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Flashcards in Constitution Deck (69):

How is the Constitution amended? What is ratification?

-It is proposed by both houses. It is passed with a 2/3 vote in both houses; then moves to state for ratification 3/4 vote
-Ratified: To make something official by voting or signing


How many amendments does the Constitution have?



Bill of Rights? What was its purpose?

first 10 amendments of the constitution
Needed for the constitution to be ratified
Guarantee the individual rights of citizens under the constitution
(list of all rights on study guide)


1st Amendment

Freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly


2nd Amendment

Right to bear arms, well regulated militia


3rd Amendment

No soldier shall in peacetime be quartered in any house without consent of owner


4th amendment

Prohibition against unreasonable search and seizures


warrant, probable cause

-a document issued by a legal or government official authorizing the police or some other body to make an arrest, search premises, or carry out some other action relating to the administration of justice
-Reasonable cause for issuing a search warrant or making an arrest, more than mere suspicion


5th amendment

-No person shall be held to answer for a capital or infamous crime, unless of indictment of grand jury. (except for cases in land/naval forces, militia, time of war or public danger).
-No person shall be subject to same offense twice.
-No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.
-No person shall be denied life, liberty, property, without due process of law.
-No property shall be taken for public use without just compensation.


self-incrimination, eminent domain

-the act of exposing oneself (generally, by making a statement) to an accusation or charge of crime; to involve oneself or another [person] in a criminal prosecution
-the right of a government or its agent to take away private property for public use, with payment of compensation


grand jury, indictment

-legal body that is empowered to conduct official proceedings to investigate potential criminal conduct and to determine whether criminal charges should be brought
-a formal charge or accusation of a serious crime


double jeopardy

is a procedural defence that forbids a defendant from being tried again on the same (or similar) charges following a legitimate acquittal or conviction


6th amendment

-Accused shall have right to speedy public trial, by an impartial jury of the state where the crime was committed.
-Person shall be informed of nature of accusation.
-Person shall be confronted with witnesses.
-Person shall have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor.
-Person shall have assistance of counsel for defense.
--a legal body that is empowered to conduct official proceedings to investigate potential criminal conduct and to determine whether criminal charges should be brought.


7th amendment

In suits where the value of controversy exceeds $20, there should be a jury and no fact tried by a jury shall be reexamined in any court
(Right of trial by jury in civil cases)


8th amendment

Excessive bail shall not be required. No excessive fines imposed. No cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.


cruel and unusual punishment

Punishment that is considered unacceptable due to the suffering, pain, or humiliation it inflicts on the person subjected to imprisonment


9th amendment

Unenumerated rights are protected
(states that the list of rights described in the Constitution is not fully inclusive, and that the people still have all the rights that are not listed)


10th amendment

The powers not delegate to the US by the constitution, nor prohibited to it by the states, are reserved to the states or the people


What article was the role of the president created under?

-Article II



Prez controls the army, navy, air force, & marines


Head of State

Prez is a role model to America, look good to other countries, represent us, face of America (ex. entertains foreign leaders with formal dinners, promotes worthy causes, bestows medals on military heroes)


Chief Legislator

Prez recommends laws while advising and guiding the Congress in its lawmaking activities (ex. inviting members of Congress to lunch at White House, signing a bill of Congress, making a speech in Congress to lobby certain bills)


Chief Diplomat

Creates and dictates foreign policy, tells ambassadors what to say, can write & sign treaties (must be approved by the Senate) (ex. traveling to London to meet with British leader, writing a message/letter to leaders of the Soviet Union)


Appointing Supreme Court Justices (who approves them?)

To appoint a supreme court judge, the president first nominates a person to fill the spot and then the senate votes to confirm the nominee. Majority vote wins.


Appointing ambassadors (who approves them?)

They are appointed by the president and approved by a majority vote in senate.



Prez grants pardons for federal offenses (except impeachment)


Signing treaties (who approves them?)

president signs treaties and the senate approves them


Who chooses the President if the Electoral College cannot

House of Reps


Who elects the president?

The Electoral college


requirements to be president

-natural-born citizen, (can be born abroad of parents who are U.S. citizens)
- at least 35 yrs old
-resident of U.S. at least 14yrs (but doesn't have to be 14yrs preceding election)


president’s cabinet and their role

-appointed officers of 15 executive departments of the fed gov
-meets weekly to advise the president on matters relating to their duties in their departments


What article was the role of Congress created under?

Article I


What veto powers does the president have?

-prez can stop legislation from becoming a law


elastic clause/ necessary and proper clause

statement in the U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 8) granting Congress the power to pass all laws necessary and proper for carrying out the enumerated list of powers.


upper house? lower house?

Upper: Senate, The job of upper house is to review legislation and review the honesty of the government
Lower: House of Representatives, makes all the policy & rules that govern the country


How many members are in the House of Representatives? Senate?

