A. An Approach to the Constitution
The Constitution is legal document of basic fundamental laws.
B. The Preamble
A statement of purposes:
i. “To form a more perfect union” ii. “To establish justice” iii. “To insure domestic tranquility” iv. “To provide for the common defense”
v. “To provide for the general welfare” vi. “To secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity”
C. A Bicameral Legislature
The legislative branch consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The senate is based on equal representation (2 per state)
The house is based on representation by population for each state
The first census was in 1790 and each state gained a representative in the house for every 30,000 people. But to keep the house from becoming too large, in 1912 they limited it to only 435 representatives. Each state is guaranteed at least one representative.
1. Qualifications for Senators
-Thirty years or older
-Citizenship for at least nine years
-must live in the state that they are representing
2. Qualifications of Members of the House of Representatives
-Twenty-five years or older
-Citizenship for at least seven years
-must like in the state they are representing
3. Powers of the Senate
-can approve treaties
-can elect a vice president if the Electoral College doesn’t
-tries impeached officials and can dismiss them from office with 2/3 in agreement
-can ratify appointments to certain high offices, majority vote is required for ambassadors, consuls, justices of the Supreme Court, and Cabinet officials
4. Powers of the House
-may introduce revenue bills
-can elect the President when the Electoral College fails to
-can impeach the president
D. How Bills Become Laws
i. Introduction of bill from senate or house ii. Goes to Committee to debate and vote on the bill iii. Goes to another Committee to debate and vote on the bill iv. Goes to Conference Committee make changes to the bill
v. Goes to the President.
The bill becomes a law if the president signs the bill or leaves it unsigned for 10 days while Congress is in session. OR if a bill is vetoed by the President, the legislature can override the veto and allow the bill to become a law.
The bill does not become a law when the President vetoes the bill or when left unsigned for 10 days and Congress is adjourned.
E. Special Privileges of Members of Congress
A member of Congress cannot be arrested for anything except for a felony, treason, and breach.
Members of Congress are allowed complete freedom of speech and they cannot be charged for slander.
F. Special Prohibitions on Members of Congress
A person that is a member of Congress cannot have any other office position
Members of Congress cannot vote themselves a raise in pay.
G. The Powers of Congress
i. To levy and collect taxes. ii. Borrow money. iii. Regulate commerce with foreign countries, among the states, and with Indian tribes. iv. Establish rules for naturalization.
v. Coin money and regulate its value, as well as the value of foreign coin, and set the standard for weights and measures. vi. Provide punishment for counterfeiting US coins and securities. vii. Establish post offices and post roads. viii. Securing, for limited times, to authors and inventors exclusive right to their writings and inventions. ix. Create courts inferior to the Supreme Court.
x. Define and punish piracy and felonies committed at sea, and offenses against the laws of nations. xi. Declare war xii. Raise and support armies. xiii. Provide and maintain a navy. xiv. Make rules for the armed forces xv. To call out the National Guard xvi. To organize and train the National Guard xvii. To govern the District of Columbia xviii. Make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers
1. Brief Comment on Certain Powers of Congress
-To levy and collect taxes: tax must be levied to pay the public