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PowerPoint Presentation - UNDERSTANDING THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION

UNDERSTANDING THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION

Unit III The Constitution Understanding The United States Constitution Slide 01THE BASICSThe United States Constitution is the highest law in our country.All of our laws come from the Constitution. It says how the government works. Article 1 creates the Congress (Legislative Branch).Article 2 creates the Presidency (Executive Branch). Article 3 creates the Supreme Court (Judicial Branch).Article 4 defines states powers, they must recognize each others laws.Article 5 describes the amendment process.Article 6 Federal laws are above all others.Article 7 Ratification; how to approve it. Each state also has a constitution, they are the highest laws for that state but the United States Constitution is the highest law of the land.

Unit III The Constitution Understanding The United States Constitution Slide 02A LIVING DOCUMENTThe Constitution is a living document because it can be changed. It is changed by an amendment.The first 10 amendments are called The Bill of Rights. By defining these rights in the Constitution, they are federally guaranteed to all. There have been 27 amendments. Not all of them involve rights, but many do. Article 5 describes the amendment process; two-thirds or 66% of each house of Congress (House of Representatives & Senate) must approve, then ratified by three-fourths or 75% of the legislatures of the states.

Unit III The Constitution Understanding The United States Constitution Slide 03A SHORT HISTORY OF THE CONSTITUTIONThe Constitution was written in 1787 by a group of men known as the Framers. They fiercely debated what should be in the Constitution of our brand new country. The Articles of Confederation did not work very well. Shays Rebellion showed the Framers the need to find a new way to run the country.Delegates of The Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia, they included: James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, & George Washington.Anti-federalists insisted on a Bill of Rights which became the first 10 amendments to the original Constitution. Unit III The Constitution Understanding The United States Constitution Slide 04A SHORT HISTORY OF THE CONSTITUTION (cont.)In 1787, there were only 13 states. All states, except Rhode Island, sent delegates to the convention. Each state had its own ideas for the new government. There was the New Jersey Plan, The Virginia Plan, The Great Compromise, The 3/5ths Compromise, many opinions and issues had to be accommodated to unite the States. The key to becoming united was compromise! Unit III The Constitution Understanding The United States Constitution Slide 05THE PREAMBLEThe Preamble to the Constitution has no force in law; instead, it establishes the "Why" of the Constitution, explaining why this document exists. It reflects the desires of the Framers to improve on the government they currently had (to be "more perfect" than the Articles of Confederation), to ensure that our government would be just, and would protect its citizens from internal strife and from attack from the outside. It would be of benefit to the people, rather than to their detriment. And, perhaps more importantly, it intended to do the same for the future generations of Americans. Unit III The Constitution Understanding The United States Constitution Slide 06

Unit III The Constitution Understanding The United States Constitution Slide 07AMENDMENTSWhen the Constitution was written, the Framers knew their creation was not perfect. They knew that other people would have good ideas for the Constitution and wanted to be sure that it wasn't too hard to make changes or, for that matter, too easy.The Framers created an amendment process. An amendment to the Constitution is a change that can add to the Constitution or change an older part of it.

Unit III The Constitution Understanding The United States Constitution Slide 08The original Constitution had no bill of rights. Many of the Framers did not think it was needed (Federalists), others disagreed (Anti-federalists), so promises were made to add one using the amendment process. Soon, the new government started meeting. Congress proposed The Bill of Rights. A list of twelve changes was sent to the states. In 1791, ten of those changes were agreed to by the states. The ten changes were added to the Constitution. These first ten amendments are known as The Bill of Rights."Unit III The Constitution Understanding The United States Constitution Slide 09AMENDMENTS (cont.)THE BILL OF RIGHTSThe Bill of Rights identifies 10 specific freedoms. The First Amendment deals with

Unit III The Constitution Understanding The United States Constitution Slide 10HOW THE CONSTITUTION WORKS

Unit III The Constitution Understanding The United States Constitution Slide 11THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCHThe Legislature, called Congress, makes laws. It is bicameral or composed of two parts. The upper house is the Senate, & the lower house is the House of Representatives. In the Senate all states are equally represented (2 senators per state) in the House of Representatives, states are represented proportionally based upon their population.

Unit III The Constitution Understanding The United States Constitution Slide 12THE SENATEThe are two Senators from each state. Since we have 50 states there are 100 Senators. The people elect Senators in public elections. Senators mustBe 30 years oldBe a US citizen for 9 yearsBe a citizen of the state they representServe a 6 year term Unit III The Constitution Understanding The United States Constitution Slide 13

Current Arizona SenatorsJohn McCainJeff FlakeTHE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVESRepresentatives are from a district within a state and represent the people in that district. The people have the right to tell them how they feel about issues. Currently there are 435 Representatives. Their number is based on population. Both states & territories ( i.e. Puerto Rico, Guam, & American Samoa) are represented. Arizona currently has 9 representatives in the House of Representatives. Unit III The Constitution Understanding The United States Constitution Slide 14

THE UNITED STATES CAPITAL BUILDING

Unit III The Constitution Understanding The United States Constitution Slide 15THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCHWhen the Congress wants to pass a law, both the House and the Senate must agree to the exact same law. If they cannot agree, then the law cannot pass. A proposed law is called a bill and is given a number. Either house can propose a bill but both must agree on it. Senate Bill 98703 and House Bill 98758 might be two versions of the same bill.

Unit III The Constitution Understanding The United States Constitution Slide 16THE EXECUTIVE BRANCHThe role of the Executive Branch is mainly to make sure the law is carried out & includes all forms of law enforcement. The President heads the executive which includes his cabinet.Under the president are all cabinet members and department heads (called Secretaries) who report directly to the president. The cabinet includes the vice president and 15 departments, plus the attorney general. The Secretaries of all the departments report to the Executive such as: Homeland Security, Education, EPA, Defense, Agriculture, Energy, Justice, Labor, Transportation, & others.The Directors of the FBI and the CIA report to the president, but they are not a part of the presidents cabinet. Unit III The Constitution Understanding The United States Constitution Slide 17THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH

Unit III The Constitution Understanding The United States Constitution Slide 18THE WHITE HOUSEThe White House is the official residence & office of The President. Cabinet members & the VP work there too. Unit III The Constitution Understanding The United States Constitution Slide 19

THE JUDICIAL BRANCHThe third branch is the Judiciary. Its role is to interpret the law. The federal court system is headed up by the Supreme Court because it is the highest court in the land. Supreme Court Judges are nominated by the President and approved by the Senate. They serve for life but can choose to retire at any age. States have their own court systems including their own Supreme Courts which have final say on state laws, except for the federal courts and of course The Supreme Court. Unit III The Constitution Understanding The United States Constitution Slide 20

THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURTUnit III The Constitution Understanding The United States Constitution Slide 21THE SUPREME COURT JUSTICES - 2015The Courts term begins the first Monday of October and ends the first Monday of October of the following year. They observe holidays and take vacation during recesses. Unit III The Constitution Understanding The United States Constitution Slide 22

JUDICIAL REVIEWIt is the ability of a court to examine & decide if a statute, treaty or administrative regulation contradicts or violates the provisions of existing law, a State Constitution, or ultimately The United States Constitution.While The Constitution does not explicitly define a power of judicial review, the authority for judicial review has been inferred from the structure, provisions, and history of The Constitution. Judges examine a law or government activity and decide if it violates the constitution. Established 1803, Marbury v. Madison was the first Supreme Court case where the Court asserted its authority for judicial review to strike down a law as unconstitutional.

Unit III The Constitution Understanding The United States Constitution Slide 23

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