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GOVPOL Chapter 2 The Constitution

Terms in this set (53)

1) Proposed by William Paterson of New Jersey, the plan called for each state to be equally represented in the New Congress
2) The opposing strategy, suggested by Edmund Randolph of Virginia, called for giving each state representation in Congress based on the state's share of the American population
3) The CT Compromise, suggested by Roger Sherman, was to create a bicameral legislature--a Congress with 2 houses: The House of Representatives and Senate. One body, the Senate, would have equal representation--2 senators from every state. The next body, the House of Representatives, would have representatives based on population.
4) Slavery was a contentious issue--it was legal in every state except Massachusetts. Some delegates, like Governor Morris, condemned the existence of slavery and wanted to abolish it in the new constitution. However, the delegates knew that if they abolished slavery there would be no support for the new constitution from the south and they needed to ratify the document. The delegates did agree that Congress would limit future importing of slaves (they allowed it to be outlawed after 1808). The 3/5 Compromise agreed to count slaves as 3/5 of a person in the count for representation in Congress.
5) Franklin led the debate that national election should require universal manhood suffrage--a vote for all free adult males. But most of the delegates feared mob rule and the will of the lower class population. They decided to leave the decision up to the states. Anyone in a state who was qualified to vote in state elections could also vote in national elections.
1.) He feared majority and minority factions. "Ambition must be made counteract ambition"
To prevent the possibility of a tyranny of the majority, Madison proposed the following:
a) Place as much of the government as possible beyond the direct control of the majority
b) Separate the powers of different institutions
c) Construct a system of checks and balances
2) Madison planned to place only one element of government, the House of Representatives, within direct control of the majority. In contrast, state legislators were to elected senators and special electors were to select the president--government officials would be elected by a small minority, not the people themselves. If the majority seized control of the House of Representatives, they still could not enact policies without agreement of the Senate and the president. To further insulate governmental officials from public opinion, judges were given lifetime tenure and senators were given terms of six years, with only 1/3 elected every 2 years, compared with the 2 year election intervals of all members of the House of Representatives.
3) Separation of powers: each feature of the Constitution that requires each of the branches of government--executive, legislative, and judicial--to be relatively independent of the others so that on cannot control the others. Power is shared among these 3 institutions.
4) CHECKS AND BALANCES: features of the Constitution that limit government's power by requiring power be balanced among the different governmental institutions. These institutions continually constrain one another's activities. The president checks Congress by holding veto power; Congress holds the purse strings of government and must approve presidential appointments. They can also override a president's veto. The president could nominate judges, but their confirmation by the Senate was required. The Supreme Court itself established a system of judicial review in the court case Marbury v Madison. It holds the right to deem constitutional any legislation passed by the other 2 branches of government.
5) Sharing of powers between states and federal government
In Fed 10 this means:
"A republican, by which a government in which the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect, and promises the cure for which we are seeking...The two great points of difference between a democracy and republic are: first, the delegation of the government, in the latter, to a small number of citizens elected by the rest; secondly, the greater number of citizens, and greater sphere of country, over which the latter may be extended...
a) The effect of the first difference is, on one hand, to refine and enlarge the public views, by passing them through the medium of a chosen body of citizens, whose wisdom may best discern the true interest of their country, and whose patriotism and love of justice will be least likely to sacrifice it to temporary or partial considerations. Under such regulation, it may well happen that the public voice, pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more consonant to the public good than if pronounced by the people themselves, convened for a purpose.
b) The other point of difference is, the greater number of citizens and extent of territory which may be brought within the compass of republican than of democratic government; and it is this circumstance principally which renders factious combinations less to be dreaded in the former than in the latter. The smaller the society, the fewer will be the distinct parties and interests composing it; the fewer the distinct parties and interests, the more frequently will a majority be found of the same party, and the smaller the number of individuals composing a majority, and the smaller the compass within which they are placed, the more easily will they concert and execute their plans of oppression.
c) Extend the sphere and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probably that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens; or if such a common motive exists, it will be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their own strength and act in unison with each other.
1.) Freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly, petition
2.) Right to bear arms
3.) Right to not have to quarter soldiers
4.) Right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures
5.) Right to grand jury indictment, no double jeopardy, freedom from self-incrimination, due process of law
6.) Right to be informed of charges, be present when witnesses speak in court, to call defense witnesses, to have a lawyer
7.) Right to a jury trial in civil cases
8.) Freedom from excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishment
9.) Guarantee of rights not listed in Constitution--this means that the government can still only do what the Constitution allows and that there are other rights not listed that people have as well
10.) Rights of states and the people: the states and people have all the powers that have not been delegated to the national government
11.) Citizens of other states or foreign countries cannot sue a state in federal court without its consent
12.) Election of the president
13.) Abolition of Slavery
14.) Right to be free from discrimination in states, to have due process of law, to have equal protection of the law
15.) Voting rights will not be abridged on the matter of race or skin color (black suffrage)
16.) Individual income tax
17.) Election of national senators--direct election, not state legislators
18.) Prohibition of alcoholic beverages
19.) Women's suffrage
20.) Lame-duck period shortened for federal officials
21.) Repeal of Prohibition
22.) Limitation on the presidential term of office
23.) Voters in Washington DC given the right to vote for presidential electors
24.) Abolition of poll taxes
25.) Succession to the office of the President--Speaker of the House before the Secretary of State
26.) 18 years olds can vote
27.) Compensation for members of Congress
Marbury v. Madison (1803)

Marbury v. Madison, arguably the most important case in Supreme Court history, was the first U.S. Supreme Court case to apply the principle of "judicial review" -- the power of federal courts to void acts of Congress in conflict with the Constitution. Written in 1803 by Chief Justice John Marshall, the decision played a key role in making the Supreme Court a separate branch of government on par with Congress and the executive.

The facts surrounding Marbury were complicated. In the election of 1800, the newly organized Democratic-Republican party of Thomas Jefferson defeated the Federalist party of John Adams, creating an atmosphere of political panic for the lame duck Federalists. In the final days of his presidency, Adams appointed a large number of justices of peace for the District of Columbia whose commissions were approved by the Senate, signed by the president, and affixed with the official seal of the government. These judges were appointed so late in his terms that they were known as "midnight judges" because he had just completed signing all the new appointments in the middle of the night.
The commissions were not delivered, however, and when President Jefferson assumed office March 5, 1801, he ordered James Madison, his Secretary of State, not to deliver them. William Marbury, one of the appointees, then petitioned the Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus, or legal order, compelling Madison to show cause why he should not receive his commission.

In resolving the case, Chief Justice Marshall answered three questions. First, did Marbury have a right to the writ for which he petitioned? Second, did the laws of the United States allow the courts to grant Marbury such a writ? Third, if they did, could the Supreme Court issue such a writ? With regard to the first question, Marshall ruled that Marbury had been properly appointed in accordance with procedures established by law, and that he therefore had a right to the writ. Secondly, because Marbury had a legal right to his commission, the law must afford him a remedy. The Chief Justice went on to say that it was the particular responsibility of the courts to protect the rights of individuals -- even against the president of the United States. At the time, Marshall's thinly disguised lecture to President Jefferson about the rule of law was much more controversial than his statement about judicial review (which doctrine was widely accepted).

It was in answering the third question -- whether a writ of mandamus issuing from the Supreme Court was the proper remedy -- that Marshall addressed the question of judicial review. The Chief Justice ruled that the Court could not grant the writ because Section 13 of the Judiciary Act of 1789, which granted it the right to do so, was unconstitutional insofar as it extended to cases of original jurisdiction. Original jurisdiction -- the power to bring cases directly to the Supreme Court -- was the only jurisdictional matter dealt with by the Constitution itself. According to Article III, it applied only to cases "affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls" and to cases "in which the state shall be party." By extending the Court's original jurisdiction to include cases like Marbury's, Congress had exceeded it authority. And when an act of Congress is in conflict with the Constitution, it is, Marshall said, the obligation of the Court to uphold the Constitution because, by Article VI, it is the "supreme law of the land."

As a result of Marshall's decision Marbury was denied his commission -- which presumably pleased President Jefferson. Jefferson was not pleased with the lecture given him by the Chief Justice, however, nor with Marshall's affirmation of the Court's power to review acts of Congress. For practical strategic reasons, Marshall did not say that the Court was the only interpreter of the Constitution (though he hoped it would be) and he did not say how the Court would enforce its decisions if Congress or the Executive opposed them. But, by his timely assertion of judicial review, the Court began its ascent as an equal branch of government -- an equal in power to the Congress and the president. Throughout its long history, when the Court needed to affirm its legitimacy, it has cited Marshall's opinion in Marbury v. Madison