Hello, my name is Angela Messore, and I’m professor of political science and economics at Manchester Community College Today I will be lecturing on the United States Constitution in honor of Constitution Day. As some of you may know, September 17 1787, is the birthday of the Constitution That was the day on which the framers of the Constitution, the 39 men who endured the summer in Philadelphia, that was the day in which they basically signed their names to the Constitution and approved it The Constitutional Convention occurred in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787. And by September 17, they had finished their work, and they had completed the United States Constitution Now, the way it was supposed to work is they wrote the Constitution in Philadelphia, then they sent it to the states for ratification Okay, there were 13 states and the 13 states had to agree to this Constitution that had been written by representatives of the people in Philadelphia in the summer 1787. Okay. Now, I want you to understand that this Constitution was really a revolutionary document. If you think about it, we’re talKing about 1787 This is the 18th century. At the time all over the world, governments were monarchies. Okay There were very few, there were no democracies in the world at the time. The United States was the first modern democracy to be established in the Western world. And this is really quite a feat. The Constitution has many flaws. There’s no doubt about that. But it was an earnest effort to create a democratic Constitution in a country that has, you know, a complicated history and in some senses, a tragic history. We have to keep in mind and it’s true that at the end of the day, the United States is based on theft, theft of land and theft . British from Europe came here and they took land away from Native Americans by force. There’s no doubt about that. And on top of that, they also brought in slaves from Africa, people who’d been kidnapped, forced onto ships and brought to North America, so naturally ended up in South America too and were forced into slavery. Okay, and these are two sad, tragic parts of American history that we really can’t ignore. But we did write a Constitution in the summer 1787 that has endured for over 200 years, a Constitution that has changed over time and has been made better through the efforts of human beings. And I think it’s important to understand that this document, whatever its flaws, and there were many and we’ll go through it I’ll show you some of the flaws of the document We have been able to improve it we have been able to make it more democratic We have been able able to provide greater protection for the rights of minorities, we have been able to abolish slavery. And we have been able to transcend our tragic legacy in many ways. Again, we haven’t done a perfect job. But we have tried and in some respects, we’ve succeeded, although we have a long way to go, and there’s no doubt about that Anyway, let me go back. First off, I want you to look at the beginning of the Constitution, the preamble, the first words. It starts out with “We the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, ensure 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.” The first three words are “We the people.” This is very important. This Constitution is based upon the will of the people and no other government in the world at the time could make such a claim Okay. This is a Constitution that reflects what the people want. Most countries were governed by monarchs, Kings queens who had absolute power Okay. And these, these were governments that were not based on popular consent. Okay. The US Constitution is based on popular consent It is an agreement. It’s a Constitution. It’s a document to which the people have agreed Now, the other thing you want to understand, which is important is this Constitution was heavily influenced by the, the thinKing of the Enlightenment The Enlightenment was a very important period in European history. It starts in the mid 1600s, and goes through to the end of the 1700s to the end of the 18th century. It is a period of extraordinary progress, progress in science, progress in philosophy, progress in literature, and music It’s very important in the evolution of Western Europe, but also the world because the fruits of the Enlightenment have benefited people all over the world. We have the emergence of physics,

Isaac Newton, for example. Mathematics, Leibniz, philosophy, Immanuel Kant and also political philosophy Philosophers like John Locke, philosophers like Jean-Jacques Rousseau Again, you know, these philosophers played a major role in creating the modern world in which we live today Now, what I want you to understand here is the Constitution embodies the Enlightenment ideals, the ideals of the Enlightenment, and the Constitution that influenced the Constitution. One of them is this idea of the social contract. This idea that people who are going to live together in a community, come together and decide what kinds of rules they are going to live by. Okay? And that’s what the Constitution is, it’s a social contract made up of people who were going to live in this society, okay, they set the rules and they said, “Okay, these are the rules, according to which we will live.” And the idea of the social contract goes back to John Locke and his important work The Second Treatise of Government. Okay Again, it’s a very important piece of, a very important part of political philosophy in the 18th century, it was the end of the 17th century or the 18th century. Okay Now another idea that’s important that comes from the Enlightenment comes from the famous French political philosopher Montesquieu. Montesquieu came up with idea, this idea of separation of power. What do we mean by separation of power? In a monarchy, the King had all the power. The King made the laws, the King implemented the laws, carried out the laws, and the King basically determined justice and the judges had to follow the will the King. Montesquieu decided to separate the powers of government into three branches, basically three branches of government that now we take for granted. We have a legislative branch which makes the laws, we have an executive branch that carries out the laws and the judiciary. A judiciary that adjudicates, that decides whether or not the laws have been broken Now to us this idea is extremely, you know, pedestrian. I mean, as far most people think don’t really notice it. They think it’s obvious It’s silly. But in the 18th century, this was a very important idea, a very new idea that was implemented in the United States Constitution Okay. Now, the Constitution is divided up into articles. Okay? All there are only seven of them And in fact, the Constitution is rather brief document if you think about it. The articles focus on different aspects of government. Okay, the first article focuses on the legislative branch. Okay. The second article focuses on the executive branch, the President, okay. And then the third article focuses on the Supreme Court and the federal court system. Okay, so there you have articles one, two, and three, the three branches of government and the system of checks and balances that we have in the United States. Checks and balances mean that one branch can stop the other two branches from doing what they’re trying to do. Okay. You can have a situation where Congress passes a law, the President doesn’t like at any vetoes it. Check. You have a situation where Congress passes a law, the President – passes a bill, excuse me, the President signs it into law And the law is being implemented and the Supreme Court decides that the law’s unconstitutional, okay, that can happen. Okay. Or even let’s say the President proposes a law and Congress doesn’t pass it, check. Okay. You need the agreement of all three branches of government to get anything done Okay. One branch cannot run the country. Okay And that was the intent of the framers. This is very important. Okay. We, you know, this is the system of government that we have here presupposes the cooperation the work of three branches of government worKing together. Okay Now, as I was saying, we start out with Article One, 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. And there it is that sort of the United States Congress. Article One is all about Congress. Article One is also the longest article in the Constitution. Okay. And it focuses on the organization of Congress and the powers of Congress. The first thing that you have to understand is the House of Representatives Well, it starts out the House of members in the House of Representatives have two year terms Okay. So they’re basically on a very tight leash. Every two years, all the members of the House of Representatives are up for reelection if they intend to stay, okay. At the moment – and by the way, it’s been set by law in 1913. We have 435 members in the House. Okay. Each state, okay has a number of representatives For example, Connecticut has five representatives in the House. Vermont has one, Montana has one. California is the state with the largest population in the United States and California has 53 representatives in the US House of Representatives?

Okay. And so that’s representative . If you’re going to have representation based on population, you have to know the population of the country and the Constitution does say that we must have a census We have to have a census in order to count the population so we can distribute representatives among states. And again it says representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union according to their respective numbers which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, okay, including those bound to service for a term of years and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other persons Okay. So when we conduct the census, the Constitution is saying that we have to count all free persons, okay. Then they talk about including those bound to service for a term of years. What they’re referring to is indentured servants. There were some people who came to this country with this agreement that they would work for a family, okay, for a certain number of years in return for the family paying their, their ticket. Paying for their ticket to come to America. Okay. Now the, you know, we don’t have indentured servants now. I mean, it was not uncommon to have them in the in the 19th century, in the 18th century, in the 19th century. But now they’re, they’re less common. What’s interesting is that, then they say, excluding Indians not taxed. Native Americans who didn’t pay taxes were not counted in the census Again, there are issues there because Native Americans saw themselves as a separate nation, or separate nations. Um, and so the idea was that if they didn’t pay taxes, they wouldn’t be counted in the census. But that applies to Native Americans But again, that’s, that has changed in their legal changes in that area. And then you have three fifths of all other persons. That is the infamous three fifths compromise. Now, the first thing I want you to see in the Constitution, you’ll never see, you don’t see the word slave or slavery in the US Constitution. Okay. In this instance, the slaves are referred to all other persons. Okay And then when the founders wrote the Constitution – again, there were several numerous founders who were slave owners, and who were from Southern states. And the question was, how do you count the slaves? The Southerners wanted to count the slaves in the census because that would give their states larger populations, which meant that they would have more representatives in the House of Representatives and more votes. Okay, the Northerners said, “What a minute, you know, the slaves are not considered free human beings, you consider them property, you just want to use them to get more representatives in the House and to have more power in in Presidential elections.” So that was the disagreement. Well, the solution was the three fifths compromise. Each slave would count as three fifths of a person Okay, so that means that if you have 100 slaves, every hundred slaves would count for 60 people And that was the solution that they adopted to deal with counting of slaves Okay. But you know, obviously, this is tragic and you know, horrendous kind of compromise, but you have to understand that the conflict was, you know, how many seats in the House of Representatives should a state like Virginia have. Virginia has all these slaves and they’re just going to use the slaves to get more representatives in Congress. Okay The other thing to keep in mind is when they talk about who accounts, they refer to the people they’re counting as persons. If you are a person you count in the United States Census, okay? It’s not just citizens, all free persons count in the census according to the Constitution, okay? We’re not just counting citizens, we’re counting all free persons, okay? Now the Constitution does require that we can have a census every 10 years. And that’s important because they have to decide – the purpose of the census is to to keep track of population changes. Some states may grow some states may not grow and the states that grow end up having, end up being given more representatives in the House of Representatives, out of their allocated more representation, more representatives in the House, okay Now, again, what’s interesting, Connecticut now has five representatives in the House of Representatives. The Constitution says that, you know, back then back in 1787, they allocated five Representatives to Connecticut. So interestingly, you know,

