It’s kinda funny, really…

It should come as no surprise to my closest friends and family… I’m a far right leaning conservative. I’m laughing as I write. Why? Because I strongly believe in the Constitution and what the Founding Fathers intended when the United States gained its freedom from our English masters. And, by the standards of many today, that’s considered ‘far right’. The general public has no idea about the basics concerning our country or Constitution. Their ignorance is pitiful.

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Here are a few items commonly not known by most Americans.
1. There isn’t a separation of church and state written into our Constitution. There is a clause that restricts the government out of religion, but it isn’t a two way clause.
2. The Constitution is a rigid document, not a ‘living’ document that could be interpreted differently over time. If it were a ‘living’ document, there wouldn’t be a need for the amendment process.
3. The three branches of government are not all equal. Our Constitution only grants the Supreme Court two powers; original jurisdiction and the setting up of lesser courts.
4. The Supreme Court  (SCOTUS) does not have the power to judge any law unconstitutional. In the decision of Marbury v Madison (1803), the SCOTUS grabbed the power of ‘judicial review’. Since that time, the SCOTUS has abused their illegally gotten power to create law and rule on the constitutionality of laws.
5. The amendment process allows for the changing of our Constitution. The 2nd amendment cannot be changed. Why? Because it contains the language ‘shall not be infringed’. But that hasn’t stopped laws from being created that restrict, deny, and limit who can or cannot own/possess firearms.
6. The common misconception is that the Civil War was over slavery. Simply not true. http://www.history.com/news/5-things-you-may-not-know-about-lincoln-slavery-and-emancipation

A brief look at how we’re losing our Constitutional Rights.

Every day we’re losing our Constitutional rights. They’re being slowly eroded away and it seems no one really cares or knows any better. We’ve been taught in public schools that Our United States Constitution is a ‘living’ document. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our Constitution is a rigid document and can only be changed via the amendment process. Our Constitution has been ‘interpreted into meaning different things at different times in our country’s history by the Supreme Court of the United States (henceforth referred to as SCOTUS). This ‘interpreting’ of the Constitution is illegal and unconstitutional. If our society deems it necessary to grant additional rights or constitutional protections, then it must be done by amending our Constitution or the Congress granting additional powers to SCOTUS instead of the SCOTUS arbitrarily making law (known as judicial activism). So what went wrong?

Marbury V Madison (1803)

What was Marbury v Madison and why is this case of such great importance? It is precisely this case in which the SCOTUS granted itself the power to rule on the constitutionality of any law and render it void if the SCOTUS felt it went against the Constitution. The Constitution explicitly grants SCOTUS only two powers; 1st) original jurisdiction (Article III, Section 2), and 2nd) to set up lesser courts under their authority (Article III, Section 1). The Constitution does not grant the SCOTUS the power of judicial review. The SCOTUS was never intended to be equal to either the Executive or Legislative branches.

The 14th Amendment 1868

The 14th Amendment has often been cited as a ‘backdoor’ way around the amendment process. The main point of the 14th Amendment was to guarantee that former slaves were to be treated as full citizens of the United States (Section 1). The other sections of the 14th addressed controversies that arose over how to deal with the former Confederate States while the last section authorized Congress the power to enforce all sections of the 14th. Again, why is the 14th important today? We, as a nation, no longer have any slaves or old Confederate soldiers. It’s important because it is often used to circumvent the amendment process. Instead of passing a new amendment, the courts can just ‘reinterpret’ the 14th to convey new rights or privileges against the will of the people. This reinterpretation is more commonly known as ‘judicial activism’.

Judicial Activism

Judicial activism is what courts do to change laws without having and constitutional authority to do so in the first place. They overturn the will of the people and create law. We’ve seen the use of judicial activism many times since Marbury v Madison (1803). We saw it when the SCOTUS created a ‘separation of church and state’ that never existed before. The 1st Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” Notice that the restriction is placed solely upon Congress, i.e., the state. It is a one-way clause. I won’t argue the pros or cons about having a true separation of church and state… My point is that if the people want that separation to be two-way, then we should do so via an amendment.

