PSCI 3322 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Thomas Wilson Dorr, Great Depression, Ex Parte Mccardle

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Homebuilding and Loan Assoc. V. Blaisdell
Wednesday, November 12, 2014 3:03 PM
• Minnesota passes a law preventing banks from foreclosing on homes Great depression,
many people couldn't pay their mortgages
• Supreme Court decided that the law was constitutional
!This is a state law affecting loans issued in a state
!Only last during the economic emergency
!Limited scope on what it did--didn't forgive debts, just pushed back foreclosure
!Interstate banking didn't really exist at this time
!Police powers grant states to act in the public interest
• Ensuring the well being of the state
• Sutherland dissent
!Potentially for further encroachments on sanctity of contracts
!Purpose of provision was to prevent laws relieving debtors
!Depression is nothing new, people should not have been so extravagant
Luther V. Borden (1849)
Charter for the Government of Rhode Island was in 1663 and is archaic. Dissidents created a
new government and elected Thomas Dorr governor. Charter government declared martial law
and asked for federal troops. The new government collapsed and the charter government
sought to round up the insurgents. One was Martin Luther whose home was searched by
agents of the charter government led by Luther Borden. Martin Luther got this case in federal
court by moving to another state and claimed Borden trespassed because he was not a
legitimate state officer since the charter government was not a republican form of government.
• One way to get your case in federal court instead of state court is through diversity of
citizenship. A person in one state suing a person in another state
Martin Luther wanted to be in federal court as state court would be biased
against him
Article IV Sec. 4 states that the US guarantees a republican form of government
to every state in the union
The question before the SC is if the 1663 Charter RI government a legitimate
government They are in the end picking between the two state governments
court says its not their job to decide, the President and Congress decide the validity of a state
Supreme Court doesn't have the power to decide political problems
The Political Questions Doctrine
Problems for other branches of government to decide
Originally only applied to the Guaranty Clause
As time goes on, they decide there are other political questions as well
The Chief Justice Taney wrote the opinion in 1848
SC essentially had no power to enforce their decision anyway"
Also wrote the Dread Scott opinion 8yrs later, seen as a big reason for the Civil War
Interesting to see him show so much restraint in this case and then file a wild use of power
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