Seniors- Write in journal. This week, you will be deconstructing and analyzing historical US judicial rulings. Each day, you will read a new case and do the following: A copy of all the readings will be attached to the bottom of this week's post.
1. Annotate the Argument with your thoughts, questions, and judgment calls
2. Explain in one paragraph the issue at hand, the law it deals with, imperative evidence and/or testimony, the ruling of the court, and why it is significant. Use direct citation. This paragraph may very well exceed 8 sentences. Keep it professional. No “I statements” instead of saying “I feel _____________ is important”, say “________ is important….
Juniors- Write in journal. Read chapters 11 and 12 in the novel, "Never Let Me Go" and write a comprehensive summary of both chapters. You are also responsible to stay up-to-date on your novel analysis questions.
Seniors- Read silently for 10 minutes. Continue your assignment from Monday, selecting a new historical judicial ruling to analyze and deconstruct.
Juniors- Read silently the first 10 minutes of class. Read chapters 13 and 14 in the novel, "Never Let Me Go" and write a comprehensive summary of both chapters. You are also responsible to stay up-to-date on your novel analysis questions.
Seniors- Write in journal. Continue your assignment, selecting a new historical judicial ruling to analyze and deconstruct.
Juniors- Write in journal. Read chapters 15 and 16 in the novel, "Never Let Me Go" and write a comprehensive summary of both chapters. You are also responsible to stay up-to-date on your novel analysis questions.
Seniors- Read silently the first 10 minutes of class. Complete your last analysis and deconstruction of your final historical judicial ruling. Homework:
Five paragraph essay depicting the following:
Intro- Explain the importance of these historical documents and the importance they have played in American society.
1-3 Select 3 of the cases to deconstruct, explain why the judge ruled the way they did by incorporating the law, and explain the historical context.
5- Conclusion- Thought-Provoking and Stimulating Summation of your analytical findings and historical importance. (NO PERSONALIZATION, YOUR OPINION IS LAW)
Due Monday September 23, 2013
Juniors- Write in journal. Read chapters 17and 18 in the novel, "Never Let Me Go" and write a comprehensive summary of both chapters. You are also responsible to stay up-to-date on your novel analysis questions. Homework:
Finish the Novel (Chapters 19-23) Write summaries for 19 & 20, 21&22, and a final summary for chapter 23. All Analysis Questions must be complete as well. If all students finish the novel, all summaries, and analysis questions we will watch the movie, "Never Let Me Go." If one student does not complete the assigned work, the class will not watch this film, and instead, write an essay on Monday.
Senior Readings and Assignment
Marbury v. Madison – Case Brief SummarySummary of Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137, 1 Cranch 137, 2 L. Ed. 60 (1803).
FactsOn his last day in office, President John Adams named forty-two justices of the peace and sixteen new circuit court justices for the District of Columbia under the Organic Act. The Organic Act was an attempt by the Federalists to take control of the federal judiciary before Thomas Jefferson took office.
The commissions were signed by President Adams and sealed by acting Secretary of State John Marshall (who later became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and author of this opinion), but they were not delivered before the expiration of Adams’s term as president. Thomas Jefferson refused to honor the commissions, claiming that they were invalid because they had not been delivered by the end of Adams’s term.
William Marbury (P) was an intended recipient of an appointment as justice of the peace. Marbury applied directly to the Supreme Court of the United States for a writ of mandamus to compel Jefferson’s Secretary of State, James Madison (D), to deliver the commissions. The Judiciary Act of 1789 had granted the Supreme Court original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus “…to any courts appointed, or persons holding office, under the authority of the United States.”
- Does Marbury have a right to the commission?
- Does the law grant Marbury a remedy?
- Does the Supreme Court have the authority to review acts of Congress and determine whether they are unconstitutional and therefore void?
- Can Congress expand the scope of the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction beyond what is specified in Article III of the Constitution?
- Does the Supreme Court have original jurisdiction to issue writs of mandamus?
Holding and Rule (Marshall)
Marbury has a right to the commission.
The order granting the commission takes effect when the Executive’s constitutional power of appointment has been exercised, and the power has been exercised when the last act required from the person possessing the power has been performed. The grant of the commission to Marbury became effective when signed by President Adams.
