94th Congress COMMITTEE PRINT
2d Session I
INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS UNDER THE
CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED
STATES OF AMERICA
PREPARED BY THE
SUBCOMMITTEE ON CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
UNITED STATES SENATE
Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary
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COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
JAMES 0. EASTLAND, Mississippi, Chairman
JOHN L. McCLELLAN, Arkansas
PHILIP A. HART, Michigan
EDWARD M. KENNEDY, Massachusetts
BIRCH BAYH, Indiana
QUENTIN N. BURDICK, North Dakota
ROBERT C. BYRD, West Virginia
JOHN V. TUNNEY. California
JAMES ABOUREZK, South Dakota
ROMAN L. HRUSKA, Nebraska
HIRAM L. FONG, Hawaii
HUGH SCOTT, Pennsylvania
STROM THURMOND, South Carolina
CHARLES McC. MATHIAS, JR., Maryland
WILLIAM L. SCOTT, Virginia
SUBCOMMITTEE ON CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS
JOHN V. TUNNEY, California, Chairman
JOHN L. McCLELLAN, Arkansas
EDWARD M. KENNEDY, Massachusetts
BIRCH BAYH, Indiana
PHILIP A. HART, Michigan
JAMES ABOUREZK, South Dakota
HUGH SCOTT, Pennsylvania
ROMAN L. HRUSKA, Nebraska
HIRAM L. FONG, Hawaii
STROM THURMOND, South Carolina
JAN L. FRANx, Chief Counsel and Staff DireCtor
ROBERT A. MALsov, Counsel and Editor
MARK E. KALMANSOHN, Legal Intern
KARL PILGER, Legal ntern
GEORGE DowNs, Sr., Printing Clerk
First Edition Published 1961
Second Edition Published 1966
Third Edition Published 1972
Fourth Edition Published 1973
Fifth Edition Published 1976
CITIZEN'S GUIDE TO INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS UNDER THE
CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The "Citizen's Guide to Individual Rights Under the Constitution
of the United States of America" was first written in 1961 and entitled
"Layman's Guide to Constitutional Rights." The guide was prepared
in response to myriad requests to define simply and clearly the con-
stitutional rights of American citizens.
The 1961 edition was an outstanding success and was used by
teachers and students throughout the Nation in courses in civics and
government. It was also reprinted in newspapers and magazines and
used as source material for groups and organizations studying Amer-
ican government. This printing marks the fifth edition of the series
of publications and represents a continuing effort to incorporate
developments in the law subsequent to the earlier editions.
This guide does not purport to be a comprehensive treatise on con-
stitutional law nor should it be considered an exhaustive analysis of
constitutional controversies. Rather, it attempts to provide the citizen
with a brief explanation of the fundamental interpretations and appli-
cations of individual rights protected by the Constitution.
The Subcommittee gratefully acknowledges the valuable assistance
of Johnny H. Killian, Assistant Chief, American Law Division of
the Library of Congress for his precise legal research and sound
Senator Sam Ervin, one of the most respected constitutional scholars
of our times and the former Chairman of the Constitutional Rights
Subcommittee, considered the American Constitution "the finest docu-
ment, ever wrought by the mind of man." It is with the hope that we
can impart to all Americans a better understanding of the basic rights
secured by our "finest document" that we issue this guide.
JOHN V. TuN NEYY
Chairman, Subcommittee on Constitutiofwwl Rights.
Digitized by the Internet Archive
Preface by U.S. Senator John V. Tunney, Chairman, Senate Judiciary Page
Subcommittee on Constitutional Rights---------------------------- in
Introduction ------------------------------------------------------ 1
Individual Rights in the Constitution as Originally Adopted------------ 4
Article I, section 9, clause 2: Habeas Corpus----------------------- 4
Article I, section 9, clause 3: Bill of Attainder---------------------- 4
Article I, section 9, clause 3: Ex Post Facto Laws----------------- 5
Article III: The Judicial System--------------------------------- 5
Article III, section 3: Treason----------------------------------- 5
Article VI, clause 3: Religious Tests------------------------------ 6
The Bill of Rights
Freedom of Religion--------------------------------------- 6
Freedom of Speech---------------------------------------- 7
Freedom of the Press-------------------------------------- 9
Freedom of Assembly and Petition--------------------------- 10
Amendment II: The Right to Keep and Bear Arms----------------- 10
Amendment III: Quartering of Soldiers--------------------------- 11
Amendment IV: Search and Seizure------------------------------ 11
Grand Jury----------------------------------------------- 13
Double Jeopardy------------------------------------------ 13
Self-incrimination ------------------------------------------ 13
Due Process---------------------------------------------- 14
Just Compensation--------------------------------------- 15
Amendment VI: Criminal Trials--------------------------------- 15
Amendment VII: Civil Trials----------------------------------- 17
Cruel and Unusual Punishment----------------------------- 17
Amendment IX: Retained Rights------------------------------- 18
Amendment X: Reserved Powers-------------------------------- 18
Later Amendments Dealing With Individual Rights------------------- 18
Amendment XIII: Slavery and Involuntary Servitude------------- 18
Citizenship ----------------------------------------------- 19
Privileges and Immunities---------------------------------- 19
Due Process of Law-------------------------------------- 19
Equal Protection of the Laws------------------------------- 20
Amendment XV: The Right to Vote-Race.----------------------- 22
Amendment XIX: The Right to Vote-Sex----------------------- 22
Amendment XXIV: Poll Taxes--------------------------------- 23
Amendment XXVI: The Right to Vote-Age---------------------- 23
Amendment XXVII (Proposed): Equal Rights--------------------- 23
Conclusion ----------------------------------------------------- 25
Historical Note------------------------------------------------- 25
Appendix: Constitution of the United States -------------------------- 27
CITIZEN'S GUIDE TO INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS UNDER THE
CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The Constitution of 1789 has served as the fundamental instrument
of our government for almost all of our country's history as an inde-
pendent nation. Drawn up at a time when there were only thirteen
States, dotted with small towns, farms, and light industry, the Con-
stitution has proved a durable and viable instrument of government
despite enormous changes in America's political, social, and economic
environment. Whether in a weak country on the Atlantic seaboard,
or in a continental nation of fifty States with over 200 million people
producing goods and providing services at rates thousands of times
faster than in 1789, the framework for democratic government set
out in the Constitution has remained workable and progressive.
