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CONSTITUTIONAL LAW. CLASS 7 January 23, 2007 The Commerce Clause I History of Interpretation Up to 1995. INTERPRETATION: IMPORTANCE. Tushnet: “ only method practically available in US constitutional law to deal with change and its consequences for the constitutional code.”.

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constitutional law

CONSTITUTIONAL LAW

CLASS 7

January 23, 2007

The Commerce Clause I

History of Interpretation Up to 1995

interpretation importance
INTERPRETATION: IMPORTANCE
  • Tushnet:
  • “only method practically available in US constitutional law to deal with change and its consequences for the constitutional code.”
vague terms commerce among the states
VAGUE TERMS: “Commerce”,“Among the . . . States”
  • COMMERCE CLAUSE ART. I § 8, cl. 3: Congress has the power "[t]o regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States. . . .“
since gibbons
SINCE GIBBONS
  • Many cases before the Court have concerned the scope of the commerce power
  • Over time, the Congress has used its commerce power to justify many pieces of legislation that may seem only marginally related to commerce.
  • The Supreme Court of the United States has, at various points in history, been more or less sympathetic to the use of the Commerce Clause to justify congressional legislation
1895 1936
1895-1936
  • Interpretation of commerce power – broad or narrow?
united states v e c knight 1895 cb p 126
United States v. E.C. Knight (1895) (CB p. 126)
  • Could the Sherman Antitrust Act suppress a monopoly in the manufacture of a good (sugar) as well as its distribution?
  • Suit by US vs. 5 sugar manufacturing companies to prevent a monopoly resulting after a stock purchase merger
united states v e c knight 1895 cb p 1261
United States v. E.C. Knight (1895) (CB p. 126)
  • Justice Melville Fuller wrote the majority opinion, joined by 7 other justices
  • Justice Harlan dissented
stream of commerce
STREAM OF COMMERCE
  • In some cases during this 1895-1936 period, the Court was willing to interpret the Commerce Clause to permit regulation of local activities, e.g. Swift & Co. v. United States (1905) (stream of commerce theory); Shreveport Rate Cases (1914) (substantial effects theory),
swift co v united states 1905 cb p 129
Swift & Co. v. United States (1905) (CB p. 129)
  • Justice Holmes delivered the opinion of the Court
shreveport rate cases 1914 cb p 128
Shreveport Rate Cases (1914) (CB p. 128)
  • Justice Charles Evans Hughes wrote the majority opinion
  • 2 justices dissented without opinion
schechter poultry corp v united states 295 u s 495 1935 cb p 135
Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States, 295 U.S. 495 (1935) (CB p. 135
  • Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes wrote the majority opinion, joined by 6 other justices
  • Justice Cardozo wrote a concurring opinion, joined by Stone
carter v carter coal co 298 u s 238 1936 cb p 137
Carter v. Carter Coal Co., 298 U.S. 238 (1936) (CB p. 137)
  • Justice Sutherland wrote the majority opinion (one of the “Four Horsemen”)
  • Left the Court in 1938
  • Justice Cardozo wrote a dissent, joined by Brandeis and Stone
railroad retirement board v alton 295 u s 330 1935 cb p 135
Railroad Retirement Board v. Alton, 295 U.S. 330 (1935) (CB p. 135)
  • Justice Roberts (the first) wrote the majority opinion
  • Chief Justice Hughes joined by Brandeis, Stone, and Cardozo, dissented
oyez trivia question
Oyez Trivia Question
  • Which baseball figure that is most like Justice Owen Roberts?
  • A. Tony Mullane
  • B. Bob Shawkey
  • C. Charlie Gehringer
hammer v dagenhart 1918 cb p 132
Hammer v. Dagenhart (1918) (CB p. 132)
  • Justice Day wrote the majority opinion
  • Powerful dissent by Justice Holmes (pictured left) (joined by McKenna, Brandeis, and Clarke
champion v ames 188 u s 321 1903 cb p 130
Champion v. Ames, 188 U.S. 321 (1903) (CB p. 130)
  • 5-4
  • Majority opinion written by Justice Harlan
  • Dissent by Chief Justice Fuller, joined by Brewer, Shiras, and Peckham