1. Marbury v. Madison


Holding: No. 6. Majority Reasoning



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5. Holding: No.
6. Majority Reasoning: Marshall felt the answer was easy. The historical context of the framing of the constitution implied that the general guarantees in the Bill of Rights only applied to the federal government and not state governments. The purpose of the constitution was to ordain and establish a federal government, not state governments. Thus, any limitations on that power should be construed as applying to the federal government, since states have their own constitutions. The structure of the constitution shows that there was a plain line drawn between the powers and limitations of the federal and state governments, and so if the framers meant for these limitations to apply to states, they could have made such intent clear. The bill of rights itself was a guarantee against the encroachment of federal government. That is where the fear resided. There was no need for security against local governments, and so none was asked for.

1. Slaughter-House Cases, (1873); pg. 400, briefed 10/22/95
2. Facts: A Louisiana law of 1869 created a state corporation for the slaughtering of livestock. The corporation was given exclusive power to slaughter livestock, and all other private slaughterhouses were required to close. Independent butchers could use the corporations facilities for a charge, but could not conduct independent operations.
3. Procedural Posture: The butchers not included in the monopoly claimed that the law deprived them of their right to “exercise their trade” and challenged it under the 13th and 14th amendments. The highest state court sustained the law.
4. Issue: Whether the 13th and 14th amendments guarantee federal protection of individual rights of all citizens of the United States against discrimination by their own state governments.
5. Holding: No.
6. Majority Reasoning: The states have the proper police power to limit slaughter house operations for the health and safety of their residents. The meaning of the 13th and 14th amendments must be derived from the historical context of the problems they were designed to remedy, namely African slavery. The Congress, after the end of the Civil War, sought to strenghten the freedom of the former slaves by passing these amendments. The word “servitudes” in the 13th amendment refers to “personal servitudes” not property rights, because of the qualifying word “involuntary.” The purpose of the 13th amendment was thus to etch freedom for slaves into the constitution so that it later would not be questioned or avoided. The 14th amendment was a further step needed to protect former slaves from the “black codes.” The 15th amendment must be grouped in with the 13th and 14th, and it was specifically for black suffrage. These three amendments were ratified to counteract the specific evils of discrimination against former slaves. They did not create any further guarantees of privileges that did not already exist. Specifically, they only were meant to guarantee federal privileges, not state priviliges, whatever they may be. The “priviliges and immunities” clause did not create additional rights, it merely required states to apply its laws equally to non-state residents as well as state residents.
7. Dissent Reasoning: [Field] stated that the privileges and immunities referred to in the 14th amendment included the right to pursue lawful employment. The clause in article 4, section 2 did for the protection of citizens of one state against discrimination by another state, what the 14th amendment does for the protection of every citizen against discrimination by his own state against him. [Bradley] felt that since the language of the 14th amendment was general in nature, and did not claim to protect only blacks, that it was meant to secure fundamental rights of any citizen against discrimination by his state.

1. Palko v. Connecticut, (1937); pg. 414, briefed 10/22/95
2. Facts: Palko was convicted of second-degree murder. The state of Connecticut appealed his conviction, seeking a higher degree conviction. This was made possible by the state’s local statute that allowed the state to appeal criminal convictions, as well as the defendant. The second-degree murder conviction was set aside, and he was retried and convicted of first degree murder.
3. Procedural Posture: Palko brought an action to declare the procedural statute unconstitutional as a violation of his 5th amendment guarantee against double jeopardy.
4. Issue: Whether the action of the state in this case amounted to double jeopardy prohibited by the 5th amendment.
5. Holding: No.
6. ∏ Argument: The retrial violated the 5th amendment, and whatever is forbidded by the 5th amendment is also forbidden by the 14th. Moreover, whatever would have been forbidden to the federal government in the bill of rights is now forbidden to the states by operation of the 14th amendment.
7. Majority Reasoning: There is no such general rule that the 14th amendment incorporates the bill of rights and applies all of its provisions to the states. Certain rights, such as that of a grand jury indictment and trial by jury are important, but have not been applied to the states through the 14th amendment because they are not “fundamental.” The rights that are absorbed by the 14th amendment are those which are indespensible to freedom and liberty, such as freedom of thought and speech. In this particular case, the particular procedure used by the state was not so harsh as to prevent the fair administration of criminal justice. The state has a right to prosecute a case against a criminal until it ends in a decision that is free from substantial legal error.

