Constitution FAQ’s

Here are a few definitions/questions that I’m getting in the comments that I’ll answer right here:

  • Lame Duck: This is the President or Congress at the end of his term; he loses power as a new President/Congress are coming in.
  • President-Elect: A newly elected, yet still powerless, President.
  • Why is the Constitution a “living document?” Because the Amendment process allows it to change with time, expanding rights and expanding them to new people. The Constitution should change dramatically, but evolve slowly over time as all “living” things do.
  • Specific powers of a President are listed in the Article 2 notes (commander-in-chief, pardon, executive order, veto, etc.). The Prez’s power IS the executive power!
  • Quorum is the minimum number of people that need to be present before a vote is allowed on a bill/action in the Senate or House.
  • The “elastic clause” is in Article 1, giving Congress the ability to stretch it’s power to cover all things “necessary and proper” and for the “general welfare.”
  • Federalism – the division of power between the state (IL state gov) and national (Prez, Congress). It allows states to be unique and different, yet united under one powerful central gov’t.
  • Tapirs – some weird animal Alex Johnson likes :)
  • Whip – a Representative who “gets” the other Reps to vote the way his party leadership wants them to.
  • The Speaker is so powerful because she controls all legislation via rules and committee. Don’t worry, not a test question though.
  • The Line of Succession is in the Art. 2 notes.  It’s simply an order of who takes over for the Prez.
  • Don’t worry about Const. influences. (just state of nature and such)
  • 3 leaders in Congress are Speaker, VP, and Pres. Pro Tempore.
  • Our gov’t needs us to be educated and dedicated citizens to be successful.

62 thoughts on “Constitution FAQ’s

  1. Someone

    do we need to know are new senator and president or just that the answers are the ones we went over if not could u tell me who the new senators are

  2. Mr. Little

    The President represents all people, as he is the only person voted on by all the people (via Electoral College). You could include the VP in that, too.

    And no, you don’t need to know the “old” Sens/Reps, as they are actually the same as the new ones. Except Obama, but we don’t know his replacement yet.

  3. Haleyy the Aweeessomeee

    i don’t remember discussing the establishment cluase, free exercise clause, poll tax, citizen, and register I was wondering if you could let me know if i’m going crazy and have no memory or hopefully we didn’t talk about them = ] = [ i don’t know which

  4. Mr. Little

    No worries, Haley. If you remember from yesterday (Weds.), I told you not to worry about it, as we’ve just discussed it, and haven’t really practiced it or learned it well. None of those will be on the test. If I didn’t make that clarification yesterday in class, I will surely do so tomorrow!

  5. And I don’t think you should be calling them names. I read a story about a zoo keeper who tried to feed a baby tapir, but the momma got angry and bit off his arm. Don’t anger the tapir.

  6. Kaanan

    Mr. Little….I was looking at the study guide and i dont know the answer of these problems:

    ~What does our gov. need in order to be successful?
    ~What people influenced our Constitution and how?
    ~How might the Speaker of the House be the “most important person in America”?
    ~Describe 3 different leaders in Congress
    ~Explain how line of succession works

    *I know they are a LOT of ques. but i want to do good………..sorry~
    Thanks :)

  7. dana

    Wow that was alot of info. Are w going to have to know all the amendments in order because I don’t the order let lone most of them.

  8. Kaanan

    By the way… to people needing help with definitions…a lot( 25or more0 are in your book(COnstitution book) in the glossary on page 89…………….just to let ya kno.

  9. Kayla


  10. Haleyy the Aweeessomeee

    mr. little I was wondering if the president has to be born in the U.S. because the article 2 notes only say they have to be natural born citizens. I’m kinda lost even though i know it doesn’t mean you have to be born in the u.s. but i thought you said they did.
    ~~short arms

  11. Haley the Aweeessomeee

    Also again I understand what a precedent is but i can’t put it into words. Is there any way you could explain it to help me?

  12. Someone

    mr little thanks so much but this is going to be relly hard and if we have any questions in the morning will u except them and tell us the answer or will u say that it is test day i can not tell u

  13. Mr. Little

    Kim – yes, you’ll have to know the amendments. In order.

    Tess – yes, you can ask me questions tomorrow!

