Article I, §8. cl. 3 grants Congress the power “to regulate commerce among the several states.”
In order for Congress to use this power, the federal law must either regulate economic or commercial activity that can substantially affect interstate commerce or require that the regulated activity be connected with interstate commerce
Article I, §10 provides “No State shall pass any Law impairing the Obligations of Contracts.”
“Impairs” – one that substantially invalidates, releases, or extinguishes the obligations of a contract, or one that derogates substantial contractual rights. The greater the impairment, the greater justification must be shown by the state.
“Obligation” – sets the terms of the contract and the legal rules in force when the contract was made and which enter into and comprise a part of the agreement
Public Contract – can be modified by legislation that (1) serves an important and legitimate public interest, and (2) is a reasonable and narrowly tailored means of promoting this interest
The severity of the impairment
The reasonable reliance and expectations of the contracting parties
The strength and breadth of the social-economic problem involved
Whether the law serves the general public welfare, or benefits only special interests
Whether the law operates in an area already regulated by the state
Whether the impact of the law is permanent/ immediate
Private Contracts – can be modified by legislation that (1) serves an important and legitimate public interest, and (2) is a reasonable and narrowly tailored means of promoting this interest
BUT, held to a higher scrutiny because the legislatures own self-interest is at stake
Dormant Commerce Clause – Where Congress has not enacted legislation regarding the subject matter, states may regulate local transactions even though the transactions affect interstate commerce (subject to limitations)
If Discriminatory on its face – almost always per se invalid
strict scrutiny as to whether it protects health and safety interests and if there are no reasonable non-discriminatory alternatives available
this is allowed if the state is acting as a market participant
If Non-discriminatory on its face – given deference by the courts if the statute is rationally related to the state interest – if the burden of the state regulation falls proportionally on local interests as well as those outside the state.
Balancing Test – the burden on interstate commerce imposed by regulation is weighed against the strength of the interest in the regulation
Taxing – the company’s business activities must have a sufficient nexus with the state and must NOT unjustifiably benefit in state interests at the expense of out of state business as cumulative
Due Process Clause
The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments protect against the deprivation of “life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”
If there are no fundamental rights involved – the court use the Rational Basis Test – Is the law rationally related to a legitimate government purpose? – the burden is on the challenger
If there are fundamental rights involved – the courts use the Strict Scrutiny Test – Is the law necessary to achieve a compelling government purpose? – the burden is on the government
government action which infringes upon a fundamental right violates substantive due process, unless there is compelling interest involved and there is no less burdensome means of accomplishing that objective.
14th Amendment, §5 authorizes Congress “to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”
This protects the “privileges and immunities” of the citizenry from violation by the states, or even acts from other citizens
Equal Protection Clause
14th Amendment provides “no State shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
Minimum Rationality Standard – assumes the objective being pursued falls within the state’s police power, than all that is needed is a minimum rational relation between the means chosen and the end being pursued
discussed further next semester
state legislation pertaining to legal aliens is ordinarily subject to strict scrutiny
Article III, §2 allows Congress to remove cases entirely from the Court’s appellate jurisdiction, but it does not permit cases to be moved from the appellate to the original jurisdiction category.
Originally it appeared to permit the transfer of cases between the court’s original and appellate jurisdiction. . . however, Chief Justice Marshall rejected such a reading of the clause, suggesting that the framers would not have bothered to define the Supreme Court’s original and appellate jurisdiction if they could be subject to altercation at the will of Congress.
Congress may however grant lower federal courts and state courts concurrent jurisdiction over matters otherwise within the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction.
14th Amendment incorporates those principles implicit in the concept of ordered liberty or fundamental to the American scheme
1st, 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th amendments have in whole or partially been incorporated to apply to the States
A decision may be appealed as of right to the U.S. Supreme Court where . . .
a state court has held a federal statute or treaty invalid
a state court has upheld a state statute against the claim that it is unconstitutional or invalid under the Supremacy Clause
a federal court of appeal has held a state statute
contrary to a federal statute or treaty
Certiorari is granted where . . .
a state court has held a state statute
contrary to federal statute or treaty
federal court of appeal has decided a novel, but significant, federal question and there is no appeal of right
Necessary and Proper Clause
Article I, §8, cl. 18 provides that Congress has the power to “make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this constitution in the government of the U.S. . . .”
