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Chapter Six Powers of Congress. Super Congress? No! The government in the United States is a limited government. The American system of government is.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter Six Powers of Congress. Super Congress? No! The government in the United States is a limited government. The American system of government is."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter Six Powers of Congress

2 Super Congress? No! The government in the United States is a limited government. The American system of government is federal in form. –Both of these points work to shape and limit the powers of Congress.

3 Congressional Powers Congress has some things it can’t do: –Cannot: create a national public school system, require that all persons attend church, set a minimum age for a driver’s license, etc. Congress has only those powers delegated to it, and not specifically denied to it by the Constitution.

4 Types of Congressional Powers Three kinds of Congressional Powers: –Expressed Powers –Implied Powers –Inherent Powers

5 Strict vs. Liberal Construction ( Ways to interpret the Constitution) Strict Construction –Led by Thomas Jefferson and the Anti-Federalists. –Congress should be able to exercise only its expressed powers and those implied powers necessary to carry out the expressed powers. Don’t like implied powers Literal interpretation of Constitution –Government is best, which governs least. Liberal Construction –Led by Alexander Hamilton and the Federalists. –They wanted the Federal Government to have more power. –They read the Constitution with a broad interpretation, giving Congress many additional implied powers. –They won the war.

6 Expressed Powers Found in Article One, Section Eight of the Constitution

7 Some Expressed Powers are: Power to Tax Power to Borrow The Commerce Power The Currency Power Bankruptcy Foreign Relations and War Powers Additional Powers: Naturalization Postal Power Copyrights and Patents Weights and Measurers Power over Territories and Other Areas Judicial Powers

8 Power to Tax Congress has the power to tax in order to meet public needs, protect domestic industry, or protect public health and safety.

9 Limitations on the power to tax: Congress can tax only for public purposes, not for private benefit. Congress may not tax exports. –They can tax imports. Direct taxes must be divided among the States according to their populations. All indirect taxes must be levied at the same rate in all parts of the country.

10 Congress’ Power to Tax Constitutional Limitations –Public purposes only. –No tax on exports. –Direct Taxes must be done by population. –Indirect Taxes must be levied at same rate all over. Implied Limitation –Fed gov’t can’t tax state –State can’t tax Fed Gov’t –Non governmental activities of State and local governments can be taxed.

11 Direct vs. Indirect Tax Direct Taxes –Must be paid by the person on whom it is imposed. –Income tax is an example of this 16 th amendment The congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, without apportionment among the States, or regard to the census. Indirect Taxes –Is one first paid by one person and then passed on to another. –It is indirectly paid by the second person. Tobacco tax Cigarette companies pay a tax to the treasury and then the company passes that tax to the person purchasing the cigarettes.

12 Current Federal Taxes Income Tax – Flexible, levied to both individuals and corporations. Excise Taxes – On manufacture, sale, or consumption of goods/services. Estate and Gift Taxes – On estate of one who dies. Gift tax prevents someone from avoiding this tax by giving all away before death. Custom Duties – On goods brought into country from abroad. Now only 2% on government revenues.

13 The Power to Borrow Congress may borrow to finance its business. –There is no constitutional limit on how much Congress can borrow. The Federal Government spends more than it collects. They need to borrow –As of present day – the debt/deficit is 9.2 TRILLION DOLLARS –http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/

14 The Commerce Power Congress can regulate interstate and foreign trade. Gibbons vs. Ogden, 1824 –Supreme Court ruled that the power to regulate commerce included all commercial intercourse between States and nations. This power implies many others, but it still limited.

15 The Currency Power Congress has the power to issue money and regulate its value. –The States cannot do this!!!! Most forms put out were coins. In 1871, the Supreme Court held that paper money was legal tender. –Legal tender is any kind of money that a creditor must by law accept in payment for debts.

16 Bankruptcy Congress has the power to establish uniform bankruptcy laws. –If you are bankrupt, the court has found that you are unable to pay your debts. Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding where the bankrupt’s assets are divided up among whom they owe. The power to regulate bankruptcy is concurrent. –States and the National Gov’t can make laws. –Most bankrupt cases are heard by federal courts as opposed to State courts.

17 Foreign Relations and War Powers Foreign Relations –They have powers from expressed powers (war powers, power to regulate commerce) and because the U.S. is a sovereign state in the world community. –Congress makes laws for the U.S. and thus can act of matters affecting the security of the nation. War powers –Congress can declare war. –Can raise and support armies. Organize, arm, and discipline it too. –Can provide and maintain a navy. –Congress can restrict the use of American forces in combat in areas where a state of war doesn’t exist.

