Left over exercise




the constitution



The US Constitution is the basic rules of our government.


It is also one of the most important documents in world history.We were the first and as the longest lasting democracy we have been, and this document has been, a light unto nations.


Democracy means the people rule themselves.


While fighting the revolutionary war for our freedom from Britain, we realized that not having a central government, but fighting as independents was hurting us.


The document that came first was the Articles of Confederation.But it was weak and had no system to be upgraded.


The main worries on making this government were that it would be too weak or too strong.If too weak the states would be able to destroy it anytime.If too strong the states would lose power and possibly freedoms.


The constitution is made up of two parts.One is the original document. The first part lays out how the government will be structured by dividing the government into the executive, legislative and judicial branches.


The second is the amendments to the constitution (there are 26). The amendments have to do with rights.The first ten are called the bill of rights.They control the government.


The writers were also concerned that the constitution not be too democratic.That it not lead to rule by an uneducated mob.



The preamble establishes that our country shall be a DEMOCRACY.We the people.Who forms it?

Democracy means that the people rule.For the test you must know the first three words of the preamble.


Article 1: The legislature:


The legislative branch is congress:Congress makes the laws

Section 1 creates the legislature

Sections 2 and 3 describe the qualifications for holding office in either house, the method of electing the members and the length of their stay and how vacancies are filled, and how each state is represented.

Sections 4, 5 and 6 describe priveledges and restrictions on members of congress

Section 7 explains how a bill is passed and how Congress can override a presidential veto.

Section 8 lists specific types of laws that Congress can pass.

Section 9 describes what the federal government can and cannot do.

Section 10 lists restrictions on state governments.


All laws must beWritten by congress.The President, noone else, can pass laws.What we spend is therefore determined by them.How high taxes are is determined by them.


Congress is made up of two halves:

††††††††††† House of representatives:

††††††††††† ††††††††††† This half is chosen based on population.So california has more than rhode island

††††††††††† ††††††††††† Alaska has only one.Delaware has only one.California hasat least 40.

††††††††††† ††††††††††† Each person in the house of Representatives is elected for two years only.

††††††††††† ††††††††††† There are 435 people in the house of representatives.


††††††††††† The Senate:

††††††††††† ††††††††††† This half is made of two people from each state.

††††††††††† ††††††††††† There are 100 Senators.How many from this state?

††††††††††† ††††††††††† Each Senator is elected for a 6 year term.




For this video they are to make two columns: one for the house, the other for the senate.Then they are to write stuff underneath.



Article 2: The executive Branch:


MR. PRESS!!!Make this a lecture about political parties and current events.

The president is the head of the enforcement arm of the government.


1 - He exerts leadership

He is the only person representing the whole country.

He cannot pass laws, but can use his bully pulpit to push for them.

He can also veto anything he doesnít like.


2 - Heís the head of departments

But he is only one person.He can only know the details of so many issues.He, therefore, has a cabinet of 11 members that run departments, and advise him about them.


For example the Dept of Ed and Affirmative action



D O Agriculture

D O Education

D O Labor

D O Transportation


In Addition, The office of Management and Budget helps him make a budget.

The National Security Council keeps him informed on foriegn policy issues.

The Office of Economic Opportunity This one tells him how to help the poor.


3 - The president is the commander in Chief: head of the miitary.

†††††††††† It is really important that our goernment is run by a civilian.

††††††††††† Congress must get the money for war and must approve the declaration.But this has been disapeearing since the beginning of the country.Bush got congressional approval after.The gulf of tonkin made Johnson able to pursue vietnam as he sought.


4 - The president writes the budget

††††††††††† Democrats want to spend and Republicans want to cut taxes.


Actually the Congress must approve it.But he can refuse to sign anything that he doesnít like.So they know better than to submit a budget he wonít enact.They therefore, work and fight over details in his blueprint.

††††††††††† This is done with the OBM Office of Budget Management.And he can make a lot of policy by knocking down say , health and education and giving more money to the DOD.


5 - He nominates Judges

This may be his longest lasting contribution.