Similarly, the individual rights listed in the Constitution have also
retained an extraordinary vitality despite their application to prob-
lems and fact situations which could not have been envisioned by the
Founding Fathers. It is the purpose of this guide to explain how
these basic rights have been applied and to demonstrate how vital they
remain in our day-to-day lives.
Each branch of the government-the legislative, judicial, and
executive-is charged by the Constitution with the protection of
individual liberties. In this framework, the judiciary has assumed a
leading role. Chief Justice John Marshall, speaking for the Supreme
Court in the early case of larbury v. MlLadison (1803), declared that
it was the duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, including
expounding and interpreting that law. The law contained in the
Constitution, he declared, was paramount and other laws which were
repugnant to its provisions must fall. He concluded that it was the
province of the courts to decide when other law was in violation of
the basic law of the Constitution and, where this was found to occur,
to declare that law null and void. This is the doctrine known as
"judicial review" which has become the basis for the courts' appli-
cation of constitutional guarantees in cases brought before them.
The Congress also has played an important role in the protection
of constitutional rights by enacting legislation designed to guarantee
and apply these rights in specific contexts. Laws which guarantee the
rights of Indians, afford due process to military servicemen, and give
effective right to counsel to poor defendants and to the poor in a wide
variety of civil cases. are but recent examples of the congressional role.
Finally, the executive branch, which is charged with implementing
the laws enacted by Congress, also contributes to the protection of
individual rights by devising its own regulations and procedures
for administering the law without intruding upon constitutional
Before anyone can properly understand the scope of our constitu-
tional rights, he must realize that as a function of our federal system,
we Americans live under two governments rather than one-that of the
Federal Government itself and that of the State in which we live. The
authority of the Federal Government is limited by the Constitution
to those powers specified in it; the remainder of governmental powers
are reserved to the States. The Federal Government. is 'authorized, for
example, to settle disputes between States, to conduct relations with
foreign governments, and to act in certain matters of common national
concern. States, on the other hand, retain the remainder of govern-
mental power to be exercised within their respective boundaries.
Only a few individual rights were specified in the 'Constitution when
it was ratified in 1788. Shortly after its adoption, -however, ten
Amendments-called the Bill of Rights-were added to the Constitu-
tion to guarantee basic individual liberties. These liberties include
freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion, and freedom
to assemble and petition the Government.
The guarantees of the Bill of Rights originally applied only to
actions of the Federal Government and did not prevent State and local
governments from taking action which might threaten an individual's
civil liberty. As a practical matter, States had their own constitutions,
some of which contained their own bills of rights guaranteeing the
same or similar rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights against Federal
intrusion. These rights, however, were not guaranteed by all the
States; and where they did exist, they were subject to varying inter-
pretations. In short, citizens were protected only to the extent that
the States themselves recognized their basic rights.
In 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment was added to the Constitution.
In part, it provides that no State shall "deprive any person of life,
liberty, or property without due process of law." It was not until 1925
in the case of Gitlow v. New York, that the Supreme Court interpreted
the phrase "due process of law" to mean in effect "without abridge-
ment of certain of the rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights." Since
that decision, the Supreme Court has ruled that a denial by a State
of certain of the rights contained in the Bill of Rights actually repre-
sents a denial of due process of law. While the Court has not ruled
that all rights in the Bill of Rights are contained in the notion of
"due process," neither has it limited that notion to the rights enumer-
ated in the Bill of Rights. It simply has found that there are concepts
in the Bill of Rights so basic to a democratic society that they must
be recognized as part of "due process of law" 'and made applicable to
the States as well as the Federal Government.
At present, the following guarantees of the Bill of Rights have been
applied to the States under the terms of the Fourteenth Amendment:
Amendments I, IV, and VI; the self-incrimination, double. jeopardy,
and just compensation clauses of Amendment V; and the guarantee
against cruel and unusual punishment of Amendment VIII. Only
Amendments II and III, the right to indictment by grand jury in
Amendment V, the right to jury trial in a civil suit in Amendment VII,
and the prohibition against excessive bail or fines in Amendment VIII
have not yet been applied to the States.
