113

One of the main reasons was that the President - even now, never mind in Founding Fathers' time - is not the "head of government", the way Prime Ministers are in Parliamentary systems. The President is the head of Executive Branch of government, and in Founders' time that branch had fairly little power, therefore there was far less possible impact and ...


111

He seems to have meant amending it (quote below) to remove the clause permitting slavery and forced labour as punishment for a crime. So let us ask this possibly dicey question: What, exactly, was Kanye trying to say? There is a fair chance he was referring to what’s called the 13th Amendment’s “exception clause,” as many speculated on Twitter. It’s the ...


106

When the US Constitution was written, "he", "him" and similar were used to refer to all persons regardless of sex. Per Lexico (which claims to use the Oxford English Dictionary as its source): He Pronunciation: /hē/ /hi:/ pronoun third person singular 1. Used to refer to a man, boy, or male animal previously mentioned or easily ...


94

The USA is in a state of emergency, and has been since the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001. The state of emergency was declared by former President G. W. Bush: Proclamation 7463—Declaration of National Emergency by Reason of Certain Terrorist Attacks A national emergency exists by reason of the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, New York, ...


84

One difference is that the trial (and, behind it, criminal prosecution and legal punishment) is something the state is organising for its own purpose in the first place. The right to a speedy trial is not a right to a trial or anything along those lines, it is a limitation on the conditions under which the state can apply punishment and restrict someone's ...


80

My naive understanding (correct me if I'm wrong) is that the Constitution is already the supreme law and nothing can be above it, nor Congress Resolutions. If anyone acts against the Constitution, it must be already illegal. On the other hand, if someone is able to break the higher law and get away with it, he could also safely ignore common law. In the ...


79

Male pronouns can be found all over the constitution. I look at Article I, Section 3: 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. There are currently 26 US Senators who are ...


73

It looks to me as if the Harvard Law Review is engaging in a rather laboured joke, in the spirit of Swift's A Modest Proposal. To be more precise, it seems to be a satire on the temptation to change the rules when one is losing the game. The problem with that in any vaguely democratic system is assembling the votes to make the change. This proposal ...


70

The constitution does not say anything about 'separate but equal', for or against, directly. So the easy answer is that separate bathrooms are not a violation because you can't violate something that is not constitutionally required. Of course that's sort of a cop-out, so let's answer the question you're trying to ask without being so overly literal. I'm ...


67

The interstate State Compact, if it ever was implemented by states representing 270 or more electors would almost certainly be tested in court. Until it is tested in the Supreme court, nobody can authoritatively say if it is constitutional or not, The arguments would centre around whether the constitution should be read on the "plain meaning of the ...


62

Benjamin Franklin seems to have anticipated Spooner's argument. When asked what he and his associates had created, Franklin replied, A republic, madam, if you can keep it. The point being that in the final analysis, a constitution (or any law) is just a piece of paper, entirely dependent on the government's willingness to obey its own laws, and the ...


56

In short: separation of (coequal) powers means the President can't order any such thing of Congress. Congress does as it wills, and the constitution has very little to say about whether it does its jobs in any particular time frame, or even in any particular way. Article 2, Section 3 of the constitution details the two things a President can force Congress ...


56

A definitive interpretation of the constitution can only come from the Supreme Court in the US. The court has not ruled on this. However Supreme court justicies have given their interpretation of the law. Moreover lower courts have ruled on Federal and State laws that use "he". Their conclusions are consistent: In the interpretation of law, the ...


53

No, it was illegal. Jay Ulfelder discussed this topic among others in a nice blogpost I quote for convenience: The vote to remove Yanukovych doesn’t seem to have followed constitutional procedures. Under Articles 108-112 of Ukraine’s constitution (here), there are four ways a sitting president may leave office between elections: resignation, ...


51

The reason this isn't a loophole is that The President doesn't have the power to make laws at all, only Congress can do that. Thanks to the vast expansion in the power of the Executive branch in recent decades, Executive Orders certainly seem like laws which The President can make on their own. Legally, though, they are actually just instructions to ...