we have the same number of representatives in the House now that we were given back in 1787 Anyway, keep in mind that representatives are elected every two years, every two years they have to run for re election that they intend to stay. Now, the interesting thing that the Constitution brings up is, if a vacancy, if there’s a vacancy in the House, let’s say some of you may know congressman John Larson, Congressman John Larson its first congressional district Connecticut’s first congressional district covers the greater Hartford area. Manchester’s in the first congressional district, East Hartford, Hartford, West Hartford, Windsor, South Windsor and so forth, all these area towns and it goes down to Cromwell Anyway, each district has to contain about 700,000 people, okay. Connecticut has a . And the way it works out is that, you know, according to the calculations after the census, every representative should represent a district containing around 700,000 people. Now, I don’t know what’s gonna happen in 2020 census because the population is going to be larger. So that means each representative is going to represent people. But if a representative resigns, okay, besides calls for a special election to fill the vacancy. So the governor has to say, okay, Congressman, so and so has resigned, he’s decided to go into private business He doesn’t want to do this anymore We need to elect someone to replace So you have a special election, okay to replace the Congress, the member of Congress Now the other thing to keep in mind is that in the House of Representatives, you have the Speaker of the House. The Speaker of the House is the leader of the House. Okay And the speaker of the House belongs to the majority party. Okay. Currently the Speaker of the House is representative Nancy Pelosi Okay. And she’s also second in line for the presidency. If something were to happen to the President and the Vice President, the Speaker of the House becomes President of the United States. Okay. It’s an important position because the Speaker of the House is responsible for effectively running the House of Representatives Okay. In the House of Representatives, the majority party has a lot of power Okay, they set the agenda, they decide what bills to consider. And they basically run the committee. The majority party is quite consequential in the House of Representatives Now we go to the Senate. Things in the senate are a little bit different. Okay. We have two senators per state. Okay, now This is part of what is called the Connecticut Compromise. Okay At the Constitutional Convention, there was a conflict between the small states and the larger states. The larger states wanted representation based on population because that way they would get more representatives. Okay. And they would be able to, you know, to have greater influence. The smaller states said, “Wait a minute, if we have representation based on population, we’re always going to be outnumbered because we just don’t have enough people. We don’t have enough representatives.” Okay, so what do we do? Um, some people refer toit as the Great Compromise It’s also called the Connecticut Compromise, because it was proposed, one of the people who proposed it was Roger Sherman, the delegate from Connecticut. The great compromise says we’re going to have a bicameral Congress, the Congress with two chambers, the House and the Senate. In the House of Representatives, we have representation based on population. In the Senate, we have fixed representation, two Senators per state. Okay Now, the senators have six year terms Okay. And what’s interesting too, many people don’t realize is originally senators were elected by, okay. Senators were elected by the state legislatures. They were not directly elected by the people. Okay Now because of the 17th amendment that was adopted in 1913, okay, senators are elected by the people of each state. Okay, Connecticut has two senators, Senator Richard Blumenthal and Senator Chris Murphy. Okay. Senator Blumenthal was elected first in 2010. Okay. And then he was reelected in 2016. And he’s up for reelection in 2022. Right, senators have six year terms Senator Murphy, on the other hand, was elected in 2012 He was reelected in 2018. And he’s in office until 2024 when you he’ll have to run for re-election

Okay, now with the way the senators are organized, the Senators are divided up into three classes, class one, class two and class three. And the way that works out is that every two years only one third of the senators run for re-election. Okay. So, for example, class one senators, who are the senators elected in 2012, who were up for reelection in 2018, okay, and are in office till 2024. And Senator Murphy is a class one Senator. The class two senators were elected in 2014. And their terms end in 2020. So they’re up for reelection this year Okay. 2020. Okay. The majority leader in the senate Senator Mitch McConnell is a class two senator and he’s up for reelection this year Class three senators were elected in 2016. They’re in till 2022 and then they would go from 2022 to 2028 if they get reelected, and those are the class three Senators, okay. And Senator Blumenthal is a class three Senator. He was last elected in 2016, he’s in office until 2022. Okay. Now again, the elections of the US Senate are staggered so that every two years in terms of one third of the senators end. Now, what are the qualifications for a Senator? Well, to be a Senator you have to be 30 years old. You have to be nine years a US citizen, you have to be a US citizen. And you have to be an inhabitant of the state. Okay For the House, the qualifications for members of the House are similar in that you have to be at least 25 years old, seven years and citizen of the United States, okay. And you have to be an inhabitant of the state. You have to be a resident of the state that you represent. Okay, well in the state in which your district is located Now, what’s interesting is that, yes, citizenship is important. You have to be a US citizen, okay, to run for Congress, either in US Sentate or US House of Representatives, you don’t have to be born in the United States You can be a naturalized US citizen and that is sufficient. Okay. Now again, the other thing about citizenship the word citizen occurs in the US Constitution. This is excluding the amendment, excludes four times. Rather, it occurs four times you’ll see the word citizen in the US Constitution four times. And again, once when you say you know to be to be a member of the House, you have to be a US citizen To run for the Senate, you have US citizen also to run for the presidency, to be President you have to be a US citizen. But there they say you have to be born as a US citizen. So there are questions about what it means to be born, okay. You have to be a natural born US citizen Anyway, so this is the organization of Congress. Now, one of the things I want you to see here about Congress is Congress has different powers. Okay Congress is allocated different powers by the Constitution and what are these powers? Well, first off, Congress is granted the power to tax. Okay? It’s quite clear in the Constitution. Now, what you need to realize here is that, you know, in Article One, you have to go to Article One, section eight Article One, section eight is known as the enumerated powers clause. Enumerated powers clause means this is the part of the Constitution where they list the powers of Congress. Okay, the enumerate. The enumerate means to number, okay, but it’s kind of like a laundry list of powers Congress has the power to tax Congress has the power to pay debts Okay. Congress has the power to borrow money and also has to pay the debts of the country. Okay Congress has has to provide for the common defense and general welfare, okay. So Congress is responsible for defending the country and providing for the general welfare. Now, what does that mean? Does general welfare mean that United States should have universal health insurance, like Medicare for all? You know, that’s subject to interpretation. Congress has the power to borrow money. And we have been borrowing a lot of money. Okay, the United States is, gosh, I think is now about $25 trillion in debt. Okay, just a significant amount of money, obviously Congress has the power to regulate commerce with foreign countries and among the several States. Now, this means that when it comes to doing business with foreign countries, Congress has the power to regulate how we do business with foreign countries A few years ago one of the things that happened was that we buy many toys that are made in China And it was just before Christmas and people realized that some of the toys that were made in China had been painted with lead-based paint. So there was a concern that lead based