1. Adamson v. California, (1947); Pg. 415, briefed 10/22/95
2. Facts: Adamson was convicted of murder. During the trial, the state had commented to the jury on his failure to take the stand.
3. Procedural Posture: Adamson claimed that the conviction violated the 14th amendment because the state’s comment amounted to a violation of the 5th amendment’s self-incrimination privilege in a federal proceeding.
4. Issue: Whether a state’s comment at a state criminal trial on the failure of a defendant to take the stand at trial is a violation of the defendant’s 5th amendment privilege against self-incrimination.
5. Holding: No.
6. ∏ Argument: The 14th amendment incorporates the 5th amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination and applies it to the states in the same way that the 5th amendment applies directly to the federal government.
7. Majority Reasoning: Although the 14th amendment’s due process clause guarantees a right to a “fair trial” in a state criminal trial, there is no ground under Palko to make the self-incrimination privilege one of the “fundamental” rights that is incorporated in the 14th amendment and applied to the states.
8. Dissent Reasoning: [Black] felt that the full incorporation of the bill of rights into the 14th amendment was the “original purpose” of the 14th amendment and the intent of the amendment’s framers. The history demonstrates that both those in favor of and against the amendment thought that it was powerful to forbid the states from depriving a citizen of the protections afforded by the bill of rights. The process of Twining to expand or contract the applicability of the bill of rights through the 14th amendment as needed by “natural law” was more power than the court was granted by the constitution. Also, the “selective application” process of Palko was inconsistent with the historical purpose.
9. Concurrence Reasoning: [Frankfurter] argued that the 14th amendment’s due process clause has “independent potency” apart from the bill of rights. It does not represent shorthand for the first 8 amendments. However, in determining which clauses in the first eight amendments are incorporated and which are not, the judicial interpretation of which are “fundamental” is too subjective. The relevant question is whether the ciminal proceedings deprived the accused of the due process of law.

1. Duncan v. Louisiana, (1968); pg. 421, briefed 11/2/95
2. Facts: Duncan was convicted of simple battery, which in Louisiana was a misdemeanor punishable by 2 years imprisonment and a $300 fine.
3. Procedural Posture: Duncan sought trial by jury, but the Louisiana constitution grants jury trials only in capital punishment or hard labor cases, so the trial judge denied the request.
4. Issue: Whether the federal constitution guarantees the right to a trial by jury under the 6th amendment, through the 14th amendment in a state criminal trial where a sentence as long as 2 years may be imposed.
5. Holding: Yes. The 14th amendment guarantees a right of jury trial in all criminal cases which, were they to be tried in a federal court, would come within the 6th amendment’s guarantee.
6. ∏ Argument: The 14th amendment makes the jury trial guarantee of the 6th amendment applicable to the states in cases where a sentence as long as 2 years may be imposed.
7. ∆ Argument: The constitution imposes no duty on a state to guarantee a trial by jury in a state criminal trial, regardless of the severity of the punishment available. If the trial by jury is guaranteed in state criminal cases, it will cast doubt on the integrity of every trial conducted without a jury. Also, if due process is deemed to include trial by jury, then all past interpretations of the 6th amendment in the federal courts (such as a 12-man jury) would then become applicable to states, infringing on their ability to experiment.
8. Majority Reasoning: The test for whether a bill of rights right is incorporated to the states by the 14th amendment is whether that right is a “fundamental” right. Although there were prior cases stating in dicta that a right to a trial by jury was not fundamental to a fair trial, those cases are rejected as being wrong. A right to jury trial is granted to criminal defendants in order to prevent oppression by the Government. Although there are other countries that have fair criminal justice systems, but use no juries, ours is not one of them. The supporting framework of our criminal justice system relies upon juries for fairness. It is true that there are some criminal cases that may be tried without a jury, however, this is not one of them.
9. Concurrence Reasoning: [Black] expressed that he is glad that selective incorporation has worked since Adamson to incorporate most of the Bill of Rights guarantees. He goes on to restate his arguments in support of total incorporation. Namely that the “privileges and immunities” clause of the 14th amendment serves to totally incorporate the Bill of Rights because “what more precious privilege can there be that the privilege to claim the protections of our great Bill of Rights.” He criticizes Harlan’s dissent as being too subjective a definition of due process.
10. Dissent Reasoning: [Harlan] stated that the due process clause of the 14th amendment requires that state procedures be “fundamentally fair” in all respects, but it does not require jury trials in criminal cases. The historical evidence demonstrates that the framers of the 14th amendment did not think that they were “incorporating” the bill of rights. The proper analysis should be a “gradual process of judicial inclusion and exclusion” to ascertain those “immutable principles of free government.” It is improper for the majority to simply incorporate the jury trial clause “jot-for-jot” with all of its associated baggage of federal judicial interpretation. Each case must be analyzed to see whether it was a fair one.
11. Notes: In Benton v. Maryland, the court held that the “double jeopardy” clause was a “fundamental” ideal and is applicable to the states. Since then, as a result of selective incorporation, almost all criminal process guarantees are applicable to the states. In Wolf v. Colorado the court incorporated only the “core” of the 4th amendment, but not the case law interpreting it in federal courts. However, later in Mapp v. Ohio, the court changed its mind, and incorporation thereafter meant not only incorporating the “core” of the bill of rights guarantee, but applying every detail of the contours of the guarantee as delineated in judicial interpretations (the baggage). In Williams v. Florida, the court held that a 12 man jury was not necessary, because the function of the jury was fairness, and less than 12 men could still be fair. In Apodaca v. Oregon, the court stated that the verdict did not have to be unanimous, for the same reasons. Lastly, in Burch v. Louisiana, the court stated that a 6 man non-unanimous jury was unconsitutional, thus putting a limit on the relaxations of Williams and Apodaca.

