Case Brief: U.S. v Jones

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CMRJ601 Brief 1
Dr. Chuck Russo
Village of Euclid, OH v. Ambler Realty Co.
DATE
Name and Citation of Case:
Village of Euclid, OH v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U.S. 365 (1926).
Decision:
Ordinances in general scope with dominant features are a valid excuse/use of authority. Zoning
thus is a valid use of the police powers of local and county governments as they bear a rational
relation to the health and safety of a community.
How the Vote Decided: Majority Opinion, Concurring, Dissenting:
The majority opinion was written by Justice Sutherland and was joined by Chief Justice Taft,
Justice Brandeis, Justice Sanford, Justice Holmes and Justice Stone. (Berg-Andersson & Roza,
2010)
There appears to be no concurring opinion in this case.
The dissenting opinion consisted of Justice Van Devanter, Justice McReynolds and Justice Butler.
(Village of Euclid, OH v. Ambler Realty Co., 1926)
Fact Summary and Legal History:
Ambler Realty Co. (Ambler) owned a 68 acre tract of land within the city limits of Euclid, OH
(Euclid). Euclid in 1922 adopted an ordinance that established a comprehensive zoning plan that
impacted the tract owned by Ambler. Ambler believed the enactment of this ordinance
significantly and negatively impacted the potential value and use of their tract and believe the
ordinance thus consisted of an unlawful â??seizureâ? depriving Ambler of liberty and property
without due process. (Village of Euclid, OH v. Ambler Realty Co., 1926)
1
CMRJ601 Brief 1
Dr. Chuck Russo
Village of Euclid, OH v. Ambler Realty Co.
DATE
Major Question (s) or Issue(s) Presented by the Case:
As stated in the Justice Sutherlandâ??s (1926) written opinion, â??Is the ordinance invalid, in that it
violates the constitutional provision â??to the right of property in the appellee by attempted
regulations under the guise of the police power, which are unreasonable and confiscatory�?� Is
the broad and sweeping ordinance set forth by Euclid in this case a constitutional use of
municipal powers?
Summary of the Courtâ??s Reasoning in Reaching the Answer:
The court concluded that this Amblerâ??s argument was not based upon an identified present
infringement or denial of a specific right but rather upon a broad speculation the existence of such
an ordinance and itâ??s potential enforcement adversely affected the value of the tract and the
opportunities to develop, market and sell or otherwise utilize the tract. The court concluded that
such a challenge would force the court to scrutinize, analyze and examine each and every
provision, line, and sentence to determine if any component or subcomponent of the ordinance
may, if challenged specifically, be deemed unconstitutional. This was something the court
refused to undertake. The court concluded, as stated in Justice Sutherlandâ??s written opinion, that
the Euclid ordinance â??â?¦ in its general scope and dominant features, so far as its provisions are
here involved, is a valid exercise of authority, leaving other provisions to be dealt with as cases
arise directly involving them.� (Village of Euclid, OH v. Ambler Realty Co., 1926)
Summary of Significant Concurring and Dissenting Opinions:
Internet searches failed to locate a concurring or dissenting written opinion concerning this case.
References were located that indicated Justices Van Devanter, McReynolds and Butler dissented
2
CMRJ601 Brief 1
Dr. Chuck Russo
Village of Euclid, OH v. Ambler Realty Co.
DATE
with Justice Sutherlandâ??s written opinion. (Village of Euclid, OH v. Ambler Realty Co., 1926;
Berg-Andersson & Roza, 2010)
Significance: What Does This Opinion Mean for the Law?
This opinion clearly established the constitutionality of the concept of zoning and the police
powers of the local government. It established that an ordinance forming a comprehensive
zoning plan was clearly within the right of local governments in that it bears a direct relation to a
governmentâ??s need, want, duty and ability to care for the welfare, health and safety of the
community. This decision strengthened the emerging concept/practice of zoning and helped to
define the broad and sweeping police powers of a local government.
In addition, it established that general broad, sweeping challenges to such an ordinance or
comprehensive plan will not be entertained by the court while at the same time specific
challenges to particular provisions contained in an ordinance or comprehensive plan may/will be
entertained by the court.
Personal Interpretation and Substance?
I feel the court struck a balance in that while broad general challenges that consist of mere
speculation or potentials, such as ifs, will not be entertained, specific challenges that have a basis
in grounds, evidence, or other substance may/will be entertained by the court. This demonstrated
that challenges consisting of essentially nothing more than guesses or a general â??we just donâ??t
like it� are not sufficient to bring forward to the court but challenges that have solid and specific
arguments could/would be heard. There is a reasonableness to such an opinion that strikes a
balance between substance and speculation.
3
CMRJ601 Brief 1
Dr. Chuck Russo
Village of Euclid, OH v. Ambler Realty Co.
DATE
The court demonstrated understanding that while such a comprehensive plan may accidentally or
unfortunately exclude a business or entity not intended for exclusion from specific area, this
unintended consequence does not invalidate the constitutionality of the specific ordinance or
comprehensive plan or the broad and sweeping police powers of the local government in
safeguarding the health, safety and welfare of its community.
Reference(s):
Berg-Andersson, R. & Roza, T. (2010, August 08). Justices of the United States Supreme Court.