18 Naturalization and Postal Power Naturalization is the process how citizens of one country become citizens of another. –Congress can establish uniform rules of how to do this. Congress can establish post offices and post roads. –They make sure everyone gets their mail and nothing “bad” goes through the mail.

19 Copyrights and Patents A copyright is the exclusive right of an author to reproduce, publish, and sell their work. These are registered by the Copyright office in the Library of Congress. These contracts are good for the life of the author plus fifty years. A patent grants a person the sole right to manufacture a product. A patent is good seventeen years the year of the invention. A patent can only be extended by a special act of Congress. The Patent and Trademark Office in the Dept. of Commerce administers patent laws.

20 Power over Territories and Other Areas Congress can acquire, manage, and dispose of various federal areas. –District of Columbia, Guam, Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico are a few examples. –Also: post offices, naval bases, parks, etc. Eminent Domain –The inherent power to take private property for public use. Also, any sovereign state may acquire unclaimed territory by discovery.

21 Judicial Powers In order to maintain the system of “checks and balances,” Congress does have some judicial powers. They can: –Create all the federal courts below the Supreme Court to provide for organization and composition of the federal judiciary. –Define federal crimes and provide for the punishment of those who violate federal law.

22 The Implied Powers Chapter Eleven, Section Three

23 Necessary and Proper Clause Is the source of Congress’ implied powers. The clause states that Congress has the power “to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing [expressed] powers.” AKA: “Elastic Clause” –It is also called this because it has allowed Congress to stretch it’s powers.

24 Interpreting the N & P Clause In 1790 Alexander Hamilton, Sec. Of Treasury, proposed a National Bank. –Opposition said: Congress doesn’t have that power! –Supporters said: It is a N & P power! It is necessary and proper to the execution of taxes, borrowing, commerce and currency power. Congress established a National Bank in 1791, it was supposed to expire in 1811.

25 Another Bank?!? 1816, Congress made a 2 nd Natl. Bank Opponents tried new things… –1818, Maryland put a tax on notes issued by any bank doing business in the state, but not chartered by the state legislation. This tax was aimed directly at the Second Bank Branch in Baltimore. –James McCulloch, a cashier, issued notes on which no tax had been paid. I smell trouble!!!!!

26 Off to the Courts! McCulloch v. Maryland, 1819 Maryland state took McCulloch to state court for his actions and won. The U.S. than decided to act on behalf on McCulloch and take the case to the Supreme Court. The argument: –Maryland – The bank is unconstitutional –U.S. – The bank is from implied powers Supreme Court reversed Maryland Court, and thus approved implied powers.

27 Meaning of Implied Powers, cont. As of today… “Necessary and Proper” generally is interpreted as convenient and useful. This will remain true, as long as the implied powers have their basis in the expressed powers.

28 Non-legislative Powers: Constitutional Amendments Congress has the power to propose amendments to the Constitution by a 2/3 vote in each house. Congress may call a national convention to propose an amendment. –If 2/3 of the State legislatures call for it. Has not been done as of yet!

29 Non-legislative Powers: Electoral Duties The House may be called on to elect a President if no candidate receives a majority of electoral votes. –They choose from the top 3 candidates Under the same circumstances, the Senate may be called on to elect a Vice President. 25 th Amendment – filling vacancy in VP –President nominates the successor, needs a majority vote in both houses of Congress.

30 Non-legislative Powers: Impeachment The House has sole power to vote articles of impeachment, or removal, of the President, Vice President, and all other civil officers of the United States. –Determined by crimes of treason, bribery, misdemeanors, and other high crimes. The Senate has sole power to conduct a trial of those impeached by the House.

31 Impeachment, continued. House may impeach by majority vote. 2/3 of the Senators present at the trial are needed for a conviction. Chief Justice must preside over the Senate when the President is tried. Penalty for conviction is removal. –House impeached Andrew Johnson, 1868; Senate failed to convict by one vote. –House impeached Bill Clinton Dec. 19, 1998; Senate acquitted February 12, –Richard Nixon resigned facing certain impeachment.

32 Executive Powers The Senate must confirm all major appointments made by the President. –Cabinet members, Supreme Court Justices The Senate must confirm all treaties made by the President. –The President does not have the final say here, example of checks and balances.


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