-HOR: 435
-senate: 100 (2 per state)


What is the term of office for the House of Representatives? Senate?

HOR: Term is 2 years
Senate: Term is 6 years


How old do you need to be to in the House of Representatives? Senate?

HOR: at least 25 years old
Senate: at least 30 years old


What is the minimum number of House of Representative members each state can have?

Each state must have at least 1 representative


How many senators does each state have?



How many electors in the Electoral College does each state have?

equal to number of reps they have in congress, the senate plus the house of representatives


The Tenth Amendment says that all power not given to Congress goes to whom?

zee states!


Who presides over the House of Representatives? Who presides over the Senate (and when he/she is gone)?

-The speaker of the house leads the house, when gone the deputy speaker leads
--The senate is presided over by the Vice President, When the vice president is gone, the president pro tempore presides over the senate


Where do revenue or money bills begin? What vote number is needed

House or representatives, 3/5 majority


Who impeaches government officials? Who presides over the hearing?

-House or rep impeaches gov officials
-the VP presides over the hearing


What is needed to pass a law? What is needed to override a presidential veto?

-Majority, 3/5 in both houses to pass
-once a bill is signed by the President or
his veto is overridden by both houses it becomes a law and is assigned an official number
-Override a presidential veto: 2/3majority of both houses of Congress is required


What article was the judiciary created under?

Article 3


What does the judiciary do?

-the Supreme Court and other federal courts
-Their job is to explain the laws of this country under the Constitution
-They must decide if laws are constitutional


What is judicial review?

Review by the US Supreme Court to examine an executive or legislative act and to invalidate that act if it is contrary to constitutional principles.


What is the term of office for a Supreme Court justice?

Members serve for life until resign/retire/impeach/die


What is the judiciary's job in impeachments?

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides at the trial


Who appoints a justice if there is a vacancy? Who approves those appointments?

-the president appoints federal judges/exec branch
-the senate approves the president's appointments of federal judges


When was the Constitution written? When was it approved? Who wrote it?

written in 1787, approved in 1788, ratified in 1789
James Madison wrote it


What is the judiciary's original jurisdiction?

Original jurisdiction is the power for a body to hear a case for the first time


New Jersey Plan

-made of 3 branches (legislative, executive, judicial).
-Legislative appoints people to serve in the executive branch
-executive selects justices in the Supreme Court.
-Has 1 legislature, the states are equally represented.
-National Government levies taxes, imports duties, and regulates trade.
-state laws are subordinate to the national legislature laws.
-Proposal to operate a weak government, states would be represented by a vote (equal rep!!), helping the smaller states


Virginia Plan

-3 branches (legislative, executive, judicial). legislative is more powerful because it chooses people to serve in the executive and judicial branches.
-Legislature with 2 Houses (House of Rep’s- elected by people, # of rep’s dependent on state population, Senate- elected by state legislature, 2 senators per state)
-Legislature regulates interstate trade, veto laws deemed unconstitutional and uses armed forces to enforce laws.
-Representation based on population.


Great Compromise

Created 2 Houses: The House of Representatives, which are proportionally represented based on each state’s population and elected by the people, and the US Senate, which consists of two senators per state being appointed by the state legislatures.


What are checks and balances?

-Authority shared by the 3 branches of government.
-Separate institutions that share powers.
-Since each branch shares powers, each can partially check the powers of the other branch’s powers.


What check does the executive branch have on the legislative branch?

power of a veto


What check does the judicial have on the legislative?

Ability to declare something unconstitutional


What check does the legislative branch on the executive?

The use of impeachment power, ability to approve/refuse the appointment of the President to Supreme Court justices, the ability to override a presidential veto with a 2/3 vote, refusal to pass a bill/fund a project/declare war


What check does the Judicial have on the executive?

Ability to declare something unconstitutional


What check does the Executive have on the judicial?

-decides who to persecute
-Can grant pardons and reprieves to change the sentencing
-appointment of justices


How many branches are in the government?

Executive: President, The Cabinet
Judicial: District courts, court of appeals, supreme court
legislative: congress, house of representatives, senate


What check does Legislative have on the judicial?

-proposes amendments to overturn court decisions
-Changing the number and jurisdiction of the lower courts
-by using their power of impeachment to remove a judge from office
-by refusing to approve a person nominated by a judge [Senate only]


separation of powers

Constitutional authority is shared by 3 different branches of government. Different governments control each other, at the same time that each will be controlled by itself.



A system of government where power is divided between central and state governments
power given to: federal, state, and local governments


What is treason? What counts as treason?

the crime of betraying one's country
-by attempting to kill the prez or overthrow the government, aiding enemies


weaknesses to the Articles of Confederation

-Lack of authority to impose taxes
-The lack of power given to the continental congress strangled the federal government.
-articles gave congress the power to pass laws, but no power to enforce those laws.
-Created a weak central government