of gender related violence --- wrong type of connection found
Aggregate non-economic activity can't be regulated
Gonzales v. Raich
In 1996 California voters passed the Compassionate Use Act, legalizing marijuana for medical use. California's law conflicted with the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which banned possession of marijuana. After the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) seized doctor-prescribed marijuana from a patient's home, a group of medical marijuana users sued the DEA and U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft in federal district court.
The medical marijuana users argued the Controlled Substances Act - which Congress passed using its constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce - exceeded Congress' commerce clause power. The district court ruled against the group. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and ruled the CSA unconstitutional as it applied to intrastate (within a state) medical marijuana use. Relying on two U.S. Supreme Court decisions that narrowed Congress' commerce clause power - U.S. v. Lopez (1995) and U.S. v. Morrison (2000) - the Ninth Circuit ruled using medical marijuana did not "substantially affect" interstate commerce and therefore could not be regulated by Congress.
Does the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801) exceed Congress' power under the commerce clause as applied to the intrastate cultivation and possession of marijuana for medical use?
No. In a 6-3 opinion delivered by Justice John Paul Stevens, the Court held that the commerce clause gave Congress authority to prohibit the local cultivation and use of marijuana, despite state law to the contrary. Stevens argued that the Court's precedent "firmly established" Congress' commerce clause power to regulate purely local activities that are part of a "class of activities" with a substantial effect on interstate commerce. The majority argued that Congress could ban local marijuana use because it was part of such a "class of activities": the national marijuana market. Local use affected supply and demand in the national marijuana market, making the regulation of intrastate use "essential" to regulating the drug's national market. The majority distinguished the case from Lopez and Morrison. In those cases, statutes regulated non-economic activity and fell entirely outside Congress' commerce power; in this case, the Court was asked to strike down a particular application of a valid statutory scheme.
Although the deacon still allows federal agents to prosecute medical marijuana cases, Obama administration announced that it would no longer prosecute such cases if the individuals involved are compliant with state law.
Raich demonstrates that Lope, Morrison, and Jones should not be seen as a wholesale repudiation of commerce clause jurisprudence -- the production of commercially viable items, when considered in the aggregate, has a sufficiently substantial relationship with interstate commerce to trigger the use of congressional regulatory authority. But when congress under the commerce clause attempts to regulate noneconomic activity (gun possession, rape, or arson) without showing that the regulation is a necessary part of a broader regulation of interstate commerce, it may impermissibly infringe on powers reserved for the states
NFIB v. Sebelius (Limits on Commerce Power)
Can't regulate commercial inactivity --- but taxing powers held law in the end
The majority doesn't uphold the ACA under the Commerce Clause
Forcing people to buy insurance -- difference between regulating and requiring commerce
Activity vs. Inactivity
Undermines structure of government and inconsistent with the spirit of the Constitution -- Necessary and Proper clause not okay
Ginsburgh: people will eventually use healthcare so we need them in system now to be prepared and gave a good system
Joint Opinion: mandate is unconstitutional
Taxing and Spending for the General Welfare
Article 1, Section 8:"To lay and collect taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay Debts and provide for common defence and General welfare of the United States...."
The Constitution authorizes Congress to tax and spend for the general welfare
Whether the term general welfare was intended to expand the powers of Congress beyond those explicitly stated in the Constitution is subject to debate
James madison argued that the Constitution's use of the term was only a reference to the other enumerated powers
Alexander Hamilton interpreted the power to tax and spend for the general welfare to be a separate power all together
Articles of Confederation gave no federal authority to tax
United States v. Butler (compared to Steward Machine Co. v. Davis)
A restricted view of taxing and spending: FDRs New Deal stuff required taxing for general public.
As part of the 1933 Agricultural Adjustment Act, Congress implemented a processing tax on agricultural commodities, from which funds would be redistributed to farmers who promised to reduce their acreage. The Act intended to solve the crisis in agricultural commodity prices which was causing many farmers to go under.
Did Congress exceed its constitutional taxing and spending powers with the Act?
