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United States Constitution

United States Constitution

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United States Constitution

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  1. United States Constitution

  2. “A Living Document” • Adapts to the changes of society • Amendments (27) • Supreme Court Cases (150) ** reinterpret the Constitution

  3. Articles of the US Constitution • I – Legislative Branch • II – Executive Branch • III – Judicial Branch • IV – States • V – Amendments Process • VI – National Supremacy • VII – Ratification

  4. Article I – Legislative Branch Senate (equal – 100 / 6 yr term) * 30 yrs. / Citizen for 9 yrs. House of Representatives (population – 435 / 2 yr term) * 25 yrs. / Citizen for 7 yrs. • Make our laws • Appropriate Money • Regulate Immigration • Establish Post Offices and Roads • Regulate Interstate Commerce and Transportation • Declare War • Elastic Clause – make all laws necessary and proper for executing a listed power.

  5. Article II – Executive Branch • President / Vice-President / Cabinet • 4 yr terms / 35 yrs and natural-born • Chief Executive • Chief of State • Chief Legislator • Chief Diplomat • Commander in Chief of Armed Forces • Treaties / appointments

  6. Article III – Judicial Branch • Supreme Court and other Federal Courts • Preserve and protect the rights guaranteed by the Constitution • Considers cases involving national laws • Declares laws and acts “unconstitutional” – Judicial Review

  7. Article IV – States • Legislative and judicial actions of one state must be honored by others • Citizens of states have the same privileges • Adding new states to the Union • republic • Guarantees protection

  8. Article V – Amendments • Amendment Facts… • Amendments – formal changes to the text of the Constitution • Ways to propose… • 2/3 votes of the House and Senate • National Convention called by 2/3 of states • Note – has never been done • Ways to ratify (approve)… • Legislatures in ¾ of states • Each state holds a ratifying convention and ¾ approve. (done once – 21st)

  9. Article VI – National Supremacy • Supremacy Clause • The Constitution, laws of the US, and treaties entered into by the US are the supreme law of the land

  10. Article VII – Ratification • Approval of 9 of the 13 states was required to ratify the Constitution • Delaware – 1st to ratify (Dec. 1787) • Rhode Island – last to ratify (May 1790)

  11. Six Basic Principles • 1. Popular Sovereignty • 2. Limited Government • 3. Federalism • 4. Separation of Powers • 5. Checks and Balances • 6. Judicial Review

  12. 1. Popular Sovereignty • The people hold the ultimate authority • A representative democracy lets the people elect leaders to make decisions for them.

  13. 2. Limited Government • Framers wanted to guard against tyranny • Government is limited to the power given them in the Constitution. • The Constitution tells how leaders who overstep their power can be removed

  14. 3. Federalism • The division of power between State and National Governments • Some powers are shared (Concurrent) • Taxes, establish courts, charter banks • The National Government has the “supreme power” (Article VI – Supremacy Clause) • Delegated Powers – Federal Govt. • Regulate trade, raise army, crimes against US • Reserved Powers – State Govt. • Schools, elections, business within state

  15. 4. Separation of Powers • No one holds “too much” power • Legislative branch makes the laws • Executive branch carries out the laws • Judicial branch interprets the laws

  16. 5. Checks and Balances • Prevents the abuse of power in government • Each branch can check each other branch

  17. Executive Checks • Propose laws to Congress • Veto laws made by Congress • Negotiate foreign treaties • Appoint federal judges • Grant pardons to federal offenders

  18. Legislative Checks • Override president’s veto • Ratify treaties • Confirm executive appointments • Impeach federal officers and judges • Create and dissolve lower federal courts

  19. Judicial Checks • Declare executive acts unconstitutional • Declare laws unconstitutional • Declare acts of Congress unconstitutional • The Supreme Court holds the final check