51

No, the House of Representatives does not have the power to overrule a Senate veto. Article I, Section 7 is quite clear that a bill needs to pass both the House of Representatives and the Senate in order to become law. The two-chamber Congress was designed as a compromise between those founders who wanted every person to have an equal say in American ...


50

It's worth noting that Obama actually did attempt an end-run around Congress in declaring that pro-forma Senate sessions were, in fact, a "recess" as defined by the Constitution. As such, he made some "recess" appointments to the NLRB. The Supreme Court, 9-0, ruled in NLRB v. Noel Canning that it was unconstitutional for him to do that. We hold that, for ...


47

In Walter L. Nixon v. United States (unrelated to President Richard Nixon), the court held that the judiciary could not review impeachment proceedings. According to the constitution, the House has the "sole power of impeachment" and the Senate has the "sole power to try all impeachments." The Supreme Court considered this sufficient evidence that the framers ...


46

Yes, the constitution can be amended. In fact the second amendment is just that: an amendment. You can continue to add new amendments, even on existing amendments. This has actually already happened. The 18th amendment established Prohibition. After a short time the 18th amendment was repealed by the 21st amendment. So it is entirely possible to create a ...


46

Division of Powers Between State and Federal Governments There are some powers that are reserved solely to the federal government, some that can only be exercised locally or by the states, and yet others which can be (and are) exercised by all of the above. Powers Reserved Solely to the National (Federal) Government Several powers are reserved by the U.S. ...


46

@User4012 makes some good arguments, I'll add a few. The Founders greatly underestimated the relative power of the Congress and the President and expected that the Congress would turn out to be the dominant branch, making removal of the President less important. There is a reason that Article I (Congress) comes before Article II (the Executive Branch) and ...


43

The right to a speedy trial just means that the prosecutor may not delay the trial unreasonably. The prosecutor is not actually required to provide a trial. The trial is a requirement to keep the defendant incarcerated or otherwise limited, e.g. by a bail agreement. So a speedy trial is a limitation on the prosecutorial power. If tried, the trial must be ...


39

Are prisoners considered as slaves? Prisoners are held in prison due to their breaches of laws, prisoners remain in prison for specific terms, prisoners cannot be traded, prisoners have rights (including to safety and to not be overworked), the offspring of prisoners (even if they are born when their parents are at prison) are not prisoners. No. Prisoners ...


39

Yes, the Senate can hold a trial, but they would have to change their rules first in order to do so. There's no Constitutional requirement that the Articles of Impeachment be somehow "sent" to the Senate. The only parts of the US Constitution regarding impeachment are Article I, Section 2, Paragraph 5: 5: The House of Representatives shall chuse ...


39

Since the public decide whom to elect as a president, why can't they vote on impeaching the president? The public doesn't (directly) decide whom to elect. The president is elected by the Electoral College, whose vote is generally determined by the popular vote. As for "why can't they vote on impeaching the president," the process of impeachment is ...


38

In a dissent in the case of Laird v. Tatum, Justice William Douglas argued tangentially that the creation of an air force is legal as per Article of 1, Section 8 of the Constitution: The Army, Navy, and Air Force are comprehended in the constitutional term "armies." Article I, § 8, provides that Congress may "raise and support Armies," and "provide and ...


38

"Madam Speaker" is not Rep. Pelosi, but Rep. Diana DeGette, a Democrat from Colorado, who is serving as speaker pro tempore and presiding over the US House of Representatives for the debate on the impeachment of President Trump. https://denver.cbslocal.com/2019/12/18/diana-degette-impeachment-debate-preside-donald-trump-house-representatives-colorado/


37

Is there a mechanism (aside from amendments, which, well, can only amend) that allow legislators to update the single most important legal text of the US? The portion that I bolded is where you are incorrect. Amendments can not only amend the text, they make any change to it at all. The 17th Amendment effectively overwrote the first two clauses of Article ...


36

A relevant quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin: Dr. Franklin was for retaining the clause [on impeachment], as favorable to the executive. History furnishes one example only of a first magistrate being formally brought to public justice. Every body cried out against this as unconstitutional. What was the practice before this, in cases where the chief ...


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