The Commerce Clause and Federal Jurisdictional Power

Posted: July 19th, 2021

Question 1: (175 words) Question 2: Respond to the following statement (150 words) Requirements: 325 words It is common knowledge that under the American system of federalism, police power gives the states the responsibility for maintaining public order and safety within each state, including the passing and enforcing of criminal laws. However, the federal government must rely on specific powers granted by the Constitution to pass criminal laws. Discuss the importance of the Commerce Clause and the jurisdictional power it grants to the federal government. Include one example of a legal case that was decided based upon the courts application of the Commerce Clause. Provide a rationale to support your response and respond to no less than one of your peers. “Consheller, this is certainly a landmark case – and for those of you who enjoyed Hamilton but didn’t get the significance of the Cabinet Battle 1 part, this is part of what that controversy was about. After the Constitution was ratified, there was still a lot of controversy about the states’ rights issue and how strong the national government should be. The feds: we’re supreme! The states: yeah – we don’t think so! Alexander Hamilton, the nation’s first treasury secretary, argued a national bank was necessary to fund national infrastructure projects, among other things. So in 1791, President George Washington obliged and created the first Bank of the United States, headquartered in Philadelphia. In 1816, the second Bank of the United States was created and had branches in a number of cities, including Baltimore. In 1818, Maryland’s legislature passed a bill taxing out-of-state banks operating in the state. The law specifically targeted the Bank of the United States, since it was the only such bank operating in Maryland. And this is where McCulloch comes in. James W. McCulloch, the head cashier at branch in Baltimore, refused to pay $15,000 in “owed” taxes, claiming Maryland’s government didn’t have the right to tax a federally chartered bank. Maryland’s leaders sued and the state’s courts sided with the legislators (of course!) But McCulloch’s lawyers appealed the case to the US Supreme Court, where the Justices ruled in favor of Congress (surprise!) Chief Justice John Marshall wrote that Congress had the right to establish a bank under the Constitution’s necessary and proper clause, as you pointed out, and that states lacked the authority to tax a federally chartered institution. And boom! Federal supremacy begins to gain a foothold.”

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