Change by Other Means - RunningStart Forms

Change by Other Means
Chapter 3, Section 3
Mrs. Huston
Five Methods
• Legislation—passing laws
• Executive Action—using powers to define and
• Court Decisions—interpreting and applying
the Constitution to Court Cases
• Party Practices—shaping the processes of
government through party politics
• Custom—establishing precedents, shaping
processes of government
Basic Legislation
• Congress has passed laws to clarify several
Constitutional provisions
• It began with the Judiciary Act of 1789
• Only the Supreme Court was established by
the Constitution
• Congress has added other Federal Courts
through the years
Commerce Powers
• The Constitution gives Congress the power to
regulate commerce
• By adding additional laws, Congress has
clarified and expanded those powers through
the years
Presidential Actions
• Executive Agreements—a pact made by the
President directly with the head of a foreign
• Treaty—a formal agreement between two or
more sovereign states
• Main difference—treaties must be approved
by the Senate
• Both are legally binding
• The Constitution says that only Congress can
declare war, yet the President has sent troops
into combat many times in history without the
approval of Congress
Court Decisions
• The courts, especially the Supreme Court,
interpret and apply the Constitution
• Example: Marbury v. Madison
• Established the principle of Judicial Review
• Courts only review when a case is brought,
not automatcially
Supreme Court
• President Woodrow Wilson called the
Supreme Court a Constitutional Convention in
continuous session
• This is because they apply the Constitution in
many ways in the cases they decide and so
they have a large influence
Party Practices
• Political parties not mentioned in the
Constitution at all
• They have had a large impact anyway
• Example: the nomination process for the
office of President, using party conventions
• Example: both houses of Congress are
organized based on political party
Custom and Usage
• Long-standing customs become almost as
powerful as written laws
• Example: the President’s Cabinet is not
mentioned in the Constitution, but has
become a significant advisory body
Senatorial Courtesy
• Although not written down, it is customary for
the President to seek the recommendations of
the Senator or Senators from the state in
which he intends to make appointments for
positions such as federal judges, US marshals,
When a Custom is Violated
• For nearly 150 years, Presidents followed a
“no third term” tradition
• But in 1940 and again in 1944 Franklin Delano
Roosevelt broke that tradition by seeking,
then winning first a third, then a fourth term
• As a direct result, the 22nd Amendment was
added to the Constitution limiting the
President to two terms
Presidential Succession
• A VP has taken over 8 times in history after
the death of a President
• This wasn’t actually in the Constitution until
the 25th Amendment in 1967
• Before that, the powers and duties of the
president, but not the office itself, were given
to the VP according to the Constitution
The End