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Chapter 3

Business Law: The Ethical, Global, and E-Commerce Environment

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CHAPTER 3 BUSINESS AND THE CONSTITUTION I. OBJECTIVES: This chapter is meant to acquaint students with the most important business-related aspects of constitutional law. We therefore do not attempt to cover constitutional law in its entirety. Instead, the chapter focuses on the major constitutional bases of federal and state power to regulate business, and the major constitutional checks on such regulation. After studying the material presented in this chapter, the student should: A. Understand the U.S. Constitution's structure and the political ideas (separation of powers, checks and balances, and federalism) embodied in that structure. The student should also understand that the written Constitution sometimes is a poor guide to the content of constitutional law and why this is so--like it or not. B. Be aware that there are two general kinds of constitutional limits on government regulation of business: those inherent in the constitutional grant of power on which the regulation is based (e.g., the enumerated powers doctrine), and those placing independent checks on such a grant of power. C. Understand the main state and federal powers to regulate business (especially the state police power and the federal commerce power) and how they work. D. Be familiar with the main independent checks that apply to both state and federal regulation of business: due process; equal protection; and the first amendment's commercial speech limitation. This, in turn, requires that students understand the incorporation doctrine, the state action requirement, and the various levels of scrutiny that the constitutional provisions in question impose. E. Understand the main business-related independent checks restricting state regulatory power alone: the burden-on-commerce doctrine; federal preemption; and the contract clause. Note : For instructors with limited time to devote to the chapter, this material may be a candidate for fairly abbreviated coverage. F. Be cognizant of the Fifth Amendment's Takings Clause and its general operation. II. ANSWERS TO INTRODUCTORY PROBLEM: A. Coors was relying on the First Amendment. B. Corporations have the same right to freedom of speech that individual human beings have. The government has no greater latitude to regulate corporate speech than it does to regulate speech by a non-corporate speaker. C. Commercial speech receives a lesser degree of First Amendment protection than noncommercial speech receives. In contrast with the “full” First Amendment protection extended to noncommercial speech, commercial speech receives an intermediate level of First Amendment protection if the commercial speech is nonmisleading and pertains to a lawful activity. If commercial speech misleads or pertains to an unlawful activity, it receives no First Amendment protection. D.
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Chapter 3 - Chapter3 problem solutions

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