To place these rights in a broader perspective, one should realize that
they make up only the core of what are considered to be our civil
rights-those privileges and freedoms that are accorded all Americans
by virtue of their citizenship. There are many other "civil" rights
which are not specifically mentioned in the Constitution but which
nonetheless have been recognized by the courts, guaranteed by statute,
and now are embedded in our democratic traditions. The right to buy,
sell, own, and bequeath property; the right to enter into contracts;
the right to marry and have children; the right to live and work
where one desires; and the right to participate in the political, social,
and cultural processes of the society in which one lives are a few of
those rights that are considered as fundamental to a democratic society
as those specified by the Constitution.
Despite the inherent nature of the rights of American citizenship, it
should be emphasized that the rights guaranteed by the Constitution
or otherwise are not absolute rights in the sense that they entitle a
citizen to act in any way he pleases. Rather, he must exercise his rights
in such a way that the rights of others are not denied in the process.
Thus, as Mr. Justice Holmes has pointed out, "Protection of free
speech would not protect a man falsely shouting 'Fire' in a theater
and causing a panic." Nor does freedom of speech and press sanction
the publication of libel and obscenity. Similarly, rights of free speech
and free assembly do not permit one knowingly to engage in con-
spiracies to overthrow by force the Government of the United States.
It is clear, then, that civil liberties carry with them an obligation
on the part of all Americans to exercise their rights within a frame-
work of law and mutual respect for the rights of one's fellow citizens.
This obligation implies not only a restraint on the part of those
exercising these rights but a tolerance on the part of those who are
affected. Citizens may on occasion be subjected to annoying political
tirades, or strange dress, or disagreeable entertainment, or noisy
demonstrations of protest. They may feel annoyed when a defendant
refuses to testify or when they see a seemingly guilty defendant
go free because certain evidence was inadmissible in court. But these
annoyances or inconveniences are a small price to pay for the freedom
we all enjoy. For, indeed, if the rights of one are suppressed, the
freedom of all is jeopardized.
Ultimately, a free society is a dynamic society, where thoughts and
ideas are forever challenging and being challenged. It is not without
the risk that the "wrong" voice will be listened to or the, "wrong" plan
pursued. But., in the final analysis, a free interplay of ideas in a society
produces both a clearer perception and livelier impression of truth.
75-124 0 76 2
INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS IN THE CONSTITUTION AS
ARTICLE I, SECTION 9, CLAUSE 2
The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended,
unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may
This clause secures to the Congress the power to suspend, or to
authorize the President to suspend, the privilege of the writ upon a
declaration of national emergency. A suspension of habeas corpus
is probably tenable only when the courts are physically unable to
function because of war, invasion, or rebellion.
Originally, the writ of habeas corpus was a pretrial device that
enabled a person imprisoned pursuant to executive order to attack
the legality of his detention. Subsequently, the concept of the writ
has been expanded by the Court so that anyone whose freedom has
been officially restrained may now petition a Federal court to test
whether that restraint was legally imposed. In this manner of use,
it has become an important means of postconviction attacks upon
criminal convictions in State and Federal courts. The Court has re-
cently curtailed the availability of this device in State convictions by
requiring full compliance with and exhaustion of State remedies be-
fore permitting the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus from a Federal
Habeas corpus being a vital safeguard against unlawful imprison-
ment, it is unusual that it is explicitly mentioned only in the context
of its suspension; nowhere in the Constitution is this right affirmatively
conferred. Nevertheless, there is a long-standing statutory authoriza-
tion to Federal courts to exercise the habeas corpus power.
ARTICLE I, SECTION 9, CLAUSE 3
No Bill of Attainder * shall be passed [by the Federal
ARTICLE I, SECTION 10, CLAUSE 1
No State shall ** pass any Bill of Attainder***
BILL OF ATTAINDER
A bill of attainder historically is a special act of a legislature which
declares that a person or group of persons has committed a crime and
which imposes punishment without a trial by court. Under our system
of separation of powers, only courts may try a person for a crime or
impose punishment for violation of the law.
Section 9 restrains Congress from passing bills of attainder, and
section 10 restrains the States.
ARTICLE I, SECTION 9, CLAUSE 3
No * ex post facto law shall be passed [by the Federal
ARTICLE I, SECTION 10, CLAUSE 1
No State shall * pass any * ex post facto law.* *
EX POST FACTO LAWS
These. two clauses prohibit the States and the Federal Government
from enacting any criminal or penal law which makes unlawful any
act which was not a crime when it was committed. They also prevent
the imposition of a greater penalty for a crime than that in effect
when the crime was committed. However, laws which retroactively
determine how a person is to be tried for a crime may be changed so
long as no important rights are lost. Laws are not ex post facto if
they make the punishment. less severe than it was when the crime
THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM
Article III of the Constitution outlines the structure and power of
our Federal court system and establishes a Federal judiciary which
helps maintain the rights of American citizens. Article III, section 2,
also contains a guarantee that the trial of all Federal crimes, except
cases of impeachment, shall be by jury. The Supreme Court has inter-
preted this guarantee as containing exceptions for "trials of petty
offenses," cases rightfully tried before court-martial or other military
tribunal, and some cases in which the defendant has voluntarily relin-
quished his right to a jury.