paints are dangerous for kids. Kids will put these toys in their mouth and chew on them, and that means they’d be ingesting lead. So, you know, Congress passed a law prohibiting the importation of toys that contained, that had been painted with lead-based paint. Okay. So again, Congress has the power to decide how we do business with other countries. Okay And also there is in Article One, section eight, what is known as the Interstate Commerce clause Okay. Interstate Commerce Clause basically says that Congress has the power to regulate commerce among the several States. So any business activity that crosses state lines is subject to congressional regulation, subject to federal law. The best example I can give you is airlines, right? If you go to Bradley International Airport, and you get on an airplane, okay, the airlines are regulated by federal law. Okay, in fact, if when you when you get on your plane and your flight attendant is introducing the airplane and so forth, one of the things that she or he frequently says is it is violation of federal law to smoke You are not allowed to smoke on this plane. It’s a violation of federal law, because airplanes, airlines are regulated by the federal government, regulated by federal law. Okay Now, now, the other issue is immigration law. Article One, section eight clearly states that Congress has the power to make immigration laws. Okay. Laws on the subject of immigration are federal. States can’t make immigration law. Only the federal government can, that means Congress and the President are responsible for maKing immigration law Also bankruptcy law, bankruptcy law, federal law, it’s made by Congress and the reason for that is the founders were very shrewd, they’re smart. They said, Look, we don’t want a situation where each state has its own bankruptcy law. Then what would happen is some person would borrow a lot of money in New York, then move to Connecticut where the laws are more lenient. Okay, and try to wipe, wipe, wipe away its debt. Okay? So we’re gonna have to give you one federal bankruptcy. So no matter where you are in the United States, you are subject to the federal bankruptcy law. Okay The other thing is Congress has the power to coin money. This is pretty awesome Congress can keep on coining money. Now as you know, if Congress prints too much money, okay, we could have horrible inflation, okay. And the Constitution sort of implies that, okay. So you have to be careful, okay. It says that Congress has the power to coin money and regulate the value. Okay If you coin too much money the value of the money declines, okay. You don’t want to coin too much money because if you do generate inflation, basically. Congress, the federal government has this power. Congress has this power Congress has the power to fix standard Weights and Measures. That means that you know, we use pounds in this country. So if you buy a pound of bologna, in Connecticut, it’s the same quantity as a pound of bologna in Texas or a pound of bologna in North Carolina. Okay, there’s standard Weights and Measures – standard foot, standard pound, standard ton, and so forth. Okay, standard Now, post offices, post offices and post roads The other thing people talk about the post office, but there is a commitment in the United States Constitution to have a post office, okay. The Constitution specifically says, to establish post offices and post roads Now again, the founders realized that it was important to have communication in this huge country. And the only way to do that is to have a post office. Now, one of the reasons it’s expensive to operate the US post office is because the US post office has a, um, it delivers to every small town in America, so some village out in the middle of nowhere and Alaska has mail delivery. US post office has to deliver all over the country. Okay, the purpose of the post office is to sort of establish a communications network for the country. Again, obviously, when they wrote this, this was long before the internet. Okay, so they thought, you know, we need a post office to be able to provide communications for the entire country Now, the other thing that is interesting in the US Constitution, it’s the only Constitution world, to my knowledge that has a provision regarding patents and copyrights. It says specifically to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries So if you develop a better mousetrap, you would patent it, and your invention is protected by the patent. If someone copies your mousetrap, you could sue for patent infringement. Okay,

and you’d probably win because that’s your idea It’s been patented, they can’t just, you know, copy it, okay? Or let’s say you write a song and a famous singer, you know, let’s say Rihanna sings it, and it becomes a hit. You could say, “I wrote the song and you owe me money. You owe me royalties because I wrote the song. Okay? And it is mine. The song is my copyright.” Okay, if you write a book, you copyright it, and if you write a song, you copyright it, and it is my intellectual property. It’s my my creation, so to speak, and this is protected under the US Constitution. Okay Also, Congress has the power to create federal courts below the US Supreme Court. The US Supreme Court is the highest court in the land, but Congress could create lower courts, if it wanted to create a federal court for medical malpractice claims, for eample, it could do that, okay. The Constitution leaves that possibility open. Okay Congress has the power the power to pursue and punish pirates, okay? When they wrote the Constitution piracy was a big problem. They were worried about pirates who would attack American vessels and steal their cargo. So they they committed, you know, in the Constitution they committed to government Congress to pursue pirates and to stop piracy. Okay Now, the other thing to keep in mind, this is very important. At the end of the day, Congress has the power to declare war. If you remember anything from this lecture, please let it be that. Okay. The power to declare war is an awesome power. Framers realized that you cannot give the President this power. You do not want to give one person, the President, the power to declare war. And that’s why Congress was given power to declare war. Okay, Congress has the power to declare war. Okay, the House and the senate have to vote on the declaration of war Now, what’s interesting is the last time the United States declared war was World War Two. Since then we have been involved in numerous military conflicts without a declaration of war What’s been happening is, I’m not sure what the founders would think about this. You know, what’s been happening now is that the President, because he’s considered the Commander in Chief of the military, can order US troops to Iraq or Afghanistan. And, you know, without a declaration of war, I mean, war in Vietnam was fought without a declaration of war, you know, numerous conflicts in the Persian Gulf were fought without official declaration of war Okay. And there’s a question here. I mean, that’s one of the problems that you want to think about when you think about the Constitution is that what’s been happening to the distribution power, even though we’re supposed to have three co-equal branches of government? The legislative branch, the executive branch of the Supreme Court, the President has, has become more and more powerful Okay. The President is becoming more and more powerful. I’m not sure that’s what the framers intended, but it’s something that you have to think about. Okay. Now, Congress has an obligation to provide to maintain a Navy Okay. They also have the obligation to make rules for the government and regulation of land and naval forces. That means Congress is supposed to make the rules under which the military operates So the regulations that govern the US military are supposed to be made by the US Congress. Okay. And the other thing, there is an interesting paragraph, here in Article One, section eight that you need to be aware of. Congress has the power to provide for calling for the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions. If there is a rebellion, let’s say I don’t know, in Boston, or Chicago, okay. Congress has the power to send US Military, okay, to enforce federal law, suppress insurrection, insurrection is a rebellion, to put down rebellion and repel invasions So, you know, there are some people who say, you know, we need a Second Amendment protects our right to bear arms because if the government becomes tyrannical we can overthrow the government with our arms. Well, the problem with that is that Congress has the power to suppress insurrections If you have an insurrection with the aim of overthrowing the government, the government has the authority under the US Constitution to put down this rebellion. Congress has the power to send in federal troops to put down the rebellion And, you know, this seems to be something a lot of people don’t realize, but this is true. You gotta be careful with this. You know, you know, when they wrote the Constitution, they were writing a body of laws that would establish a government, okay, they were interested in a government that

will maintain peace and stability. They did not want revolutions to occur. Okay, now I realize Thomas Jefferson said, you know, from time to time the blood of the tree of liberty has to be watered with the blood of revolution, something to that effect. But Thomas Jefferson was not one of the framers of the Constitution, he was not in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787. Okay Anyway, um, the other issue that comes up is that, you know, Congress has a lot of power in governing the military, because it says 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, and then only show according to the discipline prescribed by Congress Congress, I, you know, I think, you know, I, I don’t think the founders wanted the President to have too much control of the military, because they were worried that the President had too much control in the military he could use the military, okay, to stay in power and to oppress the people That’s what you know, when the founders looked at Great Britain, they saw a King who had unlimited power. And he used the military, the British Army to maintain his power And, you know, this is this idea of one person, one leader, in this case, a King, being able to control the military, and having the military sort of loyal to him is leads to tyranny and leads to one person having extraordinary political power And, you know, that’s why, you know, all the language about regulating the military occurs in Article One. This is a power granted to Congress, okay, not to the President Okay, now, um, the other issue that comes up here is at the end of this article in section eight There is what Constitutional law scholars call the Necessary and Proper Clause And this clause basically says that Congress has the power to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers. In other words, Congress has the power to make all laws that are necessary and proper in order for it to carry out its powers. Now, you could argue this is a huge Ah, it’s a huge clause Okay. It’s a huge loophole. I mean, this, this gives Congress a great deal of power. Okay Anyway, now, the other issue that comes up is in Section nine, which is, I think, important, and I want to make sure people realize it In Section nine, the Constitution talks about limits on the powers of Congress, in other words, what Congress may not do, okay. And that paragraph which many Americans, I’m afraid, are not aware of, starts out “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 the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.” What does that mean? What that means is that Congress may, okay after 1808 not before, but after 1808 Congress may restrict or prohibit the importation of slaves, which is in fact what happened. In 1808, the importation of slaves was prohibited. So what they said is we’re we’re not abolishing slavery, okay. Slavery continued to exist in the United States in 1808 until 1865. But, okay, it was prohibited to bring more slaves into the country Okay. The importation of slaves was prohibited after 1808. Okay. So, you know, this was the, you know, the founders are, were maKing steps towards the abolition of slavery. I think there were there were some founders who thought that slavery was an abomination. Slavery was just not right. and that slavery should be abolished But if they wrote a Constitution that included the abolition of slavery from the very beginning, that Constitution would never have been ratified with Southern states will not come along and we would not have – we would not have had the United States of America Now, the other thing that comes up here is there a couple of things in Section nine that you should be aware of. The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it Habeas Corpus is very important, right? It goes back to the magna carta actually. And it limits the power of government. It protects individuals from what we call summary incarceration

