It ensures that rights established under deeds, wills, contracts, judicial decision and similar instruments in one state
will be honored by other states.
Promotes mutual friendship among people of various states and protects their legal right as they move about from
state to state.
Three branches of government
– guards against the possibility that the national government might use its power arbitrarily.
system of Checks and Balances
– allows each branch to limit the actions of the other two branches, thus preventing
any one branch from exercising too much power.
– makes laws
– enforces laws
– interprets laws
The Commerce Clause
: permits congress to regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several states.
Provides the basis for the national governments extensive regulation of state and even local affairs.
Prevents states from establishing laws and regulations that would interfere with trade and commerce among the
Commerce is regulated between (interstate commerce) and within (intrastate commerce) the states.
can only be regulated as long as the commerce substantially affected commerce involving
more than one state.
Expanded national powers
- The breadth of the commerce clause permits the national government to legislate in
areas in which congress has not explicitly been granted powers. Ex: can prohibit racial discrimination in public
buildings but cannot ban possession of guns within 1000ft of a school.
– state laws that allow the use of medical marijuana do not insulate the users from federal prosecution
under the federal controlled substances act; congress can prohibit intrastate possession
Dormant Commerce Clause
– negative aspect of the commerce clause; that the states do not have the authority to
regulate interstate commerce. Comes into play when state regulations affect interstate commerce.
The Supremacy Clause
: the constitution, laws and treaties of the United States are the supreme law of the land.
When there is a direct conflict between a federal law and a state law, the state law is rendered invalid.
– when congress chooses to act exclusively in an area in which the federal government and the states
have concurrent powers. A valid federal statue or regulation will take precedence over a conflicting state or local
law or regulation on the same general subject.
The taxing powers
: congress has the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises.
Requires uniformity in taxation among the states – congress may not tax some states while exempting others.
Congress cannot regulate indirectly though taxation in an area over which it has no authority; tax would be invalid.