The Court found the Act unconstitutional because it attempted to regulate and control agricultural production, an arena reserved to the states. Even though Congress does have the power to tax and appropriate funds, argued Justice Roberts, in this case those activities were "but means to an unconstitutional end," and violated the Tenth Amendment.
Butler had a mixed outcome - The Court concluded that the federal government had broad powers to tax and spend for the general welfare
This philosophy, however, did not mean that congressional powers had no limits -- the majority in Butler concluded that the law was unconstitutional because what it imposed was not truly a tax -- Instead, the government was taking money from one group (the processors) to give to another (the farmers), and it was doing this to regulate farm production, a matter of intrastate commerce reserved for state regulation
Steward Machine Co. v. Davis (compared to United States v. Butler)
Expanding the Powers to Tax and Spend: FDR's threat led to change in Court. Butler gets overturned soon after in 1936.
The Steward Machine Company challenged the validity of a tax imposed by the Social Security Act. The Act established a federal payroll tax on employers; however, if employers paid taxes to a state unemployment compensation fund (created by the states subject to federal standards), they were allowed to credit those payments toward the federal tax.
Did the Act arbitrarily impose taxes in violation of the Fifth Amendment or subvert principles of federalism?
In a 5-to-4 decision, the Court held that the tax under the Social Security Act was a constitutional exercise of congressional power. The Court found that the tax was uniform throughout the states and did not coerce the states in contravention of the Tenth Amendment. The Court took note of recent unemployment statistics from the years 1929 to 1936, maintaining that "[i]t is too late today for the argument to be heard with tolerance that in a crisis so extreme the use of the moneys of the nation to relieve the unemployed and their dependents is a use for any purpose narrower than the promotion of the general welfare. . .The nation responded to the call of the distressed."
The Social Security cases also firmly established that the thing and spending powers are to be broadly construed. If the Congress decides that the general welfare of the United States demands a program requiring the use of these final powers, the Supreme Court likely will find it constitutionally valid unless parts of the law violate specific provisions of the Constitution. Congress has used the spending authority to expand great the role of the federal government.
South Dakota v. Dole
In 1984, Congress enacted legislation ordering the Secretary of Transportation to withhold five percent of federal highway funds from states that did not adopt a 21-year-old minimum drinking age. South Dakota, a state that permitted persons 19 years of age to purchase alcohol, challenged the law.
Did Congress exceed its spending powers, or violate the Twenty-first Amendment, by passing legislation conditioning the award of federal highway funds on the states' adoption of a uniform minimum drinking age?
No. In a 7-to-2 decision, the Court held that Congress, acting indirectly to encourage uniformity in states' drinking ages, was within constitutional bounds. The Court found that the legislation was in pursuit of "the general welfare," and that the means chosen to do so were reasonable. The Court also held that the Twenty-first Amendment's limitations on spending power were not prohibitions on congressional attempts to achieve federal objectives indirectly. The five percent loss of highway funds was not unduly coercive.
The majority held that only 4 basic requirements must be met for a federal spending statute to be valid: (1) the expenditure must be for the general welfare, (2) any conditions imposed on the expenditure must be unambiguous (3) the conditions must be reasonably related to the purpose of the expenditure, and (4) the legislation must not violate any independent constitutional provision
National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius (federalism) (penalty v. tax - 3 elements)
This time we are dealing with Medicaid expansion -- it would increase eligible people
If states don't cooperate then medicaid money is taken away (some states that's 20% of budget)
feds don't want states to mislabel
This mandate is a tax not a penalty -- taxes - get something in return penalty -- nothing in return -- doesn't want "millions of convicts"
Ginsburg dissents -- federal government can do this on their own, but they iuse states to do this so they have a lot of lead way, she doesn't care that it's coercive
Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and Alito Dissent -- this is not a true tax, going back to a Butler approach, they view it as more of a penalty
Narrowed the range of federal regulatory power under the commerce clause, upheld the use of the taxing power as a way to justify legislation that Congress might not otherwise have the authority to enact, justices struck down a federal spending initiative, finding that he Medicaid expansion violated the principles of federalism by coercing the states to participate in a federal program
3 requirements: The payment is not so severe as to be coercive, is not limited to willful violations like fines for unlawful acts, and is collected by the Internal Revenue Service by normal means.
