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The Constitution- Some Facts at a Glance

Source: Chart of Powers of the President

The constitution vests the executive power of the United States in the president. Article II, Sections 2 and 3 outline the powers and duties of the president. *

Powers of the President:

1. The President is commander in chief of the armed forces.

2. The President may demand the advice of any cabinet official.

3. The President has the power to grant pardons for any federal offense (except impeachment).

4. The President has the power to make treaties with "advice and consent" of the Senate. To ratify a treaw requires a 2/3rds vote of Senate.

5. The President has the power to nominate ambassadors, cabinet officials, justices of Supreme Court, lower court judges, and other public officials with the "advice and consent" of the Senate. To confirm such a nominee requires a majority vote of the Senate.

6. The President may fill federal office vacancies during recess of Senate.

7. The President shall suggest measures (laws) to Congress and, from time to time, deliver a state of the union message.

8. The President may call Congress for special sessions should this be necessary.

9. The President shall receive foreign ambassadors and ministers.

10. The President shall ensure that the laws are faithfully executed.

11. The President shall commission officers of the armed forces.

Source: Chart of the Jurisdiction of Federal Courts

Article IlL Section 2 outlines which cases may be heard by federal courts.

The Jurisdiction of Federal Courts:

All cases arising under the Constitution, federal laws and treaties

All cases affecting ambassadors, foreign officials, etc.

All cases in maritime jurisdiction

All cases in which the U.S. government is a party

All cases between two or more states

All cases between a state and citizens of another state1

All cases between citizens of different states

All cases between citizens of a state claiming land under the grant of a different state

All cases between states or U.S. citizens and foreign states or citizens

How cases come to the Supreme Court:

Article IlL Section 2 also outlines which of the above mentioned cases originate with the Supreme

Court and which are heard only on appeal from lower federal courts or state courts.

Original Jurisdiction (cases that are heard initially by the Supreme Court):

All cases affecting ambassadors and foreign officials and all cases in which a state is a party.

Appellate Jurisdiction (cases that are heard by the Supreme Court on appeal only):
All other cases listed in Article III, Section 2 (listed above).

Source: Chart of the Bill of Rights

The Bill of Rights - the first ten amendments to the Constitution - was not included in the Constitution written by the framers in Philadelphia during the summer of 1787.  They were proposed in 1789, in response to the anti-Federalist critique of the Constitution.  Many anti-Federalists made the passage of a Bill of Rights a condition for ratification of the Constitution. The Bill of Rights was rat jjied by three fourths of the states in 1791.

Amendment I, Religious and Political Freedom:
Congress may make no law establishing religion or prohibiting free exercise of religion. Congress may make no law abridging free speech, free press, the right to peaceful assembly, or the right to petition the government.

Amendment II, Right to Bear Arms:
A militia being necessary to a free state, Congress may not infringe upon the right of people to keep and bear arms.

Amendment III, Quartering Troops:
Individuals may refuse to quarter troops in his home during peace time. During times of war, soldiers may be quartered in accordance with Federal law.

Amendment IV, Search and Seizure:
Individuals have a right against unreasonable searches and seizures. Search warrants shall be issued only when probable cause has been determined.

Amendment V, the Trial Process:
Individuals may not be tried for a capital or other serious crime without a formal charge or the indictment of a grand jury. No individual shall be tried twice for the same crime. No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. Private property shall not be taken for public use without compensation.

Amendment VI, Rights of the Accused:
Individuals accused of crimes have the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury. Accused have the right to be informed of the charges against them. They have the right to confront witnesses against them and subpoena witnesses in their favor. Accused have the right to counsel.

Amendment VII, Common Law:
The rules of common law are recognized for all jury trials and appeals.

Amendment VIII, Punishment
Excessive bail shall not be required, excessive fines imposed, nor cruel or unusual punishment inflicted.

Amendment IX, Rights Retained by the People:
The enumeration of certain rights of individuals in the Constitution shall not be interpreted so as to deny or disparage other rights which are retained by the people. (Other rights may exist that are not listed here).

Amendment X, Reserved Powers (States' Rights):
Powers not delegated to the federal government (or prohibited to the states) are reserved to the states and the people.

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