The same is true with most other issues we face today… gay marriage, legalization of marijuana, etc. The courts should never have the ability to overturn the will of the people or state constitutional amendments. The courts just don’t have that constitutional power or authority. The people of each state should have the right to live as the majority of that state pleases. Why have individual state constitutions if a judge can overrule the will of the constituents? If any state chooses to legalized marijuana or legitimize gay marriage, so be it. Other states should not be compelled to embrace that which runs contrary to the will of its own people.

Remember… Our Declaration of Independence starts with “We the People…” We are the rightful masters of our government. Insist on our government acting constitutionally.

9 Things You Didn’t Know About the Second Amendment

http://www.policymic.com/articles/24557/9-things-you-didn-t-know-about-the-second-amendment

1. The Second Amendment codifies a pre-existing right

 

The Constitution doesn’t grant or create rights; it recognizes and protects rights that inherently exist. This is why the Founders used the word “unalienable” previously in the Declaration of Independence; these rights cannot be created or taken away. In D.C. vs. Heller, the Supreme Court said the Second Amendment “codified a pre-existing right. The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it “shall not be infringed … this is not a right granted by the Constitution” (p. 19).

2. The Second Amendment protects individual, not collective rights

 

The use of the word “militia” has created some confusion in modern times, because we don’t understand the language as it was used at the time the Constitution was written. However, the Supreme Court states in context, “it was clearly an individual right” (p. 20). The operative clause of the Second Amendment is “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed,” which is used three times in the Bill of Rights. The Court explains that “All three of these instances unambiguously refer to individual rights, not ‘collective’ rights, or rights that may be exercised only through participation in some corporate body” (p. 5), adding “nowhere else in the Constitution does a ‘right’ attributed to “the people” refer to anything other than an individual right” (p. 6).

3. Every citizen is the militia

 

To further clarify regarding the use of the word “militia,” the court states “the ordinary definition of the militia as all able-bodied men” (p. 23). Today we would say it is all citizens, not necessarily just men. The Court explains: “’Keep arms’ was simply a common way of referring to possessing arms, for militiamen and everyone else” (p. 9). Since the militia is all of us, it doesn’t mean “only carrying a weapon in an organized military unit” (p. 11-12). “It was clearly an individual right, having nothing whatever to do with service in a militia” (p. 20).

4. Personal self-defense is the primary purpose of the Second Amendment

 

We often hear politicians talk about their strong commitment to the Second Amendment while simultaneously mentioning hunting. Although hunting is a legitimate purpose for firearms, it isn’t the primary purpose for the Second Amendment. The Court states “the core lawful purpose [is] self-defense” (p. 58), explaining the Founders “understood the right to enable individuals to defend themselves … the ‘right of self-preservation’ as permitting a citizen to ‘repe[l] force by force’ when ‘the intervention of society in his behalf, may be too late to prevent an injury’ (p.21). They conclude “the inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right” (p.56).

5. There is no interest-balancing approach to the Second Amendment

 

Interest-balancing means we balance a right with other interests. The court notes that we don’t interpret rights this way stating “we know of no other enumerated constitutional right whose core protection has been subjected to a freestanding “interest-balancing” approach. The very enumeration of the right takes out of the hands of government the power to decide on a case-by-case basis whether the right is really worth insisting upon. A constitutional guarantee subject to future judges’ assessments of its usefulness is no constitutional guarantee at all” (p.62-63). This doesn’t mean that it is unlimited, the same as all rights (more on that below). However, the court states that even though gun violence is a problem to be taken seriously, “the enshrinement of constitutional rights necessarily takes certain policy choices off the table” (p.64).

6. The Second Amendment exists to prevent tyranny

 

You’ve probably heard this. It’s listed because this is one of those things about the Second Amendment that many people think is made up. In truth, this is not made up. The Court explains that in order to keep the nation free (“security of a free state”), then the people need arms: “When the able-bodied men of a nation are trained in arms and organized, they are better able to resist tyranny” (p.24-25). The Court states that the Founders noted “that history showed that the way tyrants had eliminated a militia consisting of all the able bodied men was not by banning the militia but simply by taking away the people’s arms, enabling a select militia or standing army to suppress political opponents” (p. 25). At the time of ratification, there was real fear that government could become oppressive: “during the 1788 ratification debates, the fear that the federal government would disarm the people in order to impose rule through a standing army or select militia was pervasive” (p.25). The response to that concern was to codify the citizens’ militia right to arms in the Constitution (p. 26).

