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United States Constitutional Law

Constitutional Law

First Assignment

Instructions Materials Permitted:

You will be allowed to use your textbook, your notes and any other materials to answer the questions on the final exam, although you will be able to write a perfect answer to any question using only the textbook.Subjects Covered:  The assignment will deal only with material and topics that were covered in the readings assigned on pages 1-202.Assumptions:  If you need additional facts not given in the question, please state what facts you have assumed and why you need them to answer the question.

Do not make assumptions that are inconsistent with the facts given or which in any significant way alter the questions.Time Frame: Please apply the precedents and doctrines as they are today.  Do not apply cases and doctrines that have been superseded.Ambiguities:  If you find the facts given in the essay portion of the exam to be insufficient to support one of your issues, state any additional factual assumptions you deem necessary and analyze the issue as though your assumptions were a part of it.  However, do notmake the mistake of changing the question by changing the facts.

If you are absolutely convinced that there is a typographical or other error in the essay portion of the exam, make an assumption, state it on your answer to the essay, and then address the issue as corrected by you.Grading:  You will be graded on the clarity, persuasiveness and legal accuracy of your answers.Citations:Non-Cases: Students should use the Chicago Manual of Style format throughout the paper for citations and format for sources that are not judicial decisions.

For more about the Chicago Manual of Style format, see Chicago Manual of Style Resources tab on the course BBLearn Website.Judicial Decisions: Students should merely cite the name of the case and the date.  You do not need to follow the Chicago Manual of Style format for these citations.Length:  Your answers may not exceed 600 words each. Be Concise!Answer Formats:  You are permitted to use headings and outline format if you wish when organizing and writing your answer.Submission: Please submit your assignment via the course BBLearn website.———————————————————————————————–

Constitutional Law Part 1

Fact Pattern:               Ernesto Rodriguez lived in Eagle, ID, and worked as an IT specialist at a marketing firm in downtown Boise.  Ernesto had a reputation as a stalwart member of his community and as a devoted father and husband.  He had no criminal record.                Ernesto was alarmed to read in the Idaho Statesman, that the Chief of the Boise Police Department (BPD) was considering increasing the number of officers on patrol duty by 25%, and adopting an “aggressive and widespread” stop-and-frisk policy aimed at finding and deterring armed criminals.

The chief went on to say that this policy would help to get “suspicious people and potential trouble-makers off the streets.”  The chief said only that he was considering such a policy, but the mayor and prominent members of the city council said that they would support the move.  The mayor also said that he would authorize the immediate release of reserve funds in the budget to start the program.  The chief made this statement in response to an announcement that there had been a moderate increase in crime in the city during the previous year.

Ernesto had heard about such aggressive stop-and-frisk tactics being used in other cities, and that they had been declared unconstitutional on a number of occasions because they departed from the stop-and-frisk standards established by the U.S. Supreme Court, and, therefore, violated victims’ Fourth Amendment right to be free of unreasonable searches.

Being Latino, Ernesto also worried that these tactics would be used target ethnic minorities, as had happened in other cities that used these tactics, and which was a violation of the victims’ Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection.  Ernesto was particularly worried about falling victim to such a search, given that the travels to Boise daily for work, and is there frequently on weekends, as well.                Imagine that on the same day that Ernesto read the article in the Statesman, he sought an injunction in federal court to prevent the BPD from ever instituting a stop-and-frisk policy like the one described by the chief.

Please answer the following questions:Would Ernesto’s lawsuit be ripe at this point?  Would Ernesto have standing to sue the BPD?****make sure to put gap between the first and second question just in case this 2nd question is not required***(10pts.)———————————————————————————————-

Constitutional Law Part 2

Fact Pattern Two

President Marsha Jones campaigned as the “Education President” during the last presidential campaign.  Her deep belief is that access to information technology and computer literacy in the elementary school years are key in educating students for the jobs of tomorrow.  President Jones has been frustrated by her inability to persuade Congress to back a major spending program to give millions of students smart devices and training in computer programing.

After two years of trying, she decided to act on her own, by announcing a plan to divert $1 billion in congressionally authorized defense spending to a new program that will pay for computers and computer education in many poor school districts around the country.

Art. I sec. 9 of the Constitution says “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.”  Although the money was appropriated by Congress, this transfer of funds was not approved by Congress.  However, the transfer was not explicitly forbidden by Congress. Normally, the president only spends money when Congress has explicitly authorized that spending in legislation.

However, Congress also frequently gives the president a great deal of discretion in deciding how money is spent when it passes spending bills.  Furthermore, Congress has occasionally acquiesced in presidents spending appropriated and unappropriated money on things that Congress had not explicitly authorized.


Was President Jones’ diversion of funds from defense spending to education constitutional? (10pts.)————————————Exam Answer Tips:A good answer will be organized and persuasive.Use of the IRAC exam answer writing technique is a good method for organizing your answer.

You can find an explanation of the IRAC method here: students also find it helpful to organize their answers using headings or outline formats.The best way to address questions is as follows:Look at all of the facts VERY carefullyThink about the information and analysis that the question is asking you to provide

.Plan your answer carefully before you write it.The questions are written partly to test your legal analysis and argumentation skills. I will grade you on the persuasiveness and clarity of your answer.

Last Updated on March 8, 2019

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