The United States Constitution

United States Constitution

PREAMBLE: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Text of the United States Constitution Key Issues The ‘Travis Translation’ of the Constitution

ARTICLE I

SECTION 1:
All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

SECTION 2:
The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons. The actual Enumeration shall be made within three years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New- York six, New Jersey, four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.

 

 

When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.

The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.
SECTION 3:
The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the Senators of the first of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one third may be chosen every second Year; and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such Vacancies.

No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore, in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the United States.

The Senate shall have sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds of the Members present.
Judgement in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States; but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgement and Punishment, according to Law.

SECTION 4:
The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.

The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.

 

SECTION 5:
Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.
Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy; and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall, at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.

Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

SECTION 6:
The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.

SECTION 7:
All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills.

Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it becomes a Law, be presented to the President of the United States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a law.

Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.

SECTION 8:

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
To establish a uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;— And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

SECTION 9:
The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.

The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.
No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

 

No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.
No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.

No Preference shall be given by any Regulation of Commerce or Revenue to the Ports of one State over those of another: nor shall Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay Duties in another.

No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law; and a regular Statement and Account of the Receipts and Expenditures of all public Money shall be published from time to time.

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.

SECTION 10:
No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.
No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it’s inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress.

No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.

 

 

 

ARTICLE 1

SECTION 1:
Laws are made by Congress. Congress is made up of a Senate and a House of Representatives.
SECTION 2:
Clause 1: Members of the House of Representatives get elected every two years. The people who get to vote are the same people who get to vote for members of the biggest house of the state legislature (in other words, people who are registered to vote).

Clause 2: To get elected to the House, you must be 25 years old, be a citizen of the United States for seven years, and live in the state that elects you.

 

Clause 3: [Representatives and taxes were originally based on population which did not count slaves and Indians as full people; Section 2 of the 14th Amendment changed how people are counted.]

Representatives in Congress, as well as taxes [this part about taxes was changed by the 16th Amendment], are spread out over the country and are based on the number of people living in the places they represent. People in the country get counted every 10 years in a census so we know how many people are in the country, and so we can figure how many people are represented in the House of Representatives, and so we can figure taxes. A certain number of people (originally 30,000; now over 500,000) have their own representative.

For the first Congress, with no census, the division of Representatives in the House was: New Hampshire, three; Massachusetts, eight; Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, one; Connecticut, five; New-York, six; New Jersey, four; Pennsylvania, eight; Delaware, one; Maryland, six; Virginia, ten; North Carolina, five; South Carolina, five; and Georgia, three.

Clause 4: If a Representative leaves office or dies, the Governor of that State sets up another election.
Clause 5: Representatives get to pick a Speaker and other officers. Only the House of Representatives can vote to start the process for kicking somebody out of office (impeaching them).

SECTION 3:
Clause 1: [Originally, Senators were chosen by the state legislatures, but the 17th Amendment changed it so people in the states voted directly for Senators.]

Clause 2: The Senate of the United States will have two Senators from each state elected every six years. Each Senator has one vote in the Senate. After the first election of Senators in the U.S., they will divide themselves into three groups, each picking a term of two, four, and six years for their first term so after that, one-third of the Senators are elected every two years. If a Senator leaves office or dies, the Governor of the State will pick someone to be the Senator until the next election.
Clause 3: To be a Senator, you have to be 30 years old, be a citizen of the United States for nine years, and live in the state that elects you.
Clause 4: The Vice President of the United States will be the President of the Senate, but only gets to vote if there is a tie.
Clause 5: The Senate gets to pick another President of the Senate for the times when the Vice President cannot be there.
Clause 6: The Senate will hold the trials for people the House of Representatives impeaches. If the Senate is trying someone on impeachment (to kick someone out of office), everyone has to swear to tell the truth. If the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice of the United States is in charge. But nobody can get kicked out of office unless two-thirds of the Senators present vote for it.

Clause 7: People impeached by Congress cannot be elected or appointed to another office. But if somebody gets impeached and then gets kicked out of office, he or she may still be tried before a jury for any crimes, like the law says.

 

SECTION 4:
Clause 1: The State Legislatures will pick the times and places for elections, but Congress can make laws to change the times and places for Senators and Representatives. [Originally, Congress could not change rules about where Senators were chosen, but the 17th Amendment made that out-of-date.]

