The Constitution has stood the test of time and has been called an enduring and evolving document.
If you look at the Constitution, you should be able to see the document in its entirety.
The Constitution provides for an orderly and effective government because of the clarity of purpose in the Preamble, the organization and structure of the three branches of government, and the amending process.
The fact that a reference is made to the longevity of the Constitution to future generations indicates that the authors were not looking to make major revisions.
They wanted the document to adapt to changing times.
The formal institutions of government are separated by the organization of the Constitution.
The basis of the government is provided by the first three articles of the Constitution.
The legislative powers of Congress are defined in article I.
The responsibility is split between a bicameral legislature.
The House of Representatives is the most directly responsible to the people.
The Senate and the House are partners in passing laws.
The rules of impeachment of government officials are outlined in the article.
There are subtle differences between the two bodies, which will be discussed later in this chapter.
Since the 1970s, the public's view of Congress has deteriorated.
75 percent of the people questioned were critical of the Congress.
A majority of people in the same poll said they would vote for their incumbent.
Term limitations are related to the organization of Congress.
The Supreme Court ruled in 1995 that state-imposed term limits were unconstitutional and only an amendment could change congressional terms.
The chief executive's nature is determined by article II, which gives responsibility to the president and vice president.
The president's major responsibility is to administer and execute the public policies of the United States, even though powers are not as defined as in the legislative branch.
The inherent power of the president, which includes those powers that the president exercises that grow out of the national government, expands the power of the presidency.
The president takes the responsibility of enforcement of the laws of the land by signing legislation.
References are made to the president's authority in foreign policy.
The mechanics of the electoral college are outlined in this article, as well as the procedures that must be followed if a candidate does not get a majority of the electoral votes.
The president's cabinet and federal bureaucracy are not specifically mentioned in the article.
The judicial branch is outlined in article III.
It is interesting to note that unlike the first two articles, this one is very vague about the qualifications of its members.
The way in which cases get to the Supreme Court is referred to.
The Supreme Court does not have the authority it has assumed.
The landmark case of Marbury v Madison gave the Court the authority of judicial review.
The jurisdiction of the court system is defined by the scope of the court system.
If a person is convicted of treason, there is a range of penalties, including the death penalty.
The only time that has happened is when the Rosenbergs were convicted of giving the Soviet Union information about the development of the atom bomb.
After the Supreme Court denied their appeal, they were executed.
The legislative process and the differences between the two houses of Congress make the House more representative than the Senate.
The drafters of the Constitution were concerned with the balance of power between the three branches of government.
There is no reference to which branch of government should be the lead player in the Constitution.
The Connecticut Compromise resulted in the creation of a House of Representatives and a Senate.
The House of Representatives is made up of 435 people.
Each state has one House seat for about 650,000 people.
It also has representatives from the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, The Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.
There is a minimum of two senators and one representative in each state.
The principle of "one man, one vote" was established as a result of the Supreme Court decision.
Guidelines for drawing up congressional districts were created by this decision.
Some districts in the South have been asked to be reviewed by the Supreme Court.
The equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment was the basis on which the Court ruled in 1995 that a racially apportioned district in Georgia was unconstitutional.
Some states created districts that favored the political party in power in order to correct congressional boundaries.
The action became known as gerrymander.
The size, term of office, and qualifications of the House of Representatives make it more representative than the Senate.
The term of office for a senator is six years, compared to two for a representative.
A person who wants to serve in the House needs to be at least 25 years old, an American citizen for seven years, and a resident of the state the congressman represents.
A senator must be at least 30 years old, nine years a citizen of the United States, and a resident of the state that the senator represents.
Many states limit the number of terms a representative can serve.
The Supreme Court ruled in 1995 that the laws were unconstitutional.
The House of Representatives is given the responsibility of starting all revenue bills and starting the process of impeachment because senators were originally appointed by state legislatures.
The House Judiciary Committee passed impeachment charges during the impeachment hearings of Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.
Clinton was acquitted by the Senate but Nixon resigned before they could try him.
The Senate can pass a different version of the bill, but it must wait for the House to pass its version of the bill.
After voting on articles of impeachment, the Senate failed to convict Andrew Johnson and acquitted Bill Clinton.
The Senate has the responsibility of approving presidential appointments and treaties, which is different from the other body.
The common powers of the Congress are listed.
The powers of Congress are enumerated.
The "necessary and proper" clause states that Congress has the power to make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers.
Congress has shown an ability to change with the times even though strict interpreters of the Constitution reject the extent of its elasticity.
