58 terms



Terms in this set (...)

McCulloch v. Maryland
In a unanimous decision, the Court held that Congress had the power to incorporate the bank and that Maryland could not tax instruments of the national government employed in the execution of constitutional powers. Writing for the Court, Chief Justice Marshall noted that Congress possessed unenumerated powers not explicitly outlined in the Constitution. Marshall also held that while the states retained the power of taxation, "the constitution and the laws made in pursuance thereof are supreme. . .they control the constitution and laws of the respective states, and cannot be controlled by them."
U.S. Term limits v. Thornton
Basically affirms McCullough. Can states alter those qualifications for the U.S. Congress that are specifically enumerated in the Constitution? No. The Constitution prohibits States from adopting Congressional qualifications in addition to those enumerated in the Constitution. A state congressional term limits amendment is unconstitutional if it has the likely effect of handicapping a class of candidates and "has the sole purpose of creating additional qualifications indirectly." Furthermore, "...allowing individual States to craft their own congressional qualifications would erode the structure designed by the Framers to form a 'more perfect Union.'"
Limits of Necessary & Proper Clause
History has mostly affirmed McCullough's view of N&P clause. In determining whether the N&P clause grants Congress the legislative authority to enact a particular federal statute, look to see whether the statute constitutes a means that is rationally related to the implementation of a constitutionally enumerated power (Comstock). The relevant inquiry is simply whether the means chosen are "reasonably adapted" to the attainment of a legitimate end under the commerce power or under other powers that the Constitution grants Congress the authority to implement. Congress has the power under the N&P clause to prescribe the sanctions for the crimes that it creates (Comstock)
United States v. Comstock Did Congress have the constitutional authority to enact the Adam Walsh Protection and Safety Act? Yes. The Supreme Court held that the Necessary and Proper Clause grants Congress authority sufficient to enact the Adam Walsh Protection and Safety Act.
Commerce Clause
Art. I §8 includes 18 clauses enumerating specific powers of congress, included in that section is the power "to regulate Commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian Tribes". Historically, views of the meaning of the CC has changed. Initially (Gibbons), court adopts expansive view of the scope of the Commerce Clause. From late 19th c. until 1937, court adopts narrow construction, invalidates many laws as exceeding the scope of this authority. From 1937 until 1995, no federal laws deemed unconstitutional as violating commerce clause. In 1995 until present, some laws considered unconstitutional.
Gibbons v. Ogden
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. Q: Did the State of New York exercise authority in a realm reserved exclusively to Congress, namely, the regulation of interstate commerce? The unanimous Court found that New York's licensing requirement for out-of-state operators was inconsistent with a congressional act regulating the coasting trade. The New York law was invalid by virtue of the Supremacy Clause. In his opinion, Chief Justice John Marshall developed a clear definition of the word commerce, which included navigation on interstate waterways. He also gave meaning to the phrase "among the several states" in the Commerce Clause.
Meaning of the Commerce Clause in Gibbons
Marshall looked first at what "Commerce" means. It is something more than "traffic" (Ogden's argument); it is intercourse. It describes the commercial intercourse between nations, parts of nations, all its branches, and is regulated by prescribing rules for carrying on that intercourse. Commerce includes all phases of business, including navigation (the issue here). Next looked at meaning of "among the states": Among means "intermingled" with. Commerce among states does not stop at the external boundary line of each state, but may be introduced into the interior. Did not choose "in the midst of", which would have been broader: it is restricted to commerce which concerns more states than one (internal commerce in a state doesn't count). Congress CAN regulate intrastate commerce if it had an impact on interstate activities
1887-1937 Commerce Clause
In late 19th century, conservative justices take over and limit federal authority in this area. Supreme Court espoused philosophy termed "dual federalism": federal and state governments were separate sovereigns, each had separate zones of authority, and it was judicial role to protect the states by interpreting and enforcing the constitution to protect the zone of activities reserved to the states. "Among the states" only allows Congress to regulate when there is substantial effect on interstate commerce. Direct v. indirect effects: Court requires that there be a direct effect on interstate commerce
United States v. E.C. Knight
1895. US government attempted to use the Sherman Antitrust Act to block the American Sugar Refining Company form acquiring four competing refineries, the acquisition would have given the company control of 98% of the sugar industry. Court held that the antitrust act could not be used to stop a monopoly because the Constitution did not allow congress to regulate manufacturing, thus there is no federal authority. Commerce is not part of manufacturing and the court held a rigid distinction to preserve a zone of activities to the states. The court explained that the effect on commerce was only indirect and this outside the scope of the federal power.
