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213 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
When was the Constitution written?
May to Sept. 1787
Who wrote it?
Gouverneur Morris in final form, but contained ideas from many attendees of the Constitutional Convention. (Washington, Madison, Franklin, Hamilton)
How many delegates were at the Constitutional Convention?
55 from 12 of the 13 states.
Which state was without a delegate?
Rhode Island
How many delegates signed the Constitution?
When was it adopted?
July 2, 1788
When did it take effect?
March 4, 1789
How many states had to ratify it before it was adopted?
9 out of the 13 (3/4ths)
By what date had 9 states ratified it?
June 21, 1788
What is the Preamble to the Constitution?
Introduction listing 6 reasons for writing it.
What are the first 3 reasons listed in the Preamble?
1. To form a more perfect union.
2. To establish justice
3. To insure domestic tranquility
What are the second 3 reasons listed in the Preamble?
4. To provide for the common defense.
5. To promote the general welfare.
6. To secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.
What are the 3 branches of our federal gov't.?
Which article of the Constitution deals with the Legislative Branch?
Article I +
Amendments 16, 17, 20, 27
What is another name for the legislative branch?
How many representatives are in the House of Representatives?
How many people does one representative represent (about)?
About 620,000
Why does each rep. represent so many people?
Congress made a law limiting the # of reps. in 1929 to keep the House from getting too big to operate properly.
What are the qualifications of a representative?
25 years old
citizen of the US for at least 7 years
live in the district of the state he represents
What are the requirements a person must meet to vote?
In most states:
Must be a citizen of the US
18 years old
Must be a citizen of state where he/she lives
Registered to vote
How often is a census taken and why?
Every 10 years on "zero" years
To determine population for taxing and representation purposes
What happens if a rep. vacates his office due to his death or some other reason?
The governor of his state calls a special election.
Who is chairman of the House?
Speaker of the House
Who are some other officers of the House?
Sergeant at arms
How are these officers chosen?
Nominated by a caucus of the majority party in the House and elected by members of the House.
How many senators are there?
100 - 2 from each state
What are the qualifications of a senator?
30 years old
US Citizen for at least 9 years
Citizen of the state he represents
How are senators elected and was it always this way?
By the people in their states.
No, originally, they were chosen by the state's legislature.
When did it change and what changed the way senators were elected?
In 1913, Amendment 17 gave people right to elect their senators.
How long is a senator's term of office?
6 years, but every 2 years 1/3rd of the senators are up for election.
Why was this done?
To always ensure that we have men of experience in the senate.
What happens if a senator vacates his office through death or some other means?
The governor of his state, with permission from the state's legislature, appoints a temporary senator , or calls a special election.
Who is chairman of the Senate?
The Vice-President of the US.
How can the Vice-Pres. be chairman of the Senate?
The Constitution makes this his duty.
Can the Vice -President vote in the Senate?
Not unless there is a tie vote that needs to be broken.
What is the V-P's title when he presides over the Senate?
President of the Senate
Who acts as chairman of the Senate if the V-P is not present?
The president pro tempore of the Senate (President for a time)
Name other officers of the Senate.
Sergeant at arms
How are officers elected in the Senate?
By the senators.
What is an impeachment trial?
A trial to remove a public official from office.
Who does the impeaching?
The House of Reprs. has sole power of impeachment (bringing charges against the official).
Who tries the impeachment case?
The Senate has the sole power of trying impeachment cases.
What is a quorum in the Senate for the purpose of trying impeachments?
2/3rds of the senators
How large a vote is necessary to convict an official in an impeachment trial?
2/3rds of all senators present.
Who may be impeached?
Any public official except a member of either house of Congress.
How is a Congressman removed from office if he cannot be impeached?
He may be expelled by a 2/3rds vote of his house of Congress.
How may an impeached official be punished if found guilty?
Removal from office
Loss of right to ever hold another office of the United States
What if he has committed a criminal offense?
After impeachment, he may be tried in the regular courts.
Who presides over the impeachment trial of a president?
The Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court
When are congressmen elected?
Tuesday after first Monday in November of even-numbered years.
When do congressmen take office?
Jan. 3rd after the November election.
Who judges whether a person elected to Congress is qualified to hold that office?
Each house judges its newly-elected members and may refuse admittance by a majority vote to anyone they deem unqualified.
What is a quorum for business in each house?
A majority of the members
What is the Congressional Record?
A journal kept daily by each house and published.
Is everything made public in the Congressional Record?
No, some matters of national security are kept secret.
Do both houses always meet at the same time?
Yes. The Constitution requires them to meet at the same time and place and neither house may adjourn for more than 3 days without the consent of the other.