They may outlaw all that disagree with his policy for a long time.Abortion for example.

They may be active in striking down legislation or upholding suits on discrimination.


Section 1 explains the electoral college system.It also describes the qualifications for the presidency, the method of filling vacancies etc.

Section s 2 and 3 outline the powers and duties of the president.

Section 4 describes the three offenses for which the president and other officials can be impeached.


Article 3: The Court System:





make the transparency on video :Interpreting the law: The role of the supreme court


Show the video and ask them to take notes on the answers to the questions you show on the transparency.



The constituion shows us that the Supreme court is the head of the judicial branch

And that they are elected for Good Behavior (life).


They are selected by the president and confirmed by the senate.One of two times the presidentís choice is not accepted.†† Is this democratic?Democratic means the people rule.†† No it is not democratic.The founding fatherís wanted some part of the government to be un democratic.


There are two reasons the founding fatherís wanted part of the government to be undemocratic.


1) They didnít trust the people.

ex a) The socratic arguement

††††††††††† would you take your shoes to just anybody?Would you let anybody fix your roof?Would you then let anyone run your government?


ex b)The recent initiative

††††††††††† Primaries are the election before the election.They are how the Dems and Reps choose their respective presidential candidates.Their was a ballot initiate to put the california primary up closer to the begining.This was to give us more power.We being a big state should have more say in who is elected.


††††††††††† This law could never pass the legislature.Why?The system is designed to do small states first.I could probably drive across new hampshire in 4 hours.I could put up billboards all across the thing and go door to door and do meetings enough so that new hampshire knew me.†††

††††††††††† The first several states are supposed to be small so that I can get known without big money.I can bea darkhorse win a couple of states and be taken seriously (as bill clinton did).But Now you must immediately win in california. You can go door to door forever in california and touch very little of it.You can mount billboards and noone will know you.You must go on TV. To go on tv you must get big money. Who has big money?corporations.You will now have to go begging to them for money to even be viable as a candidate.

††††††††††† The legislature would never pass such an anti-democratic bill.But the people did!The people were fooled by saying shouldít california have more power?And then the corporations get more power.


ex c) Jesse ďThe bodyĒ Ventura.He is a WWF guy.He makes his living fake hitting others.Kneeing their heads and jumping off ropes into body slams.


He is now Govenor of Minnesota.They elected him.He knows the WWF trash.If elected I will body slam my opponents.I will demolish them!!He ran ads with Jesse the body action figures beating up other action figures and he won.


Now hulk hogan wants to be President.And he may win!!!


But he will never get on the supreme court.He cannot.The members of the senate and the members of the president know that to be a supreme court justice, you need not only have memorized the constitution.But you have to have memorized every arguement about ever word in it.You must be a heavy.


You cannot body slam your opponent into submission.He is not chosen by the people on purpose.


2) they didnít trust politics

twenty years ago.To be elected you had to be against the death penalty.You had to say that.Now twenty years later you must say you love the death penalty.There is a little race.You say my opponent says he loves it but he doesntí.He voted against it in the case of postal theft.I want to kill all trespassers and postal thieves!!


On the Supreme Court, you donít care .You do what your conscience tells you is right.Youíre there for life regardless of what the people think.


Twenty years ago you had to be for guns to get elected.Now you must declare allegience to the idea of getting them under control.A person said I will denythem to people who do postal theft.And jaywalkers.


And to get elected you must say so.


Supreme Court justices donít care.This is especially crucial with minorities in general. If a state or states start to attack, say, gays.They pass laws discriminating, the supreme court will say no!That law is unconstitutional.


They donít care if 99% say we hate gays. They follow their conscience and the constitution.


Judicial review

Judicial review is the power to overrule a law because it doesnít comply with the constitution.

a case is tried (suit or criminal) and if you lose, you have the right to appeal.It then goes to a higher court.Then a higher one then a higher until you reach the Supreme court.

An example is griswold v. Connecticut.


Griswold the person, connecticut the state.Connecticut made it illegal to have condoms.Griswold was a happily mairried family man.Somehow cops were in his house and they found condoms and arrested him.He appealed all the way to the supreme court.


