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Flashcards in Exam 1 Deck (59):

Calder v. Bull

• Norman Morrison wrote a will which left his estate to his grandson Caleb Bull. In 1793 the court concluded that the will was void. Two years later the Conn. Legislature passed a law setting aside that decree and granting him a new hearing. At the second hearing, the court approved the original will. The Calder family who stood to inherit under the first probate decision, appealed to the Supreme Court. They maintained that the legislation setting aside the first probate ruling was an ex post facto law, prohibited by the Constitution of Connecticut and the Constitution of the United States. • All four justices who hear the case unanimously rejected it. Stating that the ex post facto clause only banned retrospective criminal laws and not laws adjusting property rights. Justices Chase and Iredell debated over the role of natural law and unwritten policies in constitutional decision making.


Marbury v. Madison

• The central issue was thought to be whether the justices could order the executive to deliver the commission.


McCulloch v. Maryland

• James McCulloch was the cashier of the Baltimore branch of the Bank of the United States. The Maryland state legislature imposed a tax on the notes of any bank not incorporated by the state of Maryland. McCulloch refused to pay, Maryland brought suit in state court to collect the unpaid taxes. The Maryland government won at trial, and the ruling was affirmed by the Maryland supreme court. McCulloch then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

• Justice Marshall wrote in his majority opinion that “the power to tax, involves the power to destroy.”
o Any tax aimed at all banks could be considered unconstitutional.

• McCulloch v. Maryland is one of the most important constitutional decisions in American history. Marshall’s analysis of implied powers and the meaning of the necessary and proper clause had enormous influence.  


Gibbons v. Ogden

• Two basic issues were raised:
o 1) Did the Constitution implicitly prohibit or exclude the states from passing laws of this sort? Did the states have a concurrent power to regulate interstate commerce, or was this an exclusive power of the federal government?
• Even if they did not “regulate commerce” could they pass laws for other purposes that would affect interstate commerce?
o 2) Did the Constitution authorize Congress to preempt state laws of this sort with regulations of its own, and had Congress in fact done so in this case?

• Decision: Unanimously declared that Gibbons had a right to operate a ferry between New Jersey and New York. Chief Justice Marshall’s majority opinion ruled that the commerce clause gave the federal government the power to license ships operating in coastal waters.  


Johnson v. McIntosh

At issue were two purported grants of land by Indian tribes to private individuals, one in 1773 and the other 1775. The lands constituted the Illinois and Piankeshaw nations. Here, the Plaintiff sought to have the United States government recognize the Plaintiff’s title to the lands, which were alleged to have passed under the grants.

May Indian tribes give a legally recognizable title in land to private individuals, such that the title may be received by the private person and upheld against any claims by courts of the United States?

No, The rules of property must be drawn from and decided by the nation in which the property which is the subject matter of the lawsuit lies


Dartmouth College v. Woodward

In 1816, the New Hampshire legislature attempted to change Dartmouth College-- a privately funded institution--into a state university. The legislature changed the school's corporate charter by transferring the control of trustee appointments to the governor. In an attempt to regain authority over the resources of Dartmouth College, the old trustees filed suit against William H. Woodward, who sided with the new appointees.

Did the New Hampshire legislature unconstitutionally interfere with Dartmouth College's rights under the Contract Clause?

In a 6-to-1 decision, the Court held that the College's corporate charter qualified as a contract between private parties, with which the legislature could not interfere. The fact that the government had commissioned the charter did not transform the school into a civil institution. Chief Justice Marshall's opinion emphasized that the term "contract" referred to transactions involving individual property rights, not to "the political relations between the government and its citizens."


Luther v. Borden

In 1841, Rhode Island was still operating under an archaic system of government established by a royal charter of 1663. The charter strictly limited suffrage and made no provision for amendment. Dissident groups, protesting the charter, held a popular convention to draft a new constitution and to elect a governor. The old charter government declared martial law and put down the rebellion, although no federal troops were sent. One of the insurgents, Martin Luther, brought suit claiming the old government was not "a republican form of government" and all its acts were thereby invalid.

Did the Court have the constitutional authority to declare which group constituted the official government of Rhode Island?

The Court held that "the power of determining that a state government has been lawfully established" did not belong to federal courts, and that it was not the function of such courts to prescribe the qualifications for voting in the States. The Court held that the creation of republican forms of government and the control of domestic violence were matters of an essentially political nature committed by the Constitution to the other branches of government. Hence, the Court should defer to Congress and the President when confronted with such issues.


Dred Scott v. Sandford

Dred Scott was a slave in Missouri. From 1833 to 1843, he resided in Illinois (a free state) and in an area of the Louisiana Territory, where slavery was forbidden by the Missouri Compromise of 1820. After returning to Missouri, Scott sued unsuccessfully in the Missouri courts for his freedom, claiming that his residence in free territory made him a free man. Scott then brought a new suit in federal court. Scott's master maintained that no pure-blooded Negro of African descent and the descendant of slaves could be a citizen in the sense of Article III of the Constitution.

