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US Gov't - Unit 4 (The US Constitution)

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Dawson McCall

on 14 November 2012

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Transcript of US Gov't - Unit 4 (The US Constitution)

Unit 4 - The US Constitution 1) Popular Sovereignty - The idea that the authority for governmental action flows directly from the people (John Locke & Jean-Jacques Rousseau - Enlightenment).

2) Federalism - System in which power is divided between the national and state governments (Iroquois - The Great Binding Law).

3) Separation of Powers - Division of government into different branches, each with its own responsibility (French thinker Baron de Montesquieu - Enlightenment).

4) Checks and Balances - Each separate branch exercises some form of control on the other branches (French thinker Baron de Montesquieu - Enlightenment).

5) Limited Government - The Constitution limits the powers of the government with regard to individuals’ rights (English Bill of Rights). Major Principles Guiding The US Constitution Structure of the Constitution Part One - Preamble Part Three - Amendments States why the Constitution was written.
Lists the goals of the Government. Part Two - Body Consists of seven articles.
Organizes the structure of the government
Sets out the specific ways in which the government is to function. Changes made to the Constitution through history.
Currently there are twenty-seven Amendments. “WE, the PEOPLE of the UNITED STATES, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure 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.” ▫Article #1 - Establishes the Legislative Branch
Article #2 - Establishes the Executive Branch
▫Article #3 - Establishes the Judicial Branch
Article #4 - Explains the relationship between the states, as well as the relationship between the state and the federal government.
Article #5 - Explains the process for amending the Constitution.
Article #6 - Contains the Supremacy Clause, which establishes that the Constitution, laws passed by Congress, and treaties of the USA are “the supreme Law of the Land.”
Article #7 – Provided for ratification process. The Seven Articles The Constitution is referred to as a “living document” because of the amendment process, which allows for Constitutional law to be changed through four specific procedures.

Congress has the power to decide which of the four amendment processes to use, as dictated by the Constitution.

Congress is charged with deciding the statute of limitations on the amendment process (currently set at seven years). Amending the Constitution Important Gov't Functions Found In The Constitution States have the power of determining the “Times, Places, and Manners of Holding elections…” – (Article 1, Sect 4, Clause 1)
Congress can override states decisions for the time and manner of holding elections, but cannot alter the place – (Article 1, Sect 4, Clause 1) Are elected every two years.
Must be at least 25 years old.
Must have been a citizen for at least 7 years.
Must reside in the state which they are chosen to represent. Are elected to 6 year terms on a rotational basis every two years (33, 33, 34).
Must be 30 years old & been a citizen for 9 years.
Must reside in the state which they are chosen to represent. Electing Federal Representatives (Article 1, Sect 2, 3, 4) Members of the House of Representatives: Members of the Senate: Set the permanent size of the House Representatives at 435 members.

Set a timetable for reapportionment of state representatives to be tied to the census taken every 10 years.

Allowed state legislatures the power to re-draw congressional districts, as well as the power to elect representatives at large.

1) Set a permanent limit on the total number of
Representatives in the House.
2) Allow states the power to draw Congressional districts. The House Re-Apportionment Act of 1929 Qualifications for the US Presidency
Must be 35 years old.
Must be a natural born citizen of the United States. Electing the President (Article 2, Sect 1) The Electoral College (Article 2, Sect 1) Each state is entitled to a number of electors “…equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no...Person holding an Office of...the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.” (Article 2, Sect 1, Clause 2) Congress determines the time and day of presidential elections (must be the same throughout the country). 100 Senators
435 Representatives
3 Seats for Washington, D.C. There are 538 members of the electoral college: Presidents must be elected by a majority of electoral votes (min of 270).

In case of a plurality, the House of Representatives chooses President from a list of the three largest recipients of electoral votes.

States determine the method of choosing electoral representatives, as well as the method of allotment.

Most states have a “winner take all” electoral allotment policy (only Maine & Nebraska split electoral votes).

State determine how electors are chosen. The Electoral College (Continued) Voters choose appointed electors, not Presidents & Vice-Presidents !!! Pros and Cons of the Electoral College System Requires National Distribution Of Popular Support For Election

Gives Voice To Minority Influence

Encourages Two Party Political System (Stability)

Maintains Federal System Of Gov't & Representation Possible Election Of “Minority” President (18 Times)

Creates Potential For “Faithless” Electors

Depresses Voter Turnout

Fails To Reflect The Popular Will Of The Country (4 Times)

Unequal Rep. Between States Supporting Arguments Opposing Arguments The Roles & Responsibilites of Congress 1) Expressed Powers – Powers enumerated (i.e. – listed) in the Constitution for the federal government (Listed in Article 1, Sect 8).

