US Constitution

The supreme law of the United States, the Constitution provided the framework for the creation of the United States government.

Asked in US Constitution, US Government, US Supreme Court

What is the term of office for US Supreme Court justices?

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Supreme Court justices serve "during good behavior," which means "for life" or until they choose to resign or retire, as long as they don't commit an impeachable offense (bad behavior). The nine Supreme Court justices hold their offices "during good behavior" according to Article III, Section 1, of the US Constitution. This means that they may hold office for life; however they may be involuntarily removed from office by impeachment for and conviction of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors, the same as the President. Article III, Section 1 "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 Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office." Only one US Supreme Court Justice has been impeached, but was acquitted of all charges, and that was Samuel Chase (1741 - 1811) for allegedly letting his politics affect the quality of his decisions. life.
Asked in US Constitution, US Government, US Supreme Court

Who is the current Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court?

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Since the Supreme Court was established in 1789, 17 people have served as chief justice, beginning with John Jay (1789–1795). The current chief justice is John Roberts (since 2005). wikipedia.org
Asked in US Constitution, US Government

What in Article VI of the US Constitution establishes the document as the Supreme Law of the Land?

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The Constitution itself, and all federal laws and treaties, are the supreme law of the land. Article 6, Paragraph 2 is referred to as the supremacy clause. The Supremacy Clause of Article VI (6) of the US Constitution declares the Constitution, as well as federal laws and treaties made in accordance with the Constitution are the supreme law of the land. In lay terms, this means that the Constitution, federal laws and treaties can overrule state and local laws. Article VI, Clause 2 (Supremacy Clause) Article VI of the US Constitution addresses federal powers, and was part of the original Constitution created September 17, 1787 and ratified June 21, 1788. Upon ratification, the text of the Constitution became law, and supersedes anything that came before or after, although the document has been modified a number of times. The Bill of Rights was initially proposed as part of the original draft, but not added until 1791, when ten amendments were ratified as a single entity. Article VI, Paragraph 2 of the US Constitution states: "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, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding." The United States Constitution states that it, and all federal laws and treaties, are the supreme law of the land (Article VI). After it was ratified, it went into effect. No other law can be considered higher than them within the United States. Answer But keep the 10th amendment in mind. It reads: "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." Also, keep in mind the process of making amendments. Amendments take effect only when three fourths of the states say they take effect. The federal government does not decide or veto the making of amendments. So while the constitution is the supreme law of the land, its authority extends to the rights it grants to itself, and which it prohibits the states from assuming. The founders were very, very wise. U.S. Const., Art. VI, Cl. 2: "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, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding." This is called the Supremacy Clause. It forms the textual basis for the doctrine of federal preemption. In lay terms, this means that the Constitution, federal laws and treaties can overrule state and local laws.
Asked in History of the United States, US Presidents, US Constitution

Who elects the US president?

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The election of the president and the vice president of the United States is an indirect election in which citizens of the United States who are registered to vote in one of the fifty U.S. states or in Washington, D.C., cast ballots not directly for those offices, but instead for members of the U.S. Electoral College, known as electors.[note 1] These electors then in turn cast direct votes, known as electoral votes, for president, and for vice president. The candidate who receives an absolute majority of electoral votes (at least 270 out of a total of 538, since the Twenty-Third Amendment granted voting rights to citizens of D.C.) is then elected to that office. If no candidate receives an absolute majority of the votes for president, the House of Representatives chooses the winner; if no one receives an absolute majority of the votes for vice president, then the Senate chooses the winner. en.wikipedia.org
Asked in US Presidents, US Constitution, US Supreme Court

Who approves the President's US Supreme Court appointments?

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The Senate (Legislative branch) votes to confirm or reject the Presidents' (Executive branch) US Supreme Court (Judicial branch) nominees. Approval requires a simple majority of the Senators voting, unless a Senator attempts to block the vote by filibuster, in which case a three-fifths (60) vote is required to end the filibuster. under current Senate rules. For more information, see Related Questions, below. congress A+
Asked in US Presidents, US Constitution, Elections and Voting

How long is a term of office for a US president?

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US presidents are elected to a four-year term. The maximum number of full terms that a president can serve is two. Presidents who took over for another president and have served more than two years can seek only one additional term.
Asked in US Constitution, State Laws, Virginia, US Government

What is the supreme law of the land in the US?

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The US Constitution and federal laws and treaties that adhere to the Constitution officially became the "supreme law of the land" in the United States Article VI the document and the laws of the United States which "shall be made in pursuance thereof..." are the "Supreme Law of the Land." The phrase, "shall be made in pursuance thereof" indicates the Constitution is the ultimate authority to which all other laws and treaties must conform. Article VI, Clause 2 (Supremacy Clause) 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, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.
Asked in Founding Fathers, History of the United States, US Constitution

What state did not send delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1787?