How often must Congress meet?
At least once a year. They usually hold meetings for aobut 9 mos. of the year.
What is a congressman's salary?
171,500/year for Speaker of House
What is congressional immunity?
It prevents congressmen from being arrested while in or going to congress, except for treason, felony, or breach of the peace. No congressman can be sued for what he says of the floor of either house.
May congressmen hold other offices in the US gov't.?
No. He may not take any new office that has been set up, nor one that has had an increase in salary during his term of office.
What is a propose law?
A bill
How does a bill become a law?
1.Pass both houses of congress by a majority vote
2. Be signed by the president
Define veto.
The president's power to refuse to sign a bill. He may send it back to the house where it originated with his objections.
Explain what happens when the President vetoes a bill and how is a veto overridden?
1. Returns to house where originated
2. Must receive 2/3rds vote in each house to become a law without President's signature
How is a veto sustained?
If a vetoed bill fails to receive 2/3rds vote in each house, the president's veto is sustained.
What is a pocket veto?
If a president neither signs nor vetoes a bill, it becomes law without his signature in 10 days (not counting Sundays) unless Congress adjourns within that time.
Which bills originate in which houses of Congress?
Tax bills - House of Representatives
All other bills - either house
May either house amend a bill of the other?
Yes, but it must be returned to the house where it originated and that house may decide to agree to the amendments or make more amendments of its own.
Does the President have to see resolutions passed by Congress, as well as bills?
Yes. Exceptions are 1)a resolution to adjourn, 2) a nonlegislative resolution, or 3)a joint resolution for proposing an amendment to the Constitution.
Why is it imperative that the President see resolutions made by Congress?
To keep from being bypassed by a law that Congress has called a resolution.
How are resolutions passed?
Same way as bills are passed.
Name the expressed powers of Congress.
to tax
to borrow money
to regulate commerce
to make naturalization and bankruptcy laws
to coin money
to fix the standard of weights and measures
to punish counterfeiters
to establish post offices and post roads
to make copyright and patent laws
to establish federal courts
to punish crimes at sea
to declare war
to raise and support armed forces
to organize and regulate states' militias
to control DC and all US gov't. property in the states
What does "implied powers" mean?
The power given by the "elastic clause," which says that Congress may pass any law needed to see that its powers are carried out.
What powers are forbidden to Congress?
to take away writs of habeas corpus
to pass ex post facto laws or bills of attainder
to tax exports
to give advantages to ports of any state
to tax goods shipped by water to or from a state
to withdraw money from the Treasury without an act of Congress
to fail to account for and make public all money received and spent
to grant titles of nobility
What powers are forbidden to the states?
to make treaties, alliances or confederations
to grant letters of marque and reprisal
to coin or print money
to back money with anything other than gold and silver
to pass bills of attainder, ex post facto laws, or laws destroying the obligation of contracts
without Congress' consent, grant titles of nobility, tax imports or exports, except to pay inspection fees, tax tonnage, keep troops or warships in peacetime, make treaties or compacts with other states or foreign countries, or fight a war except when attacked
Which parts of the Constitution deal with the Executive Branch?
Article II; Amendments 12, 20, 22, 23, 25
What is the Executive Branch?
The President, Vice-President, and the President's Cabinet, and all other departments under the President.
What is the President's main function?
To see that US laws are enforced.
Who elects the President and Vice-President?
The Electoral College.
What is an elector?
A person elected by the people of a state to cast a vote for President and Vice-President.
How do electors vote?
They meet in their state capitals, cast a vote for a presidential and v-p candidate by name, make a list of the number of votes cast for each candidate for each office, sign, seal, and certify them ballots, and send them to the president of the Senate in D.C.
How are the electoral votes counted?
In the presence of both houses of Congress.
How many electors are there?
One for each senator and each representative from each state, plus three in the District of Columbia - 538 total.
How are a President and Vice-President elected?
The presidential and v-p candidates who receive a majority of the electoral votes cast for each office are elected.
What if no presidential candidate has a majority?
The House of Representatives elects a President from the 3 candidates with the most votes for that office. A quorum in the House for this purpose is 1 or more members from 2/3rds of the states. The vote is taken by state ballot and each state has one vote. A majority of the states is necessary to elect a President.
What if no vice-presidential candidate gets a majority of electoral votes?
The Senate elects a v-p from the 2 candidates with the most electoral votes for that office. A quorum in the Senate for this purpose is 2/3rds of the senators. Each senator has one vote, and a majority vote is needed to elect a v-p.
When are electors elected?
The Tuesday after the first Monday in November of every 4th year.
When do electors vote?
