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POLS Chapter 2 Notes- Texas Constitution

by: Kayra Reyes

POLS Chapter 2 Notes- Texas Constitution POLS 1336

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Kayra Reyes

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these notes cover Chapter 2 from "University of Houston: American Democracy Now” by Brigid Harrison, Jean Harris, and Michelle Deardorff Includes all vocab words, important cases, etc.
US and Texas Constitution and Politics
Sharon M Davis
Class Notes
texas, constitution, Articles, Due Process, equality, popular, Sovereignty, Bill of Rights, separation, powers, checks and balances
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This 9 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kayra Reyes on Tuesday September 27, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POLS 1336 at University of Houston taught by Sharon M Davis in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 5 views. For similar materials see US and Texas Constitution and Politics in Political Science at University of Houston.


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Date Created: 09/27/16
Chapter 2 from “University of Houston: American Democracy Now” by Brigid Harrison, Jean Harris, and Michelle Deardorff Pg 27. Constitution: fundamental set of rules by which a government functions *state of Texas has had 7 different constitutions, current one was ratified in 1876 Popular Sovereignty: power of the people gives the government legitimacy Pg 28. Social Contract Theory: citizens willingly give up certain rights/liberties, in order for the government to protect other liberties 3 Main Principles of a Constitution: 1. Power of government rests in its people 2. Constitution is a contract between the citizens and government, not to be violated 3. Power must be divided in order to limit the government Separation of Powers: power is separated between three branches Checks and Balances: branches can check and limit one another’s power Pg 29. SEPERATION OF POWERS *Note: You should memorize this chart The Legislature The Governor The  Judiciary Plural Executive System: “serves to limit the power of the governor by distributing executive power among the Propose and pass  Limited  Interpret the various independently elected officials” laws appointment power law Ex: voters elect a governor, lieutenant, of some executive  Power to propose ficials and judSettle all  attorney general, etc. constitutional in cases of  disputes in  amendments vacancies matters of  Pg 30. POWERS OF CITIZENS AND THE criminal and  LAW Submits budget  civil law Power to tax and  Bill of Rights: a document listing the set the budget proposal to  legislature Popularly  rights and liberties granted to ALL Oversight power  elected citizens of state agencies ves on boards;  and departmentse.g., the Legislative  Supremacy Clause: US Constitution is the law of the land, beats all other laws Budget Board Impeachment  Statute: law or regulation power of judges an call special  and executive  sessions and dictate  branch officialspecial session  Ordinance: a decree or command agenda Veto and line­item  veto power Cincinnati v. Baskin: “the defendant argued local law (prohibiting semi- automatic firearms with 10+ round capacity) was in violation of state law (prohibiting semi-automatic firearms with 31+ round capacity)”  verdict: local law does not violate state law Pg 31. EVOLUTION OF THE TEXAS CONSTITUTION (1824-1876) Under Mexican Republic -Power was divided between national and state governments -Unicameral legislature where Texas got two representatives in state legislature *Anglo (Texan)’s concerns: slavery and state religion (as Mexico is a Catholic country) -1824 constitution was suspended and set for new one in 1827. However, Anglos want 1824 constitution= angry with president, Santa Anna  Texas Revolution Pg 32. REPUBLIC OF TEXAS CONSTITUTION (1836) Repub. Of TX constitution= combo between US Constitution + Southern state constitutions -Unitary, not federal, government Distrust of Government Lead To: -President’s term lasts 3 years, with no option for reelection -President needs Congress’ consent to raise an army -Freedom of religion -Protection of property rights -Legalized slavery Pg 33. STATEHOOD Texas became part of the US in 1845 Its new constitution kept Spanish influences like: -Women’s right to property -Men and women’s equal split of property after divorce -Limited executive authority -Biennial sessions of the legislature -Two-year terms for most officials 1861: Texas joins the Confederacy= new constitution 1866: third state constitution, approved as a condition for rejoining the Union after the Civil War -new constitution: abolished slavery, nullified the ordinances of secession, renounced the right of future secession, and repudiated