The Constitution in Congress series has been called nothing less than a biography of the US Constitution for its in-depth examination of the role that the legislative and executive branches have played in the development of constitutional interpretation. This third volume in the series, the early installments of which dealt with the Federalist and Jeffersonian eras, continues this examination with the Jacksonian revolution of 1829 and subsequent efforts by Democrats to dismantle Henry Clay’s celebrated “American System” of nationalist economics. David P. Currie covers the political events of the period leading up to the start of the Civil War, showing how the slavery question, although seldom overtly discussed in the debates included in this volume, underlies the Southern insistence on strict interpretation of federal powers. Like its predecessors, The Constitution in Congress: Democrats and Whigs will be an invaluable reference for legal scholars and constitutional historians alike.
Presents a history of the U.S. Congress, describing its powers, structure, and functions, its relationship with other branches of government, and the influence that politics and well-known legislators have on its agenda.
A host of political factors—both internal and external—influence the Court’s decisions and shape the development of constitutional law. Among the more significant forces at work are the ways lawyers and interest groups frame legal disputes, the ideological and behavioral propensities of the justices, the politics of judicial selection, public opinion, and the positions that elected officials take, to name just a few. Combining lessons of the legal model with the influences of the political process, Constitutional Law for a Changing America shows how these dynamics shape the development of constitutional doctrine. The Tenth Edition offers rigorous, comprehensive content in a student-friendly manner. With meticulous revising and updating throughout, best-selling authors Lee Epstein and Thomas G. Walker streamline material while accounting for new scholarship and recent landmark cases—including key opinions handed down through the 2018 judicial session. Well-loved features keep students engaged by offering a clear delineation between commentary and opinion excerpts, a “Facts” and “Arguments” section before every case, a superb photo program, “Aftermath” and “Global Perspective” boxes, and a wealth of tables, figures, and maps. Students will walk away with an understanding that Supreme Court cases involve real people engaged in real disputes and are not merely legal names and citations.
The Supreme Court today exercises power over the lives of citizens that, in important respects, exceeds that of other branches of the federal government. Life-tenured justices wield this enormous power for two or three decades and the only process that provides some accountability to the people occurs as new appointments regenerate the Court. Because justices now serve so long, that process occurs only rarely and irregularly and may be affected by a justice's desire to have a successor appointed by a like-minded president. Some presidents have great influence on the Court's future decisions by the happenstance that they receive three or more appointments; other presidents have little or no influence because no vacancies arise during their terms. This collection of essays by eminent legal scholars provides a comprehensive, balanced, and compelling examination of a largely neglected, but very important, subject. What are the harmful consequences of the lengthening tenure of Supreme Court justices? Do those consequences suggest that reform is necessary or desirable? Can the problem be remedied by congressional enactments or is a constitutional amendment required?
Focuses on key Supreme Court battles during Jackson's tenure--states' rights, the status of Native Americans and slaves, and many others--to demonstrate how the fights between Jacksonian Democrats and Federalists, and later Republicans, is simply the inevitable--and cyclical--shift in constitutional interpretation that happens from one generation to the next.
James E. Beasley School of Law of Temple University
Federalism--including its meanings and limits--remains one of the most contested principles in constitutional law. To fully understand its importance, we must turn to a landmark decision nearly two centuries old. M'Culloch v. Maryland (1819) is widely regarded as the Supreme Court's most important and influential decision--one that essentially defined the nature and scope of federal authority and its relationship to the states. Mark Killenbeck's sharply insightful study helps us understand why. Killenbeck recounts how the cashier of the Baltimore branch of the Second Bank of the United States refused to pay Maryland's tax on the bank and how that act precipitated a showdown in the Supreme Court, which addressed two questions: whether the U.S. Congress had the authority to establish a national bank and whether Maryland's tax on the bank was barred by the Constitution. In one of Chief Justice John Marshall's most famous opinions, the Court unanimously answered yes to both, authorizing the federal government to exercise powers not expressly articulated in the Constitution--and setting an alarming precedent for states-rights advocates. The issues at the heart of M'Culloch are as important today as they were then: the nature and scope of federal constitutional authority, the division of authority between federal and state governments, and the role of the Supreme Court in interpreting and applying the Constitution. Situating the case within the protracted debate about the bank and about federal-state relations, the Panic of 1819, the fate of the Second Bank following the Court's momentous decision, and the ever-expanding and increasingly contentious debate over slavery, Killenbeck's bookprovides a virtual constitutional history of the first fifty years of the nations. As such, it shows that the development of the Constitution as a viable governing document took place over time and that M'Culloch, with its very broad reading of federal power, marked a turning point for the Constitution, the Court, and the nation. As the Court continues to reshape the boundaries of federal power. M'Culloch looms large as a precedent in a debate that has never been fully settled. And as states today grapple with such questions as abortion, gay rights, medical marijuana, or assisted suicide, this book puts that precedent in perspective and offers a firm grasp of its implications for the future.
In modern political communities ultimate authority is often thought to reside with 'the people'. This book examines how constitutions act as a delegation of power from 'the people' to representative and expert institutions, and looks at the attendant problems of maintaining the legitimacy of these constitutional arrangements.