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    ibtihel

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    the american constitution

    Post by ibtihel on Tue Mar 04, 2008 5:57 pm

    United States Bill of Rights





    The Bill of Rights are the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. They were introduced as a series of amendments in 1789 in the First United States Congress by James Madison. Ten of the amendments were ratified and became the Bill of Rights in 1791. These amendments limit the powers of the federal government, protecting the rights of all citizens, residents and visitors on United States territory. Among the enumerated rights these amendments guarantee are: the freedoms of speech, press, and religion; the right to keep and bear arms; the freedom of assembly; the freedom to petition; and the rights to be free of unreasonable search and seizure; cruel and unusual punishment; and compelled self-incrimination. The Bill of Rights also restricts Congress' power by prohibiting it from making any law respecting establishment of religion and by prohibiting the federal government from depriving any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. In criminal cases, it requires indictment by grand jury for any capital or "infamous crime," guarantees a speedy public trial with an impartial and local jury, and prohibits double jeopardy. In addition, the Bill of Rights states that "the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people,"[1] and reserves all powers not granted to the federal government to the citizenry or states.

    These amendments came into effect on December 15, 1791, when ratified by three-fourths of the states. Most were applied to the states by a series of decisions applying the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which was adopted after the American Civil War.

    Initially drafted by James Madison in 1789, the Bill of Rights was written at a time when ideological conflict between Federalists and anti-Federalists, dating from the Philadelphia Convention in 1787, threatened the Constitution's ratification. The Bill was influenced by George Mason's 1776 Virginia Declaration of Rights, the 1689 English Bill of Rights, works of the Age of Enlightenment pertaining to natural rights, and earlier English political documents such as Magna Carta (1215). The Bill was largely a response to the Constitution's influential opponents, including prominent Founding Fathers, who argued that it failed to protect the basic principles of human liberty.

    The Bill of Rights plays a central role in American law and government, and remains a fundamental symbol of the freedoms and culture of the nation. One of the original fourteen copies of the Bill of Rights is on public display at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.

    The original document proposed by Congress to the states actually contained twelve "Articles" of proposed amendment. However, only the third through twelfth articles, corresponding to what became the First through Tenth Amendments to the Constitution, were ratified by the required number of states by 1791. The first Article, dealing with the number and apportionment of members of the House of Representatives, never became part of the Constitution. The second Article, limiting the ability of Congress to increase the salaries of its members, was ratified two centuries later as the 27th Amendment. The term "Bill of Rights" has traditionally meant only the ten amendments that became part of the Constitution in 1791, and not the first two, which dealt with Congress itself rather than the rights of the people. That traditional usage has continued even since the ratification of the 27th Amendment.
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    ibtihel

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    Re: the american constitution

    Post by ibtihel on Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:00 pm

    The Articles of Confederation

    The Articles of Confederation were adopted by the Second Continental Congress on November 15, 1777, but did not become effective until March 1, 1781, when they were finally approved by all 13 states. Under the Articles, the national government consisted of a unicameral (onehouse) legislature (often called the Confederation Congress); there was no national executive or judiciary. Delegates to Congress were appointed by the state legislatures, and each state had one vote. Congress had the authority to declare war, develop foreign policy, coin money, regulate Native American affairs in the territories, run the post office, borrow money, and appoint army and navy officers. Quite significantly, however, all powers not specifically delegated to Congress belonged to the states.
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    Re: the american constitution

    Post by ibtihel on Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:02 pm

    Key Concepts in the Constitution

    The Constitution, which was approved by the delegates to the Convention on September 17, 1787, established a republican form of government, explained the organization of that government, and outlined the federal system.
    Republican form of government

    The Constitution established the United States as a republic in which power ultimately is in the hands of the people and is exercised by their elected representatives. The Republic was not a democracy in the modern sense, however. The framers of the Constitution, many reluctantly, accepted slavery. There were property qualifications for voting, and some states denied the right to vote to religious minorities. Women did not get to vote in the national elections until 1920 (Nineteenth Amendment). The original draft of the Constitution did not include protection of basic civil liberties.
    The organization of government

    The government's functions are divided among three branches: the legislative branch that makes the laws (Congress), the executive branch that carries out the laws (president), and the judicial branch that interprets the laws (courts). This division is known as the separation of powers. In addition, under the system of checks and balances, the powers of one branch of government are limited by the powers given to another branch. Congress makes laws, but the president can veto legislation. Congress can override a president's veto with a two-thirds vote of both houses (a check on a check). While the president appoints judges to the Supreme Court, the Senate can reject an appointee through its power to give “advice and consent.”
    The federal system

    Federalism means the division of power between the national government and the states. The Constitution does not clearly define, however, the areas in which these powers are exercised. Keeping in mind that the framers were determined to strengthen the national government, it is not surprising that the powers belonging to the states were left vague.
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    ibtihel

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    Re: the american constitution

    Post by ibtihel on Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:02 pm

    Summary of the Constitution

    The Constitution was a spare document, providing few details about how the U.S. government would run itself. It explained the rough organization of the three branches, how they would interact with the states, and how the document could be amended. Filling in the details was left to future leaders.
    Article I

    The longest article in the Constitution vests legislative power in the Senate and the House of Representatives. It describes the organization of Congress and lists its specific powers, known as enumerated or delegated powers. Through the necessary and proper clause (also called the elastic clause), Congress can make laws needed to carry out its enumerated powers. Article I also lists the powers denied to Congress and the states.
    Article II

    This article deals with the executive branch and describes the election of the president (and vice president), the qualifications for holding the office, and the procedures if a president can no longer serve. The powers of the president include serving as commander in chief of the army and navy, making treaties, and, with the “advice and consent of the Senate,” appointing ambassadors, officials, and Supreme Court justices. The president is required to periodically report to Congress on the state of the union, can propose legislation, and can call Congress into special session.
    Article III

    This article established the Supreme Court and authorizes Congress to establish lower federal courts. The types of cases the courts have jurisdiction over are given, and a provision is made for the right to trial by jury. While not specifically stated, the power of the courts to declare a law unconstitutional is implied.
    Article IV

    The full faith and credit clause requires that the legislative and judicial actions of one state be honored by the other states. Additionally, a citizen of any state has the same privileges as citizens of all the other states. Article IV also provides for adding new states to the union, guarantees each state a republican form of government, and ensures protection against invasion or domestic violence.
    Article V

    The process for amending the Constitution is described. The states are responsible for ratifying amendments.
    Article VI

    The Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties entered into by the United States are the supreme law of the land. This is known as the supremacy clause.
    Article VII

    Approval by conventions of nine of the states was required to ratify the Constitution.
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    Re: the american constitution

    Post by ibtihel on Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:03 pm

    The Amendment Process and Bill of Rights

    The Constitution (Article V) provides that amendments can be proposed either by Congress, with a two-thirds vote of both houses, or by a national convention requested by two-thirds of the state legislatures. Amendments are ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures or by conventions in three-fourths of the states. Only the Twenty-first Amendment, which repealed Prohibition in 1933, was adopted by state conventions.
    The Bill of Rights

    Congress proposed 12 amendments in September 1789; three-fourths of the states approved ten of them in December 1791, creating the Bill of Rights. The following list summarizes the Bill of Rights:

    *

    Prohibits the establishment of a state religion and protects freedom of the press and speech and the rights to assemble and petition the government (Amendment I)
    *

    Guarantees the right to keep and bear arms in the context of a state militia (Amendment II)
    *

    Prohibits the stationing of troops in homes without consent (Amendment III)
    *

    Protects against unreasonable searches and seizures and requires probable cause for search warrants (Amendment IV)
    *

