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Part I: Case List
AT&T Mobility, LLC v. Conception, 563 U.S. 321 (2011) [Preemption and the Federal Arbitration Act.]
Berman v. Parker, 348 U.S. 26 (1954) [Condemnation of private property for slum clearance]
Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, 573 U.S. ___ (2014). [Application of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to private closely held corporations.]
Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. v. Public Service Commission of New York, 447 U.S. 557 (1980) [Standard for commercial free speech.]
Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 17 U.S. 518 (1819) [Effect of incorporation on private rights]
Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990) [Religious Freedom, Drug use and employment.]
First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, 435 U.S. 765 (1978) [Corporate free speech]
Gibbons v. Ogden, 22 U.S. 1 (1824) [1ST consideration of the Commerce Clause]
Hammer v. Dagenhart, 247 U.S. 251 (1918) [Child Labor laws unconstitutional; note the powerful dissent by Justice Holmes.]
Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, 379 U.S. 241 (1964) [1964 Civil Rights Act & the Commerce Clause]
Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005) [Condemnation of property for private developer]
Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S. 45 (1905) [Liberty of contract and due process]
Lucas v. South Carolina Coastal Council, 505 U.S. 1003 (1992) [Regulatory takings without compensation]
McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973) [Order of proof and burden of proof in Employment discrimination cases.)
Munn v. Illinois, 94 U.S. 113 (1877) [State police powers to regulate commerce]
National Labor Relations Board v. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp., 301 U.S. 1 (1937) [Permitting regulation of activities which indirectly affect interstate commerce.]
New State Ice. V. Liebmann, 285 U.S. 262 (1935) [due process related to state regulation of business]
Panama Refining Co. v Ryan, 293 U.S. 388 (1935) [Improper delegation and the NIRA unconstitutional.]
Schechter Poultry Corp. v. United States, 295 U.S. 495 (1935), [interstate commerce and delegation doctrine.]
Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398 (1963) [Religious discrimination in employment and the strict scrutiny test.]
The Slaughter House cases, 83 U.S. 36 (1873) [Privileges and Immunities clause and business regulation]
Swift & Co. v. United States, 196 U.S. 375 (1905) [Expanded interpretation of the Commerce Clause powers.]
United States v. Darby Lumber Co., 312 U.S. 100 (1941) [Overruling Dagenhart on the FLSA.]
Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942) [Federal wheat quotas applicable to farmer growing wheat for own use not sale. Broad application of commerce clause.]
Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356 (1886) [Local Business Regulation & 14th amendment.]
Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U.S. 579 (1952) [Presidential powers to seize steel mills.]
NOTE: The student may request to use another U.S. Supreme Court case of interest, but ONLY with the instructor’s written advance approval. If you do not use a case from this list, or one with my written permission for a specific alternative, the assignment will be graded as 0.
You should pick a case early and begin by reading the opinion, or at least a synopsis. (Note some cases have lengthy opinions.) The proper format for the paper is provided and will also be presented in class. Papers should be at least 5 pages typed and double spaced, though 5-7 pages is preferred.
The next page lays out the format and other required elements of the essay. Read carefully.
Part II: FORMAT for Assignment
Jerome B. Robinson:
Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, 379 U.S. 241 (1964)
Facts: Summarize the following; who, what, when, where, why, & how of the dispute. Who are the parties to the case? What is their argument about? Why does each side think it should win? How did the case get to the Supreme Court?
Issue(s): State the question or questions the court must answer to decide the case? (Usually a simple and direct one sentence question will suffice to identify an issue.) Some cases have only one central issue, others may have multiple issues. You need to identify them in this section. Minor side issues should be discarded.
Rules: What are the rules of law which will need interpretation to make a decision? Is there a constitutional provision, a statute or a regulation in question? If so what does it say? Are there previous cases that have dealt with similar issues? Are those cases used as precedent or merely as guidance? What were those cases about and how does their decisions influence the current controversy?
