The Constitution for Dummies

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The Constitution for Dummies: War Powers and the Militia

It’s about time we start digging a bit deeper into the powers listed in Article 1, Section 8. I don’t necessarily mean digging into the case law and precedent of each enumerated power (which we can get to eventually) but rather digging into the thoughts and intentions of the framers when they wrote these enumerated …

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The Constitution for Dummies: The Appropriations Clause

So many times, we look at our American government through our American eyes, never through the lens of history. For instance, it seems obvious to us that the people who represent us in Congress would be the ones to approve and direct the spending of government money rather than the President approving and directing the …

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The Constitution for Dummies: The Preamble

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure 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.” Read further to learn about what this preamble actually means.

The Constitution for Dummies: Article VI, Clause 3

In 1787, from May to September, a group of 55 delegates traveled from their states, leaving their families, jobs, friends and home to spend hours on end in an “unbearably hot”, stuffy room in Pennsylvania debating and writing the new U.S. Constitution. They were doing something unprecedented. They were creating, through careful thought, debate and …

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The Constitution for Dummies: The Bill of Rights

I’ve discussed the Bill of Rights before. I’ve explained selective incorporation and the federalist/anti-federalist debate. But the Bill of Rights are very important and seem to be on everyone’s minds right now as we all fight to defend our “rights” against bloated state governments and an ever growing federal government. So, I think the Bill …

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The Constitution’s Meaning

So, as I was teaching class today, I realized something. I love to look at the definitions of words, especially in the context of government and law. Words and their meanings are really fundamental to understanding government institutions, particularly American government institutions since our founders were so careful with their words and names. (For instance, …

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The Constitution Is NOT a List of Our Rights

A common misconception I encounter in daily life and in the classes I teach is this: the Constitution is something that the government AND the citizenry are supposed to follow. It’s a law that universally applies to both public and private citizens. It exists to list out our rights and stop other citizens from violating …

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The Constitution for Dummies: Article VI Clause 3

“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; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office …

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