1. Calder v. Bull, (1798); pg. 434, briefed 11/2/95
2. Facts: There was a dispute over a will. A probate court decree had refused to approve a will. The persons who were the beneficiaries of that will had the judgment set aside and a new hearing was granted, at which the will was approved. There was a Connecticut law that allowed the probate court to be set aside.
3. Procedural Posture: The persons who would have inherited the property if the will was void brought an action to declare the law setting aside their initial favorable judgment as violating the ex-post facto clause.
4. Issue: Whether the Connecticut law was valid.
5. Holding: Yes.
6. Reasoning: [Chase] reasoned that there were fundamental liberty reasons why the law was sound. The purposes for which the constitution was written was to give effect to a “social compact” wherein the government was established to protect the natural and preexisting rights of the citizens. The nature of these rights determines the limits of the legislative power to infrnge on these rights. The government can not have the power to enact leglislation that violates the natural laws of civilized society that it was established to protect, even if such natural right is not explicitly mentioned in the constitution. An example is this case, the government can not violate the right of an antecedent lawful private contract or the right of private property.
7. Dissent Reasoning: [Iredell] stated that the citizens had framed their constitution to define the precise boundaries of the leglislative power. Thus, if the legislature violates this power, its act is certainly void. However, if the legislature passes a law within its consitutional boundaries, the judiciary does not have the power to use subjective determinations of what is “contrary to natural law” to strike it down.

1. Lochner v. New York, (1905); pg. 439, briefed 11/2/95
2. Facts: Lochner was convicted under a New York law prohibiting bakery employees from working more than 10 hours per day or 20 hours per week.
3. Procedural Posture: Lochner borught this action to attack the New York bakery labor law.
4. Issue: Whether the New York law was a constitutional regulation of health and safety of a workplace under state police power.
5. Holding: No.
6. ∆ Arguments: The state has an interest in the health and safety of both the bakery workers as well as the quality of the bread that they make. Thus, these laws were passed under a valid exercise of the state’s police power.
7. Majority Reasoning: The statute necessarily employs with the right of contract between the employer and employee. Thus, the power of the state to police the “liberty” of the individual to contract, which is protected by the 14th amendment (See Allgeyer), must be balanced against the state’s interest. There is a limit on the police power of the states. Thus, the question is whether this law is a reasonable exercise of the police power or an arbitrary interference with the right of personal liberty to contract as he sees fit. There is no reasonable right to interfere with the liberty to contract by determining the hours of a baker. This law does not involve safety of the baker, who in contrast to a miner is as a class intelligent, is not threatened by his power to negotiate hours of employment. The state’s justification for this law under health and safety is a pretext because the public interest is not sufficiently affected by this act. There is no demonstrable causal link between labor hours of a baker and the quality of his product or his own health.
8. Dissent Reasoning: [Harlan] felt that the people of New York had decided that the health of an average man is endangered if he works more than 60 hours per week. Whether or not this is wise is not a question for the court to inquire. The only question for the court is whether the means devised by the state are germane to an end which may be lawfully accomplished and have a real or substantial relation to the protection of health of bakers. Common experience tells us that there is a logical relationship. There is abundant evidence that the workplace of a baker is hazardous to his health. Clearly, this is not a plain invasion of rights secured by “fundamental law.”
9. Notes: Lochner is criticized as being an overly broad interpreteation of the word “liberty” in the 14th amendment. At common law, liberty meant freedom from physical restraint, and it did not include “freedom of contract” as held in Lochner. Also, Lochner seemed to read the terms “property” and “due process” very broadly to cover contractual rights.

