Constitutional Law-Federal and State Law

 

Constitutional law

Final assignment

Fact pattern one

Question 1: If a president decided to shut down all legal sales of marijuana on the state level, would she prevail in federal court with the argument that state laws permitting the sale of marijuana are preempted by federal laws banning the sale of marijuana? 
Answer: 
In the country USA, the legal system has two basic levels: federal and state law. The law that applies to the entire nation as a whole and the fifty states of USA is federal law.  State law is that law that is effective in a particular state. 

Under the federal law, a Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970 prevails that classifies marijuana as Schedule I substance which means that this drug has a high potential for abuse and dependency, and it cannot be used for medical purpose, or it does not have any other value  (Clark, n.d.). The federal law considers possession, cultivation and use of marijuana as a crime. But the state law of 18 states has allowed marijuana to be used for the medical purpose, and use of it is not a crime if it used for treating the patients, is used in specified amounts, the companies are vendors who sell it are registered, etc.

In the present scenario, the sale of marijuana is legal on the state level, but if the president decided to shut down all legal sales of marijuana on the state level, Jan could not prevail in federal court with the argument that state laws permitting the sale of marijuana are preempted by federal laws banning the sale of marijuana. This is because supremacy clause of Article VI of the Constitution will apply here. This clause is applied when a disagreement between state and federal laws occur. The doctrine of pre-emption is contained in the supremacy clause which says that whenever there is contradiction between state and federal law, the federal law will prevail (Dow, n.d.). If Jan is under the state law, she can follow it, but the feds can decide to stop her.
 
Question 2: Does the Contract Clause prohibit Washington from banning the sale of marijuana when such a law would nullify an existing contract for the sale of marijuana between two Washington residents?
Answer: 
The contract clause was drafted in the constitution of US so that states could be kept away from interfering with the private contracts. The application of this clause is made for protecting the everyday business dealings of all sorts. This clause is mentioned in one of the sections of the constitution. Certain prohibitions are listed in it in the states. They aim at protecting the people from the state governments’ intrusion and to prevent the states from intruding into the duties of federal government. They are prohibited from issuing paper money of their own and from controlling the economic affairs. This clause applies to the ordinary contracts that the made between the private citizens that may include partnerships and corporations. Other business contracts like lease related contracts, vendor contracts, etc. are included in this (Clark, n.d.). This clause does not allow the states to enact laws due to which the contract rights of private individuals get obstructed. So the state is not allowed to interfere in any contract that has been made between two or more than two private individuals and is legally binding. Only the state legislation is bound by this; the court decisions are not. But the state can make laws for some contracts that have not been made yet.

In the present situation, the contract has already been made. It is assumed that it is legally binding too, and they have made this contract by the state law which does not prohibit the sale of marijuana. Hence, the Contract Clause can prohibit Washington from banning the sale of marijuana if such a law tends to nullify an existing contract for the sale of marijuana between two Washington residents. 

Fact pattern two

Question 1:  Can the U.S. use a treaty to preempt state laws on licensure? 
Answer: 
In the present situation, the treaty is to be made so that licensing becomes portable. So, the US government has passed implementing legislation giving the executive branch the right to set national standards for professional licensing in many areas. There are two kinds of treaties: non-self-executing and self-executing. The non-self-executing requires implementation by the US law but the self-executing does not. The judges have not bound automatically in non-self-executing for overriding the state laws. But they are bound in self-executing. As per the law, a non-self-executing treaty has the potential to become enforceable. Here it is assumed that the treaty is self-executing. The constitution of US has a supremacy clause which says that the constitution of US, laws of the country and all the treaties made by it which fall under the authority of  US are considered as supreme law and the judges of all states are bound by it. The treaties are the considered as the supreme law of the land like the constitution of US and the other statutory laws of the US. Therefore, in the present situation, the US can use a treaty for pre-empting the laws of the state on the licensure. The treaty will have to be followed by the states as it comes under the clause of supremacy (Dow, n.d.). 
Question 2: Could President Kane be sued civilly by the reporter’s family for wrongful death after she leaves office, should it ever be revealed that she ordered the murder while in office?
 Answer:
These claims for wrongful death are made against those Defendant(s) who are the reason for somebody's death either through negligence or by the intention of harming someone. The estate of the deceased person can file a case against the person or party who is liable for the person’s death. The suit can be filed by estate’s representative on behalf of the family members of the person or any affected parties. The claim can be filed in situations where the victim was killed intentionally, or due to any medical malpractice, in any car accident that might involve negligence. For holding the defendant liable for the claim for wrongful death, the burden of proof has to be met by the plaintiffs who must meet the same burden of proof that the victim would have had to meet had the victim lived ("Death. Administrator's Right to File Cross-Claim for Wrongful Death When Sued for Property Damage Inflicted by Decedent", 1949).  

In the present case, the reporter was unaware of the politics that was played behind the back. It was the plan of CIA director to get him killed which was a death in a wrongful manner so the victim and the representative can claim the wrongful death under the clause of ‘internationally killing someone.' Since the plan was approved by the President and the reporter died after few days so President Kane can be sued civilly by the reporter’s family for wrongful death.

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References:

Babich, A. The Supremacy Clause, Cooperative Federalism, and the Full Federal Regulatory Purpose. SSRN Electronic Journal. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1903847
Clark, B. The Supremacy Clause as a Constraint on Federal Power. SSRN Electronic Journal. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.449420
Death. Administrator's Right to File Cross-Claim for Wrongful Death When Sued for Property Damage Inflicted by Decedent. (1949). Virginia Law Review, 35(3), 392. http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1069067
Dow, D. The Unambiguous Supremacy Clause. SSRN Electronic Journal. http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2034591

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