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Rhode Island. The State's leaders refused to participate in the Constitutional Convention because they believed it was a conspiracy to overthrow the current government, which was operating under the Articles of Convention. Patrick Henry, who would have been their delegate, declared he "smelt a rat," and didn't want to participate in a project that threatened state sovereignty.
Asked in Founding Fathers, History of the United States, US Constitution

Which Founding Fathers signed the Constitution?

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George WASHINGTON, President New Hampshire: JOHN LANGDON, NICHOLAS GILMAN Massachusetts: NATHANIEL GORHAM, RUFUS KING Connecticut: WM. SAML. JOHNSON, ROGER SHERMAN New York: ALEXANDER HAMILTON New Jersey: WIL. LIVINGSTON, DAVID BREARLEY, WM. PATERSON, JONA. DAYTON Pennsylvania: B. FRANKLIN, THOMAS MIFFLIN, ROBT MORRIS, GEO. CLYMER, THOS. FITZSIMONS, JARED INGERSOLL, JAMES WILSON, GOUV MORRIS Delaware: GEO. READ, GUNNING BEDFORD jun, JOHN DICKINSON, RICHARD BASSETT, JACO. BROOM Maryland: JAMES MCHENRY, DAN OF ST THOS. JENIFER, DANL CARROLL Virginia: JOHN BLAIR, JAMES MADISON jr North Carolina: WM. BLOUNT, RICHD. DOBBS SPAIGHT, HU WILLIAMSON South Carolina: J. RUTLEDGE, CHARLES COTESWORTH PINCKNEY, CHARLES PINCKNEY, PIERCE BUTLER Georgia: WILLIAM FEW, ABR BALDWIN
Asked in US Presidents, US Constitution, US Government, US Congress

What is impeachment?

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Impeachment is the process used by a legislative body to bring charges of wrongdoing against a public official. Basically, it is the indictment of an appointed or elected public officer on serious criminal charges. The legal basis for impeachment is stated in Article II, Section 4 of the United States Constitution: "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." The House of Representatives is the only body that can impeach federal officials. If a federal official is impeached, a trial by the Senate follows, which is where guilt and the potential removal from office is debated. It is important not to confuse impeachment with conviction. Impeachment is just a formal accusation; it is only the first step in removing a public official from office. The idea of impeachment in the United States is usually discussed in reference to the president, although only two presidents have ever actually been impeached, compared to seventeen officials in other positions. Andrew Johnson was impeached on February 24, 1868, on charges of violating the Tenure of Office Act by removing Secretary of War Edwin Stanton from office. William ("Bill") Clinton was impeached on December 19, 1998, on charges of lying under oath to a federal grand jury and obstruction of justice. Both Johnson and Clinton were acquitted in the Senate. Impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon had made it out of committee, but he resigned from office on August 9th, 1974 before it could be debated on the House floor. Impeachment inquiries have been attempted on a number of presidents throughout the United States' history, including John Tyler, Harry Truman, and Ronald Reagan. In fact, every elected president since 1980 has been the subject of at least one Congressional resolution that suggested impeachment inquiries.
Asked in Founding Fathers, Politics and Government, US Constitution

What is the Elastic Clause?

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The elastic clause provides flexibility for our government. The elastic clause in the US Constitution grants Congress the right to pass all laws "necessary and proper" to carry out the powers specifically granted to Congress by the Constitution.
Asked in US Constitution, US Government, US Supreme Court

What is judicial review and how is it used?

