Mississippi Law School 1L Study Guide for Constitutional Law

Mississippi Law School 1L Study Guide for Constitutional Law

I. The Constitution of the United States
– Understanding the structure (Preamble, Articles, Amendments)
– The concept of Federalism
– Separation of powers among the three branches of government

II. Judicial Review
– Marbury v. Madison (1803): Established the principle of judicial review
Issue: Whether the Supreme Court has the authority to review acts of Congress and declare them unconstitutional
Rule: The Constitution is the supreme law of the land
Analysis: The Court reasoned that it is the duty of the judiciary to say what the law is and if two laws conflict, the Court must decide on the operation of each
Conclusion: The Supreme Court has the power to review acts of Congress and determine their constitutionality

III. Federalism
– McCulloch v. Maryland (1819): Explored the balance of power between state and federal governments
Issue: Whether Congress had the power to establish a bank and if the state of Maryland could tax it
Rule: The Necessary and Proper Clause gives Congress the power to establish a national bank
Analysis: The Court held that federal law is supreme to conflicting state law, and the states cannot tax the federal government
Conclusion: Congress had the constitutional authority to establish a bank, and Maryland could not tax it

IV. The Commerce Clause
– Gibbons v. Ogden (1824): Defined the scope of Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause
Issue: Whether the state of New York could grant exclusive rights to operate steamboats within its waters
Rule: The Commerce Clause gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce
Analysis: The Court held that navigation is a part of commerce, which Congress has the power to regulate
Conclusion: New York’s law was invalid because it interfered with Congress’s broad power over interstate commerce

V. The Separation of Powers
– Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer (1952): Limited the power of the president in domestic affairs
Issue: Whether the president had the authority to seize steel mills during a labor dispute
Rule: The president does not have the inherent power to seize private property without explicit congressional authorization
Analysis: The Court found that the president’s power must stem from an act of Congress or the Constitution itself
Conclusion: The seizure was unconstitutional as it was not authorized by Congress or the Constitution

VI. The Bill of Rights
– Incorporation of the Bill of Rights to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment
– Freedom of speech, religion, and press
– Second Amendment rights and limitations
– Rights of the accused (Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments)

VII. The Fourteenth Amendment
– Equal Protection Clause: Guarantees equal protection of the laws to all citizens
– Substantive Due Process: Protects certain fundamental rights from government interference
– Selective Incorporation: Process by which the Bill of Rights have been applied to the states

VIII. Equal Protection Analysis
– Brown v. Board of Education (1954): Ended segregation in public schools
Issue: Whether segregated public schools violate the Equal Protection Clause
Rule: Segregation by race creates inherently unequal schools
Analysis: The Court concluded that the doctrine of “separate but equal” has no place in public education
Conclusion: Segregation in public schools is unconstitutional

IX. Substantive Due Process
– Griswold v. Connecticut (1965): Recognized the right to privacy in marital relations
Issue: Whether a Connecticut law banning contraceptives violated the right to marital privacy
Rule: The Constitution protects a right to privacy
Analysis: The Court found that the law invaded the privacy of marital relations
Conclusion: The Connecticut law was unconstitutional

X. Specific Mississippi Constitutional Issues
– Examine cases and concepts specific to the Mississippi Constitution and state laws
– Understand how the Mississippi Constitution mirrors and differs from the U.S. Constitution
– Explore state-specific case law that illustrates how the Mississippi Supreme Court interprets state constitutional issues

XI. Preparation for Final Exam
– Review case briefs and class notes thoroughly
– Understand the core principles and application of constitutional doctrines
– Practice writing answers to past exam questions, focusing on IRAC format
– Discuss complex issues with peers or instructors to deepen understanding

XII. Additional Resources
– Mississippi Constitution
– United States Constitution
– Casebooks and treatises on constitutional law
– Online legal databases for case law research (e.g., Westlaw, LexisNexis)

This study guide provides a foundation for exploring the complexities of Constitutional Law as it applies both federally and specifically within the state of Mississippi. In preparation for the final exam, students should aim to integrate their understanding of landmark Supreme Court cases, the theoretical principles of the Constitution, and the particular applications of these principles by Mississippi courts.

Discover more from Legal Three

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading