Constitutional Terms

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Democracy
A political system or government by the people; a form of government in which decisions are made through majority votes while protecting individual rights.
Republic
A form of government in which citizens choose their leaders by voting. A form of government in which power is in the hands of representatives and leaders are elected by citizens who have the right to vote.
Federalism
A form of government in which power is divided between the federal, or national, government and the states. A way of organizing a nation so that two or more levels of government have formal authority over the same land and people. It is a system of shared power between units of government.
Legislative Branch
The branch of government that makes the laws. There are two houses in it.
Executive Branch
The branch of government that includes the president and the administrative departments; enforces the nation's laws. A word for this would be "execute". A member of this group is the President of the United States of America.
Judicial Branch
The branch of government, including the federal court system, that interprets the nation's laws.
Electoral College
Group of persons chosen in each state and the District of Columbia every four years who make a formal selection of the president and vice president.
Judicial Review
Power of the Supreme Court to decide whether the acts of a President or laws passed by Congress are constitutional
Cabinet
Presidential advisory body, traditionally made up of the heads of the executive departments and other officers. A group of advisers to the president that includes the heads of 15 top-level executive departments.
Impeachment
The process that allows Congress to accuse the President or Federal judge of a crime and conduct a trial.
Veto
The constitutional power of the president to send a bill back to Congress with reasons for rejecting it.
Amendments
Changes that have been approved and made part of the Constitution. The Constitution can be changed when a proposal is approved by 2/3 of the members of Congress & 3/4 of the state legislatures.
Enumerated or Delegated Powers
Powers specifically given to Congress in the Constitution; including the power to coin money, and declare war.
Concurrent Powers
Powers that the Constitution gives to both the national and state governments, such as the power to levy taxes and eminent domain.
Reserved Powers
Powers belonging specifically to the states and the people because they were not delegated to the national government nor denied to the states. Examples include the right to establish an educational system, create marriage laws, and establish election procedures.
3/5 Compromise
The decision at the Constitutional Convention on how to count slaves for the purpose of deciding the population and determining how many seats each state would have in Congress.
Preamble
The introductory statement of the U.S. Constitution, setting forth the purpose of American government and beginning with the words, "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union. ..."
Constitutional Convention
The meeting of state delegates in 1787 in Philadelphia called to revise the Articles of Confederation. It instead designed a new plan of government, the US Constitution.
Attendees of Constitutional Convention
Lawyers, Merchants, Large Landowning Farmers. Rich, educated, white, males.
Presidential Qualifications
natural born citizen
35 years old,
14 year U.S. resident
Term Length: U.S. House of Reps
2 years
Term Length: U.S. Senate
6 years
Term Length: President
4 years (limit of 2 terms)
Term Length: Federal Judge
Life
Number of Members: U.S. House of Reps
435
Number of Members: U.S. Senate
100
Sole Powers: U.S. House of Reps
Start Revenue Bills
Impeach a President or Judge
Sole Powers: U.S. Senate
Conduct Impeachment Trial
Approve Presidential Appointments (Cabinet & Judges)
Ratify Treaties
Presidential Succession
1.Vice President
2. Speaker of the House
3. President Pro Temp of Senate
Selection Process: Federal Judge
Appointed by President
Approved by Senate
Leader of the U.S. House of Reps
Speaker of the House
Writ of Habeas Corpus
a persons right to know why they have been arrested. This right cannot be denied.
Ex Post Facto Law
A law created to punish someone for an act after the act has taken place. This power is denied to government.
Cabinet
The president's top advisors and heads of executive departments.
Bill of Rights
The first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution, containing a list of individual rights and liberties, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press.
Probable Cause
this is needed before police can search your personal belongings (4th Amendment)
19th Amendment
(1920) extended the right to vote to women in federal or state elections.
26th Amendment
States must allow 18 year olds to vote. Motivated by Vietnam War draft of 18 year old males.
Supreme Court: Size
9 Justices
Line Item Veto
Power of an executive to cancel parts of a bill and sign the rest into law. Illinois' Governor has this power the the U.S. President does not.
Due Process
a standard set of procedures that need to take place before a person may be punished by government. These include such things as a fair trial.

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