Analysis: This should be the bulk of your paper. What was the reasoning of the court in reaching its decision? Another way to put it is that you need to explain how the court interpreted the applicable RULES, in relation to the FACTS to answer the question which is the ISSUE? Use your own words to explain the court’s decision. You may quote (briefly) from the opinion, but do not let quotations take over the paper.
Conclusion: This is the final result, sometimes called the holding. For example you might say: “[T]he court in Marbury v. Madison determined that the Judiciary Act was unconstitutional and therefore void, as a consequence of which Marbury could not seek a writ of Mandamus in the Supreme Court. The principle of judicial review of the constitutionality of an act of the legislature was thus established.”
Your Opinion: After you have done the work to understand the case and the court’s reasons for its decision you should have some opinion about the case. Did you think the court was correct? Did you detect any flaws in the court’s approach to the case? How would you have decided the case had you been a judge?
Further Instructions: Read carefully, failure to follow requirements will result in deductions.
3. Be sure to include the case name, citation and date in the heading.
4. Cover pages are not required. If used they do not count toward page requirements.
5. The case essay should be a minimum or five (5) pages and, if necessary, up to seven (7).
6. Consider the following as a guidelines and approximations only: (1) FACTS, 1 page (20%); (2) ISSUE, ¼ page (one sentence is best) (5%); (3) RULES, ¾ page, two paragraphs (15%); (4) ANALYSIS, two pages, or more as necessary (40%); (5) CONCLUSION, ½ page (10%); (6) OPINION, ½ page (10%) (Total is approx. 5 -7pages.) NOTE: the percentages given are only an approximation of the appropriate length of the sections noted, NOT an indication of the points awarded for the section.
7. You will be marked down if the essay is significantly shorter than 5 or longer than 7 pages.
8. Double space and type the paper.
9. Do not double space spaces, put headings on a separate line or use of unusual margins or fonts and other “tactics” that significantly alter length. I will notice and calculate the true length accordingly, and make an appropriate deduction.
10. Plagiarism is a direct quotation of a source without attribution. Plagiarism is also the paraphrase of a source using minor variations of language, while retaining the structure, syntax and significant phrasing, without attribution of the source. Any plagiarism will result in a grade of 0 for the assignment. (For more information on plagiarism see College Website / About Pierce / Policies / Chapter 132K-126 WAC).
11. Do not quote the court excessively as filler. Some quotation is permitted, but do not let it get out of hand. It should be reserved for memorable or pithy comments, or particularly compelling logic or phrasing. A single sentence may be quoted in the text inside quotation marks “…” to tell the reader these are the court’s words. Longer quotes, if appropriate, should be single spaced and set off in a separate paragraph with indented margins. Always give the page reference from the decision for any quote or paraphrase. Only a minimal amount of such quotation is allowed without deduction.
12. Don’t forget to express your opinion of the court’s decision.
Grading Policy: All papers start with 100 points, and then will suffer deductions for various deficiencies.
a. Major deficiencies which may cause deduction are; failure to follow the format; leaving out one of the required elements, incorrect or garbled statement of facts, failure to determine the issue, an incorrect or confused explanation of the analysis or conclusion. An opinion stated without any reason (i.e.; “I agree.” Is inadequate.)
b. Other deficiencies which may result in a lesser deductions are such problems as; incorrect word choice, incorrect grammar, confused writing, excessive technical and typographical errors, confused syntax and obvious failure to poof the text.
c. Late papers are subject to a deductions as specified in the Syllabus. (Plan ahead for technical computer problems. I am suspicious of printers that only fail to print on the day the assignment is due. (Sort of like the old dog eating the homework excuse.) There is a computer lab on campus and you can easily put your paper on a USB device and take it there for printing on time. (Test your printer beforehand – you should not be surprised by its “sudden” demise.)
d. I do not do advance review of your writing, but I will be available for questions you may have of a general nature. However, I will not answer questions that indicate you have not yet read the case.

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