The police can’t just arrest you, because you look suspicious, throw you in jail and keep you there indefinitely. Habeas Corpus in Latin literally needs to have the body. Under Habeas Corpus, you have a right to go before a judge. And the police officer has to explain to the judge why you’ve been arrested, and why you’re being detained. And the judge has decided what to do with the person. The judge can say, okay, we’re going to release you on bail Okay, because you know, if you can make $50,000 bail we will release you on bail, and we will set the court date for October 30. Okay, come come back to the court on October 30 and be prepared because there’ll be a trial on that date. Okay So, you know, Habeas Corpus means that once you’ve been arrested, you go before a judge, and the judge decides what to do with you. If you’re considered a dangerous criminal, you will probably not be released on bail or they’ll set bail so high that you won’t be able to make it Okay. But, you know, in some countries there is no Habeas Corpus. In Italy, for example, there’s no Habeas Corpus. If you’re arrested in Italy, you are kept in jail until your trial date. And you know, it could take months before your trial You could spend six months to a year in jail just waiting for your trial. That doesn’t happen in the United States, because the argument is you’re not going to be incarcerated until you have been found guilty. Okay, and to be found guilty, you got to have a trial. Without a trial, we don’t know if you’re guilty or innocent. So that’s Habeas Corpus. It’s a very important idea Now, the problem is that the Constitution does allow for the suspension of Habeas Corpus in cases of rebellion or invasion. You might say well, when did that happen? Well, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese Americans in California were rounded up and forced into internment camps. These were like prison camps, okay. They lived in barracks and they were limited. There was barbed wire fencing all around It was not a pleasant experience. Japanese had to pack up their belongings, I think they got to bring a suitcase or two. And you have, you know, families – mother and father, the children, they went into these internment camps. Now, they hadn’t been tried. They hadn’t been found guilty of any But they were quote unquote suspicious. Okay, because they were Japanese Americans and the United States had gone to war with Japan. Now, they didn’t do the same thing to German Americans We were also fighting against Germany, in Europe, but German Americans were not rounded up and put in internment camps. But again, there is this loophole here they were giving you Habeas Corpus, but it may be suspended in cases of rebellion Some people would say that what’s going on in Guantanamo Bay is also suspension of Habeas Corpus, where people in Guantanamo that were arrested and are being held without being tried, okay, and the problem is they probably can’t be tried because some of them have been tortured. And torture is a violation of US law. If you bring one of the Guantanamo detainees to court, the federal judge asked them Have you been tortured? He says yes And you know, then he asked the government to do torture this guy when they can’t lie to the judge and say, Well, yeah, well, this is what we did. We waterboarded him and the judges, he’s gonna throw the case out, because torture is illegal and violates the Fifth Amendment Okay. Anyway, now let’s go on. Also, Section nine also prohibits what are known as bills of attainder and ex post facto law. Congress cannot pass a bill of attainder and ex post facto law A bill of attainder is a law passed by Congress that specifically punishes an individual or group Okay, so if Congress passes a law that says all you know, all men with red hair going to jail, that would be a bill of attainder, okay. It specifically punishes people. Congress is supposed to make laws like Thou shalt not kill And the courts decide whether the person has broken the law. Congress cannot specifically punish people and it’s up to the courts to decide whether you’re guilty or innocent, whether or not you’ve broken the law and what the appropriate punishment should be Okay, so the bills of attainder are prohibited. Okay. I mean, again, a bill of attainder could be like, you know, if Congress makes the decision says, you know, we want all Muslims to go to jail because they might be terrorists That would be a bill of attainder and that would be unconstitutional. Okay. Now Also, ex post facto laws and ex post facto law is an after the fact law, okay. If I do something today, and there’s no law against it, they pass a law against it next week. And then they say to me, You broke the law I’d say, “Wait a minute. The law was passed after I acted, you cannot hold me accountable for breaKing the law because when I acted there was no such law

on the books.” Okay. So there are no ex post facto laws. Okay, no bills of attainder or ex post facto laws are allowed Now, the other thing that comes up here is prohibitions on what the states may do. Okay. What may states do or not do? Well, it’s interesting. One of the first things the Constitution says in Section 10 is no state shall enter into any treaty, Alliance or Confederation. States cannot enter into any treaty Alliance worKing together. Well, what happened? In 1860-1861, when Southern states decided to secede and create their own Alliance, their own Confederate, Confederate States of America And the Constitution specifically prohibits that, you can’t do that Okay, the Constitution doesn’t want states to sort of create cliques, like the New England Federation, or the Southeastern Confederation, can’t do that. Okay. You know, we’re in the United States, we have a federal government and we have state governments. Okay And we can’t have little groups of states creating alliances within the United States Now, what’s also interesting about what states may not do, states are not allowed to coin money. You can’t have Massachusetts bucks or, you know, Connecticut dollars, so forth. Okay. There’s one national currency. There’s one US dollar that is controlled by the federal government, not by the states, okay. States cannot make ex post facto laws, okay. They cannot pass bills of attainder, okay. And they cannot make laws that impair the obligation of contracts. That’s an interesting issue. So firstly, especially these days with the pandemic, let’s say, you know, people rent apartments, and they have leases on their apartments and the lease says I have to pay my landlord $1,000 a month Okay, but there’s a pandemic, I’ve lost my job Okay, I can’t make the rent Let’s say the state of Connecticut passes a law that says you don’t have to pay your rent. Okay, and because this is an emergency, these are difficult times We’re in a national emergency in the state of Connecticut. We are going to prohibit landlords from evicting people who have not paid them. Okay. So, you know, you don’t have to pay the rent. That would be unconstitutional. Because the Constitution strictly says that states may not make laws that impair the obligation of contracts. In other words, states cannot interfere with private contracts. Okay, my lease on my apartment is a private contract between me and the landlord or the company that owns building. Okay, that’s a private contract and the states cannot interfere with that. However, the federal government could That’s the catch – the federal government could but the states can’t Now the other thing that comes up is titles of nobility Okay. In your titles of nobility, you can be a Duke, you could be a Count. You could be knighted The aristocrats had titles, okay? Could be a Baron, you could be a Duke and so forth, okay. Now, the founders of our country did not want that. They did not want people to be sort of some people be classified as superior to others That’s what if you’re an aristocrat, you’re basically considered better than everybody else Okay, so we don’t want that, you know, the United States was committed to equality. And Congress may not create titles of nobility not may the states Okay. So, you know, if I write to the governor and ask him to be declared the Duke of Manchester, it’s not going to happen. Okay. There are no titles of nobility in the United States, okay Now, the other issue that comes up here is, we’re going to go into Article Two Article Two deals with the presidency Okay. And the powers of the President Now, first thing of Article two is Article Two also talks about the election of the President Okay, and I just want to give you a quick sort of summary of how the electoral college works The reality is that when they wrote the Constitution, they weren’t thinKing of having popular elections for President. They didn’t want ordinary people to elect the President United States. They want national vote, so they set up the Electoral College. The Electoral College is a group of electors,

