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The Constitution

by: Rebecca Ramirez

The Constitution 1336

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Rebecca Ramirez
US and Texas Const/Politics
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US and Texas Const/Politics
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Date Created: 10/06/14
DC LIJ D lt I L u 39 39i L PF i A 45 9 T 33 quot ii I Ilv FF 1 L I z EL lm i t I EL I quot 1 t J i 39n 7 L PG 39quot 39 39 0 iE 1 0 n L t A Pp quot395 39 quot quotquot39 57quot 3939T397 5339 o i Relaunching the Drive for the Equal Rights Amendment n March 26 2007 the National Council of Women s Organizations NCWO sponsored the Women s Equality Summit in Washington DC The convention attracted more than 400 partici pants including the leaders of over 200 women s organizations from throughout the country senior activists in the women s rights movement young feminists and members of Congress They joined a dialogue on the need for an amendment to the US Constitution guaranteeing equality of rights under the law for women The next day after fiery speeches by Democratic and Republican members ofthe Congressional Women s Caucuses ofthe House and the Senate Rep resentative Carolyn Maloney D New York announced the reintroduction of the Equal Rights Amendment ERA first proposed in Congress in 1923 under a new name the Women s Equity Amendment WEA I Media outlets from the Associated Press to the Washington Post and from Comedy Central s Colbert Report to popular Web sites such as WomensENews reported on the events If 290 members of the House and 67 senators vote in support of the WEA it will go to the states legislatures for deliberation and a vote on ratification If thirty eight state legislatures ratify the amendment it will become the twenty eighth constitutional amendment I Mean while other groups are pursuing a different path toward ratification of an equal rights amendment 4ERA and the ERA Campaign Network are focusing on a three state strategy on the reasoning that a previously introduced ERA that Congress sent to the states in 1972 needs only three more states approval to become the Twenty Eighth Amendment These groups point out that even though the ERA ratification period established by Congress expired in 1982 the Twenty Seventh Amendment which limits Congress s authority to give itself a pay raise was ratified in 1992 203 years after its initial submission to Congress This set a precedent that when ap plied to the Equal Rights Amendment makes the ERA still legally viable I The legal reasoning behind the three state strategy is rooted in the research of third year law school students Allison Held Sheryl Herndon and Danielle Stager in 1995 The fact that Congress accepted and national archivist Don Wilson certified the validity of the 203 year ratification period for the Twenty Seventh Amendment led the three students to question the time limit that Congress had imposed on the ratification gtProponents of the Equal Rights Amend of the ERA The students discovered that the Supreme Court had ruled in a 1939 merit gather Under the d me Of the AVkaquot39 decision Coleman v Miller that Congress may determine that the states ratifica Sas State capitm t raw f r the ERA tion of an amendment has occurred in a reasonable time as long as the members of Congress judge the amendment to be relevant to societal conditions at the time of ratification Three state strategy supporters argue that the ERA is still relevant and needed and that Congress has the authority to accept the ERA s addition to the Constitution as valid whenever three more states ratify it www4eraorgthreestatehtml CoIeman v Miller 307 US 433 1939 CHAPTER 2 The Constitution The Constitution of the United States has been formally amended meaning that its wording has been modi ed by congres sional and state approval only twenty seven times over its 220 year history More than eighty years after the first introduction in Congress of a proposed amendment guaranteeing equality of rights under the law for women the campaign to ratify the ERA is again heating up Citizens are debating whether the amendment is a necessary legal foundation for women to gain equal ity of rights Opponents say that the Constitution already guarantees women equal rights But on the other side proponents argue that as yet the US courts have not interpreted the Constitution as guaranteeing women equal rights and so it needs to be formally amended Whether an equal rights amendment is necessary really depends on how the majority of justices on the US Supreme Court the ultimate interpreters of the Constitution construe current constitutional language To date when interpreting the equal protection clause of the Constitution39s Fourteenth Amendment ratified in 1868 the majority of justices have used one test to determine instances of illegal discrimination against citizens due to the color of their skin their ethnicity or their religion and a different weaker test to deter mine cases of discrimination against women Supporters of the ERA and WEA argue that an additional amendment specifying equality of rights for women is essential if women are to be guaranteed equal protection If three more states ratify the 1972 ERA the US Supreme Court will undoubtedly have the opportunity to review a lawsuit brought by ERA opponents challenging the constitutionality of the ERA ratification process The US Constitution is the supreme law of the land meaning that all laws and the pro cedures used to approve all laws must be in compliance with it Yet because the authors of the Constitution had to negotiate and compromise to win approval of the document much of the language in the Constitution is vague and ambiguous As a result conflicts have erupted over its meaning and hence over what the supreme law of the land is since even before the Constitution was ratified and they continue unabated today The courts resolve many such conflicts when they are presented to them in lawsuits Constitutional amendments are another means of resolving conflict over what the supreme law of the land is Amendments clarify or even change that law What Is a Constitution A constitution is a document that describes three basic components of an organization the organization s mission its foundational structures and its essential processes Typi cally constitutions begin with a description of the mission the longterm goals of the orga nization as envisioned by its founders Second constitutions detail foundational structures which are the bodies that will do what is necessary to accomplish the mission and consti tutions also articulate the relationships among these bodies For example the US Consti tution describes three bodies or branches of government legislative executive and judi cial and gives each responsibility for a different governmental function The Constitution also describes how these bodies will monitor and check one another Third constitutions establish essential processes which include the procedures for selecting the members of the organization as well as the processes that the members will follow to ful ll their assigned functions For example the US Constitution describes the basic procedures for electing We trace various constitutional con flicts throughout this textbook So that you can understand these conflicts this chapter concentrates on the roots of the US Constitution and the basic governing principles structures and procedures it establishes FIRST we probe the question what is a constitution by considering the three main components of consti tutional documents descriptions of mission foundational structures and essential procedures SECOND we discuss the underlying governing principles upon which the Constitution is based and examine the mission foundational structures and essential processes established in the Constitution of the United States of America THIRD we explore the political eco nomic and social factors that were the catalysts for the creation of the United States of America FOURTH we survey the crafting of the Constitution and the processes of compromise rati cation and quick amendment FIFTH we focus on the Constitution as a living evolving document a vitality that derives from the altera tion formal amendment of its written words and from the Supreme Court s reinterpretation of its existing lan guage to create new meaning constitution a document that describes three basic components of an organiza tion its mission foundational structures and essential processes What Is a Constitution I 41 and appointing of cials to the three branches making laws resolving con icts over the implementation and meaning of laws and ratifying and amending the Constitution Approval rati cation of any constitution gives birth to the organization described in the constitution just as rati cation of the US Constitution gave birth to a new govern ment The legitimacy of a constitution and of the organization it creates depends on the means by which the organization came into existence including what process was used to approve the constitution Legitimacy of the organization also rests on its continued com pliance with its constitution If you review your school s student government constitution or the constitution of any of your college s student clubs you will nd these same three components a mission statement foundational structures and essential processes Typically col leges establish rati cation processes for clubs and governance bodies If the people attempting to create a new organization fol low the established procedures the college and its community members will view the newly created organization as legitimate as long as it adheres to the mission foundational structures and essential processes described in the approved constitution Today the legitimacy of the national government created by the US Constitution is clear An overwhelming majority of US citizens have complied with the laws made by the national government for more than 200 years with the exception of the Civil War period without governmental coercion or force be cause they perceive the government to be legitimate This com u I I F I u H a El J F v1 Z n r l 39 enan 39iit39e ira39 Iii iFi I E ILLE39 HT 7r1quotr39quotquot Z i39139i 1ts 393939iI3939391392In5IE riquotIE1 Iii r39 39IsS I39 39 IJiI E3939 TiFquotIl39 1 E I7 r 39 39iwI 39 eiquot 11 pliance does not mean that the national government has served i quot39Fquot39I Il3W 3939i 39I39393939iquot39 tiEquot39 P all citizens well nor does it mean that all citizens have agreed 391 ii 0 39 39 39 39 39 0 with the government s interpretation or implementation of the Mike Luckovich Editorial Cartoon 2006 Mike Luckovich Used with the permission of Constitution all the time In fact CitiZens as individuals and Mike Luckovich and creators Syndicate as members of a group regularly question the constitutional ity of government actions Moreover government of cials frequently lock horns over the proper interpretation of the Constitution They are trying to undermine the ageold checks and balances that the founding fathers placed at the center of the Constitution and the Republic Senator Charles E Chuck Schumer DNew York argued in 2005 when Republicans questioned the con stitutionality of Democratic senators use of the libuster a nonstop speech to prevent a vote in the Senate to block Senate con rmation of the president s nominees1 Another battle over the proper interpretation of the Constitution broke out in 2006 over President George W Bush s use of signing statements a political device whose constitutionality some citi zens and some members of Congress questioned The signing statements that President Bush attached to legislation as he signed it into law asserted that the president would not imple ment speci c pieces of the law he was signing Also during the George W Bush years some citizens challenged the constitutionality of federal government practices such as wiretap ping phones without warrants and others spoke out against state and local government laws aimed at reducing unauthorized immigration to the United States Complicating the matter of constitutional interpretation is the fact that some of the lan V e 1 an WC ite The State of American Democracy How satisfied are you with the guage in the Constitution is vague and ambiguous and hence subject to varying interpreta way democracy works in the tions The reason for this vagueness and ambiguity is that the Constitution is the product united states of vigorous deliberation negotiation and compromise as we consider later in this chap ter Before we tune in to the conversations and compromises that produced this language though we rst examine the governing principles that inspired the authors of the Constitu tion and the mission structures and essential governmental processes they established D Very satisfied D Somewhat satisfied D Neither satisfied nor unsatisfied D Somewhat dissatisfied D V The Constitution of the United States of America s s Ams a s Assess Dsm ra yi the In March 1789 the United States began to function under the Constitution of the United US wwwgaupcompolI9574Americans Assess Democracy USaspx States of America This bold new blueprint for the federal government replaced the nation s rst constitution the Articles of Confederation which had been in effect since 1781 The 42 CHAPTER2 TheConstitution mission of the government that was created by the Constitution shared many characteristics with the national government s mission as de scribed in the Articles of Confederation But the organizational structure and essential pro cesses that the authors of the Constitution the fra7ner5 articulated were new innovative and unprecedented Moreover these structures and processes successfully established a system that has evolved into a government by and for the people one that many Americans claim is the best government in the world Mission of the Constitution If a foreign visitor asked you to tell her why the United States is a good country in which to live what would you say When US citizens are asked what is good about their country there are several common responses They say that government in the United States is by and for the people I is democratic I protects individual liberties such as freedom of speech freedom of religion and freedom ofthe press I protects people from unreasonable governmental searches and seizures of property I guarantees the right of citizens to participate in government I allows citizens to elect a large number of government of cials through regular free elections to represent and serve them I ensures through its court systems that all people uphold the Constitution because no one is above the law These typical responses dovetail with the principles of government developed by phi losophers John Locke 16321704 and JeanJacques Rousseau 17121778 and articulated in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States Recall from Chapter 1 that a key tenet of Locke and Rousseau is that people agree to create a govern ment as a way to protect their natural rights also called analienable rigbts which are rights possessed by all humans as a gift from nature or God including the rights to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness Viewed in this light a government created by the people is a government for the people In addition to expecting that their government will be for tbe people US citizens are guaranteed by their Constitution a government that will be carried oat by tbe people This kind of government in which sovereign power is in the hands of the people not a monarch or some other leader is called a republic In a republic voters elect government of cials to represent them in the processes by which laws are made As we saw in Chapter 1 another common name for the US system is representative democracy Built on the foundational principles of government for and by the people the US Con stitution in its preamble introductory statement lays out the mission of the newly created national government of the United States We the People of the United States in Order to form a more perfect Union establishjustice insure domestic tranquility provide for the common defence promote the general Welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America As we shall see the vision of a government by and for the people a government that would provide justice tranquility defense and liberty would be at the heart of colonial Americans dissatisfaction with the British crown This vision would not only spark the War for Independence but also deeply motivate how the framers would shape the new na tional government gtThe preamble to the Constitution is set in stone to welcome visitors to the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia Visitors to this interactive history museum can explore the Constitution then and now natural rights also called unalienable rights the rights possessed by all humans as a gift from nature or God including the rights to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness republic a government that derives its author ity from the people and in which citizens elect government officials to represent them in the processes by which laws are made a representative democracy The Constitution of the United States of America I 43 separation of powers the Constitution39s delegation of au thority for the primary governing functions among three branches of government so that no one group of government officials controls all the governing functions A Key Foundational Structure Separation of Powers with Integrated Checks and Balances The Constitution s framers created a republic with governmental structures aimed at en suring that a majority of the population could not pass laws that would take away the life liberties and pursuit of happiness of a minority of the population Borrowing from French political thinker Baron de Montesquieu s 16891755 The Spirit oftbe Laws 1748 the framers separated the primary governing functions among three branches of government referred to as the separation of powers so that no one group of government of cials controlled all the governing functions Under the terms of the separation of powers each branch of the Separation of Powers with Checks and Balances Executive checks on Legislature Veto power Vice president as president of Senate Calling ofemergency sessions of both houses Authority to force adjournment when both houses cannot agree on adjournment l rl39X ITr3 quotquot c T pl Legislative Functions Passage of federal legislation Establishment of federal courts lower than the Supreme Court at ll l l E l llll ml l l ll Idle Executive Functions i Making foreign treaties Enforcement of federal laws and court orders Service as commander in chief Executive checks on Judiciary Ia Functions Appointment ofjudges Interpretation of US Constitution and federal laws Trying of federal lawsuits Power to pardon FIGURE 21 I Why did the Constitution39s framers separate powers among the three branches of the national government What speci c powers does each branch have What is the purpose of the Constitution39s checks and balances For each branch of the government legislative executive judicial name a speci c check that it can exert on each of the other two 44 CHAPTER2 Theconstitution government has speci c powers and responsibilities that allow it to operate independently of the other branches the legislative branch has authority to formulate policy the execu tive branch has authority to implement policy the judicial branch has authority to resolve con icts over the law As suggested by Montesquieu s work once the framers separated the primary functions they established various mechanisms by which each branch can monitor and limit the functions of the other branches in order to ensure that no branch acts to the detriment of citizens natural rights These mechanisms collectively form a system of checks and bal ances If one branch tries to move beyond its own sphere or to behave tyrannically this ar rangement ensures that the other branches can take action to stop it The following brief review of the rst three of the seven articles that compose the Consti tution should help to clarify the system of separation of powers with its integrated checks and balances For a complete compilation of the separation of powers and speci c checks and balances see Figure 21 ARTICLE I THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH Article I of the Constitution delegates lawmak ing authority to Congress describes the structure of the legislative branch and outlines the legislative process Article I specifies that the legislature is bicameral that is composed of two chambers which are the House of Representatives and the Senate Each state is repre sented in the House based on its population Seven states have the required minimum of one representative Alaska Delaware Montana North Dakota South Dakota Vermont and Wyoming California has the largest representation with 53 House members In contrast state representation in the Senate is equal with each state having two senators Today all citizens eligible to vote can participate in the election of one of their state s representatives in the US House and both of their state s US senators According to Article I a proposed piece of legislation a bill requires simple majority votes 50 percent plus one vote in both the House and the Senate in order to become a law This requirement means that the House and the Senate can check each other in the legisla tive process because even if one chamber garners a majority vote the other chamber can kill the bill if its majority does not support it Because all pieces of legislation supported by the majority of the House and the majority of the Senate go to the president for approval or rejection the president has a check on the legislative authority of Congress ARTICLE II THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH Article II ofthe Constitution describes the authority of the president This article gives the president authority to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed to appoint people to assist in administering the laws to ne gotiate treaties and to command the military In addition to these executive functions Article 11 allows the president several checks on the power of the other two branches of government As already noted the president checks the legislative authority of Congress All pieces of legislation approved by the House and the Senate are forwarded to the president s desk The president has ten days to act on a bill or it will automatically become law Within those ten days the president can either sign the bill into law or send it back to Congress veto it with his objections noted Because Congress has primary responsibility for legislative functions it can set aside the president s veto that is override the veto by achieving positive super majority votes of twothirds of House members and twothirds of the senators With respect to the legislature s checks on the executive the Constitution gives the Sen ate a check on presidential authority to negotiate treaties by specifying that the Senate can approve or reject any negotiated treaties The Senate also checks the executive power through its constitutional authority of advice and consent which is the power to approve or reject the president s appointments The Senate s advice and consent authority extends to the president s judicial nominees as well Although the president nominates the individ uals who will serve as judges in the federal judicial branch ultimately the people who will interpret the Constitution the Senate must formally approve these candidates ARTICLE III THE JUDICIAL BRANCH Article III describes the judicial branch More speci cally Article III establishes the US Supreme Court and it delegates to checks and balances mechanisms by which each branch of government can monitor and limit the functions of the other branches bicameral composed of two chambers Whom Do You Trust Which branch of government do you trust the most D The executive branch D The legislative branch D Thejudicial branch Source Low Trust in Government Rivals Watergate Era wwwgaupcompo 28795Low Trust Federa Government Rivas Watergate Era Levesaspx veto the president39s rejection of a bill which is sent back to Congress with the president39s objections noted advice and consent the Senate39s authority to approve or reject the president39s appointments The Constitution of the United States of America I 45 Marbury V Madison established judicial review judicial review court authority to determine that an action taken by any government official or governing body violates the Constitution gtCharnisha Thomas signs in to vote in New Orleans dur ing Louisiana39s 2008 presidential primary Before the Con stitution was formally amended it did not guarantee any citizen the right to vote Rather state governments de termined voting rights Today the Constitution guarantees the right to vote to citizens who are at least 18 years old TwentySixth Amendment regardless of their race Fif teenth Amendment or gender Nineteenth Amendment Congress the authority to establish other inferior lower courts The Supreme Court and the other federal courts established by Congress have the authority to resolve lawsuits aris ing under the Constitution federal laws and international treaties In 1803 in the case of Marbury 12 Madison the Supreme Court interpreted Article III to mean that the Court has the authority to determine whether an action taken by any government of cial or govern ing body violates the Constitution this is the power of judicial review In the Marbury case the justices considered a portion of one of the rst laws passed by Congress the Judiciary Act of 1789 In its Marbury decision the Court struck down the por tion of the Judiciary Act that gave the Supreme Court new authority that was not speci ed in the Constitution In so doing the justices determined that it is in the Court s power to make rulings on what the Constitution means that is to interpret its often vague provi sions With its power of judicial review rmly established in Marbury the Supreme Court has the authority to strike down laws or portions of laws approved by the other two branches as well as by state and local governments that it views as in violation of the Constitution Some analysts consider the power of judicial review the ultimate check on the other two branches of government The framers intended that the national government created by the Constitution with its separation of primary functions among the three branches complemented by an inte gration of checks and balances would work alongside the existing state governments The Constitution did not describe the mission foundational structures or essential processes of the state governments because the states own constitutions already did so But the Con stitution did spell out the distribution of authority between