The United States Constitution was signed September 17, 1787. It was ratified June 7, 1778 when the 9th State ratified it following the publication of the Federalist Papers. The following are abridged sections from it:
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
[Blue text, and any blue text that is bolded, are Editorial Notes/Comments --- they are not part of the Constitution.]
"All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives."
"The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States …"
"No person shall be a representative who shall not have attained the age of twenty-five years and have been seven years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen."
[Translation (eliminating the double-negatives): To be a Representative in the U.S. House of Representatives, you (male/female) must be at least 25 years old, must have been a U.S. citizen for at least 7 years AND must be an inhabitant of that State which elected you.]
[Note: You do not need to have been born in the U.S. to be a U.S House Representative --- unlike the U.S. President.]
"Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers..."
"The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by Law direct."
[Note 1: This is the Constitutional basis for the U.S. Census]
[Note 2: Enumerate means to establish the number of whatever. Herein it means to establish the number of people living in the U.S. That would be "people" of any age, any ethnicity, any race, etc. There is no mention of any necessary time-dependent report that would cut short the time needed to carry out said complete and proper enumeration.]
[Note 3: "The actual enumeration shall be made … every 10 years …” connects to Paragraph 3 Clause 1 which mentions each State’s respective numbers in each State i.e. enumerate (establish the number of) people in each State.]
[Note 4: In such manner as they shall be directed by Law has not been established; no such "manner” or "Law” is specified within the confines of the U.S. Constitution.]
"The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment."
"The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote."
[Note 1: Superseded by the 17th Amendment "Senatorial elections"]
[Note 2: The "2 for each State" aspect throws things out a tad out of kilter. Per the last U.S. Census, 37% of the U.S. population are permitted to elect 68% of the U.S. Senate. (See Notes 1a & 1b in Amendment 17 below)]
"No person shall be a senator who shall not have attained the age of thirty years and have been nine years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen." [Translation (eliminating the double-negatives): To be a Senator in the U.S. Senate, you (male/female) must be at least 30 years old, must have been a U.S. citizen for at least 9 years AND must be an inhabitant of that State which elected you.]
[Note: You do not need to be born in the U.S. to be a U.S. Senator --- unlike the U.S. President.]
"The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided." (To break a Tie vote)
"The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence of two thirds (67%) of the Members present." [Note the word "present"; there are 100 senators, but for example, in Nov 2018, there were 99 with the death of John McCain. Or what if, for any reason, some senators are not "present"?]
"Judgment in Cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law."
"The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators. …"
"Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide."
"Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member." [Note that the creation of the "Rules of the Senate” and the "Rules of the House” are AUTHORIZED by this Section. However, the actual rules that result are themselves NOT part the U.S. Constitution.]
"All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills."
"Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United States: If he approves, he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a Law." [Note: This is a way Congress can override a Presidential Veto].
"But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law."
"Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill." [Note: This is a way Congress may override a Presidential veto.]
"The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
· To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;
· To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
· To coin Money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures
· To establish Post Offices and Post Roads;
· To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
· To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
· To provide and maintain a Navy;
· To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
· To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
· To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
· To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof." [Note: The above, by name, specifically calls for an Army, a Navy and a Militia. A Militia, in present day terms, equates to the National Guard. The Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard were created legally but outside of the Constitution.]
"The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to 1808, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding $10 per person."
"No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to the Census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken."
"No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State."
"The executive Power shall be vested in the President of the United States of America. He shall hold his office during the term of 4 years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows:”
[Note: by use of the pronouns "He” and "his”, it is obvious that the Founders NEVER expected a woman President.]
"Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.”
[Note: See Amendment 12]
"The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes, which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.”
[Note: State electors meet in their respective State capitals the 1st Monday after the 2nd Wednesday of December to cast their votes i.e. December 14, 2020]
"No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to the Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”
"In Case of removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Officer, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.”
"The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that period any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.”
"Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation: -- 'I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.' "
[Note: by use of the pronouns "He” & "His", the Founders NEVER anticipated a woman President.]
[Note: the ambivalence herein is in the phrase: "will to the best of my Ability”]
"The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of any Militia of the several States, when called into actual service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principle officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any subject relating to the Duties of their respective offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment." [It is assumed this only applies to personnel involved in Federal cases. Otherwise, there are no restrictions on who can be pardoned!!!]
"He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided 2/3 of the Senators present concur …"
"The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."
"The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the Supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation..."
[What has been established (as of 2019) is the following:
· 3 levels of Federal courts (108 courts in total):
o 1st Level is the 13 Circuit Courts (1st Level of Appeal courts)
o 2nd Level is the 94 District Courts (Trial courts)
o 3rd & Final Level is the Supreme Court
While one Supreme Court is specified in the Constitution, the number of Justices on the Supreme Court was not specified in the constitution. There have been 9 Supreme Court Justices for a long time. It is an arbitrary.]
"Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court."
"The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason … ."
"The Congress, whenever 2/3 of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of 2/3 of the 50 States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of 3/4 of the 50 States, or by Conventions in 3/4 thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to 1808 shall in any manner affect the first & fourth Clauses in the 9th Section of Article 1; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate."
