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Unformatted text preview: Article 6-Supremacy Clause-Makes U.S. Constitution the supreme law of the land-all other law has to be consistent with the federal constitution.- This means any law, act of Congress, state common law, local law, all law must conform to the federal Constitution. This clause deems the Constitution paramount.-If law is not consistent with the Constitution, it is unenforceable. Constitution-3 main functions : 1) Establishment of the national government and establishment of the 3 federal branches (Articles 1,2,3)-sharing of governmental powers among the 3 branches. Framers wanted to protect individual liberty by limiting the powers of the federal government and sharing of power among the branches. 2) Attempted to govern the relationship between the federal government and the state/local governments. Federalism refers to the fact that the constitution contemplates 2 separate governments in the same geographic area (federal and state) 3) Proposed limitations on governmental powers-giving individuals rights that are protected by the constitution.-The constitution needs interpretation because it was intentionally drafted in a broad manner. Why was it drafted broadly? 1) So it would be meaningful to the public, if constitution was written with details, it would not be interesting and meaningful to people; 2) It was drafted this way so the Constitution would be flexible enough to be adaptable to the various problems that might arise from age to age. Methods for interpreting the Constitution : 1) Textual Method Look to the language of the constitution-beginning point (must define text) Justices with this approach believe that they should look at the language of the Constitution. The language is technically a good starting point, but normally it does not answer the problem alone because the text consists of language and the language needs interpretation. 2) What did the framers intend?-Originalists Need to figure out what the framers intended BUT there is no clear evidence that framers themselves wanted their intent to govern the constitution Who really are the framers? Proposers? Debaters? States that ratified? 1 3) Overall purpose of why something is in the constitution Overall purpose might help us decide the issue If we can find the goal it might help us in figuring how the specific issue should be resolved 4) Structural Analysis Court doesnt read part of the constitution in isolation, but rather in conjunction with the other parts of the constitution. 5) Fundamental Values Is it deeply rooted in the history and traditions of the nation? Controversial method because we dont know whose values we are talking about Its also controversial b/c justices are not interpreting the constitution but using their own judgment and values 6) Pragmatic/Prudential Approach Looks to the consequences of the courts decision This method takes into account the result or impact of its decision on society, economy, etc. economy, etc....
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