Con Law Questions

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swtlilsoni
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Con Law Questions

Postby swtlilsoni » Sun Apr 14, 2013 2:11 pm

I already made one of these for Property, so now I'm making one for Con Law because I have some questions.
Feel free to post/discuss any Con Law questions in this thread.

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swtlilsoni
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Re: Con Law Questions

Postby swtlilsoni » Sun Apr 14, 2013 2:13 pm

my question:

I don't really get the whole 11th Amendment and sovereign immunity thing. Why does it keep saying states are immune to suit by it's own citizens/citizens of other states, etc? What about all those cases like "someone v. New York" I'm pretty sure I saw a lot of cases where a state is one of the parties.

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Br3v
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Re: Con Law Questions

Postby Br3v » Sun Apr 14, 2013 2:57 pm

swtlilsoni wrote:my question:

I don't really get the whole 11th Amendment and sovereign immunity thing. Why does it keep saying states are immune to suit by it's own citizens/citizens of other states, etc? What about all those cases like "someone v. New York" I'm pretty sure I saw a lot of cases where a state is one of the parties.


I'm an OL but I think I can help you a little with this. (Also this works as a tag so I can read along). But if I understand it correctly, part of being sovereign means that for the state to have a suit against itself, the state has to grant the ability to do that. So the cases where you see Smith v New York, I think it means that NY allowed smith to bring the suit.

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Con Law Questions

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:08 pm

Also, a lot of the "Doe v. State" cases are criminal (e.g. Miranda v. Arizona). It looks like they're suing the state but appealing your criminal conviction is different.

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swtlilsoni
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Re: Con Law Questions

Postby swtlilsoni » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:26 pm

Oh okay....so the 11th Amendment only applies to Civil suits?

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jrsbaseball5
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Re: Con Law Questions

Postby jrsbaseball5 » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:40 pm

I think you will find this article useful in answering your question:

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictiona ... +Amendment

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bk1
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Re: Con Law Questions

Postby bk1 » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:46 pm

swtlilsoni wrote:Oh okay....so the 11th Amendment only applies to Civil suits?

Citizens aren't generally criminally prosecuting states.

bananapeanutbutter
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Re: Con Law Questions

Postby bananapeanutbutter » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:46 pm

tag

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3|ink
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Re: Con Law Questions

Postby 3|ink » Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:51 pm

Here's a brief rundown. Sorry for the format. Copied and pasted directly from my first draft of my con law outline. As you can probably tell, my first drafts are always lengthy as fuck.

i. 11th Amendment says that if you are citizen of one state, you cannot drag another state into federal court.
1. Was enacted after Chism v. Georgia, where SCOTUS held that a federal suit filed by a citizen against a state was fine, even though the plaintiff wasn’t a citizen of that state.
ii. SCOTUS has interpreted the 11th Amendment to mean that even citizens of states cannot sue their own states in federal court
iii. Moreover, SCOTUS has interpreted 11th Amendment to mean that citizens cannot even sue their own states in state court
iv. SCOTUS justifies this reasoning by saying that the founders assumed sovereign immunity.
c. As a result, congress cannot use the commerce clause to enact remedies against states, because congress can’t create a cause of action against states.
i. However, you can bring an action against an individual who works for the state. The state indemnifies the individual. The money comes out of the state treasury
ii. But suits against individuals are not always effective. Sometimes these people are protected by official immunity, so you have to show the person acted irrationally.
iii. And sometimes they are simply judgment proof
iv. Also, the SCOTUS held in Ex Parte Young that the 11th amendment only applies to monetary damages. You can sue a state for injunctive relief.
v. Also, the 11th doesn’t apply to local governments.
vi. Also, the 11th doesn’t apply to suits by the United States
d. SCOTUS has held that the 11th Amendment applies only to the Article I powers, not the reconstruction powers under the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments.
i. SCOTUS reasons that the whole point was to protect civil rights from the states. After the civil war, it was decided that the states governments were the real threat to individual rights.
e. Thus, the only way for congress to enact a cause of action against the states was seriously limited by City of Boerne v. Flores.

target
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Re: Con Law Questions

Postby target » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:01 am

There is a series of cases on when states can be sued in fed courts under section 5 of the 14th amendment. See Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Florida and Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Education Expense Board v. College Savings Bank & U.S.