    Establishes a grand jury to bring indictments in capital or serious cases, protects against double jeopardy (a person cannot be tried twice for the same crime) and self-incrimination (individuals cannot be forced to testify against themselves), and guarantees due process and eminent domain (compensation must be paid for private property taken for public use) (Amendment V)
    *

    Guarantees the right to a speedy trial by an impartial jury in criminal cases, to be informed about charges, and to have representation by counsel (Amendment VI)
    *

    Provides for trial by jury in most civil cases (Amendment VII)
    *

    Prohibits excessive bail or fines and cruel and unusual punishments (Amendment VIII)
    *

    Does not deny people any rights not specifically mentioned in the Constitution (Amendment IX)
    *

    Gives to the states or the people powers not granted to Congress or denied to the states (Amendment X)

    Subsequent amendments to the Constitution

    Since the enactment of the Bill of Rights, the amendment process has been used sparingly. While numerous amendments have been proposed in Congress, only a handful have gone to the states for action. An additional 17 amendments to the Constitution have been ratified over the last 200 years; six proposals failed to win enough support—most recently, the Equal Rights Amendment, strongly backed by women's groups, and an amendment to give the District of Columbia full representation in Congress. The country has used the amendment process once to promote a particular social policy; Amendment XVIII (1919) prohibited the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors but was repealed in 1933 (Amendment XXI). The other amendments either address how the government operates or expand equality. Table 1 provides a brief summary of the amendments added to the Constitution since the enactment of the Bill of Rights.
    TABLE 1 Amendments to the Constitution, 1798–1992

    Amendment


    Date


    Subject

    XI


    1798


    A state cannot be sued by individuals in another state

    XII


    1804


    Electors cast separate votes for president and vice president

    XIII


    1865


    Slavery abolished

    XIV


    1868


    Due process and equal protection of the law given to all persons born or naturalized in the U.S.

    XV


    1870


    Right to vote cannot be denied because of race, color, or previous condition of slavery

    XVI


    1913


    Federal income tax established

    XVII


    1913


    Direct election of senators

    XVIII


    1919


    Prohibition

    XIX


    1920


    Women given the right to vote

    XX


    1933


    Dates of presidential inauguration and opening of Congress

    XXI


    1933


    Prohibition repealed

    XXII


    1951


    President limited to two terms

    XXIII


    1961


    Citizens of District of Columbia given right to vote for president

    XXIV


    1964


    Prohibits poll tax for voting

    XXV


    1967


    Succession of president or vice president

    XXVI


    1971


    Minimum voting age set at 18

    XXVII


    1992


    Limits on when pay raises for members of Congress can be enacted
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    ibtihel

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    Re: the american constitution

    Post by ibtihel on Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:04 pm

    Defining Federal‐State Relations

    Federalism is a fluid concept. Historically, the relationship between the two levels of government has been defined by the courts, Congress, and funding policies.
    The role of the courts

    Questions concerning the respective powers of the states and the federal government are constitutional, and the courts must address them. Early Supreme Court decisions reflected the views of Chief Justice John Marshall, who personally favored a strong national government. In defining commerce in the broadest possible terms in Gibbons v. Ogden (1824), he argued that Congress's power to regulate interstate commerce could be “exercised to its utmost extent.” Marshall's interpretation of the commerce clause has provided a means to enforce civil rights laws and regulate wages, working conditions, and other areas that seem at first glance far removed from federal jurisdiction. At the same time, however, he believed the Bill of Rights imposed no restrictions to the states.

    Throughout most of the 19th century and on into the 1930s, the Supreme Court did not follow Marshall's lead; it was reluctant to allow an expansion of federal power at the expense of the states. As the makeup of the Court changed with the appointments made by President Franklin Roosevelt, so did the direction of its decisions. In the areas of civil liberties and civil rights in particular, the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts have set national standards that states and municipalities are obligated to follow. Through their interpretation of the due process and equal protection clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, they have brought about a significant transfer of power from the states to the federal government. This amendment, along with the Fifteenth and the Twenty-fourth, has largely restricted the authority of the states to determine who can vote and where they cast their ballots. The courts have directed how state and local authorities draw their congressional, legislative, and school-board district boundaries.
    The role of Congress

    Legislation can compel states either directly or indirectly to take action they otherwise might not take. Again, civil rights provide a pertinent example. The 1965 Voting Rights Act intruded on the constitutional power of the states to set voter qualifications by challenging the literacy tests and poll tax that were used in the South to get around the Fifteenth Amendment.

    A wide range of environmental laws establishes requirements for air and water pollution control and the disposal of hazardous wastes to which states and municipalities must adhere. These are examples of mandates. Congress may also threaten to cut off funds if states do not implement a particular policy. Although a law forcing the states to establish 21 as the minimum drinking age or 55 miles per hour as the maximum highway speed might be unconstitutional, Congress can and did threaten to cut off federal highway funds to states that did not comply with the two limits. This is known as a condition of aid.
    The role of funding policies

    The most powerful tool the federal government has in its relations with the states is money. A grant-in-aid is funding provided by the federal government to the states or municipalities. The earliest federal grants were land. Under the Morrill Act (1862), the states received large tracts of land for the specific purpose of establishing agricultural and mechanical colleges (still known as land-grant colleges).

    A categorical grant earmarks funds for a specific purpose. The two types of categorical grants are project and formula grants. A project grant is awarded on the basis of competitive applications; money from the National Institutes of Health or the National Endowment for the Humanities is awarded in this manner. While many project grants go to individuals, formula grants go to states and municipalities that meet the requirements described in the legislation. Depending on what the grant is for, factors such as the age, education, and income level of the population, the number of miles of highway, or the unemployment rate might be relevant to qualifying for aid.

    A block grant is given for more general purposes than categorical grants—say, mental health, community services, mass transit, or job training—and state and local governments have a great deal of flexibility in how the money is actually spent. A county may decide to upgrade its buses rather than build a light rail system, for example. This does not mean, however, that strings are not attached to block grants. Recipients are bound by federal mandates. The county upgrading its buses may be required to buy a certain percentage of them from a minority-owned business or hire additional drivers from a training program for those on welfare.
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    Re: the american constitution

    Post by ibtihel on Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:06 pm

    The Two Houses of Congress

    Congress is divided into two chambers, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate is sometimes called the “upper” chamber and the House the “lower” chamber because the Founders thought that different sorts of people would be elected to these two bodies. House members face elections every two years in smaller districts, so the Founders thought that representatives would be closer to the people. In contrast, Senators were originally chosen by state legislatures, and with elections every six years and steeper eligibility requirements, the Founders believed that the Senate would serve as a voice for the nation's wealthy and established interests.

    To a certain extent, the Founders correctly predicted differences between the two chambers. The Senate is more deliberative, with strict rules to encourage debate, and it follows decorous norms of behavior like those of some exclusive club. The House is a bit rowdier, allowing confrontational leaders like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to rise in influence.

    But in other ways the Founders were mistaken. Senators have been directly elected by voters since the Seventeenth Amendment passed in 1913 and are much more likely to lose reelection campaigns—so they must work harder to curry favor if they want to keep their positions. Members of the House, by contrast, seldom lose their reelection bids unless they have been marked by scandal or their districts have changed. They are more insulated from the popular passions that America's Founders feared they would express.
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    Re: the american constitution

    Post by ibtihel on Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:07 pm

    The Organization of Congress

    Congress consists of 100 senators (two from each state) and 435 members of the House of Representatives, a number that was fixed by the Reapportionment Act of 1929. This act recognized that simply adding more seats to the House as the population grew would make it too unwieldy. Today, each congressperson represents approximately 570,000 people.
    Congressional districts

    Americans are known for their mobility, and over the years states have lost and gained population. After each federal census, which occurs every ten years, adjustments are made in the number of congressional districts. This process is known as reapportionment. In recent years, states in the West and Southwest have increased their representation in the House, while states in the Northeast and Midwest have lost seats.