Clause 2: The Congress will meet at least once every year, at a regular time [originally, they were to meet on the first Monday in December, but Section 2 of the 20th Amendment changed that to noon on January 3, unless they make a law to move it to another day.]
SECTION 5:
Clause 1: The House of Representatives and the Senate are each in charge of the elections and behavior of their Members. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate need most of their Members there to do business. They can make the other Members come to work and punish them if they do not.
Clause 2: Both the House of Representatives and the Senate make their own rules for doing business. They can punish Members for misbehaving, and they can kick out Members if two-thirds of them vote for it.

Clause 3: Both the House of Representatives and the Senate will write down what they say and do in a journal and print it so everybody can read it, unless it is really secret. Votes of individual Representatives or Senators must be written down if 20% of the Members want that.
Clause 4: While Congress is meeting, the House of Representatives or the Senate can¬not leave for more than three days, unless they both decide to leave.
SECTION 6:
Clause 1: Senators and Representatives will get paid by the government according to the law. Except for treason, stealing, or disturbing the peace, they cannot be arrested while they are at work, or on their way to work, in Congress. [Congress modified this a little bit in the 27th Amendment, making any change in pay for Congress apply to the next Congress, not the one that voted for it.]
Clause 2: No Senator or Representative can be picked for another office in the U.S. Government if that office was created, or if the office got a pay raise, while they were in Congress. No one can serve in Congress and work somewhere else in the government at the same time.

 

SECTION 7:
Clause 1: Any bill raising money (taxes) must begin in the House of Representatives, but the Senate must agree with it, just like any other bill.

Clause 2: When a bill passes both the House and the Senate, the bill goes to the President who must sign it to make it the law. If the President agrees with the bill, the President signs it — but if the President does not agree with the bill, within 10 days, the President writes down why and sends that letter and the bill back to the House of Representatives or the Senate, wherever the bill got started. When Congress gets the letter and the bi II back from the President, the House of Representatives or the Senate puts it all in their journal. Then they talk about it again and vote on it again. If two¬thirds of the Representatives and Senators vote for the same bill again, it becomes law. The Representatives and the Senators must have their votes written down on this vote in their journal. If the President does not sign the bill, or does not send the bill back to Congress in 10 days (not counting Sundays), then it becomes law, unless Congress officially leaves to go home (adjourns).

 

Clause 3: Each law passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate must be signed by the President — or the President must agree with it — and the ones the President does not agree with (those that get “vetoed”) must be passed by two-thirds of the House of Representatives and the Senate before it can be the law.

 

SECTION 8:
Clause 1: Congress has the job of raising and spending money to take care of the nation, but all taxes raised must be the same for all the States. Other jobs of Congress are:

 

Clause 2: To borrow money;

Clause 3: To make rules for how people do business, including buying and selling things with people in other countries, among the states, and with Native Americans;

Clause 4: To decide on fair rules for letting people become citizens — and rules for bankruptcies in all the States;
Clause 5: To print paper money and make coins, and to figure out how much it will be worth; to figure the worth of money from other countries; and to decide on a system of weights and measures;

Clause 6: To punish people who copy money or bonds of the United States;

Clause 7: To build post offices and roads;

Clause 8: To promote science and the arts by giving copyrights to writers and inventors for things they write and discover;

Clause 9: To keep a system of courts around the country to support the Supreme Court;

Clause 10: To make laws about what people can and cannot do on the oceans;

Clause 11: To make war, to allow private boats and vessels to catch and arrest enemy ships, and to make rules about taking prisoners on the land and on the water;

Clause 12: To build an army and to pay for it — but money for the army can only be given for, at the most, two years at a time;

Clause 13: To build a Navy and to pay for it;

Clause 14: To make all the rules for the government and the Army and the Navy;

Clause 15: To make rules for calling the state National Guards to force people to obey the law, stop riots and to fight attackers;

Clause 16: To organize the States’ National Guards and to give them guns and equipment and to be in charge of them if they are working for the United States. But the states get to be in charge of the training Congress wants, and the states each get to pick the officers of the National Guard in their state;

Clause 17: To be in charge of a place, no bigger than 10 square miles, a place given by the states and accepted by Congress, which will be the seat of the federal government. [This is present-day Washington, D.C.] Congress will be in charge of all the places bought and run by the government; and
Clause 18: To make all the laws Congress needs to enforce the powers given to Congress by this Constitution.

SECTION 9:
Clause 1: The slave trade cannot be banned by Congress until at least 1808, but a tax of up to $10 can be put on imported slaves. [Slavery was banned by the 13th Amendment.]

