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Amendments of Our Constitution

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Dane Walton

on 6 December 2012

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Transcript of Amendments of Our Constitution

Our Constitution Amendments Clauses First Amendment Freedom of Religion
Congress can't establish an official religion, favor one over the other, or impede on the practice of a religion.
Separation of church and state
In the 1992 case Lee vs Weisman, a Jewish rabbi was invited to give a prayer at a graduation for a public school. The Weisman family opposed this and after the ceremony, they brought it to court. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court where the Weisman family won. Freedom of Speech
People have a right to freely express themselves
Government must provide substantial evidence to interfere with this right
In the 1919 case Schenck vs U.S., Schenck was convicted of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 because he passed out pamphlets in opposition to the WW1 draft. The Supreme Court upheld this conviction and clarified that "when a nation is at war, many things that might be said in time of peace are such a hindrance to its effort that their utterance will not be endured so long as men fight, and that no Court could regard them as protected by any constitutional right." Freedom of Press
Similar to freedom of speech but specifically addresses publication.
Does NOT give people of media any special privileges or rights that any other citizen would have.
In the 1987 case Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier, a group of students filed suit against their high school for removing two articles from the school newspaper, one concerning teen pregnancy and the other a student's divorced parents. The principle, after reviewing the articles, said that the students could possibly be identified (even though the students' names were changed) and the students that wrote the articles said that removing the articles infringed on their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The Supreme Court ruled that since the newspaper was a school funded program, they had the right to censor the stories how they wished. Freedom to Assemble
People can gather for peaceful and lawful purposes but it does not include the right of social association.
The government can restrict people from knowingly associating with something illegal.
Government can't force people to express themselves a certain way or associate with a group.
In the 1984 case of Clark v. Community for Creative Non-Violence, the Community for Creative Non-Violence received permits for a seven-day protest in Lafayette Park and the National Mall, but the National Park Service denied them the right to sleep in the tents they were using for symbolic purposes. The CCNV believed this impeded on their First Amendment right and followed through with a court hearing. The Supreme Court eventually ruled in favor of the National Park Service because the inability to sleep in the tents would not have significantly impacted the demonstration and there were other parks that permitted sleeping. Second Amendment Fourth Amendment Freedom of Petition
This allows people to go to the government and ask for assistance and/or complain without the fear of being punished.
In the 1966 case Brown v. Louisiana, Brown and four other black people were peacefully protesting their unequal treatment with a "sit-in" in a library. After they refused to leave when asked, the authorities were called and they were arrested. The case was eventually brought to the Supreme Court and they ruled in favor of Brown as the protest was not a breach of peace and there had been previous cases that involved more disruptive protesting in which they had ruled in favor. Fifth Amendment Sixth Amendment Eighth Amendment Ninth Amendment Tenth Amendment Thirteenth Amendment Fourteenth Amendment Fifteenth Amendment Sixteenth Amendment - The right to protect people from unreasonable search and seizures
- Officials can however search with probable cause
- Officials can’t enter your house without a judge approval or warrant

Big Court cases
-Weeks vs. USA (1914)
- Exclusionary rule was born...
- Forbids use of illegally obtained evidence in a trial
-Carroll vs USA (1925)
- searching a car is treated the same as searching a dwelling (aka house)
- USA vs Robinowitz (1950)
- when an individual is arrested, their property can be searched without court approval
- Board of Education vs. Earls (2002)
-Drug testing for extracurricular activities is fine because the activities are voluntary Seventeenth Amendment Twentieth Amendment Nineteenth Amendment Twenty Second Amendment Twenty Fifth Amendment Twenty Sixth Amendment 13th Amendment
Section 1
-Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2
-Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
-no slavery or involuntary servitude unless convicted of a crime and had a trial
-congress can enforce by appropriate legislation

