Seth Hollist's treatise on The US Constitution
Comments and Meaning of the Constitution and Amendments
by Seth Hollist
Copyright © Rotisory Foundation 2003-2012
- 1 Desired Modifications
- 2 Historical Information
- 3 Layout
- 4 Preamble
- 5 Article I
- 5.1 A.I. - Section I
- 5.2 A.I. - Section II
- 5.3 A.I. - Section III
- 5.4 A.I. - Section IV
- 5.5 A.I. - Section V
- 5.6 A.I. - Section VI
- 5.7 A.I. - Section VII
- 5.8 A.I. - Section VIII
- 5.8.1 A.I. S.VIII. - Clause I
- 5.8.2 A.I. S.VIII. - Clause II
- 5.8.3 A.I. S.VIII. - Clause III
- 5.8.4 A.I. S.VIII. - Clause IV
- 5.8.5 A.I. S.VIII. - Clause V
- 5.8.6 A.I. S.VIII. - Clause VI
- 5.8.7 A.I. S.VIII. - Clause VII
- 5.8.8 A.I. S.VIII. - Clause VIII
- 5.8.9 A.I. S.VIII. - Clause IX
- 5.8.10 A.I. S.VIII. - Clause X
- 5.8.11 A.I. S.VIII. - Clause XI
- 5.8.12 A.I. S.VIII. - Clause XII
- 5.8.13 A.I. S.VIII. - Clause XIII
- 5.8.14 A.I. S.VIII. - Clause XIV
- 5.8.15 A.I. S.VIII. - Clause XV
- 5.8.16 A.I. S.VIII. - Clause XVI
- 5.8.17 A.I. S.VIII. - Clause XVII
- 5.8.18 A.I. S.VIII. - Clause XVIII
- 5.9 A.I. - Section IX
- 5.10 A.I. - Section X
- 6 Article II
- 6.1 A.II. - Section I
- 6.2 A.II. - Section II
- 6.3 A.II. - Section III
- 6.4 A.II. - Section IV
- 7 Article III
- 8 Article IV
- 9 Article V
- 10 Article VI
- 11 Article VII
- 12 Amendments
- 12.1 The Bill of Rights
- 12.2 The 1st 100 years
- 12.3 The 20th Century
- 12.3.1 Amendment XVI
- 12.3.2 Amendment XVII
- 12.3.3 Amendment XVIII
- 12.3.4 Amendment XIX
- 12.3.5 Amendment XX
- 12.3.6 Amendment XXI
- 12.3.7 Amendment XXII
- 12.3.8 Amendment XXIII
- 12.3.9 Amendment XXIV
- 12.3.10 Amendment XXV
- 12.3.11 Amendment XXVI
- 12.3.12 Amendment XXVII
As any good document should have an opening statement - the constitution for example - I feel inclined to do likewise. The opening defines the reasoning and need for the document, and can also aid in better understanding it's meanings, purpose, and proper interpretation.
This is my personal attempt at explaining what the Constitution was designed to do, and to help others better understand the meaning originally intended by our founding fathers, and those who have created amendments to it. This interpretation was originally started in 2003, and continually worked on threw to 2012 (and likely beyond).
"Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government." - James Madison
The Constitution has been interpreted many times in many ways, and I feel that more often then not, the original intended meaning is forgotten. I feel that to truly understand the Constitution, one must understand the original intent and philosophies of the Founding Fathers; however, there are some who feel that in order to "keep up with the times" we must look at The Constitution as a living breathing document. Although there is an amendment process to allow for modification to the Constitution, I feel that beyond this it is dangerous to allow free interpretation of the document as it changes the original meaning and intent; essentially changing the document without following it's only allowed process for updates.
If you think of it as the foundation of our country, and compare it to the foundation of a house, how well do you think your house would hold up if its foundation was "living and breathing" or in other words constantly changing. How long do you think your house would remain standing? It would in fact eventually be transformed into something it is not (or fall all together), and in comparison, so will the United States of America if we do not stick - with great integrity - to the principles, and ideals it was established with. Today we continue to prop up unconstitutional portions of our government as they begin to crack and fall apart; because they are build beyond the foundations of the constitution, and eventually will either force a change the foundation or risk the destruction of the foundation; while the whole house falls down around us. This is why I believe the most important decision to base who to elect as our government officials, and public servants, is to the integrity of the person, because despite there personal beliefs or desires they will be compelled to hold true to the foundational rules of our government and remain true to the promises they made and were elected on.
This is not to say that we should take every personal opinion of every founding father and try to apply it to the constitution, as that would result in confusion and misinterpretation as well. The founding fathers certainly had their disagreements, but they were able to work threw them and come up with a form of government that they all knew would serve this country well, so long as the people held true to it's principles. This is why I always say that it's important for us to debate the issues, as this is how the founders took their individual ideas and turned them into new and better ideas that formed the U.S. Constitution. This is also why its important for us to be able to disagree, without being disagreeable. Certainly some of the constitutional framers could be seen as mortal enemies, but despite their disagreements, they were able to work together.
As we the people continue to deviate and divide ourselves from the moral and principled foundations of our country, we will undoubtedly divide and fall as a nation. This is also why a three-fourths majority is so necessary for constitutional amendments. A simple majority could cause a definite split in the country and force the rest of us into compliance with undesirable laws; however, a super majority insures that the rights as freedoms of the minority are not trampled on. As long as we continue to agree to follow the set rules or principles of our government, we can disagree on many things - allowing each to peruse their own happiness - while still being united as a Nation and clear about the proper course of action to take as a nation. Unfortunately today we have allowed ourselves to do what George Washington warned us against in his Farewell Address and have given our loyalty to "factions" that have gained power based on a simple majority; instead of maintaining the Republic (rule of law) to protect everyone's freedom and liberty.
Another belief of mine is that people should have the right to think and do what ever they wish (the basic meaning of freedom) as long as it doesn't interfere with the rights of others to do the same; today this is often refereed to as being a libertarian. This is an idea I believe the founding fathers attempted to incorporate into the constitution. As such I also believe that if the Constitution doesn't specifically mention something, it wasn't intended for the Federal Government to regulate, control, or ensure, but rather to be left up to the States (see Amendments 9 and 10 for more details) or left to the people to care for on their own. This idea can also be seen when studying many of the founding fathers who went back to there individual states and setup schools, and other types of social programs that they know were not the responsibility of the Federal government. There were however some Founding Fathers who wished the Federal Government to be more powerful with more centralized control, but history has show that when such powers are centrally amassed it creates many problems and has no place in a nation that believes in freedom and liberty. Fortunately for us, the Bill of Rights was formulated, passed, and most of it ratified to curtail a powerful centralized government.
This document should not be seen as a desire to change the U.S. constitution nor dismiss the God inspired genius of the original authors nor the founders of the U.S.A. This document is merely an exercise to help me, Seth Hollist, to better understand the U.S. Federal Government, the U.S. Constitution, and where we as a nation have violated and/or molested this great document.
The main modifications I'd consider - after much contemplation and debate - getting into the existing U.S. Constitution, through the defined process of amending as outlined within the constitution, are compiled together within what I call The Clean Slate and Proper Representation Amendment.
