The Constitution in Your Community You work for the local office of the public defender. You have a.

The Constitution in Your Community

You work for the local office of the public defender. You have a client, Ima Pothead, who has been charged with possession of illegal drugs. The police discovered the drugs in his home during the execution of a search warrant. The warrant was later invalidated by the presiding judge. The judge also held that the police executed the warrant in good

faith. The judge scheduled a hearing for two weeks later on the question whether the drugs should be excluded from trial. Your charges against Ima Pothead will likely be dismissed if the seized drugs are excluded. You have been asked to prepare a memo-randum ( 1– 3 pages) on the issue. You will need to consider your state’s approach to dual constitutionalism. Does your state constitution specifically address the issue? If so, how? If not, how has your state judiciary approached search and seizure questions? Does your state interpret its constitution identically to how the U. S. Constitution has been interpreted or independently? If independent, cite an example of a differing inter-pretation and an example where your state courts have interpreted the state constitution identically, even though not required to do so.

Going Federal

The U. S. Congress recently passed, and the president signed, the following law:

Practice of Law: USBA

Section One: Admission, Regulation, Discipline The admission, regulation, and discipline of persons who render legal advice; appear on behalf of others in local, state, and federal courts; and otherwise act for another in legal contexts shall be regulated by the United States. Section Two: USBA; director There shall be created an executive agency known as the United States Bar Agency ( USBA). The Secretary of Commerce of the United States shall appoint a director who shall be the executive officer of the USBA. The director shall serve for four years and may be removed for cause by the Secretary of Commerce. The director shall have the authority to make all needful rules for implementing these provisions in a manner prescribed by other federal law. Preemption All state laws inconsistent with these provisions are preempted and invalid. You work for the attorney general of your state. The attorney general is concerned about the preemption and you have been directed to prepare a memorandum ( 1– 3 pages) discussing the constitutionality ( federalism question) of this statute.

Moot Court

Same- sex marriage is a hot button political and legal topic. Historically, marriage has been a policy area that belonged to the states. With the exception of indirect regulation (e. g., tax differences between individuals and married couples), the federal government left marriage to the states. That changed in 1996. The Full Faith and Credit Clause re-quires states to respect each other’s laws and court judgments. Congress is delegated the authority to “prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.” Concerned that the Full Faith and Credit Clause would require all states to recognize same- sex marriages if one state permitted them, Congress enacted the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. Commonly known as DOMA, the law expressly releases the states from having to recognize same- sex marriages of other states. DOMA was found by a federal trial court to violate both the Tenth Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause (see Letourneau v. Office of Personnel Management, Summary Judgment, July 8, 2010, U. S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Civil Action No. 09- 10309- JLT). CivilAc-tionNo.09-10309-JLT). At the time of publication of this text, an appeal had been filed but had not been decided. Working in teams of two, prepare your own moot court. The first team should prepare a five- minute oral argument that DOMA violates the Tenth Amendment, and the second team will be responsible for preparing a five- minute oral argument defending DOMA. For purposes of this assignment, ignore the equal protection issue. You will learn more about individual rights later in this book!


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