 

Clause 2: Rights of people in jail to make the government show why they are in jail can be taken away only if there is a rebellion, or if the United States is invaded by a foreign power.

Clause 3: Congress cannot pass a law to declare someone guilty of a crime. Criminal laws passed by Congress can be applied only from the time they are passed.

Clause 4: Congress must tax according to the number of citizens there are in the country, according to the Census. [The 16th Amendment changed this so Congress could charge and collect taxes any way they wanted.]

Clause 5: Congress cannot tax things sold from one state to another state.

Clause 6: Congress cannot prefer one port over another, and no ships from one state can get taxed for using another state’s port.
Clause 7: No money can be spent without Congress passing an Appropriations law, and they must publish a regular Statement of the Treasury Account from time to time.
Clause 8: Congress cannot give anyone any title of nobility (King, Queen, Prince, Lord, etc.), and no officer of the United States can accept any title, office or payment of any kind from any other country.
SECTION 10:
Clause 1: No state can ally with another country; make war; make their own money; allow private boats and vessels to catch and arrest enemy ships; or issue their own bills for credit. States must make only silver and gold to pay for things. States cannot pass any law to disgrace people accused of dishonor. States cannot pass a law that goes back in time. Laws can be applied only after they are passed. States cannot pass a law that messes up contracts already made. States may not give people a title of nobility.

Clause 2: States must have the permission of Congress to charge money for the buying and selling of things that come into the country and things sold outside of the country. If states pass laws to charge money for things that come into and go out of the country, all the money collected will go to the United States Treasury. Congress can make laws to change or control these state laws.

Clause 3: States must have Congress’ permission to keep armies, or warships during peacetime. States will need Congress’ permission to join forces with another state or with a foreign power, or to make war, unless they are invaded and the United States troops cannot get there in time to help.

ARTICLE II

SECTION 1:
The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.
The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A quorum for this purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.

The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.
The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.

Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:–”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

SECTION 2:
The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.
He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

SECTION 3:
He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.
SECTION 4:
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.

ARTICLE 2

SECTION 1:
Clause 1: The leader of the country will be the President of the United States. The President will be elected every four years, along with a Vice President, like this:
Clause 2: The legislature of each state decides how that state will name a number of people called “Electors.” The number of electors will equal the number of Representatives and Senators of that State — but Senators, Representatives, or other government officers cannot be electors. (If a state has four Representatives and two Senators, it has six electors in what is now known as the Electoral College.)

Clause 3: The electors meet in their states and vote for two people. At least one person for whom they vote cannot live in that elector’s state. The Electors will make a list of all the people they voted for, and how many votes each person got. Then they sign and certify the list, and send it to the President of the Senate in the seat of the United States Government (in Washington, D.C.). The President of the Senate opens all the States’ certificates in front of the Representatives and Senators, and then the votes are counted. The person with the majority of electors’ votes will be the President. If more than one person has the same number of electors’ votes, the Representatives will immediately choose one of them by a vote. If nobody has a majority, then the Representatives will choose a President from among the five people who got the most electors’ votes. But if the Representatives have to choose a President like this, the vote will be taken by States, and each state has only one vote. At least two-thirds of the Representatives must be present to choose a President like this. If the President has to be chosen like this, the person with the next most electors’ votes will be the Vice President. If there is a tie, the Senators vote for the Vice President. [The 12th Amendment and the 23rd Amendment changed this process]

 

 

Clause 4: Congress picks the time of choosing of electors, and the day they vote. It will be the same day in all States.
Clause 5: The President must be born a United States citizen, be 35 years old, and have lived in the United States for 14 years.
Clause 6: If the President dies, leaves office, is kicked out of office, or is unable to do the job — the duties of President fall to the Vice President. Congress will decide how to handle things if the President or Vice President dies, leaves office, gets kicked out of office, or is unable to do their jobs. Congress will figure out which officer will act as President if the elected President or Vice President is unable to do their job, until the elected President or Vice President can do their job again, or until another President is elected. [This got more specific with the 25th Amendment]

Clause 7: The President will get paid for serving as President, and the pay cannot go up or down while that person serves as President. The President cannot get paid anything but salary from the United States while President. The President cannot get money from any State.

Clause 8: When the President takes office, this is the oath: “1 do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

SECTION 2:
Clause 1: The President is the Commander-in-Chief, in charge of the Army, Navy and all the armed forces of the United States. The President is also in charge of the National Guard of the States if the Guard is working for the United States. The President may get the officers of the executive departments to write down their ideas about anything of which they are in charge. The President can pardon people for crimes against the United States, except when those people get impeached by the House of Representatives and found guilty by the Senate.