7. The Second Amendment was also meant as a provision to repel a foreign army invasion

 

You may find this one comical, but it’s in there. The court notes one of many reasons for the militia to ensure a free state was “it is useful in repelling invasions” (p.24). This provision, like tyranny, isn’t an everyday occurring use of the right; more like a once-in-a-century (if that) kind of provision. A popular myth from World War II holds Isoroku Yamamoto, commander-in-chief of the Imperial Japanese navy allegedly said “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.” Although there is no evidence of him saying this, there was concern that Japan might invade during WWII. Japan did invade Alaska, which was a U.S. territory at the time, and even today on the West Coast there are still gun embankments from the era (now mostly parks). The fact is that there are over 310 million firearms in the United States as of 2009, making a foreign invasion success less likely (that, and the U.S. military is arguably the strongest in the world).

8. The Second Amendment protects weapons “in common use at the time”

 

The right to keep and bear arms isn’t unlimited: “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited” (p. 54). The Court upheld restrictions like the prohibition of arms by felons and the mentally ill, and carrying in certain prohibited places like schools and courthouses. What is protected are weapons “in common use of the time” (p.55). This doesn’t mean weapons in common use “at that time,” meaning the 18th Century. The Court said the idea that it would is “frivolous” and that “the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding” (p.8). The Court’s criteria includes weapons in popular widespread use “that [are] overwhelmingly chosen by American society” (p. 56), and “the most popular weapon chosen by Americans” (p. 58).

9. The Second Amendment might require full-blown military arms to fulfill the original intent

 

The Court didn’t rule specifically on this in D.C. vs. Heller, but noting that weapon technology has drastically changed (mentioning modern day bombers and tanks), they stated “the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home to militia duty. It may well be true today that a militia, to be as effective as militias in the 18th century, would require sophisticated arms that are highly unusual in society at large” (p. 55).

They further added that “the fact that modern developments [in modern weaponry] have limited the degree of fit between the prefatory clause and the protected right cannot change our interpretation of the right” (p. 56). A full ruling has not been made, as this was not in the scope the court was asked to rule on in the D.C. vs. Heller case, but they left the door open for future ruling.

First Pope from the Americas

Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio named new pope

Published March 14, 2013

FoxNews.com

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/03/14/world-watches-as-cardinals-convene-for-2nd-day-papal-conclave/#ixzz2NUAi7oan

 

Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected by his peers Wednesday as the new pope, becoming the first pontiff from the Americas.

He chose the name Francis, drawing connections to the humble 13th-century saint who saw his calling as trying to rebuild the church in a time of turmoil.

As the long-time archbishop of Buenos Aires, Francis has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and shoe-leather priests. In choosing a 76-year-old pope, the cardinals clearly decided that they didn’t need a vigorous, young pope who would reign for decades but rather a seasoned, popular and humble pastor who would draw followers to the faith and help rebuild a church stained by scandal.

Groups of supporters waved Argentine flags in St. Peter’s Square as Francis, wearing simple white robes, made his first public appearance as pope.

Chants of “Long live the pope!” arose from the throngs of faithful, many with tears in their eyes. Crowds went wild as the Vatican and Italian military bands marched through the square and up the steps of the basilica, followed by Swiss Guards in silver helmets and full regalia.

Francis appeared on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica just after a church official announced “Habemus Papum” — “We have a pope” — and gave Bergoglio’s name in Latin.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, good evening,” he said to wild cheers before making a reference to his roots in Latin America, which accounts for about 40 percent of the world’s Roman Catholics.

Francis asked for prayers for himself, and for retired Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, whose surprising resignation paved the way for the conclave that brought the first Jesuit to the papacy.

“You know that the work of the conclave is to give a bishop to Rome,” Francis said. “It seems as if my brother cardinals went to find him from the end of the earth. Thank you for the welcome.”

