The United States Constitution was written “to endure for ages to come,” Chief Justice John Marshall wrote in the beginning of the 1800s. In order to make sure it would endure, the authors created amending the Constitution, an extremely difficult process. The difficulty became apparent as supporters of the congressional term limit and the balanced budget amendment still needed to get their desired modifications.
The Constitution was amended just 27 times since its creation in 1787. These include the initial ten amendments, which were that were adopted four years later in the form of”the Bill of Rights.
Any idea that can enhance America is worthy of amending. It should have a major effect on every Americans or protecting the rights of all citizens.
Recently, a proposal to prohibit flag burning could be getting more attention, and President Clinton has already endorsed the idea of a victims’ rights amendment. Some other amendments that are loved by some of the congressional leaders include allowing school prayers to be voluntary and making English the official language of the nation, as well as abolishing the Electoral College.
The most notable amendments of this century are the ones which gave women the right to vote. They also enacted and abolished Prohibition as well as abolished taxes on polls, and also lowered the minimal vote age from 21 to 18.
Amendments are extremely complicated and take a long time. The amendment proposal requires the approval of two-thirds of both houses of Congress and then approval by the legislatures representing three-fourths of states. In the case of the ERA Amendment, it was not ratified. ERA Amendment did not pass the majority required by state legislatures during the 1980s. Another way to begin the amending process is for two-thirds of state legislatures to be asked by Congress to convene a Constitutional Convention.
Supreme Court Background
The Article III section of the Constitution is the basis for the federal court system. Article III, Section 1 states the following: “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.” While the Constitution creates the Supreme Court, it permits Congress to determine how it will organize the Court. Congress initially exercised this power through the Judiciary Act of 1789. The Act set up the Supreme Court with six justices. Also, it established the federal lower court system.
In the past, many Acts of Congress have altered the number of seats available on the Supreme Court, from a lower of five seats to a maximum of 10. In the aftermath of the Civil War, the number of seats on the Supreme Court was set at nine. In the present, there’s a Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices on the United States Supreme Court. Just like all federal judges, justices are selected by the President and then appointed to office by the Senate. The majority of them are in offices for a lifetime. The justices’ compensation is not reduced during their tenure. This restriction is intended to ensure the judiciary’s independence from the political wing of the government.
The Court’s Jurisdiction
Article III Section II of the Constitution determines the authority (legal power to decide an instance) that is the responsibility of the Supreme Court. The Court has the authority to hear cases in its original form (the Court conducts a trial) for certain matters, e.g., suits against two or more states or issues that involve ambassadors or other ministers of the public. The Court is also able to hear appeals (the Court can listen to the request) in almost every other instance that touches on a matter in federal and constitutional law. Examples include those to which the United States is a party cases that involve treaties, and those involving vessels that are on high seas or waters navigable (admiralty instances).
In the course of exercising its appellate power in appellate proceedings, the Court has the authority to decide on appeals but, with certain limitations, is not required to decide on an appeal. The Certiorari Act from 1925 allows the Court the power to choose whether or not it is appropriate to conduct an appellate hearing. When a request is made for a writ to certiorari parties, ask the Court to examine the case. It is the Supreme Court agrees to hear approximately 100-150 cases of over 7,000 points it has to explore every year.
The most widely-known function that is the responsibility of the Supreme Court is judicial review and the capacity of the Court to rule on the law of a legislative or executive decision to violate the Constitution. It isn’t included in the Constitution in itself. The Supreme Court was the first Court to set this precedent by deciding the matter of Marbury Madison v. Madison (1803).
In this instance, the Court needed to decide if the Act of Congress or the Constitution was the most important law in the country. In 1789, the Judiciary Act of 1789 gave the Supreme Court original jurisdiction to issue mandamus writs (legal or legal orders that require public officials to behave according to the statute). An action was filed pursuant to the Judiciary Act. However, it was dismissed by the Supreme Court that the Constitution does not allow the Court to exercise its original authority on this issue. Because Article VI of the Constitution defines the Constitution as the Supreme Law of the Land, The Court declared that the validity of an Act of Congress that is against the Constitution was not valid. The Court then decided on other cases. The Court was also granted the power to invalidate laws of the State that are found to be contrary to or violate the Constitution.
Before the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment (1869), the clauses in the Bill of Rights were only for the Federal government. Following the course of the Amendment, it was decided that the Supreme Court began ruling that many of its provisions are relevant to the states, too. Thus, the Court can make the final decision about whether rights are secured under the Constitution or if a constitutional right is infringed.
The Supreme Court plays a very crucial role in our constitutional system of governance. In the first place, being the top justice in the nation as well as the home of last resort to those seeking justice. Furthermore, with its judicial review power and its role in judicial review, it has a crucial duty to ensure that every department of the government is aware of the limitations of its capabilities. It also protects citizens’ rights and liberties by removing laws that violate the Constitution. Additionally, it puts in place reasonable limits to democratic governments in order to ensure that majority-popular governments are not able to pass laws that hurt or profit from minority groups who aren’t popular. It is a way to ensure that changing beliefs of a large majority don’t undermine basic values shared by everyone Americans, i.e., freedom of expression and freedom of religion as well as due process of law.
The rulings of the Supreme Court have an important influence on the entire society, as well as judges and lawyers. The commands of the Court profoundly affect students in high schools. There have been several significant decisions made by the Court involving students. e.g., Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District (1969) declared that pupils were not penalized for wearing black armbands at school in protest of their opposition to the Vietnam War. For the Tinker case, the Court said it was the case that “students do not shed their rights at the schoolhouse gate.”
Why a Constitution?
The necessity for a Constitution resulted from the Articles of Confederation, which created the “firm league of friendship” between the States as well as vested the majority of authority in a Congress of the Confederation. However, this power was very limited. The central government handled diplomacy and declared war, set the limits and weights, and was the ultimate arbiter in conflicts between states. Importantly, it was unable to collect any money on its own and was completely dependent upon the States to provide the funds required to function. Every State had a delegation consisting of two to seven members to Congress. The Congress took part in the vote as a whole, with every State receiving only one vote. Any significant decision was subject to a vote of unanimity, which led to the government needing help to function and be effective.
The movement for reforming the Articles started in 1787, and invitations to an assembly in Philadelphia to debate modifications in those Articles were sent out to state legislators in 1787. The year 1787 began in May. Twelve delegates representing twelve of the thirteen States (Rhode Island did not send representatives) were gathered in Philadelphia to start the process of re-designing the structure of governance. The participants of the Constitutional Convention quickly began work to draft a fresh Constitution to be adopted by the United States.