  20. Bill of Rights • Guarantees citizens certain rights, freedoms and protections • 1st – 5 freedoms (religion, speech, press, peaceful assembly, petition the govt) • 2nd – bear arms (firearms) • 3rd – no quartering of soldiers • 4th – no unreasonable search and seizure • 5th – no double jeopardy, “I plead the fifth” – don’t have to testify against oneself, due process

  21. Bill of Rights cont… • 6th – speedy trial, confront witnesses against oneself, subpoena witnesses, have attorney • 7th – jury trial in civil suit • 8th – no cruel or unusual punishment, no excessive bail or fines • 9th – does not deny right not specifically mentioned in the Const. • 10th – states (people) have powers not granted to federal govt or denied to states

  22. Post Civil War Amendments • Aimed at correcting wrongs committed against African Americans during the slavery era • 13th – abolished slavery for all races, unless convicted of a crime • 14th – made anyone born in the US a citizen and guaranteed due process and equal laws to all (regardless of race or ethnicity) • 15th – no one could be denied the right to vote because of race or previous enslavement • FREE CITIZENS VOTE (13 / 14 / 15)

  23. 19th Amendment • Women’s Suffrage Amendment • Background… • Women campaigned for voting rights since the end of the Civil War (15th) • By 1911 – 6 states allowed women to vote (W) • Susan B. Anthony suggested amendment • Civil Disobedience • NAWSA – National American Women Suffrage Association • WWI increased support • Suffragettes supported the war effort • Millions of women took the place of men in the factories • Many though it was unfair to fight for democracy in Europe, while we did not have it in the US “The right of citizens of the US to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the US or by any state on the account of sex.”

  24. 26th Amendment • Guaranteed those 18 yrs and older the right to vote in every state • Background… • Voting age was 21 • Jennings Randolph (WV-1941) • If they are old enough to be drafted and go to war, then they are old enough to vote (WWII) • Support increased over time • Pres Eisenhower and Johnson supported • Vietnam helped gain support • Oregon lowered the age and this was overturned – increase the effort to change

  25. Marbury v. Madison (1803) • TJ won the 1800 election / Adams lost (3rd) • Adams appointed 58 newly created federal judges as he was leaving office • Sec of State (John Marshall) was to deliver the commissions (did not deliver 17) • Thought new Sec of State (Jame Madison) would finish delivering the rest (he did not) • William Marbury sued Madison because he did not receive his commission and could not take office • Wanted a writ of mandamus – court order requiring Madison to perform his duty

  26. Marbury v. Madison cont. • Decision… • Marbury entitled to commission but… • Cannot issue the writ because allowing the SC to issues writs is unconstitutional – Judiciary Act of 1789 • Why important… • Established the power of Judicial Review • SC has the power to review acts of other branches and determine their constitutionality

  27. Judicial Review • The judicial branches most important check on the executive and legislative branch • The power of the judicial branch to determine whether laws and actions are constitutional or not • Supreme Court has the power to strike down any law passed by Congress or signed by the President • Constitution does not specifically state as a power

  28. Jim Crow Laws • After Reconstruction, many southern states passed laws intended to bypass rights guaranteed by the CW Amendments 13-15 • Required racial segregated facilities for black and whites • Ex…schools, restaurants, train, bus, hospitals, drinking fountain • Poll taxes and literacy tests for voting

  29. Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) • Background… • LA passed a law that required AA to sit in separate RR cars • Homer Plessy – (~7/8 white / 1/8 black) sat in a RR car reserved for whites • HP ordered to move – he refused and was arrested • HP took the case to court arguing it violated the 14th • Judge John Ferguson ruled against HP and found him guilty • HP appealed to the LA Supreme Court – ruling upheld • HP appealed to US Supreme Court

  30. Plessy v. Ferguson cont… • Decision… • Ruled LA SC was not in violation of the 14th (equal protection under law) – 8 to 1 • Separate facilities were legal if they were equal (“separate but equal”) • Set legal precedent (example to be followed) • Public saw this as approval of racial segregation • Led to racial segregation for the next six decades