In one of his first acts as pope, Francis on Thursday morning planned to visit Benedict at the papal retreat in Castel Gandolfo south of Rome.

American Cardinal Timothy Dolan said Wednesday night at the North American College, the U.S. seminary in Rome, that Francis told fellow cardinals following the conclave that made him pope: “Tomorrow morning, I’m going to visit Benedict.”

The visit is significant because Benedict’s resignation has raised concerns about potential power conflicts emerging from the peculiar situation of having a reigning pope and a retired one.

Bergoglio has shown a keen political sensibility as well as the kind of self-effacing humility that fellow cardinals value highly, according to his official biographer, Sergio Rubin. He showed that humility on Wednesday, saying that before he blessed the crowd he wanted their prayers for him and bowed his head.

“Good night, and have a good rest,” he said before going back into the palace.

In a lifetime of teaching and leading priests in Latin America, which has the largest share of the world’s Catholics, Francis has been known for modernizing an Argentine church that had been among the most conservative in Latin America.

Like other Jesuit intellectuals, Bergoglio has focused on social outreach. Catholics are still buzzing over his speech last year accusing fellow church officials of hypocrisy for forgetting that Jesus Christ bathed lepers and ate with prostitutes.

Francis, the son of middle-class Italian immigrants, is known as a humble man who denied himself the luxuries that previous Buenos Aires cardinals enjoyed. Bergoglio often rode the bus to work, cooked his own meals and regularly visited the slums that ring Argentina’s capital.

He came close to becoming pope in 2005, reportedly gaining the second-highest vote total in several rounds of voting before he bowed out of the running in the conclave that elected Pope Benedict XVI.

Cardinal Dolan gave an inside glimpse into the drama of the conclave in his talk at the American seminary.

When the tally reached the necessary 77 votes to make Bergoglio pope, Dolan said, the cardinals erupted in applause. And when he accepted the momentous responsibility thrust upon him — ”there wasn’t a dry eye in the place,” the American cardinal recounted.

After the princes of the church had congratulated the new pope one by one, other Vatican officials wanted to do the same, but Francis preferred to go outside and greet the throngs of faithful. ”Maybe we should go to the balcony first,” Dolan recalled the pope as saying.

In choosing to call himself Francis, the new pope was linking himself with the much-loved Italian saint from Assisi associated with peace, poverty and simplicity. St. Francis was born to a wealthy family but later renounced his wealth and founded the Franciscan order of friars; he wandered about the countryside preaching to the people in very simple language.

He was so famed for his sanctity that he was canonized just two years after his death in 1226.

St. Francis Xavier is another important namesake. One of the 16th century founders of the Jesuit order, Francis Xavier was a legendary missionary who spread the faith as far as India and Japan — giving the new pope’s name selection possibly further symbolic resonance in an age when the church is struggling to maintain its numbers.

Francis will celebrate his first Mass as pope in the Sistine Chapel on Thursday, and will be installed officially as pope on Tuesday, on the feast of St. Joseph, patron saint of the universal church, according to the Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi.

Lombardi, also a Jesuit, said he was particularly stunned by the election given that Jesuits typically shun positions of authority in the church, instead offering their work in service to those in power.

But Lombardi said that in accepting the election, Francis must have felt it “a strong call to service,” an antidote to all those who speculated that the papacy was about a search for power.

In an interesting twist the Jesuits were expelled from all of the Americas in the mid-18th century. Now, a Latin American Jesuit has been elected head of the 1.2-billion strong Catholic Church.

Tens of thousands of people who braved cold rain to watch the smokestack atop the Sistine Chapel jumped in joy when white smoke poured out a few minutes past 7 p.m., many shouting “Habemus Papam!” or “We have a pope!” — as the bells of St. Peter’s Basilica and churches across Rome pealed.

Elected on the fifth ballot, Francis was chosen in one of the fastest conclaves in years, remarkable given there was no clear front-runner going into the vote and that the church had been in turmoil following the upheaval unleashed by Benedict’s surprise resignation.