In May 1785, a committee of Congress made a report recommending an alteration in the Articles of Confederation, but no action was taken on it, and it was left to the State Legislatures to proceed in the matter. In January 1786, the Legislature of Virginia passed a resolution providing for the appointment of five commissioners, who, or any three of them, should meet such commissioners as might be appointed in the other States of the Union, at a time and place to be agreed upon, to take into consideration the trade of the United States; to consider how far a uniform system in their commercial regulations may be necessary to their common interest and their permanent harmony; and to report to the several States such an act, relative to this great object, as, when ratified by them, will enable the United States in Congress effectually to provide for the same.
The Virginia commissioners, after some correspondence, fixed the first Monday in September as the time, and the city of Annapolis as the place for the meeting, but only four other States were represented, viz: Delaware, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania; the commissioners appointed by Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Rhode Island failed to attend. Under the circumstances of so partial a representation, the commissioners present agreed upon a report, (drawn by Mr. Hamilton, of New York,) expressing their unanimous conviction that it might essentially tend to advance the interests of the Union if the States by which they were respectively delegated would concur, and use their endeavors to procure the concurrence of the other States, in the appointment of commissioners to meet at Philadelphia on the Second Monday of May following, to take into consideration the situation of the United States; to devise such further provisions as should appear to them necessary to render the Constitution of the Federal Government adequate to the exigencies of the Union; and to report such an act for that purpose to the United States in Congress assembled as, when agreed to by them and afterwards confirmed by the Legislatures of every State, would effectually provide for the same.
Congress, on the 21st of February, 1787, adopted a resolution in favor of a convention, and the Legislatures of those States which had not already done so (with the exception of Rhode Island) promptly appointed delegates. On the 25th of May, seven States having convened, George Washington, of Virginia, was unanimously elected President, and the consideration of the proposed constitution was commenced.
On the 17th of September, 1787, the Constitution as engrossed and agreed upon was signed by all the members present, except Mr. Gerry of Massachusetts, and Messrs. Mason and Randolph, of Virginia. The president of the convention transmitted it to Congress, with a resolution stating how the proposed Federal Government should be put in operation, and an explanatory letter.
Congress, on the 28th of September, 1787, directed the Constitution so framed, with the resolutions and letter concerning the same, to "be transmitted to the several Legislatures in order to be submitted to a convention of delegates chosen in each State by the people thereof, in conformity to the resolves of the convention." On the 4th of March, 1789, the day which had been fixed for commencing the operations of Government under the new Constitution, it had been ratified by the conventions chosen in each State to consider it, as follows:
Delaware, December 7, 1787 Pennsylvania, December 12, 1787 New Jersey, December 18, 1787 Georgia, January 2, 1788 Connecticut, January 9, 1788 Massachusetts, February 6, 1788 Maryland, April 28, 1788 South Carolina, May 23, 1788 New Hampshire, June 21, 1788 - Completing the ratification Virginia, June 25, 1788 New York, July 26, 1788.
The President informed Congress, on the 28th of January, 1790, that North Carolina had ratified the Constitution on November 21, 1789; and he informed Congress on the 1st of June, 1790, that Rhode Island had ratified the Constitution on May 29, 1790. Vermont, in convention, ratified the Constitution January 10, 1791, and was, by an act of Congress approved February 18, 1791, "received and admitted into this Union as a new and entire member of the United States."
|The first column contains The Constitution of the United States of America as it stands today. Words marked in
Note: that all the removals and additions were done thru amendments, however the amendments themselves are not marked in any special color.
|The second column contains, as to the best of my knowledge and belief, the original meaning and intent of the constitution. I've put each column side by side to help better aid in reading my comments on each section on The Constitution. I suggest reading the corresponding part in the constitution before reading my comments on it. A basic understanding of the Government of the United States of America may also be helpful.
If you wish to reply to my comments about this document you may do so by submitting your comments at: Seth.Hollist.org
|The third column is were I re-wright the constitution in today's common dialect (since we've corrupted our language so much in the last 220+ years), and considering the problems of the last century (since we've corrupted our government so much), I add a few things - marked in blue - I believe would help clarify and further solidify the intent, meaning, roll and function of the Federal Government; essentially, to do what some have suggested we need to do: throw out the old and busted and replace it with "new enlightenment".
Don't get me wrong though, while I'm all for making the world a better place, and allowing things to "progress" (though I'm not a "Progressive" by any means), I'm in favor for upholding the original constitution, and most of it's amendments. I also believe the Declaration of Independence, is the moral grounds for the existence of the U.S.A. and thus the US Constitution, and that there are "certain unalienable Rights" given to every man by our creator (whether to you that means God, Allah, or Nature is of no consequence here). Their are natural laws and principles that when ignored lead to despair and destruction, but when applied properly lead to prosperity for all. As such I've incorporated aspects of the Declaration of Independence into my new "enlightened" version.
|We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.||Just as I said before, any good document should have an opening statement, so does The Constitution of the United States of America.
Basically, it tells us that it's attempting to set up some basic rules and standards by which the people of the U.S. of A. can and should expect the Federal Government to abide by.
The most important part of this paragraph are the first three words. It is a very bold statement signifying that the government is by the people, for the people, and of the people. This is both good and bad. Good because it lets the people stay in control. Bad because when people become lazy and complacent, they end up being controlled by the few who are power hungry and/or have their own special interests at hart.
Many people like to blame the government for problems, but as we can see here the blame is truly on the people who put, or failed to put, their respective representatives into office.
Another interesting part of this preamble is the word "America". At the time of the Constitution's drafting, there was an expectation of expansion throughout Northern America, but today the United States has one state and many territories that do not reside in either of the American continents. Most notably, Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, and even some parts of the Bahamas. We even had claim to the Philippines for a short time after WWII, and over 900 bases around the world. So in reality the United States has actually become more of a World organization of Federated States.
|We the People of Earth, in order to form a more unified, free, and peaceful World, establish justice, promote domestic tranquility and encourage general welfare and the pursuit of happiness, provide for a common surety and defense, and secure the blessings of freedom, life and liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this The United World Government Constitution for the Planet Earth.|
Establishes the Congressional branch of the government, along with it's basic composition, purpose, and duties
A.I. - Section I
Congress Makes all the Laws, and is separated into two bodies known as houses.
|All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.||Establishes the Congressional branch, gives it law making powers, and breaks it up into two governing bodies. These two separate bodies gives congress it's own internal check and balance, and makes the representation of smaller states move evenly matched with the larger ones while still allowing for more even representation of the general populace.
The two branches were created through what was called "The Great Compromise" Some wanted Congress to have the same representation from each state, were others wanted even representative of the general populace. The compromise created the House to represent the people, and the Senators to represent their respective state's government.
I prefer to see it not as a "Compromise", but as two different ideas being brought together to create an even better idea.
|All powers to create, change, and remove laws related to the government created under this constitution are to be exclusively held by Congress, which shall consist of a Senate - to represent the many states - and - to represent their neighbors and the people - a House of Representatives.|
A.I. - Section II
Defining the House of Representatives.
A.I. S.II. - Clause I
|The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay poll tax or other tax.
The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
|Defines the manner of elections of the house and sets minimal standards for those elections, but leaves it up to the states to decide how to carry out the elections. This allows the states to define the representative districts of the state, and leaves it up to the people of the state to decide who they want to represent them. The 19th, 24th, and 26th Amendments set additional standard related to voters.