This section 'also requires that a Federal criminal trial be held in a
Federal court sitting in the 'State where the crime was committed.
Thus, a person is given protection against being tried without his
consent in a place. distant from where his alleged violation of Federal
ARTICLE III, SECTION 3
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War
against them, or, in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and
Comfort. No person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testi-
mony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open
The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason,
but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture
except during the Life of the Person attainted.
Treason is the only crime defined by the Constitution. The precise
description of this offense reflects an awareness by our forefathers of
the danger that persons holding unpopular views might be branded as
traitors. Recent experience in other countries with prosecutions for
conduct loosely labeled as "treason" confirms the wisdom of the
authors of the Constitution in expressly stating what constitutes this
crime and how it shall be proved.
ARTICLE VI, CLAUSE 3
*** [N] o religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any
Office or public Trust under the United States.
Together with the First Amendment, this guarantee expresses the
principle that church and government are to remain separate, and that
a person's religious beliefs are no indication of his patriotism, or his
ability and right to serve his country. Thus, a citizen need not fear
that his religious affiliation or convictions may legally bar him from
holding office in our country.
THE BILL OF RIGHTS
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.
FREEDOM OF RELIGION
Two express guarantees are given to the individual with respect to
his religious freedom. First, neither Congress nor a State legislature
may "make any law respecting an establishment of religion." This
means that no law may be passed that favors one church over another,
establishes an official church to which all Americans must subscribe or
support, or requires religious belief or religious nonbelief. Second, no
law may validly interfere with the "free exercise" of one's religion.
This clause assures that each citizen is guaranteed freedom to worship
by individual choice.
The Court's modern interpretation of the Establishment Clause has
supplied the notions of voluntarism and neutrality as constituting
the mortar of this "wall of separation between Church and State."
Governmental activity that has the purpose or primary effect of
advancing or inhibiting religion or that results in excessive govern-
mental entanglement with religion is proscribed. Moreover, the Estab-
lishment Clause guards against measures that would foster political
divisiveness on religious grounds in the general community.
While Court decisions in this area are not easily categorized, we
have learned that, pursuant to the notion of voluntarism, the Court has
been extremely reluctant to permit any governmental involvement
with private elementary and secondary schools: it has determined that
students there are more impressionable, and thus more liable to be
coerced than university level students.
The Establishment Clause, therefore, has been held to prohibit: (1)
mandatory religious exercises such as Bible readings, or even non-
denominational prayers, in the public elementary and secondary
schools; (2) promoting religious creeds through the manipulation
of curricula in State-supported schools; and (3) providing financial
support through such measures as grants, loans, and tax credits to
nonpublic elementary and secondary schools affiliated with religious
institutions, even for nonreligious courses of study or for the mainte-
nance of facilities. On the other hand, the clause has been held not to
prohibit: (1) providing a neutral service such as bus transportation
on an equal basis to children in both religious schools and public
schools; (2) loaning secular textbooks to children attending religious
schools; (3) making direct general grants to religious-affiliated colleges
and universities, depending en the "character" of the college and its
ability to separate secular and religious functions; and (4) releasing
public school students to attend a religious period of instruction at
sites off school premises. Furthermore, the Court has refused to hold
that the tax-exempt status accorded church property used exclusively
for worship purposes contravenes the Establishment Clause.
In interpreting the Free Exercise Clause, the Court has held that if
the purpose or effect of a statute is to impede the observance of
religion(s), or to discriminate invidiously among them, then the free
exercise of religion is abridged. Indeed, the Court has recently estab-
lished that only a compelling governmental interest can legitimize a
statute restrictive of the free exercise of religion.
In this regard, it is clear that -no statute can validly impinge upon
religious thoughts, that is, religious belief devoid of conduct. Moreover,
by applying the compelling interest test, the Court has assured that
forms of conduct based on religious belief are to receive increasing pro-
tection. Thus, when a Seventh-day Adventist was fired for refusing
to work on Saturdays (her holy day), the Court ruled that she was
fully entitled to unemployment benefits. Similarly, Amish parents
were held to be protected in their refusal to send their children
beyond the eighth grade to public schools, the State interest in re-
quiring the two years of additional mandatory schooling having failed
to outweigh the legitimate devotion of the Amish to their tenets.
These forms of conduct based upon religious belief have been held to
be protected by the Free Exercise Clause.
Nonetheless, all activity cannot be protected by claims of religious
belief. Religious conduct such as polygamy, snake handling, or
the ceremonial use of drugs is not protected by the Free Exercise
Clause, the Supreme Court having held that the strong societal
interests in safety and morality justify the prohibition of such conduct.
One of the most interesting problems posed in this area that the
Court will face in the future is the "double-barreled dilemma,"
when one religion clause "runs up" against the other. Can the State,
for example, make a special provision for one religion (an apparent
Establishment Clause violation) in order to protect the free exercise
of that religion? So far, the Court has not officially recognized this
conflict of clauses even though it has explicitly approved special
religious State exemptions to protect one's free exercise of religion.
