Powers of Government

The Three Branches
The Legislative
The Senate
Makes the laws
The House of
Powers found in
Article I
of The Constitution
Vice President
The Cabinet
The Bureaucracy
Powers found in Article II
of The Constitution
The Executive Branch
Carries out the laws
The Judicial Branch
Interprets the laws
Powers found in Article III
of The Constitution
The Constitution is the highest law of the land
Our country is based on concept of rule of law.
No one is above the law
There are two ways judges and others view the Constitution:
Strictly or loosely
The 1st Amendment states: 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 the people peaceably to assemble, and to
petition the government for a redress of grievances.
Abridging means to shorten without losing the sense or curtail.
Are you a strict constructionist or a loose constructionist?
Decide by answering the following question.
What does freedom of speech mean to you?
Does the 1st Amendment clause of “freedom of speech” include
The Internet?
These things didn’t exist during the time of the Framers.
What would
these guys
say today?
Thomas Jefferson believed in
a strict construction of the
Constitution; that means, he
believed people should follow
exactly what was stated and
allowed in the document. Anything
not given to the
federal government in the
Constitution would be given
to the states and the people.
Alexander Hamilton
believed in a loose
construction of the
Constitution; he thought you
could take whatever action
you wanted, as long as the
document did not
specifically say you couldn't
do it.
In other words a strict constructionist would feel the need to
follow the specific instructions and rules of something, while
a loose constructionist would feel it was acceptable to find a
loophole, or do something not directly forbidden
Strict or Loose Constructionist
Roe v. Wade is the historic Supreme Court decision overturning
a Texas interpretation of abortion law and making abortion legal
in the United States. The Roe v. Wade decision held that a
woman, with her doctor, could choose abortion in earlier months of
pregnancy without restriction, and with restrictions in later months,
based on the right to privacy.
The case decision was based on the 9th Amendment. The Court said
the 9th Amendment protected a person’s right to privacy. Read the 9th
Amendment and see what you think.
All state laws limiting women's access to abortions during the
first trimester of pregnancy were invalidated by Roe v. Wade.
State laws limiting such access during the second trimester
were upheld only when the restrictions were for the purpose of
protecting the health of the pregnant woman. Roe v. Wade
legalized abortion in the United States, which was not legal at
all in many states and was limited by law in others.
Strict or Loose Constructionist
Time Magazine article from June 2008
The U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 decision overturning Washington,
D.C.'s handgun ban is the biggest gun rights ruling since the Second
Amendment was ratified in 1791. The Court had not waded into this
divisive issue since 1939, when it declared, "We cannot say that the
Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear" arms.
But on Thursday the Court broke its silence to do just that, ruling for
the first time that the Constitution confers an individual right to gun
ownership beyond providing for "a well regulated Militia," as the
amendment states. The Constitution does not permit "the absolute
prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home,"
Justice Antonin Scalia, the court's arch-conservative, wrote
in the majority opinion.
You decide!
Strict or Loose Constructionist
In 1808, the government of New York granted a steamboat company
a monopoly to operate its boats on the state's waters, which included
bodies of water that stretched between states. Aaron Ogden held a
license under this monopoly to operate steamboats between New
Jersey and New York. Thomas Gibbons, another steamboat operator,
competed with Aaron Ogden on this same route but held a federal
coasting license issued by an act of Congress. Ogden filed a
complaint in New York court to stop Gibbons from operating his boats,
claiming that the monopoly granted by New York was legal even
though he operated on shared, interstate waters. Gibbons disagreed
arguing that the U.S. Constitution gave Congress the sole power over
interstate commerce. After losing twice in New York courts, Gibbons
appealed the case to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court
determined that the commerce clause of the Constitution grants the
federal government the power to determine how interstate commerce
is conducted.
Which branch of government is mainly responsible for
passing laws, approving budgets, and approving appointments
of officials?
Which branch of the national government is the U.S. Congress
The Supreme Court hears important legal cases, and
has the power of "judicial review." That means the Supreme
Court has the power to declare a law ____________.
Which branch of government is mainly responsible executing
the laws, preparing budgets, administering government
agencies, and appointing officials?
Which branch of the national government is the president
the head of?
Which Supreme Court case declared abortion is illegal?
Someone who follows the Constitution word for word and
does not interpret what it is meant say is known as
a _______________________________
What does “rule of law” mean?
What is meant by domestic tranquility?
The Preamble includes the phrases “establish justice”
and “secure the blessings of liberty. ” The Pledge of
Allegiance contains the words, “with liberty and justice for all.”
What do the terms liberty and justice mean to you?
Powers of Government
Federal Powers
delegated –
These powers
are also called
expressed or
They are directly
granted to the
government by
the Constitution
in Article I,
Section 8.
State Powers
reserved –
powers that are
neither granted
to the federal
nor expressly
forbidden to
the states and
are therefore
retained by the
states or by the
people. 10th
concurrent –
powers held
by both the
federal and
Implied Powers
implied (necessary and proper clause, elastic clause) –
the powers granted to the federal government in Article I,
Section 8, Clause 18, of the Constitution. Congress is given
the power to make all laws “necessary and proper” to carry
out its responsibilities. Aka the elastic clause because it gives
Congress powers that can be reasonably inferred from the
brief wording of its expressed powers.
What is an example of an necessary and proper law?
Denied Powers
These are the powers expressly denied to the federal
government in Article I, Section 9 and in the First through
Eighth Amendments; for example, the federal government
can not tax goods sold to other countries, nor can it pass
laws that significantly restrain our constitutional rights and
Denied Powers
Suspension of habeas corpus
Bills of Attainder
Ex post facto laws
Habeas Corpus
Bills of Attainder
A court order
commanding an
officer holding a
prisoner bring the
prisoner before
the court.
The officer must
show good cause
in order to hold
the prisoner
without a court
Remember a
is due a
speedy and
public trial.
Ex post facto laws
someone for
an act before
the act was
ruled a crime
Which of the Bill of Rights reflect these denied powers of government?
Reserved Powers
Powers given to the states, among these are:
Marriage and divorce laws
Drinking age
Set up public school systems
What are some other powers states have that the
Federal government does not?
Supremacy Clause
Supremacy Clause- Article VI, Section 2 of the Constitution,
establishes two principles. The federal government is superior
over all state and local governments. It also establishes the
Constitution as the “supreme law of the land,” making it
superior over all levels of government in the United States.
Some terms to know and apply
Preamble to the Constitution
purposes of government
domestic tranquility
common defense
general welfare
Governmental powers:
implied (necessary and proper clause, elastic clause)
Some terms to know and apply
Limits on government:
checks and balances
separation of powers
judicial review
consent of the governed
popular sovereignty
states’ rights
due process

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