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Judicial review is the power of the courts to review laws, treaties, policies or executive orders relevant to cases before the court and nullify (overturn) those that are found unconstitutional. The Marbury v. Madison decision and provides the Supreme Court with the power to interpret the Constitution. Judicial Review is not an American invention, but a standard part of British common law that became part of the legal process in the United States. The first recorded use under the US Constitution was in 1792, when the circuit courts found an act of Congress related to military veterans unconstitutional. Congress rewrote the law, without protest, in 1793. The US Supreme Court first exercised judicial review 1796, in the case of Hylton v. United States, although the rationale for using it had been laid in Federalist No. 78. Hylton v. United States was the first instance in which the Supreme Court evaluated the constitutionality of a federal law. In Hylton, the legislation, a carriage tax, was upheld. In a later case that year, Ware v. Hylton, the Ellsworth Court determined The Treaty of Paris took precedence over an otherwise constitutional state law and nullified the law. The US Supreme Court case most often credited with affirming the doctrine of judicial review is Marbury v Madison, (1803) in which Chief Justice John Marshall declared Section 13 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 unconstitutional. This was the first time the Supreme Court overturned federal legislation. It greatly strengthened the power of the judicial branch, which had thus far been weaker than the other two. Judicial review in the United States also refers to the power of the Court to review the actions of public sector bodies in terms of their lawfulness, or to review the constitutionality of a statute or treaty, or to review an administrative regulation or executive order for consistency with either a statute, a treaty, or the Constitution itself. Judicial review is part of the United States' system of checks and balances on government. The Supreme Court has the power to review acts of the Legislative (Congress) and Executive (Presidential) branches to ensure they don't become too powerful or abrogate the Constitutional rights of the country's citizens. Examples of Supreme Court Cases Involving Judicial Review Hylton v. United States, 3 US 171 (1796) Ware v. Hylton, 3 US 199 (1796) Marbury v. Madison, 5 US (Cranch 1) 137 (1803) Dred Scott. v. Sanford, 60 US 393 (1857) West Virginia v. Barnette, 319 US 624 (1943) Brown v. Board of Education, 347 US 483 (1954) Baker v. Carr, 369 US 186 (1962) Roe v. Wade, 410 US 113 (1973) United States v. Nixon, 418 US 683 (1974) interpret executive actions, legislation, and lower court decisions. (GradPoint)
Asked in US Constitution, US Government, US Supreme Court

How does someone become a US Supreme Court justice?

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The President nominates a candidate for the US Supreme Court; the Senate votes whether to confirm or reject the nomination. If the candidate is confirmed, he or she is appointed to the US Supreme Court. Process The preselected list of candidates is usually recommended by people in the President's political party or by members of legislation (House of Representatives, and Congress), usually it's a combination of both. The President nominates a potential justice. After a candidate has been nominated, the FBI investigates the person's background and provides a report to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The Judiciary Committee conducts hearings (questioning) on the candidate. The hearing is meant to determine whether the candidate is qualified and suitable for the position. After the Committee reviews the nominee, they pass a recommendation to reject or coor. The Senate then votes for or against the candidate. In order to become a Supreme Court Justice, the nominee must receive a simple majority (51 votes) of the Senate, unless a group chooses to filibuster, in which case a three-fifths (60) cloture vote is required to end the filibuster and complete the appointment. It is highly unlikely that a candidate will be rejected. Since 1789, the Senate has rejected 30 out of the 144 nominees, the most recent being Robert Bork in 1987. A Contributor's Tip First, get into law: go to a good College or University, then to a specialized law school. All in all, a LOT of years in school. Then, you probably start out as an intern for a defense lawyer or crown council. You could join a defense firm later on. If you're really good, and once you have enough experience, you can become employed by the government as a provincial crown, then a supreme court crown. After 30+ or so years, you can apply for a judging job, then work your way up to supreme court Judge.
Asked in US Constitution, US Government, US Supreme Court

How does the US Supreme Court check the power of Congress and the President?

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The Supreme Court uses judicial review to declare actions by the President or Congress to be invalid if they are contrary to the Constitution. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land and no presidential act or congressional laws may conflict with it. The Courts are the interpreters of the laws and as such they interpret the Constitution and laws to decide if they conflict with one another. Further, it allows the Judicial Branch to "define" that law by answering questions about it that are not spoken to directly in the regulation itself. Chief Justice John Marshall clearly affirmed the power of judicial review in the case Marbury v. Madison, (1803), when the Court declared Section 13 of the Judicial Act of 1789 unconstitutional. It should be noted that the US Supreme Court, for the most part, determines what laws to review based on decisions made in lower Federal Courts. In most cases the Court waits for a case to be presented to them. It then can reject hearing the case or depend on the ruling of the lower courts. For more information on Marbury v. Madison, see Related Links, below. The US Supreme Court uses the process called Judicial Review to see if the laws passed by the Congress and the President are in alignment with the constitution. If they are contrary to the constitution, the laws are declared unconstitutional and are deemed null and void.
Asked in History of the United States, US Constitution, US Government

What rights are guaranteed by the US Constitution's Bill of Rights?

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The Bill of Rights is in the US Constitution and guarantees rights that are vital to a free and open democratic society. The Bill of Rights specifies such important rights as freedom of speech and the freedom of the press. The idea behind these ten amendments is to make sure the federal government does not become a tyranny.
Asked in US Constitution, US Government, US Supreme Court

What process allows the US Supreme Court to judge the constitutionality of a law?

