Congress - US Congress Constitutional Design The framers of...

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1 US Congress Constitutional Design ± The framers of the Constitution were ambivalent about democracy and concerned about the possibility of government tyranny. ± Wanted an energetic government capable of accomplishing its assigned tasks. ± Intended for the legislative branch to be the center of policymaking ± Made sure that Congress was surrounded by competing centers of government power. ± Experienced the weakness of the congress under the Articles of Confederation ± Article I, Section I gave Congress power to make laws . Constitutional Design ² Enumerated Powers - Powers of Federal Government listed in the Constitution. ² Examples: regulate interstate commerce, borrow money, declare war, establish rules for naturalization, taxation, coin money, establish post office, issue patents/copyrights, raise Army/Navy, provide for state militia ² Necessary and Proper Clause or Elastic Clause – Allow Congress’s powers to expand beyond enumerated list…basis for the Implied Powers to make whatever laws necessary to carry our responsibilities. ² McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) ² Reserved Powers – Those powers not listed in Article I are reserved to the states; stems from 10 th Amendment. ² Bicameral - Divided into two chambers to prevent rash action ² Lower – House of Representatives ² Upper – Senate ² National organized on basis of “Separation of Powers” and “Checks and Balances”
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2 Federalism ± In our federal system , some powers and responsibilities are granted to the national government, some are shared, and some are reserved for the states. ± It is inevitable that conflicts will occur between state governments and the national government. ± Federalism also infuses localism into congressional affairs. Constitutional Design ± Provisions of Article I, Section 9 ± Bill of Attainder - Governmental decree that a person is guilty of a crime that carries the death penalty, rendered without benefit of a trial. ± Ex Post Facto Law - A law retroactively declares some action illegal. ± Habeas Corpus - Legal doctrine that a person who is arrested must have a timely hearing before a judge. Representation in Congress ± Apportionment - House seats are apportioned among the several states every ten years, following the census. Established through the Great Compromise ² Virginia Plan ² New Jersey Plan ² Established through the Great Compromise (Connecticut Compromise) ² Based on population in the House of Representatives and on equal representation of the states in the Senate. ± Election of legislators ² House of Representatives elected by people ² Senate initially by state legislators ² 17th Amendment gave people the power to elect Senators directly ² 1929: House size fixed at 435
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3 US Senate ± Members chosen from entire state ± Term = 6 years ; no term limit ± 9 year US resident and legal resident of their state ± Elections = 1/3 elected in November of even-numbered years ± Total Membership = 100 ± Minimum Age = 30 years
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Congress - US Congress Constitutional Design The framers of...

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