and each state would have a number of electors equal to the number of senators and representatives in the House of Representatives that the state has. Connecticut has five representatives in the House and two US senators. Okay. And so that means Connecticut has seven votes in the Electoral College. Presently, okay. In this coming election. California, on the other hand, has 53 representatives in the House in two US senators. So California has 55 electoral college votes. 55 electors in the Electoral College Okay. Vermont has two senators and one representative. Vermont has three electoral college votes in the Electoral College So the way it was designed originally, the electors would meet – each state would have its electors and the electors would vote and they would vote for the candidates and, you know, you count up the electoral college votes, and whoever receives the majority of the vote in the electoral college becomes President of the United States. That was basically the way they – it’s a little more complicated than, but basically, that’s the structure that they set up without a popular vote. They were not thinKing of electing the President by a popular vote. See, the people got to elect representatives in the House of Representatives They were directly elected by people Senators were elected by the state legislatures, and the President was supposed to be elected by the electoral. Okay. As I said, though, you know, the 17th amendment in 1913, ratified in 1913, brought us the popular election of US senators. So now senators are directly elected by the people Now, we have the system where we have the electoral college, but the electoral college is supposed to follow the popular vote So this coming November, people of Connecticut get to vote. Okay. If Joe Biden receives the most votes in Connecticut, okay, he would receive all seven of Connecticut’s electoral college votes. If Donald Trump receives the most votes in Connecticut, he would receive all seven of Connecticut’s electoral college votes It’s a winner-take-all system in most states, although there are a few states, like two states that don’t follow the winner-take-all system. But I won’t get into that. It’s, uh, you know, I, you know, I’m trying to present a beginner’s introduction to it in this lecture So what happens is that, you know, Florida has a significant number of electoral college votes, I think Florida has like 29 electoral college votes. Texas also has a significant number of electoral college votes There are some states that have become battleground states, because that’s where there’s a close race. And both Trump and Biden are trying to get voters to vote for them in their states. That way they win the electoral college electors and get the Electoral College from those states, okay. Now, you say, “Well, you know, how democratic is that?” Well, it’s not democratic There’s no doubt about that. But the framers were kind of worried they weren’t, they weren’t You know, they wanted a democracy, but they weren’t willing to go all the way with democracy They wanted a more limited democracy. They wanted a representative democracy because they were afraid that a direct democracy could lead to mob rule. Okay. So they wanted to representative democracy, and they figured that the electors would be representatives of the people who would elect the President in the name of the people basically. So the people didn’t have to vote themselves, they would have their representatives voting for them. Okay Now, again, there are a lot of problems with this, as you probably realized in 2016, Donald Trump did not receive the most votes, Hillary Clinton actually received 3 million more votes than Donald Trump. He won the presidency in the electoral college and Electoral College basically thwarts sort of a democratic process for electing Presidents And again, it’s happened several times. In my lifetime, it’s happened twice. It happened in 2000 when George W. Bush was running against Al Gore, Al Gore got 500,000 more votes than George W. Bush, but because of the conflict in Florida – it was a very, very close election in Florida – the end of the day, George W. Bush supposedly won Florida by 537 votes. There was never a recount in the state of Florida. Okay, the Republicans were able to stop that from happening Okay, so again, 2016, you have two Presidents elected by the electoral college who do not win the most popular votes. Okay. And, you know, in Trump’s case, you know, Clinton got 3 million more votes than he did. That’s a significant difference. So the question is, you know, should we have a democratically elected President or not? You know, this is

a significant issue, if the United States is going to present itself as a democracy, we should have democratic procedures in place that actually, you know, generate democratic outcomes. Okay Anyway. Now, the President again, with the President, you know, if you look here, the issue here about the President is 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 that office So you have to be a natural born citizen. Natural born citizen means you’re born in United States to run for President. Okay So – or a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of this Constitution. There were some members of the sort of – I guess you could call them the elite, and they were an elite. I mean, you know, there were some so-called founding fathers who actually weren’t born in the United States. One of them’s Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton was from the West Indies But he came to America and he was Anyway, yes, there were Albert Gallatin was another one. He was from France So the idea was that, you know, if you want to run for President, you have to be a natural born citizen of the United States. Okay. Except, okay, if you’re a citizen of the United States at the time of adoption, this Constitution, okay? If you’re a US citizen when the Constitution is adopted, that’s like being natural born. Okay. But again, natural born means being born in the United States, if you’re born in the United States you qualify to run for the presidency. Now, if anything happens to the President, the Vice President takes over, even if – I remember years ago when I was, oh God, well it was in the 80s, Ronald Reagan was shot and he ended up in, in the hospital and he was so you know, severely injured. And he was he was being they had to operate on him. And for the time that he was under general anesthesia, Vice President of the United States took over, okay, as President because that’s what happens. If something happens with the President and he is incapacitated, the Vice President takes over. Okay Now, the President receives a salary. Okay Up until I think it was up until 2000, the salary was $200,000 a year. And then now it’s been doubled. It’s now about $400,000 a year. Okay. So the President’s paid for his services in addition to living in the White House and receiving all the services that he receives as President of the United States, paid for by the US government Now, the other issue that comes up here, here is the the oath of office The Constitution says, 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 President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Well, there’s nothing, you know, the President takes the oath of office and he promises to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. What’s interesting is that that’s where it ends. If you listen to the President, taKing the oath of office, just about every President in my memory in my lifetime, and I think probably even before that, has ended the oath of office by saying “So help me God.” The “So help me God” is not in the Constitution. Okay, in fact, there is no God in the Constitution. Okay, I challenge you to read through the Constitution and see if you can find the word God. It is not there Okay. The Constitution wants to establish a separation of church and state Okay. It is not a religious document and it doesn’t talk about God. Okay Now, what are the powers of the presidency? Well, the President is Commander in Chief of the military. Okay. Now, you know, this is important You know, the idea is the President is Commander in Chief and he’s got to talk to the generals and sort of discuss strategy with them and he has the final say on what to do with what’s going to be done. Okay. So, you know, someone has to take responsibility, but keep in mind, the Constitution says that Congress has the power to declare war, okay. Even though President Commander in Chief, he can’t declare war. That’s, you know, anyway

Now the President gets to appoint cabinet secretaries, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Treasury, Secretary of State However, his appointments have to be confirmed and can be approved by the United States Senate The Constitution is quite clear about this. Okay Again, you know, we have you know, there’s the Department of Commerce, Department of Labor, Department Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security. All of these departments are headed by a secretary, Secretary of State, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Secretary of Department of Homeland Security. These are all, they are basically the individuals who are responsible for leading these departments. Chief Administrative officers, Chief Executive Officers Anyway, the President appoints them. The President can also remove them. If he thinks that one of the Cabinet Secretaries is not doing a good job, the President could ask him to resign. Okay Now what’s interesting here is that the President may ask cabinet secretaries to present reports on matters concerning their departments. For example, President Trump may say to the Secretary of Defense, “I want to know what’s going on in Afghanistan. You know, can we be prepared to leave the country? You know, what would happen if we removed US troops from Afghanistan? Is it possible to do that?” And Secretary of Defense would have to submit a report to the White House, to the President Now, the thing we’ve been seeing during the Trump administration: Trump, President Trump has been using lot of interim appointments. He makes an interim appointment person, for example, the Secretary of Homeland Security is an interim That means he’s never been approved by the Senate The Constitution doesn’t say anything about interim appointments. President Trump says he has said that he likes interim appointments because they’re more flexible Okay. But it’s not in the Constitution. The Constitution doesn’t say anything about, you know, should they be allowed? The Constitution doesn’t say, “Well, yeah, you can have interim appointments, if you want. The Constitution only says that, you know, you have a cabinet You have Cabinet Secretaries, the President gets to appoint his Cabinet Secretaries, preferred Cabinet Secretaries, but the people appointed have to be approved by the United States Senate. Okay Now, the other thing is the President may grant reprieves and pardons He may pardon people who have violated federal law, except in cases of impeachment So, you know, that’s an interesting issue. I mean, you know, the President has significant power and, you know, sometimes Presidents have pardoned people who maybe should not have been pardoned, but they can do it The other issue, the question that’s come up a few years ago, but it’s it’s sort of a sort of a question, the kind of question that would come up during the Trump administration The question is, can the President pardon himself? I don’t know. You know, legal scholars had a field day with this one, if you Google the question, you’ll find all kinds of articles on whether or not the President may pardon himself. It’s an interesting issue, let’s say the President is suspected of having committed, you know, a pretty significant crime. And, you know, he just pardons itself and done. That’s a pretty awesome power to give to a President I’m not sure what the founders would have said about that. I don’t think they would have imagined that could happen. Maybe they might have, I mean, they were pretty, you know, pretty aware of the ways in which human beings deceive themselves and others. But it’s an interesting issue. Okay Now the other important thing to keep in mind about power of the President. The President represents the United States in international affairs, and he may negotiate treaties. Okay. He has the power to negotiate treaties. Okay, with foreign countries. However, these treaties have to be approved with a two thirds vote in the US Senate. Okay. So the idea is, you know, the way the founders thought, you know, they look at the President and the Senate, almost similar to how the Romans had the Emperor and the Roman Senate. Okay, and they would govern together, they would have to negotiate and, you know, deliberate and discuss So the President has to work with the Senate. President Jimmy – years ago, President Jimmy Carter negotiated the Panama Canal Okay. And this was the treaty that returned the Panama Canal to Panama, and President Carter

