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Objectives for Constitution Unit 1. You will be able to figure out the different powers that the government possesses. 2. You will be able to devise how your own rights are defended or protected in this document. 3. You will be able to explain how your rights have limits. 4. You will be able to reinforce your own interpretation of the Constitution 5. You will be able to determine how the Constitution affects the everyday business of government and life. Goals of the Constitution 1. Lay out a plan for our new government that would not be misinterpreted 2. Prevent any one person from achieving power, which would lead to tyranny 3. In order to solve #2, they balanced the power across the three branches of gov’t. 4. Lay out what the government can and cannot do. 5. Bill of Rights not meant to protect individual rights, but rather states’ rights. Constitution: Legislative Branch Legislative Powers in the Constitution House of Representatives: -Create all bills for taxes/revenue Both Houses: -Bill introduced in either house must pass both houses before it reaches President -If the President vetoes (rejects) the bill, then Congress can override his veto by 2/3 majority Ideas Behind the Legislative Branch • Had to control the various states from doing their own thing • Fix the problem of interstate commerce and taxation • Allow for every state to have as an equal say in legislation as possible – that’s why we have a bicameral congress • Senators would only be chosen by their State legislatures, people wouldn’t vote for them until 1913… they gave this as a bonus to the states • No income tax until the 16th Amendment in the 1913, imagine not having that!! Powers of Congress 1. Raise and collect taxes: common federal tax laws 2. Regulate trade with other countries: why would this be important? 3. Regulate value of currency: what does this improve? 4. Declare war: why wouldn’t the President do this? 5. Pay for the armed forces 6. Approve any Presidential nominee 7. Allowed to create forts and other federal buildings in various states Other things 1. The importation of slaves shall end in 1808- what famous ‘compromise’ did this address? 2. Habeas Corpus shall not be removed, except for rebellion 3. No taxes on exports 4. Must keep records of money spent, only money spent that is allowed by the budget 5. No titles of nobility- why would this be in the Constitution? Structure of Legislative Branch Review Questions for Legislative Branch 1. How did this section reflect the ideas presented in the Virginia Plan, New Jersey Plan, and Connecticut Compromise? 2. Are there any powers given to Congress that you feel are unfair or bother you? 3. Did this section provide a balance of power between the states and the federal government? Executive Branch The White House: My future home Overview -President is in charge (see image) - Carries out/executes the laws created by the Legislative Branch -Composed of the Office of the President, his/her cabinet, and the various departments of the cabinet (State, Defense, Agriculture, etc.) -Largest branch in the federal government Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt What the Constitution Doesn’t Say • It’s written with G Dubs in mind • How to address the President… that came later • What the role of the Vice President is… although in a way it’s a link between the Legislative Branch and the Executive Branch. How? • If the President can simply fire his officials, it’s really unclear • Until the 1950s, it didn’t say how many terms you could serve, just that you had 4 year terms • GDubs established the precedent of leaving after two consecutive terms Requirements for Office, etc. • Four year term, can only be elected twice, even if not consecutive • Elected by the Electoral College, need 271 to win, usually Electoral College coincides with the popular vote • Have to be a native born citizen to hold office; 35 years old • If the President dies, then the Vice President succeeds him, followed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives • Must take oath of office George Washington aka: G Dubs Powers of Office • Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces: can not declare war, but can send military anywhere, and can ‘push the button’ • Can make treaties with other nations, after consulting with the Senate • Can nominate Federal judges, Senate and House must approve before they are given position • Convene both houses of Congress to deliver State of the Union address • Veto any bill given to him/her by Congress Abraham “Honest Abe” Lincoln Impeachment • If convicted of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ the President, along with any other member of his/her cabinet shall be removed from office • Only two Presidents have ever been impeached… Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. For the record.. Richard Nixon most likely would have been impeached had he not resigned. Richard Milhous Nixon William Jefferson Clinton Andrew Johnson Chart Summary Questions 1. Are there any powers given to the President that bother you in any way? 2. Do you think that the President and the Executive Branch have more power than the Legislative Branch, based on what you have learned? Explain. George “Dubya” Bush Review Questions 1. How does the Executive Branch keep the Legislative Branch in check? 2. How does the Legislative Branch keep the Executive Branch in check? 3. What specific powers does the President have? Chester A. Arthur: Who knew he was President? Judicial Branch Powers of the Judicial Branch • Judicial Review- check to see if any law is unconstitutional • Try any case involving more than one state- why was this created? • Any case involving federal government • Appeals from lower state courts- once the State Supreme courts hear a case, the Federal Supreme Court can hear a case • Checks both the Legislative and Executive Branches by evaluating constitutionality John Marshall Structure of the Federal Court System Supreme Court • Highest Court in the land • Is the final say in any court decision, there is no appeal to their decision • Made up of 9 members, with 1 Chief Justice, all of whom serve life terms Sandra Day O’Connor- First Female Member of Supreme Court • Must be nominated by a President and approved by the Senate • Usually takes years to get case heard there, because of the length of trials that precede it • Can hear both state cases and federal cases if appeals are made Thurgood Marshall- First African American Member of Supreme Court Louis Brandeis- First Jewish member of Supreme Court How does a case go to the Supreme Court? Overview Questions 1. Are there any famous cases that you know of that involved the Supreme Court? 