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Chapter 5: Constitutional Law. History.

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Before the Revolutionary War, the States wanted a confederation with weak national government and very limited powers. After the war, in 1787, States voted to amend Articles of Confederation and create a new, federal government that shared power with States.

1 constitutional powers of the united states government
§1: Constitutional Powers of the United States Government
  • Constitution established a federal form of government with checks and balances among three branches: executive, legislative and judicial.
  • National government has limited, enumerated powers delegated from States.
  • See the “Vote-Smart” site.
u s commerce clause
U.S. Commerce Clause
  • Power to regulate interstate commerce defined in Gibbons v. Ogden (1824).
  • Expansion to private businesses began with Wickard v. Fillburn(1942).
  • Today, Commerce Clause it authorizes the national government to regulate virtually any business enterprise, including internet.
  • Limits: U.S. v. Lopez(1995), Alden v. Maine(1999).
state commerce
State Commerce
  • States possess inherent police powers to regulate health, safety, public order, morals and general welfare.
  • State laws that substantially interfere with interstate commerce will be struck down.
  • Raymond Motor v. Rice (1978).
u s supremacy clause
U.S. Supremacy Clause
  • Article VI of the states the U.S. Constitution is the “Supreme Law of the Land.”
  • In case of direct conflict between state and federal law, state law is invalid.
  • Congress can preempt states powers when it chooses to act exclusively.
  • Taxing Powers (Emerging Trends: Taxing the Internet).
2 business and the bill of rights
§ 2: Business and the Bill of Rights
  • Bill of Rights are not absolute.
  • Originally the Bill of Rights was a limit on the national government’s powers.
  • During the early 1900’s, the Supreme Court applied the Bill of Rights to the States via the “due process” clause of the 14th amendment.
free speech
Free Speech
  • A fundamental (some would say “natural”) right afforded highest protection by courts.
  • Symbolic Speech.
  • Texas v. Johnson(1989).
  • R.A.V. vs. City of St.Paul(1992).
commercial speech
Commercial Speech

Advertising is protected speech. Restrictions must:

  • Implement substantial government interest;
  • Directly advance that interest; and
  • Go no further than necessary.
  • Case 5.1: Bad Frog Brewery v. NY State Liquor Authority (1998).
corporate political speech
Corporate Political Speech

Afforded significant protection by the first amendment, but not as much as the right of natural persons.

  • First National v. Bellotti(1978).
  • Consolidated Edison v. Public Service Commission(1980).
unprotected speech
Unprotected Speech
  • Certain types of speech are not protected by the first amendment:
    • Slander.
    • Pornography, Obscenity.
    • Fighting Words.
  • What about “Hate Speech”?
    • Doe v. University of Michigan (1989).
freedom of religion
Freedom of Religion
  • First amendment many neither prohibit the “establishment” nor prohibit the “free exercise” of religion.
  • The first amendment does not require complete “separation of church and state.”
  • Mandates accommodation of all religions and forbids hostility toward any.
    • Zorach v. Clauson(1952).
freedom of religion1
Freedom of Religion
  • First amendment guarantees the “free exercise” of religion.
  • Employers must reasonably accommodate beliefs as long as the employee has “sincerely held” beliefs.
  • Frazee v. Illinois(1989).
self incrimination
  • Fifth amendment guarantees no person can be compelled to testify against himself in a criminal proceeding.
  • Does not apply to corporations or partnerships.
    • Case 5.2:Verniero v. Beverly Hills Ltd (1998).
searches and seizures
Searches and Seizures
  • Fourth amendment requires warrant with “probable cause”.
  • Warrantless exceptions exist for “evanescent” evidence.
  • Searches of Business: generally business inspectors must have a warrant.
  • Marshall v. Barlow’s(1978).
3 other constitutional protections
§3: Other Constitutional Protections
  • Privileges and Immunities Clause.
    • Citizens of all states have same privileges.
  • Full Faith and Credit Clause.
    • Documents and judgments of a state are honored by another state.
  • Due Process.
  • Equal Protection.
  • Privacy Rights.
due process
Due Process
  • 5th and 14th amendments provide “no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.”
  • Due Process includes both Procedural and Substantive issues.
procedural due process
Procedural Due Process
  • Procedures depriving an individual of her rights must be fair and equitable.
  • Constitution requires adequate notice and a fair and impartial hearing before a disinterested magistrate.
substantive due process
Substantive Due Process
  • Focuses on the content or substance of legislation.
  • Laws limiting fundamental rights (speech, privacy, religion) must have a “compelling state interest.”
  • Laws limiting non-fundamental rights require only a “rational basis”.
equal protection
Equal Protection
  • “Strict Scrutiny” test.
    • Laws that affect the fundamental rights of similarly situated individuals in a different manner are subject to the “strict scrutiny” test.
    • Any “suspect class” (race, national origin) must serve a “compelling state interest” which includes remedying past discrimination.
equal protection1
Equal Protection
  • Intermediate Scrutiny.
    • Applied to laws involving gender or legitimacy.
    • To be constitutional laws must be substantially related to important government objectives.
    • (Example: Illegitimate teenage pregnancy).
equal protection2
Equal Protection

“Rational Basis” Test.

  • Applied to matters of economic or social welfare.
  • Laws will be constitutional if there is a rational basis relating to legitimate government interest.
  • Case 5.3: WHS Realty v. Morristown (1999).
  • Fundamental right not expressly found in the constitution, but derived from 1st, 5th and 14th amendments.
  • Laws and policies affecting privacy are subject to the compelling interest test.
law on the web
Law on the Web
  • Online Constitution at Cornell U.
  • See the “Vote-Smart” site on federalism.
  • Federalist
  • Official U.S. Supreme Court site.
  • Legal Research Exercises on the Web
emerging issues taxing cyberspace
Emerging Issues: Taxing Cyberspace
  • States sales tax-sufficient “nexus”?
    • Quill v. North Dakota(1992).
  • Internet Tax Freedom Act.