Checks and Balances - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Checks and Balances

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  1. Checks and Balances • #51, Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. • Inter-branch battles are expected

  2. Separation of Powers Fundamentals • political power is distributed among the three branches of government • members are selected using different methods • possess some ability to check the power of the others

  3. The Constitution on Impeachment • "Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors" (Article II, section 4) • House votes to impeach, majority vote • Senate votes to remove, 2/3rds vote • Chief Justice of SC presides • What is a high crime and misdemeanor?

  4. Impeachment Background • Whitewater Independent Counsel Appointed • Clinton v. Jones • Starr Report

  5. Discussion Questions • Was the office of the president weakened by the impeachment process? • Did the system of checks and balances “work” as intended? • Should the impeachment process by remedied? How?

  6. War Power • Congress can “declare war” • President- commander in chief • How many declared wars? • Role of Courts

  7. Implications • Meanings of Constitution are fuzzy • Encourages strife • Promotes flexibility

  8. Ratifying the Constitution • approved by at least nine states • approved at ratifying convention • Not state legislatures or popular vote • Debate between federalists and anti-federalists • Needed the big states

  9. Federalists vs. Anti-federalists • Is democracy best served in large or small republics? (Madison v. Brutus) • Who is likely to be elected? • What is the greatest danger to democracy? • What is human nature like? • Are these questions still relevant?

  10. Anti-federalists • small republic is best • People are animated by a concern for public good • strong national government would be distant from the people

  11. Madison- Federalist 10 and 51 • Liberty is safest in large (extended) republics • many opinions and interests in large republic makes it harder for a tyrannical majority to form • coalition formed in large republic are more moderate • Liberty is threatened more by public passions and popular factions than by strong government

  12. New Republicanism • OLD- positive political engagement – civic virtue and small republics that required some degree of equality • NEW- negative limitations on government – the balance of interest based on the “invisible hand” of self-interest and on the equality of opportunity

  13. Assessing the Framers • Elite Conspiracy • Federalists all wealthy planters and merchants trying to get rich • Brilliant Political Theorists • How to prevent tyranny of the majority • Sound Politicians • political expediency is the driving principle

  14. Amendment the Constitution • proposing amendments • 2/3rds votes by both house of congress • 9,746 amendments offered, only 29 of which were officially proposed • Constitutional Convention at request of 2/3rds of state legislatures • Never has happened, no rules about how to do it

  15. Ratifying Amendments • by legislatures in ¾ of the states • seven state constitutions specify that the legislature must ratify the proposed amendment by 3/4ths of 2/3rds majorities • by ratifying conventions in ¾ of states • The case of the C paper and the 27th Amendment

  16. State Constitutions • The legislature may provide for an indem-nification program to peanut farmers for losses incurred as a result of Aspergillums flavus and freeze damage in peanuts. Alabama, 1901. • The people hereby enact limitations on marine net fishing in Florida waters to protect saltwater finfish, shellfish, and other marine animals from unnecessary killing, over fishing and waster. Florida, 1968

  17. Federalist amendments • Strengthen Government/ Reduce Separation of Powers • allow members of congress to serve in cabinet • allow president to dissolve congress require presidential/congressional teams in congressional districts • allow congress to require new presidential elections. • establish 6 year term for president • Lengthen house terms to 4 years

  18. Anti-federalist Amendments • government does too much not, too little • limit amount of taxes (require a 2/3 vote of congress to raise taxes) • required balanced budget • give president a line item veto • limit authority of federal courts • term limits for judges and members of congress • Direct referendums

  19. Miscellaneous Amendments • campaign finance reform • school prayer • abortion • Flag burnings

  20. Discussion Questions • Any ideas for constitutional amendments? • Do we need a new constitutional convention? • What would happen if we did have a convention?

  21. Majority Tyranny • What to do about factions? • Causes cannot be removed • Can only control the effects of faction • Set faction against faction; ambition must be made to counter ambition

  22. Majority Rule vs. Minority Rights • Madison and Federalist #10 Faction: "A number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community." Inherent characteristic of people.