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Transcript of US Constitution
Explains the 2 parts of Congress
Explains the powers of Congress
They make laws
Article I: The Legislature
The Supreme Court
Article III details the Judicial Branch and describes its main job as explaining or interpreting the laws.
Article III: The Judicial Branch
Interstate = relations between separate states.
Article IV: Interstate Relations
The 44 Presidents of the United States
States what the President's powers are.
Does not include anything about the Cabinet of the President, members appointed by the President to help run a specific part of the government.
Article II: The Executive
Supreme Law of the Land
Article VI: National Supremacy
The Constitution is the Supreme Law of the land.
If state laws contradict federal law then the state law is invalid.
All federal and state officials must promise to support the Constitution.
Article V: Amending the Constitution
The Bill of Rights (First 10 Amendments)
Amendments = Changes to the constitution.
Amendments keep the Constitution up to date.
States that the Constitution is done and will be law if enough states ratify it.
Article VII: Ratification
Section 2: House of Representatives
Describes how members of the House of Representatives are elected by the people.
Representatives are elected to 2 year terms.
Total of 435 Members in the House
3 Qualifications to be a Representative
25 years old
US Citizen for 7 Years
Live in the state you represent
The number of Representatives a state has depends on its population.
Speaker of the House calls meetings to order (Paul Ryan is the current Speaker of the House)
The House has the power to start the impeachment process:
Decides if the government official has done something wrong
Bring charges against him (does not mean they can remove the person from office)
Section 3: The Senate
Each State has 2 Senators voted on by the people.
100 Total Senators
30 years old
U.S. Citizen for 9 years
Live in the state you represent
Vice President serves as the Senate leader (only votes on ties)
President Pro-Tempo takes over when VP can't make it.
Impeachment's 2nd step takes place here:
Person is tried by the Senate, they can convict a person.
Darin LaHood is our Representative
Mark Kirk- IL Senator
Dick Durbin- IL Senator
Joe Biden- VP
Section 4: Elections
States that the States have the individual right to choose when to hold elections.
Illinois is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in even numbered years.
Congress must meet once a year.
Section 5: Congress Rules
For Congress to be able to vote a majority of its members must be in attendance. This is called a quorum.
A member can be dismissed from Congress with a 2/3 majority vote.
Congress must keep a record book.
Section 6: Payment and Arresting
Salaries are paid out of the US Treasury
Congressman can vote to give themselves raises.
While at work Congressman can not be arrested for minor offenses.
Can be for major offenses: murder, treason, etc.
Section 7: Bills
Bills- Ideas for new laws
Bills can start in either house, but bills about taxes must start in the House of Representatives.
Both houses must approve a bill before it goes to the President.
The President has 10 days to act on a bill, otherwise it becomes law.
The President can pass the bill by signing it, or veto (deny) the bill.
If vetoed the Congress can still pass the law with 2/3 votes.
Section 8: Powers of Congress
Borrow money for the US
Print money and make coins
Pay debts of the US
Start post offices
Give patents and copyrights
Power to impeach
Make laws about becoming a US Citizen
Build and maintain an Army and Navy
Set up lower Courts
Elastic Clause- power to create laws that will help use the constitution.
Protects the right of Habeas Corpus
Congress cannot make someone stay in jail unless there is good reason for it.
Protects the legal order of things.
Protects Ex Post Facto
a person cannot be arrested or taken to court for doing something that was not a crime or illegal when the crime was done.
Congress cannot tax exports (goods sent overseas)
Money cannot be taken out of the Treasury without the approval of congress. Treasury records must be kept.
Government cannot give titles of nobility.
Section 10: Limiting State Powers
States CAN NOT:
Make treaties with other countries.
Make its own money
Pay debts with anything but US Money
Convict and punish a person without trial
Have their own army or start its own war.
They are in charge of a particular department and they are called a "secretary."
Health and Human Services
There will be a President and Vice President
Responsibility is to administer and enforce laws
Serves 4 year terms, can not serve more than 10 years.
Qualifications to be President
35 Years old
Born in the US
Live in the US 14 Consecutive Years
President is elected by the Electoral College
Number of Representatives and Senators equals the number of votes a state has in the electoral college.
If the President is impeached, dies, quits, or is too ill the Vice President will take over. The Speaker of the House is next in line.
Will stay in office until next election.
President's Salary is decided at beginning of term and can not be changed during term. Gets a retirement and secret service until he dies.
Must swear an Oath before taking office (called an Inauguration).
The oath states:
swears faithfully to execute the office of the President of the US.
The promise to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.
How the Electoral College Works
1.) People vote for the President
2.) Whoever wins that state's popular vote will win the electoral votes that state has.
3.) There are a total of 538 electoral votes. To win you must have 270.
President is the Chief Executive.
The President can/is:
Commander-in-chief of the Military
Make treaties with foreign countries
Requires 2/3 a vote from the Senate.
Appoint supreme court justices.
Grant pardons and reprieves
Selects ambassadors (people that represent the US in other countries)
Section 3: Presidential Duties
President speaks regularly to Congress about the nation.