the national and state govern ments in this innovative governing system as we now consider Another Key Structure The Federal System The framers created a federal system a twotiered government comprising the national and state levels each with ultimate authority over different matters Article I of the Con stitution lists the matters over which the national legislature Congress has ultimate law making authority such as regulating interstate and foreign commerce coining money rais ing and funding an army and declaring war Article I also prohibits state governments from engaging in certain speci c activities such as negotiating treaties Chapter 3 focuses on the constitutional distribution of power between the national and state governments Yet the primary constitutional clause that acknowledges the establishment of a federal system of government is the Tenth Amendment which in its entirety reads The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor prohibited by it to the States are reserved to the States respectively or to the people In this amendment United States refers to the national government Because there is no list of state responsibilities in the Constitution the vague ness of the Tenth Amendment s reserved to the states clause has led to a perpetual battle between the national government and state gov ernments over who is responsible for what Essential Processes of the National Government In addition to the legislative process the Constitution lays out the procedures governing the selection of national government of cials It also describes two procedures that have been vital for achieving rep resentative democracy the processes for formal amendment of the Constitution and for constitutional rati cation Consider that until the Constitution was amended the national government had no au thority to determine voting rights state law determined who could vote in local state and national elections Today through the rati ca tion of various key amendments over time the Constitution speci es that all citizens no matter what their race or color Fifteenth Amend ment rati ed in 1870 and regardless of their sex Nineteenth Amend ment rati ed in 1920 who are at least 18 years of age TwentySixth 46 CHAPTER2 Theconstitution Amendment rati ed in 1971 have the right to vote and cannot be charged a fee to vote TwentyFourth Amendment rati ed in 1964 The rati cation of each of these amend ments which are so crucial for citizens free participation in the act of voting followed strong public criticism of the legal barriers to representative democracy SELECTION OF NATIONAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS Members ofthe House and the Senate are elected by winning the majority of the people s direct vote the popular vote in their district and state respectively But when you cast your vote for a presidential candidate which is an automatic vote for that candidate s vicepresidential running mate you are not directly electing the president Instead in nearly every state your presidential vote combined with the votes of other citizens from your state determines which political party s slate of representatives electors will participate on behalf of your state in the Elec toral College the body that actually selects the president and the vice president I believe strongly that in a democracy we should respect the will of the people and to me that means it s time to do away with the Electoral College and move to the popular elec tion of our president declared Senator Hillary Clinton DNew York in response to the outcome of the 2000 presidential election2 In that election Democratic presidential can didate Al Gore won the popular vote but Republican candidate George W Bush ultimately won the electoral vote In order to reform or eliminate the Electoral College the Constitu tion would have to be formally amended by one of the methods we next consider ARTICLE V THE AMENDMENT PROCESS The Constitution s framers wanted to ensure that widespread deliberation among the American people would precede any and all changes in the written Constitution Thus they made it no easy matter to amend the US Constitu tion formally that is to change its written language Step 1 Proposing Amendment is a twostep process entailing rst an Amendment the proposal of the amendment and second the rati 39 ll cation of the proposed amendment Article V describes two different procedures for proposing an amendment see Figure 22 The rst method requires a twothirds majority vote in both the House and the Senate after which the congressionally approved proposal is sent to the states for rati cation The second method which has never been used requires a special constitutional convention If twothirds of the state legislatures pe tition Congress to consider an amendment such a convention where state delegates vote on the possible amendment takes place an approved proposal then goes to the states for rati cation Article V also outlines two avenues by which the sec ond step ratifying a proposed amendment may occur An amendment is rati ed by a vote of approval in ei ther threequarters of the state legislatures or three quarters of the special state conventions Citizens have no vote in the process by which the US Constitution is amended nor did they have a vote in the original Con stitution s rati cation In contrast many countries and fortynine of the fty states in the United States do mandate citizen approval of constitutional amend ments as well as new constitutions See Global Com parisons for recent examples of constitutional change in other countries After the required number of states have rati ed a constitutional amendment the archivist of the Na tional Archives is authorized to certify the amend ment and add it to the Constitution The National Vote of House members Vote of senators States legislatures request a special convention Electoral College a group of people elected by voters in each state to elect the president and the vice president Amending the Constitution Step 2 Ratifying an Amendment Vote of special state conventions FIGURE 22 I What steps are involved in proposing a constitutional amendment In what two ways can an amendment be rati ed Who has the authority to ratify amendments to the Constitution Why is the des ignation of this authority important to the balance of power between the national and state governments Explain The Constitution of the United States of America I 47 CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE TODAY In late October 2007 thousands of protesters converged on the National Assembly in downtown Caracas Venezuela and began throwing rocks and bottles at police Led by students the protesters were vehemently opposing sixty nine constitutional amendments that President Hugo Chavez had proposed These amendments among other 39 things would eliminate the presidential term limit CO1391StitI1tiO1 181 thereby allowing Chavez to run for reelection in upheavalr de nitely They would also give the president authority to suspend due process rights rights that protect citizens against the government39s taking away their life liberty and property without following continue to be the norm in many nations throughout the WOI la legalprocedures during states of emergency Thou sands of demonstrators turned out again in early November 2007 after the National Assembly39s approval of Chavez39s proposals To these opponents the constitutional changes would severely weaken democracy and violate individuals civil liberties two foundational governing principles of the cur rent Venezuelan constitution In addition the anti Chavez forces charged that the collection of sixty nine amendments amounted to nothing less than the creation of a new constitu tion that would replace the current law of the land which was written in 1999 barely a decade ago Shortly after the student led protests Chavez supporters including government workers marched to rally around the sixty nine proposed amendments one of which created a six day workweek In the United States such amendments to the federal Constitution must be rati ed by representatives of the people either in the state legislatures or in special state conventions In contrast in Venezuela citizens themselves not their rep resentatives must approve proposed constitutional changes by popular vote before they can take effect In a December 2 2007 Venezuelan constitutional referendum the voters nar rowly handed Chavez his first major electoral defeat in the nine years of his presidency The 56 percent of registered voters who cast their ballot rejected the sixty nine proposed amendments by 5149 Meanwhile also in fall 2007 the citizens of the central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan like their Venezuelan counter parts participated in a constitutional referendum Govern ing of cials in Kyrgyzstan reported that almost 80 percent of the country39s registered voters voted on the referendum and that 85 percent cast their ballot in support of the new constitution This vote occurred only one month after President Kurmanbek Bakiyev had presented the people with the proposed new constitution The president39s plan of government re placed the national constitution that voters had rati ed in 1993 Bakiyev and supporters claimed that the new constitution strengthened the country39s parliament national legislature and balanced power between the legislative and execu tive branches Opponents of the new constitution however argued that it shifted additional power to the president by allowing him to ap point judges and local bureaucrats and to dismiss the government when he deems it necessary Non Kyrgyzstani election observers cited many polling place irregularities with ballot stuf ng rampant in addition to the ballots that individual voters put in the ballot box extra ballots were stuffedquot in the box to ensure a desired outcome It is not surprising that opponents of the new constitution are challenging not only the validity of the vote but also the legitimacy of the new constitution In Pakistan a period of constitutional crisis began when President Pervez Musharraf suspended the constitution and established martial law in November 2007 Under martial law the military takes control of the administration ofjustice at the time Musharraf was not only president but also the top ranking military of cer He claimed his action was necessary to eradicate the extremists and terrorists threatening the nation39s domestic tranquility Musharraf directed security forces to detain hundreds of opposition political gures lawyers pro testing the suspension of the constitution and human rights advocates He postponed elections and disbanded the supreme court Musharraf took all these actions after the court39s unani mous decision that he was ineligible to continue serving as president These three recent cases of constitutional upheaval high light two remarkable characteristics of the Constitution of the United States its longevity and its force The long life and continuing vitality of the US Constitution and its status as the supreme law of the land that no one is above not even the president stand in contrast to the status of constitutions in many other nations gtA young woman in Caracas takes part in a rally against the consti tutional amendments promoted by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez Archives is the home of the Constitution the Declaration of Independence and other his toric documents ARTICLE VII THE CONSTITUTIONAL RATIFICATION PROCESS According to Article VII of the Constitution rati cation of the Constitution required the af rmative vote of special conventions in nine of the thirteen original states Notably the rati cation process did not authorize the state legislatures whose elected of cials might understand ably have felt threatened by the new national government that the Constitution would cre ate to work alongside them to vote on the adoption of the Constitution Instead rati ca tion would require special state conventions whose delegates would be selected by each state in a manner of its own determination The nationalstate competition underlying the rati cation process exempli es the many tensions and con icts sparked by the plan to replace the Articles of Confederation the nation s rst constitution with the Constitution of the United States To appreciate the strength of this uneasiness requires a review of the history of the United States founding The Creation of the United States of America Understanding the American colonists experiences in the period before the War for Indepen dence 17751783 is central to comprehending the governments created by their rst and second constitutions Unlike their brothers and sisters in England the colonists most of whom viewed themselves as British subjects were largely shut out of participating in the po litical processes taking place in England As the eighteenth century unfolded this exclusion increasingly rankled the American colonists especially as an increasing number of the British government s policies put more and more restrictions on their freedoms and pursuit of eco nomic wellbeing Eventually the colonists public debates in homes taverns town squares and newspapers coalesced around the principles of government by and for the people Colonization and Governance of America In the 1600s waves of Europeans undertook the dangerous sea voyage to America to start new lives Some people with connections to the king of England were rewarded with large grants of land and the authority to govern Many more voyagers came as indentured servants who would work for a number of years for a master who paid for their passage Others came to create communities with people of the same religion so that they could practice their faith without government interference Countless others Africans who were brought to the colonies as slaves came against their will In short a diversity of people and a mix of economic classes migrated to the colonies joining the Native American peoples who had lived there since ancient times By the early eighteenth century a twotier system of governing the American colonies had evolved with governance split between the colonies and Britain The colonists elected local of cials to assemblies that had the authority to rule on daytoday matters including criminal law and civil law and to set and collect taxes Back in England Parliament with no representatives from the colonies enacted laws with which the colonists had to comply Gov ernors appointed by the king oversaw the enforcement of British law in the colonies Initially these laws focused on international trade the regulation of colonial imports and exports But that focus would soon shift British Policy Incites a Rebellion The towering costs of waging the Seven Years War in Europe and its colonial extension the French and Indian War 17561763 combined with costs of maintaining peace in America as westwardmoving colonists encroached on Indian lands convinced the British Parlia ment to turn to the colonies for increased revenues The rst new tariff imposed after the end of the war came by way of the Sugar Act 1764 In addition to increasing the taxes on The Creation of the United States of America I 49 such imported goods as molasses coffee and textiles the Sugar Act directed that all the taxes thus collected be sent directly to Britain instead of to the colonial assemblies as had been the practice until then3 Almost immediately the colonists condemned the law saying that because they had no representatives in Parliament they had no obligation to pay taxes imposed by that body Their anger intensi ed in 1765 when Parliament passed the Stamp Act which taxed the paper used for all legal documents bills of sale deeds advertisements newspapers and even playing cards4 The Stamp Act introduced a new level of British in volvement some thought interference in the daytoday matters of the colonies The colonists responded to the Sugar and Stamp acts by boycotting imported goods Women including groups of upperclass women known as Daughters of Liberty substituted homegrown or homespun goods for the banned items Although the boycotts were largely peaceful other acts of resistance were not The Sons of Liberty founded by Boston brewer Samuel Adams in 1765 opposed the Stamp Act through intimidation of British stamp com missioners and sometimes violence Most of the rebellious actions occurred on the local level but in October 1765 delegates of nine of the colonies assembled in New York at the Stamp Act Congress and adopted the slogan N o taxation without representation 5 People in every colony would proclaim this pledge in the coming years as Britain took even more extreme measures to increase revenues from the colonies Parliament followed the Sugar and Stamp acts with passage of the Quartering Act in 1765 The Quartering Act directed each colonial assembly to provide supplies to meet the basic needs of the British soldiers stationed within its colony Parliament expanded this law in 1766 to require the assemblies to ensure housing for the soldiers6 Throughout the colonies vio lent reactions to the quartering law erupted7 Since 1791 the Third Amendment to the Con stitution has protected US citizens from being required to quarter soldiers during times of peace Although Parliament repealed the hated Stamp Act in 1766 it paired this repeal with passage of the Declaratory Act This new law gave Parliament the blanket power to assert control over colonies in any way whatsoever 8 This development was a clear indication that the twotier system of colonial government in which the colonies exerted some local governing authority was dissolving The next year the colonists understood how momen tous this law was as Parliament used the Declaratory Act as the basis for a new series of laws that would culminate in war Signi cant among these laws was the Townshend Du ties Act of 1767 which not only expanded the list of imported goods that would be taxed but also stated that Parliament had unilateral power to impose taxes as a way of raising revenue and that the colonists had no right to object9 With this new law the colonists dramatically stepped up their civic resistance A MASSACRE AND A TEA PARTY By 1770 more than 4000 British soldiers were quartered in the homes of the 16000 civilians living in Boston To make matters worse the British soldiers quartered in the city sought additional work as rope makers and in other crafts competing with the colonists for these jobs On March 5 1770 an angry mob of nearly 1800 struggling colonists clashed with the British soldiers who shot into the crowd leaving ve dead and six wounded Almost immediately Samuel Adams an ex pert at spinning a news story condemned the event as the Boston Massacre Partnering with Adams to shape public opinion were silversmith Paul Revere and wealthy shipping merchant John Hancock The communications of the two men stressed that the colonists respected the rule of law but emphasized that the British king George III cared more about preserving his own power than about his subjects wellbeing Therefore Revere and Hancock asserted there could be no assurance that he would respect the colonists rights and 50 CHAPTER2 Theconstitution STAGE A PEACEFUL PROTEST TO RAISE AWARENESS LC On April 16 2007 Virginia Tech student Seung Hui Cho killed thirty two people with guns that he had purchased in just three minutes The massacre sparked numerous investigations and public discussions of the privacy rights of students with a history of men tal problems of college and univer sity emergency noti cation plans and of issues related to the Second Amendment of the Constitution speci cally gun control laws Abi gail Spangler a cellist with a doc torate from Columbia University organized a simple hard hitting demonstration to shed light on the ease with which Americans can purchase guns Her demonstra tion took the form of a lie inquot Spangler s lie in involved thirty two people representing the thirty two individuals whom Cho had killed dressing in black and lying on the ground for three minutes highlighting the time it takes F gtDuring his deadly rampage at Virginia Tech University in April 2007 Seung Hui Cho paused between shootings to send this photo This horri c episode refueled the ongoing debate on gun control laws and sparked discussion of students privacy rights to purchase a gun in the United States Protesters have staged lie ins to ignite awareness of what they see as lax gun control laws in numerous cities and on several college campuses and Spangler yearns for more college student activism on this issue We hope that college students will be inspired by our social movement because we need their helpquot to lobby the government for changes in gun laws Spangler is using Facebookcom and the Internet generally to engage and mobilize young people At the same time other citizens are challenging the constitutionality of gun control laws through lawsuits see Exploring the Sources p 64 Act Whatever issue gets your blood boiling and inspires you to take action you need rst to do your research on current relevant laws in order to be effective Research is made easier by the Internet and its variety of search engines Of course you want to be sure that the Web sites you visit are reputable Once you have a sure understanding of the issue and of the relevant laws and policies you can use your knowledge to mobilize like minded individuals and to organize a public demonstration to bring attention to your concern You can also bene t from Abi gail Spangler s protest in a boxquot resource a straightforward guide to organizing a protest in general and a lie in speci cally Her protest in a box provides motivated individuals with a step by step process for organizing a public protest from sample letters for mobilizing people to sample press releases to avenues for contacting elected of cials Whatever issue has moved you Spangler s protest in a box is a great primer for an inexpensive manageable legal public demonstration Where to begin To learn more about organizing a protest begin with Spangler s protest in a box which you can nd at wwwprotesteasyguns orginaboxhtml Bringing the Gun Debate Back to Campus Inside Higher Education November 1 2007 wwwinsidehigheredcomlayoutsetrpintnews200711O1guns The Creation of the United States of America I 51 liberties This problem they argued could be recti ed only by the American colonists ending their relationship with Britain In 1772 Adams created the Massachusetts Committee of Correspondence a group dedi cated to encouraging and maintaining the free ow of information and the spread of calls for rebellion among the Massachusetts colonists Radicals in other colonies followed his lead Revere published pamphlets aimed at keeping the colonists together in their battle with the Crown talking boldly about our rights our liberties and our union 12 These communication networks served as a kind of colonialera Internet facilitating the shar ing of news among the colonists But in this case the swift transmission of information occurred by way of riders on horseback and printers at their presses rather than by the key strokes of citizens typing on computers today s vital communication network for rallying people behind a cause and mobilizing political activism Adding fuel to the re in 1773 Parliament passed the Tea Act which gave the East India Tea Company a monopoly on tea imported into the colonies The questioning of the act s le gitimacy by the Sons of Liberty successfully swayed public opinion and became the catalyst for an event that would become known as the Boston Tea Party In November 1773 the first post Tea Act shipment of tea arrived in Boston Harbor on three East India tea ships Under cover of darkness on the night of December 16 1773 fty colonists dressed as Mohawk Indians boarded the three ships broke open hundreds of crates and dumped thousands of pounds of tea into the harbor The Boston Tea Party had a cataclysmic effect not only on the relationship between Britain and the colonies but on the relationship among the colonists themselves Parliament responded with the Coercive Acts Intolerable Acts which closed the port of Boston and kept it closed until the colonists paid for the lost tea In addition the new laws imposed martial law shut down the colonial assembly and banned virtually all town meet ings thus curtailing legal opportunities for political engagement At the same time the Crown stepped up enforcement of the Quartering Act THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESSES AND COLONIAL DEMANDS FOR POLIT ICAL RIGHTS Sympathy for Massachusetts s plight along with rising concerns about how the Crown was generally abusing its powers reinforced the colonists growing sense of community and their shared consciousness of the need for collective action The Mas sachusetts and Virginia colonial assemblies requested a meeting of delegates from all the colonies to develop a joint statement of concern that would be sent to the king In Sep tember 1774 every colony but Georgia sent delegates to what became known as the First Continental Congress The Congress the assembled delegates called for a boycott of all British goods and created Committees of Enforcement to impose the ban Moreover the Congress drafted and sent to the king a document demanding that the American colonists should have political rights to petition the government and to assemble the right to select representatives to formulate tax policy a guarantee of trial by peers and freedom from a standing army The Congress also scheduled a second meeting the Second Continental Congress to discuss the king s response to these demands When the king refused to address the Congress s demands civic discourse on the prospect of pursuing independence from Great Britain increased On April 19 1775 before the Sec ond Continental Congress met shots rang out at Lexington and Concord Massachusetts as British troops moved inland to seize the colonists store of guns and ammunition On May 10 1775 the Second Continental Congress convened The assembled delegates empow ered the Congress to function as an independent government and to prepare for war with Britain appointing George Washington to command the tobecreated Continental Army The Common Sense of Declaring Independence In July 1775 the Second Continental Congress made one last effort to avert a fullblown war The Congress petitioned King George III to end hostile actions against the colonists The king refused and sent even more troops to the colonies to put down the rebellion Yet even as the Congress made preparations for a likely war many colonists remained unsure about whether the colonies should cut their ties with Britain A brief pamphlet written by 52 CHAPTER2 Theconstitution Thomas Paine a recently arrived radical from Britain and published in January 1776 transformed many such wavering colonists into patriots Paine s Common Sense argued that war with Great Britain