A winner must receive 77 votes, or two-thirds of the 115, to be named pope.

For comparison’s sake, Benedict was elected on the fourth ballot in 2005 — but he was the clear front-runner going into the vote. Pope John Paul II was elected on the eighth ballot in 1978 to become the first non-Italian pope in 455 years.

Bergoglio’s legacy as cardinal includes his efforts to repair the reputation of a church that lost many followers by failing to openly challenge Argentina’s murderous 1976-83 dictatorship. His own record as the head of the Jesuit order in Argentina at the time has been tarnished as well.

Many Argentines remain angry over the church’s acknowledged failure to openly confront a regime that was kidnapping and killing thousands of people as it sought to eliminate “subversive elements” in society. It’s one reason why more than two-thirds of Argentines describe themselves as Catholic, but fewer than 10 percent regularly attend mass.

Under Bergoglio’s leadership, Argentina’s bishops issued a collective apology in October 2012 for the church’s failures to protect its flock. But the statement blamed the era’s violence in roughly equal measure on both the junta and its enemies.

“Bergoglio has been very critical of human rights violations during the dictatorship, but he has always also criticized the leftist guerrillas; he doesn’t forget that side,” Rubin said.

Bergoglio’s own role in the so-called Dirty War has been the subject of controversy.

At least two court cases directly involved Bergoglio. One examined the torture of two of his Jesuit priests who were kidnapped in 1976 from the slums where they advocated liberation theology. One accused Bergoglio of effectively handing him over to the junta.

Both men were freed after Bergoglio took extraordinary, behind-the-scenes action to save them — including persuading dictator Jorge Videla’s family priest to call in sick so that Bergoglio himself could say Mass in the junta leader’s home, where he privately appealed for mercy. His intervention likely saved their lives, but Bergoglio never shared the details until Rubin interviewed him for a 2010 biography.

Rubin said failing to challenge the dictators was simply pragmatic at a time when so many people were getting killed, and attributed Bergoglio’s later reluctance to share his side of the story as a reflection of his humility.

Bergoglio also was accused of turning his back on a family that lost five relatives to state terror, including a young woman who was 5-months’ pregnant before she was kidnapped and eventually killed in 1977. The woman’s child, who survived, was given to an “important” family.

Despite written evidence indicating he knew the child had been given away, Bergoglio testified in 2010 that he didn’t know about any stolen babies until well after the dictatorship was over.

Unlike the confusion that reigned during the 2005 conclave, the smoke this time around has been clear: black during the first two rounds of burned ballots, and then a clear white on Wednesday night — thanks to special smoke flares akin to those used in soccer matches or protests that were lit in the chapel ovens.

The Vatican on Wednesday divulged the secret recipe used: potassium perchlorate, anthracene, which is a derivative of coal tar, and sulfur for the black smoke; potassium chlorate, lactose and a pine resin for the white smoke.

The chemicals are contained in five units of a cartridge that is placed inside the stove of the Sistine Chapel. When activated, the five blocks ignite one after another for about a minute apiece, creating the steady stream of smoke that accompanies the natural smoke from the burned ballot papers.

Despite the great plumes of smoke that poured out of the chimney, Lombardi said, neither the Sistine frescoes nor the cardinals inside the chapel suffered any smoke damage.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Bill of Rights

The people made the Constitution, and the people can unmake it.
It is the creature of their will, and lives only by their will.

Chief Justice John Marshall, 1821

Although most of the Framers of the Constitution anticipated that the Federal judiciary would be the weakest branch of Government, the U.S. Supreme Court has come to wield enormous power with decisions that have reached into the lives of every citizen and resolved some of the most dramatic confrontations in U.S. history. The word of the Supreme Court is final. Overturning its decisions often requires an amendment to the Constitution or a revision of Federal law.

The power of the Supreme Court has evolved over time, through a series of milestone court cases. One of the Court’s most fundamental powers is judicial review–the power to judge the constitutionality of any act or law of the executive or legislative branch. Some of the Framers expected the Supreme Court to take on the role of determining the constitutionality of Congress’s laws, but the Constitution did not explicitly assign it to the Court. Marbury v. Madison, the 1803 landmark Supreme Court case, established the power of judicial review. From the modest claim of William Marbury, who sought a low-paying appointment as a District of Columbia Justice of the Peace, emerged a Supreme Court decision that established one of the cornerstones of the American constitutional system.

