The U.S Constitution

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Describe Article I of the Constitution.

This describes how the Legislative Branch is to be set up, elected, run and what powers/responsibilities it has.

Describe Article II of the Constitution.

This describes how the Executive Branch is to be set up, elected, run and what powers/responsibilities it has.

Describe Article III of the Constitution.

This describes how the Judicial Branch is to be set up and what jurisdiction it has.

Describe Article IV of the Constitution.

This describes how states are to relate to one another and rules to be admitted into the Union.

Describe Article V of the Constitution.

This describes the process to amend the Constitution.

Describe Article VI of the Constitution.

This contains the Supremacy Clause, a rule that states that religion cannot be a qualification for election, and that all debts acquired before the Constitution are assumed by the Union.

Describe Article VII of the Constitution.

This describes how the Constitution is to be ratified.

Compare Article I with Article II. Which article is longer and more detailed?

Article I is longer than Article II because it covers two legislative bodies, takes a lot of time to describe the rules and powers of the Congress, and has to address issues such as taxation.

Identify two powers denied from Congress in the Constitution.

Congress cannot pass Bills of Attainder or Ex Post Facto laws.

How does the House of Representatives determine the rules of proceedings (the ability to have debates, amendments, etc.)

The House determines its rules of proceedings by voting on them. Each House sets its own rules.

Identify two powers the Constitution prohibits from the States.

States cannot enter into treaties or grant titles of nobility.

What eligibility requirements does the Constitution establish for members of the House?

The Representative must be at least 25, been a United States citizen for 7 years, and live in the state they are representing.

What eligibility requirements does the Constitution establish for members of the Senate?

The Senator must be at least 30, been a United States citizen for 9 years, and live in the state they are representing.

What eligibility requirements does the Constitution establish for the President?

The President must be at least 35, been born in the United States, and have lived in the United States for at least 14 years.

Expressed Powers

The powers of the Constitution that are specifically granted to the branches of government or to office holders

Identify two expressed powers of the President.

The President can make treaties and nominate Supreme Court Justices and other officials.

What are the express powers of the Vice President?

The Vice President can break a tie in the Senate and take over if the President is incapacitated.

Identify two expressed powers of Congress.

Congress can borrow money and establish post offices.

List a power that the executive branch has over the legislative branch and state where it is in the Constitution.

Veto power, Article I, Section VII

List a power that the executive branch has over the judicial branch and state where it is in the Constitution.

Nomination of Justices, Article II, Section II

List a power that the legislative branch has over the executive branch and state where it is in the Constitution.

Charge and try a President for impeachment, Article I, Section II and III

List a power that the legislative branch has over the judicial branch and state where it is in the Constitution.

Senate approves appointment of Justices, Article II, Section II

List a power that the judicial branch has over the executive branch and state where it is in the Constitution.

Justices are free from executive control because they serve for life under good behavior, Article III, Section I

List a power that the judicial branch has over the legislative branch and state where it is in the Constitution.

Justices are free from legislative control because they serve for life under good behavior, Article III, Section I

What is the court of original jurisdiction?

The court of original jurisdiction is the first court that hears a case.

What is an appellate court?

Appellate courts hear cases on appeal from lower courts. In what cases is the Supreme Court the court of original jurisdiction?/The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction in cases where a state is a party or any case involving an ambassador, minister, or consul.

According to Article I of the Constitution, who has the power to declare war?

Congress has the power to declare war.

What power does the Constitution give the President in the area of war?

They are the Commander in Chief of the military, so they wage war, but not declare it.

Where is the "Commerce Clause" and what does it say?

It is in Article I, Section VIII. It says that Congress has the right to regulate interstate commerce and trade along with trade with foreign nations.

Where is the "Necessary and Proper Clause" and what does it say?

It is in Article I, Section VIII. It says that Congress has the power to make laws that help execute their enumerated powers.

Where is the "Supremacy Clause" and what does it say?

It is in Article VI. It says that federal law and decisions trump state laws and decisions.

How might theses clauses above have impacted the power of the federal government?

These clauses would be used to increase the power of the federal government.

Where is the habeas corpus clause and what does it say?

It is in Article I, Section IX. It says that the federal government cannot pass laws restricting writs of habeas corpus.

What is habeas corpus?

Habeas corpus means, "You must have the body". A writ of habeas corpus requires that the government have a legitimate reason for detaining someone.

Where are bills of attainder discussed and what does it say?

It is in Article I, Sections IX and X. It says that the federal and state governments cannot pass laws restricting the passage of bills attainder.

What is a bill of attainder?

It is a legislative act allowing someone to be imprisoned without trial.

Where are ex post facto laws discussed and what does it say?

It is in Article I, Sections IX and X. It says that the federal and state governments cannot pass laws restricting the passage of ex post facto laws.

What is an ex post facto law?

An ex post facto law is a law that punishes someone for an act that was committed before it was illegal.

Where is the "Full Faith and Credit Clause" and what does it say?

It is in Article IV, Section I. It says that states must respect the laws of other states.

There are two "due process" clauses. Where are they? What does "due process" of law imply?

The two due process clauses are located in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. Due process of law can be broken down into two ideas. Procedural due process is making sure that everyone has a fair trial and gets the same legal rights. Substantive due process is the idea that everyone has certain fundamental rights such as the right to privacy, the right to travel, the right to vote, and the First Amendment rights.