“Let the end be legitimate, let it be within the scope of the constitution, and all means which are appropriate, which are not prohibited, but consist with the latter and spirit of the constitution are constitutional
Preemption Doctrine (Supremacy Clause)
mandates that valid federal law, including statutes, treaties, administrative rules, and common law, supplants or supercedes state law that is inconsistent with the specific terms or overall objectives of the federal law
express preemption – when Congress expressly describes the extent to which federal enactment preempts state law
conflict preemption – when a state law conflicts with federal law by imposing inconsistent obligations on affected parties or by interfering with objectives of the federal scheme, the state law will be struck
Field Preemption – when a state law operates in a field where Congress intends the federal government to occupy exclusively
Privileges and Immunities Clause
Article IV, §2 provides that “every Citizen of each state shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.”
It applies only if fundamental national interests are burdened (those which bear on the vitality of the nation as a whole)
Is the activity in question fundamental in that it is sufficiently basic to the livelihood of the nation as to be within the privileges and immunities protected?
is there a substantial reason for the discrimination?
Does the discrimination bear a close relation to that reason, including consideration of the availability of less restrictive means?
Does not apply to legal aliens
* Must show that the out of staters are of a peculiar source of evil that the statute is meant to rectify and that the solution is substantially related to that evil
Speech or Debate Clause
Article 1, §6, cl. 1 shields Senators and Representatives from criminal and civil liability by providing for :any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place.”
If the spending is directed toward the common defence or the general welfare, than it falls within the scope of the spending power (can be a disguise to regulate)
an exception to the eleventh amendment that allows suit to be brought to enjoin a state official from violating the constitution or laws of theUnited States
The ancient doctrine of sovereign immunity rested on the precept that the King could do no wrong . . . but the king’s officers were not shielded by sovereign immunity and could be sued when they violated the law
Prospective Relief (allowed) – relief directed toward the future behavior of the defendant, such as an injunction to prevent a continuing violation of federal law
Retroactive Relief (NOT allowed) – relief designed as a remedy for past behavior, such as damages, compensation, or an injunction directed at undoing a completed transaction
Article VI, §2 provides “The Constitution and the laws of theUnited Stateswhich shall be made in pursuance thereof shall be the supreme law of the land”
A state or local action may be held invalid even if it does not conflict with federal regulations if it appears that Congress intended to occupy the field in this area
The 5th Amendment provides that private property is not to be taken for public use without just compensation. The 14th Amendment imposes similar obligations on the state
physical invading, occupying, or seizing private property – taking per se if permanent
regulating the use of private property
Penn Central Balancing Test
Investment Backed Expectations
Character of the government action
imposing conditions on the development of private property
Nollan – essential nexus must exist between the legitimate state interest and the condition imposed (exactions)
Dollan – Rough Proportionality Test
How great is the exaction on the landowner in proportion to the impact of the development
The burden of producing evidence of proportional relationship is on the city
Article 1, §8, cl. 1 provides that Congress may “lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States
The tax will be upheld under the taxing power if its dominant intent is to raise revenue rather than regulate or prohibit action
Objective Approach – its dominant intent, no matter how small, will be fiscal, despite the apparent regulatory purpose
Subjective Approach – looks at the language and operate effect to determine the dominant intent
Article 1, §8 grants Congress the power to declare war, raise and support armies, to provide and maintain a navy, to make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces, and to provide for organizing, arming, disciplining and calling forth the militia
subject to the same separation of powers argument as the power to make exceptions to the court’s appellate jurisdiction.
Congress may NOT manipulate inferior court jurisdiction in a matter designed to achieve a particular result in a particular case
Congress may NOT exercise its power over these tribunals in a manner that violates constitutional limits such as those found in Article 1, §9 (habeas corpus . . . ex post facto)
Article 1, §8, cls. 12, 13 and 14 grant Congress the power to “raise and support armies . . .
The purpose of military courts is to administer courts-martial, and the jurisdiction of such courts is limited to the trial of military personnel. (Kinsella v. United States, ex rel. Singleton)
Congress has given this power to the President by Resolution