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POL 320 Study Guide - Spring 2019, Comprehensive Midterm Notes - United States Constitution, Supreme Court Of The United States, United States Senate


Department
Political Science
Course Code
POL 320
Professor
James Corcoran
Study Guide
Midterm

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POL 320

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Textbook:
The Marshall Court (1801-1835)
Marbury v. Madison (1803) - page 61 to 71
Facts of the case
1. Jefferson elected and Federalists lost the majority in Congress, took steps to maintain
control of judiciary branch
2. During last months of Adams term in office, he passed Judiciary Act of 1801 (midnight
appointments), creating new courts, added judges, and gave President more control over
appointment of judges
3. Chief Justice resigned in 1800, so Adam’s could name the replacement, and not
Jefferson, he named John Marshall, a strong federalist, and many more justices to other courts
4. Marshall failed to deliver some of Adams’ last commissions so not valid, and when
Madison took over as secretary of state, he refused to deliver some of them
5. Marbury was one of those denied, went to Supreme Court, ordering writ of mandamus,
inferior court orders a government official to properly fulfill their duties as they should
Questions
1. Do the plaintiffs have the right to receive their commissions?
2. Can they sue for their commissions in court?
3. Does the Supreme Court have the authority to order the delivery of their commissions?
Arguments
1. For Marbury:
When the President signs a commission, it goes to the secretary of state to perform final
administrative steps to seal, record, and deliver it
Writ of Mandamus power was given to the Supreme Court
2. For Madison:
Neither Madison or Jefferson appeared in the court to claim that the proceedings had
no legitimacy
Decision:
1. By signing the commission, Marbury was appointed as a justice
2. He has legal title to office, a refusal to deliver the commission is a violation of his right
3. The right for the Supreme Court to issue writs of mandamus to public officers is not
warranted by the Constitution.
So, can an act not defined by the constitution become the law of the land?
The power of the legislature are defined and limited, everything else is the Constitution
Therefore, a legislative act contrary to the constitution cannot be law
If two laws conflict each other, its up to the courts (judicial review)
4. Jefferson favored the judicial review and denying Marbury, Marshall realized this while
avoiding a potentially huge clash with him
5. Judicial Review: the ability of the Supreme Court to review and strike down on
legislative acts, deem it as unconstitutional
6. 4-0 in favor of Madison, 2 justices did not participate
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McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) - page 146 to 157, 351
Facts of the case
1. Secretary of State, Alexander Hamilton, asked Congress to create an economic plan for
the nation, in which they proposed a bill for the first federal bank
2. Washington didn’t approve it immediately, he didn’t know if Congress had the authority
to create a bank since it lacked explicit Constitutional authority to do so
3. Hamilton believed Congress could do anything that the Constitution didn’t explicitly
forbid, Jefferson disagreed
4. Symbol of loose construction of the Constitution
5. First bank was never decided on, but the second bank was in spotlight when Maryland
passed legislation to impose taxes on the bank. James McCulloch, cashier, refused to pay the
tax
6. State appeals court said the 2nd bank was unconstitutional because the Constitution did
not explicitly allow for the federal government to charter a bank
Questions
1. Did congress have authority to establish the bank?
2. Did the Maryland law unconstitutionally interfere with congressional powers?
Arguments
1. For McCulloch:
Said that the question about constitutionality of creating the second bank was already
established after discussion of the first. Hamilton presented arguments in the banks favor
Congress is authorized to pass all laws “necessary and proper”
A bank is proper and suitable to assist operations of the government
2. For Maryland:
Simply because the bank has existed for a long time at this point doesn’t mean they
shouldn’t re-evaluate it
It can only be necessary and proper if it is an appendage to other granted powers, not as
an entity itself
The power may not be permanent, meaning that it may have been necessary in past but
now that it’s failing it shouldn’t exist now
Decision
1. Unanimous decision, 6-0, in favor of McCulloch
2. Congress has the power to incorporate the bank AND Maryland cannot tax instruments
of the national government
3. Chief Justice Marshall said that Congress has powers that aren’t explicitly stated in the
Constitution, redefining “necessary” to “appropriate and legitimate”
Also said that states retain power of taxation, but not when the institution is created by
the federal government
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1/29/19
Themes
Federal vs. State
10th amendment
Branches of government
State, federal government, and the citizens
How does the Supreme Court know what the Constitution means and how did they get the
right to do so?
Every time the SC invalidates a law, they are saying that their decision is more powerful
than the states where the elected legislative representatives had created such law
Originalism/original intent/founders intent
What the founders of the Constitution intended by the document
Do we have a clear view of this though? There is vague language, deliberately not clear
Federalist Papers: Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, James Madison
Textualism: looking at the actual text of the Constitution, the most strict form of
interpretation, more conservative
“Living Constitution”/ Judicial Activism: more liberal view, looser form of interpretation,
depends on the current society because many things have changed from the past, or issues
were not actual issues in the past so must make adjustments accordingly
Ex. An originalist on the issue of abortion would most likely say that sine abortion isn’t
discussed int he Constitution, then it is left up to the state
But today judgments are being made, Roe v. Wade
Equal protection under the law, right to privacy
Precedent: the SC decides on an issue and that is the rule for now amongst all other
federal courts, “stare decisis” (meaning, let the previous decision stand)
Settled law: it is settled for now, but could change in the future
Overrule themselves: re-look at a decision and overrule the original decision, they don’t
like to do this often because it illegitimizes the court, but the previous decision could be
actually wrong, if the rule is too complex or difficult, need to ensure consistency with other
related decisions
Plessy v. Ferguson, said that separate but equal facilities are constitutional > Brown v.
Board of Education (1954), separate but equal in the field of education has no place, took
several years for it to be standardized among schools
Betts v. Brady (1942) said that states don’t have to supply a lawyer to defendants at
their trial, only the federal government does > Gideon v. Wainwright (1963) wanted a lawyer
but wasn’t permitted one, had to act as his own lawyer, then hand wrote a letter to the courts
and they re-look at it, he eventually gets a lawyer and is proven innocent
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