Power to Pass Laws by the Constitution

The Senate retains several powers for itself: it approves the ratification of treaties by a two-thirds majority and confirms the appointment of the president by a majority of votes. House approval is also required for ratification of trade agreements and confirmation by the Vice President. The Senate has the exclusive authority to confirm presidential appointments that require approval and to provide advice and consent to the ratification of treaties. However, there are two exceptions to this rule: Parliament must also approve appointments to the Vice-Presidency and any external trade treaty. The Senate also negotiates the impeachment of federal officials dismissed by the House of Representatives. State legislatures make laws in each state. State courts can review these laws. If a court decides that a law is not in conformity with the state constitution, it can declare it invalid. The Thirteenth Amendment made slavery illegal. See U.S. Const. XIII.

The Fourteenth Amendment prohibits states from restricting the “rights and immunities” of a citizen without due process. See U.S. Const. amend. XIV. The Supreme Court has interpreted the “due process” clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to protect citizens from state interference with almost all of the rights enumerated in the first eight amendments. This process of extending the Bill of Rights to States is called the doctrine of incorporation. The Fourteenth Amendment also guarantees equal protection of laws.

See Equal Protection. The right to vote is protected by the Fifteenth Amendment (“The right to vote may not be denied. on the basis of breed. “), the Nineteenth Amendment (guaranteeing the right to vote regardless of sex) and the Twenty-fourth Amendment (extending the right to vote to persons aged 18). See U.S. Const. Amendments XV, XIX and XXIV. The separation of powers element confirms that Marshall C.J., in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), correctly interpreted the word “necessary” in the necessary and appropriate clause to mean convenient or useful, and not indispensable. Any creation or reorganization of federal departments in American history had to be “necessary” to exercise the powers conferred on the federal government. Instead of being indispensable, everyone was a convenient way to organize executive power. See Jack M.

Balkin, Living Originalism 179 (2011). The presentation clause is not such a paper tiger. The clause states that a bill can only become a bill if it is submitted to the president after it has been passed by both houses of Congress. The president then has ten days to sign the bill or reject it and send it back to Congress with an explanation of his objections. Until recently, the word “right” did not play a serious role in constitutional debates about the meaning of the clause. In fact, a number of figures of the Wilhelminian era, including luminaries such as Patrick Henry, James Monroe and Daniel Webster, thought that the word “right” was an excess that added nothing to the word “necessary”. However, in 1997, after some academic commentary aimed at giving substance to the adequacy requirement, the Supreme Court ruled in Printz v. United States that a federal law requiring state law enforcement officers to enforce federal firearms registration requirements was not “appropriate” because it did not respect federal/state boundaries that were part of the context or structure of the Constitution.

Some subsequent cases have extended this attitude to other matters concerning federal-state relations. In NFIB v. Sebelius (2012), a constitutional challenge to “Obamacare,” the federal health care law, the court was sharply divided on whether a law could ever be “fair” if it did not include direct federal regulation by state governments or state officials. The issue is likely to be a point of contention in the future. The Constitution lists a variety of congressional powers, ranging from seemingly significant powers, such as the power to regulate interstate and foreign commerce, to seemingly minor powers, such as the power to establish post offices and postal routes. But there are many powers that most people would expect Congress to exercise today or in 1788 (when the Constitution was ratified) that are not part of these lists. The Constitution assumes that there will be federal departments, offices, and employees, but there is no clause explicitly giving Congress the power to create them. Congress has specific powers to punish counterfeiting and piracy, but there is no explicit general power to provide criminal or civil penalties for violations of federal laws. Several constitutional provisions give Congress considerable authority over the nation`s finances, but no clause deals with a national bank or federal enterprises. However, there is a movement underway to use the Constitutional Court`s proceedings as a sword to undo what Congress has created.

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