FREEDOM OF SPEECH
Freedom of speech is explicitly established in the First Amendment.
While the English common law concept of freedom of speech meant
freedom from prior restraint only, the present American theory of
freedom of speech generally establishes both freedom from prior
restraint and freedom from subsequent punishment for the exercise of
these rights. Some justices, in fact, have suggested that freedom of
speech is absolute, but a majority of the Court always has maintained
that it must be balanced against other legitimate interests: in short,
the Court has attempted to preserve the greatest degree of expression
consistent with the protection of overriding and compelling govern-
Central to the concept of freedom of speech is the freedom of
individual belief. In recognition of this the Court has held that the
right to associate with those who hold beliefs compatible to one's own
in order to further those beliefs, whether in a political or social context,
must receive basic protection from the First Amendment. The State,
for example, may procure general membership lists of an organization
only where there is a substantial relation between the information
sought and a subject of compelling State interest.
The principal way of conveying one's beliefs is through actual
expression. Generally, a citizen may speak out freely on any subject.
He may exercise this right verbally, by parading, by wearing buttons,
by flying flags and banners, and in a variety of other ways. He may,
in short, advocate any idea he desires, no matter how unpopular or
alien. Even advocacy of the use of force or violation of law may be
punished only where it is directed to inciting or producing imminent
lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action. Abusive
or profane language also is protected unless it is directed to a specific
individual and tends to incite that person to violence.
Engaging in "symbolic speech", such as wearing black armbands or
using a flag in certain ways, receives similar First Amendment protec-
tion. On the other hand conduct such as burning draft cards may be
banned or punished. It is the nature of a particular activity, combined
with the factual context and environment in which it is undertaken,
that will determine whether it really is "symbolic speech" deserving
First Amendment protection. In this determination, the Court will
examine whether the conduct is effective enough to constitute "sym-
bolic speech"; is there an intention to communicate, is there an
audience, and is the symbolism capable of being understood by the
audience? The gravity of the State interest also must be weighed; is
the State trying to regulate content (requiring a compelling justifica-
tion)? Or is it merely attempting to regulate time, place, or manner of
speech? These factors will determine whether the activity is protected
"speech" or unprotected "conduct."
Parading or picketing in public places is generally protected, although
in locations such as military camps or courthouses, restraints may be
justified. Permit systems preceding the exercise of such rights are
permissible only when official discretion is narrowly bounded and
rapid review of denials is assured. Once expression is permitted in a
forum, the government may generally regulate only time, place, or
manner of that expression. Furthermore, there is an equalitarian
guarantee supporting such expression. The First Amendment requires
that the arbitrary exclusion of a person or a class of persons from
a public forum be subjected to the strictest of scrutiny.
Although at one time the Court required private property dedicated
to public use-such as shopping centers-to be treated as public and
thus open to expressive activity, it has since overruled these cases,
sharply reducing access to private property for purposes of First
Spending one's own money or contributed money to further one's
own candidacy for public office, or to promote one's political and
social views, is another protected activity. However, limitations upon
how much one may contribute to a candidate for office have been
sustained. The Court also has sustained governmental restraints upon
the political activities of public employees. Similarly, it has recog-
nized that in cases involving disruption of public business, the govern-
ment may restrict expression by its employees, though such limitations
are subject to careful judicial scrutiny.
Organized institutions, like individuals, are guaranteed freedom of
expression, not so much for their own benefit but for their contribution
to furthering a free interchange of ideas in our democratic society.
That a profit may be derived from, for example, managing a news-
paper, does not lessen the guarantee. Furthermore, this protection
extends not only to political expression, but to discourse on practically
any subject of some serious social value.
However, certain forms of expression-such as obscenity or hard-
core pornography-are deemed without "serious" social importance
and thus may go unprotected by the First Amendment. Because not
all expression dealing with sex is obscene, the Court has held that the
First Amendment must determine the procedural and substantive
law by which speech may be adjudged obscene. Only that expression
which, by the standards of the local community and taken as a whole,
appeals to a prurient interest in sex, portrays sexual conduct in a
patently offensive way, and does not have serious literary, artistic,
political, or scientific value, may be classified as obscene. Even where
there has been no official determination as to whether a particular
form of expression is actually obscene, ordinances restricting the
locations of theaters specializing in films exhibiting "specified sexual
activities" or "specified anatomical areas" are permissible. The
Court has justified this restriction of expression by claiming that the
State's interest in protecting "borderline pornography" is not so
great as its interest in planning the use of its property and preventing
the clustering of establishments merchandising pornography.
Generally, defamation is another class of expression that has been
deemed devoid of any serious social value. There is one basic exception
to this classification: because of the importance of comment upon
issues affecting government, the Court has carefully restrained State
remedies for allegedly defamatory speech in regard to public officials,
candidates for public office, and some public figures. In order to recover
damages for defamatory comment, public figures must prove that it
was uttered with actual malice. Practically all other citizens may
recover actual damages for defamatory falsehoods so long as State
law establishes a standard higher than strict liability; however, punitive
damages are recoverable only upon proof of actual malice.
