Gilbert law summaries have a much-defined structure that is easy to understand and follow up. There is the use of graphs and charts inside that breaks things up and helps in understanding the laws discussed. The capsule summary has the same information as it is in the main outline that can be used for a quick review. The subsection numbers in the capsule summary match those in the main section thus one can follow up with ease for more information on the topic. The exam tips also help understand the concepts better and in selecting what section, one can get better at. From the Gilbert summaries this essay, discusses the constitutional law.
Constitutional law problems often involve action by an arm of federal or state government that has an effect on a person or a group of individuals including artificial persons (i.e. companies). Federal government issues have more impact than those of local or state governments. Therefore, any action of the government must find it source in the constitution. The founding father created a system that equalizes the system of government and ensures that no individual manipulates the law for their interest.
The major subject areas of the constitutional law are; sources of federal government power, limitations on federal and state government actions and protection of individual rights against federal and state government actions. The federal government powers; each of the three branches of the federal government (the executive, judicial and legislative) has unique powers that the Constitution grants to them. An example of the legislature is the commerce clause, which gives broad authority to Congress to create several diverse laws that affect interstate commerce. Federalism; refers to the constitutional balance powers and hierarchy of legal authority between the federal and state governments. An example is the dominant commerce clause that restricts states from passing laws that might negatively affect interstate commerce.
The procedural due process; federal or state governments actions or laws can only deprive a person of life liberty or property, only if they provide the person with enough process. Meaning that there must be sufficient notice and hearing, in order to satisfy that process requirement for such a deprivation to be considered lawful or rather fair under the constitution. The substantive due process and equal protection requires federal and state government actions and laws to be equitable in the way they regulate the rights of people. Equal protection requires the way federal and states governments takes their actions or legislation to be fair in the way they treat individuals and classes differently to be fair. These measures should be in line with the law and must be sufficiently related to a valid government purpose. If the actions and legislation are not related to that purpose then they will be deemed as unconstitutional.
There are standards in the constitution that are referred to as levels of scrutiny that are adapted to gauge the constitutional fairness of governments actions and laws2. The clause state that for certain rights the standard must be met is higher. This is required under the substantive due process requirements of the due process clause. Likewise, classifications of people, the standard that must be met is higher, required under the same clause. The application of the levels of scrutiny is a very vital part of the constitutional law.
The first amendment seeks to regulate federal and state governments actions and laws that try to limit or control religion and speech. The levels of scrutiny also apply here, in the issues relating to the legislation that imposes some restrictions on freedom of expression. Higher scrutiny levels apply, in some way making the law unconstitutional, where actions and laws restrict the message communicated sometimes referred to as content-based restrictions. Low levels of restrictions are used to measure the constitutionality of laws that regulate certain other times, places or manners of speech instead of restricting the content itself. Special rules of constitutionality also apply to particular types of speech-regulating laws, such as those that regulate obscenity, commercial speech, and defamation. Where laws may be affecting the exercise of religion the application of various tests will come into play that includes the highest standards of scrutiny in some cases, and o others specialized tests for constitutionality in other cases
Powers of the Federal Government
A federal system of government is a system, which subdivides the powers of the government between the national government (federal) and the state governments. The federal system in the United States is also known as federalism. Under this system, each government has power in some sectors and shares the sovereignty in other areas. For instance, both governments have the authority to tax, but only the federal government can pronounce war. This system or federalism defines the primary structure of the United States government. The federal system of government was created as results of fears that the national government was too strong and that state's rights would merely continue the weak form of government under the articles. Thus it was (federal system) established as a compromise and the powers were equally shared between the national government and the States government. They both have their agencies and officials that directly affect the people.