Carter v. Carter Coal Co.
1935. Coal Conservation Act of 1935 declared unconstitutional: federal regulations on employment not "commerce"
Shreveport Rate Cases
1914. Railroad was ordered to charge the same rates for shipmens to Marshall, Texas, whether from Shreveport or from Dallas (interstate Commerce Commission regulated this, which was created by Congress). Court upholds federal regulation on the basis that congress in its exercise of its paramount power may prevent the common instramentalities of interstate and intrastate commercial intercourse from being used in their intrastate operations to the injury of interstate commerce. Congress possesses power to foster, protect interstate commerce, take all measures necessary and appropriate to that end
Schechter Poultry Corp v. Untied States (Sick Chickens case)
Nattional Industrial Recovery act (part of the New Deal) authorized the president to approve codes of fair competition developed by boards of various industries; President approves a Live Poultry Code for NY, which requires sellers to sell only entire coops of chickens or half coops and made it illegal for buyers to reject individual chickens. Regulated employment by requiring collective baragaining, prohibiting child labor, est. 40-hour work week, minimum wage. Court declares the code unconstitutional bc there was not a sufficiently direct relationship to interstate commerce. Even though all the poultry was shipped to/from other states, the code was not regulating the interstate transactions but the operation of businesses within NY. Effect of intrastate transactions upon interstate commerce is "merely indirect," so they remain in domain of state power
Swift & Co. v. United States
Application of Sherman Antitrust Act to an agreement among meat dealers to fix the price at which they would purchase meat from stockyards. Stockyard was intrastate, but only a temporary stop for the cattle: in a current of commerce among the states, and the purchase of cattle is a part and incident of such commerce. This is constitutional
Does State Sovereignty Limit Congressional Power?
Court held that even if an activity was commerce and was among the states, Congress still could not regulate if it was intruding into the "Zone of activities" reserved for the states. 10th amendment reserves a zone of activities to the states and even federal laws within the scope of the commerce clause were unconstitutional if they invaded that zone
Champion v. Ames
Federal law prohibiting the interstate shipment of lottery tickets. Court upheld the federal law. Both this case and Hammer the federal law prohibited the shipment of a specific item, an interstate commerce. But in Hammer the court declared the law Unconstitutional. BUT in this case the court declared that it was within Congress' commerce clause power to stop lottery tickets from being a part of interstate commerce. Court rejected the argument that the federal law violated the 10th Amendment and intruded on State government prerogatives. The court also rejected the argument that according Congress such power would give congress seemingly limitless authority. Thus the court did not constitutionally define the zone of activities reserved to the states.
Hammer. v. Dagenhart
Most significant decision to use 10th amendment. A federal law prohibited the shipment in interstate commerce of goods made in factories that employed children under the age of 14.Court declared the law unconstitutional because it controlled production. Court essentially saying that if the product is dangerous or immoral then congress can regulate, but it's not then congress can't. But what are dangerous or immoral articles, v. the product of dangerous or immoral practices?Court said that the power to regulate the child labor was entrusted to the states only
Key Decisions Changing the Commerce Clause Doctrine
NLRB, Darby, and Wickard overruled the earlier decisions and expansively defined the scope of Congresses's commerce power. From 1937-1995 no federal laws declared unconstitutional as exceeding scope of Congress's commerce power
NLRB v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp.
