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Period: 2 3 4 5 7 8

Article 1 - Powers Given to the Legislative Branch

Bicameral Legislature
Article 1, Section 1: …which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
• Our Congress is split in two houses:
• The House of Representatives is determined on a State’s (proportional
• Each state sends 2 Senators to the other part of congress, the Senate ( representation).
• The Senate is people, can’t change without adding/subtracting states.
• The House is people, but is divided differently every 10 years to reflect the latest
census/population figures.

What is Fair?
How should representing the states balance the big and the small? (Continuation of our “We the People”

NJ Plan:
Pro: all have equal say.
Con: people’s votes aren’t equal.

VA Plan :
Pro: people’s votes are now weighted evenly.
Con: small states have little say

Create a legislature with 2 houses, balance responsibilities between the two, and create a more perfect union
of big and small.

Characteristics of the 2 Houses

Article 1, Section 2 (Clauses 1 & 2); Section 3 (Clauses 1,2 &3)
All Reps/Senators are elected by direct election – the people vote directly for them.

Senate House of Representatives

Length of Term

Age Minimum



Total #

From IL

More Like:

Our Congress People Are:

• Representative (R) – 13th District
• Serving in her 13th year (7 terms) * up for reelection in ’12*
• Senator (D)
• Serving in his 15th year (3rd term) * up for reelection in ’14*
• Senator (R)
• Serving in his 1st year (1 term) *up for reelection in ‘16*

Leadership of the House

Article 1, Section 2, Clause 5: The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other Officers
Speaker of the House is voted on by the Representatives.

• Currently John Boehner (R-OH)

• Considered to be the “ ,” as
s/he controls which bills get voted on and when.
• Republicans and Democrats also elect leaders to represent their causes, mainly the Minority
• Currently Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
• : both parties have them – responsible for getting people “on board” with votes.

Leadership of the Senate

Article 1, Section 3, Clause 4: The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but
shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.
• The Vice President “leads” the Senate as the President of the Senate.
• The Vice President only votes to break ties.
• The VP does not run day-to-day business
• Acts as a “ ” to remind the Senate of the President’s wishes and power.

Article 1, Section 3, Clause 5: The Senate shall choose their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore,
in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of the President of the United

• The Senators also elect the

• (Daniel Inouye of D – HI)
• Only formally takes charge when the VP cannot.
• Usually the longest serving person in the Senate (Inouye is 87).
Impeachment Process
Article 1, Section 2, Clause 5; Section 3, Clauses 6 & 7

Other Requirements and Things

Article 1, Sections 4, 5, & 6
• Since 1872, Congress requires all states to hold elections for Senators and Reps on the same day.
• Each house sets :
• Senate/House cannot vote with a minimum number of Senators/Representatives present (51 in
Senate, 218 in House)
• Rules are set (and are very long and detailed).
• Congressional Record – all votes, speeches and actions are recorded everyday and available online.
• $$$ - All make , with leadership making more.
• Cannot be arrested or sued (immunity) for something they say during debate, unless it is a criminal act.
• Cannot hold another government job while serving in Congress.

Congress’ Primary Job: Make Laws

Article 1, Section 7: Law Making Process
• clause: all the government’s power to write laws lies in the legislative branch.
Nowhere else.
• We will do an activity later called “How a Bill Becomes a Law” (HABBAL) to further explain this.
Enumerated powers of Congress
Article 1, Section 8, Clauses 1-18: Congress shall have the power…
• Taxes for the common defense and general welfare
• Taxes must be the same in all parts of the country.
• Also gives Congress power to spend money
• Borrow money through bonds bought by Americans.
• Establish laws on :
• The process by which an immigrant becomes an American citizen.
• Regulate all trade (between states or countries).
• Punish !
• Coin !
• Determine the value of each piece.
• Also regulates weights and measures.
• Punish .
• Establish , delivery of mail.
• Develop a system of and .
• Establish .
• Congress determines the number of courts and judges at each inferior, or lower court (as in lower
than the Supreme Court).
• Military Powers:
• : The President may NOT do this!
• Create and fund the Army, Navy.
• Make rules and raise/spend money for it.
• Call for the militia (or National Guard) to defend nation.
• Begin a draft, if necessary.
• Clause – Congress’ greatest power!
• “make all laws necessary and proper.”
• Congress can make laws it feels are needed.
• Also called the “general welfare” and “necessary and proper” clause.