2. Why do you think that the Supreme Court has final say on any ruling? 3. How does the Supreme Court keep the other branches in check? William Howard Taft- Only person to have headed two John Roberts- Current Chief Justice branches of government: Executive and Judicial The Actual Document Problems • The Constitution needed to be ratified in at least 9 of the 13 states, to ensure that the new national government would take effect. Many people worried about the new Constitution, while others adamantly supported it • Two groups emerged from the debate: Federalists and Antifederalists • Some felt that the Constitution did not do enough to protect states’ rights and individual rights- Antifederalists • Mostly farmers and rural people were worried about the government James Madison • Others felt that the national government under the Constitution was adequate to protect rights and insure stability- Federalists. Federalists • Mostly made up of prominent merchants/wealthy men from cities • Some of the most prominent were Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay • Favored a strong central government, ardent supporters of the Constitution • Made up a strong majority of the population, since most cities were Federalist • Actively campaigned in states like Virginia, New York, and Pennsylvania to guarantee ratification: wrote series of articles now known as the Federalist Papers Alexander Hamilton Anti-Federalists • Mostly made up of farmers and people from rural areas • Feared a strong central government because people living in outlying areas were too far away from center of power • Also feared the idea that a few people had power over so many people • Felt that the government favored the elite • George Mason and Richard Henry Lee were the two most prominent ones • Made up the minority of the debate, but stalled the ratification in states such as Virginia and New York: two crucial ‘big’ states George Mason • Until recently had not gotten much attention, but current publications have caused them to be talked about more than before Result of Debates • Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut all ratified immediately • NC and RI refused to vote on it, rejected it all together: No Bill of Rights • SC and Maryland passed it by early 1788 • Massachusetts, Virginia, and New York ratified it by June 1788, very close though: Now had 9 states, so central government was legitimate and had power over the states • Most states recommended that some sort of Bill of Rights be added Bill Of Rights • Were adopted to ensure that the states that had not ratified the Constitution (North Carolina and Rhode Island) would join the Union • 12 Amendments were sent out to the states for approval: at least 9 of them had to approve it • ¾ approved ten of the amendments by 1791, and after all the states were now a part of the Union • These first 10 amendments are popularly called the Bill of Rights First Amendment “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” 1. Freedom of Religion 2. Freedom of Speech 3. Freedom of the Press 4. Freedom to Peaceful demonstration 5. Freedom to petition the government if you have problems with something (writing to Congressman, etc.) 1st Amendment in Action Freedom of Speech/Protest Freedom of Religion Second Amendment “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.” 1. Each state is allowed to have its own militia (National Guard) 2. Every person has a right to own and use a firearm, or other legal weapon 3. * This does not mean that you can kill a person with this weapon, however it does not say explicitly that someone can not rebel against the government. (Usually people use their right to petition the government before resorting to this) 2nd Amendment in Action Why are not both of these guns legal in the United States? How do gun control laws affect this right to bear and own arms? Third Amendment “No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in times of war, but in a manner prescribed by law.” 1. No military personnel can stay in your house, or on your property without your consent. 2. Why do you think they put this in the Bill of Rights? Fourth Amendment “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 be describing the location to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” 1. No unlawful search and seizures 2. Must have a warrant that describes the area or person to be searched or seized 3. However, if you have probable cause, you can be searched or taken under arrest. 4. Have any of you had experiences, or know someone who has experienced an unlawful search or seizure? 4th Amendment in Action In the picture of the captured drugs (below), what would happen if there was no probable cause or warrant to search the vehicle? Fifth Amendment: aka “The Fifth” “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in war or time of public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice be put in jeopardy of life and limb; nor be compelled to be a witness against him/herself, 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.” 1. Do not have to answer questions regarding any crime that you have not been charged with. 2. Does not apply to military personnel during times of war or public danger 3. No ‘double jeopardy’: can not be charged for the same crime twice. 4. Can not be forced to witness against yourself. 5. Property can not be taken away from you for public use, unless you have been paid 5th Amendment in Action Martha Stewart was forced to answer questions and was arrested because she faced prosecution and conviction of a crime. “I plead the fifth” Former Enron CEO Kenneth Lay LTC Oliver North during the Iran Contra scandal Double Jeopardy No explanation needed Sixth Amendment 1. Right to a speedy trial 2. Right to a jury of your peers 3. Right to know what you are being arrested for, or why you are being held 4. Right to a defense (Miranda Rights) 5. Right to find witnesses to testify on your behalf Seventh Amendment 1. Jury will be involved in any civil suits involving more than 20 dollars 2. In other words, juries award the money or damages in a civil case Eighth Amendment 1. No excessive bail 2. No cruel and unusual punishment: any current examples of violations? Ninth Amendment 1. Constitutional rights can not be used to violate other people’s rights 2. In other words, if Freedom of Speech or press are used to hurt someone else, then you forfeit your rights. Tenth Amendment 1. Any powers not listed under the Constitution that are not illegal in any other state, are given to the states. (Reserved Powers) 2. Any personal rights not listed under the Constitution is given to the people.
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