Under this system, the federal power to govern police power is reserved to individual states while the national government is granted certain enumerated powers. The two governments exercise a range of control in the same geographical area. The exclusive powers of the national government are; printing money, declaring war, establishing an army and navy, come into treaties or agreements with foreign nations, setting of post offices and issue postage and amending or making laws to enforce the constitution. While the state government creates local governments, issues licenses(driver, marriage ), controls within the state commerce, conducting elections, endorse laws changes, in charge of public health and safety and finally it exercises powers that are neither delegated by the national government or prohibited by the constitution(i.e. legalizing abortion or setting drinking age). The two government shares the following powers; setting up courts, they create and collects taxes, the building of roads such as highways, borrowing of funds, making and enforcing laws, leading banks and corporations, spending public money to improve the public safety and taking private property with just compensation.
The judiciary is one of the three branches of the federal government. It branches into criminal and civil courts and assists in interpreting the constitution. The Supreme Court is the highest ranked, and no other court can challenge it; it primary role is to interpret the law. The federal courts have the power to here most case. It applies where the federal law is in issue, or the United States is a participant or where the case is between a state and a citizen or two different states or two different individuals from dissimilar states.
However, there are limitations that apply, such as the suits against the United States and its officers are prohibited without consent. Secondly, it also prohibits suits against the states in the federal courts although they can be sued under certain conditions such as when causes action is passed by Congress pursuant, and the state officials can be sued for violating complaints rights granted by the Constitution or federal statutes. Thirdly, the federal court can hear cases or controversies, there must be a genuine dispute, the issue must be real, the plaintiff must have a personal stake in the outcome, and the injury must be of the scope of the judicial relief sought. Fourthly, the Supreme Court only reviews cases that have been thorough exhausted by the courts under. Finally, the Supreme Court avoids political cases or questions.
The judicial powers fall into several categories. Original jurisdiction; where the first hearing of a case occurs. Appellate jurisdiction; where an appealed case is heard by another court. Redress is the act of dealing with damages and relief. Diversity jurisdiction refers to the federal court hearing cases from dissimilar cases and subject matter jurisdiction; the federal court has authority over cases involving federal law.
Powers of Congress
The constitution mandates the Congress power to legislate in several precise ways. It is also referred to as the legislative power. The Congress is granted the constitution's most authority that is to make laws. The Constitution has enumerated powers or expressed powers explicitly given to the Congress, such as the power to declare wars and levy taxes. The Congress has implied powers; these clauses gives the extra legislative powers. They may assume other competencies in an attempt to accomplish its duties.
The Congress has powers to enact laws that are necessary and proper to enable any powers of the federal government to be effective. They have the authority to control the external and foreign affairs. The legislative also has powers to declare war and enact any laws necessary due to war and they have power over naturalization and citizenship. The Congress, however, has limits To ensure it does not undermine other bodies or individuals powers or authorities. The Congress cannot outlaw acts that have already been committed (ex-post facto laws). They cannot pass laws that punish people out of the court system (bills of attainder) or suspend a law that requires the national government to verdict persons arrested for crimes, unless during emergency periods(writ of habeas corpus)
The executive power is vested in the president. The president has wider appointment power for national judges, ambassadors and other federal officers, in which he does with the advice and consent of the Senate. For instance, if a member of Supreme Court steps down due to an illness, the president fills his /her position thus, he appoints a new justice to take place. The Congress also has the power to appoint inferior officers in the scene of the president, such as in the head of department or courts. An example is when a president is accused of a wrongdoing thus the Congress appoints a special prosecutor who takes up the case and investigates the charges; he/she must be independent of the executive to avoid the appearance of impropriety. He has a privilege against disclosure of presidential communications, although they have a level of limitations too. Along with the power to appoint comes with the power to remove. Except where there are statutory limits, the president can delete an officer from the executive branch.
The Congress cannot prevent but they can limit the removal by requiring a reference of good cause; provided the office from which the person is being fired is one where some measure of independence from the President is desirable. For instance, the Congress cannot limit the president from removing a cabinet minister, because the independence of the president is not desirable in those areas. The president has power to negotiate with other nations; however, these informal agreements do not into effect until he is backed with two-thirds votes in the senate. The president has legislation powers where he is authorized to proposed legislation. A president usually outlines the administration's legislative agenda in the State of the Union address given to a joint session of Congress each January. The veto power helps him keep the Congress in check, the two-thirds votes required to override the controls are hard to achieve.
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