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US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
US Constitution in Detail
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US Constitution in Detail

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The basic meanings behind each article and amendment of the US Constitution.

The basic meanings behind each article and amendment of the US Constitution.

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  • 1. The US Constitution: In Detail (Updated 2012-2013 School Year)
  • 2. Preamble  Introduction to the Constitution. States the reasons the document was created.  Written by Gouverneur Morris  “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, 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.”
  • 3. Article 1: The Legislative Branch  Article 1 has 10 Sections  Largest article of the Constitution  The Capital Building (Washington D.C.)
  • 4. Article 1 Section 1: Congress  Section 1  Legislative powers = Congress  Congress = Senate and House of Representatives  Sets up the “Bicameral System,” similar to England’s Parliament with its House of Lords and House of Commons.
  • 5. Article 1 Section 2 – House of Reps  House Representatives elected every 2 years  Qualifications:  1. 25 years old  2. Been a citizen of the US for at least 7 years  3. Must live in the state they are representing  Technically does NOT have to live in the district they represent, although most typically do.  Champaign, IL is located in the 13th District  Currently, your 13th District House Rep. is Rodney Davis
  • 6. Article 1 Section 2 – House of Reps (continued)  The number of House Representatives in each state is determined by the population of that state, based on a national Census that takes place every 10 years.  (Originally part of the Great Compromise) - Slaves count as 3/5th of a person when counting towards the population of that state. Natives who aren’t taxed are not counted.  Number of House Reps is fixed at 435. (about 1 representative for every 700,000 citizens)  Regardless of population, each state is guaranteed at least one House Rep. seat.
  • 7. Article 1 Section 2 – House of Reps (continued)  When a House Rep. seat is vacant (someone quits or is of ill-health), it is up to that state to create a special election to nominate another House Rep.  The House of Reps may choose its “Speaker.”  Currently, the Speaker of the House is John Boehner ***  Nancy Pelosi is the minority leader  The House of Representatives has the sole power of defining what constitutes as impeachment, while the Senate holds the trial.  Impeachment – to remove an elected official from office
  • 8. Article 1 Section 3 - Senate  Each state has 2 Senators (100 total for our 50 states)  6 year term for Senators  Qualifications  1. 30 years old  2. Been a citizen of the US for 9 years  3. Must live in the state that he or she is being elected in  Your Illinois Senators are Mark Kirk and Dick Durbin  In 1913, the 17th Amendment to the Constitution changed the election of Senators from state legislatures to the DIRECT election by the people of that state. This includes if there is a vacant seat due to death, illness, etc.  Senators are elected in three “classes,” staggered two years apart. Basically, every two years, a third of Senate is elected.
  • 9. Article 1 Section 3 – Senate (continued)  The Vice President is the President of the Senate, but only votes on an issue if there is a 50-50 tie.  This has happened 243 times by 35 different Vice Presidents  The Senate is allowed to choose a “pro tempore,” or backup, President if the Vice President is absent.  Typically, the senior most member of the Senate fills this position.  The Senate is given the sole power to try (hold a trial) impeachments. The Senate only has the power to remove that person from office; it can’t send them to jail.  Historically, only two US Presidents have been impeached by the House of Reps, (Andrew Johnson and
  • 10. Article 1 Section 4: Congressional Elections  The states get to decide when, where, and how elections for their representatives will be done.  Congress, however, is authorized to create uniform national rules for elections such as:  Election Day for the US (President and Congress): The Tuesday following the first Monday in November  Congress must assemble at least once a year.  Realistically, Congress is in session almost year-round.
  • 11. Article 1 Section 5: Legislative Procedure  The majority of each House of Congress is necessary to do business. (more than half of Congress had to be there to pass laws)  A two-thirds vote by Congress can expel an individual member.  Congress must keep a journal of what happens, but can choose to keep items secret if they deem necessary.  Today, you can see most every debate in Congress on CSPAN.  Each House (Senate and House of Reps) must receive consent from the other house if it wants to adjourn (take a break) for more than three days.
  • 12. Article 1 Section 6: Compensation, privileges, and restrictions on holding civil office.  Congress decides their own salaries.  The 27th Amendment ensures that changes to salaries will not take effect until after the next congressional election.  The only crimes a Congressman may be convicted of during their terms are Treason, felonies, or breach of the peace.  Congressmen are not allowed to simultaneously work in Congress and hold any office in the Executive branch, or resign to take a job that pays a higher salary.