Also, states can always be sued in its own state courts. The 11th amendment only prevents states being sued in fed courts, except under certain circumstances (e.g. one mentioned above).

Disclaimer: this is my vague recollection, double-check before quoting plz 8)

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Tom Joad
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Re: Con Law Questions

Postby Tom Joad » Mon Apr 15, 2013 3:06 am

You can't sue the crown, brah.

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swtlilsoni
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Re: Con Law Questions

Postby swtlilsoni » Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:24 am

For Standing, in the Windsor case it was noted that Congress doesn't have standing because it doesn't have a direct injury. Apparently just wanting to have laws passed isn't an injury.
So.... if that's true, who would have standing??
If someone sues the government because they are affected by a law they deem unconstitutional, who would the defendant be?

Also, does the standing issue apply only to SCOTUS or any court?

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bk1
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Re: Con Law Questions

Postby bk1 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:32 am

swtlilsoni wrote:For Standing, in the Windsor case it was noted that Congress doesn't have standing because it doesn't have a direct injury. Apparently just wanting to have laws passed isn't an injury.
So.... if that's true, who would have standing??
If someone sues the government because they are affected by a law they deem unconstitutional, who would the defendant be?

Also, does the standing issue apply only to SCOTUS or any court?

Standing always applies.

In Windsor, the lesbian widow denied benefits because of DOMA had standing to sue the US who she was arguing the US was unconstitutionally imposing a tax on her (estate tax for the death of her spouse which she would not have to pay had they been a straight married couple). The US lost in the district court and then appealed. The US lost again in the 2d Circuit but had appealed prior to the ruling (you can appeal prior to losing to try and bypass the circuit courts and go straight to SCOTUS). Even though the US (represented by the DoJ) appealed, they chose not to defend the case. Thus Congress stepped in to defend the law. Because Congress was defending a loss in the lower courts, Congress needed standing to defend the suit (Windsor technically needed standing to sue originally but that is easy).

The defendant depends on who is inflicting the supposed injury. If it's a tax then maybe the IRS or the US. If it's some benefit then maybe the OPM. If it's some environmental regulation then maybe the EPA. Etc, etc.

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swtlilsoni
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Re: Con Law Questions

Postby swtlilsoni » Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:33 am

swtlilsoni wrote:For Standing, in the Windsor case it was noted that Congress doesn't have standing because it doesn't have a direct injury. Apparently just wanting to have laws passed isn't an injury.
So.... if that's true, who would have standing??
If someone sues the government because they are affected by a law they deem unconstitutional, who would the defendant be?

Also, does the standing issue apply only to SCOTUS or any court?


One more question:

If congress can only regulate commerce, then what about federal crimes? Making narcotics illegal? How is that commerce?

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swtlilsoni
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Re: Con Law Questions

Postby swtlilsoni » Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:35 am

bk1 wrote:
swtlilsoni wrote:For Standing, in the Windsor case it was noted that Congress doesn't have standing because it doesn't have a direct injury. Apparently just wanting to have laws passed isn't an injury.
So.... if that's true, who would have standing??
If someone sues the government because they are affected by a law they deem unconstitutional, who would the defendant be?

Also, does the standing issue apply only to SCOTUS or any court?

Standing always applies.

In Windsor, the lesbian widow denied benefits because of DOMA had standing to sue the US who she was arguing the US was unconstitutionally imposing a tax on her (estate tax for the death of her spouse which she would not have to pay had they been a straight married couple). The US lost in the district court and then appealed. The US lost again in the 2d Circuit but had appealed prior to the ruling (you can appeal prior to losing to try and bypass the circuit courts and go straight to SCOTUS). Even though the US (represented by the DoJ) appealed, they chose not to defend the case. Thus Congress stepped in to defend the law. Because Congress was defending a loss in the lower courts, Congress needed standing to defend the suit (Windsor technically needed standing to sue originally but that is easy).

