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Chapter 1



A. Roadmap:  Here is a very brief “roadmap” of Constitutional Law:

1. Federalism:  First, we’ll be covering various aspects of “federalism.” Federalism means that the federal and state governments co-exist. Some of the main principles stemming from federalism are:

a. Limited, enumerated powers:  The powers of the federal government are limited to those that are enumerated in the Constitution. [Chap. 3]

b. Separation of powers:  Each of the three branches of the federal government (Congress, the President and the Judiciary) has its own enumerated powers, and one branch may not take actions reserved by the Constitution to one of the other branches. This is the doctrine of “separation of powers.” [Chap. 8]

c. Congress’ Commerce power:  The most important power given to Congress is the power to regulate “commerce.” [Chap. 4]

2. Dormant Commerce Clause:  Under the “Dormant Commerce Clause,” the mere existence of the federal commerce power restricts the states from discriminating against, or unduly burdening, interstate commerce. [Chap. 6]

3. Due Process Clause:  The “Due Process Clause” of the 14th Amendment has two different types of effects [Chap. 9]:

a. Substantive due process:  It limits the “substantive” power of the government to regulate certain areas of human life (e.g., child-bearing);

b. Procedural due process:  It imposes certain “procedural” requirements on government when it takes an individual’s “life, liberty or property.” (Example: Before government can take away your food stamps, it must give you a hearing.)

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