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The Constitution the Supreme Law of the Land

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1 The Constitution the Supreme Law of the Land
Constitution—ratified and took effect in 1789 Brief document—a little more than 7,000 words Unique in that it is “not weighted down with detailed and cumbersome provisions”

2 The Structure of the Constitution
The Preamble: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. Watch School House Rock Video of “The Preamble” Have students pick out and discuss the 6 goals outlined in the Preamble.

3 The Structure of the Constitution
The Articles of the Constitution Section Subject Addressed Article I Legislative Branch Article II Executive Branch Article III Judicial Branch Article IV Relations among the States Article V Amending the Constitution Article VI national debts, supremacy of national law, and oaths of office Article VII Ratification First Three: Branches of National Government (outline organization, powers and selection process for each) Article 4: the place of the states in the union and their relationship with National government and each other Article 5: amendments Article 6: Constitution is the law of the land Article 7: ratification 27 Amendments follow the Constitution

4 The Basic Principles of the Constitution
Do a Jig-Saw Activity for the basic principles of government with students (for first six, found in the textbook) YouTube Video of these principles: (2:30)

5 Popular Sovereignty the people are the source for all governmental power “consent of the governed” Example: “We the People of the United States…” Sovereign: having supreme power within its own territory; neither subordinate nor responsible to any other authority This principle is also true of state governments. **Note the founding fathers were wary of giving too much power to the people. They didn’t think they could handle it.

6 Limited Government no government is all-powerful; it may only do things the people have given it the power to do constitutionalism and rule of law Example: “Congress shall make no law…” These two principles are opposite sides of the same coin. Constitutionalism: government must be conducted according to constitutional principles Rule of Law: government and its officers are always subject to—never above—the law Ex: amendments, such as the first begin Congress shall make no law…stating expressly what Congress can not do

7 Separation of Powers power of the National Government is distributed among Congress (legislative), the President (executive) and the courts (judicial) Example: “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America…” This was designed to limit the powers of the government—to prevent a tyranny from forming. Madison wrote in Federalist No. 47: “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many…may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”

8 Checks and Balances ties the three branches together
each branch has powers that allow it to check or restrain the other branches makes compromise necessary Example: “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…” Direct clashes between the branches rarely occur. The system works more smoothly when the President and the majority of Congress are from the same party. This was usually the case until about 50 years ago. Since then, we have often had divided government.


10 Judicial Review the power of the courts to determine if what government does matches the Constitution Example: Hamilton wrote, “independent judges” would be an “essential safeguard against the effects of occasional ill humors in society” It is the power to declare an act of Congress unconstitutional Held by all federal courts and most state courts This is not expressly stated in the Constitution, but we think the Framers intended it Hamilton stated this in Federalist No. 78

11 Federalism powers belong to both the National government and the state governments Example: “No state shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance or Confederation…” Federalism: the division of power among a central government and several regional governments

12 Individual Rights individual rights and freedoms are protected
Example: Bill of Rights

13 Amending the Constitution
Article 5

14 amendment Vocabulary Builder Page 72:
What smaller word, related to sewing, do you find here (mend). How does this apply to the Constitution?

15 Amendment Process Amendments allow for the Constitution to change and adapt to changing societies. Article 5 of the Constitution lays out the amendment process. Amendments may deal with any topic except that no state can lose equal representation in the Senate. The Amending process illustrates federalism because it involves both national and state-by state governments.

16 Proposing Amendments (2 Ways)
2/3 vote of each house of Congress many proposals are introduced each year common way a constitutional convention called by Congress on request by 2/3 of the states (today that is 34) controversial because a convention is not limited to looking at a specific amendment never been used

17 Ratifying Amendments (2 Ways)
¾ of state legislatures to ratify or approve it (today that is 38 states) Each state can call a special ratifying convention and ¾ of these conventions approve the amendment. only used 1 time (1933) gives people a voice in amendment process because they vote for delegates CONGRESS DECISIONS Congress decides which ratification method will be used. Congress also decides how much time the states will have to ratify the amendment. In recent times, the limit has been set to 7 years.

18 This process symbolizes federalism—amendments are proposed by the National government and approved by the state governments. It also symbolizes popular sovereignty, since the people have to approve the changes.

