Essay questions us constitution

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It mandates that there shall be a Supreme Court, though it does not say how many justices it should have. This is left to the discretion of Congress, as is the question of whether there should be lower levels of federal courts, with the stipulation that justices and judges will hold office during good behavior.

Other parts of the Constitution also affected the judicial branch. Nowhere, however, did the Constitution specifically state that the Supreme Court would have the power to overturn federal and state laws that might be held to conflict with Constitution.

25 Essay Topics for American Government Classes

As with other parts of the Constitution, many questions remained to be answered when the new framework of government went into effect in Some issues were settled by the Federal Judiciary Act of that year, one of the most important measures passed by the first Congress. This measure set the size of the Supreme Court at six.

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  • The size varied over the next seventy years but has remained at nine since The Judiciary Act also established a system of lower federal court: district courts with their own presidentially-appointed judges at least one in every state and an intermediate level of circuit courts, originally composed of district court judges and Supreme Court justices.

    The Circuit Courts only began to acquire their own judges in Constitutional Question: Does the First Amendment allow the government to limit what voters can wear to the polling booth? Policy Question: Should students be allowed to protest, such as by kneeling during the national anthem, during school hours or while on school property? Does the First Amendment treat students at government-run schools public schools differently than students at private schools? Does the First Amendment treat government-run colleges public colleges differently than private colleges?

    After reading their article, groups should also discuss the following question:.

    Why is it difficult for scholars, judges and lawmakers to balance robust strong speech protections with the necessity of maintaining a peaceful society? Provide evidence. Finally, have them revisit the hypothetical situations a third time, discussing them as a group. On their individual handout, students should circle any answer they want to change from the previous two rounds. Groups should report out on their conversations. What article did they read? What was it about? What policy questions did it raise, and what did students think?

    What constitutional questions did it raise, and what did students think? In addition, they can share any disagreements or changed opinions they have about the hypothetical situations. Have another student take a stand against the statement. Each student can make a brief speech in support of his or her statement.

    Then, one at a time, other students can join the two sides, making additional arguments to support or refute the statements until all students are standing. Students are allowed and encouraged to switch sides as they are swayed.


    Of those 33, only 27 have been ratified by state legislatures. Most recently, the 27 th Amendment the congressional pay agreement which prevents members of Congress changing their salaries in a given Congressional term was finally ratified in after initially receiving Congressional approval in but then subsequently forgotten until it was rediscovered in the s.

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    This does seem to suggest that the US Constitution rarely adapts and could be regarded as inflexible. However, the small number of Amendments is actually not a strong enough argument to state conclusively that the US Constitution is inflexible. The Founding Fathers built in flexibility.

    In other words, even if the Constitution does not specifically state that Congress has certain powers, Congress is within its rights to make any law that is associated with its enumerated powers. For example, the Supreme Court case of US vs Comstock examined the claim by convicted sex offenders that Congress was acting ultra vires i.

    The Supreme Court found that Congress was able to pass this Act under the elastic clause because of its role in protecting citizens. Another way in which flexibility was built in was via the vague wording used in much of the Constitution.

    Essay Questions

    This vague wording has effectively allowed the Supreme Court to grant itself the power of judicial review following the Marbury v Madison case in which Justices are able to decide whether pieces of legislation or actions taken by the public sector are constitutional or not, based on their interpretation of the Constitution and its Amendments. The Supreme Court rulings are generally regarded as quasi-legislative i. The classic example is the Roe v Wade case in which the Supreme Court ruled that a woman had the right to an abortion, thus disallowing federal and state restrictions on abortion.

    The Court ruled that the 14 th Amendment could be interpreted to mean that a woman had the right to personal liberty and therefore should have the chance to decide whether to continue with a pregnancy or not. A particular case of profound constitutional significance is Citizens United v Federal Election Commission establishing the right of businesses and unions to spend any amount they like in an election campaign.

    The Founding Fathers could not have envisioned a time in which abortion and same-sex marriage and huge financial influence on politics would be important features of modern life, but the flexibility built in to the Constitution has allowed further fundamental rights to be guaranteed.

    James Madison and the Federal Constitutional Convention of 1787

    One final way in which the Constitution is flexible is the use of conventions in establishing political behaviour. Conventions of note include the regular January fixture of the State of the Union address given by the President, the use of signing statements by the President on legislation, executive orders , the existence of EXOP and the White House Office , the dress code of US Supreme Court justices, and so on. Join s of fellow Politics teachers and students all getting the tutor2u Politics team's latest resources and support delivered fresh in their inbox every morning. You can also follow tutor2uPolitics on Twitter, subscribe to our YouTube channel , or join our popular Facebook Groups.

    Ruth has been an enthusiastic Head of Economics and Politics for many years, having taught in a variety of schools and at university level. She is also a Senior Examiner. Ruth is passionate about boosting the quality of teaching and learning across all subjects in schools and colleges. This Grade Booster workshop provides a day of intensive exam technique and revision for Year 13 students preparing for the Edexcel A Level Politics exams. Reach the audience you really want to apply for your teaching vacancy by posting directly to our website and related social media audiences.