Clause 2: The President has the power to make treaties, with the advice and permission of two thirds of the Senators present. The President will also appoint, with the advice and permission of two thirds of the Senators, Ambassadors (U.S. representatives in other countries), Supreme Court Judges, and other U.S. officers. Congress must approve the President’s treaties with a two-thirds vote of Senators present. Congress will decide how other appointments will be handled. Congress can let the President, the courts, or Department heads appoint other officers as they see fit.
Clause 3: If Congress is not in session, the President can fill vacancies whose term ends at the end of the next session of Congress.
SECTION 3:
The President will tell Congress how the country is doing in a “State of the Union” speech from time to time. The President will also give Congress ideas about how to get things done; and the President can meet with Congress anytime it is really important. If the Congress cannot agree on when Congress is finished working for the year, the President can dismiss them until a time the President thinks is fair. The President will welcome Ambassadors or government representatives from other countries; the President is in charge of making sure that the laws are carried out fairly; and the President empowers all the officers of the United States.

SECTION 4:
The President, the Vice President, and other officers of the United States, can be kicked out of office (impeached) if they are found guilty of double-crossing (betraying) the country, offering people money or getting money to do something dishonest, or other really big crimes.

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 Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

SECTION 2:
The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;–to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;–to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;–to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;–to Controversies between two or more States;– between a State and Citizens of another State,–between Citizens of different States,–between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.
In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

SECTION 3:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

 

The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.


Judicial Review

Impeachment of Federal Judges

 

 

 

 

Justiciability

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exceptions Clause

 

 

 

 

 

Treason Clause

ARTICLE 3

SECTION 1:
All the judicial power of the United States, including the courts of law and justice, will be headed by one Supreme Court. Congress can set up other courts as we need them. The Judges on the Supreme Court and the other courts under them can stay judges all their lives if they obey all the laws. The money Judges get paid for their service cannot be cut during their time as a Judge.

SECTION 2:
The judges of the courts have the power to decide any case that involves or questions: the Constitution, laws of the United States, or a treaty signed by the United States. Courts will also decide any case that involves Ambassadors or foreign ministers from other countries. They have the final say on cases that happen on the oceans. They decide: arguments when the United States is involved, cases between two or more states, cases between a state and somebody from another country, cases between citizens of different states, cases between citizens of the same state when different states give them the same land, and to all cases between a state, the citizens in that state, and other countries and their citizens. [This was changed by the 11th Amendment.]

If an Ambassador or Minister from another country, or if a state is involved, the Supreme Court can hear the case first. In all the other cases, the smaller courts will hear the cases first, and the loser can appeal their case. The Supreme Court is the final authority. The Supreme Court can look at both the law and the facts of each case, with the rules Congress has passed.

Trial for all federal crimes, except kicking people out of government (impeaching them), will be in front of a jury. The trial will be held in the same state where the crime was committed. If the crime was not committed in a State, Congress can decide by law where to hold the trial.

SECTION 3:
Treason, or betraying the United States, is making war against the United States, or being loyal to an enemy of the United States, or giving that enemy help or comfort. Nobody can be found guilty of treason unless two people describe the same obvious act of treason in open court, or unless the accused person says in open court that she/he did it.

Congress decides how to punish treason. If someone is guilty of treason, their family cannot be punished. The disgrace of the traitor, and any fines they owe, will go with them to their death, but not past that.

ARTICLE IV

SECTION 1:
Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.

SECTION 2:
The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.

A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.

No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.

SECTION 3:
New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.

SECTION 4:
The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened), against domestic Violence.


Full Faith and Credit Clause

Privileges and Immunities Clause

 

Extradition Clause

Fugitive Slave Clause

 

 

 

New States and Other Property

 

 

 
Guarantee Clause

ARTICLE 4

SECTION 1:
Each State will honor every other States’ public acts, their records, and their legal reports. The Congress will make laws to decide how to check on such acts, records, and reports. Congress will decide how to test these records and how effective they are.

SECTION 2:
Citizens of each State will have all the advantages and protection of citizens in the other states.

If somebody is charged with a crime in one state, then runs from the police to another state, the Governor of the state in which the crime was committed can demand the return of that person, and the other state must obey.
A slave in one state who escapes to a state where slavery is outlawed, will be returned to the slave owner upon their request. [The 13th Amendment outlawed slavery, making this part of the Constitution outdated.]
SECTION 3:
Congress can let new states into the Union, but no states can be formed inside another State. States can¬not be made of two or more States, or parts of States, unless both the State legislatures of those States and Congress agree to it.

