Salerno's Classroom Celebrates America!

The Living US Constitution

AP Government Summer Assignment
AP Chapters 1,2
AP Chapter 3
AP Chapter 4
AP Chapter 5
AP Chapter 6
AP Chapter 7
AP Chapter 8
AP Chapter 9
AP Chapter 10
AP Chapter 11
AP Chapter 12
AP Chapter 13
AP Chapter 14
AP Chapter 15
AP Chapter 16
U.S. History Chapters 1, 2, 3
U.S. History Chapter 4
U.S. History Chapter 5
U.S. History Chapter 6
U.S. History Chapter 7
U.S. History Chapter 8
U.S. History Chapter 9
U.S. History Chapter 10
U.S. History Chapter 11
U.S. History Chapter 12
U.S. History Chapter 13
U.S. History Chapter 14
U.S. History Chapters 16,17,18
U.S. History Chapters 19,20,21
U.S. History Chapters 22,23
U.S. History Chapters 24,25
U.S. History Chapters 26,27
U.S. History Chapters 28,29,30
U.S. History Chapter 31
U.S. History Chapter 32
U.S. History Chapter 33
US Government Chapters 1,2
US Government Chapter 3
US Government Chapters 10,11,12
US Government Chapters 13,14
US Government Chapter 18
US Govt Chapters 19,20,21
Remembering 9/11/01
The Civil Rights Movement
Economics Chapters 1,2,3
Eco Chapt 9
Eco Chapters 6,7,8
Eco Chapt 13
Eco Chapter 15
Eco Chapt 21


The Constitution - a living Document

Read the Preamble - page 95

The Six Basic Principles of the
U.S. Constitution

1) Popular Sovereignty
2) Limited Government
3) Separation of Powers
4) Checks and Balances
5) Judicial Review
6) Federalism

Powers Delegated or Expressed for the National Government are spelled out in the Constitution. Eg found in Article I
"Congress has the power to tax and to regulate trade".

The National Government has power Implied through interpretation of the Constitution. Eg the Elastic Clause

Powers that are not granted to the Federal Government are Reserved for the States. Eg License Fees

Powers that are held by both are called Concurrent Powers. Eg the building of roads, taxes, courts.

Inherent Powers are retained by the National Government in a world community. Eg A Treaty, acknowledgement of a country.


Article I - The Legislative Branch
Article II - The Executive Branch
Article III- The Judicial Branch

Article IV - The States and the Federal Government

Article V - Method of Amendment

Article VI - General Provisions

Article VII - The Ratification of the Constitution

Amendments - Bill of Rights


Article V

Formally Amending the Constitution

First Method

Proposal: 2/3 Vote in each house
Ratification: 3/4 State legislatures (38 states today) 25 Amendments were adopted this way.

Second Method

Proposal: by Congress
Ratification: by Conventions in 3/4

of the States. Reason : Public Opinion Eg The 21st Amendment (repeal Prohibition)

Third Method

Proposal: by a National Convention called by Congress at the request of 2/3 state legislatures.
Has never happened but an attempt was made at passing a
Balanced Budget Amendment between 1975-89. 32 states asked for a convention to propose the Amendment requiring the Budget Amendment. 34 are needed.

Fourth Method

Proposed at National Convention and Ratified by 3/4 of the states legislatures. The Constitution was adopted this way.

The Amendments

1-10 Bill 0f Rights

13,14,15th Civil War Amendments

15,19,23,24,26 Suffrage

20,22,25 Presidency

Informally Amending the Constitution

1. Basic Legislation
2. Executive Action
3. Court Decisions
4. Party Practice
5. Custom

Marbury v Madison (1803)

Article I - The Legislative Branch

1) House of Representatives
-Based on population
-1 representative = 550,000 people

a) 25 years old
b) citizen for 7 years
c) resident of state or district

Term of Office: 2 Years

435 members of the House - fixed number

states lose or gain Representatives by redistricting and through census

-A decennial census determines the amount of Representatives for each State.

1990 Census - New York -33 2000 - 31
California -54

Their function

1) Legislators - a) make laws
b) introduce laws
c) declare war
d) coin money

2) Committee Members
- serve on committees that propose bills; - spend money
- ways and means
- Finance and ethics

3) Represent their constituents

a) carry out the people's will
b) carry out what they believe in

4) Servants of their Constituents
They look out for those represented

5) Politician
They support the ever changing will of the people. Ignoring them costs votes. They are aware of this and constantly work to be re-elected

Gerrymandering - the re-drawing of district lines for the purpose of absorbing or isolating political districts and strengthening the majority party.

Wesberry v Sanders (1964)
1 man, 1 vote.


