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Constitutional Dilemmas

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Presentation on theme: "Constitutional Dilemmas"— Presentation transcript:

1 Constitutional Dilemmas

2 Dilemma 1 Your client wants to become president of the United States in He is now 34, and his birthday is on January 16. Can he serve?

3 YES Why? Article II, Section 1 states, “...neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years...” If the hypothetical candidate wants to run in the 2008 election, he will be thirty-five in January. The election itself does not take place until the second Tuesday in November. Finally, he will not officially take office until January 20, 2009, at 12:01 p.m.(according to the twentieth amendment), at which point he will be thirty-six.

4 Dilemma 2 The Senate and the House of Representatives have passed a bill requiring all teenagers, including females, to shave their heads.Who can stop this law from taking effect?

Why? Article I, Section 7 provides that the president may veto a bill that both houses pass. If the House and Senate should override this veto by a two- thirds margin, the Supreme Court could later, by its precedent of judicial review, determine that the law is unconstitutional.

6 Dilemma 3 A certain congressman is tired of living in Washington, D. C
Dilemma 3 A certain congressman is tired of living in Washington, D.C. He wants to move back to his home state and run his ranch full-time. He proposes that Congress not meet at all this year. Is his proposal constitutional?

7 NO Why? Article I, Section 4 states that, “The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year...”

8 Dilemma 4 You have a neighbor who was born and raised in Austria
Dilemma 4 You have a neighbor who was born and raised in Austria. She moved to the United States five years ago. She loves politics and wants to hold any office—president, senator, member of the House of Representatives—she doesn’t care which. Can she?

9 NOPE Why? There are citizenship rules for becoming a member of the federal government. They are as follows: House of Representatives - Citizen for 7 years Senate - Citizen for 9 years President - Natural born citizen, resident of U.S. for 14 years

10 Dilemma 5 The Senate’s 100 members cannot agree on a law that forces all fast-food restaurants to sell veggie burgers only. They are split right down the middle: 50 are in favor, and 50 are against. Who can break the tie?

11 THE VICE PRESIDENT Huh? Wait, isn’t he in the Executive Branch? What business does he have meddling in the Legislative Branch? Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution, however, gives the VP, who also holds the title of “President of the Senate,” the power to break ties: “The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.” Perhaps the founding fathers wanted progress to occur as opposed to deadlock.

12 Dilemma 6 A blizzard strikes the nation’s capital
Dilemma 6 A blizzard strikes the nation’s capital. Only 200 of the 435 members of the House of Representatives show up for that day’s session. Can they pass bills?

13 NEGATIVE How come? The answer is, they haven’t achieved what’s called a quorum, or “the minimum number of people that must be present at a meeting before its proceedings are to be regarded as valid.” So what did the Framers think would be a reasonable quorum? Article I, Section 5 states that each house must have a majority of its members present in order to conduct business. Doing the math, that works out as 218 representatives or 51 senators.

14 Dilemma 7 A member of Congress is asked by the president to become secretary of defense. Her comment is “Cool. Now I can be both a congresswoman and cabinet member. I’ll have so much power and make a ton of money.” Can she hold both positions simultaneously?

15 UH UH Why? This is what is called a conflict of interest, and it would violate the system of checks and balances. Article I, Section 6 states, “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...” In other words, she would need to resign in order to accept the offer. Of course, she would still need to be approved by which house of Congress?

16 Dilemma 8 The president gets mad at Illinois and decides to declare war on the state. Who can stop him from completing such a strange and unconstitutional act?

17 CONGRESS Why? and How? The first thing to understand is that the President cannot declare war. This power is reserved to Congress in Article I, Section 8; it is one of eighteen powers listed. But how could Congress keep the war from happening? Possibly by withholding funding for the armed forces, another one of their “enumerated” powers.

18 Dilemma 9 It has been revealed that the president has been stealing money from the treasury. He now owns Madagascar. That’s right. He purchased Madagascar with stolen money. Under the Constitution, what actions should be taken against him?

19 IMPEACHMENT How would that work?
Well, stealing is a crime, and Article II, Section 4 states that the President “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.” The House of Representatives has sole power of impeachment (I.2), meaning they can bring charges against the President. The Senate tries the President (I.3), and at the trial the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides (I.3).

20 Dilemma 10 Your client is having trouble with his mail service
Dilemma Your client is having trouble with his mail service. Who is the best person to call: his congresswoman, the president, or the chief justice of the Supreme Court?

21 HIS CONGRESSWOMAN Why? Actually, the best thing to do would be to contact your local Post Office. But if you had to take it way over someone’s head, it would be to your representative. One of Congress’s enumerated powers, as listed in Article I, Section 8, is to “establish Post Offices and post Roads.” FYI, your local congresswoman is Anna Eshoo; she represents the 14th Congressional District of California, which includes parts of Santa Clara, San Mateo, and Santa Cruz counties.

22 Dilemma In a Senate vote, 52 senators vote in favor of a treaty with Belarus, while 48 vote against. Is the treaty approved?

23 NO Why Not? While a majority of senators favor the treaty, approval requires that two-thirds of senators cast a vote in favor of it. This can be found in Article II, Section 2. Why would a legislative power be in the article that governs the Executive Branch? Actually, treaty approval is a check; the Presidents has the power to make treaties, but only with Senate approval.

24 Dilemma The people of the states of Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana vote to become one gigantic, beautiful state. Whose approval do they need?

Why? Article IV, Section 3 states, “no new State 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.” So the people in those states would have to have their three legislatures approve this merger; then Congress would need to put its stamp of approval on it. By what margin? Majority? Two thirds? Actually, the Constitution doesn’t say.

26 The End

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