FREEDOM OF THE PRESS
Freedom of the press and freedom of speech have frequently been
treated synonymously by the Court. Nevertheless, it is clear that the
press does have a special place in America's heritage. Our own revolu-
tion, for example, was ignited by press pamphlets such as Thomas
Paine's "Common Sense." Realizing the value of an unrestrained
press to American society, the Court has been very reluctant to
sanction governmental censorship of the press or management of the
news. In fact, prior restraints upon press publications have come to
the Court with such a heavy presumption of invalidity that the
Supreme Court has never upheld them. Even in the Pentagon Papers
case, where there was an alleged threat to national security posed by
the exposure of secret governmental documents, the Court struck
down any form of prior restraint. Only a "grave and irreparable"
harm might justify such drastic action.
It must be noted that the recent Court trend indicates a weakening
of the guarantee of freedom of the press. Publications' liability for
defamation has been broadened. Furthermore, the Court has refused
to strike down all prior restraints upon the press in the fair trial
context, having admitted the possibility of such circumstances that
would justify restraint.
Finally, it should be mentioned that freedom of the press does not
insulate the press, as corporations, from those economic regulations
applied to all business-such as taxation, equal employment oppor-
tunity, labor management, or antitrust laws.
All of the foregoing must be considered within the context of the
printed press in the United States, for the broadcast media operates
within a different Constitutional framework. Because television and
radio station owners are licensees of scarce frequencies, they have
been held subject to governmental regulation in a number of areas:
they must, for example, guarantee equal time to reply to editorial
attacks as well as provide fairness in treatment of issues. Govern-
mental regulation cannot go so far, however, as to require broad-
casters to accept paid political or public issues advertising-so long
as issues are presented fairly by that station.
FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY AND PETITION
Freedom of assembly is as fundamental as the freedoms of speech
and press, all three freedoms being inseparable parts of freedom of
expression. While the assembly clause adds little to the protection of
the rights to assemble, picket, or parade that would not already be
protected by the speech clause, it does reaffirm the breadth of the
rights that are guaranteed.
The right to petition is designed to enable the citizen to communicate
with his government without hindrance. It assures his right to present
his views both orally and in writing, and also embraces his right to
travel to the seat of government.
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.
THE RIGHT TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS
The Second Amendment provides for the freedom of the collective
citizenry to protect itself against both disorder in the community and
attack from foreign enemies. In America's frontier days, an individual's
own arms were vital to our national "Militia" and were "necessary to
the security of a free State." But in today's modem, urbanized
society, well-trained military and police forces have supplanted the
need for individual reliance upon firearms. The Supreme Court, as a
result, has upheld State and Federal laws prohibiting the carrying of
concealed weapons, requiring the registration of firearms, and limiting
the sale of firearms for other than military uses.
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
QUARTERING OF SOLDIERS
Prior to the Revolution, American colonists had frequently been
required to provide lodging and food for British soldiers against their
will. The Third Amendment prohibited the continuation of this
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, arnd
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.
SEARCH AND SEIZURE
The Fourth Amendment protects the individual and his property
from unreasonable searches and seizures by generally prohibiting
State acts that invade one's reasonable expectation of privacy. This
provision applies both to arrests of a person and to searches of his
person or property for evidence. In practice, however, the Court
treats arrests and searches quite differently.
For example, a police officer may, based upon probable cau-e, make
a warrantless arrest in a public place (including the vestibule of a
home) where a person is suspected of committing either a felony or a
misdemeanor in the officer's presence. However, the Court has held
that, barring exigent circumstances, a search is unreasonable un-
less preceded by a valid warrant issued upon probable cause. (This
also applies to administrative, noncriminal searches, except in specific,
heavily regulated areas such as alcohol or firearms.) A strong minority
of Justices has argued unsuccessfully for the rule that the proper test
should be not whether a search warrant is procured but whether the
search under all the circumstances was reasonable.
Despite the dichotomy between arrests and searches, the Court
normally encourages warrants in either instance. This reflects the fact
that the warrant process is a valuable safeguard of Fourth Amendment
rights. For example, a warrant must be issued by a neutral magistrate
who is capable of determining for himself whether probable cause
exists. This is a practical standard requiring common sense: a warrant
may issue only where a reasonably discreet and prudent person would
be led to believe by the facts stated that the offense charged was in
75-124 0 76 3
fact committed and that the individual to be arrested had committed
it, or that evidence of a crime would be found on the premises to be
searched. Furthermore, a warrant must describe with particularity the
person or things to be seized so that broad discretion of the officers
executing the warrant is circumscribed. Even with the issuance of a
warrant, police generally may not break into a private home without
first demanding entrance and stating their purpose.
The circumstances in which searches may be conducted absent a
warrant are limited. A search without a warrant may be valid where
consent is voluntarily given by the individual whose person or property
is to be searched. Under many circumstances, due to their mobility,
automobiles may be subject to warrantless searches. Persons law-
fully arrested also may be searched without a warrant. If the
arrest is effectuated in a home, however, a valid search is limited
to the body of the arrested and the area immediately around him
from which he might be able to obtain a weapon. Frisks of persons
detained but not arrested are permitted but generally are permissible
only to discover weapons endangering the officer. Searches of persons
entering the United States are valid only when conducted reasonably
proximate to the Nation's borders or points of entry. Finally, searches
of open areas and seizures of materials in "plain view" are permissible
After years of adhering to the view that electronic surveillance-
such as wiretapping--was neither a search nor a seizure, the Court now
holds that the Fourth Amendment requires observance of the warrant
requirement in this circumstance. In 1968, Congress buffered this
holding by enacting an extensive law on the subject. The subsequent
argument of the President that he is permitted to authorize electronic
surveillance in national security cases without regard to the Fourth
Amendment or the statute has been rejected by the Court in a case
involving domestic subversive investigations (though the Court did
refrain from addressing this question when applied to the activities of
foreign powers within or without this country).
