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United States Constitution


United States Constitution University of California vs. Bakke cont Decision (split 5 to 4) Quotas based solely on race violated the equal protection clause of the ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: United States Constitution

United States Constitution
A Living Document
  • Adapts to the changes of society
  • Amendments (27)
  • Supreme Court Cases (150)
  • reinterpret the Constitution

Articles of the US Constitution
  • I Legislative Branch
  • II Executive Branch
  • III Judicial Branch
  • IV States
  • V Amendments Process
  • VI National Supremacy
  • VII Ratification

Article I Legislative Branch
  • Senate (equal 100 / 6 yr term) 30 yrs. /
    Citizen for 9 yrs.
  • House of Representatives (population 435 / 2 yr
    term) 25 yrs. / Citizen for 7 yrs.
  • Make our laws
  • Appropriate Money
  • Regulate Immigration
  • Establish Post Offices and Roads
  • Regulate Interstate Commerce and Transportation
  • Declare War
  • Elastic Clause make all laws necessary and
    proper for executing a listed power.

Article II Executive Branch
  • President / Vice-President / Cabinet
  • 4 yr terms / 35 yrs and natural-born
  • Chief Executive
  • Chief of State
  • Chief Legislator
  • Chief Diplomat
  • Commander in Chief of Armed Forces
  • Treaties / appointments

Article III Judicial Branch
  • Supreme Court and other Federal Courts
  • Preserve and protect the rights guaranteed by the
  • Considers cases involving national laws
  • Declares laws and acts unconstitutional
    Judicial Review

Article IV States
  • Legislative and judicial actions of one state
    must be honored by others
  • Citizens of states have the same privileges
  • Adding new states to the Union
  • republic
  • Guarantees protection

Article V Amendments
  • Amendment Facts
  • Amendments formal changes to the text of the
  • Ways to propose
  • 2/3 votes of the House and Senate
  • National Convention called by 2/3 of states
  • Note has never been done
  • Ways to ratify (approve)
  • Legislatures in ¾ of states
  • Each state holds a ratifying convention and ¾
    approve. (done once 21st)

Article VI National Supremacy
  • Supremacy Clause
  • The Constitution, laws of the US, and treaties
    entered into by the US are the supreme law of the

Article VII Ratification
  • Approval of 9 of the 13 states was required to
    ratify the Constitution
  • Delaware 1st to ratify (Dec. 1787)
  • Rhode Island last to ratify (May 1790)

Six Basic Principles
  • 1. Popular Sovereignty
  • 2. Limited Government
  • 3. Federalism
  • 4. Separation of Powers
  • 5. Checks and Balances
  • 6. Judicial Review

1. Popular Sovereignty
  • The people hold the ultimate authority
  • A representative democracy lets the people elect
    leaders to make decisions for them.

2. Limited Government
  • Framers wanted to guard against tyranny
  • Government is limited to the power given them in
    the Constitution.
  • The Constitution tells how leaders who overstep
    their power can be removed

3. Federalism
  • The division of power between State and National
  • Some powers are shared (Concurrent)
  • Taxes, establish courts, charter banks
  • The National Government has the supreme power
    (Article VI Supremacy Clause)
  • Delegated Powers Federal Govt.
  • Regulate trade, raise army, crimes against US
  • Reserved Powers State Govt.
  • Schools, elections, business within state

4. Separation of Powers
  • No one holds too much power
  • Legislative branch makes the laws
  • Executive branch carries out the laws
  • Judicial branch interprets the laws

5. Checks and Balances
  • Prevents the abuse of power in government
  • Each branch can check each other branch

Executive Checks
  • Propose laws to Congress
  • Veto laws made by Congress
  • Negotiate foreign treaties
  • Appoint federal judges
  • Grant pardons to federal offenders

Legislative Checks
  • Override presidents veto
  • Ratify treaties
  • Confirm executive appointments
  • Impeach federal officers and judges
  • Create and dissolve lower federal courts

Judicial Checks
  • Declare executive acts unconstitutional
  • Declare laws unconstitutional
  • Declare acts of Congress unconstitutional
  • The Supreme Court holds the final check

