constitutional law at Universität Bochum

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Preamble

What does it say? 

What does perfect union, justice, tranquility, common defense, liberty mean?

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enabling clause 

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Article 4 The Union 

full faith and credit 

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legal succession clause 

Art.? 


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supremacy clause 

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Interstate Commerce Clause

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Explain the Legislature 

consistence, hope many members?


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Judiciary

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congress

structure, taks, journal, rules?, payment?, power, legislate what?, budget 

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House of Representatives

role, members, head, powers, election, vacancy and census 

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senate 

task, members, election, power?, head, vacancy 

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Representative

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Exemplary flashcards for constitutional law at the Universität Bochum on StudySmarter:

constitutional law

Preamble

What does it say? 

What does perfect union, justice, tranquility, common defense, liberty mean?

= Is the enacting clause of the constitution, not binding and not conferring a substantive right but indicator when interpreting the text in terms of its the purpose.


  • To form a more perfect union means creating a whole state for before the states were just in a loose friendship and sovereign.


  •  The term justice includes a procedural and substancial justice (adequate reason and adequate procedural when government interacts with people). 


  • Domestic tranquility means peace among the thirteen founding states.


  • Common defense means internationally acting as one state also in terms of defense. 


  • How the general welfare and liberty are problematic until today (no healthcare, slavery), but latter includes individual freedom and rights. People means the individual citizens



constitutional law

enabling clause 

= the constitution provides different enabling clauses. 

Only if there is a clause, the federal is enabled to provide further rules in a certain realm, instead of the single states.  

But if there is no enableing clause in the constitution, they are not allowed to control the areas. 


Amendment 20 

-  Enabling Clause for congress to come up with a mechanism for when these individuals die

constitutional law

Article 4 The Union 

full faith and credit 

full faith and credit clause

  • If you want to establish one state you need certain internal rules; you need to trust the others drivers license are as good as ours (not because of mistrust but because they don’t know how they make the license) 

Massachusetts liquor ID in Texas, the ID card is an official document and these need to have the same value within the US 

Give the other the benefit of the doubt that their authorities are not corrupt and work well 



  • No kind of differentiation between people from Cali and Alabama when they want something in a third state for example 


constitutional law

legal succession clause 

Art.? 


Article 6 legal succession


„All debts contracted and engagements entered into, before the adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.”


  • Unilateral statement from the US that all the engagements the confederation entered into will be taken over from the union 
  • Important because it clarifies the legal scenario which could lead to difficulties 
  • Confederation has worked for 10 years before the constitution entered into force; They took up debts
  • Also the US is the successor state of the confederation 
  • Legal Succession clause:
  • The Union is the legal successor in all contractual obligation and regarding any debt that the confederation took up on itself

constitutional law

supremacy clause 

Article 6

„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; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.”


  • Constitution, the laws of congress and the treaties that are concluded by the united states as a federal state those are supreme to all other sources of law 
  • Any state statutory laws and any state constitutions that are in any way contrary to the exercise of power by the federal government have to be null and void (= null und nichtig)
  • problem: the state constitution; some states had institutions before the federal constitution came into force and. They regulated it as their supremacy law already —> creates tension 
  • Chief of justice decided: no matter what the contradictory document is if they are inconsistent with the US constitution they need to be declared null and void; so also state constitutions
  • Federal question: 
  • Federal government have created federal problems e.g. social security or social welfare 
  • They create a voluntary system and offered them to the states 
  • If a state opts in and participates in the program you are limited in that segment in your sovereign regulatory power because we will make the rules and regulations in that realm: social security 
  • In that moment federal law applies 
  • Another example: criminal procedural laws; immunity, 
  • There are Procedual laws that protect the witness from answering if it involves to admitting to have done a crime 
  • Exceptions to these law. More on the federal level than on the state level. Why? Because federal crimes are often very complex and terrible crimes like terrorism 
  • Why is there and exception? To compel the witness to speak 
  • If they need a testimony in court but know that someone did something they promise that no matter what you say in court we will not use it against you; no prosecution 
  • Problem: But federal and state systems are independent this individual would be protected from federal but not from state prosecution 
  • declaration: individual has immunity also from state prosecution —> but this limits the sovereign powers of the states 

constitutional law

Interstate Commerce Clause

On February 4, 1887, both the Senate and House passed the Interstate Commerce Act which applied to the constitutional interstate commerce clause

= granting the Congress the power “to Regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States”


Commerce clause, provision of the U.S. Constitution (Article I, Section 8) that authorizes Congress “to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with Indian Tribes.”