    Congressional district lines are usually drawn by the state legislatures (although the federal courts sometimes draw districts when the original plans lose a constitutional challenge). The majority party often tries to draw the boundaries to maximize the chances for its candidates to win elections. In 1812, Governor Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts approved a bill creating such an oddly shaped district that his critics called it a “gerrymander”—a political amphibian with a malicious design. Gerrymandering now refers to the creating of any oddly shaped district designed to elect a representative of a particular political party or a particular ethnic group.
    Members of Congress

    For most of the nation's history, members of Congress have been mainly white males. Beginning with the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the number of ethnic minorities and women in Congress has increased. There has been less change in the occupational backgrounds of the representatives and senators. Many legislators are lawyers or businesspeople, or they have made a career of political life.

    Once elected to office, members of Congress represent their constituents in different ways. Some consider themselves delegates, obligated to vote the way the majority of the people in their districts want. A congressperson or senator who takes this position makes every effort to stay in touch with voter public opinion through questionnaires or surveys and frequent trips back home. Others see themselves as trustees who, while taking the views of their constituents into account, use their own best judgment or their conscience to vote. President John Quincy Adams, who served ten terms in the House after he was defeated in the presidential election of 1828, is a classic example of a representative as trustee.

    Members of Congress have a clear advantage over challengers who want to unseat them. Current members are incumbents, candidates for reelection who already hold the office. As such, they have name recognition because the people in the district or state know them. They can use the franking privilege, or free use of the mail, to send out newsletters informing their constituents about their views or asking for input. Incumbents traditionally have easier access to campaign funds and volunteers to generate votes. It is not surprising that 90 percent of incumbents are reelected. The situation is not static, however. Legislators run for other offices, and vacancies are created by death, retirement, and resignation. Although term limits, restricting the number of consecutive terms an individual can serve, were rejected by the Supreme Court, the idea continues to enjoy the support of voters who want to see more open contests.
    Leadership in the House

    The Speaker of the House of Representatives is the only presiding officer and traditionally has been the main spokesperson for the majority party in the House. The position is a very powerful one; the Speaker is third in line in presidential succession (after the president and vice president). The Speaker's real power comes from controlling the selection of committee chairs and committee members and the authority to set the order of business of the House.

    The majority floor leader is second only to the Speaker. He or she comes from the political party that controls the House and is elected through a caucus, a meeting of the House party members. The majority leader presents the official position of the party on issues and tries to keep party members loyal to that position, which is not always an easy task. In the event that a minority party wins a majority of the seats in a congressional election, its minority leader usually becomes the majority leader.

    The minority party in the House also has a leadership structure, topped by the minority floor leader. Whoever fills this elected position serves as the chief spokesperson and legislative strategist for the party and often works hard to win the support of moderate members of the opposition on particular votes. Although the minority leader has little formal power, it is an important job, especially because whoever holds it conventionally takes over the speakership if control of the House changes hands.
    Leadership in the Senate

    The Senate has a somewhat different leadership structure. The vice president is officially the presiding officer and is called the president of the Senate. The vice president seldom appears in the Senate chamber in this role unless it appears that a crucial vote may end in a tie. In such instances, the vice president casts the tiebreaking vote.

    To deal with day-to-day business, the Senate chooses the president pro tempore. This position is an honorary one and is traditionally given to the senator in the majority party who has the longest continuous service. Because the president pro tempore is a largely ceremonial office, the real work of presiding is done by many senators. As in the House, the Senate has majority and minority leaders. The majority leader exercises considerable political influence. One of the most successful majority leaders was Lyndon Johnson, who led the Senate from 1955 to 1961. His power of persuasion was legendary in getting fellow senators to go along with him on key votes.

    In both the Senate and the House, the majority and minority party leadership selects whips, who see to it that party members are present for important votes. They also provide their colleagues with information needed to ensure party loyalty. Because there are so many members of Congress, whips are aided by numerous assistants.
    The work of congressional committees

    Much of the work of Congress is done in committees, where bills are introduced, hearings are held, and the first votes on proposed laws are taken. The committee structure allows Congress to research an area of public policy, to hear from interested parties, and to develop the expertise of its members. Committee membership reflects the party breakdown; the majority party has a majority of the seats on each committee, including the chair, who is usually chosen by seniority (years of consecutive service on the committee). Membership on a key committee may also be politically advantageous to a senator or representative.

    Both houses have four types of committees: standing, select, conference, and joint. Standing committees are permanent committees that determine whether proposed legislation should be presented to the entire House or Senate for consideration. The best-known standing committees are Armed Services, Foreign Relations, and Finance in the Senate and National Security, International Relations, Rules, and Ways and Means in the House. Both chambers have committees on agriculture, appropriations, the judiciary, and veterans' affairs. In 1995, the Senate had 16 standing committees, and the House had 19.

    Select committees are also known as special committees. Unlike standing committees, these are temporary and are established to examine specific issues. They must be reestablished with each new Congress. The purpose of select committees is to investigate matters that have attracted widespread attention, such as illegal immigration or drug use. They do not propose legislation but issue a report at the conclusion of their investigation. If a problem becomes an ongoing concern, Congress may decide to change the status of the committee from select to standing.

    Conference committees deal with legislation that has been passed by each of both houses of Congress. The two bills may be similar, but they are seldom identical. The function of the conference committee is to iron out the differences. Members of both the House and Senate who have worked on the bill in their respective standing committees serve on the conference committee. It usually takes just a few days for them to come up with the final wording of the legislation. The bill is then reported out of the conference committee and is voted on by both the House and the Senate.

    Like the conference committees, joint committees have members from both houses, with the leadership rotating between Senate and House members. They focus on issues of general concern to Congress and investigate problems but do not propose legislation. The Joint Economic Committee, for example, examines the nation's economic policies.

    The complexity of lawmaking means that committee work must be divided among subcommittees, smaller groups that focus more closely on the issues and draft the bills. The number of subcommittees grew in the 20th century. In 1995, the House had 84 and the Senate had 69 subcommittees. These numbers actually represent a reduction in subcommittees, following an attempt to reform the legislative process. Although subcommittees allow closer focus on issues, they have contributed to the decentralization and fragmentation of the legislative process.

    When a House subcommittee is formed, a chair is selected, whose assignment is based on seniority, and a permanent staff is assembled. Then the subcommittee tends to take on a political life of its own. As a result, there are now many legislators who have political influence, while in the past the House was dominated by just a few powerful committee chairs. The increase in subcommittees has also made it possible for interest groups to deal with fewer legislators in pressing their position. It has become more difficult to pass legislation because the sheer number of subcommittees and committees causes deliberations on bills to be more complicated. Once considered an important reform, Congress's decentralized subcommittees have caused unforeseen problems in advancing legislation.
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    Re: the american constitution

    Post by ibtihel on Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:08 pm

    The Powers of Congress

    Under the Constitution, Congress has both specific and implied powers. These powers have been expanded through the amendment process as well as by Congress's own legislative action. Moreover, both houses are granted authority in certain areas.
    Specific powers

    Congress is given 27 specific powers under Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution. These are commonly known as the enumerated powers, and they cover such areas as the rights to collect taxes, regulate foreign and domestic commerce, coin money, declare war, support an army and navy, and establish lower federal courts. In addition, Congress can admit new states to the Union (Article IV, Section 3), propose amendments to the Constitution (Article V), collect federal income taxes (Sixteenth Amendment), and enforce protection and extension of civil rights (Thirteenth, Fifteenth, Nineteenth, Twenty-third, Twenty-fourth, and Twenty-sixth Amendments).
    Implied powers