The creation of the National Bank in the 1800s and the passage of the Brady Bill reflect the times.
The denial of the writ of habeas corpus, the passage of bill of attainder laws, and the passage of ex post facto laws are all powers denied to Congress.
Congress can't give titles of nobility to its citizens.
Chapter 7, The Congress, deals with how much power the Congress exerts in comparison to the other branches and whether it becomes an imperial Congress.
The role of the president as a central player in government is defined by the powers and qualifications granted to the executive department.
The qualifications for office are the strictest among the three branches because of the unique qualities of the presidency.
The president must be a natural-born citizen, at least 35 years old, and a resident of the United States for at least 14 years.
A constitutional amendment limits the term of office to four years.
As a result of the way in which the definition of chief executive is stated, the president becomes a central and unique player in government.
The power of the president in modern times has increased more than the other branches because the president can interpret the role of the executive in a broad way.
The power of the president has been on the rise, from Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal to George Bush's new world order.
The visibility of the president in ceremonial areas is much higher than that of a congressman.
The president wields a lot of power in relation to party appointments because he is the head of the political party in power.
Chapter 8 of The Presidency will discuss whether the presidency is turning into an imperial presidency.
The responsibility of the vice president is listed.
If there is a tie vote, the responsibility of the vice president is to preside over the Senate and cast the deciding vote.
In the first administration of President Clinton, Vice President Al Gore cast the decisive vote to pass the president's budget proposal.
It was a piece of legislation that set the course of the new president's economic program.
The vice president is next in line to succeed the president in case of death and can take over the presidency if the president is disabled under the Twenty-Fifth Amendment.
The role of the electoral college is outlined in the second part of the article.
The electoral college has presidential electors in each state.
The state's population is used to calculate the number of electors.
The states with the greatest population have the most electoral votes.
When a voter casts a vote for president, the vote goes to one of the presidential electors in that state.
The number of senators and representatives in each state is equal to the number of electors.
The number can change based on the census.
The candidate who gets the most votes gets all the electoral votes.
A majority of the electoral votes are needed for a candidate to be elected to office.
In December, the electors gather in Washington, D.C., to cast their votes based on the results of the November election.
The election of president is determined by the House of Representatives if no candidate gets a majority of the electoral votes.
Specific cases of how the electoral college affected presidential elections will be discussed.
The media and the public pay more attention to the president.
The job approval of the president is tracked by opinion polls.
The president's life is under scrutiny.
Presidential candidates like Gary Hart and sitting presidents like Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton have been criticized for their personal acts.
Political scientists say that this view of the presidency has weakened the institution.
The role of the courts is defined by specific powers and responsibilities granted to the judicial department.
The judiciary does not have a specific qualification for office.
The Supreme Court was established by the Constitution.
Congress established the lower federal courts.
The size of the Supreme Court is not defined.
The number of sitting justices has been as low as five.
The Court ruled a number of Roosevelt's New Deal acts unconstitutional in 1937.
The attempt was rejected by Congress.
Life after appointment for Supreme Court justices is the terms of office.
Supreme Court justices come from other federal judgeships.
The Senate Judiciary Committee questioning has made the appointment process more difficult.
Richard Nixon's appointments were turned down.
George Bush sent Clarence Thomas's name to the Senate and he was accused of sexual harassment by an Oklahoma law professor.
The Court may have to rule on issues such as abortion, so nominees are questioned on their attitudes.
Nominees must tread a thin line and not be too specific.
If they rule on a case they have already spoken about, there will be a conflict.
The major power given to the judicial branch is defined as "the judicial power which shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made."
Specific cases and the role of the Court in American life will be discussed in The Judiciary.
The court can hear cases through original jurisdiction.
Most of the cases heard in the Supreme Court are brought by state and federal courts.
This is called appellate jurisdiction.
The Supreme Court has taken up congressional and presidential actions.
The Supreme Court has no accountability to the voters of the three branches of government.
Once confirmed, sitting justices decide on cases based on their own interpretations of the Constitution.
In modern times, the impact of the Supreme Court on policymaking has increased.
The landmark decision of Brown v Board of Education is believed to be a turning point in the history of the Court.
Montesquieu wrote The Spirit of Natural Laws and James Madison wrote Federalist No.
The concept of checks and balances became a central feature of our government.
The powers of one department should not be administered by either of the other departments.
Some examples of how each branch of government has used its power to check another branch may be useful to show the importance of this feature.
The Republican Congress overrode only 2 of the 30 vetoes that Bill Clinton used.