They looked in the 4th amendment.They found no reference, of course, to condoms.Butthey saw a right to privacy implied and used it to overturn the law.


Another example is Roe V. Wade Co.


Roe was a girl that got herself in trouble.She was in a state where abortion was illegal.She did what many did and got an illegal abortion.She got busted.And was arrested.She fought the law all the way to the supreme court.Once there the supreme court went back to griswold.They said it violated what they saw in the 4th as your right to privacy.††


They struck down the law as unconstitutional.Thereofre, all other laws banning abortion were illegal and no longer valid in everyother state in the country.


------The supreme court interprets the constitution

Ex. Plessy versus Fergesun:Separate but equal.

Ex. Abortion.


-----The supreme court is sometimes in with or against the times

Ex. 14th protects the corporations and forbids unions.

Ex.Dred Scott case


-----The court sometimes changes its mind

Ex. Brown v. the board of education


Section 1 establishes the court system.

Section 2 establishes what kinds of things they may rule on and in which kinds of cases.

Section 3 defines and describes treason.


Article 4: The relations among the states:


section 1 sets the legitimacy of the States.

section 2 (now obsolete) provides for the return of criminals and runaway slaves.

section 3 establishes the laws for creating new states.

Article 5 describes how the constitution may be amended.

Article 6 has three sections:

††††††††††† Section 1 agrees to pay the former state debts.

††††††††††† Section 2 makes the constitution and laws from it are the supreme law.

††††††††††† Section 3 says civil officers must take an oath, but may not be barred due to ††† ††††††††††† religious beliefs.

Article 7 was used only once. It tells how the Constitution is to be ratified.


bill of rights

The Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments:


The first ten of these provide a written guarantee of many oif the rights that British citizens enjoyed and that Americans fought for in the revolutionary war. Weíll look at these later.


We look at the bill of rights.


I give laws and then give a law.The students must write a ten line argument saying :


a - state your position (negative or affirmative)


b - it should stand/not stand because of what could happen


c - Give at least one constitutional reference that indicates whether it is constitutional or it is not constitutional.


Emphasize that congress made these laws.And that I as the president decided to veto it.



This law says that all teachers have to fail at least 25% of their students each year.I veto it.

Does the congress override it?No



The writing of grafitti that advocates the killing of a race or person shall be punishable by 25 years in prison.



This government shall have the right to arrest and hold a person without charging them for anything for up to 20 days.


I veto it.The 5th says I must know what Iím accused of and The 6th says I have the right to a speedy trial.Does the Class override me?



The state shall make it legal to carry any weapon anywhere whether concealed or not.



Kissing and other indecent sexual conduct are banned from public places.

I allow it.



Teachers are now given the right to search and administer corporeal punishment to any student that seems suspicious.



The government will now stop building on all properties where endangeder species might be.




a - Too much power would be in the hands of the people.Are people smart enough to be trusted with power?†† Tell me about the implications of the clean air and water act.Can anyone here name the biggest issues in the last election?


So they made the Senate a small elite elected by the elite.This would happen if the Congress were elected by popular vote.


b - Too much power in the hands of the elites.So they made the house of representatives be a direct voice of the people and have control over money and taxes.This would happen if congress were elected by states only.††



Discuss the 3/5ths compromise.


c - Power imbalance between the states and federal government.

†††††† Page 13 of American National Government


d - too much power for anybody within government.So they created separation of powers andchecks and balances.


The students must COPY PG 135


Separation of powers


Balance of powers

Two possible Non-constitutional possible extra branches of government


#4 The Media-

Not in the constitution.But they control what people talk about.Whose views get access.Whose donít.Not only what is to be discussed, but how.They often said the president was out and a loser. But...


#5 The People-

Let us not forget who elects the Congress and The President.(Not the Supreme Court).††† We have the final check: The vote.If your people vote and noone listens, they are gone.If your interest group doesnít vote, they are ignored.

The students do the Const Qs handout

Bill of rights handouts

We look at the amendments and they do amendments handout.