National Supremacy

National Supremacy - The Role of the Supreme Court in...

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The Role of the Supreme Court in National Supremacy Paula Koren United States Constitutional History December 13, 2007
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between the federal government and state governments. The two governments have challenged each others’ power in laws, in courts, and even on the battlefield of the Civil War. Although the struggle had existed long before, one of the first Supreme Court cases to deal with the question of national supremacy was McCulloch v. Maryland in 1819. A national bank had been established by Congress, but the constitutionality of its creation was questionable. Nowhere in the Constitution was Congress granted the power to do such a thing. By forming the national bank, Congress had gone beyond the bounds of their enumerated powers. However, according to Chief Justice Marshall’s interpretation of the “necessary and proper” clause, the federal government had the means to establish a national bank. In fact, according to Marshall the federal government could use any means as long as “the end be legitimate” and as long as the end “be within the scope of the Constitution”. The powers to use any necessary means to arrive at a legitimate end became known as implied powers. When the bank had been established by the implied powers of Congress, the state of Maryland attempted to tax it, but the Supreme Court intervened. The state was attempting to regulate the national bank since it had not been chartered within its borders. The state had normally had the power to tax such establishments, but this time, the bank was not just any bank, but a federal bank. Maryland claimed that its attempt at taxation was legitimate under the theory of “dual sovereignty”, the idea that the national government and the states are both sovereign, each within their own sphere. However, the court denied this claim by adhering to Article Six of the Constitution, which states that the Constitution, laws made in accordance with it, and treaties made by the United States “shall be the supreme law of the land”. Since
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This note was uploaded on 04/23/2008 for the course H 343 taught by Professor Stead during the Fall '07 term at The Mater's University.

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National Supremacy - The Role of the Supreme Court in...

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