was not only necessary but unavoidable Without war the colonies and their people would continue to suffer injuries and disadvantages Only through independence would Americans attain civil and religious liberty In May 1776 Virginia delegate to the congress Rich ard Henry Lee asserted that these united Colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent States and that they are absolved from all allegiance from the British crown 17 This declaration of indepen dence which congressional delegates from other colo nies subsequently echoed led the congress to approve a resolution empowering a committee of ve to write down in formal language a collective declaration of independence The committee selected Virginia delegate Thomas Jefferson a wealthy plantation owner to draft the declaration Unanimously endorsed by the Second Continental Congress on July 4 1776 Jefferson s Declaration of Independence drew upon the work of John Locke and JeanJacques Rous seau as Table 21 highlights The declaration was a radical statement Its two central princi ples that all men are equal and have rights that are unalienable that is fundamental and that all government must be based on consent of the governed may seem obvious from the vantage point of the twenty rst century But in 1776 the idea that the people had a right not only to choose their government but to abolish it made the Declaration of Indepen dence unlike anything before it After establishing these two central principles the Declaration spelled out a list of griev ances against King George in an attempt to convince the colonists and the European pow ers that the break with England was necessary and justi ed The Declaration ful lled this gtJefferson s Declaration of Inde pendence drawing on the work of philosophers John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau delivered the radical message that people have a right not only to choose their gov ernment but also to abolish it when it no longer serves them The Theories of Locke and Rousseau as Applied by Jefferson What ideas did Jefferson take from Locke and Rousseau with respect to human rights and liberties How would you summarize the views of the three men on the purposes of government and the source of government power John Locke s Theories Two Treatises of Government 1690 All people are born free and equal All people are born into a state of nature and choose to enter into government for protection against being harmed Every person has the right to life liberty and property and government may not interfere with this right TABLE 21 JeanJacques Rousseau s Theories The Social Contract 1762 All power ultimately resides in the people H tyranny over them People enter Into a social contract with the government to ensure protection of their lives liberties and property Thomas Jefferson s Application of Locke and Rousseau Declaration of Independence 1776 All men are created equal All men are endowed with certain unalienable rights among which are life liberty and the pursuit of happiness To secure these rights men create governments which derive their powers from the consent of the governed King George III failed to respect the unalienable rights of the American colonists and instead created an absolute If government is destructive of people s rights the people can alter or abolish it and create a new government If government abuses its powers and interferes with the people s exercise of their civil liberties then the people have both the right and the duty to create a new government The Creation of the United States of America I 53 E gtThis flag represents the original ve nations of the Iroquois Confed eracy Seneca Cayuga Onondaga Mohawk and Oneida The needles of the white pine in the middle grow in clusters of ve The influence of the Iroquois Confederacy is evident in the rst four articles of the rst constitution of the United States the Articles of Confederation purpose of winning the hearts and minds of people both in the colonies and abroad Until this point the patriots had united in their hatred toward Britain but had little else around which to rally The Declaration provided that rallying point by promising a new government that would be based on consent of the people with liberty and equality as its central goals In 1777 as a brutal war over colonial independence raged between England and the colo nies the Second Continental Congress turned to the pressing task of establishing a new national government by drafting a constitution the Articles of Confederation By that year too eleven colonies had written and rati ed constitutions establishing new state govern ments although two colonies continued to function under the structures and procedures established by their royal charters constitutional documents initially approved by the Brit ish king18 In these ways the colonies had become thirteen states with independent func tioning governments It is to these governments that the Second Continental Congress sent the Articles of Confederation for rati cation in 1777 The State Constitutions The states stood at the center of American politics when the nation was born Every state constitution established a mission for the state government foundational structures including three branches of government each with distinct primary governing functions and checks on the other branches to organize the government and distribute power within it and es senticil processes by which the government would operate The state constitutions provided the governments they created with only limited powers however Most of these powers rested in the legislatures because of the prevailing view of people of the times that this was where the best prospects for representative government could be found Ensuring liberty was a crucial aspect of the mission of all the state governments To this end each state constitution included a bill of Vigl2t5 a section enumerating the individual liberties with which the new state government could not interfere including freedom of speech press and assembly protection against unreasonable searches and sei zures and taxation without representation and the right to a jury trial As you can see the authors of the state constitutions wrote into them limits on the state governments to prevent these governments from infringing on individuals life liberties and pursuit of happiness as the Brit ish Crown had done Hence the inclusion of a written list of citizens liberties established a limited government by en suring that both the people and the government knew what freedoms the government could not violate In addition most state constitutions explicitly as serted that power was held by the people who cre ated government and whom government served The states of the new American republic used their new constitutions to guide them in han dling their daytoday domestic matters Mean while members of the Second Continental Congress turned their attention to creating a national govern ment that would allow the states to collectively address international affairs The Articles of Confederation 17811789 Because of the colonists bitter experience under the British Crown the people and their dele gates to the Second Continental Congress were leery of a strong distant central government they had a preference for government that was close to their homes The delegates neverthe less recognized the need for a uni ed authority in the realms of international trade foreign affairs and defense For a model of government they needed to look no further than a league formed by several Indian tribes of the northeastern United States and eastern Canada The Iroquois League was an alliance of ve tribes Under the league the tribes pursued their own selfinterest independently of one another and the only condition was that they 54 CHAPTER2 Theconstitution maintain peace with each other Presiding over the league was a Grand Council of fty rep resentatives who were chosen by the tribes and who had very limited authority This council served as a uni ed front and was charged simply with keeping intertribal peace and later with negotiating with the Europeans The in uence of the Iroquois League is evident in the rst four articles in the Articles of Confederation which was submitted to the states for rati cation in 1777 and rati ed by the required thirteen states by 1781 The Articles of Confederation established a confedera tion a national government composed of a league of independent states and in which the central government has less power than the member states Through the Articles of Confed eration the states created an alliance for mutual wellbeing in the international realm yet continued to pursue their own selfinterest independently Article II asserts that each state retains its sovereignty freedom and independence and that every power not speci cally given to the central government is retained by the states In addition the national Congress that the Articles of Confederation established like the Iroquois League s Grand Council had the authority to negotiate treaties with other nations STRUCTURE AND AUTHORITY OF THE OONFEDERATION Structurally the new national government had only one body a Congress Under the articles the Congress was unicameral meaning that it had only one chamber and every state had from two to seven delegates but only one vote in this body Each state determined how its delegates would be selected Approving policies and ratifying treaties required nine af rmative votes The articles did not create a judicial branch an executive branch or a chief executive of cer Con icts of law were to be addressed by the state court systems and national policies would be implemented and paid for by state governments There was to be a president one of the congressional members selected by his peers to preside over the meetings of Congress Fi nally and important to remember amending the Articles of Confederation required unani mous agreement among all thirteen states What authority did the new national government have by way of this unicameral body The answer is a very limited authority Congress could approve policies relevant to foreign affairs defense and the coining of money It was not authorized however to raise revenue through taxation only state governments could levy and collect taxes Therefore in order to pay the national government s bills Congress had to request money from each state Moreover the value of the money coined by the national government was not insured be cause the national government did not control a source of money to back the value WEAKN ESSES OF TH E CON FEDERATION Under the Articles ofConfederation the states retained ultimate authority in matters of commerce As a result other nations were not willing to negotiate trade policies with national of cials In addition each state taxed all goods coming into the state from foreign nations and from other states Moreover the states issued their own money and required the use of this currency for all business within the state The cumulative effect of these state policies hampered interstate and inter national commerce severely putting the nation s economic health in jeopardy In Massachusetts economic pressures reached a head in 1786 when small farmers many of whom had fought in the War for Independence could not pay their legal debts and faced bankruptcy and the loss of their land Farmer and war veteran Daniel Shays led an upris ing of these debtburdened farmers today known as Shays s Rebellion The rebels broke into county courthouses and burned all records of their debts They then proceeded to the federal arsenal Massachusetts asked Congress for assistance in putting down the rebellion Congress appealed to each state for money to ful ll this request but only Virginia com plied While eventually through private donations Massachusetts raised enough money to hire a militia to end the rebellion the weaknesses of the national confederacy and a ratio nale for a stronger central government were becoming apparent In an attempt to deal with the weakness of the Articles delegates from ve states met in Annapolis Maryland in 1786 The delegates signed a resolution that called for a For an excellent discussion of how the Articles bene ted the states see Keith L Dougherty Collective Action under the Articles of Confederation Cambridge University Press 2000 p 7682 confederation a national government composed of a league of independent states and in which the central government has less power than the member states unicameral a legislative body with a single chamber The Creation of the United States of America I 55 constitutional convention to be held in Philadelphia in 1787 and attended by all thirteen states This resolution had a sweeping objective delegates to the constitutional convention were to consider changes not only in commercial regulation but also in the overall structure of the new government that the Articles of Confederation had established Crafting the Constitution Compromise Ratification and Quick Amendment The delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1787 were among the most elite Ameri cans Some 80 percent had served as members of the Continental Congress and the vast majority were lawyers businessmen or plantation owners Many were engaged in highly lu crative international trade and all were wealthy These elites contrasted sharply with the masses who included the country s hardpressed farmers and struggling local merchants and tradespeople As a matter of fact historian Charles Beard contended in 1913 that the Constitution s framers succeeded in forging a government that protected their elite status2 Indeed the delegates did write into the new constitution a much greater role for Con gress in creating and maintaining a healthy economy something that would be good for the delegates as well as the nation For example the new constitution gave Congress the authority to lay and collect taxes regulate interstate and foreign commerce coin money and develop a system of weights and measures But although the delegates widely agreed about the need to create a stronger economic role for the national government they differed signi cantly over other issues that loomed large in the new nation There was considerable disagreement in particular about what pow ers to give the central government how to ensure a representative democracy and what to do about the entrenched institution of slavery Delegates from southern states worried that the northern states would create barriers to their states economic interests by either insisting on the abolition of slavery or diluting the voting strength of the South In the North a region on the cusp of the Industrial Revolution people were concerned about how the new govern ment s trade and tax policies would affect them These regional concerns re ected continu ing unease about the relative power of the national government and state governments and about the powers of the states relative to one another These power concerns played out in the compromises written into the Constitution and in the rati cation battle as well Many convention delegates including James Madison of Virginia believed that a closed environment would be necessary for hammering out the compromises that would be essen tial for creating an improved system of government Therefore the delegates met in secret The framers ultimately succeeded in producing a new constitution by bargaining and by forging compromises on several thorny issues Thereafter proponents of the Constitution would win its rati cation only after acknowledging the need to amend the rati ed Consti tution quickly by adding a bill of rights to limit the power of the national government Conflict and Compromise over Representative Democracy Among the delegates top points of contention was disagreement over representation in the national government THE VIRGINIA AND NEW JERSEY PLANS AND THE CONNECTICUT COM PROMISE Virginian James Madison arrived at the convention with a plan in hand for restructuring the national government His proposal called for a radically revamped government consisting of a bicameral legislature Congress a chief executive of cer and Virginia Plan a separate national judiciary Madison s proposal which became known as the Virginia James MadSonrs proposal at the COn Plan favored states withlarger populations because it called for the determination ofstate Stjtutjonal Convention for a new gov representation in the national legislature on the basis of population The lower house would emmentai structure which favored be chosen through popular election but the members of the upper house would be elected states with larger populations by the lower house Madison argued forcefully for a separation of powers believing this arrangement to be the key to limiting the authority of the much expanded national govern 56 CHAPTER2 TheConstitution ment and to protecting individual rights and liberties The states with smaller populations quickly and aggressively responded to Madison s Vir ginia Plan with their own proposal which became known as the New Jersey Plan The small states concerns about the Virginia Plan were obvious Because Madison s plan based representation in Congress on state popula tion the small states stood to lose signi cant power remember that under the Articles of Confederation each state no matter what its population and no matter how many rep resentatives it had in the legislature had one vote Unlike the Virginia Plan the New Jer sey Plan was not a radical proposal it essen CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION tially reworked the Articles of Confederation 1 7 8 7 Under the New Jersey proposal a unicameral national legislature would remain the center W0m 0 o piece of the government and all states would African 0 have an equal voice equal representation in Americans th1T VceciI11flIii1 nd negotiation over the Vir Asian 0 Americans ginia and New Jersey plans resulted in several compromises most notably the Connecticut Hlspamcs 0 Compromise also known as the Great Com Native 0 promise This compromise created today s bi Americans cameral Congress with state representation in the House of Representatives based on state population and equal state representation in the Senate two senators per state wwwcawprutgerseduFacts2html iwwwethnicmajoritycomcongresshtm WHAT S NEXT THE CONSTITUTION S CHECKS ON REPRESENTATIVE DEMOCRACY At 39 39 392 the heart of representative democracy IS the explams the dlfferenCe539 US Census Bureau 2006 American Community Survey The Changing Face of Popular Representation 110TH CONGRESS CURRENT 2oo7 us zoos POPULATION 16 o 51 o 8 ol 12 o 2 o 4 o 5 o 15 o 0 2 o 08 E5313 What is different about the composition of the delegates to the Consti tutional Convention and the composition of the 110th Congress What F participation of citizens in electing their gov 2 Why do you think the demographic representation among lawmakers in ernment of cials Yet the framers built a num ber of checks into the Constitution that sig ni cantly limited representative democracy and in doing so they effectively took most of the institutions of governing out of the hands of the people Although the Constitution al lowed citizens to elect members of the House directly it speci ed the election of senators by the state legislatures This protocol remained in effect until 1913 when the rati cation of the Seventeenth Amendment to the Constitution gave voters the power to elect the mem bers of the Senate too And as we have seen the Electoral College system that the framers devised for the election of the president and vice president prevented citizens from directly selecting the nation s chief executive and the secondincommand In addition to limiting the number of of cials elected by citizens the framers also effec tively limited voting rights to a minority of citizens Existing state constitutions had estab lished that only propertyowning white men could vote The one exception was New Jersey where propertyowning white women could also vote until 1807 when the state constitu tion was amended to deny women the right to the franchise The framers left to the states the authority to determine eligibility to vote Hence women and many men including Na tive Americans as well as slaves were denied the right to vote under the new Constitution The delegates spent most of the rst two months of debate arguing about the national legislature and primarily focused on the question of state representation in Congress They devoted less than a month to the rest of the issues before them including the structure of tion at large more closely the 110th Congress does not mirror the composition of the US popula iT7 33 Do you think future Congresses will be more representative Explain New Jersey Plan the proposal presented by states with smaller populations at the Consti tutional Convention in response to James Madison39s Virginia Plan Connecticut Compromise also known as the Great Compromise the compromise between the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan that created a bicameral legislature with one chamber s representation based on population and the other having two members for each state Crafting the Constitution Compromise Ratification and Quick Amendment I 57 L m ThreeFifths Compromise the negotiated agreement by the delegates to the Constitutional Con vention to count each slave as three fths of a free man for the purpose of representation and taxes gtBecause the northern and southern delegates to the Constitutional Convention did not resolve their conflict over slavery the institution remained constitutional The Constitution also prohibited Congress from banning slave importation until 1808 With the legal importation of slaves banned in 1808 through congressional legisla tion the demand for nativeborn slaves and their children grew the executive and judicial branches the rela tionship between the federal and state gov ernments the process for amending the new plan of government should the need arise to do so the procedures for the Constitution s rati cation and a series of compromises over the slave trade Conflict and Compromise over Slavery Another major disagreement among the Con stitutional Convention delegates centered on the peculiar institution as Thomas Jeffer son called it of slavery In 1790 slaves made up almost 20 percent of the US population and the overwhelming majority of slaves re sided in the southern states The southern states delegates worried that a strong central government would threaten the institution of slavery During the constitutional debates they therefore refused to budge on the slavery issue Meanwhile northern delegates who were widely concerned that a weak national government would affect the United States ability to engage in commerce and international trade believed that the nation needed a more powerful central government than had existed under the Articles of Confederation Ultimately to get the southern states to agree to a stron ger central government the northern states compromised on the slavery issue A provision in Article 1 Section 9 of the Constitution postponed debate on the legal ity of slavery and consequently kept it legal by prohibiting Congress from addressing the importation of new slaves into the United States untiljanuary 1 1808 Moreover Article IV which deals with interstate relations established the states obligation to deliver all fugitive slaves back to their owners This measure aimed to ensure that people in nonslaveholding states would continue to respect the property rights of slaveholders including the right to own slaves who were legally property not people with natural rights Although the slaves were legally property Article 1 Section 2 established a formula for counting slaves for purposes of representation in the House of Representatives appor tionment of electors for the Electoral College and the allocation of tax burdens among the states This ThreeFifths Compromise counted each slave as three fths of a free man The southern states bene ted by this compromise they gained greater representation in the House and the Electoral College than they would have if only nonslaves were counted The bene t to the northern states was that the South would pay more taxes than they would if only nonslaves were counted in taxation formulas James Madison while deploring slavery argued that the delegates compromise over slavery was in the spirit of accommodation which governed the Convention He insisted that without the compromise the Constitution would never have been signed So in the delegates debates and deliberations they resolved some disagreements such as the large state small state con ict over congressional representation They put on hold other differences such as their divisions over slavery In the end the document that the framers sent to the states for rati cation described a government structure that aimed to ful ll the principles of the Declaration of Independence for a select group of people Foremost among these principles was the idea that it is up to the people to found a government that protects their natural rights to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness To ensure these rights which were initially meant only for white propertyowning men the framers devised two key arrangements the separation of powers with an integrated system of checks and balances and a federal system in which the national and state governments had distinct ultimate authorities 58 CHAPTER2 Theconstitution gtJames Madison Alexander Hamilton and John Jay authored The Federalist Papers a series of newspaper articles that justi ed and argued for the governing structures and procedures estab lished in the US Constitution Because Madison and Hamilton had attended the Constitutional Convention they had an insider39s view of the arguments for and against the Constitution The Federalist AntiFederalist Debate Signed by thirtynine delegates on September 17 1787 the Constitution was published two days later in a special issue of a newspaper called the Pennsylvania Packet Almost im mediately opponents of the proposed Constitution began to write letters issue pamphlets and make stirring speeches urging the state legislatures to reject the document The debate developed as one between the Federalists and the AntiFederalists The Federalists sup ported the Constitution as presented by the convention delegates The AntiFederalists opposed the Constitution on the grounds that it gave the national government too much power power that would erode states authority and endanger individual freedoms It was in the Pennsylvania debate between the Federalists and the AntiFederalists that the call rst clearly emerged for the inclusion of a bill of rights that would limit the powers of the federal government Geared toward addressing the main AntiFederalist complaints about the Constitution the proposal for a bill of rights became the dominant point of con tention in the