Was Dred Scott free or a slave?

Dred Scott was a slave. Under Articles III and IV, argued Taney, no one but a citizen of the United States could be a citizen of a state, and that only Congress could confer national citizenship. Taney reached the conclusion that no person descended from an American slave had ever been a citizen for Article III purposes. The Court then held the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional, hoping to end the slavery question once and for all.


Cooley v. Board of Wardens of the Port of Philadelphia

A Pennsylvania law required that all ships entering or leaving the port of Philadelphia hire a local pilot. Ships that fail to do so would be subject to a fine, which would go to a fund for retire pilots and their dependents. This fund was administered by the Board of Wardens of the Port of Philadelphia. Cooley was a ship owner. He refused to hire a local pilot and he also refused to pay the fine.

Does the law violate the Commerce Clause of the Constitution?

According to Justice Curtis, who wrote the majority opinion, the pilotage law did not violate the Constitution. Congress had provided in 1789 that state pilotage laws should govern. Navigation was commerce; and, piloting was navigation. Though the subject to be regulated was commerce, the interesting twist here was whether the Commerce Power was exlusive. Some subjects demand a single uniform rule for the whole nation, while others, like pilotage, demand diverse local rules to cope with varying local conditions. The power of Congress was therefore selectively exclusive.


Worcester v. Georgia


In September 1831, Samuel A. Worcester and others, all non-Native Americans, were indicted in the supreme court for the county of Gwinnett in the state of Georgia for "residing within the limits of the Cherokee nation without a license" and "without having taken the oath to support and defend the constitution and laws of the state of Georgia." 

Does the state of Georgia have the authority to regulate the intercourse between citizens of its state and members of the Cherokee Nation?

No. In an opinion delivered by Chief Justice John Marshall, the Court held that the Georgia act, under which Worcester was prosecuted, violated the Constitution, treaties, and laws of the United States. 


Prigg v. Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania legislature passed laws in 1788 and 1826 prohibiting the removal of Negroes out of the state for the purpose of enslaving them. In 1832, a black woman named Margaret Morgan moved from Maryland to Pennsylvania. Although she was never formally emancipated, her owner John Ashmore granted her virtually full freedom. Ashmore's heirs wanted her returned as a slave and sent Edward Prigg to capture her in Pennsylvania. After returning Morgan to Maryland, Prigg was convicted in a Pennsylvania court for violating the 1826 law. Prigg unsuccessfully argued before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that both the 1788 and 1826 laws violated the constitutional guarantee of extradition among states and the federal government's Fugitive Slave Law of 1793.

Did Pennsylvania's law prohibiting the extradition of Negroes to other states for the purpose of slavery violate Article IV, Section 2 of the Constitution? Did the law violate the Fugitive Slave Law of 1793 as applied by the Supremacy Clause?

Yes and yes


Charles River Bridge v. Warren Bridge

In 1785, the Massachusetts legislature incorporated the Charles River Bridge Company to construct a bridge and collect tolls. In 1828, the legislature established the Warren Bridge Company to build a free bridge nearby. Unsurprisingly, the new bridge deprived the old one of traffic and tolls. The Charles River Bridge Company filed suit, claiming the legislature had defaulted on its initial contract.

Did the legislature enter into an economic contract with the Charles River Bridge Company that was impaired by the second charter in violation of Article I Section 10 of the Constitution?

In a 5-to-2 decision, the Court held that the state had not entered a contract that prohibited the construction of another bridge on the river at a later date. 


Mississippi v. Johnson

In 1867, Congress passed the Reconstruction Acts. Although President Andrew Johnson vetoed the Acts, Congress overrode the veto. In an attempt to delay or prevent Reconstruction, the state of Mississippi appealed directly to the Supreme Court. Mississippi asked the Court for an injunction preventing the President from enforcing the Acts on the ground that they were unconstitutional.

Could the Supreme Court constitutionally issue an injunction directed against the President?

In a unanimous decision, the Court held that it had "no jurisdiction of a bill to enjoin the President in the performance of his official duties...." The Court held that the duties of the President as required by the Reconstruction Acts were "in no sense ministerial," and that a judicial attempt to interfere with the performance of such duties would be "an absurd and excessive extravagance." The Court noted that if the President chose to ignore the injunction, the judiciary would be unable to enforce the order.


Ex parte McCardle

William McCardle was arrested by federal authorities in 1867 for writing and publishing a series of editorials in his Mississippi newspaper. The editorials were sharply critical of Reconstruction. McCardle sought a writ of habeas corpus on the ground that the Reconstruction Acts under which he was arrested were unconstitutional. McCardle appealed to the Supreme Court under an 1867 congressional statute that conferred jurisdiction on appeal to the High Court. After hearing arguments in the case, but prior to announcing a decision, the Congress withdrew its 1867 act conferring jurisdiction.

