Day: February 16, 2017

The Difference Between a Bill and a Resolution

Today, President Trump signed H.J.Res.38. The Hill reported in a headline, “Trump signs bill undoing Obama coal mining rule.”
Trump tweeted that headline:

Alas, he did not sign a bill. As the abbreviation H.J.Res. suggests, it was a House Joint Resolution. What is the difference between a bill and a resolution? A bill becomes law when it is passed by both houses, and signed by the President. A resolution is something short of a bill, but must be passed by both houses, and be signed by the President, to take legal effect.

Article I, Section 7, Clause 2 provides the path for a bill to become a law:

Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it.

Article I, Section 7, Clause 3, provides a different definition for orders, resolutions, or votes, in general.

3: Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

Even though a Resolution does not become law, in the sense of the bill, it still must be presented to the President for his signature. My understanding is Clause 3 prevents Congress from trying to enact a law, by calling it something else, and not submitting it to the President. No dice.


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ConLaw Class 11 – The Reconstruction Amendments

Class 11 – 2/16/17

The Reconstruction Amendments

  • The Emancipation Proclamation (527 – 529)
  • The Adoption of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendment (767 – 771)
  • Contracting the Privileges or Immunities Clause (771 – 772)
  • Slaughter-House Cases  (Field, J., dissenting) (779 – 786).
  • Bradwell v. Illinois (787  – 791)
  • The Civil Rights Cases (814 – 831).

The lecture notes are here.

The Slaughter-Houses Cases

Here is a wood-cutting of the New Orleans Slaughterhouse.


Bradwell v. Illinois

This is Myra Bradwell, who sought admission to the Illinois Bar, leading to the Supreme Court’s decision in Bradwell v. Illinois.




Bradwell would become the editor of the Chicago Legal News, the first legal publication in the United States edited by a woman. The publication launched in 1868. Here is the first issue.


The Library of Congress has a copy of the first volume of the Chicago Legal News, donated by Susan B. Anthony. Even cooler, it includes a hand-written note in Anthony’s hand, which alludes to Bradwell v. Illinois.

It reads:

The first legal paper edited by a woman – Myra Bradwell – This file is from 1868 & 1869 – It was Mrs. Bradwell whose right to be admitted to the Bar of Illinois was carried up to the United States Supreme Court.  Senator Matthew Carpenter made the argument for her.

Congressional Library
Washington DC

Susan B. Anthony
Rochester – N.Y-

Jan. 1.1905


The Civil Rights Cases

The Grand Opera House in New York City, formerly known as Pike’s Opera House, was located on the Northwestf Corner of 8th Avenue and 23rd Street, in Chelsea. It was was shut down in 1960.



Maguire’s Opera House, formerly known as San Francisco Hall, was a three-story theater on Washington Street between Kearny and Montgomery in San Francisco.


I was not able to find photographs of Nichol’s Inn in Jefferson City, MO, the Topeka Inn in Topeka, Kansas, or the Tennssee Parlor Car.

This is Justice John Marshall Harlan I, who authored the solo dissent in the Civil Rights Cases.


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Prop1 Class 11 – Estates III: Leasehold and Defeasible Estates

Class 11 – 2/16/17

Estates III: Leasehold and Defeasible Estates

  • Leasehold estates, 244
  • Defeasible Estates, 244-247
  • Mahrenholz v. County Board of School Trustees, 248-253
  • Notes, 253-256
  • Maeser School Crisis Over, 256-258
  • Mountain Brow Lodge No. 82 v.  Toscano, 258-263
  • Notes, 263-264
  • Review Problems 1-4, 272-273

The lectures notes are here.

This diagram represents the Fee Simple Defeasible, which comes with a Possibility or Reverter. For example, “so long as premises are used for school purposes.” The reversion happens automatically–no need for the grantor (or his heirs) to take any action.


This diagram represents the Fee Simple Subject to Condition Subsequent, which comes with a Right of Re-Entry. For example, ” but if the premises are not used for school purposes, the grantor has a right to re-enter and retake.” Unlike the Possibility of Reverter, the Right of Re-Entry requires the Grantor (or his heris) to take actin, and re-enter the land.


This diagram represents the Fee Simple subject to an executory interest, which comes with an executory interest, which is vested in a third person, instead of the grantor. For example, “O to “School board, but if it cease to use the land as a school, to the Library.”


This is the grant at issue in Mahrenholz:

“this land to be used for school purposes only; otherwise to revert to Grantors herein.”

And a related case from the Texas Supreme Court:  El Dorado Land Co. v. City of McKinney, No. 11-0834 (Mar. 29, 2013)

El Dorado sold the city some land for use as a park. The conveyance required that the land “shall be used only as a Community Park,” and if not used for that purpose, then El Dorado would have the right to buy the land back. Ten years later the city built a public library on part of the land, which resulted in El Dorado reminding the city about that “park” use requirement by giving notice that it was going to buy the land back. “El Dorado’s letter further asked the City within ten days to acknowledge its obligations under the deed and to suggest an acceptable closing date.”

The Texas Supreme Court held in El Dorado’s favor that the deed restriction was a “right of reentry,” which is a conditional future interest, and “property” under Texas law. The court relied on the reasoning of Leeco Gas & Oil Co. v. Nueces County, 736 S.W.2d 629 (Tex. 1987), a case with similar facts which held that “a future interest in real property is compensable” under the Texas Constitution’s Takings Clause. Slip op. at 6-7. In Leeco, the deed provided that the property would automatically revert if the county did not use it as a park. The court rejected the city’s attempt to distinguish the future interest at issue in Leeco from El Dorado’s, holding that it made no difference that in Leeco the interest was self-executing, and El Dorado’s interest gave it the right to repurchase.

This is the school at issue in the article about the Maeser School.



Here is a picture of the Odd Fellows building:



This chapter of IOOF seems to be gone. Presumably the grantors heirs exercised their right of reentry.

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