2) The Senate - Equal representation from each State (2) Total = 100

Qualifications: a) 30 years old
b) Citizen for 9 years
c) resident

Senators are elected for 6 year terms
Senatorial elections are held every two years with only 33 or 34 seats up for election at a time.

Important functions of the Senate
a) Legislation
b) Approve appointments and Treaties
( advise and consent)

Congressional Powers Summary
1) power to tax
2) control commerce
3) print currency
4) borrow money
5) declare war
6) foreign relations
7) special judicial powers

Article I Section 8 - Elastic Clause

Congress has the power to make laws that are "necessary and proper" to execute its authority

Object of many debates between
"strict and broad" interpretations

Precedents are initial

Clause was established and confirmed by McCulloh v Maryland (1819)
Establishment of a National Bank

Article I Section 9
(Protection and Prevention against an all-powerful government)

Writ of Habeas Corpus
A judge may release anyone who is held without just cause

Bills of Attainder

A Royal practice of pronouncing someone guilty without a trial or eliminating enemies of state

Ex Post Facto Laws
Laws past after crimes were already committed

House of Rep Senate

435 Members 100

2 years Terms 6 years

Districts Constituency State

Younger Age Older

Less Prestige More

Lower Visibility More

Rigid Rules Rules Less

More Committees Less

Strict Floor Rules Less


In the House of Representatives
Debate may last for one hour
- strict regulation.

In the Senate
debate is singular - less committee regulations.

*Filibuster- used in the Senate to talk a Bill to death

A Senate member can hold the floor as long as he does
1)not sit down
2)continues to talk
3)not yield the floor

A Senator, while holding the floor can yield it for
a) a question
b) a point of order
c) personal privilege

The Senate can restrict a member's attempt at a filibuster through
cloture - 3/5 majority needed (60)


Article II - The Executive Branch

The American President

35 Years Old
Citizen - Born in the US
14 years a Resident
Term of Office - 4 Years

Framers of the Constitution were worried about the President becoming a despot.

George Washington shaped the Office of the American President.

Not only was he our first President, Washington's actions would influence Presidents who followed him.

Every action he took was a precedent
He desired a Cabinet to help him with his vast duties. These offices were confirmed by Congress.

Secretary of State - Jefferson
Secretary of the Treasury - Hamilton
Secretary of War - Henry Knox
Attorney General - Edmund Randolf
Postmaster General - Ben Franklin

He did not desire despotic power or titles but could have had them if he wanted them.

Presidential Power
1) Appointment - He can appoint judges, Cabinet Members, Executive Department posts with the approval of the Senate.

2) Administration - The White House Offices and the vast Executive Department Offices; Budget, Security

3) Removal - He has the power to change leadership in Departments

4) Diplomatic - He has the power to make formal treaties with heads of state with the advise and consent of the Senate. He can also make informal agreements.

5) Commander and Chief - He is the civilian head of all armed United States forces.

6) Legislative Powers - sponsor bills that he wants passed in Congress. He is the head of his political party.

7) Judicial Power - he can pardon, give amnesty and they are absolute.


The President is a civilian and is Commander-in-Chief of the military

He has the power to sign bills into law. He may also veto a bill.

He represents the American People and enforces the laws of the nation.

Article III

The Federal Judicial Branch
Of Government

The Supreme Court

To uphold the Constitution and to interpret laws. The Supreme Court has complete power and jurisdiction over Constitutional matters.

This duty of Judicial Review was established through the case

Marbury v Madison (1803)

The Supreme Court's power was established when Chief Justice John Marshall declared the Judiciary Act of 1789 unconstitutional.
John Marshall's opinion was not challenged, therefore it set a precedent.

There are 9 Justices on the High Court. They are appointed by the President with approval of the Senate.
They are appointed for life

Supreme Court Judges write for the
Majority; Concurring Opinions;
Dissenting Opinions.

Landmark Decisions

Fletcher v Peck (1819) - The Court established its power to review state laws

Dartmouth College v Woodward (1819)
States may not pass laws that impair private contracts

McCulloch v Maryland (1819)

Upheld the power of the Federal Government and confirmed the elastic clause

Gibbons v Ogden (1824) - established the broad interpretation of Congressional power over interstate Commerce.

4 - 5000 cases are brought to the Court each year and only about 150 cases are reviewed

A writ of mandamus from the Supreme Court requires a public official to perform certain duties

Ex Parte Milligan
A question of habeus corpus, 1866


The Amendments

1 - 10 Bill of Rights

13,14,15 Civil War Amendments

24,26 Suffrage

20,22,25 Presidency

1st Amendment - Freedom of Speech, religion, press, assembly and petition.

School Prayer
Almighty God , we acknowledge our dependence upon thee, and we beg thy blessings upon us , our parents our teachers and our country

Engle v Vitale (1962)
Justice Hugo Black's decision writing for an 8 - 1 majority,

The establishment clause - "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of a religion..."

"Religion has no place or purpose in the United States". "It is not the business of government to compose official prayers....."

The free exercise clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution prohibits the Government's interference in the free exercise of one's religious beliefs.

Wisconsin v Yoder (1972) The Court ruled that requiring the Amish to attend Public Schools was too excessive. 8 Grade limit.

Schenck v United States (1919)
The Espionage Act of 1917 prohibited anti- American activities during wartime. Schenck mailed prospective draftees a circular claiming that the Draft was unconstitutional and urged resistance to it.

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote the decision saying that freedom of Speech is every ones right, but it does not give you the right to yell fire in a crowded movie theater. Freedom of Speech is not absolute!

*Obscenity - Mailing and selling Adult Books etc...

Miller v California (1973)
The Supreme Court defines obscenity
1) tends to excite lust
2)sexually offensive contact
3)lacks any artistic value

Barnes v Glen Theater (1991)
*Indiana's G -String Law
banning nude dancing

2nd Amendment - The right to bear arms

3rd Amendment - Restricts the Government's right to Quarter

4th Amendment - The right to be secure in your person and prohibiting unreasonable search and seizures.
Provides protection against
writs of assistance(blanket search warrants) however

United States v Santana(1976)
upholds law enforcement's right of
hot pursuit and to enter without a search warrant. Police officers have to prove they had Probable Cause.

5th Amendment -
The right to silence and protection from self-incrimination
Protects against ignorance of law and allows the accused to be silent.
Miranda v Arizona (1966)
Ernesto Miranda the, accused did not understand his rights. (he was mentally challenged)
This prompted the Miranda Rule

1. You have the right to remain silent
2. Anything you say may be used against you in court
3. You have a right to consul and a right to have him present during questioning
4. If you cannot afford an attorney, one can be provided
5. Do you understand ?
6. You can waive consul and stop questioning at any time.

6th Amendment - the right to consul in criminal cases and a public, speedy trial...
The accused must be given a fair and speedy trial.

Gideon v Wainright (1963) The state must provide a lawyer for those who cannot afford one.

7th Amendment - Trial by Jury in civil cases.

8th Amendment - Excess bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.
The Amendment protects against cruel punishment. Wilkerson v Utah (1879)
a territorial court sentenced a convicted murderer to the firing squad. He appealed to the Supreme Court who held that punishment was not in violation of the Constitution. The Constitution was fashioned to protect us against cruel punishments such as crucifixions, burning at the stake.

On bail and preventive detention
United States v Salerno (1987) the court ruled that preventing bail to an accused person who is capable of committing other crimes while released was Constitutional.

9th Amendment - Un-enumerated Rights.
The Amendments were not the only rights of the people. Sometimes rights are not spelled out.

10th Amendment - Powers reserved to the States. Powers not given to the Federal Government in the Constitution, remaining with the states or with the people.

14th Amendment - Equal protection under the law; Due Process Clause

Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment and its equal protection guarantees the Bill of Rights.

Roe v Wade (1973)
Test of 9th and 14th Amendments

Texas law prohibited legal abortions except to save a mother's life. Supreme Court found this unconstitutional. Its ruling is divided into 3 parts.

1)During the first tri-mester of pregnancy a state must recognize a women's right to choose and cannot interfere with any medical decision.

2) A state in the second trimester may regulate but not prohibit the procedure.
3) State may regulate except when saving the life of a mother.

Since 1973, parts 2 and 3 have been struck down with no more federal funds for abortions, clinical advice,

2nd tri-mester and under age abortions with parental consent.

Civil Rights

Racial Segregation - Jim Crow Laws
- Grandfather Clause
Plessy v Ferguson (1896)

de-segregation process
Brown v Board of Ed.(1954)
-Civil Rights Act of 1964
-Voting Rights Act of 1965

Affirmative Action - ending the effects of past discrimination by favoring minorities-- Quotas

Backlash - Un. of Cal v Bakke (1978)
Bakke sued on the grounds of reverse discrimination
Supreme Court ruled 5- 4 that quota systems violated The Civil Rights Act of 1964

Supreme Court ruled again that affirmative action plans are legal and not in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as long as no rigid quotas are involved

US Steel v Weber(1979)
Quota System in private enterprise
Weber sued for reverse discrimination of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Supreme Court ruled 5 - 2
Quotas are legal in private business as long as the Federal Govt is not involved.