The Monday after the 2nd Wednesday in December following the election.
When does Congress count the electoral votes?
Jan. 6th following the election, unless that day is a Sunday, in which case it is the next day.
How many terms may a president serve?
Two, unless he has served or acted as Pres. for more than half a term to which someone else was elected.. In that case, he may serve only one more term. He may serve two more full terms if he has served or acted as Pres. for less than half a term to which someone else was elected.
What qualifications must a person meet to become President?
Natural-born citizen
35 or more years old
Live in the US for at least 14 years
What is the line of presidential succession?
Speaker of the House
President pro tempore of Senate
Pres.'s Cabinet in order of est. of their offices (not including Secretaries of Health and Human Srvs., Sec'y housing and Urban Dev., Sec'y of Transportation)
What is the President paid?
$200,000/year + $169,000 expense allowances
What does the V-P receive?
$171,500/year + $10,000 expense allowances
what is the inauguration of the president?
The ceremony in which the President-elect accepts the office by taking the presidential oath.
What is the President's oath of office?
"I do solemnly swear 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."
What happens if neither the President-elect nor the v-p elect can qualify for office?
Congress may direct, by law, who shall act as President, or the manner in which an acting President may be chosen. The Acting President shall serve until a qualified president or v-p is elected.
What happens when the House must elect and President, and one or more of the presidential candidates from among the 3 with the most electoral votes dies?
Congress may provide for these cases by law. It has not done so yet.
What happens when the Senate must elect a V-P, and either or both of the candidates with the highest number of electoral votes dies?
Congress may provide for these cases by law. It has not done so yet.
What are some of the powers and duties of the President?
To be Commander in Chief of the armed forces.
To require written reports from the heads of the executive departments
To grant reprieves and pardons except for impeachment cases
To make treaties with the consent of 2/3rds of the Senate
To appt. ambassadors, public ministers, consuls, Supreme Ct.judges, other US officers
to make temp. appts.
State of the Union message to Congress each session
to convene either or both houses of Congress on extraordinary occasions
to adjourn Congress, if houses of Congress cannot agree on a date to adjourn
to receive ambassadors and other public ministers
to see that our laws are faithfully executed
to commission all officers of the US
How much are Cabinet members paid?
What are the Cabinet officers?
1. Sec'y of State
2.Sec'y of Treasury
3. Defense
4. Att'y. General
5. Interior
7. Commerce
8. Labor
9.Health & Human Services
10. Housing & Urban Development
11. Transportation
12. Energy
13. Education
14. Veterans' Affairs
Which parts of the Constitution deal with the Judicial Branch?
Article III; Amendment 11
What is the Judicial Branch?
Supreme Court + all other federal courts
How are federal courts setup?
Constitution est. Supreme Court;
Congress est. all those under the Supreme Ct. (inferior cts.)
What is the main function of the federal courts?
To interpret the laws of the US
What kinds of federal courts are there?
Regular and special federal courts
What are regular federal courts?
federal courts that hear and try criminal, civil, and equity cases.
What are special federal courts?
Federal courts that hear and judge civil and equity cases of certain specific types.
What are the 3 regular federal courts?
The Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the District Courts
What are the 7 special federal courts?
1. court of Federal Claims
2. Court of Appeals for the Fed. Circuit
3. Court of Int'l. Trade
4. Tax Court
5. Court of Veterans' Appeals
6. Court of Appeals of the Armed Forces
7. Territorial District Courts
How long do federal judges serve?
For life, 10, or 15 years, depending on the court served.
What is meant by the "jurisdiction of a court?"
The power of a court to hear and try certain kinds of cases.
Over what kinds of cases do the federal courts have jurisdiction?
All cases re: the Constitution and the laws and treaties of the US.
All cases re: ambassadors, public ministers, and consuls
all cases re: crimes at sea
all cases re: controversies to which the US is a party
all cases re: controversies between 2 or more states, between citizens of different states, and between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states
What is meant by "original jurisdiction?"
The power of a court to try certain cases first.
What is meant by appellate jurisdiction?
The power of a court to retry a case already tried in a lower court.
Does the Supreme Court have both original and appellate jurisdiction?
Over what kinds of cases does the Supreme Court have original jurisdiction?
Cases affecting ambassadors, public ministers, consuls, and cases re: disputes between states.
Over what kinds of cases does the Supreme Court have appellate jurisdiction?
All other cases mentioned in the Constitution.
What are the judges of the Supreme Court called?
How many are there:
9 - one Chief Justice and 8 Associate Justices
Are Supreme Court Justices paid for their services?
Chief Justice - $171,500/year
Associate justices - $164,100/year
Can the salaries of the justices be lowered while they are in office?
