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Constitutional Law Keyed to Brest
Downes v. Bidwell
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*Case Brief Anatomy includes: Brief Prologue, Complete Case Brief, Brief Epilogue
- The Brief Prologue provides necessary case brief introductory information and includes:
- Topic: Identifies the topic of law and where this case fits within your course outline.
- Parties: Identifies the cast of characters involved in the case.
- Procedural Posture & History: Shares the case history with how lower courts have ruled on the matter.
- Case Key Terms, Acts, Doctrines, etc.: A case specific Legal Term Dictionary.
- Case Doctrines, Acts, Statutes, Amendments and Treatises: Identifies and Defines Legal Authority used in this case.
- The Case Brief is the complete case summarized and authored in the traditional Law School I.R.A.C. format. The Pro case brief includes:
- Brief Facts: A Synopsis of the Facts of the case.
- Rule of Law: Identifies the Legal Principle the Court used in deciding the case.
- Facts: What are the factual circumstances that gave rise to the civil or criminal case? What is the relationship of the Parties that are involved in the case. Review the Facts of this case here:
The United States ratified a treaty with Spain that ended the Spanish-American War. As part of that treaty, Puerto Rico became a U.S. territory. Congress passed the Foraker Act in 1900 to temporarily provide for a civil government and sources of revenue for Puerto Rico. One of the sources of revenue was a duty imposed on Puerto Rican oranges imported into the U.S. Plaintiff was a merchant seeking to import these oranges and he challenged these duties as in violation of Article I, § 8, cl. 1 of the Constitution. Article I, § 8, cl. 1 of the U.S. Constitution states that “all duties, imposts, and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.” Bidwell (Defendant) was the government agent responsible for collecting the duties. The Supreme Court decided the case. (The remainder of the procedural posture is omitted from the casebook).
- Issue(s): Lists the Questions of Law that are raised by the Facts of the case.
- Holding: Shares the Court's answer to the legal questions raised in the issue.
- Concurring / Dissenting Opinions: Includes valuable concurring or dissenting opinions and their key points.
- Reasoning and Analysis: Identifies the chain of argument(s) which led the judges to rule as they did.
- The Brief Prologue closes the case brief with important forward-looking discussion and includes:
- Policy: Identifies the Policy if any that has been established by the case.
- Court Direction: Shares where the Court went from here for this case.