rati cation campaign In the end the success or failure of the rati cation process would hinge on it THE FEDERALIST PAPERS IN SUPPORT OF A STRONG NATIONAL GOV ERNMENT The Federalists made their most famous arguments in a series of essays known as The Federalist Papers which appeared in newspapers across the new nation The authors James Madison Alexander Hamilton and John Jay knew that achieving rati ca tion depended on convincing the public and state legislators that the Constitution would empower the new nation to succeed They also understood that many of the AntiFederalists concerns centered on how much power the national government would have under the Con stitution and how that authority would affect the states and individual freedoms Conse quently they approached the rati cation debate strategically penning eloquently reasoned essays in the form of letters to speak to these speci c issues Addressing fears of lost state power Hamilton argues in Federalist No 9 that a FIRM Union will be of the utmost moment to the peace and liberty of the States as a barrier against domestic faction and insurrection Similarly in Federalist No 51 Madison explains In 2004 the national government approved a law establishing September 17th as Constitution Day The law mandates that all educational institutions receiving federal funds which includes almost every college in the country must provide educational programs about the Constitution on that day Federalists individuals who supported the new Constitution as presented by the Con stitutional Convention in 1787 AntiFederalists individuals who opposed ratification of the Constitution because they were deeply suspicious of the powers it gave to the national government and of the impact these powers would have on states authority and indi vidual freedoms The Federalist Papers a series of essays written by James Madison Alexander Hamilton and John Jay that argued for the rati ca tion of the Constitution Crafting the Constitution Compromise Ratification and Quick Amendment I 59 gtMercy Otis Warren was one of the rare respected politically engaged women of the eighteenth century Her signi cant influence extended to the citizenry and to the authors of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights with many of whom she discussed and debated governance and politics Her political writings include the AntiFederalist Papers and her extraordinary History of the Rise Progress and Termination of the American Revolution 1805 how the Constitution s provision of both a sepa ration of powers and a system of checks and bal ances would prevent the national government from usurping the powers of the states and also ensure that no one branch of the federal govern ment would dominate the other two With regard to protecting individual rights in Federalist No 10 Madison reassuringly de tails how the republican government created by the Constitution would ensure that many views would be heard and that a majority of the pop ulation would not be permitted to trample the rights of the numerical minority And writing in Federalist No 84 Hamilton argues that be cause the people surrender nothing and as they retain every thing by way of the Constitution there was no danger that the new government would usurp individual rights and liberties THE ANTIFEDERALIST RESPONSE IN OPPOSITION TO A STRONG CEN TRAL GOVE R N M E NT On the other side of the debate AntiFederalists penned count less letters speeches and essays warning of the dangers of the new government and urg ing Americans to reject it AntiFederalists agonized that the Constitution ceded much too much power to the national government at the expense of both the states and the people Without a bill of rights they reasoned there was no way of truly limiting the actions the new government might take to achieve its goals Some AntiFederalists reminded Americans WHY THE ANTIFEDERALISTS FOUGHT FOR AND SECURED A BILL OF RIGHTS Bill of Rights The first ten amendments to the Consti tution all ratified within two years of the Constitution s ratification AntiFederalists argued that without an enumeration a list of individual freedoms with which the new central government could not interfere the govern ment would not respect individual freedoms just as the British king had not AntiFederalists preferred strong state governments that were close to the people and feared a powerful central government They worried that without a list of individual freedoms the proposed central govern ment would have more power than would the state governments which were limited by their constitu tions own bills of rights In order to achieve ratification of the Constitution by the states of Massachusetts Maryland South Carolina and New Hampshire Federalists had to compromise with AntiFederalists and support the enumeration of specific freedoms with which the government could not interfere that the framers had exceeded their mandate when they decided to scrap the Articles of Confederation and start again The Constitutional Convention they stressed had authorized amendment of the articles not wholesale rejection of them Articulating AntiFederalist views Thomas Jefferson insisted that the inclusion of a bill of rights in the Con stitution was essential Federalist Alexander Hamilton countered that listing these rights might in fact endan ger the very kind of individual freedoms and rights they sought to safeguard It was possible Hamilton reasoned that the list would be incomplete and that at some fu ture time people might legitimately argue that because a given right was not speci cally enumerated it did not exist Was Hamilton correct Consider the debate today about abortionefferson s response was that half a loaf is better than no bread and that if we cannot secure all our rights let us secure what we can 27 Along with Jefferson Mercy Otis Warren was among the most in uential AntiFederalists In addition to in uencing public debate over declaring independence from Great Britain and ratifying the Articles of Confed eration and the Constitution Warren was a catalyst for the development of the Bill of Rights She published her AntiFederalist Papers under the pen name A Columbian Patriot The circulation of her pamphlet was larger than that of Hamilton Madison and ay s Federalist Papers In the end Jefferson s and Warren s views and the larger civic discourse about states rights and individu als liberties placed signi cant pressure on the Federal ists to reconsider their opposition to a bill of rights With the proviso that a bill of rights would be the rst order of business for the new Congress four holdout states Massachusetts Maryland South Caro lina and New Hampshire the last four states of the nine needed to ratify the Constitu tion rati ed it in 1788 Ultimately all original thirteen states rati ed the Constitution The Bill of Rights 1791 Establishing Civil Liberties In the opening days of the rst session of the newly constituted Congress in March 1789 Virginia congressmanjames Madison introduced a bill of rights Comprising twelve amend ments this proposed addition to the Constitution powerfully re ected the public concerns voiced during the rati cation debates by 1 enumerating limits on the government s right to infringe on the natural rights of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness and 2 pre serving the states authority Congress passed all twelve amendments and sent them to the states for approval By 1791 the required number of states had quickly rati ed ten of the twelve amendments which we refer to today as the Bill of Rights The Bill of Rights establishes the government s legal obligation to protect several speci c liberties to which the Declaration of Independence referred when it stated that men were en dowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights These natural rights became govern mentprotected liberties civil liberties through the rati cation process Chapter 4 focuses in depth on the civil liberties established in the Bill of Rights The Constitution as a living Evolving Document The authors of the Constitution were pragmatic men who were willing to compromise to resolve the problems confronting the new nation28 To garner the votes needed to move the document from rst draft through rati cation the framers had to negotiate and compro mise over constitutional language As a result of this giveandtake the Constitution is re plete with vague and ambiguous phrases which the framers expected judges to interpret later Alexander Hamilton wrote A constitution is in fact and must be regarded by judges as a fundamental law It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body The courts must declare the sense of the law 29 As Supreme Court justice Charles Evans Hughes 1862 1948 more recently observed The Constitution is what the Judges say it is 3 Judges and principally the justices sitting on the US Supreme Court which has the ulti mate authority to rule on what the Constitution means have reinterpreted the Constitution many times The Constitution has been formally amended only twentyseven times however The reason for the relatively low number of constitutional amendments is that the framers established a dif cult amendment process requiring supermajority votes in Congress and among the states They did so to ensure that nationwide public discourse would take place before the Constitution the supreme law of the land could be formally changed The alteration of this document through both the formal passage of amendments and the less formal but no less important judicial reinterpretation of key clauses derives from a continuing conversation among citizens about the core beliefs and principles of the fram ers and the generations that have followed them including Americans today In 2007 po litical scientist Larry Sabato in his book A More Perfect Corzstitatiori 23 Proposals to Revitalize Our Constitution and Make America a Fairer Coarztry tried to energize public discourse on the need to amend the Constitution so as to make the country a more perfect union 31 In this concluding section we consider the amendments that have been approved to date as the American people have undertaken efforts to perfect the union established by the Constitu tion and we look at the process by which these amendments became a reality Formal Amendment of the Constitution Every term members of Congress introduce between 100 and 200 proposals for new con stitutional amendments Collectively since 1789 this amounts to more than 10000 pro posals Members of Congress who oppose a ruling by the US Supreme Court or a law that engenders a great deal of public debate may propose an amendment to supersede the Bill of Rights the rst ten amendments to the Con stitution which were rati ed in 1791 constituting an enumeration of the individual liberties with which the government is forbidden to interfere The Constitution as a Living Evolving Document I 61 DO WOMEN AND MEN HAVE EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW The ISSUE The Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal and that they are endowed with natural rights to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness The Constitution created a government in which the Declaration s all men truly meant white males not all human beings when it established the rights and liberties that would be guaranteed for citizens of the United States Women as well as minority men have been fight ing throughout US history to gain equal protection of the laws The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution 1868 guaran tees equal protection of the law to all people But do women gen uinely receive the same legal protections as men Yes Although initially the courts did not interpret the Fourteenth Amendment to guarantee women the same legal protections as men today equal protection does exist Thanks to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 women are provided the same protec tion against discrimination in employment decisions or put posi tively are guaranteed the same consideration for employment de cisions as are men Moreover Title IX added to the Civil Rights Act in 1972 ensures that women s opportunity for public educa tion is equal to that of men Today women earn the majority of bachelor s and master s degrees Clearly educational opportunity is equally protected Because education is the building block for economic opportunities equal protection in education leads to equal economic opportunity because discrimination is prohibited in employment decisions N0 Women with the same educational background earn less on average than men Moreover domestic violence a crime for which women disproportionately are victims does not get the same treat ment under the law as assaults against strangers Rape another crime that is disproportionately perpetrated against women has one of the lowest go to trial rates of all felony crimes Beyond the fact that such women victims do not receive equal protection of the law some research suggests that women found guilty of violence against intimate partners receive harsher punishments than men found guilty of comparable crimes Other approaches The written law in most cases does not differentiate between male and female black and white or any other demographic characteristic The question of equal pro tection of the law is really a question of how the people in gov ernment implement the law how citizens comply with it and how the judges sitting in courtrooms interpret it The reality is that all people have biases we all experience life differently and so develop different understandings stereotypes preferences and prejudices Our biases influence how we behave consciously or not Therefore because many laws at least since the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment have mandated equal protection a major barrier to equal protection is the fact that people with various inevitable biases must interpret and implement the law What do you think Q Will an amendment to the Constitution specifically grant ing women equal protection of the laws ensure that women and men have equal economic political and legal status Explain Q Would women s protection under the law look more like men s protection if more women were formulating the law as elected officials implementing the law as government workers and interpreting the law asjudges Why or why not What does this Conversation of Democracy reveal about the legal status of other groups that are underrepresented among elected officials bureaucrats and judges such as African Americans Latinos persons with disabilities and low income Americans Do these other underrepresented groups enjoy equal protection of the laws Explain Women Prisoners Facts and Figures at a Glance Legal Services for Prisoners with Children wwwprisonerswithchildrenorgpubswomgenpdf Court ruling or the law Often members of Congress introduce these amendments knowing that they will never be rati ed but wanting to appease their core constituencies by at least instigating public discourse about how our government should function and what rights and freedoms individuals possess One amendment that has been introduced repeatedly since 1923 calls for equality of rights for women which the American Democracy Now vi gnette at the beginning of the chapter explores The Conversation of Democracy selection looks at the arguments from the public debate over the need for such an amendment 62 CHAPTER2 TheConstitution Only a tiny fraction of the 10000plus proposed amendments have cleared Congress in fact only thirtythree have achieved the twothirds Vote necessary in Congress and as noted only twentyseven have been rati ed by the states The amendments that the states have rati ed t into one of three categories they have 1 extended civil liberties and civil rights equal protection of laws for citizens 2 altered the selection or operation of the branches of the national government or 3 dealt with important policy issues Table 22 summarizes The Eleventh Through TwentySeventh Amendments to the Federal Constitution AMENDMENTS THAT PROTECT CIVIL LIBERTIES AND CIVIL RIGHTS Thirteenth 1865 Banned slavery Fourteenth 1868 Established that all people have the right to equal protection and due process before the law and that all citizens are guaranteed the same privileges and immunities Fifteenth 1870 Guaranteed that the right to vote could not be abridged on the basis of race or color Nineteenth 1920 Guaranteed that the right to vote could not be abridged on the basis of sex Twenty third 1961 Defined how the District of Columbia would be represented in the Electoral College Twenty fourth 1964 Outlawed the use of a poll tax which prevented poor people from exercising their right to vote Twenty sixth 1971 Lowered the voting age to 18 years I AMENDMENTS THAT RELATE TO THE SELECTION OF GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS 39 OR THE OPERATION OF THE BRANCHES OF GOVERNMENT Eleventh 1795 Limited federal court jurisdiction by barring citizens an of one state from suing another state in federal court if Twelfth 1804 Required the electors in the Electoral College to vote twice once for president and once for vice president Seventeenth 1913 Mandated the direct election of senators by citizens Twentieth 1933 Set a date for the convening of Congress and the inauguration of the president Twenty second 1951 Limited to two the number of terms the president can SGTVG Twenty fifth 1967 Established the procedures for presidential succession in the event of the disability or death of the president established the procedure for vice presidential replacement when the position becomes vacant before the end of the term Twenty seventh 1992 Required that there be an intervening election between the time when Congress votes itself a raise and when that raise can be implemented AMENDMENTS THAT ADDRESS SPECIFIC PUBLIC POLICIES Sixteenth 1913 Empowered Congress to establish an income tax Eighteenth 1919 Banned the manufacture sale and transportation of liquor Twenty first 1933 Repealed the ban on the manufacture sale and transportation of liquor The Constitution as a Living Evolving Document WHERE lJ What Would the Nation s Founders Think Do you think the signers of the Declaration of Independence would generally agree or dis agree with the way the Constitu tion of the United States is inter preted today D Agree D Disagree Source Americans Are Widely Patriotic but Many Think Founding Fathers Would Frown on Modern America wwwgaupcom poll3745AmericansWidey Patriotic Many Think Founding Fathers Woudaspx I CONSTITUTIONAL PRINCIPLES IN A RECENT SECOND AMENDMENT CASE Consider the following chronology related to the Second Amendment and its legal protections Has the court made the meaning of the Second Amendment clear and unambiguous 1791 Second Amendment passes stating that a well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringedquot 1976 Washington DC law is passed banning all handguns in homes unless they were registered before 1976 The law39s intent is to decrease gun violence 2007 Majority opinion of the US Court of Appeals for DC Circuit Parker v District of Columbia nds the 1976 Washington DC ban unconstitutional and explains We take it as an expression of the drafters view that the people possessed a natural right to keep and bear arms and that the preser vation of the militia was the right s most salient political benefit and thus the most appropriate to express in a political documentquot 2008 Majority opinion of the US Supreme Court in Distrinct of Columbia and Adrian M Felty v Dick Anthony Heller declares There seems to us no doubt on the basis of both text and history that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to keep and bear armsquot The decision goes on to say Like most rights the Second Amendment right is not unlimited It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purposequot Parker v District of Columbia 478 F 3d 370 DC Circuit 2007 District of Columbia and Adrian M Fenty v Dick Anthony Heller 544 US Evaluating the Evidence G What do you think was the intent of the authors of the Second Amend ment Did they intend to protect a natural individual right to bear arms Did they mean to ensure that resources that is people with the right to bear arms for protecting domestic tranquility and national defense would be readily available Did they seek to ensure both What do you imagine the major ity of Americans think the Second Amendment means Why Where might you get data to support your prediction Do you agree with the majority opinion in the Parker case or the majority opinion in the DC v Heller case Explain Q1 What impact on public safety will the divergent interpretations of the Second Amendment have the eleventh through the twentyseventh constitutional amendments and organizes them by category Interpretation by the US Supreme Court Beyond the addition of formal amendments the Constitution has changed over time through reinterpretation by the courts This reinterpretation began with the US Supreme Court s landmark Marbury a Madison decision in 1803 in which the Court established the important power of judicial review the authority of the courts to rule on whether acts of government of cials and governing bodies violate the Constitution Although the US Supreme Courts in terpretation is nal if the Supreme Court does not review constitutional interpretations made by lower federal courts then the interpretations of these lower courts are the nal word How do judges decide what the Constitution means To interpret its words they might look at how courts have ruled in past cases on the phrasing in question or what the custom or usage of the words has generally been They might try to ascertain what the authors of the Constitution meant Alternatively the judges might consider the policy implications of differing interpretations gauging them against the mission presented in the Constitution s 64 CHAPTER2 TheConstitution CHELSEA J ANDREWS GOVERNMENT ATTORNEY Name Chelsea J Andrews Esq Age 30 Hometown Fort Lauderdale Florida College Florida AampM University George Washington University Majors Business Administration BS and MBA Law JD Job Title Assistant State39s Attorney Prince George39s County State39s Attorney39s Of ce Upper Marlboro Maryland Salary range for jobs like this 45000 70000 Daytoday responsibilities I prosecute adult and juvenile offenders of felony and misdemeanor criminal traffic and municipal infractions How did you get your job While in my last year of law school I applied for a clerkship It was one of the best deci sions of my life I was hired to clerk for the Honorable Zinora Mitchell Rankin in the Superior Court for the District of Colum bia I had an opportunity to watch and evaluate hundreds of trials and litigators Most importantly I gained a life mentor who connected me with the State39s Attorney39s Office What do you like best about your job I enjoy mak ing a positive impact on the community every day I help ensure that Prince George39s County residents live in a safer community The cases are always interesting and no two days are the same What is your least favorite aspect of your job It39s difficult to work with victims of crimes on a daily basis It makes you emotionally con nected to each case However it39s this connection that keeps you grounded and fuels you to be passionate about ensuring that justice prevails in each case What advice would you give to students who would like to do what you are doing I would encourage any one interested in the legal profes sion to be proactive about obtaining professional mentors Follow up with people you meet and cultivate relationships so that you will have many mentors to guide you through your career path Personally every professional experience I have had can be attributed to a professional mentor For example as an under grad I worked part time for a local PR consulting company The company39s president became my mentor and years later connected me with my first internship in law school Through her I was able to work at the NAACP in the Education Depart ment during one of the most exciting and historical times for the organization the ftieth anniversary of Brown v Board of Education I assisted with planning the commemorative activi ties but most signi cantly I drafted legal memoranda on cases leading up to the Brown decision and the impact the decision has had on America Overall each opportunity each job and each mentor has helped pave the path that I am on and has had a signi cant impact on my life journey preamble In any given case the deciding court must determine which of these points of ref erence it will use and how it will apply them to interpret the constitutional principles under consideration For a taste of how the courts determine the meaning of the Constitution see Exploring the Sources The power of judicial review has allowed the courts to continue to breathe life into the Constitution to keep up with societal norms and technological change For example in 1896 the Supreme Court decreed that the Fourteenth Amendment allowed laws requiring the segregation of white and black citizens Then in 1954 in the case ofBVoun v The Board of Education of Topeka Kom5a533 the Supreme Court declared such segregation to be an un constitutional violation of the Fourteenth Amendment Chelseaj Andrews highlights the celebration of the ftieth anniversary of this landmark reinterpretation of the Constitution in her On the Job interview The Constitution as a Living Evolving Document I 65 gtCongress or state legislatures sometimes defy US Supreme Court rulings by passing legislation that counteracts the Court39s decision The foreigners detained by the na tional government at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay Cuba are in the middle of such a battle In 2008 the Supreme Court ruled that the Guantanamo detainees had the constitutional right to challenge their imprisonment in US federal courts Technology also drives constitutional reinterpretation The framers naturally never con ceived of the existence of computers and arti cial intelligence Yet by reviewing and freshly interpreting the Fourth Amendment which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures by government of cials the courts have uncovered the principles behind this amendment that apply to our technologically advanced society Consequently this provision whose original intent was to limit governments physical searches of one s property and person can be used today to determine for example whether governmental surveillance of com puter databases is permissible Sometimes the Supreme Court s opinions ignite a debate or intensify a debate already under way Court decisions that are viewed as a win for one side and a loss for the other often generate erce responses in the other branches or levels of the government For exam ple the executive branch might decide not to implement a Court decision Or perhaps the legislative branch might write