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06 The Constitution

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Thaddeus Schwartz

on 15 November 2013

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Transcript of 06 The Constitution

Landmark Cases
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America… and as a Republic the people are the supreme power.

The first three Articles of the Constitution establish the rules and separate powers of the three branches of the federal government: a legislature, the bicameral Congress; an executive branch led by the President; and a federal judiciary headed by the Supreme Court.

The last four Articles frame the principle of federalism and the Tenth Amendment confirms its federal characteristics.

The Constitution was adopted on September 17, 1787, by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and ratified by conventions in eleven states. It went into effect on March 4, 1789.

BILL OF RIGHTSThe first ten constitutional amendments ratified by three-fourths of the states in 1791 are known as the Bill of Rights.

The Constitution has been amended seventeen additional times (for a total of 27 amendments) and its principles are applied in courts of law by judicial review.

James Madison - known as the “Father of the Constitution” for being instrumental in the drafting of the United States Constitution and as the key champion and author of the United States Bill of Rights.
Article 1
The Legislative Branch
The first branch of government is the legislative branch, or Congress. It makes the nation’s laws. Article I of the Constitution divides Congress into the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Article 2
The Executive Branch
Article II of the Constitution establishes the executive branch. This branch enforces the laws passed by Congress. The primary officers are the President and Vice President, along with the Cabinet and the various Departments and Bureaus.
Article 3
The Judicial Branch
Article 4 - The States
Mutual Respect - States must honor the laws, records, and court decisions of other states. No one can escape a legal obligation by moving among states
Admission - admission of New States allowed but restrictions of splitting and combining stated
Guarantees - guarantee of Republican form of government and protection from invasion and domestic violence
Article 5 - Amending
To Amend…Both the and the Senate must approve by a two-thirds vote, a joint resolution amending the Constitution. Amendments do not require the signature of the President of the United States and are sent directly to the states for ratification. OR…. Two-thirds of the state legislatures ask Congress to call a national convention to propose amendments. (This method has never been used.)To Ratify Amendments…Three-fourths of the state legislatures approve it, or Ratifying conventions in three-fourths of the states approve it.
Article 6 - Federalism
One of the biggest problems
facing the delegates to the
Constitutional Convention was
the question of what would
happen if a state law and a federal law
conflicted. Which law would be followed? Who would decide? The second clause of Article VI answers those questions. When a federal law and a state law disagree, the federal law overrides the state law. The Constitution and other federal laws are the “supreme Law of the Land.” This clause is often called the supremacy clause.
Article 7 - Ratification
The Constitution required that 9 out of the 13 states would be needed to ratify the Constitution. The first state to ratify was Delaware, on December 7, 1787. Almost two-and-a-half years later, on May 29, 1790, Rhode Island became the last state to ratify the Constitution.
Preamble to the United States Constitution

We 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 establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

This opening statement to the Constitution explains the reasons our Framers crafted our Republican form of government, to replace the Articles of Confederation. The Constitution was drafted over a period of about six weeks, and then was eloquently phrased by the Committee of Style – headed by Governor Morris of Pennsylvania. The Preamble is the explanation, but it is not law. The powers of each branch of the Federal government, and the states, are clearly detailed in Articles I – VII.

We the People, of the United States

This means the citizens of the USA. The new form of government may have been drawn up by some of the best- educated men of the new nation, but the rights of Republican government belonged to all.

...in Order to form a more perfect Union

The Articles of Confederation had many limitations on governing the new nation. In this phrase, the Framers were not stating they were crafting a government and nation that were without flaw; they meant that the new Constitution would produce and uphold a better form of governance than the Articles.

....establish Justice

The reasons for Revolution against England were still very much in the minds of American citizens. Fair trade and fair trial were paramount.

...insure domestic Tranquility

Shays’ Rebellion – an uprising of Massachusetts farmers against the state for repayment of war debts- was one reason the Constitutional Convention was held. Citizens were very concerned with the keeping of peace within our borders.

...provide for the common defense

The possibilities of attacks by other countries was very real. No one state by itself had the military might to defend itself against a large-scale attack. The Framers knew it was necessary for the states to work together to defend the nation.

...promote the general Welfare

This clause means the “well-being” of all. It relates back to the previous three clauses: by establishing justice, keeping the peace, and defending the nation, the citizens’ well-being would be taken care of to the best extent possible by a Federal government.

...and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity

America had fought long and hard for liberty freedom from a tyrannical government that imposed unjust laws, and placed the goals of the English Crown above the individual. The purpose of the new Constitution was to protect and maintain those hard-won rights, for our Framers’ generation and all that followed.

... do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America

This ending clause makes a powerful statementWe the People have made this governing document for Our nation, and it is We the People who give it the power.
Constitution 1789
First 10 Amendments
Bill of Rights
Amendments 11-27
Marbury v Madison
Appointment of midnight justices by John Adams rejected by Jefferson. Supreme Court must decide constitutionality of Judiciary Act.
RESULT - John Marshall declared Judiciary Act unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has the right of Judicial Review. Establishes that the Supreme Court has the final say on what the Constitution means.
review by the Supreme Court of the constitutional validity of a legislative act
Schenk v U.S.
Schenck was charged with conspiracy to violate the Espionage Act by distributing flyers opposing the draft during World War I.
RESULT - The Supreme court decided that restricting Schenk speech
was permissible because it presented a "clear and present danger"
to the government's recruitment efforts during a time of war.
Famously Justice Holmes stated…
"Protection of speech is limited. Protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic.”
Reynolds v. U.S.
Tested the limits of religious liberty. The Court ruled unanimously that a law banning polygamy was constitutional, and did not infringe upon individuals’ First Amendment right to free exercise of religion.
Religious practices can be limited if the practices violate other laws.
Dred Scot v. Sanford
Dred Scott was a slave who was brought into free Territory as defined by the Missouri Compromise.
he Supreme Court declared that slaves were property and as such were not protected by the Constitution. It also declared the Missouri Compromise unconstitutional.
Plessy v. Ferguson
The state of Louisiana enacted a law that required separate railway cars for blacks and whites. In 1892, Homer Adolph Plessy--who was seven-eighths Caucasian--took a seat in a "whites only" car of a Louisiana train. He refused to move to the car reserved for blacks and was arrested
The Supreme Court ruled that the "separate but equal" was constitutional. The case established this principle of segregation until it was overturned in 1954
Brown v. Board of Ed
Linda Brown denied enrollment in an all white school near her home challenges the separate but equal policy of the Topeka school district.
In one of the most celebrated cases, the court struck down separate but equal and ordered integration in the nation's schools with "all deliberate speed."
People become U.S. citizens in several ways.

First, anyone born in the United States or a territory it controls is a citizen.

People born in a foreign country are U.S. citizens if at least one parent is a U.S. citizen.

Foreign-born people whose parents are not citizens must move to the United States to become naturalized citizens.
Jury Duty Military Service Community Service Voting Obeying Laws
Once in the United States, they go through a long process before applying for citizenship. If they succeed, they become naturalized citizens, giving them most of the rights and responsibilities of other citizens.
Community Service Groups - communities rely on volunteers for services such as fire protection and law enforcement.
Political Action Committees - (PAC) an organization that collects money to distribute to candidates who support the same issues as the contributors
Interest Groups - a group of people who share common interests for political action
1.Enter the US legally and live here legally for 5 years. (Green Card)2.Have good moral character.3.Demonstrate ability to read and write English.4.Pass US civics test on American government and history.5.Take the loyalty oath.
Requirements for becoming a naturalized US citizen.
Full transcript