Also see Section 2 of Amendment 14.
These amendments came about due to movements like the Women's Liberation, The Civil War, and as a deterrent to Jim Crow laws. The age limitation came about because people felt that if an 18 year old can fight and die for our country, they were old enough to vote.
|The House of Representatives shall be chosen by the people of their respective states, every second year, through an elections processes that has the same qualifications required for elections of the largest branch of the respective state's legislature.
The right of citizens of the United States, who are at least eighteen years of age or older, to vote in any election related to the selection of public officers of any government within their jurisdiction or district shall not be denied, abridged, taxed, or restricted in any way by the United States or by any State or other government for any reason; except if the person was convicted of rebellion, or a crime for which their sentence was or is death or imprisonment in excess of one year. This shall not prevent the states from requiring elections processes that help insure the integrity of the vote.
A.I. S.II. - Clause II
|No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty-one years of age, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.||Gives age and citizenship requirements, and also requires the elected officials to move out of the state they represent. I believe this was to insure they move to the nations capital so they can perform their duties.||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.II. - Clause III
|Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers,
||Defines how many representatives each state will have. Originally slaves ("all other persons") were valued at three fifths (3/5) of a person. It also establishes the need for the sensuous law that require us all to check in at the beginning of each decade. This then determines the representation (and for the last century, federal support) each state is entitled to. It also defined the initial representation of the original 13 states in the union.
The Highlighted potion was modified by section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment which abolished slavery, and has also been affected as to taxes on incomes without apportionment by Amendment 16.
It's also interesting to note that it suggests a ratio of one representative per thirty thousand people, and yet today this ratio is closer to one per Six-hundred thousand people per representative; because since 1964, there has been a limit set of only 538 members of Congress. It's no wonder so many people this day feel disenfranchised as their representatives just aren't as close to home as they used to be. Unfortunately this clause is worded such that it's easy to suggest that 30,000 people is the minimum requirement per Representative, but with no set maximum. This makes it harder for the average person to raise the funds necessary to reach nearly a million people just to get their name well enough known to take them into consideration.
A.I. S.II. - Clause IV
|When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.||Basically says that vacancies should be field as soon as possible, through an election under the direction of the respective states executive branch.||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.II. - Clause V
|The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.||This tells the House it should pick one of them to be the head, or speaker as well to pick others to fill other roles and offices within the house. It also gives the House the power to Impeach. This Impeachment power is just one of the checks and balances, and this one in particular has been used as a check to make sure the Executive branch does it's job appropriately.||My Re-wright|
A.I. - Section III
Defines the Senate.
A.I. S.III. - Clause I
|The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State,
||Gives state gets two senators, and defines how they should be elected. The Highlighted potion was modified by the 17th amendment. Because of amendment 16 (Federal Income Tax) our government leaders felt it only proper to let the people elect the senators and also passed the 17th amendment (No Taxation without Representation). What most people don't realize is that these two amendments were also necessary to for the Federal Reserve Act (pass around the same time) to work the way it does today, which allowed the creation of our current monetary system. If you wish to know more about how this all works together, from a conspiratorial point of view, you'll want to check out a book called The Creature from Jecklle Island by G. Edward Griffin.||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.III. - Clause II
|Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the second Year, of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be chosen every second Year;
||Creates a staggered election cycle within the senate. This insures that only a maximum of 1/3 of the senate is replaced every two years. It also give direction as to how to handle vacancies. As with clause 1, The highlighted potion was modified by the 17th amendment.||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.III. - Clause III
|No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.||Sets age and citizenship limits, as well as residency requirements similar to that of the House.||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.III. - Clause IV
|The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.||Defines the role of the Vice President within the the Senate, and gives the Vice President a tie breaker vote in cases of a tie within the senate. This is is also another Check and Balance within the Federal Government because it allows the Executive branch to have some say, although limited, as to the happenings within the Senate.||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.III. - Clause V
|The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.||Tells the Senate to elect a second in command to the Vice President, called a "President pro tempore" who is also Third in line to the Presidentcy. It also says the Senate should have other Officers just as with the House. These other Officers, are know today as heads of committees, and other such things, as defined by the Senate's own rules.
This clause has also been affected, but not modified, by section 3 of the 20h amendment, which provides guidelines for cases when the President Elect is unable to take office.
A.I. S.III. - Clause VI
|The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.||Gives the Senate to power to review all Impeachments put forth by the House through a trial headed up by the Chief Justice. It also states that 2/3 of the Senate are required for Conviction. In other words when the House Impeaches someone, what is really happening is that the government officer is being put on trial before the Chief Justice with the Senate being the Jury.||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.III. - Clause VII
|Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law.||limits the extent of an impeachment, and that a separate trial is required to hold the impeached person liable to criminal law based upon the law.
Amendment 20 also provides additional guidelines for the succession of the office of President.
A.I. - Section IV
Election rules for Congress.
A.I. S.IV. - Clause I
|The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.||Gives the States the right to determine how best to elect there respective members of congress; however, it also gives Congress the right to make laws that regulate the states in this matter. Amendment 20, section 1 affects this clause by requiring all Senators and Representatives have their terms end of the 3rd of January.||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.IV. - Clause II
|The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall
||Defines when Congress should meet; however, it gives Congress the ability to change the date. Amendment 20, section 2 changed the default date and time when Congress meets.||My Re-wright|
A.I. - Section V
Gives the House and the Senate the ability to govern themselves as they see fit. Also referred to as the Rules of Order.
A.I. S.V. - Clause I
|Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.||Give each of the two separate Houses in Congress the ability to determine the validity of the elections and qualifications, as well as dismiss from office, of each of it's members. It also requires a majority to be present in order to do business, as well as allowing for members to basically take time off to attend to other business. It also allows for each house to determine penalties for to those who are absent when they shouldn't be.||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.V. - Clause II
|Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.||Gives each house the ability to wright the rules by which they function, as well as punishments for those who don't follow the rules. It also states that 2/3 of the house is required to remove one of it's own members from office.||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.V. - Clause III
|Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.||Sets up the requirements for making available to the public, the proceedings of each House, but also allows for some secrecy.||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.V. - Clause IV
|Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.||Puts more limitations on when and were they can meet and adjourn.||My Re-wright|
A.I. - Section VI
Defines the rights and privileges of being a member of congress; including payment for serving.
A.I. S.VI. - Clause I
|The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.||Gives members of congress compensation for their services. It also gives them immunity from the law while performing their duties in congressional sessions, and when coming, or going from a session.
This Clause is affected by amendment XXVII, that was part of the original "Bill of Rights", but wasn't ratified until 1992. It prevents Congress from having a raise take affect without first allowing the the next election cycle to take place.
A.I. S.VI. - Clause II
|No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been encreased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.||Restricts members of congress from serving in any other public office.||My Re-wright|
A.I. - Section VII
Gives guidelines for creating laws.