a new law that challenges a Court decision Unless a lawsuit allows the Court to nd the new law unconstitutional the new law takes effect Consider the ongoing issue of the foreign citizens being held at the US Naval base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba In January 2002 the United States began to detain at Guanta namo foreigners who had been captured in Afghanistan and other countries and who were labeled by the government as enemy combatants Lawyers for these prisoners challenged their detention through federal lawsuits but the federal courts countered they did not have the jurisdiction legal authority to decide these cases In 2004 however the Supreme Court found that the federal courts did have jurisdiction in these cases In response to this deci sion Congress and President Bush approved a law in 2005 that removed from federal court jurisdiction lawsuits brought by foreign detainees In response in 2006 the Supreme Court ruled that Congress improperly established this new law and that it therefore was unconsti tutional Then later in 2006 Congress passed another law removing the detainee lawsuits from federal court jurisdiction In its 20072008 term the Court ruled that the federal courts not US military courts had jurisdiction over the detainees34 Therefore the Guan tanamo detainees had the constitutional right to challenge the legality of their imprison ment in the federal courts Although controversial Court decisions often capture signi cant media attention in the vast majority of cases the Court s rulings are in step with public opinion Analysts note that the Court does not often lead public opinion in fact it more often follows it36 And even 66 CHAPTER2 Theconstitution if the justices wanted to take some very controversial and unpopular action the system of checks and balances forces them to consider how the other branches would react Recall that the Court has the power to interpret the law it does not have the power to implement or to enforce the law and must be concerned about how the other branches might retaliate against it for highly unpopular decisions Therefore for the most part changes to the Constitution both formal and informal are incremental and further the will of the people because they are the product of widespread public discourse an ongoing conversation of democracy Rati ed in 1788 and in effect since 1789 the Constitution is remarkable for its long life a longevity that owes much to the genius of its framers They established a government that in its mission foundational structures and essential processes successfully addressed the problems of governance experienced under the British Crown and the Articles of Confed eration The structures and governing procedures the framers established including the process by which the courts are able to interpret constitutional language in the context of contemporary societal values and technological advances have allowed the Constitution to survive with only twentyseven amendments for more than two centuries Over the centuries through judicial interpretation of the Constitution and formal con stitutional amendment the underlying principles of government by and for the people have become a reality for an evergrowing diversity of people in the United States Each year thousands of lawsuits make their way to the Supreme Court From this number the justices select between eighty and one hundred cases to hear The cases they choose are those they deem most important to upholding the foundational principles of the Constitution Con gress receives on average about fty proposals to amend the Constitution each year This volume of lawsuits and proposed amendments ensures that the Constitution is a living evolving document not one that sits on a shelf accumulating dust As technology advances as globalization s international interdependence spreads and as the population of the United States grows and diversi es will ongoing interpretation of the Constitution s mission foundational structures and essential processes continue to protect the people s natural rights and to perfect government by and for the people Summary 1What Is a Constitution A constitution is a document that describes the mission foundational structures and es sential processes of an organization including as in the case of the US Constitution a government 2The Constitution of the United States of America In 1788 the required nine states rati ed the Constitution of the United States of America which replaced the Articles of Confederation the nation39s rst constitution Social con tract theory is the foundation for the governing principles of the Constitution The Consti tution gives these principles explicit form by specifying the US government39s foundational structures 1 the separation of powers 2 an integrated system of checks and balances and 3 the federal system of government StudyNow I 67 3The Creation of the United States of America By the mid eighteenth century the American colonists were protesting the impact of British rule on their lives and livelihoods The colonists were persuaded by pamphlets newspaper articles public discourse and eloquent revolutionaries that it was common sense as well as their obligation to declare their independence from Britain and to create a new govern ment Yet the weak national government established by the country39s rst constitution the Articles of Confederation did not serve the people well as the government under the Articles had no authority to levy taxes establish a common currency or regulate intrastate trade and generally lacked the authority to ensure domestic tranquility and to govern effectively 4 Crafting the Constitution Compromise Ratification and Quick Amendment In response to severe economic problems and tensions among the states and to grow ing desires for a more perfect union of the states representatives from the states met in Philadelphia in 1787 to amend the Articles of Confederation Debate and deliberation led to compromise and a new constitution supported by the Federalists and opposed by the Anti Federalists The addition of the Bill of Rights two years after the Constitution was rati ed addressed the primary concerns about individual liberties and states authority that the Anti Federalists had raised during the debates over rati cation of the Constitution of the United States the country39s second constitution 5The Constitution as a Living Evolving Document The Constitution of the United States has been formally amended a mere twenty seven times over its 220 plus years of life This rare occurrence of formal change to the Constitu tion39s written words belies the reality of its perpetual revision through the process ofjudi cial review and interpretation The US Supreme Court ultimately decides what the written words in the Constitution mean and through this authority the Court clari es and modi es hence revises the Constitution yearly advice and consent 45 Electoral College 47 separation of powers 44 U B H c 3 ha a M Anti Federalists 59 bicameral 45 Bill of Rights 61 checks and balances 45 confederation 55 Connecticut Compromise Great Compromise 57 constitution 41 The Federalist Papers 59 Federalists 59 judicial review 46 Marbury V Madison 46 natural rights unalienable rights 43 New Jersey Plan 57 republic 43 ThreeFifths Compromise 58 unicameral 55 veto 45 Virginia Plan 56 68 CHAPTER2 Theconstitution For Review Describe the three main components of a constitution Describe the mission overnin rinci les foundational structures and essential 3 g g P P 3 3 processes outlined in the Constitution of the United States of America How did the events leading up to the War for Independence shape the core principles of the US Constitution Why do we say that con ict and compromise characterize the drafting and rati cation of the Constitution What speci c issues caused con ict and required compromise for their resolution What are the formal and informal mechanisms for changing the Constitution For Critical Thinking and Discussion 1 What was the relationship between the state constitutions many of which were created right after the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution which was written more than a decade later Think about important debates in the American polity today Describe one that you think is linked in some way to the compromises upon which the Constitution is based Pretend that you are a young adult living during the revolutionary era who is writing an article for a newspaper in England and you are trying to explain why the colonists have destroyed thousands of pounds of British tea at the Boston Tea Party How might you as an English citizen living in England characterize the colonists motives How might you as an English citizen living in the colonies characterize the colonists motives The contest between the Federalists and AntiFederalists over rati cation of the Con stitution was a very close one What do you think would have happened had the Anti Federalists prevailed What kind of government would they have shaped How would this government have dealt with the dif cult issues facing the new republic slavery concerns about mob rule and continuing hostility in the international community StudyNow I 69 M U LTIPLE CHOICE Choose the lettered item that answers 7 the question correctly At the Constitutional Convention the delegates devoted the bulk of their time to resolving the issue of a procedures for electing the president and vice 1 According to the Declaration of Independence the natural president unalienable rights include all of the following except b representation in the national legislature 339 l berty c the necessity for a bill of rights b l ce d slavery c property d the pursuit of happiness 8 The ultimate authority to interpret the meaning of con The existence of three branches of government each re sponsible for a different primary governing function is the implementation of the foundational organizational struc ture called a judicial review b the federal system c representative democracy d separation of powers c clari ed the courts judici39al review authority d clari ed presidential appointment authority Rati cation of an amendment to the US Constitution requires a approval of the majority of citizens voting in a referendum b approval of three quarters of the members of Congress c approval of three quarters of either the House or the Senate d approval of three quarters of the state legislatures or special conventions b Thomas Jefferson c Alexander Hamilton d James Madison The document or set of documents grounded in social contract theory and stating that citizens have an obliga tion to replace their government if it is not serving them and protecting their unalienable rights is a the Articles of Confederation b the Constitution of the United States of America c the Declaration of Independence d The Federalist Papers stitutional language and hence to decide what is the supreme law of the land comes from a the majority of members of Congress b the majority of members of state legislatures c the majority ofjustices on the US Supreme Court d the president of the United States The required nine states rati ed the Constitution of the United States in a 1776 c 1788 Marbury v Madison 1803 is a landmark case because it b 1781 d 1791 a clari ed the Electoral College system b clari ed congressional legislative authority 10 One check that the Senate has on both the executive branch and the judicial branch is its power of a advice and consent b impeachment c rati cation of treaties d veto override FILL IN THE BLANKS 11 13 14 15 Currently there are amendments to the US Constitution and the last amendment was added in the year All of the following were authors of The Federalist Papers exce t 12 The United States rst constitution was the P a John Jay is the authority of courts to declare actions of government of cials and governing bodies unconstitutional The Virginia delegate to the Second Continental Congress who wrote the Declaration of Independence was Many of the Anti Federalist criticisms of the Constitu tion were addressed in 1791 with the rati cation of the 3 10 39 39 fUOSJ3ll3 SELUOLj 39i739 AaLxai eL3Lpn 3951 fU0lJE13p31U0j 10 sapLJiv 3931 13551 pue 13 3911 2 3901 3 395 3 393 q 391 3 399 q 399 p 391 3 39g p 393 3 391 SJ3MSU 70 CHAPTER2 Theconstitution Internet Resources American Democracy Now Web site httpwwwmhhecomharrisonle Consult the book s Web site for study guides interactive activities simulations and current hot links for additional information on contemporary issues involving the Constitution FindLaw www ndlawcom This site offers links to news regarding current cases before the US Supreme Court as well as access to decisions of all federal and state appellate courts Library of Congress Memory Project wwwlocgov rr program bib ourdocs PrimDocsHomehtm This comprehensive Web site created by the Library of Congress and part of its Memory Project includes a wealth of information about the early American republic including primary documents such as The Federalist Papers The US Constitution Online wwwUSConstitutionnet This interesting site helps to place the US Constitution in a contemporary context Its current events sec tion discusses how the pending issues are affected by constitutional principles ConstitutionFactscom wwwconstitutionfactscom This site includes all kinds of in formation about the US Constitution and the constitutions of the states and other nations Recommended Readings Breyer Stephen Active Liherty Interpreting Our Democratic Constitution New York Random House 2005 A short readable book in which Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer argues that constitutional interpretation must be guided by the foundational principle of government by the people and that the courts must ensure that they protect and facilitate citizens participation in government Hamilton Alexander James Madison andjohnjay The Federalist Papers Cutchogue NY Buccaneer Books 1992 A compilation of the eighty ve newspaper articles written by the authors to convince the voters of New York to ratify the proposed Constitution of the United States featuring a comprehensive introduction that puts the articles in context and outlines their principal themes and hence the under lying principles of the Constitution Morgan Edmund S The Birth of the Repuhlic 176389 3rd ed Chicago University of Chicago Press 1992 An excellent chronicle of the pre revolutionary period as well as the Revolution the Articles of Confed eration and the Constitution explaining how discourse among Amer icans about governance changed over time and how the confederation of independent states nally gave way to an independent nation Pasley Jeffrey L Andrew W Robertson and David Waldstreicher Beyond the Founders New Approaches to the Political History of the Early American Repuhlic Chapel Hill NC University of North Carolina Press 2004 Essays exploring the ways in which ordinary Americans engaged in politics including an account of the making of a mam moth piece of cheese that was presented to Thomas Jefferson at his inauguration in 1801 and a look at how clothing and appearance conveyed one s political ideals Roberts Cokie Founding Mothers The Women Who Raised Our Nation New York Perennial Press 2004 An examination of the Revolu tion and its aftermath focusing on how women contributed to the war effort and to wider discussions about how the new government should be structured and what goals it should advance Sabato Larry A More Perfect Constitution 23 Proposals to Revitalize Our Constitution and Make America a Fairer Country New York Walker Publishing 2007 An exploration by political scientist Larry Sabato into why a constitutional convention is needed The book includes proposals for 23 amendments many of which citizens support according to a poll commissioned by the author that Sabato argues will perfect the Constitution His real goal in writing the book was to kindle a national conversation on what he perceives as the de ciencies in US representative democracy Movies of Interest National Treasure 2004 Starring Nicholas Cage this adventure packed lm traces a hunt for treasure that a family s oral history says the nation s founding fa thers buried Clues are found hidden in the country s early currency and even on the back of the Declaration of Independence The hunt exposes the viewer to the workings of the National Archives and its Preservation Room and features images of the founding fathers not typically reproduced in textbooks Return to the Land of Wonder 2004 This documentary follows Adnan Pachachi s return to Iraq in 2003 after thirty seven years in exile to head a committee charged with drafting a new constitution and bill of rights The movie focuses on the tortuous process of trying to resolve con icts created by the demands of the United States and the expectations of Iraqis as well as the realities of everyday life in Iraq in 2003 An Empire of Reason 1998 A thought provoking answer to an intriguing what if question What if the rati cation debates were held using the media tools of the twenty rst century speci cally television Amistad 1997 This lm depicts the mutiny and subsequent trial of Africans aboard the ship Amistad in 18391840 Viewers get a glimpse of the intense civic discourse over slavery in the period leading up to the Civil War Resources for Research and Action I 71 ity on states And in 2007 s 54 decision striking down two local schoolintegration laws the conservative majority came close to imposing a colorblind Constitution vi sion of equal protection that may be good policy but which is hard to nd in the 14th Amendment s original meaning In the gun case as justice Breyer argued the majority s decision threatens severely to limit the ability of more knowledgeable democratically elected of cials to deal with gunrelated problems Of course Breyer s solicitude for elected of cials disappears when the issue is whether they should be able to execute rapists of children or ban an especially grisly abortion method If originalism does not deliver on its promises to channel judicial discretion and constrain judicial usurpations of elected of cials power what good is it Indeed it seems almost perverse to be assessing what gun controls to allow based not on examining how best to save lives but on seeking to read the minds of the men who rati ed the Bill of Rights well over 200 years ago The originalist approach seems especially odd when it comes down to arguing over such matters as whether 18thcentury lawyers agreed as Scalia contends that a prefatory clause does not limit or expand the scope of the operative clause and whether as Ste vens contends the phrase bear arms most naturally conveys a military meaning and the Second Amendment does not protect a right to keep and to bear arms but rather a right to keep and bear arms emphasis in original The justices may as well have tried reading the entrails of dead hamsters P P P the name of enforcing the Constitution Is the answer to embrace liberals living Constitution jurisprudence which roughly translates to reading into the 18thcentury document whichever meaning and values the justices consider most fundamental By no means Rather in the many cases in which nothing close to consensus about the meaning of the Constitution is attainable the justices should leave the lawmaking to elected of cials Now it seems that the originalist view of the Constitution is indeed incapable of tell ing today s judges what to do not at least with any consistency from one judge to the next So is judicial review itself obsolete Not quite judicial review remains valu able perhaps indispensable because it helps provide the stability and protection for liberty inherent in our tripartite separation of powers with the legislative executive and judicial branches serving as the three legs of a stool and with each potent enough to check abuses and excesses by the others The June 12 decision rebuf ng President Bush s and Congress s denial of fair hear ings to Guantanamo detainees proclaiming their innocence is a case in point But the broad wording of Kennedy s majority opin ion joined by the four liberals went too far by flirting with a hubristic vision of unprec edented judicial power to intrude deeply into the conduct of foreign wars Indeed not one ofthe ninejustices seems to have a modest understanding of his or her powers to set national policy in the name of enforcing the Constitution But the other branches and most voters seem content with raw judicial policymaking except when they don t like the policies For better or worse what Scalia has called the impe rial judiciary sometimes liberal some times conservative seems here to stay Given this the best way to restrain judi cial imperialism may be for the president and the Senate to worry less about whether prospective justices are liberal or conser vative and more about whether they have a healthy sense of their own fallibility I THEN judicial review is a cornerstone of our democractic process and essential to the separation of powers in modern government I 0F The claim to knowing the original meaning of the constitution is fraught with dif culties and often appears colored by political agendas I NEXT Do the intentions of the Constitution s framers still matter in considering issues like gun control When they re ambiguous how would you attempt to deduce what those intentions were Do you think the constitution is a living document or are you an originalist Should the 2nd Amendment be read to mean that every individual has a right to a rearm Where should that protection be gin and end gtThe Preamble states that the People are creating a new government which is described in the Constitution The Preamble also decrees that it is the mission ofthis new government to serve the people betterthan did the government established by the Articles of Confederation which had been in effect since before the end of the War for Independence gtThe Constitution divides the responsibility for the three inherent func tions of government making laws administering laws and resolving conflicts in the interpretation of laws as well as judging violations of them amongthree branches Article I presents the organization proce dures and authority ofthe lawmaking branch the Congress a bicameral twochamber legislature comprising the House of Representatives and the Senate gt House members are elected to serve a twoyear term initially only those citizens eligible to vote for members of their state39s legislature were eligible to vote for members of the House of Representatives Today all citizens 18 years of age and older are guaranteed the right to vote in all national elections gtThe Constitution specifies only three qualifications to be elected to the House you must be at least 25 years old you must be a US citizen for at least seven years so a foreignborn naturalized citizen can be a House member and you must be a resident ofthe state you will represent By tradition House members live in the district that they represent gtThe number of seats in the House increased as the population of each state grew until 1911 when Congress set the number of House seats at 435 Congress distributes these seats among the fifty states according to each state39s share of the total population as determined by a census official count ofthe country39s inhabitants conducted every ten years Every state must have at least one seat in the House The threefifths clause decreed that when conducting the census the government would not count Native Americans and would count each slave as threefifths of a person while counting every other inhabitant as one person The Thirteenth Amendment 1865 abolished slavery and the Fourteenth Amendment 1868 repealed the threefifths clause Today every inhabitant of the United States is counted as one person in the census and House seats are redistributed every ten years based on the census to ensure that each House member is elected by and therefore represents approximately the same number of people 74 The Constitution of the United States of America if E Preamble e the People of the United States in Order to form a more perfect Union establish Justice insure domestic Tranquility provide for the common defence promote the general Welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity do ordain and estab lish this Constitution for the United States of America A RT I C L E I Legislative Branch Section 1 Bicameral Legislative Branch All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives Section 2 The House of Representatives Clause 1 The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States and the Electors in each State shall have the Quali cations requisite for Elec tors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature Clause 2 No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have at tained to the age of twenty ve Years and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States and who shall not when elected be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen Clause 3 Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union accord ing to their respective Numbers which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons including those bound to Service for a Term of Years and excluding Indians not taxed three fths of all other Persons The actual Enumeration shall be made Within three Years after the rst Meeting of the Congress of the United States and within every subsequent Term of ten Years in such Manner as they shall by Law direct The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand but each State shall have at Least one Representative and until such enumeration shall be made the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three Massachusetts eight RhodeIsland and Providence Plantations one Connecticut ve NewYork six New Jer sey four Pennsylvania eight Delaware one Maryland six Virginia ten North Carolina ve South Carolina ve and Georgia three Clause 4 When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to ll such Vacancies Clause 5 The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Of cers and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment POLITICAL INQUIRY Because members of the House of Representa tives run for reelection every two years they are perpetually raising money for and worrying about their next election campaign Recently an amendment was introduced that would increase their term from two to four years What would be the consequences of such a change How would this change make members of the House more or less responsive to their constituents concerns Section 3 The Senate Clause 1 The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Sen ators from each State chosen by the Legislature thereof for six Years and each Senator shall have one Vote Clause 2 Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the rst Election they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes The Seats