 

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.


Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.


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.


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.


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 offence 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.


Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.


Amendment VII

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.


Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.


Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.


Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.


AMENDMENT XI

Passed by Congress March 4, 1794. Ratified February 7, 1795.

Note: Article III, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by amendment 11.

The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.


AMENDMENT XII

Passed by Congress December 9, 1803. Ratified June 15, 1804.

Note: A portion of Article II, section 1 of the Constitution was superseded by the 12th amendment.

The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate; — the President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted; — The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. [And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President. –]* The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.

*Superseded by section 3 of the 20th amendment.


AMENDMENT XIII

Passed by Congress January 31, 1865. Ratified December 6, 1865.

Note: A portion of Article IV, section 2, of the Constitution was superseded by the 13th amendment.

Section 1.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


AMENDMENT XIV

Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868.

Note: Article I, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by section 2 of the 14th amendment.

Section 1.
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Section 2.
Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age,* and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

Section 3.
No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.

Section 4.
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.

Section 5.
The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

*Changed by section 1 of the 26th amendment.


AMENDMENT XV

Passed by Congress February 26, 1869. Ratified February 3, 1870.

Section 1.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude–

Section 2.
The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


AMENDMENT XVI

Passed by Congress July 2, 1909. Ratified February 3, 1913.

Note: Article I, section 9, of the Constitution was modified by amendment 16.

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.


AMENDMENT XVII

Passed by Congress May 13, 1912. Ratified April 8, 1913.

Note: Article I, section 3, of the Constitution was modified by the 17th amendment.

The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote. The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the State legislatures.

When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.

This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part of the Constitution.


AMENDMENT XVIII

Passed by Congress December 18, 1917. Ratified January 16, 1919. Repealed by amendment 21.

Section 1.
After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

Section 2.
The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Section 3.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.


AMENDMENT XIX

Passed by Congress June 4, 1919. Ratified August 18, 1920.

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


AMENDMENT XX

Passed by Congress March 2, 1932. Ratified January 23, 1933.

Note: Article I, section 4, of the Constitution was modified by section 2 of this amendment. In addition, a portion of the 12th amendment was superseded by section 3.

Section 1.
The terms of the President and the Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3rd day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.

Section 2.
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day of January, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.

Section 3.
If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

Section 4.
The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.

Section 5.
Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day of October following the ratification of this article.

Section 6.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission.


AMENDMENT XXI

Passed by Congress February 20, 1933. Ratified December 5, 1933.

Section 1.
The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Section 2.
The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or Possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

Section 3.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.


AMENDMENT XXII

Passed by Congress March 21, 1947. Ratified February 27, 1951.

Section 1.
No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of President more than once. But this Article shall not apply to any person holding the office of President when this Article was proposed by Congress, and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office of President, or acting as President, during the term within which this Article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder of such term.

Section 2.
This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of three-fourths of the several States within seven years from the date of its submission to the States by the Congress.


AMENDMENT XXIII

Passed by Congress June 16, 1960. Ratified March 29, 1961.

Section 1.
The District constituting the seat of Government of the United States shall appoint in such manner as Congress may direct:

A number of electors of President and Vice President equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled if it were a State, but in no event more than the least populous State; they shall be in addition to those appointed by the States, but they shall be considered, for the purposes of the election of President and Vice President, to be electors appointed by a State; and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment.

Section 2.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


AMENDMENT XXIV

Passed by Congress August 27, 1962. Ratified January 23, 1964.

Section 1.
The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay poll tax or other tax.

Section 2.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


AMENDMENT XXV

Passed by Congress July 6, 1965. Ratified February 10, 1967.

Note: Article II, section 1, of the Constitution was affected by the 25th amendment.

Section 1.
In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.

Section 2.
Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.

Section 3.
Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.

Section 4.
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.


AMENDMENT XXVI

Passed by Congress March 23, 1971. Ratified July 1, 1971.