The law grants Marbury a remedy.The very essence of civil liberty
certainly consists in the right of every individual to claim the
protection of the laws whenever he receives an injury. One of the first
duties of government is to afford that protection.
Where a specific duty is assigned by law, and individual rights depend upon the performance of that duty, the individual who considers himself injured has a right to resort to the law for a remedy. The President, by signing the commission, appointed Marbury a justice of the peace in the District of Columbia. The seal of the United States, affixed thereto by the Secretary of State, is conclusive testimony of the verity of the signature, and of the completion of the appointment. Having this legal right to the office, he has a consequent right to the commission, a refusal to deliver which is a plain violation of that right for which the laws of the country afford him a remedy.
The Supreme Court has the authority to review acts of Congress and
determine whether they are unconstitutional and therefore void.
It is emphatically the duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular cases must, of necessity, expound and interpret the rule. If two laws conflict with each other, the Court must decide on the operation of each. If courts are to regard the Constitution, and the Constitution is superior to any ordinary act of the legislature, the Constitution, and not such ordinary act, must govern the case to which they both apply.
Congress cannot expand the scope of the Supreme Court’s original
jurisdiction beyond what is specified in Article III of the
The Constitution states that “the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction in all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, and those in which a state shall be a party. In all other cases, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction.” If it had been intended to leave it in the discretion of the Legislature to apportion the judicial power between the Supreme and inferior courts according to the will of that body, this section is mere surplusage and is entirely without meaning. If Congress remains at liberty to give this court appellate jurisdiction where the Constitution has declared their jurisdiction shall be original, and original jurisdiction where the Constitution has declared it shall be appellate, the distribution of jurisdiction made in the Constitution, is form without substance.
The Supreme Court does not have original jurisdiction to issue writs of
To enable this court then to issue a mandamus, it must be shown to be an exercise of appellate jurisdiction, or to be necessary to enable them to exercise appellate jurisdiction.
It is the essential criterion of appellate jurisdiction that it revises and corrects the proceedings in a cause already instituted, and does not create that case. Although, therefore, a mandamus may be directed to courts, yet to issue such a writ to an officer for the delivery of a paper is, in effect, the same as to sustain an original action for that paper, and is therefore a matter of original jurisdiction.
DispositionApplication for writ of mandamus denied. Marbury doesn’t get the commission.
See Ex Parte McCardle for a constitutional law case brief holding that that the Constitution gives Congress the express power to make exceptions to the Supreme Court’s appellate jurisdiction.
Brown v. Board of Education – Case Brief SummarySummary of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483, 74 S. Ct. 686, 98 L. Ed. 873 (1954).
FactsThis case is a consolidation of several different cases from Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware. Several black children (through their legal representatives, Ps) sought admission to public schools that required or permitted segregation based on race. The plaintiffs alleged that segregation was unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
In all but one case, a three judge federal district court cited Plessy v. Ferguson in denying relief under the “separate but equal” doctrine. On appeal to the Supreme Court, the plaintiffs contended that segregated schools were not and could not be made equal and that they were therefore deprived of equal protection of the laws.
- Is the race-based segregation of children into “separate but equal” public schools constitutional?
Holding and Rule (Warren)
- No. The race-based segregation of children into “separate but equal” public schools violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and is unconstitutional.
The question presented in these cases must be determined not on the basis of conditions existing when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted, but in the light of the role of public education in American life today. The separate but equal doctrine adopted in Plessy v. Ferguson, which applied to transportation, has no place in the field of public education.
Separating black children from others solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone. The impact of segregation is greater when it has the sanction of law. A sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn. Segregation with the sanction of law tends to impede the educational and mental development of black children and deprives them of some of the benefits they would receive in an integrated school system. Whatever may have been the extent of psychological knowledge at the time of Plessy v. Ferguson, this finding is amply supported by modern authority and any language to the contrary in Plessy v. Ferguson is rejected.
DispositionJudgment for the plaintiffs.
See Allen v. Wright for a constitutional law case brief involving an issue of whether the parents of black children had standing to bring claims for declaratory and injunctive relief regarding the tax-exempt status of segregated private schools.
Plessy v. Ferguson – Case Brief Summary
Summary of Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537, 16 S. Ct. 1138, 41 L. Ed. 256 (1896).