[Note: This "Convention” is typically referred to as a Constitutional Convention. NO RULES are noted herein for how this Convention is run, who controls what happens and when, and how this Convention shall arrive at a conclusion; other than a vote.]
"The Ratification of the Constitution of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same."
[Imagine what the Founders would have done, had they any way of knowing that the United States would eventually consist of 50 States --- 2 of which were not even adjacent to any of the other States; or that the United States would occupy all of the land between the Atlantic ocean and the Pacific ocean, from Mexico to Canada.]
Amendment 1: Freedom, Petitions, Assembly (1791)
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for redress of grievances."
Amendment 2: Right to bear arms (1791)
"A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
[Note 1: A "well-regulated Militia" in today's culture implies the National Guard in each State. The term Militia can be interpreted to allow States the right to establish their own State Force to protect their State. No State has their own "Militia” per se, but most do have a National Guard contingent.]
[Note 2: The 2nd Amendment, as part of the Bill of Rights (Amendments 1-10) was ratified December 15, 1791. The typical "Arms" available in 1791 were single-shot pistols and single-shot muskets. There were no automatic weapons and no high-capacity magazines.]
[Note 3: Reportedly, private militias have been banned in all 50 States.]
Amendment 12: Presidential Elections (1804)
The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by ballot for President and Vice President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same State with themselves;
they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they will sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;
[Note: technically the "President of the Senate” is the current Vice President which makes no sense in this Amendment --- so the presumption is that this refers to the President Pro Tempore, who, by custom, is the longest serving Senator of the majority party who (as of Oct 2020) is the 87 year old Chuck Grassley.]
The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and the House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted; the person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed;
And if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list, of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by States, representation from each State having one vote;
a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from 2/3 of the States [i.e. 33 States], and a majority of all the States shall be necessary to a choice. …
The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice President, shall be the Vice President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Elector appointed; and if no person have such a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice President;
A quorum for the purpose shall consist of 2/3 of the whole number of Senators [i.e. 66 Senators], and a majority of the whole shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office President shall be eligible to that of the Vice President of the United States.
Superseded by Section 3 of Amendment 20
Amendment 14: Civil Rights (1868)
Section 1: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States, nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
Amendment 15: Black suffrage (1870)
Section 1: "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.
[Note 1: Suffrage means the "right to vote in political elections”.]
[Note 2: Passed in 1870, 79 years after the U.S. Constitution was ratified.]
Amendment 17: Senatorial Elections (1913)
"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."
[Note 1a: 50 States get 100 Senators (2 each) in the U.S. Senate. It has been forecasted that by 2030, 63% of the U.S. population will live in 16 (of the 50) States: 1) California, 2) Texas, 3) Florida, 4) New York, 5) Pennsylvania, 6) Illinois, 7) Ohio, 8) Georgia, 9) North Carolina, 10) Michigan, 11) New Jersey and 12) Virginia, 13) Washington, 14) Arizona, 15) Massachusetts and 16) Tennessee.]
[Note 1b: The aforementioned 16 States, if they had 63% of the U.S. population, would elect 32 Senators (32%) to the U.S. Senate; leaving the other 34 States with 37% of the U.S. population --- which if true, would elect 68% of the Senators in the U.S. Senate!!! To repeat: 37% of the U.S. population (should they live in those 34 States with the least population) would elect 68% of the U.S. Senate. This creates a possibility of the Majority being severely impacted by the Minority. Since this will not easily be changed, interested parties best start investing talent and funds into those less-populated States.]
[Note 2: The U.S. House of Representatives will adjust as population is built into how many Reps any State has in the U.S. House. Population has nothing to do with the U.S. Senate. Political parties will have to invest in the smaller States to maintain their influence in the U.S. Senate.]
[Note 3: When our Founders wrote the Constitution, they did not trust the people living in each State, to elect the U.S. Senators for their own State. This can be seen by reading the original Article I, Section 3. It is amended by Amendment 17.]
[Note 4a: The United States consisted of 13 States in 1788 when the 9th State ratified the U.S. Constitution. Our Founders probably did not consider that the U.S. would expand greatly to a footprint encompassing a land mass from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and adding 37 States.]
[Note 4b: Our Founders probably did not consider the ramifications of 63% of the U.S. population residing in less than 32% of all the States; leaving the other 37% of the U.S. population with the power to elect 67% of the 100 Senators in the U.S. Senate. However, if they were that insightful, then they intended to make it clear that those with substantial influence, best put adequate resources (money and talent) into the less-populated States.]
Amendment 19: Women’s suffrage (1920)
Section 1: "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.
[Note 1: Passed in 1920, 129 years after the U.S. Constitution was ratified and 50 years after Amendment 15: Black suffrage.]
Amendment 20: Terms of Office (1933)
Section 1: The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3rd day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended … and the terms of their successors shall then begin.
Section 2: The Congress [Senate and House] shall assemble at least once every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon of the 3rdday of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.
Section 3: 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 the 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.
Amendment 22: Term Limits for the Presidency (1951)
"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 2 years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office President more than once. ...
[Note: There is NO Amendment for Term Limits of 1) a U.S. House of Representative, or 2) a U.S. Senator; or Age Limits for Federal Court Judges.]
Amendment 25: Presidential Succession
"In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President."
[Paragraph 1] "Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President."
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