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Briefing Paper

Brief 1: Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States

Before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, Heart Atlanta Motel (the Appellant) as part of its policy refused to accommodate black people. Because they wanted to carry on with this behavior, they challenged the Congress authority in passing the act. The appellant business went beyond the state to advertise through media. The appellant was of the opinion that Congress had gone beyond its authority in regards to the Commerce Clause when they enacted the Civil Rights Act.

In this light, it would be important for my employer to note that Congress only acts through powers allowed to it by the constitution (Cheeseman, 2013, p. 127). Additionally, the 10th Amendment has reserved powers to the state that are not expressly granted to the Congress. Nonetheless, the commerce clause, grants broad authority to the Congress in terms of pursuing reforms in the legislature, as well as a wide scope of issues. The Commerce Clause provides that Congress have the authority to regulate commerce occurring between states (Gershman, 2008, p.40).

Note that Congress has implemented this to enact legislation-involved matters as broad as drug labeling as shall be noted later in the briefs. In addition, it has influenced legislation related to minimum wage, employment conditions, and racial discrimination. Therefore, it is correct to state that Congress can involve itself in business on a wide variety of issues as provided by the commerce clause (Cheeseman, 2013, p. 127). Additional cases related to this is; Katzenbach v. McClung (1964).

Brief 2: Governor of California v. Entertainment Merchants Association

Associations of corporations that distribute video games presented a declaratory ruling action against the California state in the federal district court. The plaintiffs demanded under the first and fourteenth amendments the invalidation of a law that imposed restrictions for selling violent games to minors. The Supreme Court struck down the law that banned the sale of some video games that were deemed violent to children without supervision. This was in support of the lower appellate court’s decision to nullify the law.

Critical Legal Thinking: Through implementing critical thinking in the case, video games can be considered protected speech in the sense that the first amendment protections are inconsiderate of the medium in use. Otherwise, numerous television shows would have to be banned for their violent depictions. In addition, legislatures cannot create or unexpectedly develop new categories speech deemed harmful (unprotected speech) (Cheeseman, 2013. p. 153). Lastly, minors also have these first amendment rights despite the fact that they are not as extensively exhausted as those of adults.

Ethics: Based on ethics, books, television, and movies that we expose to the minors have a significant amount of gore. For this reason, states cannot target developing forms of media by placing restrictions on them due to their potential impact on minors (Cheeseman, 2013. p. 153).

Contemporary Business: The In terms of contemporary business operations, it should be noted that video game companies take the discretion to rate their products in terms of appropriateness to age; same as the movies do. Therefore, this system of voluntary enforcement when it comes to ratings ought to be considered just as effective when it comes to video games as opposed to state-imposed regulation.

Brief 3:

Separation of Powers: To begin with the US runs under a federal system of governance whereby power is divided in terms of; the federal government and the state governments. Powers assigned to the government by citizens are referred in the constitution and are known as delegated laws. Those not assigned in the Constitution are reserved unless states are denied certain powers (Cheeseman, 2013, p.105).

Relevant to the separation of powers, the federal government absorbs responsibility on national issues related to commerce, finance, and foreign affairs. On the other hand, state governments deal with local state issues, for example, public safety, education, as well as health issues. Some obligations, however, are shared, for example, the capacity to tax. This is additionally supported by the case McCulloch v. Maryland.

Merchant Protection Statute: Merchant protection statutes are statutes that allow businesses to halt, hold, and investigate persons suspected of being shoplifters for a reasonable amount of time. However, these persons are not liable to false detainment unless probable cause has been established.

Through a judicial ruling, a special police force has been established that has similar privileges as the ordinary law. These ‘merchant detectives’ are regarded as citizen in order to determine their constitutional liabilities but at the same time they are granted tort similar to regular law enforcement. These detectives can, however, be subjected to civil rights liabilities and tort liability in errors. All in all constitutional approaches to protection of property is a better solution in merchant protection.

Administrative Speech: This issue falls under freedom of speech within the U.S, and this is protected by the first amendment to the Constitution as well as by numerous state and federal laws. However, the freedom of speech in the United States is not absolute. The Supreme Court identified several types of speech that have been excluded from this freedom and are subject to factors such as manner of speech restrictions, reasonable place, and time. This is additionally supported by Bethel School District v Fraser (1986).

Generic Name: The Generic name refers to the successful labeling of a product that is widely used by people and manufactured by several corporations. An example of this would be, ‘fridge’ instead of a refrigerator, ‘thermos’ instead of vacuum flask, and PC instead of a desktop computer. They normally start out but evolve to refer to refer to a specific category of products. No one owns generic names; even by the firm that pioneered the product.

The Alabama Supreme Court upheld a conservative principle that had been a part of Alabama law for almost an equivalent of three-quarters of a century. A principal expressed by Theodore Roosevelt when he cautioned that the United States laws ought to protect the country against wrongdoing wherever wrongdoing is found. In the Supreme Court’s ruling, the court upheld this by stating that it is well established that it is viable to hold a corporation accountable for products that it did not market nor manufacture. The Chamber of Commerce and the Business Council of Alabama in the United States supported this ruling.

Negligence: Negligence is referred to as the failure to exercise care towards others in a manner that a reasonable or prudent person would have done under similar circumstances. It also refers to what a reasonable person would have done in the same circumstances. Negligence results in various types of accidents that inflict physical damage to another person or property damage. It can also include major business errors and hasty land surveys that lead to a loss of life or property (Cheeseman, 2013, p.126).

This doctrine is enforceable to businesses, their owners, as well as employees. For example in James v. Watts Trucking Service (1985), Supreme Court of Nebraska. Negligent infliction of emotional distress was claimed where the plaintiff had to prove that the defendant indeed killed their relative. That the plaintiff had experienced emotional distress as a result; and that this mental distress was directly caused by the observance of the accident. The Court of Nebraska held these elements applied when the company’s driver backed a truck over the plaintiff’s brother killing him as the plaintiff watched and hence negligence was established through the driver’s accident.

Briefing 4:

Ethics in business refers to the study of proper practices in terms of corporate social responsibility, corporate governance, fiduciary responsibilities, discrimination, and bribery. The courts can involve themselves where the laid down ethical practices have been breached.

For example, in Williams v. Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board of Minnesota (1988).

The lawyers’ professional responsibility board alleged that Williams, in a petition for his disciplinary, three counts of misconduct. Once during the trial, another time in pre-trial, and again before a hearing by the panel of the board. The court held that William as an advocate be placed on suspension for six months. His appeal to the Supreme Court was dismissed for lack of federal support in the matter. Therefore, matters of ethics can indeed be legally enforced in a court of law.


Cheeseman, H. R. (2013). The legal environment of business and online commerce: Business ethics, e-commerce, regulatory, and international issues (7th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Gershman, G. P. (2008). The legislative branch of federal government: People, process, and politics. Santa Barbara, Calif: