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Constitutional Study Guide

An overview of the most important amendments to the constitution as well as other goodies.
by

Cooper Kass

on 6 December 2012

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Transcript of Constitutional Study Guide

Twelfth Amendment (1804) Nineteenth Amendment (1920) Background:
It replaced Article II, Section 1, Clause 3, which provided an original procedure by which the electoral college functioned, having each elector cast two votes for President
Problems with original procedure arose in the 1796 election, where John Adams was chosen for President and Thomas Jefferson, the second-place candidate, for Vice President. Both men were from different parties, so they clashed when working together. Then, the 1800 election between Jefferson and Burr really sparked the need for change as both men from the same party tied with 73 electoral votes—>the need for electors to vote separately for President and Vice President.
Content:
Each elector must cast distinct votes for President and Vice President
An elector may not vote for Presidential or VP candidates who both inhabit the elector’s state
Presidential Candidate with majority electoral votes wins, but if there is no majority, the House of Representatives chooses immediately from the 3 highest receivers of electoral votes. These votes are taken by states; representatives from each state has one vote. 2/3rds minimum of the members of the House must be present to have a valid meeting, and a majority of the whole is necessary for a decision
Vice Presidential Candidate with majority wins, but if there is no majority, the Senate chooses from the two highest receivers of electoral votes. 2/3rds minimum of the members of Senate must be present to have a valid meeting, and a majority of the whole is necessary for a decision
No person constitutionally ineligible for President, can be Vice President Background:
It is the second of the three "Civil War Amendments," passed specifically to protect the rights of recently freed slaves; however, it was written in more universal terms, being undertaken by all kinds of different groups of citizens seeking equal treatment under the law.
Content:
Section 1
Anyone born on American soil is guaranteed full U.S. citizenship.
No state can strip any of its residents of the full privileges of American citizenship
All citizens are guaranteed "due process of law," which means that states cannot pass unfair laws
All citizens are guaranteed "equal protection of the laws," no discrimination
Section 2
All residents, of whatever race, should be counted as one whole person, which repealed the 3/5ths clause
All male citizens over age 21, no matter their race, had a right to vote
Section 3
No one having participated in insurrection or rebellion may hold public office except by a 2/3 vote of congress.
Section 4
Debts and claims resulting from participating in rebellion or emancipation of slaves are invalid

.Court Cases:
Brown vs. Board of Education (1954)- violation of the equal protection clause
Oliver Brown tried to get his daughter, Linda, enrolled in the white school closer to their home but was rejected because his daughter was black
Brown went to the NAACP for help and they decided to support him in the case against the Board of Education
The court ruled that racial segregation was unconstitutional as it was a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; “separate but equal” facilities are unequal as the separated group is marked inferior.
Furman v. Georgia (1972)- due process of law
Furman was sentenced to death after accidentally shooting and killing a man while illegally breaking into a house
The Georgia state laws allowed executions for any person who killed someone while committing a felony, but Furman believed his punishment was unconstitutional
Court decided, based on due process, that the death penalty was invalid because existing death penalty legislation was not clear enough in defining what circumstances constitute a death sentence.
UC Regents v. Bakke (1978)- violation of the equal protection clause
Allan Bakke, a white male, argued that his admission into UC Davis’s Medical School was rejected solely because of race
The Court decided that racial quotas and affirmative action used by the UC Davis Medical School violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, so Bakke was granted admission into Davis.