State of the Union Address
Calls special meetings of Congress
Sends ideas for new bills to congress
Meets with representatives of other countries.
#1 Speaker for the US
Carries out laws.
Section 4: Impeachment
Who can be impeached?
US Government officials
Not Congressman and military officers.
Crimes that are impeachable:
Hurting the US
The Judicial System is Split into 3 Courts:
Supreme Court- Highest court in the US
Appeals Court- 13 US appeals courts
Trial Courts- 94 US Trial Courts
Chosen by President and approved by Congress
Leader is the Chief Justice
Salaries are never lowered; can only be raised
The Judicial Branch's greatest power is Judicial Review.
Judicial Review allows the Judiciary to decide if laws are constitutional.
Section I: Federal Court System
There are three types of federal courts:
District Courts, Court of Appeals, and the US Supreme Court
The court system follows a path from the District Court, to a Court of Appeals, and finally (if the case can not reach a conclusion) to the Supreme Court.
Section 2: Authority of the courts
Section 2 describes what types of cases the Supreme Court hear.
Cases from federal courts
State vs. State
State vs. Citizen
State vs. Foreign Countries
Citizens vs. Foreign Countries
Jurisdiction: right to hear a certain case.
District Courts have original jurisdiction in most cases.
If a case can not be resolved it will go to the Appellate Court, if it still can not be determined then the case will go to the Supreme Court.
A criminal trial held in a federal court must have a jury. These trials are held in the state that the crime was committed.
Section 3: Treason
Treason is when someone carries on war against the US and/or helps enemies of the US.
In order to be convicted of Treason:
2 people that witnessed the act must testify
The person admits their treason
Congress must decide the punishment, not the courts.
Only the traitor can be punished; not his family.
The states are separate, however they are united under the constitution. They must work together and treat each other equally.
Section 1: State Acts and Records
Each state honors and recognizes another state's laws, records, and court rulings.
Examples: Birth and Marriage certificates, paying fines, criminal records
Section 2: Rights of Citizens
All people are to be treated equally in ALL states.
People can't escape justice by running out of state.
Extradition: if a person is charged with a serious crime in 1 state and flees to another, they must be returned to the state where the crime was committed.
Section 3: New States and Territories
Congress has power to add new states to the US.
To divide a state, the area needs consent of original state and congress.
Section 4: Guarantees to the states
The federal government promises:
Every state will have a government where the representatives are elected.
Protect states from other countries or people.
2/3 of Senate and 2/3 of the House to suggest an amendment.
then states must ratify by 3/4 states
only after these two things are done will it become a part of the constitution.
2/3 of states can ask Congress to meet to suggest Amendments
Still need 3/4 of states to ratify
There are 27 total amendments the last being added in 1992.
At this time, September 17, 1787, there were 13 states. 9 of the 13 must ratify the Constitution.
1st to ratify was Delaware. The 9th to ratify was New Hampshire.
On June 21, 1788 the Constitution came into effect.
4 states waited to ratify the Constitution:
New York (1788)
North Carolina (1789)
Rhode Island (1790)
This was important, because the country had to stay unified. These states requested a Bill of Rights be added, and they would ratify. The Bill of Rights was added and they soon ratified the Constitution.
Article V allows for the United States Constitution to be changed.
Changes can include removing items, changing wording, and adding new laws.
This is important because it allows the Constitution to stay current and meet the needs of a changing United States.
Bill of Rights
Bill of Rights
The Bill of Rights is the first 10 Amendments made to the Constitution. It serves as a guarantee of the basic rights of American citizens.
The Bill of Rights can be split up into 3 different categories that protect the citizens:
The Rights of the Accused
What it says:
First Amendment: Protection of Basic Rights
The First Amendment protects the most basic of American citizen's rights:
Freedom of Religion
The government can not support or interfere with the practice of religion.
Keeps the government from favoring one religion over another or establishing an official religion.
How could supporting one religion over another be a bad thing?
Why would creating an official religion be a bad thing?
Freedom of Speech
Freedom of Press
Freedom of Assembly
Freedom of Petition
People have the right to express their own ideas and views.
Does not protect against:
Slander- false statements meant to damage someone's reputation.
Libel- intentionally writing or telling lies that harm people.
Speech that threatens public safety.
Means the protection of communication and expression that can not be violated or interfered with by the government.
News companies have the right to publish what stories they want to. The government can not determine what stories they publish and don't. Except for classified material.
The right for people to come together for a common purpose or goal and state their opinions.
Must be a "peaceful" assembly.
Why is gathering into a group of people a right guaranteed by the Constitution? Why is it necessary?
You have the right to express your opinions about what should change to our government.
How is this a good right to maintain?
The ability to petition is an extremely important part of democratic society, do you agree or disagree with this? Explain.
Amendments II-IV: Protecting Citizens
The Second Amendment
The second amendment is one of the most debated and controversial amendments ever created.
Gun Control Supporters: Feel that the second amendment was only meant for militias. That it is not necessary for everyone to have the right to guns, only those that are in charge of protecting the state or country.
Individual Gun Rights Supporters: Feel that the second amendment is meant to protect the people's rights to have fire arms for their own security.
What do you think?