negotiated with Panama, his people negotiated, his representatives negotiated with Panama. And then the President sort of told the senate what he was doing, he informed the senators, what this treaty was gonna look like, because he knew that he would have to bring the treaty back home to Washington, DC. And he had to present the treaty to the US Senate. And the senators had to approve of the treaty and they needed to approve it with a two thirds vote. Two thirds is a lot of votes. 67 senators, okay. So you have to be sure that the senators were on board, the senators agree with the treaty that you have negotiated Okay. So that’s sort of an important issue Anyway, the President also gets to nominate, with the advice and consent of the Senate, US ambassadors, public ministers, high level government officials, like the Deputy Secretary of Defense, consuls, federal judges Federal judges are nominated by the President and they have to be approved by the Senate. And at this point, they just need 51 votes. And President Trump has been very energetically appointing conservative judges, okay, to the federal courts and Supreme Court justices too. President Trump has nominated two people to the Supreme Court. Okay, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh And again, the President nominates and the Senate has to approve of them. Okay. Now, so these are the powers of the President. What I want you to consider here, which is important, is that the word President means to preside If you preside, you sort of conduct It’s like being the conductor of an orchestra. You know, to some extent you preside over a meeting, you try and help people, you sort of guide people in coming to a decision The President Presidents not like a ruler, you know, or even a governor. The word “governor” has more punch to it than President in many ways. It’s not like a dictator. I mean, Romans in ancient Rome, they actually used the term dictator. I think Caesar was called the dictator, dictator I mean, serious things that have a lot of power You know, when the founders sort of wrote the Constitution, they did not want a President who would be very powerful. And the reason for that is because, don’t forget, this country has fought a revolution against Great Britain Revolution, a country that was ruled by King. We did not want to King. We did not want a government in which one person held overwhelming power and was not accountable. Now, the next issue here is that impeachment. Okay Now, one of the things you see if you go back to Article One Notice in Article one it says the House of Representatives shall have the sole power of impeachment. Okay. So, you may remember that the House did impeach President Trump in late 2019 All you need in the House of Representatives is a simple majority vote to impeach the President Okay. President Trump was impeached in the House of Representatives. You have 435 representatives, a majority of 435 is 218. 218 votes is sufficient to impeach the President. What the House does is it draws the articles of impeachment. And these are basically the reasons why the President’s being impeached. President Trump was impeached. Okay, now that was the first step Now impeachment is, can be very much a political process. There may be disagreements between the House and the President. Okay. And so the House decides that the President is abusing his power and chooses to impeach him. Then the second step is the senate trial. Okay. Impeachment goes to the Senate. Now in the Senate, the President sends his lawyers. His lawyers are going to defend him in the Senate trial. The House of Representatives sends their representatives there. You call them House managers. They’re managing the impeachment trial, and they’re usually lawyers And they present the case against the President. They explain why they impeached him The senators are supposed to sit and listen to the two sides, and then they’re supposed to vote. The senators are supposed to function as a jury. Okay, they’re listening to both sides, and then they’re going to vote and the senators have to decide wheter to convict or

acquit. If they want to convict they need a two thirds vote, which is 67 Senators. Okay Now, as you know, at the moment, I think there are, oh gosh, 47 Democrats in the Senate and 53 Republicans. Okay. The Democrats don’t have 67 votes in the Senate, far from it. Okay The Republicans in the Senate made it pretty clear that they were not going to convict their President. Okay. After all, Republicans are Republicans. I mean, you know, they will defend their President. President Trump’s a Republican, Republican senators hold the majority in the Senate. So they chose, you know, to not accept the arguments presented by the House managers for the impeachment for the conviction. Okay, now, again, some people were saying, you know, what’s the point of the House impeaching President Trump because, you know, he’s never, the Senate’s never going to convict him. Okay. So maybe that’s a cynical view perhaps. But it turned out to be realistic because again, you know, there weren’t 67 votes to convict the President. Okay in the impeachment trial. Okay. So that was the process. All right. Now So that is the impeachment. The question is who can be impeached Under the Constitution you can impeach the President, you can impeach the Vice President and all civil officers of the United States. Okay, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors. So why, you know, what reasons would you give to impeach, it has to be treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. Now, you again, you can impeach the President, the Vice President. You can impeach members of the Cabinet. Okay. Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State are subject to impeachment. Okay, again, the House votes to impeach and then there’s the senate trial You can also impeach ambassadors because your civil officers You cannot impeach senators or members of the House of Representatives. Members of the House have two year terms. So they can always be voted out of office by their constituents. Senators, have six year terms, but then they can also be voted out of the senate by their constituents Or, what’s interesting as if a senator misbehaves, it is possible for the Senate to vote to expel a senator But you need a two thirds vote in the Senate to expel a senator and you need two thirds vote in the House to expel a member of the House Okay, now, article three brings us to the judicial power Okay. And the judicial power is basically the Supreme Court. Okay. Now, keep in mind that federal judges are nominated by the President, as we mentioned, and they have to be approved by the US Sentate. Okay? Federal judges have lifetime tenure. Okay, they can stay as long as they want and choose, they can choose when to retire They may be removed by impeachment. What’s interesting, if you look at American history, quite a number of federal judges have been impeached. If you have a corrupt federal judge, you only can remove him or her by impeachment Because it’s not like politicians who have, you know, terms. You know, Senators, six year terms, President four year terms Senators can’t be impeached anyway but just say elected politicians have terms in office that’s a fixed number of years that they get to serve before they’re up for re-election So, you know, how do you remove a judge who’s corrupt or who has, you know, behaved unethically? The only way to do to remove a judge is through impeachment Now, we have nine Supreme Court justices. However, what’s interesting is that the Constitution doesn’t say we have to have nine Supreme Court justices. They don’t specify, there’s no number And in fact, we’ve had, you know, in history in American history, there sometimes have been eight Supreme Court justices. There was a short time when we even had 12 Supreme Court Justices But we’ve settled on the number nine, it’s important to have an odd number because the judges have to vote on a case. You know, they either vote for it or against it, you know, they strike down a law declared unconstitutional, they have to vote on the outcome. And, you know, if you don’t have an odd number, you end up with a tie If they have a tie they can’t do a vote There’s no conclusion, there’s no result. Now, what’s interesting about federal judges, they’re paid by the federal government, they’re salaried employees. And it’s interesting, the Constitution says that Congress may raise their salaries, okay,

but cannot cut their salaries. The reason for that is because Congress, you know, the Constitution wants to maintain judicial independence. We want judges to be independent and to make decisions according to law, not according to political considerations If Congress could cut the salaries of judges, they could say, Congress could say, “We’re gonna cut salaries because we don’t like the decisions that they’re maKing.” Okay. We don’t agree with the political consequences of these decisions. So if you’re a federal judge, you receive a salary from the federal government, the salary can go up, but it can’t be cut. Now, of course, they could deny a raise, Congress could find a way to block raises for federal judges, but they usually don’t do that. But they can’t cut the salaries of federal judges in order to maintain the independence of the judiciary, independent judges. Okay. Now, the other issue that comes up is that, you know, what are, you know, what is federal jurisdiction? When does federal law apply? Federal law applies in any case involving the US Constitution Federal law applies in any case involving federal laws, treaties made by the United States with foreign countries, cases involving foreign ambassadors, okay. A few years ago, there was a case of a foreign Ambassador who was drunk and got into an accident, somebody got killed in the accident. And technically because he was a foreign ambassador, he would end up in federal court. The case was tried in federal court. Cases involving shipping on the seas, Admiralty and maritime jurisdiction. If a, you know, a sailing vessel or rather, let’s say a fishing vessel from Massachusetts crashes into a Rhode Island ship and there’s a lawsuit there, that would be tried in federal court because that occurred on the seas Okay, it also involves interstate commerce. Okay Controversies involving US government. Okay, let’s say you you sue an agency of the US government, you sue the post office for some reason. Okay. That case would go, would go to federal court, would be tried in federal court Disputes between two or more states. Sometimes there’s a conflict between a state, or two states sorry, between two states. Okay. Those disputes would be tried in federal court. Okay And between residents of different states, let’s say you have a business in Massachusetts that decides to sue a business in Connecticut, that suit would go to federal court because it’s interstate. Okay Now, the Supreme Court also has two types of jurisdiction. Okay. The first type is what we call original jurisdiction. Original jurisdiction means that the Supreme Court hears the case from beginning to end and considers the facts as well as the law, okay. Original jurisdiction is usually used when there are disputes among two or more states. It’s rarely exercised. Supreme Court doesn’t usually try cases itself. And that’s what original jurisdiction is all about There was a case years ago involving New York and New Jersey. And the question was, is the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island, is the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island location in New York or is it in New Jersey. So the case involved York and New Jersey, and it was tried in the Supreme Court Okay. And if I’m not mistaken the outcome in the case was that they found a good part of the Statue of Liberty was actually in New Jersey, okay, which did not make the New Yorkers very happy. Okay But again, when you have a dispute between two or more states, it could end up in the Supreme Court, tried under original jurisdiction where the Supreme Court actually takes the case. Okay Now, the other form of jurisdiction that’s most common in Supreme Court is what we call appellate jurisdiction. Appellate jurisdiction means the case has been tried in a lower court. Okay And, you know, a person has been found guilty appeals He appeals or she appeals to the Supreme Court basically says, “I have been wrongly convicted And I’m appealing this conviction. And I think you should, Supreme Court should intervene Supreme Court should take the case, review the case and listen to my arguments, okay, as to why I have been wrongly convicted.” Now, you could appeal a case, you can appeal, you can argue the jury was biased against you You could argue that the judge did not follow proper procedure in trying your case You could also argue that the law itself was unconstitutional the law that is being applied to law that you allegedly violated is unconstitutional