Enforcement of the Fourth Amendment by the courts has generally
been effected through the controversial exclusionary rule which
provides that no evidence-however reliable-is admissible in court
if it has been obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The
principal purpose of the rule is to deter violations of the Amendment,
although judicial integrity, among other concerns is implicated.
Only recently the Court has limited the application of the exclusionary
rule. It has held that Federal courts may not set aside State convictions
because of illegally seized evidence when they hear pleas for release
by State prison inmates. The Court did announce that it will continue
to adhere to the rule as applied by State judges in appeals going
through State court systems.
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 nat'alforces, or in. the Alilitia, 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.
Before a person is tried in Federal court for an "infamous" crime,
he must first be indicted by a grand jury. The grand jury's duty is to
make sure that there is probable cause to believe that the accused
person is guilty. This prevents a person from being subjected to a trial
when there is not enough proof that he has committed a crime.
An infamous crime is a felony (a crime for which a sentence of more
than 1 year's imprisonment can be given) or a lesser offense which can
be punished by confinement in a penitentiary or at hard labor. An
indictment is not required for a trial by court-martial or by other
military tribunal. Also, the constitutional requirement of grand jury
indictment does not apply to trials in State courts. However, where
States do use grand juries in their criminal proceedings, such juries
must be free of racial bias.
This clause prevents the retrial in either State or Federal court of an
individual after he already has been placed in "jeopardy." Jeopardy
attaches not only after a prior conviction or acquittal but also in jury
trials, once the jury is sworn and, in trials without juries, once the
introduction of evidence has begun. Thereafter, if for some reason the
trial is terminated, a second trial is barred, except in limited circum-
stances. Such circumstances include the case where a mistrial is
declared at defendant's request or with his consent, or in a case of
"manifest necessity", such as when the jury deadlocks, or where illness
or death prevents continuation of a trial. A second trial also is per-
m issible where an appellate court sets aside a guilty verdict and orders
a new trial.
The "double jeopardy" clause will offer no protection where conduct
violates both Federal and State law: the offender may be prosecuted
in the courts of both jurisdictions. Neither does the clause prevent
the multiple prosecution of a suspect, for conduct that constitutes
more than one offense, though factual issues decided by one jury
may prevent relitigation of those factual issues in a subsequent
trial. Furthermore, if a defendant obtains a reversal of a conviction
and is retried, the clause does not prevent an increase of penalty if
he is reconvicted, although due process requires the sentencing
judge to demonstrate that the penalty was not increased to penalize
the exercise of the defendant's right to appeal.
The Fifth Amendment also guarantees that no person shall be
compelled to be a witness against himself in a criminal proceeding
in a Federal court. This right has been extended through the due
process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to apply to criminal
proceedings in State courts as well. The basic assumption underlying
the self-incrimination clause is that no one is obliged to provide
answers to questions tending to convict oneself of a crime. The
Court's reasoning stems in part from fears of physical or mental
coercion when an individual is interrogated in the custody of the
The right against self-incrimination is especially important when
we consider that custodial interrogation has been held to extend to
questions outside the police station, including police questioning
of a defendant in his own bed at home.
To insure that the right against self-incrimination is protected,
the Court has ruled that an individual must be warned prior to custo-
dial interrogation of his right to remain silent, that what he says may
be used against him in court, and that he has a right to counsel
(that counsel being furnished by the State if he desires an attorney
and is unable to afford one). Failure to give these warnings results
in the inadmissibility in later criminal proceedings of any statement
obtained during police questioning.
Although an accused may waive his rights under the Fifth Amend-
ment, he generally must know what he is doing and must not be
forced to confess, for any confession obtained by use of force or
threat will be excluded from the evidence presented at trial. However,
the Court has ruled that even where an in-custody defendant initially
exercises his right to remain silent, an incriminating statement
procured after a significant time lapse and a fresh set of warnings
operates as a waiver and is not violative of Miranda principles.
Furthermore, if a defendant or a witness fails to invoke the Fifth
Amendment in response to a question on the witness stand, such a
failure may operate as a waiver of the right and he will not be permit-
ted to object later to a court's admitting his statement into evidence
on the basis that it was self-incriminating.
Courts have ruled that the guarantee against self-incrimination
a pplies only to "testimonial" actions. Thus, it has been held that
obtaining handwriting samples and blood tests are not violative of the
Fifth Amendment. Similarly, the guarantee against self-incrimination
has been held not to bar requiring an accused to appear in a police
lineup and repeat the words used during the commission of the crime.
Courts have also ruled that the Fifth Amendment prohibits both
Federal and State prosecutors and judges from commenting on the
refusal of a defendant to take the witness stand in his own defense.
