Note: These questions are selected from among the “Quiz Yourself” questions in the full-length Constitutional Law Emanuel Law Outline. We’ve kept the same question numbering here as in the Outline. Since some questions have been omitted here, there are gaps in the numbering.
1. The Constitution of the state of Ames contains a due process clause whose language is identical to the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment. Tom was a teacher in the Town of Aaron, in Ames. Because Tom’s status was that of “probationary teacher,” the custom in Aaron was that Tom could be fired at the end of any school year without cause. Tom was fired without cause. He sued Aaron in Ames state court. His suit was premised on the argument that his firing violated the Ames due process clause, in that he was not given a hearing before being fired. The Ames state court agreed, and the highest appeals court in Ames affirmed. Now, the Town of Aaron has appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. May the U.S. Supreme Court hear the case? Give your reasons. _________________
2. Same basic fact pattern as prior question. Now, however, assume that Tom in his Ames state court litigation asserted that his firing violated both the Ames constitution’s due process clause and the federal Due Process Clause. The state trial court agreed with Tom that both constitutional provisions were violated, and the Ames Supreme Court affirmed the trial court decision in all respects. The trial court’s decision on the state-constitution issue was based solely upon the court’s reading of prior Ames state court decisions that in turn relied upon the intent of Ames voters in adopting the Ames due process clause. The portion of the decision relating to the federal constitution relied on U.S. Supreme Court cases construing the federal Due Process Clause. May the U.S. Supreme Court review the decision of the Ames Supreme Court? _________________