Okay, so again, most of the cases reviewed by the Supreme Court, taken by the Supreme Court are under what we call appellate jurisdiction These are cases that have been cited by lower courts and the people. The person who has lost has been convicted is appealing to the Supreme Court and trying to argue that he was or she was improperly convicted. Okay Now, what’s interesting, too, is Article Three guarantees a trial by jury. Okay. Article Three does guarantee a trial by jury. Okay. The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed Okay So again, you are guaranteed a trial by jury, okay, by the US Constitution. Now, Section Three, immediately beneath this paragraph, talks about treason. Now we hear a lot of talk about treason these days. But what is treason? Treason, according to the Constitution, involves Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them. If you go to war against the United States, you are committing treason. If you are a US citizen, and you go to war against your own country, you are committing treason, that is the textbook or the Constitutional definition Okay, now, you know that this new raises the issue of Confederate monuments. A couple of summers ago, we were driving in Virginia. I mean, there’s Jefferson Davis highway, there is Robert E Lee High School. There’s Robert E. Lee Boulevard and so on and so forth. There were all kinds of monuments to Confederate warriors. The problem is that there’s no two ways about it. The Confederate warriors commited treason. They went to war against their own country. They, the Constitution does not allow secession. And it does not allow you to go to war against your own country. Going to war against the United States and American US citizen goes to war against the United States, that is treason. Okay. That’s all there is to it. So there is a question. I mean, should we be erecting monuments to men who committed treason? Robert E. Lee may have been a fine man. But at the end of the day, he committed treason. He was a graduate of West Point. He was offered the command of the Union Army, but he turned it down because he was in Virginia, and he felt, you know, loyalty to his home state of Virginia. And he went with the Confederacy, and that meant he went to war aginst his own country Now, Article Four brings us to the full faith and credit clause Actually, there are some other parts of it, but I’m going to just focus on the full faith and credit clause because only make sure you know that The full faith and credit clause is important and it’s had a significant impact in recent times It says Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof. Again, Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State So each state has to give full faith and credit to the public acts, records and judicial proceedings of every other state So for example, I have a Connecticut driver’s license, right? And let’s say I decide to drive to California. I’m driving through Illinois, I’m driving through Iowa. I’m driving through Utah I drive through all these states. They recognize my driver’s license, I am a fully licensed, I am legally license to drive a car. My Connecticut driver’s license is a document issued by the State of Connecticut, it’s a legal document that entitles me to drive a car legally. Okay, this driver’s license is going to be respected, okay, by every state. Now, Bill and Sally get married in Connecticut They move down to Texas because Sally gets a great new job in Texas. So they pack up and they move to Texas. Do they have to get married again in Texas? No, because their marriage in Connecticut is recognized under the Full Faith and Credit Clause by the state of Texas. They arrive in Texas and they’re legally married They don’t have to get married in Texas What happens if Bill and Joe get married in Connecticut – we have same sex marriage – and they move down to Alabama. And Alabama says, “Well, you know, we don’t recognize same sex marriage, we’re a conservative state. We don’t, we believe that marriage is between a man and a woman

It does not involve, cannot involve two people the same sex. Just not what be believe in. That’s how the Full Faith and Credit Clause has become controversial. It’s an important issue But there, that’s full faith and credit By the same token, for example, if you move out to California, and you want to get a driver’s license, they’re gonna ask you for your birth certificate If you were born in Hartford, you’d give your Hartford birth certificate and you bring it to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. They are going to recognize full faith and credit to that birth certificate. Once they see the birth certificate and the fact that it has all the appropriate legal stamps it will be recognized and you will be given the California driver’s license So that’s Full Faith and Credit Okay, and the same sex marriage issue is a controversial one There is another issue coming up with full faith and credit involving licenses to carry gun. So if you get a license to carry a gun in Texas, come to Connecticut that’s going to have to recognize the Texas, the Texas gun license. That’s a complicated issue I don’t know how that one’s gonna go. But just to give you an idea of the issues that come up Okay. Now, the other thing in Article Four they talk about is admission of new states. This is important. New states may be admitted to the Union by Congress, the United States Congress has the power to admit new states. Okay So, most recently, Puerto Rico, there’s some question whether or not Puerto Rico should become the 51st state. As you know, we have 50 states. In 1959, Alaska and Hawaii were the last two states States are admitted by Congress. What the state has to do to write up an explanation of why they want to be admitted. They have to write up their their Constitution and submit it to Congress Congress has to review the documents to decide whether or not to admit the state to the Union Again, if you look at American history in the 19th century, it was all about admitting new states Okay, new states were admitted. You have the admission of Ohio was admitted to the Union. Illinois was admitted, Missouri, Kansas, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and so forth. All these states have to apply to Congress for admission to the Union But, you know, Congress has the power to decide whether or not states will be admitted So again, Puerto Rico would have to apply to the US Congress to be admitted as the 51st state. Puerto Rico’s a US territory, people who were born in Puerto Rico, are US citizens, okay? And they can come and go, they can come to the mainland whenever they want. If you’re living in Puerto Rico and you want to come live in Connecticut you can do that, you are a US citizen. Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, it’s part of the United States. Okay The other issue that comes up here is in Section Four, Article Four. The Constitution says The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion. Now, what is a republican form of government? This is something that the founders were quite serious about The founders wanted to establish a representative democracy. And the term republican form of government refers to a representative democracy Why a representative democracy? Because the alternative would be a direct democracy. Direct Democracy is when the people vote directly on issues. Representative democracy means we elect representatives who make decisions for us The founders preferred representative democracy because they were worried that direct democracy to could lead to what they called mob rule. Okay And James Madison talks about in the Federalist number 10, talks about, what he says is, “What we need is a representative democracy Because representative democracies are more stable, elected representatives are more likely to make good decisions for the country, than the people voting directly on the issues.” Okay The founders had a very dim view of direct democracy. Ironically, I think most Americans don’t realize that. And if you were to do a poll, American opinion on democracy and you ask people, you know, would you prefer representative democracy in which you elect representatives to make decisions for you to direct democracy where you vote directly on the issues, I would imagine that a majority of Americans would say we want direct democracy, we want to vote directly on issues. But it’s very difficult to have direct democracy in a country as large as the United States. Technically, we’ve got about 200 million eligible voters in this country out of a population of 330 million. How do you get 200 million people to vote on very complicated issues? How do you, you know, how do you sort of put together the technology to facilitate this kind of mass vote which would be necessary in a direct democracy? Now, the Constitution was made so it could be amended, it could be changed