 

Congress has the power to make rules and laws for lands and other property of the United States. Nothing in the Constitution can be used to influence any claims of the United States or any State.

 

SECTION 4:
The United States will guarantee every state a government elected by the citizens of that state, and it will protect the States from attack. The United States will also protect the states from local fighting, or riots, if the State legislatures ask for it. The Governor can ask for this protection if the legislature of that state is not meeting.

ARTICLE V

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.

The Amendment ProcessUnratified Amendments

ARTICLE 5

Amendments, or changes, to this Constitution can be offered two ways: 1. Congress can propose an amendment (it takes two-thirds of the Representatives and Senators to do that). 2. Legislatures of two-thirds of the States can call a big meeting called a Constitutional Convention. Either way, the amendments will be officially part of the Constitution when three-fourths of the State legislatures approve them. Congress may suggest another way to approve them. No amendment made before the year 1808 can affect the slave trade or taxation. No State, without that state’s permission, can go without its right to vote in the Senate.

ARTICLE VI

All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

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, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

 

Supremacy Clause

ARTICLE 6

All debts and promises made by the United States before the approval of this Constitution will still be enforced under this Constitution.
This Constitution, the laws of the United States, and the treaties of the United States are the absolute law of the land — and all judges must honor them, despite anything different in State Constitutions or State laws.
All Senators, Representatives, Members of State Legislatures, executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and in the states them¬selves, are bound by their word to sup¬port this Constitution. No religious test can ever be used in order to serve in public office.

ARTICLE VII

The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.


The Word, “the,” being interlined between the seventh and eighth Lines of the first Page, the Word “Thirty” being partly written on an Erazure in the fifteenth Line of the first Page, The Words “is tried” being interlined between the thirty second and thirty third Lines of the first Page and the Word “the” being interlined between the forty third and forty fourth Lines of the second Page.Attest William Jackson Secretary

Done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof We have hereunto subscribed our Names,

G°. Washington
Presidt and deputy from Virginia

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

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

Ratification of the Constitution

ARTICLE 7

The approval of the Constitutional meetings in nine States will be enough to approve the creation of this Constitution between the States.


This agreement is made unanimously by the States present on September 17, 1787; twelve years after becoming Independent.
To witness this document, we now sign our names,

Preamble to the Bill of Rights

Congress of the United States begun and held at the City of New-York, on Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.

ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

Preamble to the Bill of Rights

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Amendments to the United States Constitution, suggested by Congress, and approved by the States, like the Fifth Article of the original Constitution says.

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


Establishment ClauseFree Exercise ClauseFreedom of SpeechFreedoms of Press Freedom of Assembly, and Petitition

The 1st Amendment

Congress cannot make any law to create a government church, to keep people from practicing any religion they please (or not), to keep people from writing or saying what is on their minds, to keep people from getting together peacefully, or to keep people from asking the government to hear their complaints.

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The Right to Bear Arms

The 2nd Amendment

Since we need a National Guard to secure the country, citizens have the right to own firearms (guns).

Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

The Quartering of Soldiers

The 3rd Amendment

In peacetime, citizens do not have to let soldiers stay in their house. If there is a war, citizens would not have to let soldiers stay in their house unless there was a law to describe how it should happen.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Unreasonable Searches and Seizures

The 4th Amendment

The personal property of people is safe from government intrusion. People, and their houses, papers and other things they own, are protected from the police taking their property or looking at their property without a warrant. If there is a need to search or take property, a Judge must issue a warrant for a very good reason, supported by an oath, and the warrant must describe what is being looked at and what is being taken.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Rights of Criminal DefendantsEminent Domain

Due Process (14th Amendment)

The 5th Amendment

No one can be made to defend themselves against a crime the government says he/she committed under federal law unless a group of people (grand jury) agrees that the charge is real, and then that person is officially accused. Cases involving the armed forces or the National Guard are exceptions during wartime. No one can be held responsible for the same, crime more than once. No one can be made to testify against himself or herself, and the government cannot take away anyone’s life, freedom, or property without applying the law. Private property can¬not be taken for public use without a fair payment.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Speedy and Public TrialsImpartial JuriesConfrontation ClauseJuvenile SentencesThe Right to Counsel

The 6th Amendment

In criminal trials, anyone blamed for a crime will enjoy the right to a quick, public trial; decided by an open-minded jury; in the general place (district) where the crime was committed – these places will be determined by law. Anyone blamed for crimes must be told what crime they are accused of and why they are being blamed. The person blamed for a crime has the right to face the witnesses against him or her, to have a way to bring forward witnesses on his or her side in court, and to have a lawyer for his or her defense.

