US Constitution Notes

A collection of all of my notes on the constitution of the USA. Please let me know if there are any errors

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  • Created by: Liv Scott
  • Created on: 30-04-15 08:05
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The US constitution
Written 1787 by 55 founding fathers (or framers)
Codified document ­ 7000 words
Written at the Philadelphia convention
o Connecticut compromise
7 articles
o Article 1 ­ Legislature, Congress
o Article 2 ­ Executive, President
o Article 3 ­ Judiciary, Supreme Court
o Article 5 ­ Amendment process
o Article 7 ­ the constitutional position of the states
27 amendments
o First 10 = Bill of rights, 1971, James Madison
Principles & importance
It is sovereign- it is a fundamental law
Representative government
Separation of powers/checks & balances
Enshrines limited government
Federalism (though not mentioned)
The powers of congress over the president
Amend/delay/pass/veto bills presented by the president
Override the president's veto, 2/3 majority (supermajority)
Control of the budget
Senate has powers to ratify/reject nominations by the president to the
executive/judiciary (e.g. Supreme court & cabinet), these are "advice &
consent" powers
o 1987- Regan's nominee to the supreme court- Robert Bork, judged
to be unfit by the senate- was rejected
Senate also has powers to ratify/reject treaties (advice & consent)
Declare war but president can make an executive agreement (Vietnam &
Korea)
Investigation (e.g. Watergate & Whitewater)
o Select committees
Impeachment (for high crimes & misdemeanours)
The powers of congress over the Supreme Court
Can confirm/reject nominations e.g. Bork
Initiate constitutional amendments
Impeachment
The power of the president over congress
Recommend legislation
Veto legislation
Call congress into special session
Also (not constitutional powers)
o Executive orders
o Executive agreements

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The Billy pulpit (use the media to persuade voters ­ pork barrel)
The powers of the president on the Supreme Court
Nominate judges/justices (e.g. Roosevelt ­ "court packing" over new deal)
Pardon e.g.…read more

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Judicial review
13th
amendment- right to privacy
4. Convention
e.g. the cabinet & EXOP
Amendments
Under Clinton ­ 1993-2001
1. 17 Votes on amendments (high)
2. E.g. balanced budget- republicans
Under G.W. Bush ­ 2001- 2009
1. 6 votes on amendments
2. 3 on Flag burning
Why so few amendments?
1. Founding fathers made it deliberately difficult to amend
2. Revered
3. Vague, open to interpretation
4. Supreme court interprets it
5.…read more

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­ prohibition of alcohol & redaction
Strengths of the US constitution
Sovereignty lies with the constitution
Major principles entrenches
Constraints on the exercise of power
Provides for individual liberties
It is flexible
Safeguarded by the Supreme Court
Revered
Weaknesses
Right ­ difficult to amend- 2nd
amendment problem
Judges too much power- unelected
Presidential power not always constrained e.g.…read more

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Distrust of Washington (Watergate)
4. Republican appointed supreme Court (Rhenquist)
5. Republican presidents (Regan, Bush)
Is there a new phase of federalism emerging?
5. Assertive federalism?
- Clinton: Foreign Policy & economy
- G.W. Bush: Homeland security/ Patriot act
No child left behind
Obama: Obamacare
Executive orders-e.g.…read more

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