Congress May Not:

Article 1, Section 9: Powers denied to the Federal government.
• Tax Exports
• Suspend
• Can’t be arrested without proof.
• Create Ex post facto laws
• created to punish something LEGAL by making a new law to make that act ILLEGAL. You cannot be
arrested for actions in the past.
• Create a
• Spend money without passing a law first
• Pass bills of
• A legislative act declaring a person guilty with no trial.
Period: 2 3 4 5 6 7

Article 2 - Powers Given to the Executive Branch

Who is in the Executive Branch?

Article 2, Section 1, Clause 1: The executive shall be vested in a President…
• The and lead this branch.
It is their duty to see that the laws of our nation are carried out.
• The President is the only person in our government that represents all people.
• Why?
o Elected every 4 years.

Electing Presidents
Article 2, Section 1, Clause 2: Each state shall appoint… a number of electors.
• Some founding fathers didn’t trust the people to have 100% of the voting power, so we
have a “buffer.”
• The Electoral College is an of the
• We tell the Electoral College who to vote for with our vote.
Electoral Math
Article 2, Section 2, Clause 2 cont: … equal to the whole number of Senators and
Representatives to which the state may be entitled in the Congress…
• Each state’s number of electors is = to Representatives + Senators (Illinois would send
• When you vote for Obama or McCain, you’re not really voting for them. You’re voting
for the 21 electors that are loyal to them. In December, they cast their vote according
to ours.
• How many Electoral Votes in all?
• Need win.
• “ ”
o 2 states (Nebraska and Maine) divide their votes by Congressional district.
• Are some states more important than others?

• Which would you go after first?

• How many states would you need to get 270?

Flaws in the Electoral College?

• Nothing is to say that an Electoral College voter has to follow our vote.
• These are called “ .” However, the people chosen as
electors are very loyal to that candidate.
• What do they do if their candidate dies?
o 3 times, a president has been elected via the Electoral College while losing the
popular vote: Bush in 2000, Harrison in 1888 and Hayes in 1876.
• If there is a tie in the Electoral College, the votes to break it.

Qualifications of the Executive

Article 2, Section1, Clause 5: No person except a natural-born citizen shall be eligible…
• Must be a of the US.
• Must be a year resident of the US.
• Must be years old.

Line of Succession: What happens if a President Dies?

Article 2, Section 1, Clause 6: sets up the Presidential Succession Act of 1947
1. The President is immediately replaced by the .
2. In the even that both President/VP are “eliminated,” the
would assume the Presidency.
3. In the event all 3 are gone, the “ ” of the
Senate assumes the Presidency.
4. If all four are eliminated, replacement is done by the
(in order of inception).
• In any case, the new President names his/her VP, and fills any vacancies in the
• Who is the only President to NEVER have been elected, because of events related
to this process?
• There is always a “ ” at the State of the Union and such
large public gatherings of government.

Other Details…
Article 2, Section 1, Clauses 7 and 8: Salary and Oath of Office
• The President makes $ per year.
• Only Congress can change that.
• is the culminating event of Inauguration Day (January
20 ).
• Chief Justice of Supreme Court does this.

Presidential Powers
Article 2, Section 2, Clause 1 & 2: The President shall be commander in chief… seek
opinions… grant reprieves and pardons… also: “advice and consent” clause.
• : Simply put, the President commands all
military actions (including the National Guard).
o Who declares war?
• Can create a of experts of whom he can ask opinions of.
• Can issue and .
o Allows the President to release anyone from jail that he’d like.
o Very, very controversial.
• Negotiate and agreements with nations.
o 2/3 of the must approve, however.
• Appoint judges and ambassadors
o With Senate approval, of course.

Other Presidential Powers

Article 2, Section 3, Clauses 1-6: The President is very, very busy.
• Clause 1: deliver the “ .”
o Can motivate or inspire Congress to write/pass laws. Or, he can just “tell” them
to (this makes him a , of sorts).
• Clause 2: call for a special session of Congress.
o Only if they fail to do their job in a timely fashion (only happened 27 times in
history, and not since 1948).
• Clause 3: represent our country in discussions with other nations as the “face” of our
o Also gives him power of “ .”
• Clause 4: faithfully execute our nation’s laws.
o He can adjust the budget at times.
o Can also suspend , though rare.
o has come from this:
 The President’s power to issue directives, which are basically laws coming
from the President, without Congressional approval.
The Cabinet
Article 2, Section 2, Clause 2: “advice and consent” clause.
• The members of the cabinet are his closest advisors… experts in a particular area that
can help the President make decisions that affect our country.
• While not directly in the Constitution, it’s impossible for the President to carry out his
duties without their aid.

All the President’s Men (and women!)