of the Senators of the rst Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year of the second Class at the Expira tion of the fourth Year and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year so that one third may be chosen every second Year and if Vacancies happen by Resignation or otherwise during the Recess of the Legislature of any State the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature which shall then ll such Vacancies Clause 3 No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States and who shall not when elected be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen Clause 4 The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate but shall have no Vote unless they be equally divided Clause 5 The Senate shall chuse their other Of cers and also a Presi dent pro tempore in the Absence of the Vice President or when he shall exercise the Of ce of President of the United States Clause 6 The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments When sitting for that Purpose they shall be on Oath or Af rmation When the President of the United States is tried the Chief Justice shall preside And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present Clause 7 Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Of ce and disquali cation to hold and enjoy any Of ce of honor Trust or Pro t under the United States but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment Trial Judgment and Punishment according to Law POLITICAL INQUIRY The framers of the Constitution who did not expect members of Congress to serve more than one or two terms would be shocked to learn that Strom Thurmond served in the Senate for fortyseven years and was 100 years old when he retired in 2003 Senator Robert C Byrd DWest Virginia who was rst elected to the Senate in 1959 is now the longestserving gtGovernors have the authority to call for a special election to fill any of their state39s House seats that become vacant gt House members select their presiding officer the Speaker of the House The Speaker is in line to succeed the president if both the president and the vice president are unable to serve The Constitution gives the House a check on officials ofthe executive and judicial branches through its power of impeachment the power to accuse such officials formally of offenses such as treason bribery and abuse of power lfthe officials are subse quently found guilty in a trial held by the Senate they are removed from office gt Initially senators were selected by the members of their state39s legis lature not by their state39s voters The Seventeenth Amendment 1913 changed this election process today senators are elected by the voters in their state This amendment also authorized each state39s governor to call for elections to fill vacancies as well as authorizing the state39s legislature to determine how its state39s vacant Senate seats would be temporarily filled until the election of a new senator gt Every evennumbered year congressional elections are held in which onethird ofthe Senate39s 100 seats and all 435 House seats are up for election Every state elects two senators who serve sixyear terms gtSenators must be at least 30 years old either naturalborn citizens or immigrants who have been citizens for at least nine years and like mem bers of the House residents of the state they are elected to represent gtThe vice president serves as the president ofthe Senate with the author ity to preside over meetings ofthe Senate and to vote when there is a tie gtAlthough the first few vice presidents did preside over daily meetings of the Senate the vice president rarely does so today leaving that task instead to the president pro tempore a senator elected by the other sena tors to preside in the vice president39s absence gtThe Senate exercises a check on officials ofthe executive and judicial branches of the federal government by trying them once they have been impeached by the House of Representatives gt lfthe Senate convicts an impeached official he or she is removed from office and may be subject to prosecution in the criminal courts The Constitution of the United States of America I 75 gtThough states have the authority to organize and conduct elections today they rely heavily on local governments to assist them Congress has passed numerous laws to ensure constitutionally guaranteed voting rights The first such law was passed shortly after ratification ofthe Fifteenth Amendment to criminalize attempts to deny black men their newly won right to vote Congress has also enacted laws to make voter registration easier For example a 1996 federal law requires states to allow citizens to register to vote through the mail gt Congress must meet at least once each year Since ratification ofthe Twentieth Amendment 1933 the regular annual session of Congress begins on January 3 of each year however the Twentieth Amendment gives Congress the authority to change the date on which its session begins gt Each chamber decides whether the election of each of its members is legitimate A majority ofthe members of each chamber must be present to conduct business at least 218 members forthe House and 51 senators for the Senate gtAfter each congressional election both the House and the Senate determine how they will conduct their business and each chamber selects from among its members a presiding officer Moreover the members of each chamber establish codes of behavior which they use to judge and if necessary punish members misconduct gtThe House and the Senate must keep and publish records oftheir proceedings including a record of all votes for and against proposals except those that they decide require secrecy However if onefifth of the members of a chamber demand that a vote be recorded it must be recorded Congress publishes a record of its debates called the Congres sional Record gtTo close down business for more than three days during a session or to conduct business at another location each chamber needs to get approval from the other one This ensures that one chamber cannot stop the legisla tive process by refusing to meet gtToday each member of Congress earns 150000 per year paid by taxes collected by the national government Members of Congress are protected from civil lawsuits and criminal prosecution forthe work they do as leg islators They are also protected from arrest while Congress is in session except for a charge of treason of committing a felony or of committing a breach of the peace gtTo ensure the separation of basic governingfunctions no member of Congress can hold another federal position while serving in the House or Senate Moreover members of Congress cannot be appointed to a posi tion in the executive orjudicial branch that was created during their term of office 76 The Constitution of the United States of America senator Concerned about such longevity in of ce some have proposed a consti tutional amendment that would limit the number of times a House member or a senator could win reelection to the same seat How would term limits bene t citizens What problems might term limits cause Section 4 Congressional Elections Clause 1 The Times Places and Manner of holding Elections for Sena tors and Representatives shall be prescribed in each State by the Legis lature thereof but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations except as to the Places of chusing Senators POLITICAL INQUIRY Voter turnout the percentage of eligible vot ers that vote on election day has increased in Oregon since that state changed its laws to allow voters to vote by mail Proponents of allowing citizens to vote by mail argue that democracy is enhanced when more citizens participate in elec tions What are some additional arguments that could be made in support of a national law allowing citizens to vote by mail What are some arguments that could be made against such a national law Clause 2 The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day Section 5 Powers and Responsibilities of the House Clause 1 Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections Returns and Quali cations of its own Members and a Majority of each shall con stitute a Quorum to do Business but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members in such Manner and under such Penalties as each House may provide Clause 2 Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings pun ish its Members for disorderly Behaviour and with the Concurrence of two thirds expel a Member Clause 3 Each House shall keep aJournal of its Proceedings and from time to time publish the same excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall at the Desire of one fth of those Present be entered on the Journal Clause 4 Neither House during the Session of Congress shall without the Consent of the other adjourn for more than three days nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting Section 6 Rights of Congressional Members Clause 1 The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensa tion for their Services to be ascertained by Law and paid out of the Treasury of the United States They shall in all Cases except Treason Felony and Breach of the Peace be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses and in going to and returning from the same and for any Speech or Debate in either House they shall not be questioned in any other Place Clause 2 N 0 Senator or Representative shall during the Time for which he was elected be appointed to any civil Of ce under the Authority of the United States which shall have been created or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time and no Person holding any Of ce under the United States shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Of ce Section 7 The Legislative Process Clause 1 All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives but the Senate may propose or concur with amend ments as on other Bills Clause 2 Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representa tives 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 theirjournal and proceed to reconsider it If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill it shall be sent together with the Objections to the other House by which it shall likewise be reconsid ered and if approved by two thirds of that House it shall become a Law But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the journal of each House respectively If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days Sundays excepted after it shall have been presented to him the Same shall be a Law in like Manner as if he had signed it unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return in which Case it shall not be a Law Clause 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 POLITICAL INQUIRY The presidential veto power is limited to an allornothing decision Presidents must either approve or veto entire bills they cannot approve part of a bill and veto other parts of it Many who worry about the national debt have called for a new type of presidential veto a lineitem veto This type of veto would authorize the president to overrule parts of a bill that provide spending authority while approving other parts of the same bill Would giving the president authority to exercise a lineitem veto make it easier for the national gov ernment to enact a balanced annual budget a budget in which the money spent in the budget year is equal to or less than the money raised in that year Why or why not What arguments might members of Congress make against giving the president a lineitem veto hence giving up their nal say on spending bills Section 8 The Lawmaking Authority of Congress Clause 1 The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes Du ties Imposts and Excises to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States but all Duties Im posts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States Clause 2 To borrow Money on the credit of the United States POLITICAL INQUIRY Some economists politicians and citizens fear that the national debt harms the United States by limiting the amount of money available to invest in growing the economy Moreover citizens worry that their children and grandchildren saddled with the obligation of paying back this debt gtThis section details the legislative process gtWhile all revenueraising bills such as tax bills must originate in the House the Senate reviews them has the authority to make modifications and ultimately the House and the Senate must approve the identical bill for it to become law gtAfter both the House and the Senate approve by a simple majority vote in each chamber the identical bill it is sent to the president for approval or rejection The president has ten days in which to act orthe bill will automatically become law unless Congress has adjourned in which case the bill dies a pocket veto lfthe president signs the bill within ten days it becomes law lfthe president rejects vetoes the bill he or she sends it back to the chamber of its origin with objections Congress can then rewrite the vetoed bill and send the revised bill through the legisla tive process Or Congress can attempt to override the veto by garnering a supermajority vote of approval twothirds majority in each chamber gtThe president must approve or veto everything that Congress approves except its vote to adjourn or any resolutions that do not have the force of law gtThis section specifies the constitutionally established congressional powers These powers are limited to those listed and any other powers that Congress believes are necessary and proper in order for Congress to ful fill its listed powers Congress has used the necessary and proper clause Clause 18 tojustify laws that expand its listed powers Laws that appear to go beyond the listed powers can be challenged in the courts with the Supreme Court ultimately deciding their constitutionality gtThe power to raise money and to authorize spending it for common defense and the general welfare is one of the most essential powers of Congress The Sixteenth Amendment 1913 authorizes a national income tax which was not previously possible given the uniformity requirement in Clause 1 gtToday after years of borrowing money to pay current bills the national government has a debt of over 9 trillion The Constitution of the United States of America I 77 gt With the Supreme Court39s support Congress has interpreted Clause 3 in a way that has allowed it to expand its involvement in the economy and the daily lives of US citizens using this clause to regulate business as well as to outlaw racial segregation However state governments have fre quently challenged Congress39s expansion of power by way of the commerce clause when they believe that Congress is infringing on their constitutional authority gt Congress has the authority to establish the process by which foreign ers become citizens Clause 4 Recently national legislation has made it more difficult for individuals to file for bankruptcy gtThe authority to make and regulate money as well as to standardize weights and measures is essential to the regulation of commerce Clause 5 gt Congress exercised its authority under Clause 9 to create the federal court system other than the Supreme Court which was established under Article III ofthe Constitution gt Every nation in the world possesses the authority to establish its own laws regarding crimes outside its borders and violations of international law Clause 10 gt Clauses 11 through 15 collectively delegate to Congress the authority to raise and support military troops to enact rules to regulate the troops to call the troops to action and to declare war However the president as commander in chief Article II has the authority to wage war Presidents have committed armed troops without a declaration of war leading to disputes over congressional and presidential war powers Clause 11 also provides Congress with the authority to hire an individual for the purpose of retaliating against another nation for some harm it has caused the United States that is to provide a letter of Marque an outdated practice gtClauses 15 and 16 guarantee the states the right to maintain and train a militia today s National Guard but state control ofthe militia is sub ordinate to national control when the national government needs the support ofthese militias to ensure that laws are executed to suppress domestic uprisings and to repel invasion gt Congress has the authority to govern Washington DC which is the seat of the national government Today citizens living in Washington DC elect local government officials to govern the city with congressional oversight The national government also governs federal lands throughout the states that are used forfederal purposes such as military installations 78 The Constitution of the United States of America may face limited government services Therefore there have been repeated calls for a balanced budget amendment which would force Congress to spend no more than the money it raises in each budget year What arguments might the members of Congress elected of cials who want to be reelected put forth against rati ca tion of a balanced budget amendment What national situations might require spending more money than is raised in a budget year Clause 3 To regulate Commerce with foreign N ations and among the several States and with the Indian Tribes Clause 4 To establish an uniform Rule of N aturalization and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States Clause 5 To coin Money regulate the Value thereof and of foreign Coin and x the Standard of Weights and Measures Clause 6 To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securi ties and current Coin of the United States Clause 7 To establish Post Offices and post Roads Clause 8 To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts by secur ing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries Clause 9 To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court Clause 10 To de ne and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas and Offences against the Law of Nations Clause 11 To declare War grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water Clause 12 To raise and support Armies but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years Clause 13 To provide and maintain a Navy Clause 14 To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces Clause 15 To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions Clause 16 To provide for organizing arming and disciplining the Mi litia and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States reserving to the States respectively the Ap pointment of the Officers and the Authority of training the Militia ac cording to the discipline prescribed by Congress POLITICAL INQUIRY Several state governments speci cally states that have needed their National Guard troops to help with crises such as massive forest res have raised questions about the right of the national government to send National Guard troops to Iraq Imagine you are arguing in front of the Su preme Court on behalf of the states What argument would you make to support the states claim that the national government does not have the right to send National Guard troops to Iraq Now imagine that you are arguing in front of the Court on behalf of the national government What argument would you make to support the right of the national government to send National Guard troops any where in the world Clause 17 To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever over such District not exceeding ten Miles square as may by Cession of Particular States and the Acceptance of Congress become the Seat of the Government of the United States and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be for the Erection of Forts Magazines Ar senals dockYards and other needful Buildings And POLITICAL INQUIRY Article IV of the Constitution delegates to Congress the authority to admit new states to the union The citizens of Washing ton DC have petitioned Congress to become a state What would be the bene ts of making Washington DC a state What problems might arise if Washington DC were to become a state Clause 18 To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States or in any Department or Officer thereof Section 9 Prohibitions on Congress Clause 1 The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit shall not be prohib ited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation not ex ceeding ten dollars for each Person Clause 2 The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be sus pended unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it Clause 3 No Bill ofAttainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed Clause 4 No Capitation or other direct Tax shall be laid unless in Proportion to the Census of Enumeration herein before directed to be taken Clause 5 No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State Clause 6 No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another nor shall Ves sels bound to or from one State be obliged to enter clear or pay Duties in another Clause 7 No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in Conse quence of Appropriations made by Law and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time Clause 8 No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States And no Person holding any Of ce of Pro t or Trust under them shall without the Consent of the Congress accept of any present Emolu ment Of ce or Title of any kind whatever from any King Prince or foreign State Section 10 Prohibitions on the States Clause 1 No State shall enter into any Treaty Alliance or Confedera tion grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal coin Money emit Bills of Credit make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts pass any Bill of Attainder ex post facto Law or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts or grant any Title of Nobility Clause 2 No State shall without the Consent of the Congress lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports except what may be abso lutely necessary for executing its inspection Laws and the net Produce ofall Duties and Imposts laid by any State on Imports or Exports shall gtCause 18 grants Congress authority to make all laws it deems necessary and properto fulfill its responsibilities underthe Constitution including those listed in Section 8 This clause also authorizes Congress to pass laws it deems necessary to ensure that the other two branches are able to fulfill their responsibilities Congress has also used this clause to expand its powers gtArticle l Section 9 limits Congress s lawmaking authority and mandates that Congress be accountable to the people in how it spends the public s money gtCause 1 barred Congress from passing laws to prohibit the slave trade until 1808 at the earliest The Thirteenth Amendment 1865 made slavery illegal gtClauses 2 and 3 guarantee protections to those accused of crimes Clause 2 establishes the right of imprisoned persons to challenge their imprisonment in court through a writ ofhabeas corpus It notes that Congress can deny the right to a writ of habeas corpus during times of a rebellion or invasion if public safety is at risk gtCongress cannot pass laws that declare a person or a group of people guilty of an offense Bills of Attainder Only courts have the authority to determine guilt Congress is also prohibited from passing a law that pun ishes a person tomorrow for an action he or she tookthat was legal today ex post facto law gtCause 4 prohibits Congress from directly taxing individual people such as imposing an income tax The Sixteenth Amendment 1913 authorized congressional enactment of a direct income tax on individual people gt Congress is prohibited from taxing goods that are exported from any state either those sent to foreign lands or to other states Clause 5 gt Congress cannot favor any state over another in its regulation of trade Clause 6 gtThe national government can spend money only as authorized by Con gress through enacted laws no more than authorized and only forthe purpose authorized and must present a public accounting of revenues and expenditures gtCongress cannot grant individuals special rights privileges or a position in government based on their heredity birth into a family designated as nobility which is how kings queens and other officials were granted their positions in the British monarchy In addition federal officials cannot ac cept gifts from foreign nations except those Congress allows which today are gifts of minimal value gtCause 1 specifically prohibits states from engaging in several activi ties that the Constitution delegates to the national government including engaging in foreign affairs and creating currency In addition it extends several ofthe prohibitions on Congress to the states gtCause 2 prevents states from interfering in foreign trade without con gressional approval The Constitution of the United States of America I 79 gt States cannot without congressional approval levy import taxes sign agreements or treaties with foreign nations or enter into compacts agree ments with other states gt Article II outlines the authority of the president and the vice president and the process oftheir selection gtThe Constitution delegates to the president the authority to administer the executive branch ofthe national government The term of office for the president and his vice president is four years No term limit was specified until President Franklin D Roosevelt there was a tradition of a twoterm limit President Roosevelt served four terms gtThe Electoral College system was established as a compromise between those who wanted citizens to elect the president directly and others who wanted Congress to elect the president Each state government has the authority to determine how their state39s electors will be selected gt Electors who are selected through processes established by the legis latures of each state have the authority to select the president and the vice president Citizens votes determine who their state39s electors will be Electors are individuals selected by officials of the state39s political parties to participate in the Electoral College ifthe party wins the presidential vote in the state Before passage ofthe Twelfth Amendment 1804 each elector had two votes The candidate receiving the majority of votes won the presidency and the candidate with the second highest number of votes won the vice presidency Today when the electors meet as the Electoral College each elector casts one vote for the presidency and one vote for the vice presidency If no presidential candidate wins a majority ofthe electoral votes the House selects the president If no vicepresidential candidate wins a majority of the electoral votes the Senate selects the vice president 80 The Constitution of the United States of America be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress Clause 3 No State shall without the Consent