Note: Amendment 14, section 2, of the Constitution was modified by section 1 of the 26th amendment.

Section 1.
The right of citizens of the United States, who are eighteen years of age or older, to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age.

Section 2.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.


AMENDMENT XXVII

Originally proposed Sept. 25, 1789. Ratified May 7, 1992.

No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened.

Mary Edwards Walker – Medal of Honor

Mary Edwards Walker served as an assistant surgeon in Kentucky and Tennessee for the Union. She was also the only woman ever awarded the Medal of Honor.

Citation: Whereas it appears from official reports that Dr. Mary E. Walker, a graduate of medicine, “has rendered valuable service to the Government. and her efforts have been earnest and llntirin~ in a variety of ways,” and that she was assigned to duty and served as an assistant surgeon in charge of female prisoners at Louisville, Ky., upon the recommendation of Major_Generals Sherman and Thomas, and faithfully served as contract surgeon in the service of the United States, and has devoted herself with much patriotic zeal to the sick and wounded soldiers, both in the field and hospitals, to the detriment of her own health, and has also endured hardships as a prisoner of war four months in a Southern prison while acting as contract surgeon; and

Whereas by reason of her not being a commissioned officer in the military service, a brevet or honorary rank cannot, under existing laws, be conferred upon her; and

Whereas in the opinion of the President an honorable recognition of her services and sufferings should be made:

It is ordered, That a testimonial thereof shall be hereby made and given to the said Dr. Mary E. Walker, and that the usual medal of honor for meritorious services be given her.

Given under my hand in the city of Washington, D.C., this 11th day of November, A.D. 1865.

(Medal rescinded 1917 along with 910 others, restored by President Carter 10 June 1977.)

Robert E. Lee (1807-1870)

“With all my devotion to the Union and the feeling of loyalty and duty of an American citizen, I have not been able to make up my mind to raise my hand against my relatives, my children, my home. I have therefore resigned my commission in the Army, and save in defense of my native State, with the sincere hope that my poor services may never be needed, I hope I may never be called on to draw my sword…..” Lee in a letter to his sister, April 20, 1861

