Category: Uncategorized

If states traditionally regulate marriage, why can’t states make homosexual marriage illegal?

An international student asked a very good question in our class the other day. He noted that because of federalism, states generally have the power to regulate marriage.  When people get married in the United States, a state, not the national government, certifies the marriage. But the student also noted that he learned that states may not prohibit a same-sex couple from getting married.  That is, if two men or two women want to get married, the state must permit the marriage.   How can this be if states regulate marriage within their borders?  Under what authority can states be required to allow same-sex couples to get married? The Constitution and the Supremacy Clause The answer is connected to the Constitution of the United States and the Supremacy Clause  (more info on the Supremacy Clause here). No law is higher in the United States than the Constitution – – that is why the Constitution is called the Supreme Law of the United States.  If any law violates the Constitution, a court can declare the law unconstitutional through its power of judicial review. You can think of this like a card game.  The Constitution is the highest card in the deck, the Ace of Spades.  Any other card is weaker than the Ace of Spades.  We’ll say a state law is the Queen is Hearts.  Because the Ace of Spades is higher than the Queen, the...

Read More

Legal English Quiz 5 by uslawessentials | Jun 24, 2017 | Legal English, Quiz | 0 Comments<iframe name='proprofs' id='proprofs' width='100%' height='100%' frameborder=0 marginwidth=0 marginheight=0 src='https://www.proprofs.com/quiz-school/story.php?title=uslawessentials-legal-english-quiz-4&id=1933101&ew=430'><!--... What is Obstruction of Justice? by uslawessentials | Jun 24, 2017 | Criminal Law, video, What does . . . mean? | 0 Comments<div class="wistia_responsive_padding" style="padding:56.0% 0 0 0;position:relative;"><div class="wistia_responsive_wrapper" style="height:100%;left:0;position:absolute;top:0;width:100%;"><iframe... Understanding Due Process: Bell v. Burson by uslawessentials | Jun 17, 2017 | Caselaw, The Constitution, video, What does . . . mean? | 0 Comments<div class="wistia_responsive_padding" style="padding:56.0% 0 28px 0;position:relative;"><div class="wistia_responsive_wrapper" style="height:100%;left:0;position:absolute;top:0;width:100%;"><iframe... What are Interrogatories? by uslawessentials | Jun 2, 2017 | Civil Procedure, video, What does . . . mean? | 0 Comments<div class="wistia_responsive_padding" style="padding:56.25% 0 0 0;position:relative;"><div class="wistia_responsive_wrapper" style="height:100%;left:0;position:absolute;top:0;width:100%;"><iframe... What does “national law” mean in the United States? Is it the same as federal law? by uslawessentials | May 13, 2017 | Federalism, Sources of law, video, What does . . . mean? | 0 CommentsIn the United States, national law and federal law are the same thing.  National laws are enacted by Congress and signed into law by the President of the United States. Because of  federalism, power is divided in the United States between the national government based... When does silence = acceptance of an offer? by uslawessentials | Mar 27, 2017 | Contract law, video | 0 Comments<div class="wistia_responsive_padding" style="padding:56.25% 0 0 0;position:relative;"><div class="wistia_responsive_wrapper" style="height:100%;left:0;position:absolute;top:0;width:100%;"><iframe... How do parties make...

Read More

Agency by estoppel test

In an agency by estoppel a defendant will be liable to a plaintiff because the defendant’s negligence or intentional acts caused the plaintiff to reasonably rely on there being an agency relationship between the defendant and someone who purported to act on behalf of the defendant. As a general rule,  a person can bind someone else to a contract if he has authority as an agent to act on that person’s behalf.  The person on whose behalf the agent is acting is called the principal.   For example, a salesperson (agent) can bind his company (principal) to a sales contract because he has authority as an agent to represent the company.   If an agent sells a house on the owner’s (principal) behalf the  owner can’t suddenly refuse to sell the house. Naturally, the result is different if a person is not really an agent.  If a person pretends to be a salesperson for a company he can’t force the company to honor a contract – – the “salesperson”  is an imposter and no agency relationship exists with the company. Courts will apply an exception where a person or company is careless and as a result a third party reasonably relies on the existence of an agency relationship.   For example, let’s say an imposter goes around purporting to act as a salesperson for an electronics store that sells television sets.  The...

Read More

What is the mirror image rule?

I also talk about that a bit here The mirror image rule is a traditional rule of contract law which requires an acceptance to contain the same terms as an offer, otherwise, there is no contract. For example, let’s say Mr. A offers Ms. B his car for $5,000 and Ms. B says she accepts the offer but also wants the car to come with a big red ribbon on the hood. The mirror image rule tells us Ms. B rejected Mr. A’s offer and made a counteroffer to buy a car for $5,000 with a big red ribbon.  Mr. A now has to decide whether he wants to accept Ms. B’s offer.  Mr. A does not have to sell the car and Ms. B does not have to buy the car until they agree completely on all the terms. Here is an older video I made on the mirror image rule:...

Read More

Been busy but here are a few recent projects

I’ve been a bit swamped lately but here are a few projects I created for a class I’m teaching.  The material provides some basic information on the US Constitution.     The Constitution and the Distribution of Power to the Federal Government The Constitution and the Protection of Important Freedoms Talk to you...

Read More

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.