the wartime debts of the state. *constitution was soon overturned by Reconstruction 1869: fourth constitution called the “Reconstruction” or “carpetbagger” constitution under which: -County courts were abolished -“Local authority and control was removed from the planter class” -“Public schools were centralized under state control and funded with a poll tax and the sale of public lands.” -African Americans were given the right to vote -whites who had participated in the “rebellion” (Civil War) were disfranchised CONSTITUTION OF 1876 -No delegates present at the 1875 Constitutional convention helped write the constitution, most of which opposed the Reconstruction and centralized government Pg 34. Constitution included: - Antigovernment (traditional Southern) ideas - Shorter terms of office - Restricted government’s, specifically legislative power - “reestablished many statewide and local elected offices” Political culture (limited government)  influences Texas constitution Pg 35. SECTIONS OF THE TEXAS CONSTITUTION Preamble+ 17 Articles + Appendix Article 1: Bill of Rights Texas Constitution ensures: - Equality based on sex, race, religion, etc. - No suspension of Habeas Corpus and victim protection - Protection of property from being used by government for economic purpose Article 2: Powers of Government -Government’s powers are separated between different sectors and each other’s powers cannot be violated, only those listed are accessible Article 3: Legislative Department Texas legislature= Senate + House of Representatives -Article describes election process, term length, and qualifications Pg 36. Article 4: Executive Department Executive branch consists of: “the governor, lieutenant governor, comptroller of public accounts, commissioner of general land office, and the attorney general, who are all elected” Governor= 4 year term, and no limit on reelections Article 5: Judicial Department Texas has two high courts: -The Supreme Court -The Court of Criminal Appeals Articles lists out qualifications to become a judge and election process Article 6: suffrage…Who gets to vote? Article 7: Education and funding schools (like state universities) Article 9 and 16: creation and structure of counties Article 17: Amending the Constitution COMPARISON BETWEEN STATE CONSTITUTIONS All constitutions must: Be broad and flexible Have a difficult amendment process Only embody general ideals and principles (ex: no endorsing religion) Pg 37. Proof most states struggle to keep brief constitution with few amendments: 1. Most states have had many constitutions 2. Most constitutions are very lengthy 3. Most constitutions have been amended more often than the US constitution Notes about state constitutions: -most create weak executive branches yet strong legislative branches -all include description of government spending -most prohibit deficit expenditures (spending despite having debt) -most are very detailed Earmark: Pg 39. AMENDING STATE CONSTITUTIONS In all states, except Delaware, there are two steps to the amendment process: 1. proposing the amendment 2. and receiving citizen approval 2/3 of each chamber in legislature must approve as well as majority of voters Pg 40. Second method of proposing an amendment: Voter Initiative: requires a number of signatures on a petition in a certain amount of time *Texas has not adopted this method, only 17 states have and most are Western Most states like Texas use the method of: Constitutional Convention: questions voters to consider a proposed amendment PATTERNS OF CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE -Frequent changes are made Due to states larger amount of functions and the length of its constitution -Around 90% amendments are proposed by state legislatures and 63% are passed due to voter approval Pg 41. In the 17 states with Voter Initiative: -There’s more amendments passed because voters propose more amendments that other voters are likely to approve of -Having state legislatures propose amendments means, voters are less likely to support them AMENDING THE TEXAS CONSTITUTION “All amendments to the Texas Constitution have been proposed by a two- thirds vote of each house of the legislature” Low Voter Turnout Weird trend: TEXAS MAKES MOST PROPOSALS ON ODD-NUMBERED YEARS However, odd-numbered years are those in which there is a drastically lower amount of voter turnout, less participating in voting for or against proposals Pg 42. Large counties have a great impact on voting for amendments, so if statewide elections are held at the same time as proposed amendment, there would be WAY higher voter turnout *Harris County: account for 15% of registered voters in the entire state Ballot Wording: the way the proposals or ideas are phrased on the ballot *typically makes an amendment look more attractive to a voter and affects number of votes -Most voters lack interest in passing amendments or even what they are about –Voters are ignorant and uninformed on elections and voting Pg 44. CRITICISMS OF THE TX CONSTITUTION 1. The TX constitution is too long and detailed, should be broad and basic 2. Constitution is both, inflexible and changed too often A general revision or “clean-up” of the entire constitution was proposed in the 70s and 1990, yet rejected each time Pg 45. Even the Select Committee on Constitutional Revision (1999) did not see a need for general revisions to be made It’s likely there won’t be future change to constitution as: -there’s no leader support -political culture doesn’t like big changes -lobby groups don’t want their current protections taken away or changed -basically, citizens don’t care to change it Pg 46. AMERICAN FEDERAL SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT Federal System of Government: power is shared between national and state governments Unitary System of Government: power is centralized in a national government Confederal System of Government: local and state governments have most power, national government’s powers are limited -We have a federal system so sometimes states and national government have different powers, sometimes they share powers, like taxation Pg 47. Bond v. US: “By denying any one government complete jurisdiction over all the concerns of public life, federalism protects the liberty of the individual from arbitrary power” refers to the advantage of having a federal system NECESSARY AND PROPER CLAUSE AND THE 10 THAMENDMENT Necessary and Proper Clause: gov. can make any laws deemed necessary for it to exercise its constitutional powers, which were interpreted as: Jefferson: necessary as in unavoidable Hamilton: necessary as in whatever the government SAYS is needed 10 amendment: state powers listed in the constitution are not the only ones the state has Elastic Clause: Congress accepted Hamilton’s interpretation, making the definition of necessary more like “stretchy” INTERSTATE COMMERCE CLAUSE -Used to have very narrow interpretation and meant strictly national commerce 1960: ICC was used to prohibit segregation in public accommodations Pg 50. Banning trade between states was allowed, only if it was to protect the health, safety, or moral of citizens Wickard v. Filburn: “the Court found that a farmer's growing of wheat for personal on-farm use was illegal as it exceeded a federally-mandated limit” EQUAL PROTECTION AND DUE PROCESS CLAUSE OF 14 TH AMENDMENT -Originally, Bill of Right only applied to the national government, the 14 applied it to the states as well Equal Protection Clause: protection based on sex, race, religion, etc. Due Process Clause: “Criminal procedures include such things as protection against self-incrimination, Miranda rights, and the right to legal counsel in criminal procedures” POWER TO TAX AND SPEND TO PROMOTE THE GENERAL WELFARE OF CITIZENS Article 1, Sec. 8: Gives Congress right to tax and use funds -Congress and the national government can’t provide basic services, only states can do so -Congress and the national government can only provide funding to the states Yet, the higher government has influence over state government because if they accept their government, they must also accept whatever terms are included in the bargain Categorical Grant: grants given to fund specific projects Block Grant: grants given for broader use, allowing the states the freedom to choose what they spend the money on Pg 52. EVOLUTION OF AMERICAN FEDERALISM Dual Federalism: layer cake, very clear distinctions Cooperative Federalism: national and state govs. work together to solve common problems Creative Federalism: during Johnson’s presidency, federal government would determine the needs of the states New Federalism: devolution, transfer of some national powers over to the state governments, President Nixon Coercive Federalism: “federal government pressures the states to change their policies by using regulations, mandates, and conditions” basically like using grants as black mail or leverage Pg 53. STATE RELATIONS IN THE FEDERAL SYSTEM Article 4, Sec. 1: Full Faith and Credit Clause: states must respect precedings and records of judicial cases in other states States had to recognize the laws of other states like: -Gay marriage -Divorce -Child Custody cases US vs. Windsor: declared section 3 of DOMA as unconstitutional (DOMA bans gay marriage) Perry vs. Schwarzenegger: overturned Proposition 8 which also attempted to ban gay marriage Article 4, Sec. 2: Privileges and Immunities Clause: says states cannot treat citizens from other states differently or unfairly -Citizens don’t have to be treated equally in all cases for example when paying for out-of-state tuition at a public university


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