Lawrence v. Texas (2003)- due process clause
Two men (John Geddes Lawrence and Tyron Garner) were discovered and arrested, under the Homosexual Conduct Law of Texas which states: “A person commits an offense if he engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another individual of the same sex.” for having consensual sexual intercourse with each other in their home
Court ruled that states may not prohibit consensual private homosexual activity because under the word “liberty” in the Due Process Clause, the right to privacy of all Americans in their own home is protected. Background:
1848-1st woman’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, N.Y., marking the beginning of the fight for women suffrage through the drafting of the “Declaration of Sentiments”
1852-Woman’s Rights Convention in Syracuse, New York-Susan B. Anthony joined the fight for woman’s suffrage
Women had hoped to be included in the fifteenth amendment, but were excluded
Woman suffragists, Stanton and Anthony, were prominent in the cause and had success in the states in the West; some states allowed women to vote before amendment was passed
Content:
The right of citizens of the U.S. to vote shall not be denied on account of sex
Court Cases:
Minor v. Happersett (1875)-first court case to the SC
Virginia Minor, a leader of the women's suffrage movement in Missouri, attempted to register to vote on October 15, 1872, in St. Louis County, Missouri, but was refused because she was a woman, so she took the case to court against the registrar, Happersett
The court rejected the argument that either the privileges and immunities clause nor the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment extended the vote to women
This court case caused suffragists to turn their attention from the courts to the states and to Congress in order to make progress
Leser v. Garnett (1922)-The case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution had been constitutionally established. Fourteenth Amendment (1868) Twenty-fourth Amendment (1964) Abolition to Poll Tax Women's Suffrage Equal protection under the law Procedure for electing the President and Vice President Background:
Several Southern States kept blacks from voting through the poll tax, a certain required tax in order to vote
More access to the polls by white people, while the generally poor black population were denied access since they couldn’t afford the tax
Content:
The right of citizens of the U.S. to vote shall not be denied by reason of failure to pay poll tax or other tax
Court Cases:
Harman v. Forssenius (1965)
The State of Virginia allowed an “escape clause” to the poll tax, allowing for the poll tax to be waived if the would-be voter filed a certificate of residency six months prior to the election. This would decrease the number of legal voters.
The Court found the measures unconstitutional as they went against the 24th amendment; it declared that for federal elections, “the poll tax is abolished absolutely.”
Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections (1966)
Annie E. Harper, a resident of Virginia, filed a suit claiming that the state's poll tax was unconstitutional. After a three-judge district court dismissed the complaint, the case went to the Supreme Court.
The Court held that making voter affluence an electoral standard violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. It also found that wealth or fee-paying had no relation to voting qualifications.
This case struck down the poll tax in Virginia as well as in the other remaining states who had retained their taxes
Coronado v. Napolitano (2009-2010)
The Arizona statuary provision denied voting rights to individuals with felony convictions until those individuals paid any court-ordered fees, fines, or restitution.
The plaintiffs argued that it was an impermissible poll tax in violation of the 24th Amendment
The Court actually ruled that the statute did not violate the 24th Amendment’s bar against poll taxes Establishment Clause Part of the first amendment, stating, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” It was intended to prohibit the federal government from declaring and financially supporting a national religion.
Controversy from the start: there were several interpretations of the clause questioning its strictness or intentions
Some believed that it was only intended to assure that the government could not favor one religion over the other, while Jefferson argued that the first amendment created a “wall of separation” between church and state, forbidding favoritism and any support of religion at all
Debates resulted especially when mixing Education and Religion, specifically dealing with aid to church-related schools and prayer in public schools

Court Cases/ Content:
Cochran v. Louisiana State Board of Education (1930)-The Court held that the misuse of funds to purchase textbooks was allowed under a "child benefit" theory, a principle that allows state funds to be given to students studying in private schools provided the allotment can be justified as benefiting the child. This was the first time the Court would allow indirect aid to religious schools based on the "child benefit" theory.
Everson v. Board of Education (1947)- The Court acknowledged that the First Amendment was intended to create a “wall of separation” between church and state
Engel v. Vitale (1962)- It is not unconstitutional to pray in public schools; students may pray silently as they wish. The Constitution however forbids the sponsorship or encouragement of prayer by public school authorities.
Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971)- Pennsylvania and Rhode Island were giving aid to parochial schools (schools that provide conventional as well as religious education)
The Supreme Court established the “Lemon Test” which included the following: aid to church-related schools must have a irreligious legislative purpose, a primary effect that neither advances nor inhibits religion, and not foster an excessive government “entanglement” with religion. The Court ruled unanimously that state funding of parochial schools is unconstitutional because it violated the third part of the test.
