Chapter 3 The Constitution

Chapter 3
The Constitution
pp. 62-84
Six Basic Principles
• Constitutionalism
• 65 the government must operate according to
the principles of the Constitution.
• Rule of law
• 64 The government and its officers are always
subject to –never above– the law.
The Constitution
• Separation of powers
• 66 idea that government powers should be
– Protect the country from a dictatorship
– Three branches
• Legislative (make laws, policy)
• Executive (carries out/enforces law, policy)
• Judicial (interprets laws)
Checks and balances
• 67 each branch has controls over the other
two branches
– Each branch is controlled by the other two.
• Graphic organizer: p. 68
EC: Veto (2)
• 67 power to reject the act of another.
– The President has the power to stop an act of
• Congress, however, may pass the law again, forcing the
President to accept it
– override the veto
Judicial review
• 69 power of the federal courts to decide
whether an act of a legislature or executive is
“constitutional” or not.
– Can cancel/reverse that law/act or part of it.
• “unconstitutional”
• 70, 88 the division of lawmaking,
jurisdictional, and enforcement power
between the
– National (federal)
– State
– Local (county, city, town)
• Amendment
– 72 addition or change to the Constitution,
– Follows rules listed in Article V
Bill of Rights
72 list of first ten amendments….
Added by Federalists to satisfy Anti-Federalists…..
Ensure state and individual rights and limits on
federal government regarding those rights.
EC: Informal amendment process
Changing the Constitution through daily acts over the
history of our nation.
• 78-82 Legislative actions
– acts/bills/
– customs/practices/traditions
• Executive actions
– actions/practices/traditions
• Judicial actions
– judgments
• Political parties
– Practices
Informal Amendment
• Treaty
• 79 binding commitment between two or
more nations.
– Made by executive branch
– Must be approved by Congress
• Executive Agreement
– 80 a pact between the leaders of a nation, more
policy, not legally binding
– Congressional approval not needed
Informal Amendment
• Electoral college
• 81 a second group of delegates specified in
the Constitution that elects the President
separately from the popular vote.
– The political parties select their delegates and the
winning party in a state commits all the state’s
electoral votes for their candidate.
• Nowhere in the Constitution is this written.
Informal Amendment
• Presidential Cabinet
• 81 advisors to the president.
– Not written in the Constitution, but has become
an important part of the executive
• Head the executive departments.
• Head some key advisory councils
– Advise and report to the president on matters relating to their
Chapter 3 pp. 62-84
Preamble to the US Constitution (ideals/purposes)
64, 758-779
To form a more perfect union
Establish justice
Insure domestic tranquility
Provide for the common defense
Promote the general welfare
Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves
and our posterity.
Formal Amendment Methods
• 73 Proposed by a national convention, called
by Congress, supported by 2/3 of state
• Ratified by ¾ of the state legislatures
• Proposed by a national convention
• Ratified by conventions in ¾ of the states
Formal Amendment Methods
• 2/3s of both houses approve proposal
• Ratified by ¾ of the state legislatures
• Proposal by Congress
• Ratified by conventions in ¾ of states
EC: The Judiciary Act of 1789
• 79 Congress gave the federal courts this
power, not the Constitution (Only the
Supreme Court is listed there.
• Set up all the lower federal courts
How can the Executive Action Change the
• 80 EC: Presidential decisions that have
continued without Congressional approval
affect the way the government works. (2)
– Executive agreement:
– Policy speeches
p. 65
• How do the first three Articles of the US
Constitution differ from the last four?
• They outline the basic structure and powers of
the of the government.
• The last four address more specific topics.
p. 65
• Some call the Constitution “living” , meaning
that it is growing with the nation and its
• Which of the Articles makes it a “living”
Constitution? explain
• Article V
– Amending the Constitution:
• Adding/changing the Constitution
Outline of the Constitution
• Preamble
– Basic purposes of the government
• Articles:
– powers of the branches
– Various constitutional rules and procedures
• Amendments
– Rights, rules, and procedures, added as needed
p. 67
• Political cartoon?
• What does it mean, “carved in stone”?
• That the words cannot be changed. There is only
ONE way to read it.
• Is the Constitution “carved in stone”?
• Yes,
– if interpreted strictly, according to what is actually written
• No,
– since it can change with the times as deemed necessary by
the legislature.
p. 68
• In what way can the power of the judiciary be
checked by the other branches?
• Executive (President)
– nominates (appoints) Supreme Court justices and federal
court judges.
• Legislative (Congress)
– Creates lower courts
– approves Supreme Court nominees and federal court
– Impeaches justices and judges
p. 69
• What characteristic of a law can lead the
Supreme Court to overturn it?
• If it is deemed to be unconstitutional by a
federal court.
p. 73
• How does the formal amendment process
illustrate federalism?
• It involves both the Federal Government and
the States.
p. 74-75
• 1. What was the Court’s reason for protecting
a protester who burned an American flag?
• It is a form of free speech, protected by the
First Amendment of the Constitution.
p. 74-75
• 2. Both the Schenck case (1919) and the Tinker case (1969)
involved anti-war protests. How would you explain the
difference between Supreme Court decisions?
• Schenck:
– Sending anti-war pamphlets to draftees was not protected by the First
– It presented a “clear and present danger” to US national security.
• Tinker:
– Wearing an armband in school to protest the war was protected by
the First Amendment because it did not present a “clear and present
danger” to national security.
p. 76
• Which amendment was adopted in the
shortest time?
– The 26th Amendment
• Which one took the most time to ratify?
– The 27th Amendment
p. 80
• Should the president be able to make war
without a declaration of war by Congress?
• It depends if the president is abusing war
powers as commander-in-chief by committing
troops abroad.
p. 82
• Why did Roosevelt’s reelection lead supporters of
the “no-third-term” tradition to push for a
constitutional amendment?
• They no longer believed that presidents would follow
custom alone.
• EC: What custom existed about how many terms a
president should have?
– All presidents before FDR only had two terms.
• EC: Who started it?
– George Washington
p. 82, Amendments to the
• There are 27 presently.
• What are they about?
– Rights
– Procedure
– Social issue
• What is the difference between formal and informal
amendment of the Constitution? Describe.
• Formal: (2)
– Actual change/addition to the Constitution, using
procedures/rules described in Article V.
• Informal: (2)
– Changes in laws through daily acts/decisions/policies by
various government agencies and leaders.
• EC: Which of the four methods on the previous
slides is the only method used in all 27 Amendments:
• Proposed by a national convention, called by
Congress, supported by 2/3 of state
• Ratified by ¾ of the state legislatures
p. 85
• 28. what point is the cartoonist trying to
make about the ease or difficulty of proposing
constitutional amendments?
– Cartoonist is proposing that it is or should be as
simple as posting a letter.
• 29. based on your reading, do you agree or
disagree with the cartoonist’s question?
Explain your answer.
– Whether one agrees or not, presently, it is quite
complex to amend the Constitution.
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