National Labor Relations Board found J&L had engaged in unfair labor practices by discriminatory discharges of employees for union activity. J&L challenged the National Labor Relations Act. Court held that the Act was consistent with Congress's constitutional authority. Court said that the steel business was part of the stream of commerce, labor relations within had a direct effect on commerce. Power to regulate commerce is the power to enact all appropriate legislation for its protection and advancement; adopt eamsures to promote it sgrowth and insure its safety, foster, protect, control, restrain. Power is plenary and may be exerted to protect interstate commerce no matter what the source of the dangers which threaten it
United States. V. Darby
Expressly Overrules the Hammer Case. Georgia lumber manufacture challenged an indictment charging him with violating the Fair Labor Standards Acts, the district court quashed the indictment, holding that the act was unconstitutional. Issue 1: Whether Congress has constitutional power to prohibit the shipment in interstate commerce of lumber manufactured by employees whose wages are less than a prescribed minimum or whose weekly hours of labor at the wage are greater than a prescribed minimum? Court holds that it does. Issue 2: Whether it has the power to prohibit the employment of workmen in the production of goods "for interstate commerce" Court holds: that the power of congress over interstate commerce extends to activities interstate, which have a substantial effect on the commerce or the exercise of the Congressional power over it. Court rejects view that production left entirely to state regulation: congress may control production by regulating shipments in interstate commerce. Reject view that 10th amendment limits congress's powers
Wickard v. Filburn
Filburn is charged with violation a wheat quota law, he challenges law. Because there is a surplus of wheat, the federal government tries to control the market, by decreasing supply and increasing prices, they do this by an act. Court holds that the law is constitutional. Aggregation Principal: The court rules that the farmer's wheat production is isolation doesn't affect interstate commerce, but if every farmer did the same thing than it would effect the interstate commerce, thus affecting the whole market on a national scale. What does it mean to substantially affect interstate commerce? This case allows congress to control intrastate commerce even though the activities are only confided within the state. Rejects limits on commerce power that were enforced earlier: distinctions on commerce/production, direct/indirect effects on commerce no longer followed
Post-Wickard Commerce Clause
New rule: Congress can regulate any activity if there was a "substantial effect" on interstate commerce. Not necessary that particular person or entity being regulated have a substantial effect on commerce. The activity, looked at cumulatively across the country, must have a substantial effect on commerce. In some cases, court deletes "substantial" so long as there is a rational basis for an effect on commerce
Heart of Atlanta Motel Inc. v. United States
Hotel had 216 rooms, 75% of registered guests from out of state. Title II of Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination by places of public accommodation. Court upholds it against hotel, which had a policy of refusing to provide accomodations to blacks. Considers whether congress had a rational basis for finding that racial discrimination affected commerce: yes, it "impedes" interstate travel. Didn't matter that motive was "moral"
Katzenbach v. McClung
Ollie's Barbeque: 46 percent of meat purchased from out of state. Congress rationally had concluded that discrimination by restaurants cumulatively had an impact on interstate commerce: restaurants sold less interstate goods bc of the discrimination; interstate commerce was obstructed, business suffered, new businesses refrained from establishing there as a result of it. Court upholds civil rights act application to Ollie's bc power under CC is broad and sweeping
Perez v. United States
Title II of Credit Protection Act prohibits loan sharking activities such as charges of excess interest, violence and threats of violence to collect debts. Defendant convicted of violating the law, but argued that the law could not be constitutionally applies to him bc his business wholly operated in NY and there was no proof that he engaged in organized crime. Court upholds federal law, concluding that it was rational for congress to believe that even intrastate loan sharking activities had a sufficient effect on interstate commerce. Rational belief sufficient
After Perez, congress enacts RICO statute, making it a federal crime for any person employed by or associated with any enterprise engaged, or the activities of which affect, interstate or foreign commerce, to conduct or participate, directly or indirectly in a pattern of racketeering activity. Racketeering includes everything from prostitution, obscenity, gambling, arson, extortion, bribery
Contemporary Commerce Clause
Lopez decided in 1995, struck down Gun-Free School Zones act of 1990. Since then, gradual narrowing of congressional power and revived arguments of state's 10th amendment rights. Test after Lopez is whether the activity sought to be regulated substantially affects interstate commerce, this is upheld in Morrison. But several cases have upheld the federal statutes (Gonzales). Many questions are unanswered and therefore invite challenges to federal laws like the ACA.