The Court drew a fine line between aid that is allowed and aid that is not. For instance, in Tilton v. Richardson (1971), the Court allowed for religiously affiliated colleges and universities to use public funds for the construction of academic facilities.
Stone v. Graham (1980)- The Court prohibited the posting of the Ten Commandments on the walls of public classrooms.

The Supreme Court’s struggle to interpret the establishment clause is evident in other areas than education. For example, displays of religious symbols during the holidays have brought up controversy. In this case, the Court said that the Constitution does not require complete separation of church and state, mandating accommodation of all religions and forbidding hostility toward any, while at the same time, forbidding governments endorsement of religious beliefs. During most of the 20th century, the Supreme Court held primarily to a separationist interpretation, preventing any government endorsement or support of religious establishments. Recent Supreme Court decisions indicate that there may be a gradual shift to a mild accommodationist position, which holds that the government may support or endorse religious establishments as long as it treats all religions equally and does not show preferential treatment. Elastic Clause States that Congress has the power to pass all laws “necessary and proper” to carry out their enumerated powers, giving Congress certain implied powers. The clause gives Congress some degree of flexibility in enacting legislation, granting it more power than what is stated in the Constitution. Some of these powers are especially prevalent in the domain of economic policy. As stated by Chief Justice Marshall, this Clause is intended “to enlarge, not to diminish the powers vested in the government. It purports to be an additional power, not a restriction on those already granted."
Court Cases:
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)-The state of Maryland passed a law saying that any bank not directly chartered by the state congress would have an extra tax. This was an attempt to close the US National Bank in Baltimore. A cashier at the bank, James McCulloch, refused to pay the tax. He was sued by the Maryland because the state believed it had the power to tax any business in its borders and that the Constitution does not give power to create a National Bank. He took this case to the Court resulting victorious.The Court held that Congress was behaving consistently with the Constitution when it created the national bank, because even though creating a bank was not an enumerated power, the Constitution added that Congress has its implied powers through the elastic clause
Wickard v. Filburn (1942)- In this case, the elastic clause partners with commerce clause as it commonly does, recognizing the power of the federal government to regulate economic activity.The Supreme Court upheld a federal statute making it a crime for a farmer, Roscoe Filburn, to produce more wheat than was allowed under price controls and production controls, even if the excess production was for the farmer's own personal consumption. Although the Commerce Clause was the main justification for this case, the Necessary and Proper Clause was used to justify the regulation of production and consumption rules. "Necessary and Proper" Clause First Amendment Content
protects individual freedoms such as speech, peaceful assembly, religion, press, and petition
prohibits the government from establishing its own church, or placing one religion above another
Court cases
has been restricted by court cases such as Schenck v. United States, where Schenck was convicted of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 for distributing fliers during WWI that encouraged men to avoid the draft, and Gitlow v. New York, where Gitlow was convicted under New York’s Criminal Anarchy Law for publishing the “Left Wing Manifesto”, due to the “clear and present danger” Schenck and Gitlow posed
freedom of press was protected in New York Times v. Sullivan, where Sullivan sued the NYT for maliciously slandering his reputation and claimed that what they published caused him personal harm. The Supreme Court ruled that state courts cannot grant damages to a public official for slander unless there is proof that it was done with malice
Buckley v. Valeo established that funding a campaign is a form of free speech Freedom of Speech Fourth Amendment Content
protects citizens from unreasonable search and seizure, protecting the citizen’s right to privacy
the Constitution states: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
states that a warrant must be judicially sanctioned in order for the search of private property and that there must be probable cause
a "search" is when a person expects privacy in the thing searched and society believes that expectation is reasonable
Court Cases
Mapp v. Ohio in 1961 established that states must also adhere to this amendment as well as the federal gov’t. Police searched Mapp’s home without a warrant, searching for a suspect in a bombing case, and even though they found no evidence of the suspect in question, the officers handcuffed Mapp for being “belligerent”, and arrested her for possession of pornographic materials. The Supreme Court overturned the State prosecution of Mapp and set the precedent that evidence, when obtained unlawfully, can not be used in a state court Search and Seizure Fifth Amendment Rights of the Accused Background
guarantees tie back to the Magna Carta in 1215 including the right to "due process" and for cases to be seen by a grand jury
Content
The Constitution states "No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury...nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."
