Wisconsin Law School 1L Study Guide for Constitutional Law

Title: Wisconsin Law School 1L Study Guide for Constitutional Law

I. Constitutional Law Overview
Constitutional law entails the study of the interpretation and implementation of the United States Constitution. It governs the roles and powers of the three branches of government: the judicial, legislative, and executive branches. In Wisconsin, state constitutional law also applies.

II. Supremacy Clause
This constitutional provision (Article VI, Clause 2) indicates that federal law supersedes state law when there’s a conflict. The landmark case of McCulloch v. Maryland, 17 U.S. (4 Wheat.) 316 (1819), established the principle of federal supremacy.

III. Commerce Clause
Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution gives Congress the authority to regulate commerce with foreign nations, between states, and with Indian tribes. The case of Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942), expanded the federal government’s power to regulate economic activities based on their cumulative effect on interstate commerce.

IV. Due Process Clause
The 5th and 14th Amendments protect citizens from government actions that could unfairly deprive them of life, liberty, or property. In Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972), the Supreme Court held that Wisconsin’s compulsory school attendance law was unconstitutional as it violated the respondents’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights, thereby demonstrating the due process clause.

V. Equal Protection Clause
The 14th Amendment prevents the states from denying any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. Key case: Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), where segregation in public schools was ruled unconstitutional.

VI. Free Speech Clause
The First Amendment protects freedom of speech. In the case of Wisconsin v. Mitchell, 508 U.S. 476 (1993), the Supreme Court upheld a Wisconsin statute that enhanced the penalty for crimes motivated by the victim’s race.

VII. Confrontation Clause
This clause, found in the Sixth Amendment, ensures a defendant in a criminal trial the right to confront witnesses against them. In Crawford v. Washington, 541 U.S. 36 (2004), the Supreme Court ruled that testimonial statements can only be admitted if the witness is unavailable and the defendant had a prior opportunity to cross-examine.

VIII. Establishment Clause
The First Amendment creates a wall of separation between church and state. In Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1 (1947), the Supreme Court held that a New Jersey law allowing reimbursements of transportation costs to parents of children attending parochial schools did not violate the Establishment Clause.

IX. Powers of President
The Constitution provides certain powers to the president, including executive, legislative, and judicial powers. In the case of United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683 (1974), the Supreme Court clarified the limits of presidential power, stating that the president could not use executive privilege as an absolute defense against judicial process.

X. Wisconsin State Constitution
The Wisconsin Constitution governs state law. It contains provisions related to individual rights, education, and local government similar to those in the U.S. Constitution but sometimes offers greater protections. For instance, Article 1, Section 11 guarantees every person in Wisconsin the right to fish on any navigable water.

This guide serves as a starting point for your 1L Constitutional Law study. Ensure to consult course materials, textbooks, and legal commentaries for a detailed understanding of these topics. Good luck!

Discover more from Legal Three

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

Continue reading