For the Test, just be sure to identify what these are.
1. Department of State (leader is called the Secretary of State)
2. Department of Treasury
3. Department of Defense (This was formerly the Department of )
4. Department of Justice ( )
5. Department of Interior
6. Department of Agriculture
7. Department of Commerce
8. Department of Labor
9. Department of Health and Human Services
10. Department of Housing and Urban Development
11. Department of Transportation
12. Department of Energy
13. Department of Education
14. Department of Veterans Affairs
15. Department of Homeland Security

Agencies of the Executive Branch

Not on Test…
• Chief of Staff (“The Gatekeeper”)
• Environmental Protection Agency
• Office of Management and Budget
• National Drug Control Policy
• Central Intelligence Agency
• Federal Trade Commission
• National Security Advisor
• Director of National Intelligence

Presidential Perks
Just for fun – not on the Test!
• Air Force One, Navy One, Marine One, Coast Guard One, Army One, and… Cadillac
• Secret Service protection (from serious candidacy until death)
• Bowling alley, pool, movie theater, jogging track, putting green.
• Personal Gourmet Chef, 24/7
• Lifetime of benefits (pension, health care, home). Bill Clinton gets $1.2 million worth of
benefits per year!
Period: 2 3 4 5 7 8

Article 3- Powers Given to the Judicial Branch

The Supreme Court
Article 3, Section 1: The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior
courts as Congress may… ordain and establish…
• This branch interprets and reviews the laws of the nation. This is called .
o Remember: creates the courts and decides the number of judges.
 Supreme Court
 Federal District Courts
• There are also a myriad of other Federal Courts for:
o Taxes
o International Trade
o Armed Forces
o Land/Property Disputes)
• Each state also creates their own system of courts, but can be overruled by the Supreme Court.

Duties of the Courts

Article 3, Sections 2 & 3: The SC is the court for Treason and crimes involving international
• The Constitution doesn’t describe much. Most powers come from:
o Congress/laws.
o by lower courts that set a precedent.
 What is a precedent?
• Arguments about rules and laws occur, naturally.
• The court system is like an umpire making the final decision in a fair way, after hearing all of
the evidence.
• They review these laws, debate them, and then individually make a vote.
• Each side then writes what their opinion is (Majority Opinion and Dissenting Opinion)

The High Court: SCOTUS

(Supreme Court of the United States)
• The Supreme Court is the highest in the land… you cannot challenge its ruling.
o “ ”
o Its job is to and how fair the laws of our
Federal government and the 50 States are.
o It will hear appeals. If you don’t like a “lower court’s” ruling, you can take it here.
• The Court will only hear cases that deal with the Constitution or Federal law, or to set a
o is when a law is either against something written in
the Constitution, or when there is no basis in the Constitution for that law.
• Not just anybody can take its case here. Why?
o Usually hears only between cases per year.
o SCOTUS carefully selects the cases it will hear, then argue.
Supreme Court Qualifications
• Made up of Supreme Court Justices, and one of those is the
(currently John Roberts).
• No age, citizenship, or residence requirement.
o However, you must be harshly questioned and interviewed by the
o Remember: they approve of Presidential appointments. This can be a very demeaning
(Bork), but sometimes revealing event (Thomas, Miers).
• In 2005, 2 Justices were named by President Bush, a very rare occurrence. (also, the White Sox
won the World Series this year). President Obama did the same in a one year span 2009-2010.
o John Roberts, named Chief Justice
o Samuel Alito
 Once elected, you serve for life!

Lower Courts: Federal District Courts

• 11 District Courts (all over the country, see map).
o They are the “Regional” courts in our nation below the SCOTUS.
o President appoints these judges for life, too.
• 3 Judges per district, so 33 in total.
o Hear the disputes/appeals from all states within their district.
• They only deal with federal laws and hear the disputes of states that have been appealed.

Paths to the Supreme Court

(draw your arrows here!)
From the State Level

From the Federal Level

How a Bill Becomes a Law Per: 2 3 4 5 7 8
The Simplified Version

A bill can be introduced in either the House or the Senate, but we’ll use
Representative for our example. From there it…

Goes to a . Here, a bill is discussed

and debated. Any amendments, or changes, may be made here to
increase its chances of being passed. Once it leaves here, it goes the
House floor...

Or get sent back

where it came from!

Like in the House, a bill here goes to ,

where it can modified and changed. The Senators do some
nasty negotiating, wheeling-and-dealing. A bill will either:


A President doesn’t just think about if a law is

“good” or not, but considers the cost, whether
it is Constitutional, and the popularity of a
law. THEN, he...

House and Senate must BOTH vote 2/3 in

order to
Checks and Balances Period: 2 3 4 5 7 8
How the Government keeps itself from running mad with power. Date: