Abbildungen der Seite

(1) that the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it; (2) that no bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed; (3) that no capitation or other direct tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the census or enumeration therein before directed to be taken; (4) that no tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any State; (5) that no preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue to the ports of one State over those of another; nor shall vessels bound to or from one State be obliged to enter, clear, or pay duties in another; (6) that no money shall be drawn from the treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law; and a regular statement and account of the receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published from time to time; (7) that no title of nobility shall be granted by the United States; and no person holding any office of profit or trust under them shall, without the consent of congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.48

Article I also contains a number of express limitations on the power of the States. Thus it provides that no State shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation; grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin money; emit bills of credit; make anything but gold or silver coin a tender in payment of debts; pass any bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts; grant any title of nobility; lay, without the consent of congress, any imposts or duties on imports or exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing its inspection laws, etc.; or lay any duty on tonnage, keep troops or ships of war in time of peace, enter into an agreement or compact with another State or with a foreign power, or engage in war unless actually invaded or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay."

Article II of the federal constitution relates to the executive branch of the government, vests the executive power in the president, provides for the election of president and vice-president, and prescribes their qualifications, tenure, functions, powers, etc. It gives the president power, inter alia, by and with the advice and consent of the senate, to make treaties, to appoint various federal officers, etc.

Article III relates to the judicial power and vests the same in the supreme court of the United States and in such inferior courts as congress may from time to time ordain and establish; and congress, in pursuance of the power conferred upon it, has created

48. U. S. Const. art. 1, § 9.

49. U. S. Const. art. 1, § 10.

various inferior federal courts - the court of claims, the circuit courts of appeal and the circuit and district courts. It is provided by this article that the judicial power of the United States shall extend (1) to all cases, in law and equity, arising under the constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made under their authority; (2) to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls; (3) to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction; (4) to controversies to which the United States shall be a party; (5) to controversies between two or more States; (6) between a State and citizens of another State; (7) between citizens of different States; (8) between citizens of the same State claiming lands under grants of different States; and (9) between a State, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens, or subjects. And trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, must be by jury, and must be held in the State where the crimes are committed, or, when not committed within any State, at such place as congress may direct by law.50 By this article, also, treason against the United States is defined as consisting "only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort," no person to be convicted thereof, however, unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

Article IV declares, inter alia, (1) that full faith and credit shall be given in each State to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other State; (2) that the citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States; and (3), in substance, that fugitives from the justice of one State, who shall be found in another, shall be delivered up by the latter on demand of the former; (4) as to the admission of new States into the Union; (5) that congress shall have power to dispose of and make rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States; and (6) that the United States shall guarantee to every State in the Union a republican form of government, and protect each of them against invasion, and, on its application, against domestic violence.

Article V provides the mode for proposing and adopting amendments to the constitution. Article VI adopts debts contracted and engagements entered into before adoption of the constitution; declares that the constitution and the laws of the United States made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the

50. U. S. Const. art. 3, § 2.


land, and that the judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding"; and also requires that United States senators and representatives, members of the 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 declares that no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States. And article VII, the last article, provided for ratification of the constitution by the States and its establishment thereby.

This constitution was ratified and adopted by the States and went into effect March 4, 1789. Since that date fifteen articles have been added by amendments proposed by congress and adopted by the States as provided by article V. The first ten amendments were proposed in 1789 and finally adopted in 1791; the eleventh was adopted in 1798; the twelfth in 1804; the thirteenth in 1865; the fourteenth in 1868, and the fifteenth in 1870. These amendments are as follows:

Article I declares that 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 redress of grievances.

Article II declares that, 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.

Article III declares that 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.

Article IV declares that 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 except upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.

Article V declares in substance (1) that 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 and public danger; (2) that no person shall be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; or (3) be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself; or (4) be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; and (5) that

private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation.

Article VI declares that 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 defense.

Article VII declares that 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 reëxamined in any court of the United States than according to the rules of the common law.

Article VIII declares that excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.

Article IX declares that the enumeration in the constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Article X declares that 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.

In this connection the attention of the student is called to the fact that it has been settled by the decisions of the supreme court. of the United States that the first ten amendments of the constitution, to which we have just referred, were not intended to and do not limit the powers of the States, in respect to their own people, but operate on the national government only. Some of these provisions, however, or similar ones are found in most of the State constitutions.

Article XI declares that 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.

Article XII provides for the meeting of the electors and the proceedings in the election of president and vice-president of the United States.

Article XIII declares that 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 in any place subject to their jurisdiction; and congress is given the power to enforce the article by appropriate legislation.

Article XIV provides, in section 1, that 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; and that 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, or deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. Section 2 provides for the apportionment of representatives in congress among the several States according to population, and for reduction of the basis of representation if the right of citizens in any State to vote is denied or abridged. Section 3 relates to disqualification to hold federal office of persons who, as federal or State officers, having taken an oath to support the constitution of the United States, engage in insurrection or rebellion against the same, etc. Section 4 prohibits the questioning 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, and declares that 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, etc. Section 5 gives congress power to enforce the article by appropriate legislation.

Article XV, the last amendment, declares that the right of the 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; and congress is given power to enforce the article by appropriate legislation.


The construction and effect of this constitution will be taken up later and fully considered in the course on Constitutional Law." It is sufficient for present purposes to call attention to the fact that it is the source of all the powers of the federal government and its several departments, including congress; and it also contains, as we have seen, certain limitations on the pow ers of the State legislatures. It is "the supreme law of the land." In its construction the decisions of the supreme court of the United States are binding on the State courts, anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding. The United States congress can pass, not such laws as are not prohibited, but such laws only as are authorized, by the constitution. The State legislatures can pass no law which is expressly or impliedly prohibited by the federal constitution. To illustrate: Congress cannot enact a law governing the subject of divorce or insurance in the States, because no such power is conferred

« ZurückWeiter »