    Implied powers are not stated directly in the Constitution. They derive from the right of Congress to make all laws “necessary and proper” to carry out its enumerated powers. Located at the end of Article I, Section 8, this sentence is often called the elastic clause because it stretches the authority of Congress. The Supreme Court upheld the concept of implied powers in the landmark case McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), ruling that the federal government had the right to establish a national bank under the power delegated to Congress to borrow money and control commerce. A more recent example of implied powers is the War Powers Act of 1973, which limited the ability of the President to send American troops into combat without consulting and notifying Congress.
    Limitations on the powers of Congress

    The Constitution lists powers that are denied to Congress (Article I, Section 9). The Bill of Rights prohibits Congress from making laws that limit individual liberties. Under the system of checks and balances, the president can veto a law passed by Congress, or the Supreme Court can declare a law unconstitutional. Voters can ignore unpopular laws and press for their repeal, as happened with the Eighteenth Amendment establishing Prohibition.
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    Re: the american constitution

    Post by ibtihel on Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:09 pm

    How a Bill Becomes a Law

    Each Congress is elected for a two-year term and holds two annual sessions. During that time, as many as 20,000 bills might be introduced, but only 5 to 10 percent of them are actually signed into law. While some may pass through Congress rather quickly, others lead to lengthy hearings in the subcommittees or committees and protracted debates on the floor of the House and Senate. Few legislative proposals emerge from the process exactly as they were first written. What many have called the “dance of legislation” is influenced by partisan politics, the lobbying of interest groups, and public opinion.
    A bill is introduced

    With the exception of revenue or tax bills, which must originate in the House, legislation can be introduced in either the House or the Senate; sometimes identical bills are introduced in both houses. The majority of bills are written by the executive branch. In the State of the Union address, the president presents a legislative program for the coming session. Members of Congress, usually through their staffs, draft legislation as well. Very often, an interest group that wants a particular law passed will work with congressional staff or the administration to get a bill introduced. A Senate or House member may sponsor (introduce) a bill, and the bill may have numerous congressional cosponsors. Each bill is assigned a number (and the prefix HR in the House or S in the Senate) by the clerks of the House or the Senate. Bills are then sent to the appropriate committees by the Speaker of the House or the Senate majority leader.
    A bill in committee

    A bill goes to one of the standing committees and then to a subcommittee, as determined by the committee chair. The subcommittee holds hearings on the bill, taking testimony from its supporters and opponents. After the hearings, it usually issues a report that is either favorable or unfavorable to the bill. Or it may report out an amended or changed bill or rewrite the original bill entirely as a committee print. The standing committee usually accepts the recommendation of its subcommittee.

    A bill favorably reported out of a Senate committee is put on the calendar for floor action. The bill's sponsors schedule when the debate on the bill will begin through a unanimous consent agreement. The process is different in the House. Here bills must first go through the Rules Committee, which decides when the full House will hear the bill, if the bill can be amended from the floor, and how much time will be allowed for debate.
    A bill before the full House and Senate

    The procedures for debating and voting on legislation are different in the House and the Senate. In the House, each member is allowed five minutes to speak on a bill. If amendments are allowed by the Rules Committee, these must pertain to the bill itself. Amendments are accepted or rejected by a vote of the members present. In the Senate, there is no time limit on debate. A senator who wants to delay action on a bill or kill it altogether may use a tactic called a filibuster. This is a marathon speech that may go on for hours with the senator yielding the floor only to members who support his or her position. A filibuster can be cut off only through cloture. A petition from a minimum of 16 senators is needed for a cloture vote, and 60 senators must actually vote for cloture to end a filibuster. Even then, each senator can still speak for one hour. The Senate also puts no restrictions on the nature of the amendments to a bill. Amendments completely unrelated to the bill are called riders. A senator may add an amendment to a highway bill for a new veterans hospital in his or her state, for example.

    Bills are passed in the House and Senate by voice vote (either “aye” or “no”), standing vote (members must stand up to indicate yes or no), or roll call vote (each member's vote for or against a bill is recorded).
    Factors influencing voting decisions

    Legislators are influenced by a variety of factors in making their voting decisions. The unwritten rules of Congress certainly have a role. Through serving on committees, members develop an expertise in a particular field. Other representatives or senators are likely to accept their judgment that a bill merits their support. They will expect the same deference for a piece of legislation in their area of specialization. Legislators often vote for each other's bills when a bill does not affect their constituency. This is a political technique known as logrolling. It is frequently used to advance pork-barrel legislation—bills designed to benefit a congressional district or state through the appropriation of federal funds. Highway construction, river and harbor improvements, and military base siting are typical examples of pork-barrel projects.

    Party loyalty is probably the most important voting factor. In the 1990s, more than 80 percent of the members of Congress voted according to party affiliation. Interest groups provide information to and put pressure (sometimes subtle, sometimes not) on a legislator to vote one way or another. Industry trade associations, unions, environmental groups, and political action committees employ lobbyists, paid professionals who try to influence legislation. The role of these groups is significant because they also contribute money and sometimes volunteers to election campaigns. Also, a call from the president to vote for or against a bill is hard to resist. The president can appeal for the good of the nation or party loyalty, promise to actively support legislation the member of Congress wants, or threaten to cut off campaign funds.

    Constituents, the voters that the legislator represents, also exercise considerable influence. A congressperson or senator who consistently votes against what the majority of the “folks back home” wants will soon be out of office. Personal beliefs are certainly a factor in voting decisions. If a member of Congress holds a strong position on an issue, no amount of pressure from party members, lobbyists, the president, or even constituents will make a difference.
    The conference committee and action by the president

    Similar bills that have been passed independently by the House and the Senate go to a conference committee to resolve the differences. If the committee cannot work out a compromise version, the bill is dead for that session of Congress. The bill that comes out of the committee is sent to both houses for a vote, and it cannot be amended from the floor. If the bill is approved by the House and the Senate, it is sent to the president for final action.

    A bill becomes a law when signed by the president. If the president vetoes a bill, Congress can override the veto by a two-thirds vote of both houses. There are many reasons for a president to reject legislation. For example, although the president may be supportive of the bill's main purpose, he may decide that it contains unacceptable riders. If the president does not sign or veto a bill within ten days, the bill becomes law. On the other hand, the bill is dead if Congress adjourns within this ten-day period. This is known as a pocket veto. In 1996, Congress gave the president line-item veto power, which meant he could reject specific spending items within a larger bill. The U.S. Supreme Court struck down this attempt to increase presidential discretion two years later, however, in a 6-3 opinion written by Justice John Paul Stevens.
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    Re: the american constitution

    Post by ibtihel on Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:09 pm

    The Executive Branch

    The Constitution established an executive branch headed by a president, which represented a significant departure from the Articles of Confederation. Many of the Founders wanted an even stronger executive, essentially an elected king. However, they realized that memories of the revolution against the British monarch were too fresh to permit such a proposal.

    Instead, the Constitution granted the president the power to execute the law and titled the office “Commander in Chief,” without specifying exactly what role that person would play in either domestic or foreign policy. People who preferred a weak president could see the position described in the Constitution as nothing more than a chief clerk, someone who would carry out the legislative branch's orders but play little political role. But nothing in the language of the Constitution prevented the presidency from developing into more of a leadership position, a rival political force to Congress.