  • 13. Article 1 Section 7: Bills to Laws  The House of Representatives can introduce bills to generate revenue (create taxes to get money).  All bills must be presented to the President of the United States in order to pass.  If the President signs the bill, it becomes a law.  If the President does not approve, the President will send the bill back (veto) to the originating house of Congress with reasons why.  Congress can override the Presidential veto with a 2/3 vote in the House and Senate.
  • 14. Article 1 Section 7: Bills to Laws (cont.)  “The Pocket Pass” - If the President lets the bill sit on his/her desk for ten days (Sundays do not count) without taking action, and Congress is still in session, the bill passes.  “The Pocket Veto” – If the President lets the bill sit on his/her desk for ten days without taking any action and Congress is NOT in session, the bill automatically fails.
  • 15. Article 1 Section 8: Powers of Congress  Congress can:  Start and Collect Taxes  (House of Reps initiates taxes)  Borrow Money  Coin Money (print money)  Declare war  Last time Congress declared war was WWII (1941)  Raise an army/navy (military)  Regulate Commerce (trade) with other nations and between states
  • 16. Article 1 Section 9: Limits on Congress  The slave trade is only allowed until Jan 1st 1808, thereafter trading slaves to the US is illegal.  Slavery itself was still legal until the 13th Amendment in 1865  Habeus Corpus can be denied under Martial Law  Rebellion or invasion are reasons to suspend habeus corpus  No Bill of Attainder Law: you cannot be convicted without a trial  No Ex Post Facto Law: “after the fact” – this means you cannot be punished for a crime that was made criminal after the action was done.  No state to state export taxes (states can’t favor one another)  No titles of nobility
  • 17. Article 1 Section 10 Contracts/Treaties  Individual states may NOT exercise the rights reserved to the federal government (AKA Congress).  For example, states may not print their own state’s money.  States can’t tax imports/exports from another state  Without the consent of Congress, states cannot keep troops/armies during times of peace.  However, states can organize militias (2nd Amendment)  Today some states have “State defense forces” that are separate from the National Guard. Illinois has a naval militia.  States can’t accept alliances with other nations.
  • 18. Article 2 – The Executive Branch  Article 2 has 4 Sections  The White House (Washington D.C.)  The Oval Office
  • 19. Article 2 Section 1: Executive Power  Executive Power: President  Executes/Enforces the laws Congress makes  President: 4 year term  Vice President: 4 year term  Elections:  The President is chosen by “electors” which are equal to the number of legislators in each state.  Electors = # of House Reps + 2 Senators  Illinois has 18 House Reps + 2 Senators = 20 “electors”  23rd Amendment gives Washington D.C. 3 electors, same as the lowest number in any state.
  • 20. The Electoral College
  • 21. Article 2 Section 1 (cont.) – Executive Elections  Originally, “electors,” AKA congressmen, would choose the President directly.  After the 12th Amendment (1804), “electors” are chosen by popular vote. This means that citizens vote for President in their district, the Presidential candidate with the majority of districts, wins that state.  There is an exception of Maine and Nebraska where district “electors” are split, and do not go “winner takes all.”  If there is no majority in electoral votes, the House of Reps chooses the President from three candidates.  The Senate would choose the Vice President from
  • 22. Article 2 Section 1: Qualifications for President of the United States of America  35 years old  Born in the US  Must have lived in the US for at least 14 years.  12th Amendment requires the Vice President to meet all of the qualifications of the President  22nd Amendment (1951) prevents the President from being elected more than twice.  FDR was elected FOUR times and was president from1933-1945, when he died in office
  • 23. Article 2 Section 1: Presidential Succession  The 25th Amendment states that, in case the President can’t perform his/her tasks, the Vice President becomes President.  If the VP can’t do it:  Speaker of the House of Reps  President pro tempore of the Senate (senior most member)  15 Cabinet Secretaries in order of that Dept.’s establishment
  • 24. 1 Vice President of the United States Joe Biden (D) 2 Speaker of the House John Boehner (R) 3 President pro tempore of the Senate Patrick Leahy (D) 4 Secretary of State John Kerry (D) 5 Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew (D) 6 Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (R) 7 Attorney General Eric Holder (D) -- Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell (D)[3] 8 Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack (D) -- Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank (D)[4] -- Acting Secretary of Labor Seth Harris (D)[4] 9 Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius (D) 10 Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan (D) 11 Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood (R) -- Acting Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman (D)[4] 12 Secretary of Education Arne Duncan (D) 13 Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki (I) 14 Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano (D
  • 25. Cabinet Members  The Executive Branch include the President and VP, as well as cabinet members that the President chooses.  These members serve at the President’s discretion, meaning the President can dismiss a cabinet member whenever he/she wants to.  Cabinet members are given the title, “Secretary.”  Some cabinet members include:  Secretary of State  Secretary of the Treasury  Secretary of Defense
  • 26. Article 2 Section 1 (cont.)  The President gets paid for his/her service  Currently, Obama gets $400,000/year  Must take “Oath of Office” to “officially” become president  “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
  • 27. Article 2 Section 2 – Presidential Powers  President is Commander in Chief of Military  Military includes Army, Navy, Marines, National Guard, etc.  President can (legally) send troops wherever, with Congressional cooperation. Though, without declaring war.  Can grant pardons (get out of jail cards) for anyone, except impeachments.  Can Create treaties with 2/3 of Senate ratification  Can appoint Supreme Court Judges (when applicable), cabinet members, ambassadors, etc. with consent of 2/3 the Senate.  Can appoint officers to fill in Senate seats until next election.
  • 28. Article 2 Section 3: Presidential Responsibilities  President must give “State of the Union” address. This is an annual speech given to Congress that addresses goals the President has for the country.  President can call a special session of Congress if need be  Happened only 27 times, last in 1948 by Truman  The President deals with foreign ambassadors.  The President must “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”  Enforces the laws.  President can commission officers
  • 29. Article 2 Section 4 - Impeachment  The President, VP, and other civil officers can be impeached for Treason, Bribery, or other crimes.  (This includes judges)
  • 30. Local Government (Executive Branch)  Illinois Governor: Patrick Quinn  Capital of Illinois is: Springfield
  • 31. Article 3: The Judicial Branch  The Supreme Court Building (Washington D.C.)
  • 32. Article 3 – The Judicial Branch  The Supreme Court and lower Federal courts as created by Congress.  The Roberts Court, October 2010 Back row (left to right): Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen G. Breyer, Samuel A. Alito, and Elena Kagan. Front row (left to right): Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  • 33. Article 3 Section 1: Federal Courts  Judicial power: Supreme Court and “inferior” or lower Federal courts  Supreme Court Judges serve for life  “shall hold their Offices during good Behavior”  Can be removed by impeachment (happened 14 times)  Sandra Day O’Connor was the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court.  Justices are paid for their services.  Salary may not change during term of service  9 Supreme Court Justices, including one “Chief Justice”  John G. Roberts Jr. is the current Chief Justice  The Chief Justice sets the agenda and leads debates
  • 34. Article 3 Section 2: Judicial Power, Jurisdiction, and Trial by Jury  The Judicial branch extends to all parts of the government including all states, problems between states, the executive and legislative branches, etc.  The 11th Amendment limits the Federal government from hearing cases/lawsuits against states started by a citizen of another state or foreign country.
  • 35. Article 3 Section 2: Original v. Appellate Jurisdiction  The Judicial Branch can enact Original Jurisdiction and Appellate Jurisdiction.  Original Jurisdiction: the power to hear a case for the first time  The Supreme Court holds original jurisdiction over Ambassadors and public ministers.  Appellate Jurisdiction: power to review a lower court’s decision  All other cases are up to appellate jurisdiction  The Writ of Certiorari: the official request to the Supreme court to review a lower court’s decision.
  • 36. Article 3 Section 2 (cont.)  All crimes must have a trial by jury, except impeachment.  Trials must take place in state and district where the crime was committed.  Judicial Review: the process of checking laws and actions  After the Supreme Court Case: Marbury v. Madison, Chief Justice John Marshall determined that the Supreme Court has the power of “Judicial Review” over the Executive and Legislative branches.  Judicial Review means that the Judicial Branch can determine whether the actions of the Executive or Legislative branches are constitutional or not.
  • 37. Article 3 Section 3: Treason  Treason is defined as:  Starting war against the US  Aiding enemies of the US  The act of treason must be witnessed by two people or through a confession of the defendant.  Note: There are NO constitutional requirements in order to be a Supreme Court Justice.
  • 38. Article 4 – States and the Federal Govt.  Obligations of States and Federal Government  How to admit new states
  • 39. Article 4 Section 1: Full Faith and Credit  When a Federal court decision is made in one state, it applies to all states.
