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Separation of Powers Decides Jerusalem Passport Dispute

Jerusalem Passport Dispute

In Zivotofsky v. Kerry, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the power to recognize foreign states and governments is exclusive to the President. The 6-3 decision, which rested almost exclusively on the Constitution’s separation of powers, highlights that the justices often disagree over the proper balance of power between Congress and the Executive Branch. In [...]

Gibbons v. Ogden: The Commerce Clause

Commerce Clause

In Gibbons v. Ogden, the U.S. Supreme Court first held that Congress has the authority to regulate any form of commerce that crosses state lines. The opinion, authored by Chief Justice John Marshall, is considered the most influential regarding the Commerce Clause. The state of New York passed a law granting Robert R. Livingston and [...]

Olmstead v. United States and the NSA Privacy Debate

NSA Privacy Debate

The decision in Olmstead v. United States 277 U.S. 438 (1928) highlights that while technology may change, the arguments about our privacy rights and government overreach do not. The 1928 case addressed whether use of evidence in private telephone conversations intercepted via wiretapping violated the Fourth Amendment. The defendant in the case, Roy Olmstead, was [...]

McCulloch v. Maryland: The Necessary and Proper Clause

In McCulloch v. Maryland 4 Wheat.(17 U.S.) 316, 4 Led.579 (1819) the U.S. Supreme Court held that Congress has broad discretionary authority to implement the powers enumerated in the Constitution under the Necessary and Proper Clause.

McCulloch v. Maryland is regarded as one of Chief Justice John Marshall’s most influential opinions. The Facts of the Case In 1816, Congress passed legislation establishing the Second Bank of the United States. Because it was a depository of federal funds and authorized to issue notes, many states viewed the national bank as unfair competition [...]

While many were hoping that the U.S. Supreme Court would address whether existing precedent that excludes threatening speech from First Amendment protection applies to online speech, the justices elected to resolve Elonis v. United States on purely statutory grounds.

The Court held that the Third Circuit Court of Appeal’s instruction, requiring only negligence with respect to the communication of a threat, is not sufficient to support a conviction under 18 U. S. C. §875(c), which makes it a federal crime to transmit in interstate commerce “any communication containing any threat . . . to [...]

Fletcher v. Peck And The Contract Clause

In Fletcher v. Peck, the Marshall Court ruled that an act of the Georgia State legislature that nullified a prior land grant they passed violated the U.S. Constitution.

It was the first case in which the U. S. Supreme Court held that a state law violated the federal Constitution. The Facts of the Case The case stems from a property dispute over the Yazoo lands, Native American territory claimed by the State of Georgia. In 1795, the Georgia legislature divided the property into [...]

mentally-disabled

The Court’s narrow decision held that two San Francisco police officers were entitled to qualified immunity from a suit alleging excessive force, but failed to address the larger Fourth Amendment questions raised in the case. The Facts of the Case Teresa Sheehan lived in a group home for individuals with mental illness. After Sheehan began [...]

In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court recently held that the state of Maryland’s tax scheme is unconstitutional.

Since it fails to recognize taxes paid in other states, the Court found that the state’s personal income tax system violates the dormant Commerce Clause. Facts of the Case Maryland’s personal income tax on state residents consists of a “state” income tax and a “county” income tax. Residents who pay income tax to another jurisdiction [...]

In United States v. Guest, the U.S. Supreme Court held that violations of the Fourteenth Amendment can serve as grounds for criminal charges under a federal conspiracy law that makes it a crime to "injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any citizen in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States."

In United States v. Guest, the U.S. Supreme Court held that violations of the Fourteenth Amendment can serve as grounds for criminal charges under a federal conspiracy law that makes it a crime to "injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any citizen in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him [...]

The “Speech or Debate Clause” provides powerful protection to members of Congress and prohibits the Executive Branch from prosecuting those with whom it does not agree.

One of the first cases to interpret the Speech or Debate Clause is United States v. Johnson. Set forth in Article 1, Section 6, Clause 1, the Speech or Debate Clause states: ...shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their attendance at the Session of [...]