Economic Liberties -- Introduction -- Framers' Perspective
Many view economic rights as different than other civil rights and liberties
Countries vary quite bit in the extent to which they protect either
The Framers were keenly interested in preserving economic freedoms based on their experiences
Three main avenues: contract clause, substantive due process, and the takings clause
Economic Substantive Due Process
The Constitution is violated when government unreasonably or arbitrarily denies rights that are inherent in the freedom of the individual
Procedural due process means fair treatment in terms of procedures
Substantive due process refers to freedom from unreasonable or arbitrary restraints on freedom
Substantive due process was a favored means of striking down legislation before the Switch (activism?)
Now rarely used, but important for historical and contextual reasons
West Coast Hotel v. Parrish (Depression, New Deal, Decline of Substantive Due Process)
In a 5-to-4 decision, the Court held that the establishment of minimum wages for women was constitutionally legitimate. The Court noted that the Constitution did not speak of the freedom of contract and that liberty was subject to the restraints of due process. The Court also noted that employers and employees were not equally "free" in negotiating contracts, since employees often were constrained by practical and economic realities. This was found to be especially true in the case of women. This case explicitly overruled the Court's decision in Adkins v. Children's Hospital (1923).
Williamson v. Lee Optical Company
An Oklahoma law prohibited persons who were not licensed optometrists or ophthalmologists to fit lenses for eyeglasses. Non-licensed individuals were also prohibited from duplicating optical instruments without written prescriptions from licensed ophthalmologists. The Lee Optical Company challenged the law, bringing a suit against the state Attorney General, Mac Q. Williamson.
Did the Oklahoma law violate the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?
In a unanimous decision, the Court held that while the law may have been "needless" and "wasteful," it was the duty of the legislature, not the courts, "to balance the advantages and disadvantages of the new requirement." The Court emphasized that "[t]he day is gone when this Court uses the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to strike down state laws, regulatory of business and industrial conditions, because they may be unwise, improvident, or out of harmony with a particular school of thought."
Rational basis test was used
If you think law is bad then go vote for other legislators
BMW of North America v. Gore
Over the six decades since Williamson v. Lee Optical the Court has continued to reject substantive due process attacks on state and local economic regulatory policies, giving wide latitude to the legislative branch in determining what is reasonable economic policy
The Court has used the due process clauses to improve the essential fairness of the judicial system
After purchasing a new vehicle from an authorized Alabama BMW dealership, Ira Gore, Jr. discovered that his new vehicle had been repainted. He sued BMW's American distributor (BMW), alleging that it committed fraud by failing to inform him that his car had been repainted. The Alabama Circuit Court entered judgment, following a jury verdict, awarding Gore $4,000 in compensatory damages and $4 million in punitive damages. On appeal from the trial judge's denial of BMW's post-trial petition to set aside the punitive damages as 'grossly excessive,' the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that the punitive damages were not so excessive as to violate BMW's Fourteenth Amendment right to due process. Due to a jury calculation error, however, the Alabama Supreme Court reduced Gore's punitive damage award to $2 million. BMW appealed to the Supreme Court.
Assuming that Gore's punitive damage award was grossly excessive, does the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause protect BMW from paying the award?
Yes. In a 5-to-4 decision, the Court held that while a state may impose punitive damages to further its interest in deterring unlawful conduct, the Fourteenth Amendment's due process clause prohibits states from imposing grossly excessive punishments on tort-feasors. In the present case, the punitive damage's excessive nature is indicated by the 500 to 1 ratio between the jury's punitive and actual damage awards, the relatively insignificant amount of damage, and the lack of statutory fines that remotely parallel the present award's magnitude. BMW's due process rights were also violated because it could not have possibly anticipated, nor did it receive fair notice, that it might face such a severe punishment.