The defendant depends on who is inflicting the supposed injury. If it's a tax then maybe the IRS or the US. If it's some benefit then maybe the OPM. If it's some environmental regulation then maybe the EPA. Etc, etc.


So.... assuming the US DID decide to defend the case, how would they have standing?
I guess I don't understand why the US would have standing when Congress wouldn't because they both are suffering the same "harm" namely wanting to see laws enforced.

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Re: Con Law Questions

Postby bk1 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:36 am

swtlilsoni wrote:So.... assuming the US DID decide to defend the case, how would they have standing?
I guess I don't understand why the US would have standing when Congress wouldn't because they both are suffering the same "harm" namely wanting to see laws enforced.

The US suffered an adverse judgment against it whereas Congress did not suffer an adverse judgment. To quote scotusblog:

But the Court has also held that the party seeking appellate review must itself have standing at the time of the appeal, even if, as here, that party is a defendant in the case, or an intervenor, rather than the plaintiffs. In most cases, that’s an easy test for a defendant to satisfy: if the defendant lost below, and has had a judgment entered against it, it has a personal stake in having that judgment overturned, and thus has standing to appeal.


Source: http://www.scotusblog.com/2013/01/under ... e-cases-i/

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swtlilsoni
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Re: Con Law Questions

Postby swtlilsoni » Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:45 am

bk1 wrote:
swtlilsoni wrote:So.... assuming the US DID decide to defend the case, how would they have standing?
I guess I don't understand why the US would have standing when Congress wouldn't because they both are suffering the same "harm" namely wanting to see laws enforced.

The US suffered an adverse judgment against it whereas Congress did not suffer an adverse judgment. To quote scotusblog:

But the Court has also held that the party seeking appellate review must itself have standing at the time of the appeal, even if, as here, that party is a defendant in the case, or an intervenor, rather than the plaintiffs. In most cases, that’s an easy test for a defendant to satisfy: if the defendant lost below, and has had a judgment entered against it, it has a personal stake in having that judgment overturned, and thus has standing to appeal.


Source: http://www.scotusblog.com/2013/01/under ... e-cases-i/


Hm okay, that explains why the US would have judgment at appeal. But why would they have judgment in the district court (or whatever the first court was)? because at that time there was no judgment already against it

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Re: Con Law Questions

Postby bk1 » Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:48 am

swtlilsoni wrote:Hm okay, that explains why the US would have judgment at appeal. But why would they have judgment in the district court (or whatever the first court was)? because at that time there was no judgment already against it

You mean why would they have standing (not judgment) in the district court? They didn't need standing in the district court. They were the defendant; they were getting sued. Only plaintiffs and appellants need standing.

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swtlilsoni
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Re: Con Law Questions

Postby swtlilsoni » Tue Apr 23, 2013 12:55 am

bk1 wrote:
swtlilsoni wrote:Hm okay, that explains why the US would have judgment at appeal. But why would they have judgment in the district court (or whatever the first court was)? because at that time there was no judgment already against it

You mean why would they have standing (not judgment) in the district court? They didn't need standing in the district court. They were the defendant; they were getting sued. Only plaintiffs and appellants need standing.


ohhhh that makes sense.I thought defendants need standing too. thanks!!

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Re: Con Law Questions

Postby LazinessPerSe » Tue Apr 23, 2013 1:02 am

swtlilsoni wrote:If congress can only regulate commerce, then what about federal crimes? Making narcotics illegal? How is that commerce?


Congress has more than just the power to regulate commerce. What are you learning in ConLaw that would give you the impression that Congress only has one power? I don't mean to patronize, but a simple Wikipedia would do you wonders here. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powers_of_ ... s_Congress)

As for federal crimes, a common basis is the implied power via N&P.

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Re: Con Law Questions

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:25 am

LazinessPerSe wrote:
swtlilsoni wrote:If congress can only regulate commerce, then what about federal crimes? Making narcotics illegal? How is that commerce?