    Of course, numerous limits were placed on the presidency. Congress may override presidential vetoes. The Senate must approve presidential appointments. The president serves only a four-year term and has been limited to two terms since the Twenty-second Amendment won approval in 1951. As the nation witnessed with President Bill Clinton, a president also may be impeached—that is, brought up on formal charges—by the House of Representatives and removed from office if convicted in the Senate. None of these limits has been sufficient, however, to prevent the powers and role of the president from expanding dramatically over the last two centuries.
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    Re: the american constitution

    Post by ibtihel on Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:10 pm

    The Powers of the President

    In contrast to the many powers it gives Congress, the Constitution grants few specific powers to the president. Indeed, most of Article II, which deals with the executive branch, relates to the method of election, term and qualifications for office, and procedures for succession and impeachment rather than what the president can do. The powers of the president are not limited to those granted in the Constitution. Presidential authority has expanded through the concept of inherent powers, as well as through legislative action.
    Treaty power

    The president has the authority to negotiate treaties with other nations. These formal international agreements do not go into effect, however, until ratified by a two-thirds vote of the Senate. Although most treaties are routinely approved, the Senate rejected the Treaty of Versailles (1919), which ended World War I and which President Woodrow Wilson had signed, and, more recently, refused to take action on President Jimmy Carter's SALT II Treaty on arms limitation (1979).
    Appointment power

    The president selects many people to serve the government in a wide range of offices: most important among them are ambassadors, members of the Supreme Court and the federal courts, and cabinet secretaries. More than 2,000 of these positions require confirmation (approval) by the Senate under the “advice and consent” provision of the Constitution. Confirmation hearings can become controversial, as did the hearing for Clarence Thomas, President George Bush's nominee for the Supreme Court. Sometimes appointments to ambassadorships are given as a reward for faithful service to the president's political party or for significant campaign contributions. Such appointments are considered patronage.
    Legislative powers

    The president is authorized to proposed legislation. A president usually outlines the administration's legislative agenda in the State of the Union address given to a joint session of Congress each January. The president's veto power is an important check on Congress. If the president rejects a bill, it takes a two-thirds vote of both houses, which is difficult to achieve, to accomplish a veto override.
    Other specific powers

    The president can call Congress into special session and can adjourn Congress if the House and the Senate cannot agree on a final date. The power to grant pardons for federal crimes (except impeachment) is also given to the president. President Gerald Ford pardoned former President Richard Nixon for any crimes he may have committed while in office, and he was able to do so because Nixon resigned before impeachment charges were brought.
    Inherent powers

    Inherent powers are those that can be inferred from the Constitution. Based on the major role the Constitution gives the president in foreign policy (that is, the authority to negotiate treaties and to appoint and receive ambassadors), President George Washington declared that the United States would remain neutral in the 1793 war between France and Great Britain. To conduct foreign policy, presidents also have signed executive agreements with other countries that do not require Senate action. The Supreme Court ruled that these agreements are within the inherent powers of the president.

    As commander in chief of the armed forces, presidents have sent American troops into combat or combat situations without congressional authorization. The experience of the Vietnam War led to the War Powers Act (1973), which requires the president to consult Congress and to withdraw troops after 60 days unless Congress specifically approves their continued deployment. Inherent powers allow a president to respond to a crisis—for example, Abraham Lincoln to the Civil War and Franklin D. Roosevelt to the Depression and World War II—but presidential actions based on them can be limited by legislation or declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
    Delegation of powers

    Congress has given power to the executive branch in the area of domestic policy. President Roosevelt asked for and received extraordinary authority to do what he thought was necessary to bring the country out of the Depression. Congress has created new cabinet departments and federal agencies that have given the president and the executive branch broad powers to address problems such as education, welfare, and the environment. The trend throughout the 20th century has been to increase presidential powers at the expense of Congress.
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    Re: the american constitution

    Post by ibtihel on Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:11 pm

    Organization of the Executive Branch

    Policy is not developed nor are all executive decisions made by the president alone. Presidents have come to rely on a large staff based in the White House to handle a wide range of administrative tasks from policymaking to speechwriting. The staff is loyal to the president, not to Congress or a government agency. Unchecked by the president, the White House staff can become a source of scandal. Watergate under President Nixon is a good example.

    The Constitution gives practically no direction on the organization of the executive branch. It does mention “executive departments,” which became the basis for the cabinet. While relying primarily on the White House staff for advice, a president turns to members of the cabinet for advice in their areas of expertise. In the main, however, cabinet secretaries are responsible for running the departments they head.
    The Executive Office of the President

    The Executive Office comprises four agencies that advise the president in key policy areas: the White House Office, the National Security Council, the Council of Economic Advisors, and the Office of Management and Budget.

    The president's main advisers, often long-time personal friends or people who played a key role in the election, make up the White House Office. It includes the president's personal lawyer, press secretary, appointments secretary, and other support personnel. The most important position in this group is the chief of staff, who is responsible for seeing that the president's legislative goals are carried out by working with Congress on the legislative agenda.

    The National Security Council (NSC), organized in 1947, deals with domestic, foreign, and military policies affecting security issues. By law, the NSC is composed of the president, vice president, secretary of defense, and secretary of state. Representatives of the intelligence and defense communities are also members. The president's national security advisor supervises the council's activities.

    The Council of Economic Advisors (CEA) was created in 1946 to provide the president with information on economic policy. It is best known for predicting national economic trends.

    The enormously complex task of preparing the federal budget for submission to Congress falls to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Originally established in the Treasury Department as the Bureau of the Budget, the OMB has had its powers expanded considerably since 1970. It is involved in drafting the president's legislative program and evaluating how effectively federal agencies use their appropriations.
    The cabinet

    George Washington appointed the first executive department heads in 1789. They were the attorney general, secretary of state, secretary of treasury, and secretary of war. As the scope and functions of the federal government grew, the number of executive departments increased. The heads of these departments, who all have the title secretary (except the attorney general of the U.S. Department of Justice), make up the core of the president's cabinet. From time to time, the cabinet departments have been reorganized, along with the agencies under them. For example, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was originally part of the Department of Labor but was transferred to the Justice Department in 1940. The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (1953) was renamed Health and Human Services in 1979 when a separate Department of Education was established. In addition to the secretaries of the departments, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the OMB director, and other officials participate in the cabinet. Table 1 lists the cabinet departments as they have existed since 1989.
    TABLE 1 Cabinet Departments (1989)

    Justice (1789)


    Defense (1947)

    State (1789)


    Health and Human Services (1953)

    Treasury (1789)


    Housing and Urban Development (1965)

    Interior (1849)


    Transportation (1967)

    Agriculture (1889)


    Energy (1977)

    Commerce (1903; originally included Labor)


    Education (1979)

    Labor (1913)


    Veterans Affairs (1989)

    In recent years, the cabinet departments have become targets for people who believe that too much power is in the hands of the federal government. For example, some have called for the elimination of the Department of Education, based on the belief that educational policy is best set at the state or local level. Abolishing the Department of Commerce has also been considered.

    Unlike the White House staff positions or ambassadorships, cabinet appointments are not usually based on a personal relationship with the president or given as a reward. A president is more likely to base the selections on reputation, expertise, and ability to manage a large bureaucracy. Appointments are also an opportunity for a president to show that the administration represents a broad cross-section of the country by including ethnic and racial minorities and women in the cabinet.
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    Re: the american constitution

    Post by ibtihel on Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:11 pm

    The Functions of the President

    The president is expected to perform a number of duties as part of the office. While the Constitution mentions several of these duties, others have evolved over time. How presidents carry out these functions depends on their personality, as well as their view of the presidency and the role of government. For example, the State of the Union was not delivered as a speech until the presidency of Woodrow Wilson.

    Modern presidents usually take a leadership approach to their job. They consider themselves representatives of all the people, put in place to pursue a political agenda by using their inherent powers. Scholars usually praise presidents who follow this model, because it results in ambitious policy programs that (for good or ill) leave a strong mark on American government. Of course, when presidents view themselves as policymakers, they sometimes are impatient with constitutional limitations on executive activity. For example, Abraham Lincoln suspended the right of habeas corpus during the Civil War. Both Andrew Jackson and Franklin Roosevelt tried to intimidate the Supreme Court, some say successfully, after a majority of justices ruled against them.