Grand Juries are composed of a jury of peers and many Constitutional restrictions do not apply including the exclusionary rule (evidence obtained in violation of the fourth, fifth, or sixth amendment may be presented to the jury"
"double jeopardy" means that a person cannot be prosecuted for the same crime twice
protects witnesses and the accused against "self incrimination" i.e. their "right to remain silent" and refuse to confess to any crime they are being accused of
Court Cases
in Ashcraft vs. Tennessee, the Supreme Court judged that the accused's confession was forced and not admissible in court because of harsh interrogation techniques where officers had subjected the accused individual to interrogation under very bright lights for 36 hours
in Miranda v. Arizona, the Supreme Court ruled that Miranda's confession was also not admissible in court because Miranda was not informed of his right to refuse self-incrimination, leading to the "Miranda Rights" that are now stated by police officers in any arrest and list the rights that the fifth amendment gives Sixteenth Amendment (1913) Income Tax Content
allows for the federal government to levy a federal income tax without appropriating it by state or by basing it on census results
federal courts have ruled that this amendment also includes the power to levy taxes on “wages, salaries, commissions, etc., without apportionment”
Court Cases
in Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad, the SC ruled that the amendment does not violate the Fifth Amendment’s protection against the government taking private property without due process of the law
in Bowers v. Kerbaugh-Empire Co. the SC ruled that this amendment does not grant the federal government any new powers because the federal government has always had the power to levy income taxes Seventeenth Amendment Direct Election of Senators Background
originally, the Framers wished for the Senate to be elite citizens and did not trust the uneducated general public to make informed decisions as to who would represent them, so they left the job to the state legislatures to decide who they would send to the Senate to represent them
Framers wanted to have a political group that wasn't dependent on popular support that could "take a more detached view of issues"
Progressives in the late 1800's called for reform of this method, believing that Americans were now widely educated enough that they could make informed decisions as to who would represent them. Reformers also saw that the current system allowed for corruption to occur within the state legislatures such as taking bribes so that they would elect the highest bidder
Content
the amendment states "The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote...When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct"
established the direct election of Senators by popular vote of their state
alters the procedure for filling vacancies in the Senate, allowing for state legislatures to permit their governors to make temporary appointments until a special election can be held Advice and Consent Clause the "advice and consent" clause refers to the Senate's role in the signing and ratification of treaties and to describe the role of the Senate in the appointment of public officials. Both types of approvals of Presidential nominees require a simple majority of the Senate
this clause is important to the checks and balances of power of the Executive Branch, ensuring that the president cannot appoint anyone he wants to such high positions of power without the approval of the representatives of the people Second Amendment Keep and Bear Arms Content Gives citizens the right to keep and bear arms for private use, such as self-defense in private homes Court Cases District of Columbia vs. Heller (2008) established an individual's right to possess a firearm for lawful purposes, such as self-defense within a home, in federal territory. This left ambiguity as to whether or not the individual held this right in all states.
McDonald vs. Chicago (2010) put this ambiguity to rest, protecting this right from state restrictions. Sixth Amendment Trial Rights Content The sixth amendment guarantees many trial rights to the accused, which include the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury in the state and district where the crime occurred, to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusations, to be confronted with the witness against him, to have a process by which he can attain witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel in his defense. Court Cases Barker vs. Wingo (1972) laid out a 'balancing test' made up of four parts to determine if a defendant's right to a speedy trial was violated. These four factors include: the length of the delay, the reason for the delay, the time and manner in which the defendant has asserted his right (if a defendant agrees to a delay because it is beneficial, he can not later claim this violated his rights), and the degree of prejudice to the defendant which the delay has caused.
