U.S. Constitution Study Guide

Article I
Bicameral Legislature

Equal membership: 2 for each state
Term:6 years
Requirements: 30 years of age, citizen of U.S. 9 years, and resident of state
Residing Officer: Vice President of U.S. (known as President of the Senate) Senate elects President Pro Tempore who presides in absence of VP

House of Representatives:

Membership: According to population
Term: 2 years
Requirements: 25 years of age, citizen of U.S. 7 years, and resident of state
Presiding Officer: Speaker of the House (elected by the Majority Party)


Publishes a Congressional Journal.
Congressional Immunity.
Choose their own officers.
Meet on January 3rd each year.
Can't be on two federal payrolls.
Franking privilege.
Travel expenses.
Each house punishes its own members.
Each house makes its own rules and judges the elections of its members.
Pass all bills by a majority vote.
Can over-ride Presidential veto by a 2/3 vote.
Cannot adjourn for more than 3 days without the consent of the other house.

Sole Powers of the Senate:

Advise and Consent to Presidential appointments.
Approve treaties 2/3 vote.
Jury to try impeachments.
If Electoral College fails to elect Vice - President, Senate does so.

Sole Powers of the House:

Initiate revenue bills.
Starts impeachment proceeding of civil officers only.
Choose President in case the electoral college fails to choose the President.

Enumerated, Delegated or Expressed Powers of Congress:

Lay and collect uniform taxes.
Borrow money.
Regulate commerce with states and nations.
Coin money (set its value, punish counterfeiting).
Naturalization, Immigration, Citizenship.
Create Post Offices and post roads.
Patents and copyrights.
Create lower courts.
Punish piracy & crimes on high seas.
Declare war.
Govern territories.
Appropriate Federal Expenditures.

Implied Powers:

Article 1, Section 8, Elastic Clause: To make all laws necessary and proper to carry out foregoing powers.

Powers Denied Congress:

Slave trade can not be eliminated until 1808.
Eliminate Writ of Habeas Corpus.
Bills of Attainder or Ex-Post Facto laws.
No intrastate tax.

Powers Denied the State:

Treaties with Foreign Powers.
Imports from state to state can not be taxed.
No letters of Marque and Reprisal.
ls of Attainder or Ex-Post Facto laws.
Can not coin money.
Can not maintain its own standing army in time of peace.

Article II
Executive Department
Executive Powers:

Chief Executive: The President. Term - 4 years (2 term limits)
President is chosen by the Electoral College.
Electoral College is equal to all the Representatives & Senators plus the minimum representatives of the District of Columbia as if it were a state.
Salary $200,000 per year plus certain expense budget.
President may be removed by impeachment (by House) and conviction (by Senate).
President's powers are administrative and executive.
Advisory body to the President is the Cabinet, appointed by the President and with the consent of the Senate.
(14 member Cabinet positions)
Cabinet is made up of the Secretaries of State, Treasury, Defense, Justice, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Education, Housing & Urban Development, Transportation, Health & Human Services and Veteran Affairs.
Commander in Chief of Army, Navy and Air Force.

Legislative Powers:

Deliver State of the Union Message.
Vetoes or Pocket Vetoes bills.
Call special sessions of Congress.
Can adjourn Congress (never has happened).
Make recess appointments.
Draw up and submit budget for Congressional approval.

Judicial Powers:

Grant Pardons and reprieves in Federal Cases.
Appoint judges, with consent of Senate, to Supreme Court and to lower federal courts. (District Courts, Courts of Appeal, Tax Court, Customs Court, Court of Customs & Patent Appeals.)

Article III
Judicial Department:

Constitution created the Supreme Court.
Inferior or lower courts established by Congress.
Congress determines the number of justices (no set number).
Justices appointed by President with consent of the Senate.
Term: good behavior. (life term as a rule.)
Judges and justices can be removed by impeachment and conviction.
Salaries can't be diminished while in office.
Supreme Court has original and appellate jurisdictions.
Original jurisdiction-case appears first, i.e., state vs. state or cases involving ambassadors. Appellate jurisdiction also involves citizens versus U.S. or vs. foreign countries. Appellate jurisdiction also involves maritime cases. Hears cases appealed from State courts where rights of U.S. Appellate Constitution were denied.


Levying war against the U.S. and giving aid and comfort to the enemy. Conviction is based on two witnesses to the same act or upon confession in open court.

Article IV
Relation of States to Nation

States recognize legal acts of other states.
Citizens of one state are citizens of the U.S.
Fugitives must be returned through extradition process.
States are guaranteed a republican form of government.
Protection from invasion and domestic revolution.
New States admitted by Congress which governs the territories.

Article V
Amending the Constitution Proposed:

Congress proposes amendment by 2/3 vote of both houses.
Upon application of 2/3 of states, Congress shall call a convention to propose amendments.


By legislatures of 3/4 of the states.
By state conventions in 3/4 of the states.

Article VI

Constitution and Treaties made constitutionally are the Supreme Law of the Land.
Federal Government assumed debts under the Articles of Confederation.
All Federal and State officers must take oath of office to support Constitution.

Article VII

Constitution in effect when ratified (approved) by 9 states.

Amendments (First Ten Are Usually Called "The Bill of Rights".)

  1. Freedom of Speech, religion, press, assembly.
  2. Keeping and bearing arms.
  3. Troops not to be quartered in private homes without compensation.
  4. No searches or seizures without a warrant.
  5. Indictment by Grand Jury; can't be tried twice for the same crime; due process of law; immunity from self-incrimination.
  6. Speedy and Public trial.
  7. Trial by Jury.
  8. No excessive punishment or fines.
  9. Powers not given to Federal Government belong to states and people.
  10. Powers belong to people.
  11. States can't be sued by citizens of another state in Federal Courts.
  12. President and Vice President on same ballot but not from same state. In case of tie, House chooses President, Senate chooses vice-president. Each state has one vote when House elects a President.
  13. Slavery abolished.
  14. Ex-slaves made citizens of U.S.
  15. Ex-slaves given right to vote.
  16. Income tax.
  17. Direct election of U.S. Senators
  18. Prohibition
  19. Woman's Suffrage (Right to vote).
  20. Lame Duck Amendment. Congress meets Jan. 3rd, President takes office on Jan. 20th.
  21. 18th Amendment repealed.
  22. President's term of office limited to two terms maximum. 23. Citizens in District of Columbia given right to vote for President and Vice President every 4 years.
  23. Poll tax abolished.
  24. Presidential disability and succession to office.
  25. No individual 18 years of age or older shall be denied the right to vote on account of age.
  26. No elected official may receive pay raise until after the next election. (Cannot vote themselves a pay raise.)