    Haley – A precedent is something that sets an example for future (similar) events. So, if you talk too much in my class, and I don’t care, what precedent does that set? Right – that I don’t care so you can do what you want! That’s a BAD precedent! Make sense?

    Also Haley – you MUST be born in the US to be a Natural Born Citizen. The only (rare) exceptions would be in John McCain’s case, where he was born outside the US, but on a US territory/base (Panama).

    Good Kayla!!! You’ll see the results!

    Ding – Executive Powers are numerous (veto, treaties, etc.) with Executive Order being just one of them.

  14. Haley the Aweeessomeee

    in the 7th amend. it states that is trial by jury in civil cases what does it mean by civil cases we talked about something to do with judge judy in class when we talked about it.

  15. Mr. Little

    No, not “judge judy” civil cases, but actual “real” ones where one person sues another for damages. These actions aren’t a crime, otherwise it would be a criminal trial. Judge Judy type cases aren’t (usually) real court cases, but the parties (people) involved sign something saying Judy is the mediator and will resolve the problem.

    Make sense?

  16. Haley the Aweeessomeee

    what do you mean by they aren’t a crime? judy’s cases or the supreme court cases? and damages you mean like anything that breaks a law right?

  17. Ahona

    thanks mr.little. that was very helpful. i dont think ill email u any questions….yet! and i think i did something to my toe today, its hurting:( well gotta go study before dance. bye, and thanks again for all the help!

  18. Haley

    you add up the # of senators(always 2!) + the # reps. that each state has
    for ex. IL 2senators for 19 reps. = 21 electoral votes
    get it?

  19. Mr. Little

    Kayla/Chris – Representatives + Senators = Electoral Votes.

    Haley – Read this: Did anything illegal happen? Any crime committed? No. But the woman (Liebeck) was so badly burned that she felt the need to sue for millions. That’s the civil law system, one we don’t get into much in 7th grade. If no crime is committed, but “wrong” is done, lawsuits happen. Some, like this, seem frivolous, but others are very legitimate.

    Judge Judy is a whole ‘nother story! It’s essentially a “negotiation,” where both people agree that judy’s decision is final. No “real” court case takes place, just a glorified actor settling a dispute.

  20. Mr. Little

    Haley is right:

    IL: 19 Reps + 2 Senators = 21 Electoral Votes
    CA: 53 Reps + 2 Senators = 55 Electoral Votes
    MT: 1 Reps + 2 Senators = 3 Electoral Votes

    Ahona – I hope you feel better!!

  21. Haley

    thanks mr. little i get it now it just kinda seems stupid the whole Mcdonalds thing is it me or are people really greedy?

  22. Mr. Little

    Yes Haley, people are very greedy. There was a bit of truth in the lawsuit (weeks in the hospital, surgery is expensive/coffee shouldn’t be that hot), but not for 3 million!!!

  23. Mr. Little

    Pop Sov – Gov’t gets its power from the peole.

    Dan – look in your textbook for the Bill of Rights. That file is at school, so I cannot up load it.

  24. Mariah

    Mr Little– I know how late it is to ask this question, but I hope u answer NEway.
    Some of the stuff that was on the study guide and on the judicial branch notes we havent gone over yet, is that still gonna b on the test?

  25. Mr. Little

    LIke what, Mariah? Short answer is NO. Anything we didn’t go over will not be on the Test, of course. How could I test you over something we didn’t study?

  26. Mr. Little

    Tess, you can be impeached for Treason, High Crimes and Felonies.

    Civic Virtue – when we give up something we want for the common good.

    No, I don’t have a method for memorizing the 10 BoR. I’ve just studied them for a long time, so I’ve got them. Straight memorization, for me. If anything, try to picture the photos. If you can visualize the number and a picture representing it, you’ll be better off.

  27. tEss

    can* you please help me with remembering the first 10 amandments because i keep remembering them for an hour than i forget them the next thank u so much for reasponding to my late question(that is if u do) :0 :) :8 :^) l**l (tape roll hahahha)thanks so much

  28. tEss

    thanks sosososososoososososososososososo much mr little u helped alot :) witha ll the questions that ihad now i get it

  29. unknown

    wow! this helped me on my conistution test! thanks mr. little! i am going to re-take the test anyway becaues i got a c!

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