Congress has more than just the power to regulate commerce. What are you learning in ConLaw that would give you the impression that Congress only has one power? I don't mean to patronize, but a simple Wikipedia would do you wonders here. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powers_of_ ... s_Congress)

As for federal crimes, a common basis is the implied power via N&P.

This is absolutely correct, but my other question is, how are narcotics not commerce?

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swtlilsoni
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Re: Con Law Questions

Postby swtlilsoni » Tue Apr 23, 2013 1:49 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
LazinessPerSe wrote:
swtlilsoni wrote:If congress can only regulate commerce, then what about federal crimes? Making narcotics illegal? How is that commerce?


Congress has more than just the power to regulate commerce. What are you learning in ConLaw that would give you the impression that Congress only has one power? I don't mean to patronize, but a simple Wikipedia would do you wonders here. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powers_of_ ... s_Congress)

As for federal crimes, a common basis is the implied power via N&P.

This is absolutely correct, but my other question is, how are narcotics not commerce?


I guess I phrased my question wrong. I was looking at that Gonzales v. Raich and didn't understand why there was even an issue. If there is a prohibition on marijuana because it's made illegal by congress (either through commerce or the N&P or whatever), then it's illegal. I don't get why he was arguing about using something that was illegal anyway.

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Re: Con Law Questions

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Apr 23, 2013 4:36 pm

swtlilsoni wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:
LazinessPerSe wrote:
swtlilsoni wrote:If congress can only regulate commerce, then what about federal crimes? Making narcotics illegal? How is that commerce?


Congress has more than just the power to regulate commerce. What are you learning in ConLaw that would give you the impression that Congress only has one power? I don't mean to patronize, but a simple Wikipedia would do you wonders here. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powers_of_ ... s_Congress)

As for federal crimes, a common basis is the implied power via N&P.

This is absolutely correct, but my other question is, how are narcotics not commerce?


I guess I phrased my question wrong. I was looking at that Gonzales v. Raich and didn't understand why there was even an issue. If there is a prohibition on marijuana because it's made illegal by congress (either through commerce or the N&P or whatever), then it's illegal. I don't get why he was arguing about using something that was illegal anyway.


Because state law allowed the use of medical marijuana. The respondents were arguing that the federal act banning them from using marijuana was an invalid exercise of Congressional power. Just because Congress passes a law doesn't mean they necessarily have the power to do so. I mean, in this case, SCOTUS concluded that Congress did have that power, because marijuana production has an effect on interstate commerce. But if you could find a drug that didn't have that effect (let's pretend), and the state allowed its use, Congress couldn't ban it under the commerce clause. Under other powers, maybe, but not commerce.

Keep in mind the original purpose of the Constitution was to limit the powers of the federal government - it only has the powers specifically given to it, everything else belongs to the states. Police powers are generally reserved to the states.

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swtlilsoni
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Re: Con Law Questions

Postby swtlilsoni » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:29 pm

Okay so basically:

Congress made marijuana illegal via the commerce power
California made medical marijuana legal even though it was illegal federally.
Congress tried to enforce the federal law
The plaintiff sued saying that the federal law is unconstitutional (was he alleging that making marijuana illegal is unconstitutional, or just alleging that making MEDICAL marijuana illegal is unconstitutional)?
The court found that the law is constitutional based on the commerce power
Therefore, the state law is preempted? (if the state law is preempted why does it still exist?)

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Nelson
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Re: Con Law Questions

Postby Nelson » Tue Apr 23, 2013 5:36 pm

swtlilsoni wrote:Okay so basically:

Congress made marijuana illegal via the commerce power
California made medical marijuana legal even though it was illegal federally.
Congress tried to enforce the federal law
The plaintiff sued saying that the federal law is unconstitutional (was he alleging that making marijuana illegal is unconstitutional, or just alleging that making MEDICAL marijuana illegal is unconstitutional)?
The court found that the law is constitutional based on the commerce power
Therefore, the state law is preempted? (if the state law is preempted why does it still exist?)

The state law is not "preempted." You still cannot be criminally charged under CA state law for growing medical marijuana assuming you comply with the CA law.




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