May the Congress withdraw jurisdiction from the High Court after that jurisdiction has been given?

The Court, speaking through Chase, validated congressional withdrawal of the Court's jurisdiction.


Ex parte Merryman

• The union army arrested William McCardle, a newspaper editor in Mississippi
o Charged him with inciting insurrection by writing inflammatory editorials about Reconstruction
• While awaiting trial filed for a writ of habeas corpus under Habeas corpus Act of 1867
o Statute empowered federal courts to issue the writ in “all cases where any person may be restrained of his or her liberty in violation of the constitution, or of any treaty or law of the United States.”
o Opponents of Reconstruction recognized that the text also authorized federal courts to adjudicate cases challenging the constitutionality of martial law in the South
• Because the case hit the docket at the same time that the Senate was considering to impeach President Jackson, congress repealed the part of the act on which McCardle’s case relied
• Most agree that the judicial majority would have declared crucial Reconstruction measures unconstitutional had Congress not repealed the offending provisions of the Habeas Corpus Act of 1867


The Prize Cases

• President Lincoln responded to the attack on Fort Sumter by ordering a blockade of southern ports and calling for military volunteers
• Confederate leaders were convinced that European demand for cotton would eventually lead to European demand for cotton and would lead to European support for and recognition of southern independent
o The block was a military and political necessity
• If successful the Union blockade would isolate the South both economically and diplomatically to help starve the Confederacy
• July 10, 1861 the Quaker City, a union ship, captured the Amy Warwick, owned by Virginians
o Owners of Warwick insisted the blockade was unconstitutional
• Opponents of the blockade rejected assertions that the Constitution incorporated international law
• Also contested claims that international law authorized blockades during a civil war
• Judicial majority in the Prize Cases affirmed both presidential authority and national power
o Justice Robert Grier ruled that the president had the power under both the Constitution and international law to order a blockade in response to an insurrection


Hepburn v. Griswold

• Mrs. Hepburn in 1860 made a promissory note to Henry Griswold to pay over eleven thousand “dollars”
o When the contract was made “dollars” meant gold or silver coin
• Days after the note came due Congress passed the Legal Tender Act
• Griswold in 1864 filed suit to collect the unpaid debt
o Hepburn immediately tendered U.S. notes to pay the debt
• Griswold refused the payment however, The Louisville trial court accepted the notes as satisfying the debt and closed the case.
• Griswold appealed to Kentucky Court of Errors
o They ruled the Legal Tender Act could not be constitutionally enforced because the contract was made before the law
o Hepburn appealed to U.S. Supreme Court
• By a 5-3 vote declared the Legal Tender Act unconstitutional
o Ruled that requiring creditors to accept paper money for payment of debts was neither constitutionally necessary nor constitutionally proper
• Revived McCulloch v. Maryland
• Included the first judicial discussions in over 50 years of the passages in the McCulloch opinion examining national power


Chisholm v. Georgia

States’ sovereign immunity –led to 11th Amendment holding that foreign people or countries cannot sue a state. However, they can use federal courts. 


Fletcher v. Peck

1st case where Sup. Ct ruled a state law unconstitutional- they established their supremacy.
Fletcher bought yazoo lands in Georgia, sold to Peck. Peck sued.
Sup. Ct. says contract is not invalidated even though it is unconstitutional. 


Martin v. Hunter Lessee

1st  case to assert ultimate Supreme Court Authority over state courts in matters of Federal Law.
Virginia enacted law to allow it to confiscate loyalists’ property.


Hepburn v. Griswold

Court determined that US government did not have the constitutional right to force citizens to accept or use their paper notes. (The government notes at that time were looked at as being less than the true value of what they were issued for, their value would depend upon the latest war battle at times) With this in mind the court ruled that the government forcing citizens to accept payment would be depriving them from the natural right of, Life and liberty.  


Federalist No. 1

Response to the inadequacy of the Articles of Confederation.
Outlines argument for the essays. Rejecting current gov’t and proposing a Constitution
Shifting some important powers to the national gov’t. “ …gov’t is essential to the security of liberty.”


Federalist No. 10

source of factions is in the nature of man
Arguing for the ratification of the Constitution
“our governments are to unstable, that the public good is disregarded in te conflicts of rival parties, and the measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.”
         A). Removing its causes
         B). Controlling its effects.
Liberty is to faction what air is to fire.
– STRONG BIG REPUBLICS, instead of small individual states.


Federalist No. 23

The necessity of a Constitution
-Common defense
- Regulation of commerce with other nations & between the states
- International affairs- commercial & political.