Court Case:
Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
The "separate but equal" factor came into effect when a man said he did not have an equal opportunity when sitting on a train
Vote for president and vice president separately and through the electoral college
If there is no majority winner the president would be decided in the House of Representatives
If the House were to have to vote on the President they would take the top three candidates and each state would get one vote
If there were no majority for the vice president, the senate would then vote
The Senate has been taken out of the equation because Presidents now run on the same ticket as their Vice Presidents Twelfth Amendment Verbatim: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
Two different interpretations: individuals theory and collective rights theory.
Individual is the right for each citizen to bear a firearm
Collective is says individuals do not have the right to bear an arm but the state, federal, and local governments have the right to regulate arms.
In the 2010 case McDonald v. City of Chicago, there was a question whether the Second Amendment applied to states directly. McDonald challenged Chicago's ban on handguns and eventually it made its way to the SC. The SC determined that it did apply to states through the incorporation doctrine and the ban was lifted. Can be broken down into five Constitutional Rights
A grand jury for capital crimes
A prohibition of double jeopardy
A prohibition against self-incrimination
Guarantee that all that are accused will have a fair trial
Promise that the government will not seize private property without paying market value
In the 1966 case Miranda v. Arizona, Miranda was arrested for a theft of $8. During the interrogation, he confessed that he kidnapped and raped a woman a few days earlier. He was then sentenced to twenty years in prison based on that confession. The problem was that he was not told he could have an attorney during the interrogation nor his right to remain silent. The SC ruled the confession was invalid and the Miranda rights were established. This amendment is simple enough. The president is limited to two terms as president. Each term is four years long and therefore, a president can serve a total of eight years. The terms can be successive or split up. "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."
This amendment encompasses MANY things: everything not given to the federal government goes to the states and people.
Has in many cases been discussed in conjunction with the elastic clause because some argue the elastic clause gives the federal government implied powers while others say this amendment says those powers should go to the states (ex. recent health care debate, certain gun laws, etc.) Congress can tax individuals or corporations net income Tax applies after deductions from various expenses & payments such as charity or business expenses The court case Pullock v Farmers Loan and Trust (1895) resulted in the court ruling that this tax was a direct tax & subject to apportionment Each state is allocated 2 senators, elected by the people of the state(not the legislature). They are elected for 6 years & are each allowed one vote. If a senator should leave office before the end of their term(impeachment, resignation, death) the governor of that state will appoint someone to fill the position. In the court case Reynolds v Sims(1964) ruled that voting districts of state legislatures must have roughly equal populations This amendment established a procedure in the case of Presidential death or disability, in which case the Vice President would become acting President & receive all powers that come with this title. The VP & the majority of the cabinet must send written notice to the speaker of the house informing them of the situation. When the President is ready to return to his duties, he must send written notice to congressional leadership. If the VP & majority of the cabinet disagree they may send written notice to congressional leadership. Congress will then decide who should become President This applies to the court case Nixon v US(1974), after which, Nixons' VP Gerald Ford was appointed to Oval Office The 26th Amendment clearly states that the minimum age requirement for voting in Federal Elections is 18 years of age. Commerce Clause: Congress has the authority to make laws pertaining to international & interstate trade
Has given the government a lot of power as it has eventually been interpreted as being the exchange of anything of value.
Court Case: Gibbons v Ogden(1824) This court case affects the commerce clause because it strictly specified that congress can regulate trade in between states & water. Advice & Consent: Congress is allowed to be consulted upon and eventually approve Presidential decisions on treaties and appointments of ambassadors & judges of the Supreme Court with a simple majority. People have a right to a speedy trial by an impartial jury of the state and district in which the crime was committed.
In the 1969 case Smith v. Hooey, the defendant was indicted and then was declined a trial for seven years. After a hearing was finally given, it was brought before the SC that his sixth amendment right had been infringed upon. The SC ruled in favor of the defendant and the charges were dropped. Section 1
-The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude
Section 2
-The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

All races can vote and can not be denied by the color of their skin

Court Cases:
Guinn and Beal v. United States of America (1915)
Made the grandfather clause and literacy tests to prevent African Americans from voting Commerce Clause Advise and Consent The Elastic Clause Supremacy Clause Establishment Clause Full Faith and Credit Congress has the power to create all laws that are "necessary and proper" that aren't explicitly stated in the Constitution.
Has been widely used to expand the power of the federal government from Jefferson buying the Louisiana Purchase to Obama pushing through "Obamacare".
Biggest Case = McCulloch v. Maryland
After all was said and done, it set a precedent that Congress had implied powers and that states could not obstruct the constitutional acts carried out by the federal government.