The commerce clause has traditionally been interpreted both as a grant of positive authority to Congress and as an implied prohibition of state laws and regulations that interfere with or discriminate against interstate commerce

constitutional law

Explain the Legislature 

consistence, hope many members?


one of the three branches of government. 

The legislature is a bicameral system, meaning that the main organ, the congress, which is responsible for making the law consists of two houses

This bicameral system is a Control mechanism, which provides inherent control of one house over the other. 

The houses are called the house of representatives and the senate

Before only the house of representatives was voted by the people and the senate should be the house which is more involved in the politics, because they are the "real statesmen".

Now members of both houses are voted directly by the people. 

The congress consists of 435 representatives und 100 senators.

Both houses are dependent on the other when adopting new laws. 

They have the power to impeach the president and other civil officers under the US. 


constitutional law

Judiciary

Judiciary

= branch of government responsible for hearing and deciding legal disputes; a judge or justice is the person who determines the rights of the parties to a law suit. 

The court of last appeal is the supreme court 


constitutional law

congress

structure, taks, journal, rules?, payment?, power, legislate what?, budget 

Consist of the two houses, lower and upper house. 

This establishes internal checks and balances.


 The congress is the institution of the federal legislative, both houses are now directly voted by the people and responsible for making law. 


The congress is obliged to write and publish a journal which includes which member voted yay or nay and which member was present in the sessions. 

Hereby the voters can actually see if the one they voted goes to work 


Both houses are allowed to establish their own rules 


The Senators and Representatives receive a compensation which paid out of the treasury of the United States.


The congress has the power of impeachment, they define treason and the realms over which the congress has the legislative power named in Article one. For instance they organize the militia, navy; taxes, the general budget (Federal treasury), subjects that should logically be managed by the union instead of the single states like roads, post, money, declare war 


restraining federal power (limiting the federal power)


budget 

Federal treasury that pays the president, the congressmen, the judges

Money can only be taken out in consequence of legislation => that is the federal budget decided by congress

You can never take money out of the treasury unless it is in the federal budget 

You also need to make the budget public from time to time 


What If there is no quorum?

  • 1890 speaker came up with the rule: its enough to have the quorum just present, its allowed for members not to cast a vote and the vote still stands (this rule was adopted in both houses)
  • people who actually want to do their job cannot be ready for business because there is no quorum because the others didn’t show up, therefore the minority should have tools in their hand to compel other members to do their job as well 
  • How? Congress can  be In session even when there is no quorum, they can convene every day and count every day; compel absent members can impose penalties
  • they write it in the journal  


constitutional law

House of Representatives

role, members, head, powers, election, vacancy and census 

Is the lower house and part of the bicameral federal legislative branch


The number of its members are aportioned by the number of population, therefore number of representative can change. (There is a counting of the population every 10 years), but cannot go higher than 435

The head of the house is the speaker, who is elected by the members of the house. 


The speaker is also the third in line for the succession of the presidency (if president dies or is impeached, the its the vice president and if he dies etc., then it is the speaker)


The house has the power to initiate the impeachment. How quick, which steps to take etc.If they -> vote to intimate the impeachment =>  they need a simple majority 


The whole house is elected every two years. 


In case of vacancy: the executive authority of the (perhaps dead) representative's state shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies 


thirty thousand shall be represented by one representative -> One person one vote as basis

problem: there are big and small states =  an individuals vote is worth less than one vote in comparison to another individual in another state 



constitutional law

senate 

task, members, election, power?, head, vacancy 

The senate is the upper house of the bicameral federal legislative (congress). It is together with the lower house responsible for making laws. 

The members are senators, voted by the people (amendment 17). Every state delegates two senators. 


The population votes one third of the senate every two years. Therefore senators have a mandate for six years.


The head of the house is the vice president. He has a right to vote, if there is a tie. 

president pro tempore= when Vice President (head of the senate) is absent or becomes president (or dies etc.=) he is the head of the senate. He is voted by the senators 


The senate hat the power to try an impeachment.


17th amendment decided that people instead of individual state legislature votes the senators -> against corruption

In case of vacancy: 

  • organize an election right away: executive authority of the state makes sure there is an election in that state to fill the vacancy 
  • OR 
  • if the legislature of that state empowered the executive (=gave the appointment power to the governor) to make temporary appointments then that person chooses someone who will take the seat until next regular election 


 

constitutional law

Representative

Is a member of the lower house of congress.

The representatives are elected by the people for a two year term. 

The requirements to be a representative are to be 

  • 25 years old
  • has been a citizens for 7 years
  • inhabitant of the state at the time of the election (half a year before the election day)

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