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Judicial Review The Supreme Court's ability to analyze laws in terms of their constitutionality is called "judicial review." If the Court decides a law is unconstitutional, the law will be nullified. The Supreme Court, under Chief Justice John Marshall, set precedent for this interpretation in their ruling in the case of Marbury v. Madison, 5 US 137 (1803), when the Justices concluded Section 13 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 was unconstitutional because it conferred upon the Supreme Court powers not explicitly provided as part of the Court's original jurisdiction (this is arguable, considering Madison, as Secretary of State, could be considered a "consul"). While this powerful check on the legislature is not explicitly spelled out in the Constitution, Article III, Section 2 does specifically delegate to the Supreme Court: "The judicial power shall extend to all cases in law and equity, arising under this Constitution..." Article VI says: "...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." It is reasonable to consider that the only branch of the government qualified to ensure laws adhere to the Constitution (which is the meaning of "...and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof...") would be the Judicial branch, as outlined in Article III, Section 2. For more information, see Related Questions, below. that is an example of judicial review The process whereby the Supreme Court can judge the constitutionality of a law is known as judicial review. Although this process is legally strictly limited to determining if a law, as written, is constitutional or not, in recent decades courts have gone on to "rewrite" laws through decisions from the bench. A recent decision is the Supreme Court weighing in on the Affordable Care Act whereby the court held that the law would be unconstitutional as a direct penalty. The court decided it was a tax, even though the text of the law explicitly states that the penalty is not a tax. This overreach is commonly called judicial activism.
Asked in History of the United States, US Constitution, US Government

How many states had to ratify the constitution before it went into effect?

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According to Article VII, the Constitution was required to be ratified by 9 of the 13 states before it went into effect. All 13 eventually ratified, the last two being North Carolina (1789) and Rhode island (1790). In June 1788, New Hampshire fulfilled the requirement for ratification set forth in Article VII by becoming the ninth state to approve. The Constitution didn't become law until it formally replaced the Articles of Confederation on March 4, 1789, however.
Asked in Founding Fathers, US Constitution, Federalist Papers

Who were the authors of the Federalist Papers?

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There were three authors of the Federalist Papers. James Madison (28 papers: 10, 14, 37-58 and 62-63) and Alexander Hamilton (52 papers: 1, 6-9, 11-13, 15-36, 59-61, and 65-85) wrote most of the Federalist Papers, but John Jay wrote papers 2-5 (Foreign Affairs) and 64 (on the Senate). All of the essays were signed Publius and the actual authors of some are under dispute, but the general consensus is that Alexander Hamilton wrote 52, James Madison wrote 28, and John Jay contributed the remaining five. In total, the Federalist Papers consist of 85 essays outlining how this new government would operate and why this type of government was the best choice for the United States of America. The Federalist Papers remain today as an excellent reference for anyone who wants to understand the U.S. Constitution.
Asked in US Constitution, Police and Law Enforcement, US Supreme Court

How did Miranda v Arizona change the standard for admissibility of confessions and admissions?

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Miranda v. Arizona, 384 US 436 (1966) Miranda applied the "exclusionary rule" to any statements or confessions the defendant made in response to police interrogation if the defendant hadn't been informed of relevant due process rights beforehand. Under the exclusionary rule, illegally obtained evidence may not be used to convict a defendant in court. According to the US Supreme Court, a person in police custody must be told he (or she) has the right to remain silent to avoid self-incrimination (Fifth Amendment). The person must also be advised of the right to have an attorney present before and during questioning, and to receive court-appointed legal counsel if he (she) can't afford to hire an attorney (Sixth Amendment). The decision in Miranda wisely assumes ignorance of constitutional rights. If the person in custody is not advised of these rights, and doesn't invoke the rights, any exculpatory or inculpatory statements are considered unconstitutionally obtained evidence, and are inadmissible in court. The Miranda ruling has been revised somewhat by subsequent Supreme Court decisions. On June 1, 2010, the Roberts' Court released the opinion for Berghuis v. Thompkins, 08-1470 (2010), which held a defendant must invoke his right to remain silent (by stating he wants to remain silent), rather than waive it (by explicitly agreeing to answer questions before interrogation).
Asked in History of the United States, US Constitution, Articles of Confederation

What were the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation?