Strunk vs. United States (1973) decided that if a defendant's right to a speedy trial is violated, then the charges are dropped and no further prosecution may take place.
Sheppard vs. Maxwell (1966) decided that the right to a public trial is not absolute, and can be revoked if excess publicity would undermine the defendant's right to due process.
Beavers vs. Henkel (1904) ruled that the location of the charge determines the location of the trial.
Johnson vs. Zerbst (1938) declared that the courts must provide counsel to a defendant who is too poor to retain his own. Seventh Amendment Right to a Jury Background In England, before the Glorious Revolution of 1688, judges were tyrannical and almost always ruled in favor of the king, until the Act of Settlement in 1701, which granted the English a jury of twelve of their peers. King George III abolished this right when the English began to colonize America. This became one of the main grievances in the American Revolution, and therefore became a primary concern of the Framers when writing the Bill of Rights. Content For any suit filed for a value of more than $20, the right of a trial by jury will be preserved.
The factual determinations made by a jury cannot be reexamined in any court unless the findings are clearly erroneous. These determinations are, however, subject to Appellate review. Court Cases Slocum vs. New York Insurance Co. (1913) upheld the rule that a judge could nullify a decision made by a jury if the verdict was contrary to the evidence or law. In this case, a new trial with a new jury must take place. 13th AmendmentDefinition--Section 1 forbids slavery and involuntary servitude, unless for suitable punishment for a convicted criminal--Section 2 grants Congress enforcement power of the amendment through “appropriate legislation”--officially abolished slavery and involuntary servitudeBackground--President Lincoln feared his Emancipation Proclamation would be seen only as a temporary war measure, for its enactment was based on his war powers--adopted on December 6, 1865 to complete the abolition of slavery and begin the Reconstruction AmendmentsCourt Cases--United States v. Kozminski (1988)• Ruled that the 13th Amendment didn’t forbid force of servitude through psychological persuasion• Defined involuntary servitude as a situation in which a servant is subjected to physical force, state-imposed legal coercion, or fraud or deceit (i.e. servant is underage or mentally incompetent)• Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 added psychological coercion to the list of involuntary servitude situations 10th AmendmentDefinition--the Constitution states, “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.”--reserves to the states, or people, all powers not granted to the federal government by the Constitution• Except powers that states are constitutionally forbidden from exercising--states outright the idea of federalism in the Constitution--For example:• Police powers are reserved to states• Article 1 prohibits states from establishing a treaty with a foreign governmentBackground--being oppressed by the British had made the Founding Fathers fearful of unlimited centralized power• 10th Amendment enacted to limit federal powerCourt Cases--New York v. United States (1997)• Ruled that Congress does not have the power to obligate states to enforce federal regulations• Federal government can “encourage” states to adopt regulations through the spending or commerce power 9th AmendmentDefinition--the Constitution states, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”--unlisted rights are not necessarily denied to the peopleBackground--had no predecessor in English law--grew out of the Federalists and Anti-Federalists arguing over inclusion of a Bill of Rights• Federalists feared that listing rights would problematically increase powers delegated by the Constitution• Mainly designed by James Madison during the First Congress in 1789, although he opposed the Bill of Rights in 1787, in order to try to solve this problem--Congress failed to proclaim which unenumerated rights would be protectedCourt Cases--Griswold v. Connecticut (1965)• Reviewed the constitutionality of a Connecticut law forbidding adult use of birth control• Justices Douglas and Goldberg cited 9th Amendment to support the protection of this unlisted right to use birth control--Roe v. Wade (1973)• Cited 9th Amendment in support of women’s right to abortion 22nd AmendmentDefinition--Section 1 sets the two-term limit for a President•Also states that a President of two years or more on a term in which another person was elected can only be elected to the office once--Section 2 states standards for its ratificationBackground--ratified on February 27, 1951--origins go back to George Washington refusing to run for a third term--Thomas Jefferson expressed the idea that if a limit were not “fixed by the Constitution, or supplied by practice,” the office would become one held for life--FDR is the only president to have served more than two terms--Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton, and W. Bush were al elected twice and therefore cannot seek the office again, whereas Carter and H.W. Bush (both defeated after first term) are free to run for office again 26th AmendmentDefinition--limited the minimum voting age to 18--does not allow for U.S. citizens (18 and older) to be denied suffrage because of ageBackground--President Eisenhower announced his support to the public for 18-year-old suffrage in his 1954 State of the Union Address• First president to do so--Nixon signed a law in 1970 requiring federal, state, and local elections to allow U.S. citizens of age 18 and older the right to vote• The Supreme Court declared requiring states to register 18-year-olds for state and local elections unconstitutional in Oregon v. Mitchell (1970)--many young men were drafted and fought in the Vietnam War, but were not allowed the vote--26th Amendment adopted on July 1, 1971, partially overruling Oregon v. Mitchell Supremacy ClauseDefinition--Article VI, Clause 2--establishes the Constitution, federal laws adhering to the Constitution, and treaties made as “the Supreme Law of the Land”• Required to be upheld in all courts, even if state laws or constitutions contradict them--continues the definition of the nation’s idea of federalismCourt Cases--Missouri v. Holland (1922)• Applied the Supremacy Clause to international treaties• Federal government’s ability to make treaties is supreme over states’ concerns of their 10th Amendment rights--Crosby v. National Foreign Trade Council (2000)• Ruled that a State law can be deemed unconstitutional even if it doesn’t directly contradict a Federal Law if the “state law is an obstacle to the accomplishment and execution of Congress’s full purposes and objectives.” Commerce ClauseDefinition--Article I, Section 8, Clause 3--gives the U.S. Congress the power to regulate foreign, interstate, and Indian commerce--as its been interpreted over the years, it has helped significantly in defining federalism--often cited with the Necessary and Proper ClauseCourt Cases--Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)• Supreme Court ruled in favor of Gibbons’s federal navigation grant in order to maintain uniformity in interstate commerce--United States v. Lopez (1995)• Although Congress has broad lawmaking powers in the Commerce Clause, regulating the carrying of handguns did not fall under “commerce” because it doesn’t affect the economy •This amendment prohibits any state from denying or abridging any citizen’s right to vote based on race, color, or previous state of servitude.
Fifteenth Amendment Colored Vote Background
•The fifteenth amendment is the third and final Reconstruction Amendment ratified in the five years following the American Civil War.
•Though this amendment gave blacks the right to vote, this still proved difficult to carry out due to implementations such as grandfather clauses and literacy tests.
Content •Appointment of Gerald Ford as Vice President (1973)
•Succession of Gerald Ford to Presidency (1974)
•Appointment of Nelson Rockefeller as Vice President (1974)
•Acting President George H. W. Bush (1985)
•Acting President Dick Cheney (2002, 2007) Twenty-fifth Amendment Presidential Disability and VP Vacancy
Background Content Invocations •Many times throughout history there had been cases of presidents dying or becoming ill, and even more frequently, the Vice Presidency had been left vacant, which made it necessary for a formal precedent to be created.
•The Vice President becomes president in the case of the president’s death or resignation.
•When there is a VP vacancy, the president nominates a candidate who needs majority approval from the House and Senate.
•If the president alerts the Senate of his/her inability to act as president, the VP takes over until the president is fit to resume duty.
Court Cases •Guinn vs. United States (1915) found the grandfather clauses in Maryland and Oklahoma to be unconstitutional due to the fifteenth amendment. Full Faith and Credit Clause Content
•Each state must recognize and respect the laws and judgments of other states.
•Documents such as driver’s licenses are valid from state to state.
Controversy •In current times the reach of this clause has come under consideration with respect to the arguments about things such as the definition of marriage. Thank You for Watching!
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