Amendment VII

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Right to a Jury Trial in Civil Suits

The 7th Amendment

In federal cases where somebody sues someone for more than $20, and when the case comes from old laws before the Constitution, the people get to have a trial by jury. No fact examined by a jury can be re-examined in any federal court, except according to the current rules.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Prohibition Against Excessive BailCruel and Unusual PunishmentThe Death PenaltyJuvenile SentencesIncarceration

The 8th Amendment

Anyone accused of a federal crime will not be required to pay bail that is out of proportion to the crime. Fines (money) charged to punish criminals must be reasonable, and any other punishment must not be cruel or unusual.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.


An Ignored Source of Implied Rights

The 9th Amendment

Just because some rights are listed in the Constitution does not mean that the people do not have other rights.

Amendment X

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.


Reserved Powers of the States
The Treaty Exception

The 10th Amendment

The powers not given to the United States by the Constitution, or denied by it to the States, belong to the States, or to the people themselves.

Amendment XI

The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.


State Sovereign Immunity

Exceptions to the 11th Amendment: Waiver, Agency, and Congressional Abrogation

The 11th Amendment

No one can use the power of the Courts against a state unless that person lives in that state. Citizens of another county cannot use the courts to sue any of the States.

Amendment XII

The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate; — the President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted; — The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. [And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President. --]* The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

Presidential Elections Under the Original Constitution
The Election of 1800Changes to Elections Under the 12th Amendment

Practical Relevance

The 12th Amendment

The Electors will meet in their home States and vote for the President and the Vice President, using a ballot. Electors cannot vote for the President or the Vice President if they are both from the same state as the Elector. On the ballots, the electors must clearly mark their choice for President, and their choice for Vice President. Then the electors will make clear and separate lists of all the people voted for as President, and all the people voted for as Vice President, including how many votes each candidate got. The Electors will sign and approve each list, then they seal the list and send it to the seat of Government (Washington, D.C.), to the attention of the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate opens it in front of the House of Representatives and the Senate, and counts all the votes. The person who has a majority of Electoral votes will be the President.

If no candidate gets a majority of Electoral votes, then the House of Representatives will pick the President, by ballot, from the three Presidential candidates who got the most Electoral votes. If this happens, the vote will be taken by States. The delegation (all the Representatives from a state) of each state will have only one vote. A quorum (the least amount of people needed to make a decision) will be at least one member from two-thirds of the States partici¬pating. A majority (50% + one) of all the states will be required to make this decision. If the Representatives fool around and do not make a decision before March 4 of the next year, then the Vice President will be the President, just like if the President were to die or else be unable to serve. [The 20th Amendment added a little more about this.]

The person with the majority of Electoral votes for Vice-President will be the Vice President. If no candidate gets a majority of Electoral votes, then the Senate will pick the Vice-President, by ballot, from the two Vice-Presidential candidates who got the most Electoral votes. At least two-thirds of the Senators are needed to make this decision; and a majority (50% + one) of the Senate will be required to make the final choice. The Constitutional guidelines for the President are the same for the Vice President.

Amendment XIII

SECTION 1:
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

SECTION 2:
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The Abolition of SlaveryConstitutionality of the Draft

Badges of Slavery

The 13th Amendment

SECTION 1:
Slavery no longer exists in the United States or any place the United States controls. No one is forced to work for anyone else for no pay, except as punishment for a crime in which the criminal has been convicted by a court of law.

SECTION 2:
Congress has the power to enforce this amendment with laws.

AMENDMENT XIV

SECTION 1:
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

SECTION 2:
Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age,* and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

SECTION 3:
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

SECTION 4:
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

SECTION 5:
The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.