  • 40. Article 4 Section 2: Privileges and Immunities  Interstate protection of “privileges and immunities”  A citizen of one state is protected and given the same privileges/rights in any other state. Laws and freedoms can’t be changed on people from other states.  Fugitives who have committed crimes in one state and fled to another state must be extradited back to the original state where the crime was committed.  Fugitive Slave Clause – (same as fugitive clause, but for slaves)  This is obviously taken away with the passage of the 13th Amendment that ends slavery.
  • 41. Article 4 Section 3: New States  New states must be admitted by Congress  States can’t break off part of their land to form a new state or combine to form a larger single state without the consent of both state legislatures and Congress.  Congress has final say over any territory disputes in the US.  For instance, Congress is the only power that can add or subtract territories. Puerto Rico is technically a commonwealth of the United States and their legislative powers would lay with the US Congress.
  • 42. Article 4 Section 4: Obligations of the US  All states must have a republican government (republic)  Basically, this means that each state has to have a government with the consent of the people.
  • 43. Article 5 – Amending the Constitution  Amendments can be proposed by two methods:  A 2/3 vote in BOTH the House of Reps and the Senate to propose an amendment and start a convention.  A national convention assembled at the request of the legislatures of at least 2/3 of the states.  This method is very unlikely.  Amendments can be ratified (passed) if:  3/4 of Congress agree to pass it (ratify it).
  • 44. Article 6 – The Constitution is Supreme  The Constitution is the supreme law of the land.  All US laws and treaties are also supreme.  Federal laws trump state laws. The US Supreme Court trumps individual state supreme courts.  The US is responsible for all debts incurred during the Articles of Confederation  No religious tests for government jobs  All government jobs are bound by oaths to uphold the US Constitution  I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. [So help me God.]  (optional)
  • 45. Article 7 – Passing the Constitution  Nine states were needed to ratify (pass) the US Constitution.  Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, and New Hampshire (June 21st, 1788) were the first nine states to ratify the Constitution.  Virginia signed days later and New York in July of 1788.  North Carolina and Rhode Island waited until the Bill of Rights was submitted to the states for ratification before joining in 1789 and 1790 respectively.
  • 46. Amendments (27 Total): Bill of Rights  The First through Tenth Amendments are known as the Bill of Rights.  Bill of Rights were written in 1789 by James Madison and ratified (passed) in 1791.  1st – Freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, and petition (protesting).  2nd – Right to a regulated militia and bear Arms (weapons).  3rd – No quartering of troops without consent  4th – No unreasonable searches/seizures (without a warrant). Warrants must be issued by law with probable cause.
  • 47. Bill of Rights Continued  5th – Legal rights citizens are guaranteed:  No person can be detained for a capital or “infamous crime” unless they are indicted by a grand jury.  No Double Jeopardy: You can’t be charged with the same individual criminal act twice  You don’t have to testify against yourself (“plead the fifth”)  Due Process – nothing can be done to you unless proper legal procedures are done. AKA, you cannot be punished, executed, have your property taken away, etc. unless you have been LEGALLY found guilty.  6th – Right to a speedy public trial by a jury of the State and District where the crime was committed (of your peers) with access to witnesses and an attorney.
  • 48. Bill of Rights Continued  7th – Right to a trial with a jury in civil cases (non- criminal cases). These cases cannot be re-opened by another court.  8th – No excessive bail or cruel and unusual punishment (including torture)  9th – The rights of the people not stated in the Constitution must be protected as well, and are left up to the states to decide.  10th – Everything not stated in the Constitution are left up to the states.
  • 49. Amendments  11th - limits the Federal government from hearing cases/lawsuits against states started by a citizen of another state or foreign country.  12th - revises direct election of “electors” in the electoral process. Requires the Vice President to meet all of the qualifications of the President  13th – Abolition of slavery  14th – foreign born citizens can vote, equal protection of the laws  15th – All men have the right to vote, including ex- slaves  16th – Federal income tax established
  • 50. Amendments Continued  17th - Direct election of Senators  18th – Alcohol prohibited  19th – Women get the right to vote  20th – January 20th is the day the new president takes office (inauguration day)  21st – Repeals the 18th amendment, allows alcohol again  22nd - prevents the President from being elected more than twice.
  • 51. Amendments Continued  23rd - Washington D.C. gets 3 electoral votes/“electors”  24th – You may not charge people to register to vote  25th - states that, in case the President can’t perform his/her tasks, the Vice President becomes President.  26th – You can vote if you are 18  27th – Congress can’t give themselves a salary raise in the same term  …Phew

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