Federalist No. 51

“Ambition must be made to counteract ambition…but what is government itself, but the greatest reflections on human nature?”
Executive, Legislative, Judiciary –oversight by each other.
Machine of Seperation of Powers runs on Fuel of Ambition
The offices are used to turn the ambition of the office holders in such a way that they turn and balance each other.  


Federalist No. 70

One executive –as opposed to “plural executive”
The Executive Branch. Essential to protect against foreign attack. Feeble execution is bad execution; government ill executed is a bad government.


Federalist No. 71

Duration of office in the Executive


Federalist No. 78

The Judiciary branch of the proposed government would be the weakest of the three because it had
"No influence over the sword or the purse, ...It may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment."


Federalist No. 84

The Bill of Rights NOT necessary to the Constitution, it may be dangerous.
Cites Magna Carta -Bill of rights were between Kings and Subjects. 


Per Curiam Decision

The majority decision from an appellate court where the author of the decision is not made known


Activism v. Restraint 

Activism: Judges should use their powers to correct injustices, espeically wjen other branches of government do not act to do so

Restraint: Belief that the courts should uphold all acts of Congress and state legislatures unless they clearly violate a specific section of the Constitution



The Constitution is interpreted by looking at the "bigger picture." Should interpret specific clauses by observing how the various articles and clauses work together to form the great whole



Interpret constitutional provisions in light of the fundamental principles of justice underlying the constitution


Judicial Doctrines

Analytical systems used to guide the rules of decision for resolving concrete disputes that come before the courts


Judiciary Act of 1789

Statute establishing U.S. federal judiciary


Comrpomise of natural right ideal

Slavery ideals compromised the natural right ideals because not all men were created equal with slavery. 



Founded by Alexander Hamilton. Party supported the proposal of the United States Constitution



Party that favored states rights


Old Republicans v. National Republicans 

Old Republicans: one of two main factions that splintered from the Jeffersonians. Opposed most federal efforst to develop the national economy and challenged federal judicial authority over the states.

National Republicans: Old faction off Jeffersonians. Comfortable with national power, proponents of a more powerful nation-state and federal judicial authority.


Democrats v. Whigs


17th C. arguments for Toleration allows the emergence of parties as "political religions."

People determine their own ends with liberty, unless obstructed by the government. Which leads to political parties, due to the disagreements. 


Chief Justice John Marshall

Served for 34 years

Expanded the authority of the Supreme Court

Expanded powers of Congress

Weakened the states


Judicial Review

The power of the courts to find acts of executive and legislative officials unconsitutional and delcare them void 


writ of mandamus

A court order demanding the performance of a duty by a public official or government body



Idea that all institutions have an equal rights to interpret the Constitution. Conflicts with judicial supremacy. Madison was a big proponent of this


Webster, Liberty and Union

Against the assertion of the state's right to nullify law made by congress as unconstitutional 


Virginia & Kentucky Resolutions

Kentucky Resolutions written by Jefferson. Delcared the Constitution merely established a compact between the states and the federal government, had no right to exercise powers not specifically delegated to it. 

It is the right of the states, not the federal government, to deicde the constitutionality of acts. 

Virginia written by Madison. Somewhat milder expressio of the strict construction of the Constitution and the compact theory of the Union


John Calhoun

Proponent of a strong national government and protective tariffs, then switched in the 1830s to states' rights, limited government, nullification and free trade. 


Missouri Compromise

1820 admitting Missouri as a slave state and Maine as a free state. Trying to preserve the balance.

Prohibited slavery in the Louisiana Territory 

Repealed by the Kansas-Nebraska Act


Sovereign Immunity

the courts supported the traditional view that the United States could not be sued without congressional authorization (Chisholm v. Georgia)


11th Amendment

Judicial power fo the U.S. shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another state, or by citizens or subjects of any foreign state. 

Protectes from litigation 



A right or privilege exclusive to a particular individual or class


Presidential v. Congressional Power to control department secretaries

The president appoints judges and department secretaries, but these appointments must be approved by the Senate


Executive Privilege

Power claimed by the President and other members of the executive branch to resist certain subpoenas and other interventions by the legislative and judicial branches of government 


Jay Treaty

Treaty between U.S. and Great Britain

Attempted to end tensions between U.S. and GB following the Revolutionary War


Franco-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce, 1778

Established a commercial alliance between these two nations and was signed during the American Revolutionary War. Established peace between U.S. and France 


Proclamation of Neutrality, 1793

Washington issued a proclamation, warning American citizens to avoid involvement in the hostilities between GB and France. 


Marshall- Sole Organ Doctrine

The Executive Branch relies in part on the "sole organ" doctrine to define presidential power broadly in foreign relations and national security, including assertions of an inherent executive power that is not subject to legislative or judicial constraints.