FactsPlessy (P) attempted to sit in an all-white railroad car. After refusing to sit in the black railway carriage car, Plessy was arrested for violating an 1890 Louisiana statute that provided for segregated “separate but equal” railroad accommodations. Those using facilities not designated for their race were criminally liable under the statute.
At trial with Justice John H. Ferguson (D) presiding, Plessy was found guilty on the grounds that the law was a reasonable exercise of the state’s police powers based upon custom, usage, and tradition in the state. Plessy filed a petition for writs of prohibition and certiorari in the Supreme Court of Louisiana against Ferguson, asserting that segregation stigmatized blacks and stamped them with a badge of inferiority in violation of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth amendments. The court found for Ferguson and the Supreme Court granted cert.
- Can the states constitutionally enact legislation requiring persons of different races to use “separate but equal” segregated facilities?
Holding and Rule (Brown)
- Yes. The states can constitutionally enact legislation requiring persons of different races to use “separate but equal” segregated facilities.
Thirteenth Amendment issueThe statute does not conflict with the Thirteenth Amendment. The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime. Slavery implies involuntary servitude and a state of bondage. The Thirteenth Amendment however was regarded as insufficient to protect former slaves from certain laws which had been enacted in the south which imposed upon them onerous disabilities and burdens and curtailed their rights in the pursuit of life, liberty and property to such an extent that their freedom was of little value; and that the Fourteenth Amendment was devised to meet this exigency.
Fourteenth Amendment IssueAll persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are made citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside, and the States are forbidden from making or enforcing any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, or shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, or deny to any person within their jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
The proper construction of this amendment involves a question of exclusive privileges rather than race. Its main purpose was to establish the citizenship of former slaves, to give definitions of citizenship of the United States and of the States, and to protect the privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States from hostile legislation of the states.
It was intended to enforce the absolute equality of the two races before the law, but it was intended to abolish distinctions based upon color, or to enforce social equality, or a commingling of the two races upon terms unsatisfactory to either. Laws permitting and even requiring their separation in places where they are liable to be brought into contact do not necessarily imply the inferiority of either race. Such laws have generally been recognized as within the scope of the states’ police powers. The most common instance involves the establishment of separate schools, which has been held to be a valid exercise of the legislative power even by courts of States where the political rights of blacks have been longest and most earnestly enforced.
DispositionJudgment for Ferguson (Plessy loses).
NoteThis case is often cited incorrectly as Plessey v. Ferguson.
This case was later overruled by Brown v. Board of Education. Justice Warren wrote the opinion for a unanimous court, holding that separate facilities which segregate based on race are inherently unequal.
Roe v. Wade – Case Brief SummarySummary of Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 93 S. Ct. 705, 35 L. Ed. 2d 147 (1973).
FactsRoe (P), a pregnant single woman, brought a class action suit challenging the constitutionality of the Texas abortion laws. These laws made it a crime to obtain or attempt an abortion except on medical advice to save the life of the mother.
Other plaintiffs in the lawsuit included Hallford, a doctor who faced criminal prosecution for violating the state abortion laws; and the Does, a married couple with no children, who sought an injunction against enforcement of the laws on the grounds that they were unconstitutional. The defendant was county District Attorney Wade (D).
A three-judge District Court panel tried the cases together and held that Roe and Hallford had standing to sue and presented justiciable controversies, and that declaratory relief was warranted. The court also ruled however that injunctive relief was not warranted and that the Does’ complaint was not justiciable.
Roe and Hallford won their lawsuits at trial. The district court held that the Texas abortion statutes were void as vague and for overbroadly infringing the Ninth and Fourteenth Amendment rights of the plaintiffs. The Does lost, however, because the district court ruled that injunctive relief against enforcement of the laws was not warranted.
The Does appealed directly to the Supreme Court of the United States and Wade cross-appealed the district court’s judgment in favor of Roe and Hallford.
- Do abortion laws that criminalize all abortions, except those required on medical advice to save the life of the mother, violate the Constitution of the United States?
- Does the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution protect the right to privacy, including the right to obtain an abortion?
- Are there any circumstances where a state may enact laws prohibiting abortion?