of Congress lay any Duty of Tonnage keep Troops or Ships of War in time of Peace enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State or with a foreign Power or engage in War unless actually invaded or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay A RT I C L E I I Executive Branch Section 1 Executive Powers of the President Clause 1 The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America He shall hold his Of ce during the Term of four Years and together with the Vice President chosen for the same Term be elected as follows Clause 2 Each State shall appoint in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct a Number of Electors equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress but no Senator or Representative or Person holding an Of ce of Trust or Pro t under the United States shall be appointed an Elector Clause 3 The Electors shall meet in their respective States and vote by Ballot for two Persons of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for and of the Number of Votes for each which List they shall sign and certify and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Govern ment of the United States directed to the President of the Senate The President of the Senate shall in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives open all the Certi cates and the Votes shall then be counted The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Elec tors appointed and if there be more than one who have such Majority and have an equal Number of Votes then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President and if no Person have a Majority then from the ve highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President But in chusing the President the Votes shall be taken by States the Representatives from each State having one Vote a quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds ofthe States and a Majority ofall the States shall be necessary to a Choice In every Case after the Choice of the President the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President POLITICAL INQUIRY The Electoral College system is criticized for many reasons Some argue that deciding the presidential election by any vote other than that of the citizens is undemocratic Others complain that in 2000 the system allowed George W Bush to become president even though he had not won the popular vote Many argue that the Electoral College system should be eliminated and replaced by direct popular election of the president and the vice president What isare the bene ts of eliminating the Electoral College What might be the potential harm to the nation of eliminating the Electoral College Clause 4 The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Elec tors and the Day on which they shall give their Votes which Day shall be the same throughout the United States Clause 5 No Person except a natural born Citizen or a Citizen of the United States at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution shall be eligible to the Of ce of President neither shall any person be eligible to that Of ce who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty ve Years and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States POLITICAL INQUIRY With the success of foreignborn politicians like Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Senator Mel Martinez some have argued for a constitutional amendment to allow foreignborn citizens to be eligible for the presidency Congress has proposed an amendment that would allow a non nativeborn citizen who has been a citizen for at least twenty years to be eligible for the presidency Should the Constitution be amended so that foreignborn citizens would be eligible to become president of the United States Why or why not How would such an amendment change the nature of the presidential of ce Clause 6 In Case of the Removal of the President from Of ce or of his Death Resignation or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Of ce the Same shall devolve on the Vice President and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal Death Resigna tion or Inability both of the President and Vice President declaring what Of cer shall then act as President and such Officer shall act accordingly until the Disability be removed or a President shall be elected Clause 7 The President shall at stated Times receive for his Services a Compensation which shall neither be encreased nor diminished dur ing the Period for which he shall have been elected and he shall not re ceive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States or any of them Clause 8 Before he enter on the Execution of his Of ce he shall take the following Oath or Aff1rmation I do solemnly swear or af rm that I will faithfully execute the Of ce of President of the United States and will to the best of my Ability preserve protect and defend the Constitu tion of the United States Section 2 Powers of the President Clause 1 The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States and of the Militia of the several States when called into the actual Service of the United States he may require the Opinion in writing of the principal Officer in each of the executive De partments upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Of fences against the United States except in Cases of Impeachment POLITICAL INQUIRY It has become a tradition for presidents to pardon numerous individuals just before leaving of ce A constitutional amend ment to require the approval of a twothirds majority of the Supreme Court for any pardon granted by the president has been proposed in Congress Should the president39s authority to pardon federal prisoners be checked by the Supreme Court Why or why not gtToday by law national elections are held on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November in evennumbered years During presidential election years the electors gather in their state capitals on the Monday after the second Wednesday in December to vote for the president and the vice president When Congress convenes in January after the presidential election its members count the electoral ballots and formally announce the newly elected president and vice president gtThe president and the vice president must be at least 35 years old and must have lived within the United States for at least fourteen years Unlike the citizenship qualification for members ofthe House and Senate the president and vice president must be naturalborn citizens they cannot be immigrants who have become citizens after arriving in the United States Therefore prominent public figures such as California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who was born in Austria Madeleine Albright secretary of state under President Clinton who was born in what is now the Czech Republic and Senator Mel Martinez RFlorida who was born in Cuba could never be elected president gtClause 6 states that the powers and duties ofthe presidency are trans ferred to the vice president when the president is no longer able to fulfill them It also states that Congress can pass legislation to indicate who shall act as president if both the president and the vice president are unable to fulfill the president39s powers and duties The acting president would serve until the disability is removed or a new president is elected The TwentyFifth Amendment 1967 clarifies when the vice president acts as president temporarily such as when the president undergoes surgery and when the vice president actually becomes president gtCurrently the president39s salary is 400000 per year plus numerous benefits including a nontaxable expense account gt Under the Constitution the authority to ensure that laws are carried out is delegated to the president The president and the vice president are elected to serve concurrent fouryear terms The call for a term limit fol lowed President Franklin Roosevelt39s election to a fourth term The Twenty Second Amendment 1951 established a twoterm limit for presidents gtThe president is the commander ofthe military and ofthe National Guard militia ofthe several states when it is called to service by the president When they are not called to service by the president the state divisions ofthe National Guard are commanded by their governors The president is authorized to establish the cabinet the presidential advisory body com prising the top officials secretaries of each department ofthe executive branch As the chief executive officer the president can exercise a check on the judicial branch by decreasing or eliminating sentences and even pardoning eliminating guilty verdicts of federal prisoners The Constitution of the United States of America I 81 gtThe Constitution provides a check on the president39s authority to negoti ate treaties and appoint foreign ambassadors top officials in the executive branch and Supreme Courtjustices by requiring that treaties be ratified or appointments confirmed by the Senate Congress can create additional executive branch positions and federal courts and can decree how these legislatively created positions will be filled gt lfvacancies occur when the Senate is not in session and is therefore not available to confirm presidential appointees the president can fill the vacancies The appointees serve through the end of the congressional session gt As chief executive officer of the nation the president is required to ensure that laws are properly implemented by overseeing the executive branch agencies to be sure they are doing the work of government as established in law The president is also required from time to time to give an assessment ofthe status ofthe nation to Congress and to make recom mendations for the good ofthe country This has evolved into the annual televised State ofthe Union Address which is followed within days by the presentation ofthe president39s budget proposal to Congress The president can also call special sessions of Congress gt Presidents vice presidents and other federal officials can be removed from office ifthe members ofthe House of Representatives formally ac cuse them oftreason giving assistance to the nation39s enemies bribery or other vaguely defined abuses of power high Crimes and Misdemean ors and twothirds ofthe Senate find them guilty ofthese charges gtArticle III presents the organization and authority ofthe US Supreme Court and delegates to Congress the authority to create other courts as its members deem necessary gtTo ensure thatjudges make neutral and objective decisions and are pro tected from political influences federal judges serve until they retire die or are impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate in addition Congress cannot decrease a judge39s pay 82 The Constitution of the United States of America Clause 2 He shall have Power by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate to make Treaties provided two thirds of the Senators pres ent concur and he shall nominate and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate shall appoint Ambassadors other public Min isters and Consuls Judges of the supreme Court and all other Of cers of the United States whose Appointments are not herein otherwise pro vided for and which shall be established by Law but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers as they think proper in the President alone in the Courts of Law or in the Heads of Departments Clause 3 The President shall have Power to ll up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session POLITICAL INQUIRY In recent years Presidents Clinton and Bush have both taken advantage of the constitutional loophole that allows presidents to appoint people without Senate con rmation to make controversial appointments Should the Constitution be amended to limit further the time an appointee who has not been con rmed can serve by requiring the Senate to consider the appoint ment when it next reconvenes Why or why not Section 3 Responsibilities of the President He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information on the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such Mea sures as he shall judge necessary and expedient he may on extraordi nary Occasions convene both Houses or either of them and in Case of Disagreement between them with Respect to the Time of Adjourn ment he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed and shall Commission all the Of cers of the United States Section 4 Impeachment The President Vice President and all Civil Of cers of the United States shall be removed from Of ce on Impeachment for and Conviction of Treason Bribery or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors A RT I C L E I I I Judicial Branch Section 1 Federal Courts and Rights of Judges The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish The Judges both of the supreme and inferior Courts shall hold their Of ces during good Behaviour and shall at stated Times receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Of ce POLITICAL INQUIRY Although age discrimination is illegal the government has allowed a retirement age to be established for some positions For example there is a retirement age for airline pilots and most states have established retirement ages for state judges What would be the arguments for or against amending the Constitution to establish a retirement age for federal judges Section 2 jurisdiction of Federal Courts Clause 1 The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases in Law and Eq uity arising under this Constitution the Laws of the United States and Treaties made or which shall be made under their Authority to all Cases affecting Ambassadors other public ministers and Consuls to all Cases of admiralty and maritime urisdiction to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party to Controversies between two or more States between a State and Citizens of another State between Citizens of different States between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States and between a State or the Citizens thereof and foreign States Citizens or Subjects POLITICAL INQUIRY Today there are nine Supreme Court justices yet the Constitution does not set a speci c number for Supreme Court justices With the increasing number of cases appealed to the Supreme Court what would be the arguments for or against increasing the number of Supreme Court justices Clause 2 In all Cases affecting Ambassadors other public Ministers and Consuls and those in which a State shall be Party the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction In all the other Cases before mentioned the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction both as to Law and Fact with such Exceptions and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make Clause 3 The Trial of all Crimes except in Cases of Impeachment shall be byjuryg and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed but when not committed within any State the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed Section 3 Treason Clause 1 Treason against the United States shall consist only in levy ing War against them or in adhering to their Enemies giving them Aid and Comfort No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act or on Confession in open Court Clause 2 The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted A RT I C L E I V StatetoState Relations Section 1 Full Faith and Credit of legal proceedings and decisions Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts Rec ords and judicial Proceedings of every other State And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts Records and Proceedings shall be proved and the Effect thereof POLITICAL INQUIRY States have had the authority to legally de ne marriage since before the Constitution was rati ed Today one of the many issues being debated is whether states with laws de ning marriage as a contract between one man and one woman need to give full faith and credit to a samesex marriage contract from a state where such marriages are legal such as Massachusetts The 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act DOMA decrees that state governments gt Federal courts have the authority to hear all lawsuits pertaining to national laws the Constitution ofthe United States and treaties They also have jurisdiction over cases involving citizens of different states and citi zens of foreign nations Note that the power ofjudicial review that is the power to declare acts of government officials or bodies unconstitutional is not enumerated in the Constitution gtThe Supreme Court hears cases involving foreign diplomats and cases in which states are a party Today such cases are rare For the most part the Supreme Court hears cases on appeal from lower federal courts gt Defendants accused of federal crimes have the right to a jury trial in a federal court located in the state in which the crime was committed gtThis clause defines treason as making war against the United States or helping its enemies At least two witnesses to the crime are required for a conviction gtThis clause prevents Congress from redefining treason Those found guilty oftreason can be punished but theirfamily members cannot be no Corruption of Blood gtArticle IV establishes the obligations states have to each other and to the citizens of other states gtStates must respect one another s legal judgments and records and a contract agreed to in one state is binding in the other states The Constitution of the United States of America I 83 gt No matter what state they find themselves in all US citizens are entitled to the same privileges and rights as the citizens of that state gt If requested by a governor of another state a state is obligated to return an accused felon to the state from which he or she fled gtThe Thirteenth Amendment 1865 eliminated a state39s obligation to return slaves fleeing from their enslavement in another state gt Congress can admit new states to the union but it cannot alter es tablished state borders without the approval ofthe states that would be affected by the change gtThe federal government has authority to administer all federal lands wherever they are located including national parks and historic sites as well as military installations gtThe national government must ensure that every state has a representa tive democracy protect each state from foreign invasion and assist states in addressing mass breaches of domestic tranquility Under this section Congress has authorized the president to send in federal troops to protect public safety During the civil rights movement for example federal troops ensured the safety of black students attending newly desegregated high schools and colleges gtArticle V details the process by which the Constitution can be amended gtAmendments can be proposed either by Congress or by a special con vention called at the request of the states States have the authority to ratify amendments to the Constitution threefourths of the state legisla tures must ratify an amendment for it to become part ofthe Constitution Every year dozens of constitutional amendments are proposed in Congress yet only twentyseven have been ratified since 1789 84 The Constitution of the United States of America do not have to give legal recognition to samesex marriage contracts from other states Complicating matters is the 1967 Supreme Court determination that mar riage is a basic civil right of man a right guaranteed to all citizens unless the government can show that it is necessary to deny some citizens this right in order to ful ll a compelling public interest Which level of government do you think has the right to de ne marriage Explain your choice Does the full faith and credit clause require states that deny marriage contracts to samesex couples to rec ognize legal samesex marriage contracts from other states Can you identify a compelling public interest that you believe can only be achieved by the government denying marriage contracts to samesex couples Section 2 Privileges and Immunities of Citizens Clause 1 The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States Clause 2 A Person charged in any State with Treason Felony or other Crime who shall ee from Justice and be found in another State shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he ed be delivered up to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime Clause 3 N 0 Person held to Service or Labour in one State under the Laws thereof escaping into another shall in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein be discharged from such Service or Labour but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due Section 3 Admission of New States Clause 1 New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States or Parts of States without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress Clause 2 The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Prop erty belonging to the United States and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States or of any particular State Section 4 National Government Obligations to the States The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Repub lican Form of Government and shall protect each of them against In vasion and on Application of the Legislature or of the Executive when the Legislature cannot be convened against domestic Violence A RT I C L E V Formal Constitutional Amendment Process The Congress whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it neces sary shall propose Amendments to this Constitution or on the Ap plication of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments which in either Case shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes as Part of this Constitution when rati ed by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States or by Conventions in three fourths thereof as the one or the other Mode of Rati cation may be proposed by the Congress Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the rst and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the rst Article and that no State with out its Consent shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate A RT I C L E V I Supremacy of the Constitution Clause 1 All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into before the Adoption of this Constitution shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution as under the Confederation Clause 2 This Constitution and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof and all Treaties made or which shall be made under the Authority of the United States shall be the supreme Law of the Land and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any state to the Con trary notwithstanding Clause 3 The Senators and Representatives before mentioned and the Members of the several State Legislatures and all executive and judicial Of cers both of the United States and of the several States shall be bound by Oath or Af rmation to support this Constitution but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Quali cation to any Of ce or public Trust under the United States A RT I C L E V I I Constitutional Rati cation Process Clause 1 The Rati cation of the Conventions of nine States shall be suf cient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the same Clause 2 Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names G Washington Presid t and deputy from Virginia gtArticle Vl decrees that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land gtThis provision states that the new federal government created by the Constitution was responsible for the financial obligations ofthe national government created by the Articles of Confederation gtThe Constitution and all laws made to fulfill its mission that are in compliance with it is the supreme law ofthe land no one is above the supreme law of the land gtAll national and state officials must take an oath promisingto uphold the Constitution This article also prohibits the government from requiring officeholders to submit to a religious test or swear a religious oath hence supporting a separation of government and religion gtArticle Vll outlines the process by which the Constitution will be ratified gtWhen the Constitutional Convention presented the proposed second constitution the Constitution of the United States to the states for rati fication the Articles of Confederation the first constitution were still in effect The Articles required agreement from all thirteen states to amend it which some argued meant that all thirteen states had to agree to replace the Articles of Confederation with the Constitution Yet the proposed second constitution decreed that it would replace the Articles when nine states had ratified it The first Congress met under the Constitution of the United States in 1789 New Hampshire John Langdon Nicholas Gilman Delaware George Read Massachusetts Nathaniel Gorham Gunning Bedford Jr Rufus King John Dickinson Richard Bassett Connecticut William Samuel Johnson Jacob Broom Roger Sherman Maryland James McHenry New York Alexander Hamilton Daniel of St Thomas Jenifer Daniel Carroll NewJersey William Livingston David Brearley Virginia John Blair William Patterson James Madison Jr Jonathan Dayton North Carolina William Blount Pennsylvania Benjamin Franklin Richard Dobbs Spaight Thomas Mif in Hugh Williamson Robert Morris George Clymer South Carolina John Rutledge Thomas FitzSimons Charles Cotesworth Pinckney Jared Ingersoll Charles Pinckney James Wilson Pierce Butler William Few Abraham Baldwin Georgia Gouverneur Morris The Constitution of the United States of America I 85 gt Government cannot make laws that limit freedom of expression which includes freedom of religion speech and the press as well as the freedom to assemble and to petition the government to address grievances None of these individual freedoms is absolute however courts balance the protection of individual freedoms as provided for in this Constitution with the protection of public safety including national security gtToday states and the federal government balance the right of the people to own guns with the need to protect the public gt Military troops cannot take control of private homes during peacetime gt Government officials must obtain approval before they search or seize a person s property The approval must come either from the person whose private property they are searching or seizing or from a judge who determines that the government is justified in taking this action in order to protect public safety and therefore signs a search warrant 86 The Constitution of the United States of America Amendments to the Constitution ofthe United States ofAmericcz THE BILL OF RIGHTS AMENDMENTS I X RATIFIED IN 1791 Amendment I 1791 Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances POLITICAL INQUIRY Currently freedom of speech protects symbolic speech such as the burning of the US flag to make a statement of protest What reasons are there to amend the Constitution to make burning the flag unconstitu