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Some Weaknesses of the Articles The Articles of Confederation gave too much power to the states and not enough to the central government. Essentially, they created a weak central government, under which the states could not operate effectively as a single nation. The articles created no separate executive department to carry out and enforce the acts of Congress and no national court system to interpret the meaning of laws. 9 out of the 13 states had to approve any major law before it was passed. There was no standing army to protect the nation. Each state could create its own foreign policy, including the passage of treaties. Each state could create its own money and it might not be accepted in other states. The war left a huge debt, but the Articles didn't allow congress to collect taxes, only to ask for money from the states. Under the Articles there was only a unicameral legislature so that there was no separation of powers. The central government under the Articles was too weak since the majority of the power rested with the states. In order to change or amend the Articles, unanimous approval of the states was required which essentially meant that changes to the Articles were impossible. Under the Articles, Congress did not have the power to regulate commerce which would cause competition between states, as well as diplomatic issues.
Asked in Law & Legal Issues, US Constitution, US Government

What are the three levels of the US federal court system?

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LEVELS The three levels are: Trial level Appellate level Supreme Court Trial level includes many types of courts, such as the District Court, Bankruptcy Court, Court of Federal Claims and other courts with specialized subject matter jurisdiction. The Appellate level is the US Court of Appeals, to which an appeal of decisions from any trial level court may be taken. The Supreme Court is where appeals from decisions in the Court of Appeals are taken. The decision of the Supreme Court is final. FEDERAL COURTS AT ABOVE LEVELS The three courts of general jurisdiction that make up the Judicial branch of the federal government are: US District Courts (trial level) The 94 US District Courts are the trial courts of the federal judiciary. They have jurisdiction over most types of cases, both civil and criminal, within their geographic areas. Appeals from US District Courts go to the US Court of Appeals Circuit Courts. US Courts of Appeals (intermediate appellate level) There are thirteen United States Courts of Appeals Circuit Courts comprising the intermediate appellate step between the District Courts and the Supreme Court. Twelve of these courts handle cases from District Courts within their geographic areas. The Circuits are specifically referred to by name or number; for example, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit or United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The thirteenth Circuit court is the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which has nationwide jurisdiction over cases from the courts of International Trade and Federal Claims. They also review patent and copyright cases. Supreme Court of the United States (final appellate level) Although we often refer to the highest court in the nation as the US Supreme Court (to distinguish it from state supreme courts), the official name is the Supreme Court of the United States, often abbreviated SCOTUS. The nine justices (one Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices) primarily hear cases on appeal from the Circuit Courts, although they may hear certain types of cases directly from the US District Courts, and also from state supreme courts, if the case involves a preserved matter of federal or constitutional law. Most cases are submitted to the Supreme Court on a petition for a writ of certiorari, a request for the Court to review the petitioner's case. In 2009, the Court received more than 7,700 petitions, and accepted fewer than 100 for oral argument. The Court has sole discretion over which cases it hears, so the justices choose matters of national importance or issues where the constitution is being interpreted inconsistently or in opposition to the Court's opinion. For more information, see Related Questions, below.
Asked in Founding Fathers, History of the United States, US Constitution

Who wrote the US Constitution?

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A man named Governor Morris of Pennsylvania was in charge of the committee to draft the final copy of the Constitution. Other men who had much to do with writing the Constitution included John Dickinson, Governor Morris, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Thomas Paine, Edmund Randolph, James Madison, Roger Sherman, James Wilson, and George Wythe. Morris was given the task of putting all the convention's resolutions and decisions into polished form. Morris actually "wrote" the Constitution. The original copy of the document is preserved in the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. Jacob Shallus who, at the time, was assistant clerk of the Pennsylvania State Assembly, and whose office was in the same building in which the Convention was held, was given the task of engrossing the Constitution prior to its being signed. Here is more input from other Wikifriendus contributors: The U.S. Constitution is the work of several men, directly and indirectly. The three most notable persons whose work influenced the Constitution but who were not involved in its writing are Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Thomas Paine. The group of men involved in the writing of the Constitution are generally referred to as the "framers". No single individual wrote it. Twelve of the thirteen states sent delegates to the Constitutional Convention to revise the Articles of Confederation and the entire convention worked on it. After the political questions were hashed out a 'committee of style' was formed to put the ideas into formal words. It is generally accepted that Governor Morris created most of the actual wording included in the final draft from the Committee of Style. The original copy of the document is preserved in the National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. The person most associated with authoring the US Constitution was James Madison, the fourth President of the United States. Primary Author: James Madison (drafted the Virginia Plan). He is known as "The Father of the Constitution." James Madison wrote the Constitution in 1787. The constitution wasn't passed until 1788. The US Constitution was written by the members of the Constitutional Convention.
Asked in US Constitution, Declaration of Independence

How did the states get their shape?

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The history of the forming of the borders of the united states are incredibly complicated, and it would be hard to write the all out here without plagurism. For a comprehensive list of all the border changes, with maps and dates, see the link in the related links section, below.