  31. Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954)… • Background… • Linda Brown attend a black elementary school • White school was just a few blocks from her home, but she had to walk a mile to the black school through a dangerous RR yard • Linda’s father (Oliver) tried to convince the white school to admit his daughter, but they refused • Sued the school system with the help of the NAACP • Wanted to end segregation – made blacks feel inferior to whites (unequal) • Judges (Kansas court) agreed that segregation could harm black children, but…they ruled against Brown • Justification was precedent of Plessy case • 1951- decision appealed to SC (no decision)

  32. Brown v. Board cont… • Decision… • 1953 – SC reheard the case (unanimous) • Overturned the “separate-but-equal” doctrine established by Plessy • Ordered desegregation of all schools in the US • Did not address other forms of desegregation • Expanded protection of the 14th Amendment

  33. University of California v. Bakke (1978) • Background… • White man (Alan Bakke) applied to Ucal Med School twice (rejected twice) • As part of an Affirmative Action program…16 slots were reserved for minorities…(AA – programs to help minorities to make up for past injustices) • Bakke’s qualifications were overall higher than those minorities who were accepted • Bakke sued Ucal on the basis of reverse discrimination (denied admission because of race violated the 14th Amendment)

  34. University of California vs. Bakke cont… • Decision (split 5 to 4) • Quotas based solely on race violated the equal protection clause of the 14th • Race could be a criterion for admission as long as there are other variables (this is a compelling govt interest) • Ruled in favor of Bakke and allowed admission, but allowed affirmative action programs to continue

  35. Restrictions of the Rights of US Citizens… • Rights are relative…not absolute! • Examples… • Freedom of Religion – does not mean you can perform human sacrifice • Freedom of Speech – does not mean you can threaten physical harm or make false statements to create a panic

  36. Restrictions of the Rights of US Citizens… • When can your right be limited by the government? • Clear and Present Danger • Compelling Government Interest • Libel/Slander (written/spoken) • National Security • Public Safety • Equal Opportunity

  37. Examples of times when individual rights have been restricted… • WWI / Clear and Present Danger • When the nation is threatened by an enemy • Espionage Act (1917) • Outlawed interference with the draft and troop recruitment, encouraging disloyalty, inciting insubordination, obstructing the sale of govt bonds, disclosure of info that could jeopardize national defense • 20 yrs. Imprisonment / $10,000 fine if convicted (over 2000 convicted)

  38. Schenk v. United States (1919) • Charles Schenk (Socialist) sent 15,000 flyers to recent draftees urging them to refuse service • SC stated clear and present danger as one reason that freedom of speech could be restricted

  39. Debs v. United States (1919) • Eugene Debs (Socialist) gave a speech entitled “Socialism is the Answer” • “…you are fit for something better than slavery (democracy/capitalism)…” • 10 yrs of prison • SC stated clear and present danger / national security as justification

  40. Abrams v. United States (1919) • Jacob Abrams punish for distributing leaflets that criticized the US govt for sending troops to Russia • Due to Sedition Act (amendment to EA) • SC upheld but altered view – deprived rights of Constitution

  41. USA Patriot Act (Sept. 11, 2001) • Rights restricted regarding privacy • Some feel this is unconstitutional others feel its necessary • Justification… • Clear and present danger • National Security • Public Safety

  42. Conscientious Objectors… • WWI – Espionage/Sedition Act • Military Service Act of 1917 – established a draft for men ages 21 to 31 (later 18-45) • CO – refused service (some because of religion) • Those who objected to war because of religion would noncombatant service or other civilian jobs – if refused…they were jailed • 500 CO s were jailed for refusing service

  43. Protecting children from “indecent” content on TV/Int. • Communication Decency Act (1996) • Restrictions on what can be on the Internet • SC struck this down stating it did not define terms • Shows there are disagreements on what is a compelling government interest