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For example, from time to time Congress passes laws that place limits on the possession and distribution ofsome forms of pornography. When such laws are passed, there are invariably people who make a great dealof profit from the same type of pornography who argue that the new law restricts their right to free speechand free expression. And so, if one side says, “this law violates the 1st Amendment and cannot stand,” andthe other says, “No, it does not, the law is fine,” who decides? The courts do, if anyone files a lawsuit overthe issue.It has been said that ‘‘the Constitution means what the Supreme Court says it means.’’ This is only a slightexaggeration, and it emphasizes the idea that Congress cannot enact a law that changes the Supreme Court’sinterpretations of the Constitution.EXAMPLE:
9/25/2018Print canvas67/216When Congress passes a statute, it exercises ______________ power. If someone challenges the law incourt and argues that the new law violates a part of the Constitution, the courts will use their power of______________ to evaluate the law.A. executive; judicial reviewB. executive; separation of powersC. legislative; judicial reviewD. legislative; separation of powersANSWER: C. The power to create new laws is legislative power, and the power to assess theConstitutionality of the new laws is judicial review.Authority of Federal and State GovernmentsThere has long been a debate about the line between state and federal government power. Some people andgroups prefer a powerful federal government that makes many different kinds of laws and is involved inmany things. Others would prefer a more limited federal government and more powerful states. Thesepeople and groups would like for Texas, Florida, California, etc., to create more of their own laws.Constitutionally speaking, a case can be made to support either idea.The Constitution (in Article I, Section 8) lists 18 specific things that the U.S. Congress is authorized to do.These are the enumerated powers, and the list includes the power to regulate bankruptcies, and coinmoney, and regulate commerce. If one is a literalist, one might argue that the enumerated powers are theonlythings that the national government should be involved in, and that authority over all other kinds oflaws remains with individual states.But one might also say, “Come, now. The founders could not possibly have anticipated all of the kinds oflaws that might be needed in an industrial or post-industrial economy over 200 years down the road. Surelywe can’t limit the federal government to the activities the mentioned by name in 1787.”Article I, Section 8The most important items in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution include the powers:To lay and collect Taxes, Dues, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for thecommon Defense and general Welfare of the United States; . . .
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Common Law, Supreme Court of the United States, Appellate court, Trial court, State court