Bill of Rights
  • Guarantees citizens certain rights, freedoms and
  • 1st 5 freedoms (religion, speech, press,
    peaceful assembly, petition the govt)
  • 2nd bear arms (firearms)
  • 3rd no quartering of soldiers
  • 4th no unreasonable search and seizure
  • 5th no double jeopardy, I plead the fifth
    dont have to testify against oneself, due

Bill of Rights cont
  • 6th speedy trial, confront witnesses against
    oneself, subpoena witnesses, have attorney
  • 7th jury trial in civil suit
  • 8th no cruel or unusual punishment, no
    excessive bail or fines
  • 9th does not deny right not specifically
    mentioned in the Const.
  • 10th states (people) have powers not granted to
    federal govt or denied to states

Post Civil War Amendments
  • Aimed at correcting wrongs committed against
    African Americans during the slavery era
  • 13th abolished slavery for all races, unless
    convicted of a crime
  • 14th made anyone born in the US a citizen and
    guaranteed due process and equal laws to all
    (regardless of race or ethnicity)
  • 15th no one could be denied the right to vote
    because of race or previous enslavement
  • FREE CITIZENS VOTE (13 / 14 / 15)

19th Amendment
  • Womens Suffrage Amendment
  • Background
  • Women campaigned for voting rights since the end
    of the Civil War (15th)
  • By 1911 6 states allowed women to vote (W)
  • Susan B. Anthony suggested amendment
  • Civil Disobedience
  • NAWSA National American Women Suffrage
  • WWI increased support
  • Suffragettes supported the war effort
  • Millions of women took the place of men in the
  • Many though it was unfair to fight for democracy
    in Europe, while we did not have it in the US
  • The right of citizens of the US to vote shall
    not be denied or abridged by the US or by any
    state on the account of sex.

26th Amendment
  • Guaranteed those 18 yrs and older the right to
    vote in every state
  • Background
  • Voting age was 21
  • Jennings Randolph (WV-1941)
  • If they are old enough to be drafted and go to
    war, then they are old enough to vote (WWII)
  • Support increased over time
  • Pres Eisenhower and Johnson supported
  • Vietnam helped gain support
  • Oregon lowered the age and this was overturned
    increase the effort to change

Marbury v. Madison (1803)
  • TJ won the 1800 election / Adams lost (3rd)
  • Adams appointed 58 newly created federal judges
    as he was leaving office
  • Sec of State (John Marshall) was to deliver the
    commissions (did not deliver 17)
  • Thought new Sec of State (Jame Madison) would
    finish delivering the rest (he did not)
  • William Marbury sued Madison because he did not
    receive his commission and could not take office
  • Wanted a writ of mandamus court order requiring
    Madison to perform his duty

Marbury v. Madison cont.
  • Decision
  • Marbury entitled to commission but
  • Cannot issue the writ because allowing the SC to
    issues writs is unconstitutional Judiciary Act
    of 1789
  • Why important
  • Established the power of Judicial Review
  • SC has the power to review acts of other branches
    and determine their constitutionality

Judicial Review
  • The judicial branches most important check on the
    executive and legislative branch
  • The power of the judicial branch to determine
    whether laws and actions are constitutional or
  • Supreme Court has the power to strike down any
    law passed by Congress or signed by the President
  • Constitution does not specifically state as a

Jim Crow Laws
  • After Reconstruction, many southern states passed
    laws intended to bypass rights guaranteed by the
    CW Amendments 13-15
  • Required racial segregated facilities for black
    and whites
  • Exschools, restaurants, train, bus, hospitals,
    drinking fountain
  • Poll taxes and literacy tests for voting

Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
  • Background
  • LA passed a law that required AA to sit in
    separate RR cars
  • Homer Plessy (7/8 white / 1/8 black) sat in a
    RR car reserved for whites
  • HP ordered to move he refused and was arrested
  • HP took the case to court arguing it violated the
  • Judge John Ferguson ruled against HP and found
    him guilty
  • HP appealed to the LA Supreme Court ruling
  • HP appealed to US Supreme Court

Plessy v. Ferguson cont
  • Decision
  • Ruled LA SC was not in violation of the 14th
    (equal protection under law) 8 to 1
  • Separate facilities were legal if they were equal
    (separate but equal)
  • Set legal precedent (example to be followed)
  • Public saw this as approval of racial segregation
  • Led to racial segregation for the next six decades