The idol of the South to this day, Virginian Robert E. Lee had some difficulty in adjusting to the new form of warfare that unfolded with the Civil war, but this did not prevent him from keeping the Union armies in Virginia at bay for almost three years. The son of Revolutionary War hero “Light Horse” Harry Lee-who fell into disrepute in his later years attended West Point and graduated second in his class. During his four years at the military academy he did not earn a single demerit and served as the cadet corps’ adjutant. Upon his 1829 graduation he was posted to the engineers. Before the Mexican War he served on engineering projects in Georgia, Virginia, and New York. During the war he served on the staffs of John Wool and Winfield Scott. Particularly distinguishing himself scouting for and guiding troops, he won three brevets and was slightly wounded at Chapultepec.
Following a stint in Baltimore Harbor he became superintendent of the military academy in 1852. When the mounted arm was expanded in 1855, Lee accepted the lieutenant colonelcy of the 2nd Cavalry in order to escape from the painfully slow promotion in the engineers. Ordered to western Texas, he served with his regiment until the 1857 death of his father-in-law forced him to ask for a series of leaves to settle the estate.
In 1859 he was called upon to lead a force of marines, to join with the militia on the scene, to put an end to John Brown’s Harper’s Ferry Raid. Thereafter he served again in Texas until summoned to Washington in 1861 by Winfield Scott who tried to retain Lee in the U. S. service. But the Virginian rejected the command of the Union’s field forces on the day after Virginia seceded. He then accepted an invitation to visit Governor John Letcher in Virginia. His resignation as colonel, 1st Cavalry-to which he had recently been promoted-was accepted on April 25, 1861.
His Southern assignments included: major general, Virginia’s land and naval forces (April 23, 1861); commanding Virginia forces (April 23 July 1861); brigadier general, CSA (May 14, 186 1); general, CSA (from June 14, 186 1); commanding Department of Northwestern Virginia (late July-October 1861); commanding Department of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida (November 8, 186 1-March 3, 1862); and commanding Army of Northern Virginia June 1, 1862-April 9, 1865).
In charge of Virginia’s fledgling military might, he was mainly involved in organizational matters. As a Confederate brigadier general, and later full general, he was in charge of supervising all Southern forces in Virginia. In the first summer of the war he was given his first field command in western Virginia. His Cheat Mountain Campaign was a disappointing fizzle largely due to the failings of his superiors. His entire tenure in the region was unpleasant, dealing with the bickering of his subordinates-William W. Loring, John B. Floyd, and Henry A. Wise. After this he became known throughout the South as “Granny Lee. ” His debut in field command had not been promising, but Jefferson Davis appointed him to command along the Southern Coast.
Early in 1862 he was recalled to Richmond and made an advisor to the president. From this position he had some influence over military operations, especially those of Stonewall Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley. When Joseph E. Johnston launched his attack at Seven Pines, Davis and Lee were taken by surprise and rode out to the field. In the confusion of the fight Johnston was badly wounded, and that night Davis instructed Lee to take command of what he renamed the Army of Northern Virginia. He fought the second day of the battle but the initiative had already been lost the previous day. Later in the month, in a daring move, he left a small force in front of Richmond and crossed the Chickahominy to strike the one Union corps north of the river. In what was to be called the Seven Days Battles the individual fights-Beaver Dam Creek, Gaines’ Mill, Savage Station, Glendale, White Oak Swamp, and Malvern Hill-were all tactical defeats for the Confederates. But Lee had achieved the strategic goal of removing McClellan’s army from the very gates of Richmond.
This created a new opinion of Lee in the South. He gradually became “Uncle Robert” and “Marse Robert.” With McClellan neutralized, a new threat developed under John Pope in northern Virginia. At first Lee detached Jackson and then followed with Longstreet’s command. Winning at 2nd Bull Run, he moved on into Maryland but suffered the misfortune of having a copy of his orders detailing the disposition of his divided forces fall into the hands of the enemy. McClellan moved with unusual speed and Lee was forced to fight a delaying action along South Mountain while waiting for Jackson to complete the capture of Harpers Ferry and rejoin him. He masterfully fought McClellan to a stand still at Antietam and two days later recrossed the Potomac.
Near the end of the year he won an easy victory over Burnside at Fredericksburg and then trounced Hooker in his most creditable victory at Chancellorsville, where he had detached Jackson with most of the army on a lengthy flank march while he remained with only two divisions in the immediate front of the Union army. Launching his second invasion of the North, he lost at Gettysburg. On the third day of the battle he displayed one of his major faults when at Malvern Hill and on other fields-he ordered a massed infantry assault across a wide plain, not recognizing that the rifle, which had come into use since the Mexican War, put the charging troops under fire for too long a period. Another problem was his issuance of general orders to be executed by his subordinates.
Returning to Virginia he commanded in the inconclusive Bristoe and Mine Run campaigns. From the Wilderness to Petersburg he fought a retiring campaign against Grant in which he made full use of entrenchments, becoming known as “Ace of Spades” Lee. Finally forced into a siege, he held on to Richmond and Petersburg for nearly 10 months before beginning his retreat to Appomattox, where he was forced to surrender. On January 23, 1865, he had been named as commander in chief of the Confederate armies but he found himself too burdened in Virginia to give more than general directives to the other theaters.
Lee returned to Richmond as a paroled prisoner of war, and submitted with the utmost composure to an altered destiny. He devoted the rest of his life to setting an example of conduct for other thousands of ex-Confederates. He refused a number of offers which would have secured substantial means for his family. Instead, he assumed the presidency of Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) in Lexington, Virginia, and his reputation revitalized the school after the war. Lee’s enormous wartime prestige, both in the North and South, and the devotion inspired by his unconscious symbolism of the “Lost Cause” made his a legendary figure even before his death. He died on October 12 1870, of heart disease which had plagued him since the spring of 1863, at Lexington, Va. and is buried there. Somehow, his application for restoration of citizenship was mislaid, and it was not until the 1970’s that it was found and granted.
Source: “Who Was Who In The Civil War” by Stewart Sifakis