The United States Constitution is the Supreme Law of the land and all must obey it. That means all federal and state judges must be in accordance and follow the constitution.

Big Cases
In McCulloch v. Maryland, 17 U.S. (4 Wheat.) 316 (1819)
-The Supreme Court found it unconstitutional for a state to tax a federally incorporated institution because the state could therefore destroy the institution to make the state more superior than the federal government Section 1
-All people born in the United States, are citizens of the United States
-No State can deny their citizens life, liberty, or property without due process
Section 2
-21 years old to vote
-Representatives be proportional to voters
-Each citizen who is valid to vote counts as one full person
Section 3
-Can not hold a public office or participate in the military if the person has been involved with a rebellion group
Section 4
-The United States will not pay compensation for slaves
Section 5
-The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article

Citizenship Clause- Reverses the Scott v. Sandford that stated African Americans can not be considered citizens
Equal Protection Clause- Protects citizens the same from state as it does federal government
Due Process Clause- A course for cases or other governmental activities designed to protect citizens natural rights

Court Cases:
Brown v. Board of Education
Stated that "separate and equal" was really not "equal" and it made integration easier Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Interpretation: this amendment prohibits a citizen from paying an excessive fine or bail, however the terms are flexible. Also, any punishment that society deems as unacceptable is prohibited.
Court cases:
Furman v. Georgia- the Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty is considered cruel and unusual punishment until a clear policy is established.
California people v. Anderson- capital punishment in the state of California is deemed as cruel and unusual punishment. The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Interpretation: This amendment addresses the rights of the people that may not be specifically listed in the constitution. It serves as a guideline to read the constitution, as opposed to an expansion of governmental powers.
Court cases:
Roe v. Wade- U.S. Supreme Court declares a woman can legally have an abortion.
Griswold v. Connecticut- SC legalizes the use of contraceptives due to a citizens right of marital privacy. Section 1. The right of the citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Interpretation: After a long women's suffrage movement, women are given the right to vote. Congress officially enforced this amendment. (Can refer to the 14th amendment) Two weeks after the House of Representatives passed the amendment, the senate followed.
Court cases:
Minor v. Happersett- declared that the fourteenth amendment did not give women the right to vote.
United States v. Susan B. Anthony- Susan B. Anthony advocated for women's rights and would eventually be the main contributor to equality in the voting place Interpretation: this amendment declares what day the term of presidents, representatives and senators end. It also says that congress will meet at least once a year. The main point of this amendment states that if the president dies or is not qualified, the VP will act as president. However, if neither are qualified, then congress will choose who will act as president. The twentieth amendment established a beginning and end of the federal government terms, this shortens the time in office and avoids the "lame duck" period.
Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.
Interpretation: this clause explains that the United States must respect public acts and records of every other state. It forms an "order of protection". It unifies the country while still giving the state government power.
Court case:
Baehr v. Lewin- two gay couples are currently trying to sue the state of Hawaii for suggesting that Hawaii is denying them their basic rights by not allowing same sex marriage. The First Amendment provides that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion….”
Interpretation: congress cannot declare an official religion. Nor can they show preference of one religion over another.
Court cases:
Lemon v. Kurtzman-established the lemon test, which is used to decide if a law violates the establishment clause. (3 part)
Engel v. Vitale-declared that it is unconstitutional for a public school to recite a school prayer, even if the students choose to stay silent.
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