19 Amendment Process

20 General Info about the amendments, from the textbook:
Since 1789, nearly 15,000 have been proposed 33 have been sent to the States 27 have been ratified Rejected: An additional one offered with the Bill of Rights in 1789 (dealing with distribution of seats in House) One that became the 27th in 1992 1810—voided citizenship of anyone accepting any foreign title or other honor 1861—prohibited forever any amendment relating to slavery 1924—empower Congress to regulate child labor 1972—ERA (equal rights for women)—three states short of ratification 1978—give the District of Columbia seats in COngress

21 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS Why did the framers make the constitution difficult to amend? What evidence of this do you see in the amendment process? Do you think the founders were correct in allowing the constitution to be amended? Why or Why Not?

22 Proposing an Amendment
Select an issue you believe the Constitution needs to address today. Propose an amendment and write it in formal terms. Explain why it is needed and how the nation will benefit. Anticipate the opposition it will face and give the arguments you will use to reply to this opposition.

23 The Bill of Rights Amendments 1-10
Added less than 3 years after the Constitution became effective (proposed by First Congress in 1789 and ratified in 1791)

24 Constitutional Change by Other Means
Basic Legislation Executive Action Court Decisions Party Practices Bellringer, page 79: Has popular music changed over the past 10 years? Does anyone formally decide what music is going to be popular? How is it decided? By day-to-day preferences and choices of consumers. Much of the change in the Constitution is a result, NOT of the 27 formal amendments, but rather of the day-to-day experiences of the government. Custom

25 Basic Legislation Congress has passed laws to fill out parts of the Constitution Example: Article II ; presidential succession Congress has used many of its powers to define some of the vague parts of the Constitution Example: foreign and interstate commerce Ex: Article 2 only creates the office of the President and the Vice President; acts of Congress have created the departments, agencies and offices now in existence (department of education, homeland security, etc); Presidential succession: Constitution only states the vice-president succeeds the president; the rest is up to Congress and lawmaking powers (25th amendment) 25th Amendment: “Section 1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.” Constitution gives Congress the power to regulate foreign and interstate commerce, but what do these terms mean? Congress passes laws that make that clear

26 H.R. 3630: Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012
H.R. 358: Protect Life Act 112th Congress, 2011–2012 To amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to modify special rules relating to coverage of abortion services under such Act. Sponsor: Rep. Joseph Pitts [R-PA16] Status: Passed House H.R. 3630: Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 112th Congress, 2011–2012 A bill to extend the payroll tax holiday, unemployment compensation, Medicare physician payment, provide for the consideration of the Keystone XL pipeline, and for other purposes. Introduced: Dec 09, 2011 Sponsor: Rep. David “Dave” Camp [R-MI4] Status: Signed by the President S. 3313: Women Veterans and Other Health Care Improvements Act of 2012 112th Congress, 2011–2012 A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to improve the assistance provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs to women veterans, to improve health care furnished by the Department, and for other purposes. Sponsor: Sen. Patty Murray [D-WA] Status: Reported by Committee

27 Executive Action action taken by the President of the United States
Example: making war; executive agreements vs. treaties Ex: Congress has the power to declare war and the president is the commander in chief; President has sent troops in foreign countries, without a formal declaration of war Executive agreements are pacts made by the President with a head of a foreign country vs. a treaty which is a formal agreement with two or more sovereign states; major difference is that the Senate doesn’t need to approve executive agreements


29 Court Decisions the courts interpret and apply the Constitution
Example: Marbury vs. Madison, 1803 Ex: Marbury vs. Madison established the idea of judicial review (the courts can declare a law unconstitutional)

30 UNITED STATES v. ALVAREZ- Argued February 22, 2012—Decided June 28, 2012
The Stolen Valor Act makes it a crime to falsely claim receipt of military decorations or medals and provides an enhanced penalty if the Congressional Medal of Honor is involved. 18 U. S. C. §§704 (b), (c). Respondent pleaded guilty to a charge of falsely claiming that he had received the Medal of Honor, but reserved his right to appeal his claim that the Act is unconstitutional. The Ninth Circuit reversed, finding the Act invalid under the First Amendment. Held: The judgment is affirmed. FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION et al. v. FOX TELEVISION STATIONS, INC., et al.-Argued January 10, 2012—Decided June 21, 2012 Title 18 U. S. C. §1464 bans the broadcast of “any obscene, indecent, or profane language.” The Federal Communications Commission (Commission) began enforcing §1464 in the 1970’s… It was against this regulatory background that the three incidents at issue took place. Two concern isolated utterances of obscene words during two live broadcasts aired by respondent Fox Television Stations, Inc. The third occurred during an episode of a television show broadcast by respondent ABC Television Network, when the nude buttocks of an adult female character were shown for approximately seven seconds and the side of her breast for a moment. .. On remand, the Second Circuit found the policy unconstitutionally vague and invalidated it in its entirety. In the ABC case, the Commission found the display actionably indecent, and imposed a $27,500 forfeiture on each of the 45 ABC-affiliated stations that aired the episode. The Second Circuit vacated the order in light of its Fox decision.

31 Party Practices Constitution makes no mention of political parties
Example: nominating conventions Most of the framers were opposed to the growth of political parties. George Washington warned against them in his farewell address. The Constitution nor any law makes mention of the nomination of candidates for the presidency, but from the 1830’s on, the major parties have done this. Congress is organized based on party; President makes appointments considering party


33 Custom unwritten custom can be as strong as written law
Example: Cabinet; Presidential succession; Presidential term limits The heads of the 15 executive departments make up the Cabinet, not because the Constitution says so, but because of custom. Each of the 8 times the president died in office, the VP stepped into that role. Not until the 25th amendment was passed was that the written law. Prior to that, the Constitution only specified that the powers and duties of the president should be assumed by the VP. No Third Term was observed until FDR—immediately following, a Constitutional amendment was passed


35 General Provisions Article 6

36 the Constitution is the “supreme law of the land”
all debts and treaties in existence prior to the Constitution will be valid the Constitution is the “supreme law of the land” any state laws that contradict the Constitution will be invalid all Federal and state officials must swear an oath that they promise to uphold and support the Constitution, but no religious test can even be a condition of employment

37 Why do you think the writers of the Constitution insisted that there be no religious test given as a condition of any public employee’s getting a job? How does the philosophy expressed in the second paragraph of Article 6 differ from the philosophy of the old Articles of Confederation? The answer is one of the key reasons the Articles did not work.

38 Ratification Article 7

39 conventions in 9 of the states had to approve
The Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787 by the unanimous consent of the 12 states present. *Conventions were called, rather than the state legislatures, because the founding fathers believed these conventions would be more likely to approve.

40 Federalism Chapter 4-Section 1

41 Think about the following questions…
What decisions do you believe your parents should make for you? What decisions should you be able to make for yourself? What decisions should be made cooperatively? Have students brainstorm and then fill in on a chart on the board. Debriefing questions: Did every student in the class have the same perspective about who might make certain decisions? Have you and your parents or guardians ever had a conflict over who gets to make certain decisions? Why is it important that some decisions are made exclusively by parents or guardians? *The division of power between teenagers and parents is similar to the division of power between the states and the federal government. This is federalim.

42 What is federalism? system of government where a written constitution divides power between a central or national government and several regional governments (states) California Ohio This system provides for a division of powers between the National government and the State governments. Strength: allows for local action in local matters and national action in matters of wider concern; it allows for states to handle their own business and keep their own customs, while still enjoying the protection and strength of being a part of a larger union. Texas

43 Disaster Relief Who’s job was it to clean up New Orleans and the rest of the coast after Katrina?

44 No Child Left Behind Should the national gov’t step in to regulate school performance?

45 Types of Powers expressed implied inherent denied reserved exclusive

46 B. powers that levels of government can not do
A. delegated to the National Government; directly stated in the Constitution B. powers that levels of government can not do C. powers the Constitution does not grant to the National Govenrment and does not, at the same time, deny to the States D. powers that both the National Government and the States have E. powers exercised by the National Government alone G. not expressly stated in the Constitution, but reasonably suggested; required to carry out the powers expressly defined in the Constitution F. belong to the National government, because it is the national government of a sovereign state

47 expressed implied inherent denied reserved exclusive concurrent
A. delegated to the National Government; directly stated in the Constitution G. not expressly stated in the Constitution, but reasonably suggested; required to carry out the powers expressly defined in the Constitution F. belong to the National government, because it is the national government of a sovereign state B. powers that levels of government can not do C. powers the Constitution does not grant to the National Govenrment and does not, at the same time, deny to the States E. powers exercised by the National Government alone Examples: expressed: Congress has the power to lay and collect taxes; coin money President has the power to act as commander in chief of the armed forces implied: power to draft people, since Congress can raise and army; building of the 42,000-mile-interstate highway system inherent: (few of these) power to regulate immigration; acquire territory denied: prohibit freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly; power to create a public school system for the nation reserved: states can require doctors, lawyers, hairdressers to be licensed in their state; states can establish public schools; states can forbid persons under 18 to marry without parental consent exclusive: coin money; make treaties with foreign states; regulate interstate commerce concurrent: power to collect taxes; define crimes and punish them D. powers that both the National Government and the States have

48 Who has that power? National, State or Both?

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