    “Chief clerk” presidents, on the other hand, take a more passive approach to the job. They are much more careful about exceeding their constitutional authority and often believe in a limited government. However, many scholars feel that clerkship presidents such as James Buchanan and Herbert Hoover did not move aggressively enough to deal with crises during their administrations.

    Presidents also differ on their conception of the role of the federal government. Lyndon Johnson believed the government had a responsibility to help the disadvantaged. His Great Society, the domestic program that included the “War on Poverty” and Medicare, reflected this concern. Ronald Reagan, on the other hand, saw government as the problem, not the solution to the nation's problems.
    Commander in chief

    The president is the highest-ranking officer in the armed services. As noted previously, presidents have shown no hesitation in filling this role by sending American forces to trouble spots around the world as an instrument of foreign policy. U.S. troops in Grenada, Panama, the Persian Gulf, Haiti, and Bosnia are recent cases in point.
    Chief of state

    Acting as chief of state is a president's most visible function, whether meeting the heads of other countries, welcoming astronauts or college football champions to the White House, or opening the Olympic Games. Although largely ceremonial, the role of chief of state makes an important statement to the world and the nation about the president as a leader.
    Diplomat

    The president not only decides the direction of American foreign policy but also plays an important role in carrying it out. During the Cold War era, for example, face-to-face meetings between President Bush and leaders of the Soviet Union contributed to an easing of tensions and important arms control breakthroughs. President Jimmy Carter personally worked out the Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt. This kind of activity is sometimes called summit diplomacy.
    Chief executive

    The president is the chief administrator, or chief bureaucrat, of the nation and is ultimately responsible for all the programs in the executive branch. Responsible for seeing that “all laws are faithfully executed,” a president sets the broad policy for the executive departments and agencies rather than managing their day-to-day operations.
    Legislator

    A president does not simply propose legislation but is actively involved in seeing that it becomes law. The White House staff maintains close contacts with Congress, while the president meets with Congressional leaders to press for passage of bills and calls individual Congressional members to ask for their vote. In instances of a divided government, in which the White House and Congress are controlled by different political parties, the president can appeal directly to the people for support.
    Moral leader

    The president is expected to set the moral tone for the nation, including exemplary honesty, religious faith, and integrity. The question of a president's moral leadership has assumed new importance in recent years as the media and public have given the private lives of the elected officials closer scrutiny. The “character issue” is frequently included in public opinion polls on a president's performance.
    Party leader

    In addition to performing clearly governmental functions, the president serves as the “titular head” of a political party. A president is expected to support the party's platform, help raise money for the party, and campaign for the party's candidates. The president expects the support of party members in Congress on key votes; however, recent experience has shown that party loyalty is declining.

    A potential conflict exists between the president as national leader and as party leader. Astute presidents address their party's positions realistically while trying to build consensus on nonpartisan issues. The rise of interest groups that take stands on controversial or emotional issues such as abortion, school prayer, and welfare spending can make this balance difficult to achieve.
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    Re: the american constitution

    Post by ibtihel on Tue Mar 04, 2008 6:12 pm

    Vice President and Presidential Succession

    Under the Constitution, the vice president serves as the president of the Senate (voting only to break ties) and succeeds the president in the event of death, resignation, or the inability of the president to discharge duties. The process of presidential succession was changed through the Twenty-fifth Amendment, which was a response to the transition following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. The orderly transition of power in the executive branch is one of the hallmarks of U.S. constitutional government.
    The selection of the vice president

    Although the vice president is only “a heartbeat away from the presidency,” politics influences this individual's selection more than any qualifications to hold the highest office. President Kennedy chose Lyndon Johnson as his running mate primarily because Johnson was a Southerner who could help carry the key state of Texas; that Johnson was the powerful majority leader of the Senate was less important. Walter Mondale's background in the Senate, on the other hand, made him a logical vice president for Jimmy Carter, who was the governor of Georgia and running as a Washington outsider.
    The role of the vice president

    Because of a limited constitutionally defined function, the role that a vice president plays is determined by the president. While Harry Truman was vice president, he was kept in the dark about many key issues. He did not learn about the atomic bomb, for example, until after he became president following the death of Franklin Roosevelt. Since 1960, however, the responsibilities of the vice president have expanded. Lyndon Johnson led the nation's space program under Kennedy. Vice President Al Gore was heavily involved in the Clinton administration's policies, especially in areas such as foreign policy, the environment, and streamlining government. Vice President Richard Cheney played a particularly influential role in the transition of President George W. Bush.
    The process of presidential succession

    Following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson served for a year without a vice president. Under the Twenty-fifth Amendment (1967), the president nominates a vice president, who is confirmed by a majority of both houses of Congress. This process was followed twice in the 1970s, when Gerald Ford became vice president after Spiro Agnew resigned and when Ford appointed Nelson Rockefeller as his vice president after President Nixon resigned. The amendment also provides for the temporary transfer of power to the vice president if the president is incapacitated. In the event that the offices of both president and vice president are vacant simultaneously, the order of succession is the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the president pro tempore of the Senate, the secretary of state, the secretary of defense, and the other cabinet departments
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    Re: the american constitution

    Post by ibtihel on Wed Mar 05, 2008 6:37 pm

    House of Representatives
    One of the biggest disagreements between the federalist and the anti-federalist was the issue of the separation of powers, that the executive, judicial, and legislative branches should be separate and distinct. The anti-federalists were afraid that the mixing of the powers would enable the government to hold all of the power and trample on the rights of the individual. The federalist realized this and addressed the issue by saying that in a government of mixed powers it is important that each branch have a degree of control over another. In an idealistic government the people would have the power to elect and control all branches of government. The federalist realized this was not a feasible task because of the lack of knowledge the public had with governing affairs. Therefore the people would vote for trained representatives that would voice their concerns and opinions. These representatives would make up the congress or the legislative branch. America was to be known as a republic form of government. In a representative republic the most powerful branch is the legislative branch because this is the branch that appeals to the people. The federalist divided the congress into the House of R

    . . .
    The House would grow as the nation’s population increased, but the increase would have to be regulated so that the House could function properly.

    The major concern of the federalist was the smooth operation of the House. But what kind of person was best suited to serve as a representative? The Constitution stated that a representative must be at least twenty-five years old; must have been a citizen for the United States for at least seven years; at he time of his election, be an inhabitant of the state he is to represent; and, during his time in office, he can not hold any other position in government. Emotions can interfere with rational thought, so it would be beneficial to the country to keep the number of representatives down. The election process of the House of Representatives concerned the anti-federalists. State constitutions would determine the voting qualifications not the state legislatures.

    In the constitution it states that the House of Representatives would be composed of 65 members. In this respect, the new constitution is radically defective. Would the number increase as the population increased? The anti-federalist George Mason said, “ I conceive to be so dangerous, is the provision with respect to the number of Representatives: It does not expressly provide, that we shall have one for every 30,000, but that the number shall be continued to us: Now will not this be complied with, although the present number should never be increased; nay, although it should decrease?” The anti-federalist knew that the population of America would eventually grow over time. ”

    The reason why the federalist where in favor of 65 representatives is really a fairly easy reason to comprehend. The fewer the people the less voices and opinions there are. Having a constant increase in the number of representatives could cause havoc in the House. The anti-federalist criticized these processes because they were very different from the manner in which they elected representatives for their own state legislature. This way all the power does not reside in the congress or in the states but it is balanced between the two.
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    Re: the american constitution

    Post by ibtihel on Wed Mar 05, 2008 6:37 pm

    Our Three Branches of Government
    Governmental power and functions in the United States rest in three branches of government: the Legislative, Judicial, and Executive. In this system of a "separation of powers" each branch operates independently of the others. However, there are built in checks and balances to prevent overbearing concentration of power in any one branch and to protect the rights and liberties of citizens. Articles One, Two, and Three of the Constitution, define the powers that the Legislative, Executive and the Judicial Branch’s oversee. The Legislative Branch is the first area that we will look at.