A.I. S.VII. - Clause I
|All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.||Gives the house soul responsibility for the governments income, but allows the Senate to give some input.||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.VII. - Clause II
|Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States: If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.||Gives requirements for a bill to become law, and also gives a check and balance between the congressional and the Executive branches of the government. Basically both houses and the President must approve a bill for it to become law. The president can reject a bill, but congress can still pass it with 2/3's approval despite what the president does. It also gives time limits, and other stipulations that can default the bill into becoming law, or to be rejected.||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.VII. - Clause III
|Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.||Basically says that if both houses have to approve something, other then adjournment, so does the president, and with rules similar to those in clause 2.||My Re-wright|
A.I. - Section VIII
Defines what powers congress has; commonly known as the "Enumerated Powers".
According to the 10th amendment, Congress is restricted to passing laws directly related to the powers appearing in this section, or specifically granted within constitutional amendments.
A.I. S.VIII. - Clause I
|The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;||Congress has the power of taxation, but with the stipulation that any collected taxes have to be used for the "general Welfare of the United States". It also says that all taxation much be uniform for the Nation as a whole; in other words no favoritism or special discounts to encourage certain social behaviors.
The Sixteenth Amendment has some affect on this clause, giving Congress additional leeway and authority to tax.
A.I. S.VIII. - Clause II
|To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;||Allows the U.S. of A. to go into dept. I personally wish it further defined that it could only go into dept for a few specific reasons, such as during times of war.||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.VIII. - Clause III
|To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;||Mean that congress can make laws, collect taxes, and other such things to control and regulate the transfer of good between nations, between states, and with what today we call "Native Americans."||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.VIII. - Clause IV
|To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;||This gives congress the right to create Naturalization (becoming a citizen), and Bankruptcy laws.||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.VIII. - Clause V
|To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;||I find this to be rather interesting because in my opinion regulating the value of money is in opposition to natural laws; however, it can also be interpreted as simply meaning they can say that a quarter is worth 1/4 of a dollar and a dollar is worth so many grains of gold, but then determining how that relates to foreign currencies can get rather complicated (and very anti-free marketish) especially if either or both currencies are not backed by the same thing such as gold (or GDP in most of today's world). Making a set of Weights and Measures is certainly important as well, but again I think the world wide scientific community had done a better job on making such standards on it's own; for some reason we are one of the few countries that haven't adopted those standards.
One interesting thing to note about this clause is the economic disaster the Colonies were experiencing during the 1780's due to the massive amounts of paper money being printed by each colony (also known as Fiat Money), and the extraordinary Inflation it was causing. Although this was the means by which the revolutionary war was funded, it certainly was a rather big problem that required fixing. With the new Congress in charge of money, and the individual stats no longer allowed to have any control over it, and the fact that they backed the money with gold and silver, there was a rather quick and amazing economic recovery that also allow the U.S. of A. to move itself to the head of the class when it came to world wide economic power. Unfortunately by 1913 these lessons were long forgotten as we can see from the unconstitutional Federal Reserve Act that took the money making and regulation powers away from Congress (same year the 16th and 17th amendments were past). Still, the U.S. was growing in power and economic influence, until 1971 when Nixon decided to stop honoring Dollars with Gold that we've seen real inflation around the value of the Dollar.
A.I. S.VIII. - Clause VI
|To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;||Basically allows them to make laws to determine punishment and enforcement the previous clause.||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.VIII. - Clause VII
|To establish Post Offices and post Roads;||Gives congress the right to create the United States Post Office, and to build roads.
The interstate road system, in my opinion is one of the best things the U.S. congress ever sanctioned. The building of the roads them selves didn't provide much economic stability it's self but was more of an economic enabler in that it allowed people and goods to be moved all across the country.
A.I. S.VIII. - Clause VIII
|To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;||This is the basis behind copy right protections. Originally the idea was to allow the free exchange of ideas and the sharing of talents without the worries of other taking credit for something they did not do. Unfortunately today it has gone way beyond that to the point of restricting the free exchange of ideas and sharing of talents in the name of profit and greed. Fortunately some groups such as the Free Software Foundation are getting laws passed that enable people to freely share their work in the spirit of collaboration.||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.VIII. - Clause IX
|To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;||Basically allows congress to make lower courts, or as we know them today, as District Courts.||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.VIII. - Clause X
|To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;||Gives congress the ability to define punishment for things that happen outside of the Territorial limits of the U.S. of A., but implies that they are somehow still under the jurisdiction of the U.S. of A. (such as military ships, or other such things under a US charter).||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.VIII. - Clause XI
|To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;||Allows congress to define the art of war, and causes the President to get permission to go to war even though he is in charge of the armed forces. This is another check and Balance within the constitution.||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.VIII. - Clause XII
|To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;||Give congress the responsibility to insure our armed forces are properly funded, but also restricts that funding to a two year period. This basically means that at least every two years the armed forces have to come back to congress for more money.||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.VIII. - Clause XIII
|To provide and maintain a Navy;||This is just a further definition of the responsibilities congress has toward our armed forces.||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.VIII. - Clause XIV
|To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;||Even though the President is the Head of the Armed forces, it's up to Congress to define and regulate the armed forces.||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.VIII. - Clause XV
|To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;||This is one of the many justifications given for the Civil War, as it allows congress to send the Armed forces into areas of the nation that are becoming unlawful. It also says the Armed forces should be used to secure the nation from invasion; meaning President Bush's orders to use the National Guard to help protect the boarder from illegal immigration could be considered not only constitutionally sound, but constitutionally required.||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.VIII. - Clause XVI
|To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;||Congress is also responsible for the Militia, which back then was essentially any able bodied civilian. This clause however makes a case for a more formalized civilian force, such as the National Guard, as well as individual state "Militia".||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.VIII. - Clause XVII
|To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;--And||Gives congress the right to secure property to be used for its needs, but also restricts the property to a total size of ten square miles. Somehow Congress has gotten around this, as much of our land today is controlled by Congress in the form of national parks, reserves, federal buildings, and other government buildings.||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.VIII. - Clause XVIII
|To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.||This basically says that if it's not written in the constitution, congress will have to figure out how to do it themselves, and I'd say they have been more then successful in creating many laws over the many decades and centuries they have been in operation.
If you ask me, we have too many laws to the point were most people don't know or understand them, and in some cases don't care either. It certainly takes a life long endeavor full of specialization to understand even some of it. In other words, this clause has certainly been abused, and in some ways may be in direct conflict to the ninth and tenth amendments.
A.I. - Section IX
This section can be rather vague unless you understand some terminology that I'll do my best to explain below. It essentially is a list of things congress is forbidden to pass into law.
Basically this section deals a lot with, and is derived from, civil liberties that were denied the colonies under the rule of the Kind of England; along with issues of export/import taxes and the regulation of trade.
A.I. S.IX. - Clause I
|The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.||Refers to states allowing Immigration previous to the formation of the Federal Government, and a tax that can be placed on them, to continue; however it also states that this allowance to the states will end in 1808, after which it is up to Congress to make such laws.||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.IX. - Clause II
|The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.||A Writ of Habeas Corpus is basically the right to make an inquiry into the lawfulness of the restraining of a person who is imprisoned or detained. Habeas Corpus basically means "you have the body" and in this case is designed to prevent people from being held unlawfully without cause.
This clause basically allows for a judicial mandate to a prison official ordering them to bring an inmate to court so it can be determined if the person is imprisoned lawfully, and if not to have them released. The petition must show that the court ordering the detention made a legal or factual error, and are usually filed by those in prison, but can also be filed by others that fill someone is being held unlawfully, or even by parents who have been denied custody of a child.
One of the big items of debate around the Patriot Act was dealing with the ability of the police to detain a suspect for a few days without reason, calling it unconstitutional. However, this clause is clear that in there are cases were it can be suspented. The real problem then with the Patriot Act is that there is no prevision for it to be discontinued.
A.I. S.IX. - Clause III
|No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.||Bills of Attainder or ex post facto Law are forbidden, but understanding what that means can be a challenge.
Attainder is basically when someone or something is condemned or outlawed, and ex post facto is something done to or by an after act. If it still seems confusing, that's understandable.
Basically this prevents congress from passing laws that condemn/confiscate someone/something with out a trial, or after the fact. In other words it criminalizing conduct that was not a crime when it was committed in a retroactive fashion. For example, if you do something that's perfectly legal now, and then congress passes a law against it, they cannot make that law retroactive back to when you committed what would now be considered a crime. This can also be interpreted to include property rights, and other civil liberties, but unfortunately there are now many laws, and court cases that allow these kinds of things to happen.
The other side of this is when someone who is convicted of a crime, is latter released because the law that make it a crime is retroactively revoked. Of course you'll probably have a hard time finding anyway who would complain about this, but it could be argued that this is also unconstitutional.
There is a "Bill Of Attainder Project" which is a civil liberties group started in Oklahoma, started and lead by Thomas M. Saunders who is a Certified Linguist, and who has put extensive research into this matter ( see: http://www.isc-durant.com/tom/billofattainder/ ). They are dedicated to having the phrase, "Bill of Attainder" defined in the law as: "A law or legal device which outlaws people, suspends their civil rights, confiscates their property, punishes or puts people to death without a trial." This Basically means that states cannot plunder life, liberty, civil rights, or property. Rather they must allow for due process to occur, or basically a judge and/or jury to convict the person based on un-biased laws.
A.I. S.IX. - Clause IV
|This comes from the idea of no taxation without representation. This idea came from the King of England putting taxes on the colonies even through they had no representation in the Parliament.
This section was all but repealed by Amendment XVI. Although it doesn't right out say it's repealed, in practice it essentially has been thanks to income taxes on individuals, businesses, corporations, and other entities alike. Even non-profit organizations can be taxed in some situations, and their tax-exempt status is always up for grabs any time Congress is in session.
The Tax laws today are changed almost constantly and have become some complex that many have argued that they violate Clause III of this very same section, nor could it satisfy Clause II as it requires the ability to explain why a person is being prosecuted. It might also be considered constitutionally immoral for laws to be so complex so that a person cannot possibly be expected to know how to comply with them without employing the services of an expert; just as Amendment VI requires the court to appoint an attorney to someone being prosecuted, or Amendment VIII restricts excessive punishment, or Amendment V that requires due process of law and just compensation for taking property from someone, or Amendment IV that put restrictions on searches and seizures. All of which, especially when put together, and compared to the extremely complex and often contradictory Tax laws we have today, at the very least creates a very gray area of constitutionality of today's Federal income tax laws.
A.I. S.IX. - Clause V
|No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.||Prevents taxes on interstate commerce (except that they still do indirectly thanks to Corporate income taxes, and sales taxes).||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.IX. - Clause VI
|No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another; nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.||Puts further restriction on the regulation of interstate commerce, and is meant to insure fairness between states (Someone should have reminded the North of this before the south tried to succeed over issues related to taxes on cotton - and yes, slavery had it's roll in it too, but other countries were able to abolish slavery without starting a civil war over it).||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.IX. - Clause VII
|No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.||Restricts congress from using U.S. Treasury money without first passing a law, and accounting for it's use. It also requires that congress make it's financial records available to the public. I'm personally not sure they do a very good job at this one; especially since the Federal Reserve was created, and other bureaucracies doing their own thing.||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.IX. - Clause VIII
|No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.||This Insures that nobody is given titles of nobility by the United States in an effort to prevent any Kings or other royalty from popping up with the United States Government. It also requires certain people to ask for permission first before allow them to be give such a title.
I wonder if this will have to be repealed when Christ comes to Reign as king over the earth...
A.I. - Section X
Puts limitations on the States for things that are meant to be under the power of congress
A.I. S.X. - Clause I
|No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.||Restricts the states from participating in international affairs, getting loans, requires them to pay Debts with nothing other then gold and silver (which excludes our current money system - meaning Federal Reserve Notes - so that basically states cannot financially function today without being unconstitutional thanks to the Federal Reserve Act of 1913), to make laws that impaired the ability to fulfill contracts, or to give Titles of Nobility. It also mentions restrictions on Bills of Attainder and ex post facto Law which I explained above in Article I, Section IX, Clause III, as these same restriction were placed on congress.||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.X. - Clause II
|No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it's inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.||Basically gives congress the right to control taxes put on imports and exports, unless they give permission to the state, but allows the state to collect import/export taxes for the soul purpose of funding inspections on imports/exports, but requires that any excess after paying for these inspections is to be given to the U.S. Treasury.||My Re-wright|
A.I. S.X. - Clause III
|No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.||Further restricts the ability to states to impose taxes, as well as restricting them from possessing items of war during times of peace (contrary to the idea of having State run Militias - possibly suggesting a 2nd amendment override or more likely a misunderstanding of what the 2nd amendment is really about; personal freedom). It also keeps states from making alliances with other states or countries, or engaging in war except in cases of self defense.
This clause can be interpreted as reason for the unlawfulness of the confederate army during the Civil War, and thus gives the justification for the civil war; however, this idea only holds up if you consider cessation from the union to also be unlawful.
Sets up the Executive Branch of the Government, or basically the President and Vice President.
A.II. - Section I
Defines the requirements for eligibility and election of the executive branch.
A.II. S.I. - Clause I
|The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:||Gives the executive powers of the government to the President and Vice President, and limits there term to four years. Today Executive powers are seem mainly as a means of administering bureaucracies, but when the constitution was formed it was more a means for commanding the armed forces, enforcing the laws, and allowing for a single person to make quick decisions in times of crisis when there isn't time to wait for congress to convene and provide a more permanent solution or resolve towards the situation.
Unfortunately as the Federal government was allowed to grow bigger, the executive responsibilities became too much for one or two people to manage, and thus we started to see the formation and growth of a the Presidential Cabinet, made up of advisers and those who are truly responsible for the many aspects of the many bureaucracies that today are used to regulate and enforce laws. Today the President is often times more of a figure head for a the group of people who are truly taking charge and making the decisions.
These bureaucracies, in may ways today, have also been given threw passage of law, the ability to essentially create laws without representation threw the creation of standards and regulations that are enforced by fines and fees, and even criminal prosecution in some extreme cases. Essentially making the Executive Branch much more powerful then this constitution ever intended it to become; slowly making congress increasingly more irrelevant.
A.II. S.I. - Clause II
|Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.||This sets up what is called the Electoral Collage, which are the people who actually vote for the office of President and Vise President. These people are selected by the Legislator of each respective State (who should select representatives who will vote similarly to the popular vote of the people of their state), and each state (and the District of Columbia thanks to Amendment XXIII) is allowed to have as many electoral votes as they have members in congress (see Article I Section II Clause III on how may people are in Congress).||My Re-wright|
A.II. S.I. - Clause III
The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate; -- the President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted; -- The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice.
|This Clause has been superseded by amendment XII, and was further modified by section 3 of the 20th amendment.
Gives guideline on how the members of the electoral collage should manage the election process for President and Vise-president. It requires that an out of state person be present to certify the votes given by the electors, and then sent to the Senate President (the current Vise-President - see A.I. S.III. - Clause IV) to count the votes. This clause also explains how these votes should be counted, and give requirements on how to determine who will become President even if unusual circumstances occur.
Originally the Vice President was nearly the runner up in votes for President (each elector would vote for two people, rather than today were they place one vote for President and one vote for Vice President), but that has since been changes due to the political tensions and election issues it created (this is probably the best example of how the constitution really wasn't designed for political parties/factions and how it has been changed and manipulated to accommodate political expedience). Today the President and Vice President run as a single ballot typically under the banner of a National Political Party.
Many people would like to get rid of this process, and simply use the nation wide popular vote; which wasn't even possible in early U.S. history as many States didn't even have a popular vote for president. The popular vote today is really just a compilation of individual stats asking it's voters to help them decide who to choose as electorates based on the way the electorates have pledged to vote. This gives people today a faults sense of what they are truly voting for, and technically most states still allow the electorates to vote for any eligible candidate they chose regardless of the popular vote. It may also be why so many people get the incorrect notion that the U.S.A is a democracy, when it's really a republic.
The idea of using the popular vote instead, could undermined the balance of powers between states as setup within Congress, but the Executive branch does have so much more authority today then it used it that it might be better to have a more direct form of representation when it comes to the President and Vise-President. My opinion is that states should follow the example of Main and Nebraska, where the electoral vote can be split bases on results of the popular vote. Most states require that all their electoral votes be given to the same political party/candidate; which occasionally results in the popular vote and the electoral vote being contrary to each other.
The real issues that we should be focused on are more in-line with the results from the restrictions on representation mentioned in Article I Section II Clause III and that the Executive Branch as usurped more power then was intended to be allotted to it.
A.II. S.I. - Clause IV
|The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.||Gives congress the power to determine the time frames of when the members electoral collage will be selected, and when they will submit their votes; and requires that the it be the same for all states.
Currently this is the Tuesday after the 1st Monday in November of every fourth year. It's also the most popular election for voter turnout; in my opinion this is due to the design and manipulations used to insure the two party systems stays a two party system.
This opinion goes back to the debate between an electoral collage and a popular vote in that the election of President was never meant to be a public issue, but more of an issue between the state governments; and certainly not the public display of a popularity contest that it is today. In fact the original design rarely produced a winner (possibly by design), thus sending the election to Congress to decide, making it more of a nomination process for candidates from which Congress would then select a President and Vice President. This design allowed for candidates from all political affiliations and opinions to have a greater chance at becoming President while reducing the need for and power of the National Political Parties that we see today; after all the only need we really have for a national political party is for a nation wide election - or in other words, the President and Vise-President (it could also be argued that term limits on the Executive Brandt - See ??? - have also help to increase the influence of national parties). Instead, today the national political parties have essentially consolidated the political power, that is intended to be separated between the three branches, into two political factions that have at times dominated the Federal Government resulting in the dominating parties agenda being pushed forward without debate.
Something President Washington warned of happening during his farewell address after his last term as the U.S. President.
A.II. S.I. - Clause V
|No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.||Requires the president to be a natural born citizen with at least 14 years of residency in the U.S., and to be at least 35 years old. Essentially to become president, you have to be born on U.S. soil, which includes Army Bases, Territories and Embassies, be at least 35 years old, and lived in the U.S.A for at least 14 years.||My Re-wright|
A.II. S.I. - Clause VI
Section 1. In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.
Section 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.
Section 3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.
Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.
|Says the Vice President is second in line if the President is no longer able to perform his duties. It also give congress the power to designate who is next in line after the Vice President if both he, and the President are no longer able to perform their duties.
Changed by AMENDMENT XXV
A.II. S.I. - Clause VII
|The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.||Sets up the Presidents salary, and freezes it's amount for each election cycle. It also disallows him receiving any other compensation or payment for his time in office.||My Re-wright|
A.II. S.I. - Clause VIII
|Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:--"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."||Gives the required oath of office for the President. It's unfortunate to have seen so many unconstitutional bills signed by various Presidents of the United States after they have taken this Oath. It would be nice to see Presidents who have enough integrity and knowledge to veto any bill that attempts to further regulate and/or control our constitutional rights; or usurp more power into the Federal Government that the constitution does not afford to it.||My Re-wright|
A.II. - Section II
Defines the powers and responsibilities of the President.
A.II. S.II. - Clause I
|The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.||This puts the President in charge of all military groups, gives justification for an Executive Department (Often called the Cabinet), and gives him the power to pardon anyone from a criminal act with the exception of an Impeachment (see: Article I, Section 3, Clause 6).||My Re-wright|
A.II. S.II. - Clause II
|He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.||Gives the President the responsibility to make treaties, and nominate Officers for Ambassadors, Ministers (separation of church and what???), Consuls (thinking of the cabinet), and the Supreme Court. It also allows for him to nominate other Officers for positions created through law, and gives a check and balance by creating more Congressional (or more specifically, Senatorial) power to approval of such things, and clarifies that congress is not limited to having the president make nominations for all "inferior Officers."||My Re-wright|
A.II. S.II. - Clause III
|The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.||Gives the President to the ability to appoint someone to temporarily fill vacancies in the Senate for the period of one session (see Article I, Section 2, Clause 4)||My Re-wright|
A.II. - Section III
Defines how Other Governmental officers are appointed, including the Supreme court and others.
|He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.||Requires the president to give congress information on the current situation of the Nation, and to make recommendations. It also gives him the power to assemble congress under extraordinary situations, and if the houses don't agree with when congress should adjourn, he can make the final decision. The President is also in charge of receiving members from foreign governments, making sure laws are enforced (Executing the laws), and "Commission all the Officers" or to appoint the cabinet. The Cabinet are basically all the people who work under the President in various capacities.||My Re-wright|
A.II. - Section IV
Defines reasons for impeachment of all government officers (not just the President).
|The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.||Defines when the removal of the President, Vice President, his staff, and other officers, is required, and says that an Impeachment can happen to "all civil officers" for the defined reasons.||My Re-wright|
Sets up the Judicial branch of government by setting up the Supreme Court of Appeals, and giving other guidelines and powers to congress to regulate and create the federal court systems.
A.III. - Section I
Gives the judicial powers to the "Supreme Court", and gives congress the power to create "inferior" courts. It also gives judges of these courts compensation or payment for their services.
|The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.||Judicial activism became a big buzz word in the late 20th century, usually being used as a general statement that gets equated to a judge doing something that appears to be the law making in nature; something clearly meant for the legislative branch of government. May feel this violates the "good Behaviour" portion of this section, yet there is no clear process set in the constitution for disciplining or dismissing Judges for bad behavior. The process for Impeachment might be considered, but the constitution seems to reserve that exclusively for the President.||My Re-wright|
A.III. - Section II
Further defines the roll of the Judicial Brant of government, and what its roll is.
A.III. S.II. - Clause I
|The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;--to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;--to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;--to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;--to Controversies between two or more States;-- between a State and Citizens of another State, The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.,--between Citizens of different States,--between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.||This limits the power of the courts jurisdiction to the laws "arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties" and so on. Basically they have no legal power outside of the U.S.A.'s control, or that does not involve the USA it's citizens or States in some way. This is why it's ridiculous for the Supreme Court to think they can look to sources outside of the USA to base rulings on, but in 2003 one of the justices made a statement that they needed to do just that.
The Eleventh Amendment effects this clause, and was created in 1793 due to one of the first truly influential decision over a law suit between land speculators and South Carolina. The decision was so unpopular that congress quickly passed the amendment to reverse the decision. Unfortunately this type of thing doesn't happen much any more despite many controversial and unconstitutional decisions by the supreme court which since the early 1800's has upheld many unconstitutional "laws" including the formation of National Banks (something that was done three times before it stuck as what we currently know of as the Federal Reserve). It has also been known to uphold Federal power more so then state power despite the Bill of Rights which was was meant to keep the federal government from gaining too much power. Challenges, especially to federal legislation, usually fail, with the disputed legislation gaining legitimacy by having passed judicial review.
This Clause has been affected by amendment XI.
A.III. S.II. - Clause II
|In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.||The Supreme Court is reasonable for certain types of cases such as those involving Ambassadors and States. Any other case must first go through lower courts and then be appealed to the Supreme court. It also allows congress to make regulations to the functionality of the court systems; suggesting they may also define when a Judge is no longer exhibiting "Good Behavior".||My Re-wright|
A.III. S.II. - Clause III
|The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.||Criminal trials must be done by jury within the state the crime was committed. This helps to define that States have the primary responsibility for enforcing laws, and implies their sovereignty. It also allows Congress to decide how unusual situations to this rule may be handled, and gives them additional jurisdiction over defining the functionality of the court systems.||My Re-wright|
A.III. - Section III
Defines additional Judicial meanings, particularly around acts of treason.
A.III. S.III. - Clause I
|Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.||Defines what treason is, or in other words, what someone must do to be convicted of treason, and what evidence is needed for someone for such a conviction. Essentially someone cannot be charged with treason without an official declaration of war having occurred, and the persons charged having collaborated with the enemy. It also require at least two witnesses testifying against the defendant.
An interesting article on this matter can be found at http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/article03/24.html#1
A.III. S.III. - Clause II
|The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.||Gives congress the ability to decided proper punishments for treason, but also give some restrictions on that punishment. These restrictions are likely due to the experiences with England charging people with treason for partisan divisions were the on party had enough power to outlaw the others disagreements as treasonous. Instead they have the authority to remove their piers from office, but even this has rarely happened within congress.||My Re-wright|
Basic rules for interactions between the states and territories, and the rights of the states and congress in these matters as it relates to the individual.
A.IV. - Section I
States Rights and Responsibilities, and Congress's responsibilities over the States.
|Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.||Give states the responsibility towards taking care of there own records and affairs, but it give congress the power to put general requirements on such affairs. This is meant to create a standard so that all states can easily interact, and so all people can easily move from state to state without having to re-learn the basics of what is expected of them.||My Re-wright|
A.IV. - Section II
Rights and Citizenship of Individuals, and States responsibilities over the individual.
A.IV. S.II. - Clause I
|The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.||If your a citizen of one state your a citizen of all states in the Union, or in other words, citizenship is universal throughout all states in the the U.S.A. In practical terms, nobody is a citizen of a particular state, but rather a citizen of the nation with residence in a particular state.||My Re-wright|
A.IV. S.II. - Clause II
|A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.||Often called Extradition, this gives the states the right to request that a criminal who has fled and been captured in another state be returned to their custody. In practice however, the criminal is only captured in s/he has done something within the capturing state, and thus the capturing state gets to try and punish them first. However, the governor of one state can give permissions to the law enforcement of another to peruse a criminal within their respective state.
We also now have the FBI that handles cases were the criminals violate national laws, or have committed crimes in many states. This in my mind brings up a question as to the constitutionality of the FBI, as it seems to truly be the responsibility of the state, not the Federal Government to enforce the laws.
A.IV. S.II. - Clause III
|No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.||This is similar to Clause II but refers to indentured servitude and slavery, which was common in the days when the constitution was created. This clause however has been superseded by Amendment XIII which abolished slavery and involuntary servitude (except in cases of a convicted criminal).||My Re-wright|
A.IV. - Section III
Rules for the Creation and/or joining of a new State to the Union.
A.IV. S.III. - Clause I
|New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.||These are basic guidelines on how new states can become part of the U.S.A., and provides protection to existing states from having their geographical areas from being given to another state without their consent.||My Re-wright|
A.IV. S.III. - Clause II
|The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.||This gives congress the final say in regulating and controlling the U.S.A. territories. In practice this has been used as a way to allow U.S. owned territories to operate under a different set of laws, as they are not beholden to the constitution, but only to the will of Congress. This is particularly helpful in places such as the Caribbean where the U.S.A. owns islands, but the ruling government is not that of the U.S.A. On the other hand it has caused a division between Puerto Ricans in the debate over their political status.||My Re-wright|
A.IV. - Section IV
The "guarantee" that every State be a Republic (not a democracy, monarchy, or other form of government), and be protected.
|The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.||This gives the National government the responsibility of protecting the states, presumably by using the armed forces as needed, and insuring they maintain a representative for of government based on laws, and not by majority (or mob) rule.||My Re-wright|
The Constitution Amendment Process
|The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.||Provides the guidelines and means by which the constitution may be modified. It takes two thirds of congress or two thirds of the states to make a proposal to change the constitution. Once a proposal passes, three fourths of the states have to approve it, to become official.
Unfortunately the Supreme Court, and many others, today thinks they can change the constitution simply by interpreting it differently from the original intent to make it say what ever way they see fit.
"... whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."
The rules regarding the nations finances
A.VI. - Clause I
|All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.||Basically says the U.S. will keep good on all dept that were made under the previous government. The US government has always had top rated credit until the Standards and Poor's downgraded it in Aug. 2011 after a failure of the elected officials to make significant cuts to stop deficit spending, but instead authorized additional borrowing primarily to fund social programs that had been on-going for about 80 years. Around the same time, many European nations were undergoing significant financial problems and civil unrest due to failures and burdens of social programs.||My Re-wright|
A.VI. - Clause II
|This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.||Basically forces all judges and every state to be bound by the laws and treaties of the federal government. This basically says the State Judges have to listen to Federal law as the supreme law, and thus supersedes state law.
In early 2000's Supreme Court Judges started to also look to international laws as a source of judicial decisions.
A.VI. - Clause III
|The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.||Requires all elected and government officials take an oath to uphold the constitution. It also disallows any religious requirements as a qualification to serve in a public office or job; in other words it shouldn't matter what region you are a part of or participate in to become an elected official. The idea is that what's more important is representing those whom an elected official serves, and having the appropriate capabilities and knowledge to perform the necessary tasks well.||My Re-wright|
Terms for Ratification of this constitution.
|The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.
The Word, "the," being interlined between the seventh and eighth Lines of the first Page, the Word "Thirty" being partly written on an Erazure in the fifteenth Line of the first Page, The Words "is tried" being interlined between the thirty second and thirty third Lines of the first Page and the Word "the" being interlined between the forty third and forty fourth Lines of the second Page.
Attest William Jackson Secretary
done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independance of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names,
|This Article gave the requirements as to how this constitution was to be ratified so as to becomes the valid form of government for the United States of America. It also contains names of those involved in the ratification.
As the terms have long since been fulfilled, this article is beyond the effective limits of any further legal action.
Additional Amendments to the constitution passed through the process described in Article V
ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution. FREDERICK AUGUSTUS MUHLENBERG Speaker of the House of Representatives. JOHN ADAMS, Vice-President of the United States, and President of the Senate. ATTEST, JOHN BECKLEY, Clerk of the House of Representatives. SAM. A. OTIS Secretary of the Senate. AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The Bill of Rights
The Preamble to The Bill of Rights
|Congress of the United States
begun and held at the City of New-York, on Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.
THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.
RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.
ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.
|The first ten amendments to the Constitution of the United States (and two others, one of which failed ratification and the other which later became the 27th amendment) passed the First Congress and were proposed to the legislatures of the several States on September 25, 1789. The first ten amendments were ratified by the following States, and the notifications of ratification by the Governors thereof were successively communicated by the President to Congress:
New Jersey, November 20, 1789
Ratification was completed on December 15, 1791. The amendments were subsequently ratified by the legislatures of Massachusetts on March 2, 1939, Georgia on March 18, 1939, and Connecticut on April 19, 1939.
|All men are created equal under the law, and are endowed by their Creator and with certain unalienable and natural rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. To secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
As such the rights set forth in this Artical are to be considered as inalienable, and shall not be abridged or restricted by any governing body within the United States; however, such inalienable rights shall not justify any person to infringe upon the rights of another, the parameters of which may be further defined by congress or the states as applicable, and according to guidelines given here in.
As family units are an essential and most basic unit of society, to help promot domestic tranquility and civil responsibility, those seventeen years and younger shall be considered as minors and subject to legal guardianship. Legal guardians, as defined by legislation of the states, shall be able to decided how much, if any, rights and privileges their respective minors shall be entitled to, and guardians shall be responsible for their respective minors; unless the guardian can be shown to not be acting in the best interest of the minor, as defined by the legislators of their respective state.
Those ages eighteen to twenty shall be considered as young-adults with full protection under the constitutional and access to their inalienable rights, but not to all privileges or benefits provided by the states or other governments; with exceptions were being vouched for by an adult 21 years or older is admissible, in a manner to be defined by the state legislators.
|Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.||My Comments||My Re-wright|
|A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.||My Comments||My Re-wright|
|No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.||My Comments||My Re-wright|
|The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.||My Comments||My Re-wright|
|No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.||My Comments||My Re-wright|
|In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.||My Comments||My Re-wright|
|In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.||My Comments||My Re-wright|
|Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.||My Comments||My Re-wright|
|The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.||My Comments||My Re-wright|
|The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.||My Comments||Unless otherwise specifically stated, no portion of this constitution, nor laws passed by congress that is not related to specific powers giving within this constitution, shall be applicable to the laws of the states nor be used as restrictions upon the states or the people. Any portion of this constitutions or law passed by congress, that is applicable to the states or the people, can not be applied to only one state, group of states, or people, nor unequal to any state or group of states or people or person.|
The 1st 100 years
My re-write of the following Amendments are included in the original articles above.
Passed by Congress March 4, 1794. Ratified February 7, 1795.
|The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.||Article III, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by amendment 11.|
Passed by Congress December 9, 1803. Ratified June 15, 1804.
|The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate; -- the President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted; -- The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. [And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President. --]* The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.||A portion of Article II, section 1 of the Constitution was superseded by the 12th amendment.
Superseded by section 3 of the 20th amendment
Passed by Congress January 31, 1865. Ratified December 6, 1865.
|Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.||A portion of Article IV, section 2, of the Constitution was superseded by the 13th amendment.|
|Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.||My Comments|
Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868.
|All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.||My Comments|
|Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age,* and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.||Article I, section 2, Clause 1 of the Constitution is affected by this section, but the age requirement was changed by section 1 of Amendment 26.|
|No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.||My Comments|
|The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.||My Comments|
|The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.||My Comments|
Passed by Congress February 26, 1869. Ratified February 3, 1870.
|The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude--||My Comments|
|The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.||My Comments|
The 20th Century
This is when the "Progressive" era got major influence over the federal government. In 1913 the Federal Reserve (a non-governmental organization or NGO) was created through passage of law, and the House of Representatives reach 435 members which has since never been exceeded (with one small exception to non-voting delegates) due to a law passed in 1928.
Passed by Congress July 2, 1909. Ratified February 3, 1913.
|The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.||Article I, section 9, of the Constitution was modified by amendment 16.|
Passed by Congress May 13, 1912. Ratified April 8, 1913.
|The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.
When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.
This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.
|Article I, section 3, of the Constitution was modified by the 17th amendment.|
Passed by Congress December 18, 1917. Ratified January 16, 1919. Repealed by amendment 21.
|After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.||My Comments|
|The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.||My Comments|
|This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.||My Comments|
Passed by Congress June 4, 1919. Ratified August 18, 1920.
|The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Also see #A.I._S.II._-_Clause_I
Passed by Congress March 2, 1932. Ratified January 23, 1933.
|The terms of the President and the Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.||My Comments|
|The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.||Article I, section 4, of the Constitution was modified by section 2 of this amendment.|
|If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.||A portion of the 12th amendment was superseded by section 3.|
|The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.||My Comments|
|Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.||My Comments|
|This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission.||My Comments|
Passed by Congress February 20, 1933. Ratified December 5, 1933.
|The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.||My Comments|
|The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or Possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.||My Comments|
|This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.||My Comments|
Passed by Congress March 21, 1947. Ratified February 27, 1951.
|No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.||My Comments|
|This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.||My Comments|
Passed by Congress June 16, 1960. Ratified March 29, 1961
|The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as Congress may direct:
A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.
|The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.||My Comments|
Passed by Congress August 27, 1962. Ratified January 23, 1964.
|The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay poll tax or other tax.||My Comments
Also see #A.I._S.II._-_Clause_I
|The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.||My Comments|
Passed by Congress July 6, 1965. Ratified February 10, 1967.
|In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.||Article II, section 1, of the Constitution was affected by the 25th amendment.|
|Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.||My Comments|
|Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.||My Comments|
|Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office
Passed by Congress March 23, 1971. Ratified July 1, 1971.
|The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.||Amendment 14, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by section 1 of the 26th amendment.
Also see #A.I._S.II._-_Clause_I
|The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.||My Comments|
Originally proposed Sept. 25, 1789. Ratified May 7, 1992.
|No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened.||This was originally passed by congress as part of the Bill of Rights, but wasn't ratified by enough states until 1992.
Another part of the Bill of Rights that has never been ratified is an amendment restricting people who hold titles of nobility from serving as elected officials.