Okay. So there is a process of amending the Constitution. And I’m going to sort of explain the most basic means of amending the Constitution You have a proposed amendment to the Constitution It has to pass in the House and the senate with a two thirds vote. Okay Two thirds vote. Okay. You have to have a two thirds vote in the House and the Senate Once the amendment has passed with a two thirds vote in the House and the Senate, it then goes to the States. It goes to the state legislature, the Connecticut State Legislature, the Massachusetts State Legislature in Boston, the New York State Legislature in Albany, the California State Legislature in Sacramento, the Texas State Legislature in in Austin, Texas, the Florida State Legislature in Tallahassee, okay But Hello, hello, hello, God no Sorry, there was an interruption. Anyway, the proposed amendment goes to the state legislators, and the amendment has to be approved by three quarters of the states, three quarters of the states, three quarters of the states is 38 states Okay. It’s got to be approved by 38 states It’s very difficult to amend the Constitution. Okay. And for that reason, we only have okay. 27 amendments added to the Constitution since 1787 Now, the founders said, “Look, we want to be able to change this Constitution, that may be, but we don’t want the Constitution to be changed for no good reason.” Okay. If you make it to change the Constitution, you’re gonna get a lot of amendments, and some of the amendments are not going to be very good Okay. So you want the law, the basic law in the country and be stable. You don’t want it to change, to be amended all the time. Okay. And for that reason, you know, the founders purposely made it difficult to amend the Constitution. Okay. But, you know, we have been able to get through some very important amendments. Okay The 13th Amendment to the Constitution, ratified in 1865, okay, abolished slavery, very important, at the end of the Civil War. And it was a difficult amendment to get through, but it was passed, and slavery was abolished in 1865 In 1868, we see the ratification of the 14th amendment. The 14th amendment has various parts to it. But one of the most important parts is the guarantee of equal protection of the laws Okay? The laws apply equally. Okay. Everyone is guaranteed equal protection of the laws, okay? It’s very important because it inscribes in stone that prediction, that guarantee. And again, this guarantee has been violated, but at least you have the 14th amendment. You can sue if your rights have been violated, if you have been treated unequally. The equal protection laws have been violated in the way by the way we’ve been treated. Okay. So, so that is the process So, you know, the American Constitution has evolved over time. But the reason it’s evolved is because the world has changed, our country has changed. The Constitution has no choice but to evolve. You can’t have the same Constitution all time. I mean, you know, over 230 years, it’s a different world now. Okay, there are just so many different issues and you have, you know, many more people with many more demands with many more needs, and you know, in a very different world Okay, now, Article Six, the highlight of Article Six is its second paragraph. The first paragraph is important, but for the sake of time I won’t go into it. This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land Okay? So this means that everybody has to abide by the US Constitution and federal laws and laws that are made by Congress and the President Okay. That’s the supreme law of the land. The judges in every state shall be bound thereby State judges are bound to the United States Constitution. Anything in the Constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding, doesn’t matter what it says in your state Constitution. The US Constitution comes first See, this is what article six is saying is very important. You’ve got the US Constitution on top, and then you’ve got state Constitutions. State Constitutions have to be consistent with the US Constitution. They cannot violate the US Constitution, because they will be struck down if they have any articles that violate the guarantees made by the US Constitution

Those provisions will be struck down because the US Constitution is the supreme law Now, again, this is a serious issue because, you know, back in 1787, some people said, “Wait a minute, you know, most people identify as residents of states.” Okay. You were a New Yorker, you were a Virginian, okay. You were a Marylander, you know, people’s sort of understanding of themselves and of their worlds focused on the states. They did not have an actual identity. This Constitution was creating a new government. Okay, but at the time, was a big project because people did not have national identity. People did not identify as citizens of the United States, as Americans. They identified with the states in which they lived Okay. Now, the next paragraph is also important The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution. Everybody has to support this Constitution. Okay, governors of states, state legislators, state judges, okay. Members of the US Congress President of the United States. Everyone has to support the United States Constitution And then it says, but no religious Test shall be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States. You can’t have a religious test. At the Constitutional Convention when they were discussing this language, one of the delegates stood up and said, “Does this mean that a Muslim or a Jew can become President of the United States?” At that time there was a great deal of prejudice towards Muslims. And they said, yeah, that’s what it means. You cannot have a religious test. You cannot exclude a person from running for public office because of her or his religion. You cannot have a religious test See, that’s why when people talk about religion in the Constitution, the Constitution contains the separation of church and state. And one of the ways, one of the ways that we do that is by prohibiting religious tests in Article Six. Okay Article Seven is the last Article of the Constitution, and what they say in Article seven is, look, the’ve written the Constitution and are sending it to the States. The states had to consider the Constitution and decide whether or not to ratify it, in other words, whether or not okay, and what they’re saying is that once this Constitution is ratified by nine out of states, nine, sorry, but nine out of 13 states, once it becomes, is ratified by nine states, it goes into effect among those nine states. That’s putting pressure on the other states, the other four states to do something because, you know, nine states have ratified, it’s kind of like this train is leaving the station and you’ve got to jump on board. Okay And, you know, but again, if you look at what happened, what happened was they wrote the Constitution, they sent to the states for ratification. The states had to discuss, debate the Constitution, decide whether or not to ratify it. They had conventions in each state. It didn’t go to the state legislators They had special conventions in each state to discuss the Constitution and decide whether or not they were going to ratify it In some states, they rejected it and they had to have another convention. Okay. And in a few states, the margin of victory was very, very narrow. Okay. In New York, for example, there was a difference of only three votes. Okay This Constitution was not a done deal. When it was sent out to the states, it wasn’t clear that the states were going to approve of this Constitution The issue was that this Constitution established a national government. And many states were worried about that, because they realized that once you establish a national government, the state has more limited autonomy. In other words, the state has more limited freedom to do what it wants to do, because now it’s subject to the will of the national government. And that’s ultimately what happened. The National Government is very powerful. And, you know, states have to submit to the will of the national government, they have to submit to federal law Okay. But again, the first Constitution we had in this country was what we call the Articles of Confederation The Articles of Confederation were in effect from 1781 to 1788 George Washington and many of the political leaders of the time were concerned because they thought that the Articles of Confederation were not good enough. You know, Washington and others believed that this country needed a stronger national government. And that’s why George Washington went to Philadelphia in the summer of 1787. Many Americans don’t realize it, but George Washington presided over the Constitutional Convention. Okay, he was the guy who stood the front of the room and guided the delegates in their deliberations on this Constitution Okay, and then, when they finished their work, Washington endorsed. He supported this Constitution because he believed this country needed a strong national government. Okay, the Constitution establishes a federalist system You

have a national government and you have states, and it’s a system of shared powers. But over time, I would argue that the federal government has become more powerful than the states, simply because the federal government has greater resources and has taken greater responsibility for guiding the nation. Okay Anyway, um, if you look at the end of the Constitution, you will see the names of the men, and they were men, who signed the document, who approved it. What’s interesting about the convention is 55 delegates showed up in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787. And at the end of the process, 39 signed the Constitution Okay, some of them left. They didn’t agree They didn’t like what was going on. They did not agree with the idea of establishing a strong national government, which is why they basically walked out. It was a long and hot sweaty summer in Philadelphia. No air conditioning, obviously. And some men didn’t, you know, didn’t like what was going on, didn’t approve, didn’t agree. And they didn’t, they weren’t willing to support it. Okay But again, you know, there it is George Washington President and Deputy from Virginia, he was, he presided over the the Constitution convention and he became our nation’s first President. Okay And again, you’ll notice it’s a list of very, very important person, important leaders, important political leaders of the time You know, from Connecticut William Samuel Johnson and Roger Sherman Alexander Hamilton from New York From Pennsylvania, Benjamin Franklin Robert Morris, George Clymer From Virginia, James Madison James Madison wrote most of the Constitution, Okay, he showed up early on, he showed up in Philadelphia early in the summer, sort of at the end of April, in April, and he had already written a rough draft of the Constitution And he basically played a very important role in guiding the writing of the Constitution So in many respects, he was a dominant figure in the writing of this Constitution Thomas Jefferson was not present. Thomas Jefferson was ambassador to France at the time Nor was John Adams. John Adams was ambassador to the United Kingdom at the time. So he wasn’t at the Constitutional Convention yet, but this is what it is. Again, this is a document that has survived a long time and has provided important blueprints for government for 230 years. Again, it has its defects. But changes have been made, important changes have been made. In fact, there’s an important article called Race in the Constitution by Thurgood Marshall, who is the first African American to be appointed to the US Supreme Court. And Marshall argues that, you know, he’s, you know, he’s critical of the Constitution. He says the Constituition was defective from the start. And it’s true, it was defective. But he argued that it’s the amendments that played a major role in improving the Constitution and establishing the system, the government based on freedom, and based on respect for all people, freedom and equal rights You know, if you think about granting women the right to vote in 1920 You know, obviously, the abolition of slavery and the 14th Amendment, equal protection And, you know, the Bill of Rights, the first 10 Amendments of the Constitution, or the first 10 amendments. Again, these were very, very important factors. The amendments have played an important role in improving the Constitution. But that’s the way the world works. I mean, nothing that you write once is perfect. Okay, frequently if you write documents, you know, it’s the collaborative process, meaning different people looKing at the document, people make changes, they propose changes, changes are made, and over time, the document evolves And that’s what’s been happening with the Constitution for the past 200 years So, I think this Constitution will endure Things will be difficult, changes occur that cause hardship and difficulty and conflict in society. But at the same time, the Constitution provides us with a framework for dealing with problems and trying to solve problems So hopefully, human beings will be wise enough to use this Constitution to better the country Thank you very much. I hope I haven’t bored you too much, but I tried to cover a lot of ground There’s still more that one could discuss. But thank you very much. And I wish you a joyful

Constitution Day, a time to reflect on the many blessings that we as a country have been given Thank you very much

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