Constitutional Clause

| July 27, 2016

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Earlier this week, you looked at conflicts that occur between and among federal, state, and local laws as a result of federalism. Now you consider the role of the courts, and more specifically the constitutional clauses they use to resolve such conflicts. Specifically, you explore two constitutional clauses: the Supremacy Clause and the Commerce Clause. The Supremacy Clause asserts that federal laws are the “ supreme law of the land.” This means that the courts must uphold federal laws, even when they conflict with state or local laws. The Commerce Clause is more specific. It asserts that Congress has the power to “regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.” Of particular importance this week is the power of Congress to regulate commerce among states. While the Supremacy Clause and the Commerce Clause might appear to be fairly simple, their use in resolving conflicts between and among federal, state, and local laws can be complex.

 

To prepare for this assignment:

 

Review the Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Paragraph 2) in the Constitution.

Review the article, “The Supremacy Clause as a Constraint on Federal Power” and the course media “The Courts–Federal, State, and Local Conflicts.” Focus on how the Supremacy Clause is used to resolve conflicts between and among federal, state, and local laws.

Review the Commerce Clause (Article I, Section 8, Paragraph 2) in the Constitution.

Review the article, “The Original Meaning of the Commerce Clause.” Consider the meaning of the Commerce Clause and how it is used to resolve conflicts between federal and state laws.

Review the article, “Federalism and Environmental Policy: The Case of Solid Waste Management.” Think about how the Commerce Clause was used to resolve the conflicts related to the interstate transport of waste.

The assignment: (1–2 pages)

 

Briefly explain the Supremacy Clause.

Describe a case in which the Supremacy Clause was used by the court to resolve a conflict between federal and state laws. Explain how and why the Supremacy Clause was used. Be specific.

Briefly explain the Commerce Clause.

Describe a case in which the Commerce Clause was used by the court to resolve a conflict between federal and state laws. Explain how and why the Commerce Clause was used. Be specific

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