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The Bill of Rights (Amendments 1 to 10)
Article Seven: Ratification.
Article Six: Federal power.
Article Five: Amendments.
Judicial review.The way the Constitution is understood is influenced by court decisions, especially those of the Supreme Court. These decisions are referred to as precedents. In the 1803 case Marbury v. Madison, the Supreme Court established the doctrine of judicial review. Judicial review is the power of the Court to examine federal legislation, executive agency rules and state laws, to decide their constitutionality, and to strike them down if found unconstitutional. Judicial review includes the power of the Court to explain the meaning of the Constitution as it applies to particular cases.
Amendments.The framers of the Constitution were aware that changes would be necessary if the Constitution was to endure as the nation grew, that is why they adopted the method of adding amendments.
Successful amendments.The Constitution has twenty-seven amendments. The first ten, collectively known as the Bill of Rights, were ratified simultaneously by 1791. The following seventeen were ratified separately over the next two centuries.
First Amendment: addresses the rights of freedom of religion (prohibiting Congress from establishing a religion and protecting the right to free exercise of religion), freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and freedom of petition.
Second Amendment: guarantees the right of individuals to possess weapons.
Fourth Amendment: guards against searches, arrests, and seizures of property without a specific warrant or a "probable cause" to believe a crime has been committed.
Sixth Amendment: guarantees a speedy public trial for criminal offenses. It requires trial by a jury, guarantees the right to legal counsel for the accused, and guarantees that the accused may require witnesses to attend the trial and testify in the presence of the accused.
Seventh Amendment: assures trial by jury in civil cases.
Eighth Amendment: forbids excessive bail or fines, and cruel and unusual punishment.
Answer the following questions:
1. What is the US Constitution? When and where was it adopted?
2. What influenced US Constitution?
3. What is the structure of US Constitution?
4. How does the US Constitution separate the powers of government?
5. What is the structure of US Congress according to the Constitution?
6. What are the qualifications of members of each Congress body?
7. Under what circumstances can a person become US President?
8. Who succeeds the President if he dies or resigns?
9. What are the main functions of US President?
10.Has the text of the Constitution ever been changed? How did it become possible?
11.Does any governmental organ or official in the US have the ultimate power? Why?
12.What is judicial review?
13.What is the Bill of Rights? What rights are enumerated in it?
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