U.S. v. Lopez
Lopez (HS senior) arrested in texas for carrying concealed handgun w/ bullets at school. Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 makes it a federal offense for any individual knowingly to possess a firearm at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone. Lopez convicted, sentence, and appealed on grounds that GFSZA of 1990 was unconstitutional exercise of Congress's commerce power: inadequate relationship to interstate commerce (5th circuit). Supreme Court found that the law was unconstitutional because it wasn't substantially related to interstate commerce. Congress may legislate and protect the instramentalities of interstate commerce (i.e. railroads) and activities that have a substantial relation to interstate commerce. Gun at school doesn't substantially affect interstate commerce
United States v. Morrison
Violence Against Women Act provision authorizes victims of gender-motivated violence to sue for money damages. Enacted based on findings that state laws don't adequately protect women who are victims of DV, sexual assaults. Case brought by Christy Brzonkala, raped by football players at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, files suit against assailants and university. Court held that Congress lacked authority to adopt the provision under CC or under 14th Amend. §5. Court rejects that it's substantially related to interstate commerce: Rehnquist says that gender-motivated crimes are not economic activity in any sense. Existence of findings is not sufficient by itself, still need it to "substantially affect" interstate commerce
Gonzales v. Raich
Re: California marijuana laws. Court says that congress may use its power to regulate commerce among the states to prohibit the cultivation and possession of small amounts of marijuana for medicinal purposes. While Califonia de-criminalized medical marijuana, no exception in federal law. Court says that marijuana cumulatively (incl. stuff grown for medicinal purposes) has a substantial effect on interstate commerce. Stands for the proposition that intrastate production of a commodity sold in interstate commerce is economic activity and thus substantial effect can be based on cumulative output
ACA case: is it constitutional to require an individual mandate?Court says the power to regulate presupposes something that already exists. Commerce clause doesn't give congress the authority to regulate things that don't exist. 5 justices say the fed government doesn't have power to force you to buy something based on commerce clause
Direct v. Indirect Taxes
Historically, court draws distinction between "direct" and "indirect" taxes based on the text. Art. I §2 says that direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several states. Art. I §9 says that no direct tax shall be laid unless in proportion to the census. Court originally narrowly defines "direct" tax and accords Congress broad authority to impose taxes. Limits "direct" taxes to real property in early cases; all other taxes can be imposed by Congress without considering apportionment. Hylton v. United States: 1796 case that held a tax on carriages was indirect. Veazie Bank v. Fenno: 1869 case that upholds constitutionality of fed tax on state bank notes bc it was "indirect."Polluck v. Farmer's Loan & Title Co.: tax was gained from property, so it was direct and therefore unconstitutional. In 1913, Sixteenth Amendment ratified; overturns Polluck and allows a federal income tax. Court eventually eliminates distinction between direct/indirect taxes
Regulatory v. Revenue Tax Distinction
Court creates distinction between regulatory and revenue raising taxes (although this really doesn't have significance any more). Bailey v. Drexel: fed tax on companies that shipped in interstate commerce goods made by child labor held unconstitutional bc it violates the 10th amendment. Distinction between true tax and a penalty for violation of a commercial regulation: even though taxes can have incidental regulatory effect, a tax is unconstitutional when it becomes a "mere penalty with the characteristics between regulation and punishment." Problem: false distinction between taxes that generate taxes and penalties; taxes can be both! It's inherently arbitrary
Hill v. Wallace
1922 case; federal tax on grain future contracts is unconstitutional because it was a penalty and not a true tax
U.S. v. Constantine
1935 case; fed tax on liquor dealors who violate state liquor laws is unconstitutional bc it exhibits an intention to prohibit and punish violations of state law and remove any semblance of revenue act
Sonzinsky v. United States
sustains National Firearms Act despite being regulatory
