13 December, 2006

I thought Stephen Ambrose's book Band of Brothers was very well done. It portrays the war from a totally different prospective then most World War II history is written. It gives you the prospective of what it was like for the grunts on the ground, verses the commanding Generals back at headquarters. The book goes much more indepth then the mini series. What the mini series did was very close to the book and very well done but they picked ten chapters out of almost thirty to choose. The book has a more complete story. I would recomend this book to anyone who finds heros and real life human events intresting, esspecially if you are a history buff.

12 December, 2006

First Amendment
The First amendment is a part of the Bill of Rights. The first amendment grants the freedom of speech, religion, and to assemble. It also states, Congress, The President or The Court System can declare a national religion. At the moment in history, it is the freedom of religion or the separation of church and state. Many people think that this phrases originates within the constitution. In reality this phrase comes from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson addressed to the Danbury Baptists.
"I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State." (Thomas Jefferson's Letter)

This letter was in response to concerns, that the Danbury Baptists Association had, due to the fact that Connecticut’s state constitution had a lack of protection for religious freedoms. Jeffersons's response (above) said basically that the Federal Government will not allow any interference into the religious matters of its citizens. Jefferson's "wall" was that of Government not meddling in the matters of religion, not that no religious and government symbols can be mixed.
Second Amendment
The second amendment gives the American people the right to own and utilize firearms. The intent of this was in case of any incident that the government attempted to violate the Constitution by force the people could fight back.
Sixth Amendment
The Sixth Amendment gives the right to a speedy trial, trial by your peers, right to an attorney, and you will be tried in the county of which you committed the crime. The right to a speedy trial means you will be charged and the district attorney will be ready to try the case within a set amount of time. This amount of time is defined differently in each state. The state will provide you with an attorney if you can not afford one.
Seventh Amendment
The Seventh Amendment basically says that if money is involved in a dispute that it can go to trial.
Eighth Amendment
The Eighth Amendment talks about excessive amounts of bail, the bail must be proportional to the crime committed.
Ninth Amendment
The Ninth Amendment says that these are not the only rights a person has.
Tenth Amendment
The Tenth Amendment says that the rights not listed belong to the states, to decide what is right.
Eleventh Amendment
The Eleventh Amendment gave the right to the Supreme Court to hear cases against a state by a citizen or another state. This said that states did not have sovereign immunity when suit was brought against them.
Twelfth Amendment
The Twelfth Amendment was a reaction to the 1800 Presidential election. This amendment made Presidential Tickets.
Thirteenth Amendment
The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery.
Fourteenth Amendment
If you were born in the United States you are a full citizen, with equal protection, under the fourteenth amendment. This equal protection clause was written for blacks in the south, but is now being used as an argument for gay marriage.
Fifteenth Amendment
The Fifteenth Amendment said regardless of your skin color you are allowed to vote. This still only allowed men to vote.
Sixteenth Amendment
The Sixteenth Amendment is necessary but no one likes it because it made federal income tax legal.
Seventeenth Amendment
The seventeenth Amendment made it a popular vote for senators verses a election from the state legislature.
Eighteenth Amendment
The Eighteenth Amendment made the sale, and consumption of alcohol illegal. This is also know as prohibition.
Nineteenth Amendment
The Nineteenth Amendment gave women the right to vote. Some states like Wyoming had given women the right to vote earlier, then the federal government.
Twentieth Amendment
The Twentieth Amendment is known as the FDR or lame duck amendment. This amendment pushed up the Presidential Inauguration from March to January.
Twenty-First Amendment
The Twenty-First Amendment was the repeal of prohibition or the 18th Amendment.
Twenty-Second Amendment
This limits the number of terms that a president can serve to two. This was pasted by a Republican so FDR would be forced to stop running for office. This really hurt the Republican party when Regan could have easily won a third term.
Twenty-Third Amendment
The Twenty-Third Amendment gave the people of Washington D.C. three electoral votes.
Twenty-Fourth Amendment
The Twenty-Fourth eliminated poll taxes. This was being done in the south to keep poor blacks from being able to vote.
Twenty-Fifth Amendment
This allows the President to give over power temporally to the Vice-President. It also allows the Vice-President, Speaker of the House, and President Pro Tempt of the Senate to temporally remove the President from power due to something severally impairing the Presidents judgement. It also was parallelled by the Presidential Succession Act which established a line of succession for the Presidency.
Twenty-Sixth Amendment
The Twenty-Sixth Amendment gave any citizen who is 18 years old or older the right to vote.
Twenty-Seventh Amendment
The Twenty-Seventh Amendment says that a congressman can not get a pay raise until he or she are reelected.