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954)
  • Background
  • Linda Brown attend a black elementary school
  • White school was just a few blocks from her home,
    but she had to walk a mile to the black school
    through a dangerous RR yard
  • Lindas father (Oliver) tried to convince the
    white school to admit his daughter, but they
  • Sued the school system with the help of the NAACP
  • Wanted to end segregation made blacks feel
    inferior to whites (unequal)
  • Judges (Kansas court) agreed that segregation
    could harm black children, butthey ruled against
  • Justification was precedent of Plessy case
  • 1951- decision appealed to SC (no decision)

Brown v. Board cont
  • Decision
  • 1953 SC reheard the case (unanimous)
  • Overturned the separate-but-equal doctrine
    established by Plessy
  • Ordered desegregation of all schools in the US
  • Did not address other forms of desegregation
  • Expanded protection of the 14th Amendment

University of California v. Bakke (1978)
  • Background
  • White man (Alan Bakke) applied to Ucal Med School
    twice (rejected twice)
  • As part of an Affirmative Action program16 slots
    were reserved for minorities(AA programs to
    help minorities to make up for past injustices)
  • Bakkes qualifications were overall higher than
    those minorities who were accepted
  • Bakke sued Ucal on the basis of reverse
    discrimination (denied admission because of race
    violated the 14th Amendment)

University of California vs. Bakke cont
  • Decision (split 5 to 4)
  • Quotas based solely on race violated the equal
    protection clause of the 14th
  • Race could be a criterion for admission as long
    as there are other variables (this is a
    compelling govt interest)
  • Ruled in favor of Bakke and allowed admission,
    but allowed affirmative action programs to

Restrictions of the Rights of US Citizens
  • Rights are relativenot absolute!
  • Examples
  • Freedom of Religion does not mean you can
    perform human sacrifice
  • Freedom of Speech does not mean you can
    threaten physical harm or make false statements
    to create a panic

Restrictions of the Rights of US Citizens
  • When can your right be limited by the government?
  • Clear and Present Danger
  • Compelling Government Interest
  • Libel/Slander (written/spoken)
  • National Security
  • Public Safety
  • Equal Opportunity

Examples of times when individual rights have
been restricted
  • WWI / Clear and Present Danger
  • When the nation is threatened by an enemy
  • Espionage Act (1917)
  • Outlawed interference with the draft and troop
    recruitment, encouraging disloyalty, inciting
    insubordination, obstructing the sale of govt
    bonds, disclosure of info that could jeopardize
    national defense
  • 20 yrs. Imprisonment / 10,000 fine if convicted
    (over 2000 convicted)

Schenk v. United States (1919)
  • Charles Schenk (Socialist) sent 15,000 flyers to
    recent draftees urging them to refuse service
  • SC stated clear and present danger as one reason
    that freedom of speech could be restricted

Debs v. United States (1919)
  • Eugene Debs (Socialist) gave a speech entitled
    Socialism is the Answer
  • you are fit for something better than slavery
  • 10 yrs of prison
  • SC stated clear and present danger / national
    security as justification

Abrams v. United States (1919)
  • Jacob Abrams punish for distributing leaflets
    that criticized the US govt for sending troops to
  • Due to Sedition Act (amendment to EA)
  • SC upheld but altered view deprived rights of

USA Patriot Act (Sept. 11, 2001)
  • Rights restricted regarding privacy
  • Some feel this is unconstitutional others feel
    its necessary
  • Justification
  • Clear and present danger
  • National Security
  • Public Safety

Conscientious Objectors
  • WWI Espionage/Sedition Act
  • Military Service Act of 1917 established a
    draft for men ages 21 to 31 (later 18-45)
  • CO refused service (some because of religion)
  • Those who objected to war because of religion
    would noncombatant service or other civilian jobs
    if refusedthey were jailed
  • 500 CO s were jailed for refusing service

Protecting children from indecent content on
  • Communication Decency Act (1996)
  • Restrictions on what can be on the Internet
  • SC struck this down stating it did not define
  • Shows there are disagreements on what is a
    compelling government interest
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