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far beyond the scope of this document, using a great many more subheadings, going into infinite detail, and giving extracts and quotations not only from Supreme Court decisions but from cases in all the circuit courts, district courts, courts of appeals, Court of Claims, State courts, Opinions of the Attorney General, etc. Recourse has also been had to Compiled Statutes Annotated, Watson on the Constitution, Sutherland's Notes on the Constitution, Evans's Cases on American Constitutional Law, Thayer's Cases, McClain's Cases, Wambaugh's Leading Cases, Modern American Law, Ruling Case Law, Story on the Constitution, Cooley's Constitutional Limitations, Warren on the Constitution, Paschal's Annotated Constitution, Norton's Sources and Application of the Constitution, and Moore on Supreme Court and Unconstitutional Legislation, all of which works should be consulted for a more detailed study of Constitutional Law.

It may be felt by some that many of the quotations used in this work are obiter dicta, but it must be remembered that all such dicta are not unimportant. Justice Brewer, in delivering the opinion of the court in the case of Wilson v. Shaw (204 U. S. 24), after citing various reports of the courts in substantiation of the decision, said:

Plaintiff, recognizing the force of these decisions, seeks to obviate it by saying that the expressions were obiter dicta, but plainly they were not. They announce distinctly the opinion of this court on the questions presented, and would have to be overruled if a different doctrine were now announced. Congress has acted in reliance upon these decisions in many ways, and any change would disturb a vast volume of rights supposed to be fixed; but we see no reason to doubt the conclusions expressed in those opinions, and adhere to them.

The doctrine announced by Chief Justice Marshall in the case of Marbury v. Madison (1 Cranch, 137), that acts of Congress in conflict with the Constitution are void, has been much criticized as a usurpation of power not conferred on the court, and was in fact obiter dicta, but the doctrine has been consistently followed for over a hundred years. It has been said that the historic importance of the Dred Scott case (19 How. 393), involving the Missouri Compromise and the citizenship of negro slaves, lies in the dicta in the opinion of the Chief Justice rather than in the decision of the court that it had no jurisdiction. In Watson v. St. Louis, etc., R. Co. (169 Fed. 942), the court said:

General expressions in an opinion which are not essential to the disposition of the case, on points not presented nor argued to the court, are obiter, and are not permitted to control the judgment of the courts in subsequent cases; but when a question is directly involved in the issues raised, is determined by the trial court, is assigned as error on appeal, argued by counsel, and distinctly decided by the court, the decision of such question is not obiter dictum although the cause is disposed of on other grounds, and this applies specially when the question involves the power of Congress to enact legislation.

And in the very recent case of United States v. Title Ins. Co., 265 U. S. 472, the court said:

Where there are two grounds upon either of which an appellate court may rest its decision, and it adopts both, the ruling on neither is obiter dictum, but each is the judgment of the court and of equal validity. A long-standing deci. sion of a doubtful question which has become a rule of property affecting many Land titles should not be disturbed.

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It will be found that in a few cases the decisions have characterized former expressions of the court as dicta and in still fewer cases the former holdings of the court have been overruled, but such instances are exceedingly rare.

Of all the great mass of Congressional enactments since the beginning of the Federal Government under the Constitution there have been only about 44 acts or parts of acts of Congress declared invalid by the United States Supreme Court. At the end of this document (p. 759) is a chronological list of such acts, and citations to the cases in which they were considered.



Text of the Constitution (literal print)-

General rules of construction.---

Notes on the Constitution --

Leading general cases.

Nature of the Constitution.-

The jurisdiction of the United States.---

Relation of the States to the Federal Government-

Checks and balances in Government..


The people of the United States.

To form a more perfect union.---

For the United States of America.-



Hawaiian Islands---

Philippine Islands

Porto Rico.----

Preamble as source of substantive power-----

A government of enumerated and delegated powers.

Supremacy of national government within its sphere_

Express and implied powers.-

Distribution of powers among departments.

Of general application ------

Art. I.-Legislative Department:

Sec. 1, The Congress-

Legislative power in general..

A congress of the United States.-

Powers of houses of Congress acting separately--

Power of investigation ----

Power to punish for contempt.-

Delegation of legislative power-

In general.----

To the judiciary ----

To Interstate Commerce Commission---

To Federal Reserve Board.--

To the Federal Power Commission.

In connection with

Construction or removal of bridges.-

Tariff laws and regulations.

Government of the Philippines..

Regulation of forest reserves.

Location of mining claims--

The bankruptcy act.

Sale of naval vessels..

Encroachment by executive and judiciary on legislative power--

Encroachment on judicial and executive power by Congress.---

Power to pass retroactive statutes..

Of general application.----

Sec. 2. House of Representatives,

Cl. 1. Composition of -

Right to vote ---

Qualifications of voters_-

Cl. 2. Qualifications of Members --

Art. 1.–Legislative Department-Continued.

Sec. 2. House of Representatives—Continued.

Cl. 3. Apportionment.-----

Apportioned among the States


Direct taxes.--


Of general application.--

Cl. 4. Vacancies_

Cl. 5. Impeachment-

Sec. 3. Senate

Cl. 1. Composition of---

CI. 2. Classification.-

Cl. 3. Qualifications---

Cl. 4. Presiding officer---

CI. 5. Other officers---

CI, 6. Impeachment trials.---

Cl. 7. Impeachment judgments---

Liability of Government for tort_--

Power to subpæna witnesses.

Sec. 4. Elections and meetings

Cl. 1. Elections.---

Shall be prescribed in each State by the legislature--

Power of Congress over elections.-

Cl. 2. Meetings.--

Sec. 5. Legislative proceedings..

Cl. 1. Organization of Congress-

CI. 2. Rules

Rules of its proceedings.

Disorderly behavior.-

Power of Congress over Members -

Of general application---

CI. 3. Journal

Conclusiveness of journal entries_-

Omission of section of bill..

Of general application.-

Cl. 4. Adjournment.--

Sec. 6. Rights of Members-

Cl. 1. Compensation, etc.--

Compensation for their services.-

Privileged from arrest.-

Speech or debates -

Cl. 2. Holding other office...

Sec. 7. Bills and resolutions-

Ci. 1. Revenue bills.----

All bills for raising revenue----

Senate may propose or concur in amendments_

CI, 2. Veto of bills -----

Cl. 3. Veto of resolutions, etc----

When a bill becomes a law.

Approval of bills after adjournment or during recess.

Approval by the President of constitutional amendments.

Of general application ----

Ser.. 8. Powers of Congress-

CI. 1. Taxation.-

Leading cases.

General power of taxation---

Construction of grant--

Definition of taxes---

Duties, imposts, and excises.

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