What are the salaries of other federal judges?
Us. District Courts, Court of Federal Claims, Tax Court , Court of Vet's Appeals - $133,600
What is treason?
Making war against the US or helping the enemies of the US.
What is necessary to convict a person of treason?
Testimony of two eyewitnesses who saw the accused person commit an open act of treason or a confession to the act by the accused.
How is a traitor punished?
Usually by death or imprisonment, but a convicted traitor's family cannot be made to suffer for his crime, nor can his property be confiscated , except during his lifetime.
Do states recognize the laws, records, and court decisions of other states?
Yes, but only in matters re: civil law. No state tries to enforce the criminal laws of another state unless they happen to be the same in that state.
Do citizens of one state have the same rights and protections in all other states?
Yes, but they may not vote in another state unless they first become a citizen of that state.
What is extradition?
The return of a fugitive from justice from one state, by the governor of that state, to the state from which he escaped, at the request of the governor of that state.
Who admits new states to the Union?
Coungress, but no new state may be made by dividing a state, or by combining or taking parts of two or more states, without the consent of Congress and the states' legislatures.
Who controls and makes rules for all US territories and other gov't.-owned property?
What 3 guarantees are made to the states by Congress?
1. A republican for of government
2. protection against invasion
3. protection against riots and mob action, when requested
How may an amendment to the Constitution be proposed?
By a 2/3rds vote of both houses of Congress, or by a convention called by Congress at the request of 2/3rds of the states' legislatures.
How may a proposed amendment be ratified?
By 3/4ths of the states' legislatures or by special constitutional conventions held in 3/4ths of the states.
What amendment cannot be proposed?
An amendment to take away any state's right to equal representation in the Senate, without that state's consent.
If a state constitution or state law conflicts with the US Constitution, or a US law or treaty, which does away with the other?
The US Constitution and US laws and treaties must be obeyed over any state constitution or law.
How do the laws of the US rank in this respect?
1. US Constitution (supreme law of the land)
2. US laws and treaties
3. state constitutions
4. state laws
5. local laws
Which is higher - US laws or treaties?
Neither. Whichever is more recent applies.
What are all the officers of the US gov't and of the states' governments required to do?
Take an oath of office to support the US Constitution.
What is the Bill of Rights?
the first 10 amendments to the Constitution
When was it ratified
December 15, 1791
Why was it written?
The people of the US wanted their personal rights written into the Constitution.
What 5 freedoms are guaranteed by Amendment I?
Freedom of Religion
Why are people given the right to bear arms?
So the states may have well-trained militias.
May Congress order soldiers to be quartered in private homes?
Not in peacetime, and only by law in wartime.
What is a warrant?
A court order allowing a person to be arrested or searched; or allowing his property to be searched or seized, and where the search or seizure is to take place.
What protections does a person accused of a crime have?
1. He must be indicted by a grand jury
2. He cannot be placed in double jeopardy
3. Cannot be made to testify against himself
4. may not be executed, imprisoned, or fined except by due process of law
What is "double jeopardy?"
If a person has been tried and found innocent, he cannot be tried again for the same crime.
What is "due process of law?"
Fair court actions based upon fair laws
May the US gov't. take private property for public use? (eminent domain)
Yes, but only if they pay a fair price for it.
What rights does a person accused of a crime have?
1. The right to a public trial ASAP
2. An impartial jury
3. To hear charges made against him
4. To hear witnesses against him.
5. To call witnesses for his defense
6. To the services of a lawyer
May a person involved in a civil suit have a jury trial?
Yes, if the amount disputed is more than $20.00.
May a person be required to pay unreasonably high bail or fines?
What types of punishment may not be used against persons convicted of a crime?
Cruel or unusual punishments, such as torture or branding
Are all the rights of the people listed in the Constitution?
No, they are too numerous to list.
What is meant by the "reserved" powers of the states?
Any powers not exclusive powers of Congress, nor specifically denied to the states are powers reserved for the states.
What 2 types of cases that were nce under the jurisdiction of the federal courts are denied to the federal courts by Amendment 11?
The right to try cases involving a dispute between a state and citizens of that state; and disputes between a state and a foreign country, or citizens or subjects of a foreign country.
Where are these cases tried?
In the state courts
Amendment 13 ended what terrible wrong?
Are all persons born or naturalized in the US citizens of the US and of the state in which they live?
Yes (US citizenship)
Yes/maybe (state citizenship-depending on how long they have lived there. States have different residency requirements.)
May a state take away life, liberty, or porperty without due process of law?
May a person be denied the right to vote because of his color or race?