Retrieved from http://www.thegreenpapers.com/Hx/JusticesUSSC.html
FindLaw. (n.d.). Village of Euclid, Ohio v. Ambler Realty Co. Retrieved from
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=272&invol=365
Village of Euclid, OH v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U.S. 365 (1926).
4
Case Brief Instructions:
1. Case Brief should reflect a combination of form, logic, flow, grammar, spelling, APA
format, and demonstrated understanding of principles.
2. This case brief will be 4-6 [double spaced] pages each, when completed, should help you
develop your critical thinking/analysis skills.
3. The case brief will be on United States v. Jones. Utilize references and other Scholarly
References to build the case brief and must you must cite references to avoid plagarism.
4. Utilize the Case Brief Template as the format for build the case brief and use the case
brief example for a guide.
References:
United States v. Jones, 565 U.S. (2012). Retrieved from
http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/11pdf/10-1259.pdf
Clancy, T. K. (2012). United States v. Jones: Fourth Amendment applicability in the 21st
century. Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law, 10(1), 303-323. Retrieved from
http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/students/groups/osjcl/
Lance, A. (2014). Back to the future of your privacy rights: United States v.
Jones. Computer & Internet Lawyer, 31(8), 8-17. Retrieved from
https://lrus.wolterskluwer.com
CMRJ601 Brief X
Name v. Name, Volume Source Page (Court Date).
YOUR NAME
TODAYS DATE
Name and Citation of Case:
Decision:
Describes the final action of the court (e.g., reversed, remanded, affirmed, vacated, etc.)
How the Vote Decided: Majority Opinion, Concurring, Dissenting:
Fact Summary and Legal History:
Facts are exactly that â?? the record of the dispute established in the courts below. Why is there a
controversy?
Major Question (s) or Issue(s) Presented by the Case:
All judicial opinions are framed around what the court believes to be the core questions presented
by the case before it. Each decision, thus, focuses on and authoritatively answers the issues
treated by the court.
Summary of the Courtâ??s Reasoning in Reaching the Answer:
Each decision focuses on and authoritatively answers the questions and issues raised by the court.
The disposition of these matters is largely the basis of stare decisis â?? the doctrine of precedent.
This doctrine holds that similar cases should be treated similarly. This gives the law a measure of
continuity and certainty. Precedent also limits the discretion of judges.
In this section of the brief, you reconstruct and summarize in your own words the central
reasoning (or argument) used by the court to answer the issues it addresses. Much of the written
opinion will not be directly germane in that it will deal with subsidiary points â?? points not directly
CMRJ601 Brief X
Name v. Name, Volume Source Page (Court Date).
YOUR NAME
TODAYS DATE
relevant to the core issue at hand. This subsidiary discussion is called obiter dicta, and has a
number of interesting uses. However it is irrelevant to the disposition of the issue at hand in the
specific case before the court.
Summary of Significant Concurring and Dissenting Opinions:
The reasoning in all concurring opinions should be summarized in this section of the brief.
Justices can concur in the majority of position in one of two ways, and precisely how they concur
is very important. First they can concur in the opinion of the court. This means that they agree
with the reasoning used in the majority in settling the issue in the case. Second, they can concur
in the judgment of the court. This means that they agree with the result of the majorityâ??s
disposition of the case (e.g., reverse, affirm, etc.), but for reasons different from those offered by
the majority. Because of this disagreement with the reasoning of the majority, the votes of these
justices do not count as an endorsement of the result reached by that opinion. Traditionally, the
establishment of a controlling doctrine requires that at least five members of the court agree to the
reasoning offered by the majority.
You will find that, over time, not only do written concurrences increase, but that their centrality
to the meaning in of any given court decision (e.g., Does it establish a precedent binding on lower
state and federal courts?) grows more important as well. They are als significant indicators of the
decision-making dynamics on the court (e.g., coalitions, voting behaviors, tensions over the
substance and direction of the doctrinal development). As such, you want to track these opinions
very closely.
CMRJ601 Brief X
Name v. Name, Volume Source Page (Court Date).
YOUR NAME
TODAYS DATE
Sometimes there are justices who do not agree with either the reasoning used or result reached by
the majority. These justices write to express the basis of their disagreement with the majority.
The reasoning in all dissenting opinions should be summarized in this section of the brief.
Significance: What Does This Opinion Mean for the Law?
This section of the brief discusses why the case is important. For example, it can not significant
deviations from past doctrine or the extensions of previous doctrine.
Given the focus of the class, it is also useful to note in your brief who writes which opinions, and
who joins which blocs. Shifts in judicial alignments will often influence the outcome of a given
case or string of cases.
Personal Interpretation and Substance?
This section of the brief permits you to offer your own personal opinions which should bet be
reflected in the balance of the brief.
Reference(s):
The case and supporting materials/matter you utilized in completing this brief. All references
listed here, as well as citations utilized to support/document your work above must be in APA
format based on the 6th edition of the APA manual.
The text that appears below the above line should not be included in your submitted work.
This template was developed from Krislovâ??s Judicial Process and Constitutional Law (1972).
CMRJ601 Brief X
YOUR NAME
Name v. Name, Volume Source Page (Court Date).
TODAYS DATE
Krislov, S. (1972) Judicial process and constitutional law. Boston, MA: Little Brown &
Co.

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