2) Inherent Powers – All powers inherently necessary for the government to carry out its expressed powers.
Generally recognized to be held by all gov'ts.

3) Implied Powers – Powers falling under the necessary & proper clause (i.e. – Elasticity Clause) of the Constitution (Article 1, Sect 8, Clause 18) Three Types of Congressional Powers Are Generally Recognized: Primary Role and Responsibility of Congress: To make and pass laws (legislation). Congress divides its responsibilities into approximately 200 committees & subcommittees .

◦Committees are responsible for:
1) gathering information about legislative issues
2) comparing legislative alternatives
3) identifying policy problems & possible solution
4) selecting measures for full chamber consideration
5) investigating instances of wrongdoing The Congressional System of Committees President Woodrow Wilson on Congressional Committees: “It is not far from the truth to say that Congress in session is Congress on exhibition, whilst Congress in its committee rooms is Congress at work.” Source: Woodrow Wilson, Congressional Government, (Baltimore, the Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981 p. 69. Originally published in 1885. Permanent Congressional Committees House of Reps (21) Senate (20) Agriculture
Armed Services
Energy & Commerce
Education & Labour
Financial Services
Energy Independence & Global Warming
Oversight & Gov't Reform
Homeland Security
House Administration
Foreign Affairs
Natural Resources
Science & Technology
Small Business
Standards of Social Conduct
Transporation & Infrastructure
Veterans' Affairs Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry
Special Committee on Aging
Armed Services
Banking, Housing, & Urban Affairs
Commerce, Science, & Transportation
Energy & Natural Resources
Environment & Public Works
Foreign Relations
Homeland Security & Government Affairs
Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions
Indian Affairs
Rules & Administration
Small Business & Entrepreneurship
Veterans' Affairs “This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the Constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.” The Supremacy Clause Article VI, Sect 1, Clause 2 Often Viewed In Contrast To The 10th Amendment: "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." Federal Judiciary (Supreme Court - Supreme Judiciary Powers of the Fed Gov't) The Executive Branch (Powers & Responsibilities of the President) Primary Role & Responsibility of the Executive Branch: Enforce laws passed by Congress. Chief of State
Chief Executive
Chief Administrator
Chief Diplomat
Commander in Chief Responsibilities & Roles of the US President as Defined by the US Constitution (Article 2, Sect 1 & 2): DVD Video On Presidential Powers & Mandates Federal War Powers Article 1, Sect 8, Clause 11 states – Congress shall have the power…”To declare war…”

Article 2, Sect 2, Clause 2 states – “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States…” The United states has officially declared war only five times in its history: 1) War of 1812 (1812)
2) Mexican-American War (1846)
3) Spanish-American War (1898)
4) World War One (1917)
5) World War Two (1941) Passed in the wake of the Vietnam War.
Requires that the President notify Congress within 48 hours of committing troops to combat.
Forbids armed forces from remaining in combat for more than 60 days without Congressional resolution authorizing force or a formal declaration of war.
Passed by a 2/3 majority vote of Congress, overriding a Presidential veto (Nixon Administration). The Presidential War Powers Resolution of 1973 Every President since Nixon has considered the Pres War Powers Resolution unconstitutional. Purpose: Place a limit on Presidential power to commit troops to combat without Congressional approval. The Power of Judicial Review Not mentioned anywhere in the Constitution.

Established by the Supreme Court case Marbury v Madison (1803): Ruled that because the Supreme Court was the “...supreme judicial power of the US,” it has the power to interpret the “Supreme Law of the Land” (i.e. the Constitution). Judicial Review – The power of the Supreme Court to interpret the Constitution. Federalism 1) The states must organize, conduct, and finance all elections from the local and regional levels, to the state level, to the national level. (Art 1, Sect 4)

2) States must take part in the Constitutional amendment and ratification process. (Art 5) 1) The National Gov’t must guarantee each state a republican form of government. (Art 4, Sect 4)

2) The National Gov’t must protect states from foreign invasion and domestic violence. (Art 4, Sect 4)

3) The National Gov’t must respect the territorial integrity of each individual state. (Art 4, Sect 3) Federal Obligations to the States According to the Constitution: State Obligations to the Federal Gov’t According to the Constitution: Why does the United States wage war? Individual Liberties Protected by the 27 Amendments Examples of Federalism in the US Constitution
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