- Did the fact that Roe’s pregnancy had already terminated naturally before this case was decided by the Supreme Court render her lawsuit moot?
- Was the district court correct in denying injunctive relief?
Holding and Rule (Blackmun)
- Yes. State criminal abortion laws that except from criminality only life-saving procedures on the mother’s behalf, and that do not take into consideration the stage of pregnancy and other interests, are unconstitutional for violating the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
- Yes. The Due Process Clause protects the right to privacy, including a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy, against state action.
- Yes. Though a state cannot completely deny a woman the right to terminate her pregnancy, it has legitimate interests in protecting both the pregnant woman’s health and the potentiality of human life at various stages of pregnancy.
- No. The natural termination of Roe’s pregnancy did not render her suit moot.
- Yes. The district court was correct in denying injunctive relief.
The Supreme Court held that litigation involving pregnancy, which is “capable of repetition, yet evading review,” is an exception to the general rule that an actual controversy must exist at each stage of judicial review, and not merely when the action is initiated.
The Court held that while 28 U.S.C. § 1253 does not authorize a party seeking only declaratory relief to appeal directly to the Supreme Court, review is not foreclosed when the case is brought on appeal from specific denial of injunctive relief and the arguments on the issues of both injunctive and declaratory relief are necessarily identical.
The Does’ complaint seeking injunctive relief was based on contingencies which might or might not occur and was therefore too speculative to present an actual case or controversy. It was unnecessary for the Court to decide Hallford’s case for injunctive relief because once the Court found the laws unconstitutional, the Texas authorities were prohibited from enforcing them.
DispositionRoe wins – the district court judgment is affirmed.
Hallford loses – the district court judgment is reversed.
The Does lose – the district court judgment is affirmed.
See Singleton v. Wulff for an abortion rights constitutional law case brief involving issues of injunctive and declaratory relief in the context of the enforcement of abortion legislation.
McCulloch v. Maryland – Case Brief SummarySummary of McCulloch v. Maryland, 17 U.S. 316, 4 Wheat. 316, 4 L. Ed. 579 (1819).
FactsMaryland (P) enacted a statute imposing a tax on all banks operating in Maryland not chartered by the state. The statute provided that all such banks were prohibited from issuing bank notes except upon stamped paper issued by the state. The statute set forth the fees to be paid for the paper and established penalties for violations.
The Second Bank of the United States was established pursuant to an 1816 act of Congress. McCulloch (D), the cashier of the Baltimore branch of the Bank of the United States, issued bank notes without complying with the Maryland law. Maryland sued McCulloch for failing to pay the taxes due under the Maryland statute and McCulloch contested the constitutionality of that act. The state court found for Maryland and McCulloch appealed.
- Does Congress have the power under the Constitution to incorporate a bank, even though that power is not specifically enumerated within the Constitution?
- Does the State of Maryland have the power to tax an institution created by Congress pursuant to its powers under the Constitution?
Holding and Rule (Marshall)
- Yes. Congress has power under the Constitution to incorporate a bank pursuant to the Necessary and Proper clause (Article I, section 8).
- No. The State of Maryland does not have the power to tax an institution created by Congress pursuant to its powers under the Constitution.
The power of establishing a corporation is not a distinct sovereign power or end of Government, but only the means of carrying into effect other powers which are sovereign. It may be exercised whenever it becomes an appropriate means of exercising any of the powers granted to the federal government under the U.S. Constitution. If a certain means to carry into effect of any of the powers expressly given by the Constitution to the Government of the Union be an appropriate measure, not prohibited by the Constitution, the degree of its necessity is a question of legislative discretion, not of judicial cognizance.
The Bank of the United States has a right to establish its branches within any state. The States have no power, by taxation or otherwise, to impede or in any manner control any of the constitutional means employed by the U.S. government to execute its powers under the Constitution. This principle does not extend to property taxes on the property of the Bank of the United States, nor to taxes on the proprietary interest which the citizens of that State may hold in this institution, in common with other property of the same description throughout the State.
DispositionReversed; judgment for McCulloch.
NoteThis opinion is occasionally cited as Mccullough v. Maryland or alternatively as Maryland v. McCulloch.
See Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee for a case brief of a constitutional law opinion holding that the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution and laws of the United States trumps that of state courts.