In BMW v. Gore the justices directly applied concepts of substantive due process to jury awards and concluded that grossly excessive awards violate the essential fairness guarantees of the 14th amendment
United States v. Windsor
Windsor was married to a woman in Canada and then they moved to New York when the State recognized same sex marriage and then she couldn't collect the money from an estate tax on the federal level
Section 3 of DOMA was found unconstitutional because it violated the 5th amendment due process --- one couple is treated differently than another -- Windsor was married on state level but not federal
The Dissenters argued that it was out of their jurisdiction
Obergefell v. Hodges
Groups of same-sex couples sued their relevant state agencies in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee to challenge the constitutionality of those states' bans on same-sex marriage or refusal to recognize legal same-sex marriages that occurred in jurisdictions that provided for such marriages. The plaintiffs in each case argued that the states' statutes violated the Equal Protection Clause and Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and one group of plaintiffs also brought claims under the Civil Rights Act. In all the cases, the trial court found in favor of the plaintiffs. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed and held that the states' bans on same-sex marriage and refusal to recognize marriages performed in other states did not violate the couples' Fourteenth Amendment rights to equal protection and due process.
(1) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex?
(2) Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex that was legally licensed and performed in another state?
Court says marriage is a fundamental right
Equal protection and due process are being violated
Equal protection -- two people shouldn't be treated differently
Dissent: It might be good policy but constitution has no mention of it so the Court can't right the laws
What is a taking?
Taking occurs whenever voluntary sale doesn't work out
Taking also occurs if government alters your land -- dams river and floods your land permanently
Taking means government has to pay
United States v. Causby
Thomas Lee Causby owned a chicken farm outside of Greensboro, North Carolina. The farm was located near an airport used regularly by the United States military. According to Causby, noise from the airport regularly frightened the animals on his farm, resulting in the deaths of several chickens. The problem became so severe that Causby was forced to abandon his business. Under an ancient doctrine of the common law, land ownership extended to the space above and below the earth. Using this doctrine as a basis, Causby sued the United States, arguing that he owned the airspace above his farm. By flying planes in this airspace, he argued, the government had confiscated his property without compensation, thus violating the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The United States Court of Claims accepted Causby's argument, and ordered the government to pay compensation.
Did the flying of planes by the United States military over Causby's farm constitute a violation of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment?
Did the flying of planes by the United States military over Causby's farm constitute a violation of the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment?
Yes you have some rights to the area above your land, but no specific height set
Penn Central Transportation Company v. City of New York
The New York City Landmarks Preservation Law of 1965 empowered the city to designate certain structures and neighborhoods as "landmarks" or "landmark sites." Penn Central, which owned the Grand Central Terminal (opened in 1913), was not allowed to construct a multistory office building above it.
Did the restriction against Penn Central constitute a "taking" in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments?
No. The Court held that the restrictions imposed did not prevent Penn Central from ever constructing above the terminal in the future. New York's objection was to the nature of the proposed construction and not to construction in general implemented to "enhance" the Terminal. Preventing the construction of a 50-plus story addition above the station was a reasonable restriction substantially related to the general welfare of the city.
Represents the high-water mark for the Court allowing state and local governments to impose regulation without triggering a takings clause violation.
They couldn't show that by not building the highrise that they would lose value -- they were doing fine without the new high rise, it wasn't necessary
Nollan v. California Coastal Commission
The California Coastal Commission required owners of beachfront property wishing to obtain a building permit to maintain a pathway on their property open to the public.
Did the requirement constitute a property taking in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments?
Yes. The Court agreed that a legitimate interest may be served by maintaining a "continuous strip of publicly accessible beach along the coast." However, reasoned Justice Scalia, if California wished to use its power of eminent domain to do so, it must provide just compensation to the Nollans and other beachfront property owners for the public use of their land.
To do development, they would have to allow for access by public
Development would make wall bigger and public wouldn't be able to see the beach
"Close Nexus" that the Court asserts must exist for regulation -- would have to offer compensation or use eminent domain
Deciding whether or not a government is a taking depends on whether or not government has to pay
Dissenters: "Close nexus" idea is meddling with government too much
Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council
In 1986, Lucas bought two residential lots on the Isle of Palms, a South Carolina barrier island. He intended to build single-family homes as on the adjacent lots. In 1988, the state legislature enacted a law which barred Lucas from erecting permanent habitable structures on his land. The law aimed to protect erosion and destruction of barrier islands. Lucas sued and won a large monetary judgment. The state appealed.