1. Pennsylvania Coal Co. v. Mahon, (1922); pg. 466, briefed 11/5/95
2. Facts: The coal company deeded the surface land above a mine to Mahon’s predecessors in title. The deed expressly reserves the right to remove all of the coal udner the land, and puts the risk of loss of the surface property on the grantee. However, a local statute forbids the mining of coal in such a way as to harm a structure used as a dwelling.
3. Procedural Posture: Mahon brings an action in equity to enjoin the coal company from mining under his house in such a way as to weaken its support.
4. Issue: Whether the local statute is a valid exercise of the state’s police power, or is an unconstitutional taking under the 5th amendment as incorporated through the 14th amendment and applied to the states.
5. Holding: Unconstitutional taking.
6. Majority Reasoning: The question of whether a regulation is a valid exercise of the police power or an unconstitutional taking depends on the particular facts. The property being protected here is private property belonging to a single citizen, in which there is no public nuisance if it is destroyed. The law is not justified as a protection of personal safety. The contract itself provided notice of the risks, and the grantee still contracted. Since coal rights are worthless if the coal can not be mined, preventing their mining is a taking because it is tantamount to destroying it. If the police power of the states is allowed to abridge the contract rights of parties, it will continue until private property disappears completely. In general, while property may be regulated to a certain extent, if regulation goes too far, it will be recognized as a taking. The loss should not fall on the coal company who provided for this very risk contractually. If the state wants more protection for its citizens, it can pay for it.
7. Dissent Reasoning: A restriction imposed to protect the public health, safety or morals from danger is not a taking. The restriction here is merely the prohibition of a noxious use. Just because a few private citizens are enriched does not make the law non-public. If the mining were to set free noxious gas, there would be no question that the state could prohibit it for the safety of the citizens, without paying the miner.

1. Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council, (1992); pg. 118, briefed 11/5/95
2. Facts: Lucas bought some beachfront property in 1986 for $975,000, intending to build single-family residences on it. At the time he bought is, a coastal zone management statute was in effect which regulated the use of certain “critical areas” in the beachfront areas, but Lucas’ property was not a “critical area.” However, in 1988, the state passed another beachfront management act which completely forbade construction seaward of a “baseline” marked by the highest points of erosion in the last 40 years. Unfortunately, Lucas property was seaward of the baseline, and so he could not build his residential houses on it.
3. Procedural Posture: Lucas brought an action for compensation, claiming that regardless of whether the legislature had acted legitimately in furtherance of some police power objective, he was entitled to compensation. The trial court agreed, finding that the statute deprived Lucas of “any reasonable economic use of the lots...rendering them valueless.” The Supreme Court of Carolina reversed, finding that when a regulation respecting the use of property is designed “to prevent serious public harm”, no compensation is owing regardless of the regulations effect on the property’s value.
4. Issue: Whether the 1988 beachfront management statute was a taking under the 5th amendment, thereby entitling Lucas to compensation.
5. Holding: Yes.
6. Majority Reasoning: [Scalia] first rejected the contention that since the state had amended the statute to provide for special permits, that Lucas was still able to apply for this permit, thus making the action “un-ripe.” Even if he won a special permit, there is still a “temporary” taking until he does. There are two discrete categories of regulatory action that are compensable without looking at the particular facts - 1) physical “invasion” of property, and 2) denying all economically beneficial or productive use of land. Regulations that leave the owner of land without economically beneficial or productive options for its use carry with the the heightened risk that private property is being pressed into some form of public service under the guise of mitigating serious public harm. However, “harm preventing” and “benefit conferring” definitions can be made as support of either side of the controversy. It is not critical that the legislature have found the regulation to be “harm-preventing.” The appropriate inquiry is whether the regulation deprives the owner of the land of rights that were part of his legal title; i.e. that were not a nuisance or proscribed under normally property law. All total regulatory takings of land must be compensated unless the use would be a common-law nuisance anyway. Here, the land use was lawful, and it can not be said that there was some “implied limitation” on Lucas’ use of the land for residential houses.
7. Concurrence Reasoning: [Kennedy] reasoned that land is bought and sold all the time with knowledge that it is subject to the state’s power to regulate. Where there is a taking alleged from regulations which deprive property of all value, the test must be whether the deprivation is contrary to reasonable, investment-backed expectations.
8. Dissent Reasoning: [Blackmun] reasoned that there was no significant taking here, and certainly not a total deprivation of economic value. The court has unwisely gone against the precedent that the state has the power to prevent any use of its property that it finds harmful, and that the state statute is entitled to a presumption of constitutionality. The state made findings tjat this was to prevent harm, and the court can not simply disregard them. Also, the new rule that the court fashions - “deprivation of all econaomically feasible use” itself cannot be determined objectively. Finally, the court’s exception for nuisance is confusing.


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