Oregon Law School 1L Study Guide for Constitutional Law

Constitutional Law Study Guide for 1L Oregon Law School:

I. Constitution Overview: The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land. It establishes the structure of the federal government and outlines the rights and freedoms of American citizens. Oregon’s constitution, adopted in 1857, also establishes the state government’s structure and protects the rights of Oregon citizens.

II. Judicial Review: The power of the courts to examine the actions of the legislative and executive branches and determine if they align with the Constitution. This power was established by Marbury v. Madison (1803).

Marbury v. Madison (1803) IRAC Review:
Issue: Does the Supreme Court have the authority to review acts of Congress and determine their constitutionality?
Rule: The Constitution is the supreme law of the land and any laws that conflict with it are deemed null and void.
Application: The Supreme Court found that it had the power to declare the Judiciary Act of 1789 unconstitutional.
Conclusion: This case established the principle of judicial review.

III. Federalism: This pertains to the distribution of power between the federal and state governments. Oregon law is subject to federal law due to the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

IV. Separation of Powers: The division of government responsibilities into distinct branches to prevent any one branch from gaining too much power. These branches are the legislative, executive, and judicial.

V. Individual Rights: These are rights protected by the Constitution from governmental infringement. The U.S. Constitution outlines these rights in the Bill of Rights. Oregon’s constitution has its own Bill of Rights in Article I.

VI. Due Process: The Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments protect citizens from governmental actions that could potentially infringe upon their rights without due process of law. In Oregon, due process rights are protected by Article I, Section 10 of the state constitution.

VII. Equal Protection: The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees equal protection under the law. This is a crucial concept in many landmark cases, such as Brown v. Board of Education (1954).

Brown v. Board of Education (1954) IRAC Review:
Issue: Does segregation in public schools, even if facilities are “equal,” deprive minority children of equal protection under the law?
Rule: The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees equal protection to all citizens.
Application: The Supreme Court ruled that segregation in public schools, regardless of equality of facilities, inherently created a feeling of inferiority among minority children, and thus, violated their right to equal protection.
Conclusion: This case led to the desegregation of public schools, marking a significant step in the civil rights movement.

VIII. First Amendment: Includes freedom of speech, religion, press, assembly, and petition. The Oregon constitution (Article I, Sections 8 and 9) also provides similar protections.

IX. Fourth Amendment: Protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. In Oregon, similar protections are provided by Article I, Section 9 of the state constitution.

X. Sixth Amendment: Guarantees the right to a fair trial in criminal proceedings. Oregon’s constitution also provides right to a speedy public trial in Article I, Section 11.

XI. Commerce Clause: Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution grants Congress the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the states.

XII. Tenth Amendment: Reserves powers not delegated to the federal government to the states or the people. This amendment forms the basis of states’ rights.

Reviewing these concepts, reading the relevant cases, and understanding their implications will form a solid basis for a law student studying Constitutional Law in Oregon. It’s also critical to understand the relation between the U.S. Constitution and the Oregon Constitution, and when one applies over the other. Remember to review both for a comprehensive understanding of Constitutional Law in Oregon.

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