    The Congress of the United States was created by Article I, of the Constitution. ``All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.''

    The most important responsibility of Congress is that of making the laws of the United States. In both houses, standing committees do the work of preparing and considering legislation, and in addition, there are special committees in each house, as well as joint committees. The two houses have an equal voice in legislation, but revenue bills must originate in the House of Representatives. Bills, after havin

    . . .
    ” The Supreme Court of the United States was created in accordance with this provision. Proposed amendments shall be valid as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures or by conventions of three-fourths of the States, as one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by Congress. He shall hold his office during the term of four years together with the Vice President, chosen for the same term.

    The House of Representatives is granted the power of originating all bills for the raising of revenue.

    Once appointed, a member of the Federal Judicial system, that individual is appointed for life and can only be remove by means of the impeachment process. The Court does not give advisory opinions; rather, its function is limited only to deciding specific cases. Few other courts in the world have the same authority of constitutional interpretation and none have exercised it for as long or with as much influence. However, the Senate must approve any treaty before it becomes official.

    Only the House of Representatives may impeach the President or other federal officers and the Senate alone has the authority to try impeachments, but each house is the moderator of the qualifications of its own members.

    As Head of State, the President meets with the leaders of other countries.

    The Constitution limits the Court to dealing with cases and controversies.

    QUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW, these words are written above the main entrance to the Supreme Court Building, express the ultimate responsibility of the Supreme Court of the United States. If vetoed by the President, a bill may become law only by a vote of a two-thirds majority in each house. To declare war officially, though, he must get the approval of Congress.

    Common topics in this essay:
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    Re: the american constitution

    Post by ibtihel on Wed Mar 05, 2008 6:38 pm

    How a Bill becomes a Law?
    Have you ever had an idea that you thought should become a law? Ideas for laws come in many ways. Members of Congress present ideas for new laws. Ordinary citizens may call their senator or representative with an idea. Special interest groups send delegates to talk to our nation's leaders. Even the president has ideas for laws.

    In order for an idea to begin the process of becoming a law, a member of Congress must sponsor it. Once this happens, the idea becomes a bill. Bills can start their journey in either part of Congress. Let's follow a bill that begins in the House of Representatives.

    Once a bill is written, the sponsor introduces it to the clerk of the House or places the bill in a box called the “hopper”. Here, the clerk i gives the bill a special number beginning with the letters H.R. (House of Representatives). Then, the bill is printed and sent to all members of the House of Representatives. At this point, the Speaker of the House sends the bill to a committee. The committee studies the bill to decide if it is a good idea or not. They often hold hearings to listen to why a bill should be a law. After the hearings, they may make changes to a bill, send it on for a vote, or kill the bil

    . . .
    Most bills must have simple majority to pass.

    Evidently, it is an extensive and labored trail to the development of a bill to a law. Normally the bill is considered as introduced unless the bill is urgent in which case the leaders of the majority party might push it ahead. Secondly, the bill goes the Senate where the it is debated. Finally only five percent of bills become laws. Secondly, the Vice President of the US, who is the presiding officer of the Senate, assigns the proposed law to a committee for further study. A strength of this legislative process is that here all of the makings of a law come together in action to finalize and complete the bill. They put it on a calendar for a vote. Finally, Congress sends the proposed new legislation to the White House for consideration by the President. A conference committee made up of members of both houses works out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. Ultimately, the procedure of a bill to law encounters many obstacles to conquer. In the Senate first, First, the bill is again introduced but now by a senator who must be recognized by the presiding officer and announce the introduction of the bill. The clerk of the house of congress that originated the bill certifies the final version.
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    Re: the american constitution

    Post by ibtihel on Wed Mar 05, 2008 6:45 pm

    The Founding Fathers

    This “assembly of demigods,” as Jefferson called them (though he was not present, being at the time America's Ambassador to France), managed to put together a document that has been essentially unaltered for over 200 years. Although the 27 amendments to the Constitution have made significant changes, they have not in any respect altered the basic structure or functioning of the government. We know the first 10 amendments as the Bill of Rights. Later amendments ended slavery, created national citizenship, modified electoral procedures and made other relatively minor changes in government related functions. But the basic structure of the government—the president, the Congress, and the courts—has not been altered since 1787. The United States Constitution has not only served this nation well, it has also been the model for other democratic governments throughout the world
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    Re: the american constitution

    Post by ibtihel on Wed Mar 05, 2008 6:51 pm

    Primary Documents in American History
    United States Constitution
    The foundation of American government
    The Foundation of American Government / Hy. Hintermeister.
    Reproduction of painting of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and others signing the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
    1 photomechanical print: color.
    Newark, New Jersey:
    Osborn Co., c1925.
    Prints & Photographs Division.
    Reproduction Number:
    LC-USZ62-995

    The members of the Constitutional Convention signed the United States Constitution on September 17, 1787 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Constitutional Convention convened in response to dissatisfaction with the Articles of Confederation and the need for a strong centralized government. After four months of secret debate and many compromises, the proposed Constitution was submitted to the states for approval. Although the vote was close in some states, the Constitution was eventually ratified and the new Federal government came into existence in 1789. The Constitution established the U.S. government as it exists today.

    Library of Congress Web Site | External Web Sites | Selected Bibliography

    American Memory Historical Collections

    A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation

    Elliot's Debates is a five-volume collection compiled by Jonathan Elliot in the mid-nineteenth century. The volumes remain the best source for materials about the national government's transitional period between the closing of the Constitutional Convention in September 1787 and the opening of the First Federal Congress in March 1789.

    Farrand's Records gathered the documentary records of the Constitutional Convention into four volumes, three of which are included in this online collection, containing the materials necessary to study the workings of the Constitutional Convention. The notes taken at that time by James Madison, and later revised by him, form the largest single block of material other than the official proceedings. The three volumes also include notes and letters by many other participants, as well as the various constitutional plans proposed during the convention.

    The Making of the U.S. Constitution is a special presentation that provides a brief history of the making of the Constitution followed by the text of the Constitution as originally adopted.

    An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera

    This collection contains a broadside announcing that Virginia had ratified the Constitution on June 25, 1787. It also presents a copy of the Constitution that includes Rhode Island's ratification statement from May 29, 1790.

    Search this collection to locate additional printed ephemera related to the Constitution.

    Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774-1789

    Presents an early printed version of the Constitution from 1787. This collection also contains an additional twenty documents from the Constitutional Convention Broadside Collection, including documents relating to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, extracts of proceedings of state assemblies and conventions relating to the ratification of the Constitution, and several essays on ratification. Search on the word "Constitution" to find these broadsides.

    This collection contains an essay titled To Form a More Perfect Union that examines American history from 1774 to 1789, including the work of the Constitutional Convention.

    George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress

    Contains a printed copy of the Constitution with marginal notes by George Washington from September 12, 1787.

    Search this collection using the words "Constitution" or "Constitutional Convention" to find additional documents, including a copy of the diary Washington kept during the Constitutional Convention.

    The James Madison Papers

    The James Madison Papers consists of approximately 12,000 items that document the life of the man who came to be known as the “Father of the Constitution.” Includes an essay on Madison's role in the Constitutional Convention. Also contains Madison's original notes on debates in the Federal Convention of 1787, Part 1 and Part 2, as well as John C. Payne's copy of Madison's original notes.

    Search this collection to locate additional documents related to the Constitution.

    The Thomas Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress

    Thomas Jefferson received a copy of the Constitution in November, 1787, while living in France. Beginning on the second page of a letter to James Madison dated December 20, 1787, Jefferson expressed his opinions on the new Constitution, including his belief that a Bill of Rights was needed. This collection also contains Alexander Hamilton's proposals from the Constitutional Convention and Jefferson's notes on the Constitution from 1788.

    Search this collection using the words "Constitution" or "Constitutional Convention" to find additional documents on this topic.

    Words and Deeds in American History

    Presents Alexander Hamilton's notes for a speech proposing a plan of government at the Constitutional Convention.

    America's Library

    Jump Back in Time: The New United States of America Adopted the Bill of Rights
    December 15, 1791

    Meet Amazing Americans: James Madison's Contribution to the Constitution

    Exhibitions

    American Treasures of the Library of Congress - Report of the Committee of Detail

    On July 24, 1787, the Federal Convention appointed a five-man Committee of Detail, chaired by John Rutledge of South Carolina, to prepare a draft constitution that encompassed the results of deliberations up to that point.

    American Treasures of the Library of Congress - Report of the Committee of Style

    During the Constitutional Convention, the Committee of Style was appointed "to revise the style of, and arrange, the articles which have been agreed to by the House." On September 12, 1787, the Convention ordered copies printed and distributed to the delegates. This copy belonged to James Madison.

    Learning Page

    American Memory Timeline: The United States Constitution

    Discusses the Constitutional Convention and links to related documents.

    Primary Source Set: The Constitution

    This Primary Source Set includes images, documents, maps, sound files and analysis tools to help teach about the United States Constitution.

    Today in History

    September 17, 1787

    Members of the Constitutional Convention signed the final draft of the Constitution on September 17, 1787.

    October 27, 1787

    Known as the Federalist Papers, the first in a series of eighty-five essays by "Publius," the pen name of Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, appeared in the New York Independent Journal on October 27, 1787.

    December 12, 1787

    On December 12, 1787, delegates to the Pennsylvania ratifying convention meeting at the Pennsylvania State House voted to ratify the Constitution.

    December 18, 1787

    The New Jersey ratifying caucus approved the Constitution on December 18, 1787.

    January 9, 1788

    On January 9, 1788, Connecticut ratified the Constitution, becoming the fifth state in the Union.

    July 26, 1788

    On July 26, 1788, the Convention of the State of New York, meeting in Poughkeepsie, voted to ratify the Constitution.

    December 15, 1791

    The new United States of America adopted the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, confirming the fundamental rights of its citizens on December 15
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    ibtihel

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    Re: the american constitution

    Post by ibtihel on Thu Mar 06, 2008 8:36 pm

    The American Constitution was drafted after the war of Independence, which lasted between 1779-1783 and in which the thirteen american colonies severed their ties with the crowd of England and proclamed themselves independent. 4 July 1776, the declaration of independence written by Thomas Feferson had put an end to English domination and announced the fundation of United states of America. Eleven years later, in May 1789, a convention of 55 delegates known as the founding fathers (George Washington, Benjamin Franklin) and drawfted the USA constitution which was signed on 17 September 1787. It was sent to the state for ratification for the constitution to be adopted two third of thirteen states had to ratify it. It became effective in January 1789. There are 7 articles and 10 amendments which followed in 1791 called the Bill of Right. 17 other amendments were gradually added from 1789-1792.
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    ibtihel

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    Re: the american constitution

    Post by ibtihel on Thu Mar 06, 2008 8:38 pm

    Article. I. - The Legislative Branch Note

    Section 1 - The Legislature

    All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

    Section 2 - The House

    The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

    No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

    (Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.) (The previous sentence in parentheses was modified by the 14th Amendment, section 2.) The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five and Georgia three.

    When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.

    The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

    Section 3 - The Senate

    The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, (chosen by the Legislature thereof,) (The preceding words in parentheses superseded by 17th Amendment, section 1.) for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

    Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be chosen every second Year; (and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.) (The preceding words in parentheses were superseded by the 17th Amendment, section 2.)

    No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.

    The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

    The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.

    The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.

    Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.

    Section 4 - Elections, Meetings

    The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Place of Chusing Senators.

    The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall (be on the first Monday in December,) (The preceding words in parentheses were superseded by the 20th Amendment, section 2.) unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.

    Section 5 - Membership, Rules, Journals, Adjournment

    Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

    Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two-thirds, expel a Member.

    Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.

    Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

    Section 6 - Compensation

    (The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States.) (The preceding words in parentheses were modified by the 27th Amendment.) They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

    No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

    Section 7 - Revenue Bills, Legislative Process, Presidential Veto

    All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

    Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

    Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

    Section 8 - Powers of Congress

    The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

    To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

    To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

    To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

    To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

    To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

    To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;

    To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

    To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

    To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;

    To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

    To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

    To provide and maintain a Navy;

    To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

    To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

    To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings; And

    To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

    Section 9 - Limits on Congress

    The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

    The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

    No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

    (No capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.) (Section in parentheses clarified by the 16th Amendment.)

    No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

    No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.

    No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

    No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince or foreign State.

    Section 10 - Powers prohibited of States

    No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

    No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.

    No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.
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    ibtihel

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    Re: the american constitution

    Post by ibtihel on Thu Mar 06, 2008 8:39 pm

    rticle. II. - The Executive Branch Note

    Section 1 - The President Note1 Note2

    The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice-President chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:

    Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, 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 Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

    (The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not lie an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; a quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two-thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice-President.) (This clause in parentheses was superseded by the 12th Amendment.)

    The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

    No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

    (In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.) (This clause in parentheses has been modified by the 20th and 25th Amendments.)

    The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

    Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:

    "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

    Section 2 - Civilian Power over Military, Cabinet, Pardon Power, Appointments

    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; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

    He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

    The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

    Section 3 - State of the Union, Convening Congress

    He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

    Section 4 - Disqualification

    The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other
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    Re: the american constitution

    Post by ibtihel on Thu Mar 06, 2008 8:39 pm

    rticle III. - The Judicial Branch Note

    Section 1 - Judicial powers

    The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

    Section 2 - Trial by Jury, Original Jurisdiction, Jury Trials

    (The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority; to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls; to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction; to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party; to Controversies between two or more States; between a State and Citizens of another State; between Citizens of different States; between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.) (This section in parentheses is modified by the 11th Amendment.)

    In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

    The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

    Section 3 - Treason Note

    Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

    The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.
    Article. IV. - The States

    Section 1 - Each State to Honor all others

    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.

    Section 2 - State citizens, Extradition

    The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

    A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.

    (No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, But shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.) (This clause in parentheses is superseded by the 13th Amendment.)

    Section 3 - New States

    New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new States shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

    The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.

    Section 4 - Republican government

    The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.
    Article. V. - Amendment Note1 - Note2 - Note3

    The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
    Article. VI. - Debts, Supremacy, Oaths

    All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

    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 Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States
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    ibtihel

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    Re: the american constitution

    Post by ibtihel on Thu Mar 06, 2008 8:41 pm

    Overview

    The Continental Congress Broadside Collection (256 titles) and the Constitutional Convention Broadside Collection (21 titles) contain 277 documents relating to the work of Congress and the drafting and ratification of the Constitution. Items include extracts of the journals of Congress, resolutions, proclamations, committee reports, treaties, and early printed versions of the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Most broadsides are one page in length; others range from 1 to 28 pages. A number of these items contain manuscript annotations not recorded elsewhere that offer insight into the delicate process of creating consensus. In many cases, multiple copies bearing manuscript annotations are available to compare and contrast.

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