What is a constitution?
AJ Bennett: “A code of rules laying down both the framework and powers of the government and the relationship between the government and the governed.”
What is a federal state?
One where power is distributed between central government and local institutions.
What is the opposite of a federal state?
A unitary state - where ultimate power lies in one place.
What is the collective name given to the people who wrote the Constitution?
The Founding Fathers, or the Framers
Name three Founding Fathers.
Any three from John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington
How many times has the US Constitution been amended?
What are the first ten amendments to the Constitution collectively known as?
The Bill of Rights.
What to strict constructionists believe?
That the Constitution should be interpreted strictly as it is written.
What do loose constructionists believe?
That the Constitution should be interpreted in today’s context - so it provides a flexible framework, not rigid guidance.
James Otis famously said what about taxation?
“Taxation without representation is tyranny.”
What did the Connecticut Compromise agree to?
A bicameral Congress: a House of Representatives with representatives distributed proportionately by population, and a Senate in which every state has two Senators.
To which branch of government does Article 1 relate?
To which branch of government does Article 2 relate?
To which branch of government does Article 3 relate?
What is the theory which states that the three branches of government should not overlap in terms of function or people?
Separation of powers
Congress has two houses. What are they called, and what is the name for a legislature that has two houses?
House of Representatives, Senate, bicameral.
Give two reasons why HipHughes describes the House as a “mad dog”.
Because its members were directly elected and therefore susceptible to local passions; they have the power to initiate impeachment; only they can initiate financial bills.
If the House is a mad dog, what is the Senate?
The wise old men and women up on the hill (says HipHughes)
What constitutes the mad dog’s leash?
The two year election term in the House.
What proportion of Senators are up for election each cycle?
Who is the current Speaker of the House, and how is s/he chosen?
Nancy Pelosi, chosen by the members of the House.
Who is the President of the Senate?
The Vice President (currently Mike Pence)
What and who is the President pro tem of the Senate?
The presiding officer of the Senate who rules on points of order. S/he is traditionally the longest serving member of the ruling party in Senate - currently Chuck Grassley of Iowa.
Give an example of someone who had to change jobs due to the separation of powers.
Obama had to resign as Senator for Illinois on being elected president in 2008; Jeff Sessions had to resign as senator for Alabama on being appointed Trump’s Attorney General (a Cabinet post and therefore part of the executive) in 2017.
Which part of the Constitution details how bills become law?
Article 1 s7.
Any bill for raising money starts in which House?
What can the president do if s/he does not agree with a bill passed by Congress, and which article states this?
A1 s7. S/he can “leave it on his desk” in which case it becomes law after ten working days; veto it; or leave it on his desk within ten working days of the end of the Congress (the pocket veto).
Which is the most effective form of veto?
The pocket veto, because a bill has to be completed in one session of Congress so any that are pocket vetoed will have to start all over again.
What does A1 s8 list?
The enumerated powers (i.e. what Congress can do)
Which is the most famous enumerated power?
A1 s18, the “elastic” or “necessary and proper” clause, which allows Congress to pass “all necessary and proper laws” for carrying out its powers.
Which part of the Constitution places limits on Congress and what are they?
A1 s9: it cannot suspend habeas corpus, pass bills of attainder or ex post facto laws.
Article 2 establishes the electoral college, but which amendment created today’s system?
Which article makes the President commander-in-chief?
The 1st Amendment guarantees:
freedom of speech, religion and assembly.
The 2nd Amendment guarantees:
the right to own a gun.
The 5th Amendment guarantees:
your “Miranda rights”, that you may not be tried twice for the same crime, and that you cannot be forced to testify against yourself (“pleading the Fifth”)
The 8th Amendment prohibits:
cruel and unusual punishments.
The 10th Amendment states that:
any powers not granted to the federal government are reserved to the states.
The 13th Amendment:
The 14th Amendment:
ensures equal rights and equal protection for all citizens.
The 15th Amendment:
ensures that race cannot be used as a criterion for voting.
The 18th Amendment:
prohibited alcohol (prohibition)
The 21st Amendment:
repealed the 18th Amendment
The 22nd Amendment:
set a two-term limit for any president
Who is the possible exception to the 22nd Amendment?
A VP who assumes the presidency after the death or removal of the president
The 23rd Amendment:
grants the District of Columbia the right to three electors in presidential elections
The 25th Amendment:
establishes what happens if a president should become unfit to hold office.
What are the four principles of the Constitution, and in which articles are they stated?
Federalism, Cs and Bs / Separation of Powers, limited government, bipartisanship. They are not stated, they are implied.
(If you need three principles, i.e. for an essay, add limited government to federalism.)