4. Con Law: Relative Spheres of Federal and State Power; intersovereign litigation
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EXCLUSIVE FEDERAL POWERS
Some powers are exclusively federal because of express constitutional limitation on or prohibition of the states' exercise thereof -- such as treaty power, coinage of money, and duty on imports.
Others are exclusively federal in view of their nature -- such as declaration of war, federal citizenship, naturalization, and borrowing money on the credit of the US.
On the exam, do not allow states to take actions that might touch upon foreign relations.
EXCLUSIVE STATE POWERS
The state gov'ts are gov'ts of unlimited powers, having all powers not prohibited to them by the constition.
CONCURRENT FEDERAL AND STATE POWER --
THE SUPREMACY CLAUSE
Federal law is supreme and conflicting state law is rendered void.
A valid act of congress or federal regulation supersedes any state or local action that actually conflicts with the federal rule -- whether by commanding conduct inconsistent with that required by the federal rule or by forbidding conduct that the fedral rule is designed to foster.
The conflict need not relate to conduct; it is sufficient if the state or local law interferes with acheivement of a federal objective.
A state or local law may fail under the supremeacy clause, even if it does not conflict with federally regulated conduct or objectives, if it appears that congress intended to occupy the entire field, thus precluding any state or local regulation.
-- Federal law may expressly preempt state law, but express preemption clauses will be narrowly construed.
-- If federal law doesn't expressly indicate whether state law should be preempted, the courts will try to deduce congress's intent. If federal laws are comprehensive or a federal agency is created to oversee the area, preemption will often be found.
-- The USSC has stated that in all preemption cases, especially any involving a field traditionally within the power of the states (eg, health, safety, welfare), it will start with the presumption that the historic state police powers are not to be superceded unless that was the clear and manifest purpose of congress.
THE INTERSTATE COMPACT CLAUSE
The constitution provides that states may enter into agreements or compacts with other states upon the consent of congress. However, not all agreements are compacts requiring congressional consent. The compact clause reaches only interstate agreements that increase the political power of the states at the expense of federal supremeacy. The USSC has the power to interpret such compacts -- the member states do not have final authority over interpretation.
FULL FAITH AND CREDIT CLAUSE
Provides that full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. If a judgment is entitled to full faith and credit, it must be recognized in sister states. However, not every decision is entitled to full faith and credit. There are three requirements:
1. The court that rendered the judgement must have had jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter;
2. The judgement must have been on the merits; and
3. The judgement must be final.
SUITS BY THE US AGAINST A STATE
The US may sue a state without its consent.
SUITS BY STATE AGAINST US
Public policy forbids a state from suing the US without its consent. Congress can pass legislation that permits the US to be sued by a state in given situations.
FEDERAL OFFICER AS DEFENDANT
Suits against a federal officer are deemed to be brought against the US itself if the judgement sought would be satisfied out of the public treasury or would interfere with public administration and, therefore, are not permitted.
Specific relief against an officer as an individual will be granted if the officer acted ultra vires: beyond his statutory power or the valid power was exercised in an unconstitutional way.
SUITS BY ONE STATE AGAINST ANOTHER
One state may sue another state without the latter's consent. The USSC has exclusive jurisdiction.
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