Birthright CitizenshipPrivileges or ImmunitiesProcedural Due ProcessSubstantive Due ProcessIncorporation of the Bill of RightsEqual ProtectionThe Question of Government Action

 

The End of the Three-Fifths Compromise

Consequences of Denying the Right to Vote

 

 

 
Rebels as Government Officials

 

 

 

 

 

 

The National Debt
Enforcement of the Constitution (Congruence and Proportionality)

The 14th Amendment

SECTION 1:
Anyone born in the United States, or given citizenship by the United States, is a citizen of the United States and citizens of the state where they live. States cannot make or enforce any laws that limit the rewards or protections of any citizen of the United States. No State can take away any citizen’s life, freedom, or belong­ings without proper use of the law. Every person is given the same protec­tion under the law.
SECTION 2:
Representatives will be figured among the States according to their numbers, counting all the people in the State, except Native Americans who are not taxed. If a State will not let any male citizen over 21 years old vote freely (unless he commits a crime, or takes part in a rebellion), the num­ber of Representatives for that states will be reduced.

 

 

 

 

SECTION 3:
No one can be a Senator, Representative, Elector or officer of the United States — or United States military officer, or member of a State Legislature, or a Governor, or a judge of any State — if they took an oath to support the Constitution and then took part in a rebellion against the United States, or gave aid and comfort to the enemies of the United States. But Congress can change this with a two ­thirds vote.

 

 

SECTION 4:
Any money the United States owes for paying pensions, or pays for help in stopping a revolt, shall not be questioned. Neither the United States nor any State can pay any money for help in rebelling against the United States, and no State or the United States will pay for a lost or freed slave — in fact all such bills, obli­gations, and claims are not legal.
SECTION 5:
Congress has the power to enforce this amendment by law.

AMENDMENT XV

SECTION 1:
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

SECTION 2:
The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Granting the Right to Vote Irrespective of Race

The 15th Amendment

SECTION 1:
The United States or any State cannot deny anyone the right to vote based on their race, the color of their skin, or the fact that they were once slaves.

SECTION 2:
Congress has the power to enforce this amendment by law.

AMENDMENT XVI

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

The Federal Income Tax

The 16th Amendment

Congress has the power to place and collect taxes on citizens’ incomes without regard to the States, or without counting people.

AMENDMENT XVII

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.

The Direct Election of U.S. Senators

The 17th Amendment

The Senate of the United States will be made up of two Senators from each State, elected by the people in that State, every six years. Each Senator will have one vote. The electors in each state have to have the same qualifications as electors of the biggest house of the State legislature (generally be registered to vote).

If a Senator dies or leaves office, the Governor of the State shall call for an election to elect a new Senator. The State Legislature can let the Governor appoint somebody to be the temporary Senator until that election is held.

This amendment will not change the election or term of any Senators until it becomes a valid part of the Constitution.

AMENDMENT XVIII

SECTION 1:
After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

SECTION 2:
The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

SECTION 3:
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

Prohibition of Alcohol in the United States

The 18th Amendment

SECTION 1:
One year after this amendment is official, nobody can make, sell, or move beer, wine, or liquor anywhere in the United States or anywhere under the control of the United States.

 

SECTION 2:
Congress and the States have the power to enforce this amendment by law.
SECTION 3:
This amendment will not work unless it is added to the Constitution by the State Legislatures, like the Constitution says, in seven years from the day it is given to the States by Congress.

AMENDMENT XIX

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Granting Women the Right to Vote

The 19th Amendment

Women can vote. The right to vote cannot be denied because of sex.
Congress can enforce this amendment by law.

AMENDMENT XX

SECTION 1:
The terms of the President and the Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

SECTION 2:
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.

SECTION 3:
If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

SECTION 4:
The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.

SECTION 5:
Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.

SECTION 6:
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission.

Limiting the Influence of Lame Duck Governments

The 20th Amendment

SECTION 1:
Terms of the President and the Vice-President end at noon on January 20th. Terms of Senators and Representatives will begin and end at noon on January 3rd. Terms of the new President and Vice President will begin at noon on January 20. Terms of new Senators and Representatives will begin at noon on January 3rd.

SECTION 2:
Congress must meet at least once every year, starting on January 3rd, unless they pass a law to pick another day.
SECTION 3:
If the President-elect dies after the election and before noon on January 20, the Vice President-Elect will become President. If, for some reason, a President is not chosen before January 20, or if the President-Elect does not meet the rules laid out in the Constitution, then the Vice President-Elect will act as President until someone is chosen as President. If neither the President-Elect nor the Vice President-Elect meets the rules laid out in the Constitution, the Congress can decide, by law, who will act as President, how a President should then be picked, and that person will act as President until the Constitutional rules can be followed.
SECTION 4:
If the Representatives ever have to choose a President, or the Senators ever have to choose a Vice President, and that person dies before they enter office, the Congress can make a law to deal with that.
SECTION 5:
Sections 1 and 2 will take effect on October 15 after this amendment becomes part of the Constitution.