What direct tax is provided for by Amendment 16
The federal income tax
What is the income tax?
A tax on earnings, the more earned, the greater the percentage of the earnings collected by the tax.
What was national prohibition?
Amendment 18 made it illegal to manufacture, sell, or transport intoxicating liquors.
How long did prohibition last?
What ended national prohibition?
Amendment 21 repealed Amendment 18
May states have prohibition?
Do any states have prohibition?
No, but some counties are "dry"
What gave women the right to vote (suffrage) and when?
Amendment 19
Have the people of D.C. always voted in the presidential election? Why/why not?
No, because it is not a state and has not representatives or senators, so it was not entitled to any electors until the Constitution was amended in 1961.
What is a poll tax?
A voting tax collected to pay the cost of holding an election, and in some cases, to prevent certain citizens, who cannot afford to pay, from voting. (discrimination)
May a state have a poll tax?
No, not in federal elections
What happens when a vacancy occurs in the office of Vice-President?
The President nominates a Vice-President who must be confirmed by a majority vote of both houses of Congress.
What if the President is unable to carry out the powers and duties of his office?
The President can be replaced by an acting president through action taken by himself or others. ("24 Episode)
How may the president ask to be replaced by an acting president:
The President informs the president pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House in writing that he is unable to carry out the powers and duties of his office. The Vice-President then becomes Acting President.
How long does the Vice-President remain as Acting President?
Until the President informs the same officers of Congress, in writing, that he is able to reuturn and fulfill his office.
What "others" may have the president replaced by an acting president?
The Vice-President and a majority of the President's Cabinet (or some other group Congress may decide upon by law) can inform the same officers of Congress, in writing, that the President is unable to fulfill his office. The Vice-President becomes Acting President if this is done.
How does the President resume his office when he is able?
The President informs the same officers of Congress, in writing that he is able to resume office. Which he does, unless, within four days, the Vice-President and a majority of the President's Cabiet (or some other group Congress may decide upon by law) inform the same officers of Congress, in writing that the President is unable to fulfill his office.
What happens then?
Congress decides whther or not the President is capable.
How large a vote does it take to decide that the President is incapable of fulfilling his office?
2/3rds vote of both houses
What if Congress is not in session?
Congress must assemblwe within 48 hours.
How long does Congress have to decide?
21 days or, if not in session, 21 days after coming to session.
What are some reasons the President would be unable to carry out the powers and duties of his office?
A wound from an attempted assassination, prolonged physical illness, or mental disability.
What age requirement for voting does Amendment 26 set?
18 years of age before the November election
Amendment 11
Suits against the States
Amendment 12
Electing the President and Vice-President
Amendment 13
Ends Slavery
Amendment 14
Citizens' Rights
Amendment 15
Voting Rights of African Americans
Amendment 16
Income Tax
Amendment 17
Election of Senators
Amendment 18
Amendment 19
Women's Suffrage
Amendment 20
Executive and Legislative Terms of Office
Amendment 21
Repeal of Prohibition
Amendment 22
President's Term restricted to 2 terms
Amendment 23
D.C. Given Right to Vote in Presidential Elections
Amendment 24
Poll Tax Prohibited
Amendment 25
Presidential Succession
(Plot on "24")
Amendment 26
Voting Age Lowered to 18
Amendment 27
Laws Changing Congressional Compensation
Congressmen cannot vote themselves raises while serving their term of office.
Define "Bill of Attainder"
A law that punishes a single individual and denies him the right to a trial
Writ of habeas corpus
Legal paper stating the right of a jailed person to be released if proper charges cannot be brought against him
Payment for service
What does Article IV of the Constitution deal with?
Directions for the States
State Laws, records, court decisions
Article V
Amending the Constitution
Article VI
Ranking US Federal, State, Local Laws in order of authority
Article VII
Ratification of the Constitution
What checks and balances does the President have over Congress and the Supreme Court?
He may veto bills of Congress
May call special sessions of Congress
May adjourn Congress if the House and Senate cannot agree on a date to adjourn
May withhold information from Congress (Executive Privilege)
Appoints Supreme Court Justices
What checks and balances does Congress have over the President and the Supreme Court?
May propose amendments to the Constitution that affect the offices of President and Supreme Court
May impeach and try the President or Supreme Ct. Justices
May override the President's veto by 2/3rds vote of each house
Controls all spending of money in the US gov't.
senate may refuse to give its consent to an appt. to the Supreme Court
Senate may refuse to give its consent to any other appointments made by the President
What checks and balances does the Supreme Court have over the Congress and the President?
1.May declare laws passed by Congress and signed by the President unconstitutional
2. May bring suits or issue court orders against public officers