The Third Amendment prevents soldiers from entering and staying in someone's house.
Why would the Founders want this in the Constitution?
The Fourth Amendment
The Fourth does a lot of things:
Prevents illegal searches of your property or person, authorities have to have a warrant issued by a judge.
Protects the people's privacy.
Exceptions to Search Warrants:
- Consent Exception: When you give consent to be searched.
- Plain View: When something is done illegally in plain view
- Probable Cause: When authorities can search based on an instance that suggests you are guilty (gunshots, running away, any sudden movements)
- Arrest instances: When you have been arrested for doing something illegal.
Modern Day Issues
National Security Association- Monitors internet usage, phones, etc in order to protect against threats.
Google and other internet browsers.
Liberty and Order
Amendments V-VIII: Rights of the Accused
Fifth Amendment: Rights before you are indicted
The Fifth Amendment guarantees many things for those that have been accused of a crime:
Due Process of Law- The law must be fairly applied. A grand jury must decide if there is enough evidence of wrongdoing in order to indict someone.
Double Jeopardy- You can not be tried for the same crime twice.
Self-Incrimination- You will not have to testify against yourself, you will "plead the fifth."
Eminent Domain- Personal property may not be taken without some sort of "equal" compensation or repayment.
Sixth Amendment: Rights after you are indicted
The right to a jury:
A trial by a jury of your peers is guaranteed.
Jurors are people selected from the nearby community that are supposed to be impartial to the trial.
Only serious crimes receive a trial by jury: Punishment is 6 months or longer and/or a penalty of $500 or more.
Right to a speedy trial:
This is important because it prevents people being held too long in jail and keeps the interests of those involved fresh.
Right to be informed:
The accused must know what they are being accused of and what the potential punishment may be.
Witnesses: Must present their testimony in court under oath.
Right to Counsel: This means that everyone has the right to an attorney, despite not being able to afford one.
Seventh Amendment: Civil Cases
What are Civil Cases?
Civil Cases are conflicts between two parties that involve certain damages or requests for money (suing). Basically, it does not involve distinct criminal acts like murder.
Trial by Jury:
The 7th amendment only guarantees a jury trial for civil cases under federal law, not state law.
Eighth Amendment: Bail and Punishments
What is Bail? Bail is a set amount of money that is set to let someone out of jail. This money is repaid when the person shows up to court, it is meant to keep someone innocent until proven guilty, but also to keep them around for the trial.
Excessive Bail: The 8th amendment prevents large amounts of money being paid for bail.
Cruel and Unusual Punishment:
The 8th amendment prevents courts from issuing crazy or gruesome forms of punishments. Also, it ensures that the punishment must match the crime.
Rights of the States and Citizens
Amendments IX-X: Rights of States and Citizens
9th Amendment: Non-mentioned rights of the people
The 9th Amendment was made as a safety for other rights that are not directly mentioned in either the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.
The Founders did not want it to seem like every right was listed in the Constitution, that would have been impossible to make.
This amendment allows the courts and congress to decide other rights of the citizens.
Examples of some of these rights include: travel, voting, keeping things private, and health decisions.
10th Amendment: Rights reserved to states and people
The 10th Amendment states that any powers not given in the Constitution to the Federal government are powers given to the states.
Even though these rights are not mentioned directly, the courts have determined some of these rights. Here are some examples:
Family Relations Issues (Marriage, Divorce,etc.)
Commerce within the state
Local Law Enforcement
What it says
The 13th Amendment was made to end all forms of slavery in the United States.
It also ended involuntary servitude, when someone is forced to work for another.
Involuntary servitude IS acceptable when someone has been convicted of a crime.
Section 2 allows Congress to pass laws to ensure that slavery or involuntary servitude can not exist.
The 14th Amendment
Section 3: States that anyone who was a traitor to the United States can not run for office of any kind.
Section I: Made sure that all states treat every citizen equally. It was made to give rights to African Americans. It forces the states to abide by the Bill of Rights.
Section 2: Made all male citizens, including African Americans, count towards representation in Congress.
The 14th Amendment is an extremely important amendment because it allowed the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to apply to every state, not just the national level.
The Right to Vote Regardless of Race
Amendment 15 was passed to ensure that African Americans had the right to vote.
Section 1: States that no one can be denied the right to vote base on race, color, or if they were previously a slave.
Section 2: Allows Congress to pass laws to make sure that this can happen.
In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. - Ben Franklin
Article XVI allows Congress to collect income taxes, taxes based off of a person's money that they earn.
Previously, taxes were based off of a state's population. The XVI Amendment allowed for taxing individual people across the entire United States.
This increased money for the government, and is why people have to pay taxes to the federal government.
Remember the Ladies.- Abigail Adams
The 19th Amendment allowed women to vote!
Previous to the 19th women could vote and even hold office in some states, the 19th allowed ALL women to vote across the United States.
Holt Social Studies
American History: Beginnings to 1914
Types of Cases heard by Federal Courts:
Interstate and International Commerce
Security Cases (company take overs)
Patents, copyrights, and other intellectual properties.
Cases involving treaties.
Disputes between two states
Habeas Corpus actions