Amendment XI through XXVII: KTB Prep American Government and Civics Series
Amendment 11 through 27 of the KTB Prep American Government and Civics series designed to acquaint users with the origins, concepts, organizations, and policies of the United States government and political system. The goal is greater familiarization with the rights and obligations of citizenship at the local, state, national, and global levels and the history of our nation as a democracy.
What is the Constitution?
The Constitution of the United States of America is the supreme law of the United States. Empowered with the sovereign authority of the people by the framers and the consent of the legislatures of the states, it is the source of all government powers, and also provides important limitations on the government that protect the fundamental rights of United States citizens.
It’s organized into three parts. The first part, the Preamble, describes the purpose of the document and the Federal Government. The second part, the seven Articles, establishes how the Government is structured and how the Constitution can be changed. The third part, the 27 Amendments, lists changes to the Constitution; the first 10 are called the Bill of Rights.
Restricts the ability of individuals to bring suit against states in federal court by established that federal courts do not have the authority to hear cases brought by private citizens against states.
“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.”kids.laws.com
Provides the procedure for electing the president and vice president. Each member of the Electoral College casts one electoral vote for president and one electoral vote for vice president. A contingent election held by the House of Representatives if no candidate wins a presidential electoral vote from a majority of the electors.
The number of candidates eligible to be selected by the House in a presidential contingent election is three, and it was established that the Senate would hold a contingent election for vice president if no candidate won a majority of the vice presidential electoral vote, and provided that no individual constitutionally ineligible to the office of president would be eligible to serve as vice president.
The Reconstruction Amendments are the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments to the United States Constitution, adopted between 1865 and 1870, the five years immediately following the Civil War. These amendments were intended to guarantee the freedom of former slaves and to establish and prevent discrimination in certain civil rights to former slaves and all citizens of the United States.
Abolished slavery and involuntary servitude except as punishment for a crime.
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.kids.laws.com
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.kids.laws.com
Addresses citizenship rights and equal protection under the law and was proposed in response to issues related to former slaves following the American Civil War. The amendment’s first section includes several clauses: the Citizenship Clause, Privileges or Immunities Clause, Due Process Clause, and Equal Protection Clause.
Provides a broad definition of citizenship providing that Americans descended from African slaves could become citizens of the United States.
Privileges and Immunities Clause
Requirement that the states comply with the Bill of Rights. Renders the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment redundant due to the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause.
Due Process Clause
Prohibits state and local governments from depriving persons of life, liberty, or property without a fair procedure. It makes most of the Bill of Rights as applicable to the states as it is to the federal government, as well as to recognize substantive and procedural requirements that state laws must satisfy.
Substantive Due Process
Allows courts to protect certain fundamental rights from government interference, even if procedural protections are present or the rights are not specifically mentioned elsewhere in the US Constitution. The basis for such protection derives from the due process clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution, which prohibit the federal and state governments, respectively, from depriving any person of “life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”. It demarcates the line between the acts that courts hold to be subject to government regulation or legislation and the acts that courts place beyond the reach of governmental interference.
Procedural Due Process
Required by the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, government officials must follow fair procedures before depriving a person of life, liberty, or property. When the government seeks to deprive a person of one of those interests, procedural due process requires at least for the government to afford the person:
- an opportunity to be heard
- and a decision made by a neutral decisionmaker.
The rights, which apply equally to civil due process and criminal due process, are the following:
- An unbiased tribunal.
- Notice of the proposed action and the grounds asserted for it.
- The opportunity to present reasons for the proposed action not to be taken.
- The right to present evidence, including the right to call witnesses.
- The right to know the opposing evidence.
- The right to cross-examine adverse witnesses.
- A decision based only on the evidence presented.
- Opportunity to be represented by counsel.
- A requirement that the tribunal prepare a record of the evidence presented.
- A requirement that the tribunal prepare written findings of fact and the reasons for its decision.
Not all the above rights are guaranteed in every instance when the government seeks to deprive a person life, liberty, or property. At minimum, a person is due only notice, an opportunity to be heard, and a decision by a neutral decisionmaker.
Doctrine allowing most provisions of the Bill of Rights to apply to the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Equal Protection Clause
Applies to citizens and non-citizens alike. The clause mandates that individuals in similar situations be treated equally by the law. Created largely in response to the lack of equal protection provided by law in states with Black Codes. Under Black Codes, blacks could not sue, give evidence, or be witnesses. They also were punished more harshly than whites
Prohibits the federal government and each state from denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen’s “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”
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.kids.laws.com
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislationkids.laws.com
The sixteenth amendment was ratified in February 1913 – just before Wilson’s inauguration on March 4th. The seventeenth amendment was ratified while Wilson was President on April 8, 1913. During Wilson’s eight official years as president, Congress would also pass the eighteenth and nineteenth amendments.
Congress may impose taxes on income from any source without having to apportion the total dollar amount of tax collected from each state according to each state’s population in relation to the total national population.
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.kids.laws.com
Established the popular election of United States senators by the people of the states.
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 Constitutionkids.laws.com
Established the prohibition of alcohol in the United States.
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 the territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.kids.laws.com
The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.kids.laws.com
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.kids.laws.com
Prohibits the states and the federal government from denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex
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.kids.laws.com
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Moved the beginning and ending of the terms of the president and vice president from March 4 to January 20, and of members of Congress from March 4 to January 3. It also has provisions that determine what is to be done when there is no president-elect.
The terms of the President and 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.kids.laws.com
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3rd day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.kids.laws.com
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 elect 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.kids.laws.com
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.kids.laws.com
Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.kids.laws.com
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.kids.laws.com
Repealed the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which had mandated nationwide prohibition on alcohol.
The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.kids.laws.com
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.kids.laws.com
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.kids.laws.com
Sets a limit on the number of times an individual is eligible for election to the office of President of the United States, and also sets additional eligibility conditions for presidents who succeed to the unexpired terms of their predecessors.
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 the President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by the 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.kids.laws.com
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 Congresskids.laws.com
Extends the right to vote in presidential elections to citizens residing in the District of Columbia.
The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as the 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.kids.laws.com
The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislationkids.laws.com
Prohibits both Congress and the states from conditioning the right to vote in federal elections on payment of a poll tax or other types of tax.
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 any poll tax or other tax.kids.laws.com
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.kids.laws.com
Clarifies that the vice president becomes president (as opposed to acting president) if the president dies, resigns, or is removed from office. It establishes procedures for filling a vacancy in the office of the vice president and for responding to presidential disabilities.
The president can voluntarily transfer his authority to the vice president (for example, in anticipation of a medical procedure) by declaring in writing his inability to discharge his duties. The vice president then assumes the powers and duties of the presidency as acting president; the vice president does not become president and the president remains in office, although without authority. The president regains his powers and duties when he declares in writing that he is again ready to discharge them.
The vice president, together with a “majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide,” can declare the president “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office” in a written declaration. The transfer of authority to the vice president is immediate, and (as with Section 3) the vice president becomes acting president – not president – while the president remains in office, albeit divested of all authority.
Prohibits the states and the federal government from using age as a reason for denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States who are at least eighteen years old.
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.kids,laws.com
The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislationkids.laws.com
Prohibits any law that increases or decreases the salary of members of Congress from taking effect until the start of the next set of terms of office for representatives.
No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervenedkids.laws.com