tional and hence a form of speech that is not protected by the Constitution What reasons are there not to do so Amendment II 1791 A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed POLITICAL INQUIRY Does the phrase a well regulated Militia limit the right to bear arms to those engaged in protecting public peace and safety Why or why not Amendment III 1791 No Soldier shall in time of peace be quartered in any house without the consent of the Owner nor in time of war but in a manner to be pre scribed by law Amendment IV 1791 The right of the people to be secure in their persons houses papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated and no Warrants shall issue but upon probable cause sup ported by Oath or af rmation and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized POLITICAL INQUIRY Since the terrorist attacks on September 11 2001 the national government has tried to balance the right of people to be secure in their person and property with public safety and national security What reasons have the president and members of Congress offered in defense of allow ing intelligence agencies to bypass the requirement to get judicial permission to conduct searches or seizures of phone records of suspected terrorists How valid are those reasons In your opinion can they be reconciled with constitutional protections Amendment V 1791 No person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury except in cases arising in the land or naval forces or in the Militia when in actual service in time of War or public danger nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against him self nor be deprived of life liberty or property without due process of law nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation Amendment VI 1791 In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed which district shall have been previously ascertained by law and to be informed of the na ture and cause of the accusation to be confronted with the witnesses against him to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence POLITICAL INQUIRY The resources needed to provide an adequate defense in a criminal case can be quite steep For example to ensure a fair trial a lawyer may use government money to pay for expert witnesses Argue for or against the need to limit such expenditures for indigent defendants accused of serious crimes Amendment VII 1791 In Suits at common law where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars the right of trial by jury shall be preserved and no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States than according to the rules of the common law Amendment VIII 1791 Excessive bail shall not be required nor excessive nes imposed nor cruel and unusual punishments in icted POLITICAL INQUIRY When the Constitution was written imprison ment was viewed as cruel and unusual punishment of the convicted Today there is debate over whether the death penalty capital punishment is cruel and un usual Whatever your opinion is of the death penalty itself consider some of the techniques used by the government to put people to death Are they cruel and unusual Make a case for or against the use of lethal injection for example Amendment IX 1791 The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people Amendment X 1791 The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor prohibited by it to the States are reserved to the States respectively or to the people gtThe Fifth Amendment provides much more than the familiar protection against selfincrimination that we hear people who are testifying before Congress and the courts claim by taking the Fifth For example before the government can punish a person for a crime take away a person39s life liberty or pursuit of happiness it must follow certain procedures speci fied in law it must follow due process ofthe law The federal government guarantees those accused of federal crimes a grand jury hearing in which the government presents its evidence to a selected group of citizens who determine whether there is sufficient evidence to go to trial If a defen dant is found not guilty of a specific criminal offense he or she cannot be brought to trial again by the same government for the same offense If the government determines it needs private property for a public use the owner is compelled to sell the land and the government must pay a fair price based on the market value ofthe property gtThe Sixth Amendment outlines additional procedures that the govern ment must follow before taking away a person39s life liberty or pursuit of happiness People accused of crimes have the right to know what they are accused of doing to hear from witnesses against them and to defend themselves in a trial that is open to the public within a reasonable amount of time after the accusations are made An indigent very poor person is guaranteed a governmentprovided lawyer in serious criminal cases It is assumed all others can afford to hire a lawyer gt Either party the complainant or the person accused of causing harm or violating a contract in a federal civil lawsuit involving more than 20 can demand a jury trial gtThe Eighth Amendment protects those accused of crimes as well as those found guilty from overly punitive decisions Bail a payment to the government that can be required to avoid incarceration before and dur ingtrial cannot be set at an excessively high amount unless the judge determines that freedom for the accused would jeopardize public safety or that he or she might flee The punishment imposed on those convicted of crimes is expected to fit the crime it is to be reasonable given the sever ity ofthe crime Punishment cannot be excessive or cruel gtThe Ninth Amendment acknowledges that there are additional rights not listed in the preceding eight amendments that the government cannot deny to citizens The Supreme Court has interpreted the First Amendment Fifth Amendment and the Ninth Amendment to collectively provide indi viduals with a right to privacy gtThe Tenth Amendment acknowledges that state governments retain all authority they had before ratification of the Constitution that has not been delegated to the national government by the Constitution This amend ment was demanded by the AntiFederalists who opposed ratification of this Constitution The AntiFederalists feared that the national government would infringe on people39s freedoms and on the authority of the state governments The vagueness ofthe rights retained by the states continues to cause tensions and disputes between the state governments and the national government The Constitution of the United States of America I 87 gtThe courts have interpreted this amendment to mean that federal courts do not have the authority to hear lawsuits brought by citizens against their own state or against another state or brought by foreigners against a state gtThe presidential election in 1800 ended with a tie in Electoral College votes between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr Because the candidate with the most votes was to become president and the candidate with the second highest number of votes was to become vice president the tie meant that the job of selectingthe president was turned overto the House of Representatives The House selected Jefferson Calls to change the pro cedure were answered by the enactment of this amendment Today each elector has two votes one for a presidential candidate and one for a vice presidential candidate The presidential candidate who wins the majority of electoral votes wins the presidency and the same is true for the vice presidential candidate If no presidential candidate wins a majority ofthe votes the House selects the president If no vicepresidential candidate wins a majority of the votes the Senate selects the vice president gtThis amendment abolished slavery gtThis amendment extends the rights of citizenship to all those born in the United States and those who have become citizens through naturalization States are prohibited from denying US citizens their rights and privileges and must provide all people with due process before taking away their life liberty or pursuit of happiness States must also treat all people equally and fairly The courts have also used this section ofthe Fourteenth Amend ment to require that states ensure citizens their protections under the Bill of Rights 88 The Constitution of the United States of America Amendment XI 1795 The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to ex tend to any suit in law or equity commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State or by Citizens or Sub jects of any Foreign State Amendment XII 1804 The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and VicePresident one of whom at least shall not be an in habitant of the same state with themselves they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice President and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President and of all persons voted for as Vice President and of the number of votes for each which lists they shall sign and certify and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States directed to the President of the Senate The Presi dent of the Senate shall in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives open all the certi cates and the votes shall then be counted The person having the greatest Number of votes for Presi dent shall be the President if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed and if no person have such majority then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President the House of Representatives shall choose immediately by ballot the President But in choosing the President the votes shall be taken by states the representation from each state having one vote a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from twothirds of the states and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice And if the House of Represen tatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them before the fourth day of March next following then the VicePresident shall act as President as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President The person having the greatest number of votes as VicePresident shall be the VicePresident if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed and if no person have a majority then from the two highest numbers on the list the Senate shall choose the VicePresident a quorum for the purpose shall consist of twothirds of the whole number of Senators and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice But no person constitutionally ineligible to the of ce of President shall be eligible to that of VicePresident of the United States Amendment XIII 1865 Section 1 Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude except as a punish ment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted shall exist within the United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction Section 2 Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropri ate legislation Amendment XIV 1868 Section 1 All persons born or naturalized in the United States and sub ject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States nor shall any State deprive any person of life liberty or property without due process of law nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws POLITICAL INQUIRY Recently some citizens and politicians have claimed that illegal immigrants and their children who are citizens if they were born in the United States cost the nation39s taxpayers a great deal of money in public services guaranteed to all citizens including public education Argue for or against amending the Constitution to deny citizenship to those born in the United States to parents who are in the country illegally Section 2 Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers counting the whole number of persons in each State excluding Indians not taxed But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States Representatives in Congress the Execu tive and Judicial officers of a State or the members of the Legislature thereof is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State being twentyone years of age and citizens of the United States or in any way abridged except for participation in rebellion or other crime the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twentyone years of age in such State Section 3 No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress or elector of President and Vice President or hold any of ce civil or military under the United States or under any State who having pre viously taken an oath as a member of Congress or as an officer of the United States or as a member of any State legislature or as an execu tive or judicial officer of any State to support the Constitution of the United States shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof But Congress may by a vote of twothirds of each House remove such disability Section 4 The validity of the public debt of the United States autho rized by law including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion shall not be questioned But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebel lion against the United States or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave but all such debts obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void Section 5 The Congress shall have power to enforce by appropriate leg islation the provisions of this article POLITICAL INQUIRY According to the courts interpretation the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits discrimination under the law based on a person39s race religion color and national origin unless such discrimination is necessary for the government to accomplish a compelling public interest However the courts have allowed discrimination based on sex when a government successfully argues that the discrimination is substantially related to the achievement of an important public interest Argue for or against amending the Constitution so that sexbased discrimination is treated the same as other forms of discrimination gtThis section ofthe Fourteenth Amendment is the first use of the term male in the Constitution This section requires that if a state denies men over the age of 21 the right to vote its representation in the House will be diminished accordingly The Fifteenth Amendment makes this section unnecessary gtThe intent of this section was to prevent government officials who sup ported the Confederacy during the Civil War from serving in government In 1898 Congress voted to eliminate this prohibition The Constitution of the United States of America I 89 gtAll male citizens meeting their state39s minimum age requirement are guaranteed the right to vote gtThis amendment authorizes the national government to establish taxes on personal and corporate income gt Since the ratification ofthe Seventeenth Amendment in 1913 senators are elected by the citizens in each state rather than by state legislatures The amendment also allows each state legislature to establish the process by which vacancies in the Senate will be filled either through special elec tion or by gubernatorial appointment gtThe Prohibition amendment making it illegal to manufacture sell or transport alcoholic beverages in the United States was widely disobeyed during the years it was in effect The TwentyFirst amendment repealed this amendment gtAll female citizens meeting their state39s minimum age requirement are guaranteed the right to vote gtThe first two sections of the Twentieth Amendment establish new starting dates for the president39s and vice president39s terms of office January 20 as well as for members of Congress January 3 Section 2 also decrees that the annual meeting of Congress will begin on January 3 unless Con gress specifies a different date 90 The Constitution of the United States of America Amendment XV 1870 Section 1 The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race color or previous condition of servitude Section 2 The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by ap propriate legislation Amendment XVI 1913 The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes from whatever source derived without apportionment among the several States and without regard to any census or enumeration Amendment XVII 1913 The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State elected by the people thereof for six years and each Senator shall have one vote The electors in each State shall have the quali cations requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to ll such vacancies Provided That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people ll the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution Amendment XVIII 1 9 19 Section 1 After one year from the rati cation of this article the manufac ture sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors within the importa tion thereof into or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited Section 2 The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent ower to enforce this article b a ro riate le islation P Y PP P 8 Section 3 This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been rati ed as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the sev eral States as provided in the Constitution within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress Amendment XIX 1920 The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex Con gress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation Amendment XX 1933 Section 1 The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January and the terms of Senators and Repre sentatives at noon on the 3d day of January of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been rati ed and the terms of their successors shall then begin Section 2 The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January unless they shall by law appoint a different day Section 3 If at the time xed for the beginning of the term of the Presi dent the President elect shall have died the Vice President elect shall become President If a President shall not have been chosen before the time xed for the beginning of his term or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have quali ed and the Congress may by law pro vide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have quali ed declaring who shall then act as President or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected and such per son shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have quali ed Section 4 The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Sen ate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them Section 5 Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the rati cation of this article Section 6 This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been rati ed as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission Amendment XXI 1933 Section 1 The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed Section 2 The transportation or importation into any State Territory or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxi cating liquors in violation of the laws thereof is hereby prohibited Section 3 This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been rati ed as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the sev eral States as provided in the Constitution within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress Amendment XXII 1951 Section 1 No person shall be elected to the of ce of the President more than twice and no person who has held the of ce of President or acted as President for more than two years of a term to which some other per son was elected President shall be elected to the of ce of the President more than once But this Article shall not apply to any person hold ing the of ce of President when this Article was proposed by the Con gress and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the of ce of President or acting as President during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the of ce of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term Section 2 This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been rati ed as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its sub mission to the States by the Congress gtSections 3 and 4 ofthis amendment establish that ifthe president elect dies before his or herterm of office begins the vice president elect be comes president lfthe president elect has not been selected or is unable to begin the term the vice president elect serves as acting president until the president is selected or is able to serve gtWith this amendment the Eighteenth Amendment39s prohibition of the manufacture sale and transportation of alcoholic beverages was repealed gtThis amendment established a twoterm limit forthe presidency or in the case of a vice president succeeding to the presidency and then running for reelection a maximum limit often years in office The Constitution of the United States of America I 91 gt Citizens living in Washington DC are given the right to elect three voting members to the Electoral College Before this amendment these citizens were not represented in the Electoral College gtGovernments are prohibited from requiring a person to pay a tax in order to vote gtThe vice president becomes president ifthe president resigns or dies gtThe president can nominate a person to fill a vicepresidential vacancy Congress must approve the nominee President Richard Nixon appointed and Congress confirmed Gerald Ford to the vice presidency when Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned When President Nixon resigned Vice President Ford who had not been elected became president He subse quently appointed and Congress confirmed Nelson Rockefeller to be vice president 92 The Constitution of the United States of America POLITICAL INQUIRY Critics of term limits in general argue that they are undemocratic because they may force out of of ce an of cial whom the voters want to keep in of ce as their representative Other critics of term limits for the president argue that forcing out a popular successful president during a time of war may be harmful to the nation Argue for or against eliminating the two term limit for the presidency Amendment XXIII 1961 Section 1 The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the Dis trict would be entitled if it were a State but in no event more than the least populous State they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States but they shall be considered for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President to be electors appointed by a State and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment Section 2 The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by ap propriate legislation Amendment XXIV 1 964 Section 1 The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any pri mary or other election for President or Vice President for electors for President or Vice President or for Senator or Representative in Con gress shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax Section 2 The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by ap propriate legislation POLITICAL INQUIRY Several states have enacted laws requir ing voters to show a photo ID in order to vote Indiana for one requires voters to produce a governmentissued photo ID such as a driver39s license or passport Does requiring a governmentissued photo ID create an unreasonable barrier to a person39s constitutionally guaranteed right to vote For example does this pose a barrier to those who do not tend to have such IDs or an easy way to obtain them including the elderly the poor and urban residents Is requiring voters to pay for a government ID that they must show in order to vote similar to a poll tax Why or why not What argument is used to justify requiring a voter to show a photo ID in order to vote Amendment XXV 1 967 Section 1 In case of the removal of the President from of ce or of his death or resignation the Vice President shall become President Section 2 Whenever there is a vacancy in the of ce of the Vice President the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take of ce upon con rmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress Section 3 Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tem pore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his of ce and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice Presi dent as Acting President Section 4 Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal of cers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their writ ten declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the of ce as Acting President Thereafter when the President transmits to the President pro tem pore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists he shall resume the powers and duties of his of ce unless the Vice President and a majority of ei ther the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue assembling within fortyeight hours for that purpose if not in session If the Congress within twentyone days after receipt of the latter written declaration or if Congress is not in session within twentyone days after Congress is required to assemble determines by twothirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President otherwise the President shall resume the powers and duties of his of ce Amendment XXVI 1971 Section 1 The right of citizens of the United States who are eighteen years of age or older to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age Section 2 The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by ap propriate legislation Amendment XXVII 1992 No law varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives shall take effect until an election of Representatives shall have intervened gt lfthe president indicates in writing to Congress that he or she cannot carry out the duties of office the vice president becomes acting president until the president informs Congress that he or she is again fit to resume the responsibilities ofthe presidency gt lfthe vice president in concert with a majority of cabinet officials or some other body designated by Congress declares to Congress in writing that the president is unable to fulfill the duties of office the vice president becomes acting president until the president claims he or she is again fit for duty However if the vice president and a majority of cabinet officials challenge the president s claim then Congress must decide within three weeks ifthe president can resume office gtThe TwentySixth Amendment guarantees citizens 18 years of age and older the right to vote gt Proposed in 1789 this amendment prevents members of Congress from raising their own salaries Approved salary increases cannot take effect until after the next congressional election The Constitution of the United States of America I 93


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