Individual mandate upheld despite being called a penalty based on taxation power
Child Labor Tax Case (Bailey v. Drexel Furniture)
1921 The Court found that the Child Labor Tax Law was in violation of the Constitution as it intruded on the jurisdiction of states to adopt and enforce child labor codes. Chief Justice Taft argued that the tax law in question did much more than simply impose an "incidental restraint" but exerted a "prohibitory and regulatory effect" in a realm over which Congress had no jurisdiction. Taft feared that upholding this law would destroy state sovereignty and devastate "all constitutional limitation of the powers of Congress" by allowing it to disguise future regulatory legislation in the cloak of taxes.
United States v. Kahriger
1952 In 1951, Congress adopted the Gamblers' Occupational Tax Act which required gamblers to register with the Collector of Internal Revenue and levied a tax on their gambling income. The Court upheld the law. Justice Reed argued that the law did not violate a person's Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination because under its registration provisions, individuals were "not compelled to confess to acts already committed." The statute simply informed people who wanted to "engage in the business of wagering" that they would be required to "fulfill certain conditions." The Tenth Amendment was not offended as Reed found that the tax produced revenue and was not inconsistent with similar taxes which the Court had previously approved.
Question: Does Congress have power under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, specifically under the Commerce Clause or the Taxing and Spending Clause, to require most Americans to purchase health insurance? Chief Justice Roberts, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan, concluded that the Individual Mandate penalty is a tax for the purposes of the Constitution's Taxing and Spending Clause and is a valid exercise of Congressional authority. 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.
Spending Power
Court has held that congress has broad power to spend funds to advance the "general welfare" Congress not limited to spending only to achieve enumerated powers in Art. I; but it can spending any way that it believes would serve the general welfare. In Butler; court held that act was unconstitutional bc it infringed on states' 10th amendment rights; but this is now no longer good law; However, its holding about spending power is still good law. In Steward Machine Co. v. Davis, provisions of social security act that provided for ole age pension program upheld due to broad nature of Congressional Spending power. In Sabri v. U.S. (2004) federal law that prohibits bribery of state, local and tribal officials that receive $10000 in fed funds upheld: Congress has power to bear directly on individuals who convert public spending into unearned provate gain
United States v. Butler
1935. 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 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.Basically is a regulation so it won't work; it's unconstitutional bc court is still in era where certain subject matters over which government has no authority. Can't use it's federal authority over areas reserved for state authority
Steward Machine Co. v. Davis
provisions of social security act that provided for ole age pension program upheld due to broad nature of Congressional Spending power
Conditions on grants to state governments
Ability of congress to place conditions on grants to state and local governments is an important issue. Congress may place conditions on these grants, as long as the conditions are expressly stated and have some relationship to the purpose of the spending program. Gotta be in the general welfare; Need to be clear about the conditions; Conditions have to be related to the spending power. Other constitutional provisions provide independent bar to the conditional grant of federal funds. As an aside: can't be coercive (pressure can't turn into compulsion), could say no and still get highway funds
Oklahoma v. Civil Service Commission
Provision of the federal Hatch Act that granted federal funds to state governments on the condition that the states adopt civil service systems and limit political activities of many categories of government workers. Court upheld the law, saying that congress has broad power to set conditions for receipt of federal funds even in areas where Congress wouldn't normally be able to regulate. Congress has power to fix the terms upon which its money allotments to states whall be disbursed
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. 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.
First case where the court ever strikes down spending on the condition that it's unduly coercive. Congress: created Medicaid system for the poor, funding a large portion (states fund the rest). ACA made "serious" changes to medicare: threatens to withdraw all money for Medicaid-dependent citizens. States said it was coercive: couldn't afford to have healthcare without: states budget was 20% for Medicaid. Citizens pay the same in taxes, won't get any taxes back; like a "gun to the head". Chief Justice Roberts, with Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, Breyer, Alito, and Kagan, concluded that the Medicaid expansion provisions was unconstitutionally coercive as written. Congress does not have authority under the Spending Clause to threaten the states with complete loss of Federal funding of Medicaid, if the states refuse to comply with the expansion. Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor disagreed, arguing, "Congresss' authority to condition the use of federal funds is not confined to spending programs as first launched. The legislature may, and often does, amend the law."
Art. II §2 gives president authority to make treaties by and with consent of the Senate, provided that 2/3 of the Senators present concur. Amend. 10 gives states/people authority. Treaties prevail over conflicting state laws. When a statute and treaty are on the same subject, court will try to give effect to both. If a conflict between treaty and statute, the one adopted last in time prevails. Treaties cannot violate the constitution. Missouri v. Holland: states cannot claim that state sovereignty/10th amendment limit the scope of the treaty power
Missouri v. Holland
In December 1916, the United States and Great Britain entered into a treaty to protect a number of migratory birds in the U.S. and Canada. Congress passed the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1918 in order to facilitate enforcement of the treaty. Question: Did the treaty infringe upon rights reserved to the states by the Tenth Amendment? No. In a 7-to-2 decision, the Court held that the national interest in protecting the wildlife could be protected only by national action. The Court noted that the birds the government sought to protect had no permanent habitats within individual states and argued that "[b]ut for the treaty and the statute there soon might be no birds for any powers to deal with." The Court thus upheld the exercise of the treaty power and thus found no violation of the Tenth Amendment.
Bond v. United States
No right to regulate crime of passion (chemical weapons). Carol Anne Bond was found guilty of trying to poison her husband's mistress, Myrlinda Haynes, with toxic chemicals at least 24 times over the course of several months. Question: Does a criminal defendant, who has been convicted under a federal statute, have standing to challenge the conviction on grounds that the statute is beyond the federal government's enumerated powers and inconsistent with the Tenth Amendment? Yes. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the lower court order in a unanimous opinion by Justice Anthony Kennedy. "Bond has standing to challenge the federal statute on grounds that the measure interferes with the powers reserved to States," Kennedy wrote.
10th Amendment Limits
10th amendment says powers not delegated to the U.S. in the constitution or prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people; Question about whether the 10th amend. is a judicially enforceable limit on congress's powers: can fed laws be declared unconstitutional as violating 10th amend? Court is inconsistent throughout history. One approach: 10th amend is not a separate constraint on congress but just a reminder that congress only may legislate if it has authority under the constitution. Here, federal law would never be found unconstitutional as violating the 10th amend but could be invalidated as exceeding the scope of Congress's powers in Art. I or another constitutional provision, This was what court did in the 19th century: federal laws generally constitutional as long as congress acted w/in scope of its authority; Also shifted back to this approach from 1937-1990s: only 1 law found to violate 10th amend. Different approach: 10th amend. protects state sovereignty form federal intrusion. Here, 10th amend is key protection of states' rights and federalism: reserves a zone of activity to the states for their exclusive control, and federal laws intruding into this zone should be declared unconstitutional by the courts. In the first third of the 20th Century, court took this view, found that 10th amend. reserved control over production and attempts to regulate production found unconstitutional. Modern trend in NY v. United States and Prinz is to uphold 10th amendment limitations. NY v. United States: it is unconstitutional for Congress to compel state legislature to adopt laws or state agencies to adopt regulations. However, congress can set standards that state/local governments must meet, attach strings
Coyle v. Oklahoma
In 1910, Oklahoma enacted a law moving its state capital from Guthrie to Oklahoma City. In admitting Oklahoma to the Union, the Congress declared the temporary capital to be Briscoe and that a change to some other location would not occur until 1913. Question Does Oklahoma have the power to locate its seat of government when Congress has imposed conditions limiting that location? Yes. This was congressional overreaching. States are on an equal footing to determine their own location for the seat of government.
National League of Cities v. Usery
Only case from 1937-1990 that found that a law violated the 10th amendment. Application of the Fair Labor Standards Act required the payment of the minimum Wage to state and local employees. Court held this unconstitutional (but later overruled in Garcia) There are limits on the power of Congress to override state sovereignty, even when exercising its otherwise plenary powers to tax or to regulate commerce. Court found that requiring states to pay their employees the minimum wage violated the 10th amendment bc the law operates to directly displace the states freedom to structure integral operations in areas of traditional governmental functions. Forcing states to pay their employees min wage would require that they either raise taxes or cut other services to pay these costs; this would displace decisions traditionally left to the states. So, congress violates 10th amend. when it intereferes w/ traditional state and local government functions, but court doesn't define what traditional functions are
Garcia v. San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Authority
Supreme Court expressly overrides Usery. Also involves challenge to Fair Labor Standards Act in application to state/local governments. Court says that Usery application had proved unworkable. Effort to define "traditional governmental functions" that were immune from federal regulation had proved to be unworkable as courts divided over whether novel state functions like transportation and sewage treatment were as integral to state sovereignty as police and fire protection. More fundamental problem that no distinction purports to separate out important governmental functions can be faithful to the role of federalism in a democratic society. Use of the courts instead of legislature isn't ok: principle limit on federal commerce power is that system provides in-state participation in federal governmental action through political process
South Carolina v. Baker
Court upholds removal of an exemption from federal income tax for interest from bearer bonds issued by the states. The law in effect forced states to switch to issuing tax-exempt registered bonds in order to raise debt capital. Court rejects state's argument that this was one of those stituations in which state interests were impaired: extraordinary defects in the national political process. The national political process did not operate in a defective manner, so 10th amendment not implicated
New York v. United States
The Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Act Amendments of 1985 required states alone or in compacts with other states to dispose of such radioactive waste within their borders. New York State and Allegany and Cortland counties were frustrated in their compliance efforts by resistance from residents to proposed radioactive waste sites and a lack of cooperation from neighboring states. New York filed suit against the federal government, questioning the authority of Congress to regulate state waste management. Question Does the Low-Level Waste Act violate the Tenth Amendment and the "guarantee clause" of Article Four? Central holding: it is unconstitutional for Congress to compel state legislature to adopt laws or state agencies to adopt regulations. However, congress can set standards that state/local governments must meet, attach strings
Printz v. United States
Issue: whether Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act violates the 10th amendment in requiring that state/local law officers conduct background checks on prospective handgun purchasers. Scalia writes for the court; finds provision unconstitutional. Congress was impermissibly commandeering state executive officials to implement a federal mandate: Historically and in early years of the court, congress had not exercised this power. Congress violates the 10th amendment when it conscripts state government (NY v. United States). Justice Stevens writes dissent w/ Souter, Ginsberg, Breyer disagreeing w/ premise of NY. Congress may impose affirmative obligations on executive and judicial officers of state and local governments
Reno v. Condon
Court rejects 10th amendment challenge and upholds federal law. Driver's privacy protection act: prohibits states from disclosing personal information gained by dept. of motor vehicles. Court says that bc the law was constitutional as an exercise of Congress's commerce clause power: many states sell this personal information to individuals/businesses and these sales generate significant revues for the states. Law also extends to private businesses. It was a prohibition of conduct, not an affirmative mandate (vs. NY and Printz)