Does the construction ban depriving Lucas of all economically viable use of his property amount to a "taking" calling for "just compensation" under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments?
Yes. In a 6-to-2 decision, the Court relied on the trial court's finding that Lucas's lots had been rendered valueless by the state law. "[W]hen the owner of real property has been called upon to sacrifice all economically beneficial uses in the name of the common good...he has suffered a taking."
The Court's decision meant that David Lucas was entitled to compensation in return for being denied the right to develop his land. It also meant that the Court was continuing to broaden its definition of what constitutes a taking and t expand the range of situations in which government is required to provide compensation to private landowners.
Public Use Requirement
Government can only take private property for "public use"
Even if government provides compensation it still has to be for "public use"
Berman v. Parker
In 1945, Congress passed the District of Columbia Redevelopment Act, creating the District of Columbia Redevelopment Land Agency, whose purpose would be to identify and redevelop blighted areas of Washington, D.C. Congress gave the new agency the power of eminent domain - the ability to seize private property with just compensation. Berman and the other appellants owned a department store in one blighted area targeted by the commission and objected to the seizing of their property solely for beautification of the area. The landowners brought a civil suit in federal district court challenging the constitutionality of the Act. Their case was dismissed. They then appealed directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Did the seizing of Berman and the other appellants' property for the purpose of beautification and redevelopment of the community violate the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment?
No. In a unanimous opinion authored by Justice William O. Douglas, the Court found that the Fifth Amendment does not limit Congress' power to seize private property with just compensation to any specific purpose. The Court concluded that the power to determine what values to consider in seizing property for public welfare is Congress' alone. "If those who govern the District of Columbia decide that the Nation's Capital should be beautiful as well as sanitary, there is nothing in the Fifth Amendment that stands in the way."
Hawaii Housing Authority v. Midkiff
After extensive hearings in the mid-1960s, the Hawaii legislature discovered that while Federal and State governments owned nearly 49 percent of the land in Hawaii, another 47 percent was owned by only 72 private landowners. To combat this concentration of ownership, the legislature enacted the Land Reform Act of 1967. The Act adopted a method of redistribution in which title in real property could be taken from lessors and transferred to lessees. Frank E. Midkiff, a landholder, challenged the Act.
Did the Land Reform Act of 1967 violate the Public Use Clause of the Fifth Amendment?
In a unanimous decision, the Court held that the Public Use Clause did not preclude Hawaii from taking title in real property, with just compensation, for the purpose of reducing the concentration of ownership. Noting that Hawaii's statute was rationally related to a conceivable public purpose, the Court argued that "debates over the wisdom of takings" were best carried out by legislatures, not by federal courts. The Court also held that the fact that the property taken by eminent domain was transferred to private beneficiaries did not condemn the law to having a solely private purpose.
Kelo v. City of New London
New London, a city in Connecticut, used its eminent domain authority to seize private property to sell to private developers. The city said developing the land would create jobs and increase tax revenues. Susette Kelo and others whose property was seized sued New London in state court. The property owners argued the city violated the Fifth Amendment's takings clause, which guaranteed the government will not take private property for public use without just compensation. Specifically, the property owners argued taking private property to sell to private developers was not public use. The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled for New London.
Does a city violate the Fifth Amendment's takings clause if the city takes private property and sells it for private development, with the hopes the development will help the city's bad economy?
No. In a 5-4 opinion delivered by Justice John Paul Stevens, the majority held that the city's taking of private property to sell for private development qualified as a "public use" within the meaning of the takings clause. The city was not taking the land simply to benefit a certain group of private individuals, but was following an economic development plan. Such justifications for land takings, the majority argued, should be given deference. The takings here qualified as "public use" despite the fact that the land was not going to be used by the public. The Fifth Amendment did not require "literal" public use, the majority said, but the "broader and more natural interpretation of public use as 'public purpose.'"
Implicates judicial restraint -- hey, let the states decide -- if they think it will help economy let them make that choice it's not our choice -- citizens should vote differently if they don't like it
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