Where is the "equal protection clause"? What does this imply?

It is in the Fourteenth Amendment. This states that everyone get equal protection under STATE laws. The courts, however, have determined that since substantive due process applies to state laws, the Equal Protection Clause applies to the federal government through the Fifth Amendment.

Compare a simple majority to a supermajority.

The Constitution requires a simple majority for some actions and a supermajority for others. A simple majority means more than half, while supermajority requirements can involve a 2/3 majority or a ¾ majority. Most elections in the United States require a plurality, or the most votes, but not necessarily a majority.

What bodies have the power to override a presidential veto?

Congress has the power to override a veto.

What margin is required to override a presidential veto?

2/3 of the votes in both houses are required to override a veto.

Where in the Constitution is the veto power described?

It is in Article I, Section VII.

What body has the power to ratify treaties?

The Senate has the power to ratify treaties.

What margin is required to ratify treaties?

2/3 of the Senate is required to ratify treaties.

Where in the Constitution is the ratification power described?

It is in Article II, Section II.

What does the word impeach mean?

To impeach means "to bring charges against" or "to indict".

What body has the power to impeach the President?

The House charges the President with impeachment and the Senate tries the charges.

What vote is required to impeach?

The vote has to be 2/3 of the Senate.

What is the standard for impeachment?

The standard for impeachment is conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.

Where in the Constitution is the impeachment power described?

It is in Article I, Section III.

If no candidate for the presidency wins a simple majority of the total number of electoral votes, what body has the power to choose the president?

The House of Representatives chooses the President.

What margin is required to choose the president?

A simple majority is required to choose the president.

Where in the Constitution is the Electoral College described? (Hint: there are two parts)

It is mentioned in Article II, Sections II and III.

The Constitution specifies a three-fourths majority for just one process? What?

The process of ratifying amendments requires a three-fourths majority.

The Constitution has comparatively little to say about the structure and composition of the Supreme Court. Identify two aspects of the Court’s structure and composition that the Constitution does not specify (The Constitution does specify these two basic aspects of structure and composition for the other two branches).

The Constitution does not specify the size of the court and the requirements to be a justice.

What are two ways to propose Amendments?

They can be proposed by a two-thirds vote of both houses or at a convention of two-thirds of the states.

What are two ways Amendments can be ratified?

They can be ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures or three-fourths of state convention representatives.

Describe Amendment 1.

Freedom of speech, religion, assembly, press, and petition

Describe Amendment 2.

Right to bear arms

Describe Amendment 3.

Soldiers cannot be quartered in the houses of citizens without permission

Describe Amendment 4.

No unreasonable searches and seizures, search warrants granted within reason detailing the location to be searched and what or who must be seized must be issued before searches unless there is probable cause

Describe Amendment 5.

People must be indicted by a grand jury except in military cases, no double jeopardy, protection from self-incrimination, people may not be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process, and all property seized for public use must be paid for

Describe Amendment 6.

In criminal trials, defendants have the right to a speedy and public trial, an impartial jury, a trial in the state where the supposed crime was committed, information about the nature and cause of the accusation, interrogate witnesses testifying against them, subpoena witnesses in their favor, and to have an attorney

Describe Amendment 7.

For common law cases where the questioned value is over $20, there is a right to trial by jury

Describe Amendment 8.

Excessive fines and cruel and unusual punishments are forbidden

Describe Amendment 9.

The people have more rights than the ones listed in the Bill of Rights

Describe Amendment 10.

Powers not given to the federal government belong to the state

Describe Amendment 11.

The federal courts cannot hear cases between a state and a citizen of a different state or country

Describe Amendment 12.

Electors now cast separate ballots for the president and vice-president

Describe Amendment 13.

Slavery abolished

Describe Amendment 14.

Anyone born in the United States is automatically a citizen, no state can take away citizenship from a citizen, states cannot deprive citizens of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, and all citizens have equal protection of the laws

Describe Amendment 15.

The right to vote cannot be abridged on the basis of race, color, or condition of servitude

Describe Amendment 16.

Congress can now pass income taxes

Describe Amendment 17.

Senators are now directly elected

Describe Amendment 18.

It is illegal to manufacture, sell, or transport alcohol

Describe Amendment 19.

The right to vote cannot be abridged based on sex

Describe Amendment 20.

Changes the inauguration dates of elected officials

Describe Amendment 21.

Repeals the 18th amendment

Describe Amendment 22.

2 term limit on President or 10 years due to death of the sitting president

Describe Amendment 23.

Gives residents of Washington D.C the right to vote and three electors

Describe Amendment 24.

Poll taxes are illegal

Describe Amendment 25.

Better describes the succession of the President

Describe Amendment 26.

Lowers voting age to 18

Describe Amendment 27.

All changes in payment for Congress take effect after the next election

Which amendment (s) of the Constitution protect the rights of women?

The 19th amendment protects the rights of women.

Which amendment(s) of the Constitution protect the rights of African Americans?

The 13th 14th 15th and 24th amendments protect their rights of African Americans.

How were U.S. Senators chosen before the Seventeenth Amendment?

They were elected by state legislatures.

The Twenty-Fifth Amendment describes the sequence of events that would install the vice-president as acting president against the will of the president. Outline that sequence of events.

If the Vice-President and half of the cabinet agree that the President is unfit to serve, they may remove him from office and the Vice-President becomes Acting President. The removed President may go to Congress to override this.

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