SECTION 6:
This amendment will not work unless it is added to the Constitution by the State Legislatures, like the Constitution says, seven years from the day after it is given to the States by Congress.

AMENDMENT XXI

SECTION 1:
The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

SECTION 2:
The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or Possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

SECTION 3:
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

The Repeal of Prohibition

 

Evolution of State Authority to Regulate Alcohol

The 21st Amendment

SECTION 1:
The eighteenth amendment is repealed.
SECTION 2:
States, territories, or other areas under the control of the United States can still pass laws making it illegal to make, sell, move, or drink beer, wine, or liquor.
SECTION 3:
This amendment will not work unless it is added to the Constitution by the State Legislatures, like the Constitution says, seven years from the day after it is given to the States by Congress.

AMENDMENT XXII

SECTION 1:
No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.

SECTION 2:
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.

The Two-Term Limit for Presidents of the United States

The 22nd Amendment

SECTION 1:
Nobody can be elected President more than twice. Nobody who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of someone else’s term, can be elected more than once. This amend¬ment does not affect the President now, and it does not affect anyone who may act as President until this amendment is officially added to the Constitution.
SECTION 2:
This amendment will not work unless it is added to the Constitution by the State Legislatures, like the Constitution says, seven years from the day after it is given to the States by Congress.

AMENDMENT XXIII

SECTION 1:
The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as Congress may direct:

A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.

SECTION 2:
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Washington, D.C. and Presidential Elections

The 23rd Amendment

SECTION 1:
The place where the seat of government is located (Washington, D.C.) can pick Electors like this:

The number of Electors will be figured as if the District of Columbia were a State, and the number would equal the number of Senators and Representatives of the smallest State. These Electors would be in addition to the Electors chosen by the States. For the election of the President and Vice President, the Electors will act like they are from a State. They will meet in the District of Columbia and follow the rules of the 12th amendment.
SECTION 2:
Congress has the power to enforce this amendment by law.

AMENDMENT XXIV

SECTION 1:
The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay poll tax or other tax.

SECTION 2:
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The Elimination of the Poll Tax

The 24th Amendment

SECTION 1:
No state can make people pay a tax as a condition of voting in any election for President, Senator or Representative.

 

 

SECTION 2:
Congress has the power to enforce this amendment by law.

AMENDMENT XXV

SECTION 1:
In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

SECTION 2:
Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

SECTION 3:
Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.

SECTION 4:
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

Succession to the Office of the President and Vice-President

The 25th Amendment

SECTION 1:
If the President dies, leaves office, or gets kicked out of office (impeached). the Vice President becomes the President.

SECTION 2:
If there is not a Vice President, the President will pick one, and that person will be the Vice President after a majority of Senators and Representatives allow it.

SECTION 3:
If the President writes to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and tells them the President can no longer do the job, the Vice President will become the Acting President. The President who gave lip the office would have to write to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House again to let them know she or he can do the job again.

SECTION 4:
If the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet officers writes to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House to tell them the President cannot do the job, the Vice President will immediately begin acting as President.

After that, when the original President writes to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House to tell them she or he can now do the job, the President will again have the powers of office unless the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet officers write the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House within four days to tell them that is not the case. I f all that happens, Congress will meet within 48 hours to decide the issue. Congress must act with¬in 21 days of receiving the letter. If Senators and Representatives decide by a two-thirds vote that the original President cannot do the job, the Vice President will continue to act as President. Otherwise, the President gets back the power of office.

AMENDMENT XXVI

SECTION 1:
The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.

SECTION 2:
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The Right to Vote for Citizens Eighteen Years of Age and Older

The 26th Amendment

SECTION 1:
Citizens who are 18 years old may now vote. The United States or any State cannot deny anyone the right to vote based on age.

SECTION 2:
Congress has the power to enforce this amendment by law.

AMENDMENT XXVII

No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened.

Restricting Congressional Compensation

The 27th Amendment

Congress cannot get a raise unless an election happens since they passed the law giving themselves a raise.

© Scarinci Hollenbeck, LLC 2012. All rights in the “Travis Translation” of the Constitution are reserved to Cathy Travis [Cathy Travis Books]. No rights in the ownership of the “Travis Translation” of the Constitution are claimed by the owner of this website. The “Travis Translation” of the Constitution is reprinted on this website with the author’s permission for educational purposes only. Any further reprinting of same is subject to agreement of Ms. Travis.
The United States ConstitutionDONALD SCARINCIMay 25, 2012



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