The Constitution of The United States of America and The Constitution of the State of California.

The Constution of The United States With case summaries by Smith, Edward Smith.

Peltason, J.W. Understanding the Constution. CBS College
Publishing, 1982

18 November, 2006

Amendment v

"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." (Source)

This Amendment deals with several aspects of the Justice System and how they should work. The first is the right to a trial by jury in a criminal case. The court said in Twining v. New Jersey (1908) that the 5th amendment with the self-incrimination clause is only valid in the Federal Courts. This case was later overturned with Mallory v. Hogan (1964) "The Fourteenth Amendment prohibits state infringement of the privilege against self-incrimination just as the Fifth Amendment prevents the Federal Government from denying the privilege."(Source) In these cases you are not required to testify against yourself. You can not be prosecuted for the same case twice. "A substantive crime and a conspiracy to commit that crime are not the same offense for double jeopardy purposes."(Source)

12 November, 2006

Amendment III
"No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law." (Source)

The third amendment has never had a case brought to the Supreme Court concerning it. This is most likely attributed to the little room for interpretation on our parts. There was one 2nd Circuit Court case, Engblom v. Carey (1982). In this case, the prison guards were on strike (details), the Governor of New York brought in the National Guardsmen. Due to the strike lasting 16 days they Guardsmen were housed in company houses. This was not allowed by the owners, the decision went in favor of the defendants (guardsmen) because they were not knowingly breaking the law, and fell in the qualifyied immunity category. Part of the problem is there was no legitimate previous case law to work from.

Amendment IV
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."(Source)

The amendment 4 says that in order to forcibly search a house the police must have a warrant. The warrant must detail, what is to be searched (car, person, house, or everything on the property) and seized (evidence). Mapp v. Ohio (1961) was a landmark case in which it decided that evidence obtained in violation of the fourth amendment was considered impermissible in court.

05 November, 2006

Article III
Article Three of the Constitution establishes the judicial system of the United States. The Judges must be financially compensated for their actions. The Supreme Court Justices have a life term. Unless they die or resign they can not leave. The Congress can establish lower courts when they dem necessary. These would be the 11 Appellate courts. Both the Supreme Court and the Appellate courts Judges are nominated by the President. The 11th Amendment gave the Supreme Court the opportunities to settle disputes between states and states or citizens.

29 October, 2006

Article II
Article two of the Constitution of The United States discusses the Presidency. The President is the executive branch of The United States Government. He must be at least 35 years old and must be a natural born citizen. The President serves a four year term. The President is required to be compensated financially for his services.
Originally the President was the winner of the presidential race and the vice-president was the runner up. This was all changed by the 12th Amendment.
The Article also establishes the electoral college. The electoral college is the process of which the United States goes about electing their President and Vice-President. Each state has electoral college votes, the votes are the number of the states Representatives plus two senators. When a Presidential candidate wins a state they win all of the states electoral votes. The President must have 270 electoral votes in order to win the race.
The President has been given several requirements to fulfill by the Constitution. He is the Commander and Chief of the Military. He is also given the right "by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments." (Source)

22 October, 2006

The First Article of The United States Constitution outlines items regarding the United States Congress. The Article outlines the two different branches of the legislature. The first is the Senate of which each state has two Representatives. The House is the second legislative body within the congress, the House has representation based off of population size of a state. It also outlines that the the Representatives are so post to serve two year terms. There is no limit on the number of terms a person can serve. The term of a Senator is six years. The requirement of a Representative is at least 25 years old and a citizen. The requirement of a senator is at least 30 years old and a citizen. The vice-president is the president of the senate, his main roll is to break ties. This article also lays out the election process for senators. Every two years one third of the senate will be up for reelection. Every two years the Representatives will be up for reelection. Both branches can elect officers within the branch but it is not constitutionally required of them.
The house is given sole power for impeachment. The house acts as the prosecutor, when the senate acts as the jury. During the impeachment the Chief Justice acts as the judge.
The congress has several duties laid out for them to fulfill according to the Constitution they are "To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States; To borrow money on the credit of the United States; To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes; To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States; To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;
To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States; To establish post offices and post roads; 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; To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court; To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations; To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water; To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years; To provide and maintain a navy; To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces; To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions; 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 the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress; To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;--And
To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof." (Source) These are the required items congress must fulfill by the Constitution.