The refusal of witnesses to testify to matters which could subject them
to criminal prosecutions at a later date also has been upheld. How-
ever, courts have recognized a limited right of the government to
question employees about the performance of official duties and have
upheld the dismissals of such employees for their refusal to answer
questions so related.
Government regulations which required registration of items such
as highly dangerous weapons or narcotics which were a crime to possess
also have been invalidated on the grounds that they require informa-
tion which may be used in criminal prosecution against the person
who registers the item in question. However, one is not excused from
filing a tax return because it is incriminatory: the privilege must be
asserted on the return or it will be waived.
The words "due process of law" express the fundamental ideas of
American justice. A due process clause is found in both the Fifth and
Fourteenth Amendments as a restraint upon the Federal and State
The clause affords protection against arbitrary and unfair procedures
in judicial or administrative proceedings which affect the personal
and property rights of a citizen. Notice of a hearing or trial which is
timely, and adequately informs the accused of the charges against him
is a basic concept included in "due process." The opportunity to pre-
sent evidence in one's own behalf before an impartial judge or jury, to
be presumed innocent until proven guilty by legally-obtained evidence
and to have the verdict supported by the evidence presented are other
rights repeatedly recognized within the protection of the Due Process
The Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments
also provide other basic protections whereby the State and Federal
Governments are prevented from adopting arbitrary and unreasonable
legislation or other measures which would violate individual rights.
Thus, constitutional limitations are imposed on governmental inter-
ference with important individual liberties-such as the freedom to
enter into contracts, to engage in a lawful occupation, to marry, and
to move without unnecessary restraints.
The Fifth Amendment requires that, whenever Government takes
an individual's property, the property acquired must be taken for
public use, and the full value thereof paid to the owner. Thus, the
Government cannot take property from one person simply to give
it to another. However, the Supreme Court has held that it is per-
missible to take private property for such purposes as urban renewal,
even though ultimately the property taken will be returned to private
ownership, since the taking is really for the benefit of the community
as a whole. Property does not have to be physically taken from the
owner to acquire Fifth Amendment protection. If governmental action
leads to a lower value of private property, that may also constitute a
"taking" and therefore require payment of compensation. Thus, the
Supreme Court has held that the disturbance of the egg-laying habits
of chickens on a man's poultry farm caused by the noise of low-level
flights by military aircraft from a nearby airbase, lessens the value
of that farm and that, accordingly, the landowner is entitled to
receive compensation equal to his loss.
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a
speedy and public trial, by an n partial jury of the State and district
wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall hace
been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and
cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against himn;
to have compulsory process for obtain ing witnesses in his favor, and to
have the Assistance of Counselfor his defense.
This Amendment sets forth specific rights guaranteed to persons
facing criminal prosecution in Federal courts, and in State courts
by virtue of the 14th Amendment.
The right to speedy and public trial requires that the accused be
brought to trial without unnecessary delay, and that the trial be open
to the public. Intentional or negligent delay by the prosecution which
prejudices the defendant's right to defend himself has been held as
grounds for dismissal of the charges. The Supreme Court has ruled
that delay in prosecution was not justified by the defendant's con-
finement on an earlier conviction because he should have temporarily
been released for purposes of trial on the latter charge.
Trial by an impartial jury supplements the earlier guarantee
contained in Article III of the Constitution. The requirements that
the jury have 12 members and that it must reach a unanimous verdict
were derived from the common law and are not specifically accorded
by the Constitution. In fact, the Supreme Court has ruled that State
juries need not be composed of 12 members and actually has approved
a State statutory scheme providing for only six. Moreover, the Court
has ruled that jury verdicts in State courts need not be unanimous.
The right to jury trial does not apply to trials for petty offenses,
which the Supreme Court has suggested as those punishable by six
months' confinement or less. In trials where a jury is used it must be
impartially selected, and no one can be excluded from jury service
merely because of his race, class, or sex.
The Sixth Amendment also requires that a defendant be notified of
the particular factual nature of the crime that he has been accused of
committing in order that he may have an opportunity to prepare his
defense. This also means that the crime must be established by
statute beforehand so that all persons are on public notice as to the
existence of the prohibition. The statute must not be so vague or
unclear that it does not inform people of the exact nature of the crime.
Generally, the accused is entitled to have all witnesses against him
present their evidence orally in court. Moreover, the accused is entitled
to the aid of the court in having compulsory process issued, usually a
subpoena, which will order into court as witnesses those persons whose
testimony he desires at the trial.
Finally, the Sixth Amendment provides a right to be represented by
counsel. For many years, this was interpreted to mean only that the
defendant had a right to be represented by a lawyer if he could afford
one. The Supreme Court has held, however, that the Amendment
imposes an affirmative obligation on the part of Federal and State
governments to provide at public expense legal counsel for those who
could not afford it, in order that their cases might be adequately
represented to the court. The Supreme Court has held that this right
extends even to cases involving "petty offenses" if there is a chance
that a jail sentence might result. The indigent have been held to have
such a right at any "critical stage of the adjudicatory process," which
the Court has confined to post-indictment stages in a trial-like situa-
tion. In addition, indigents have been given the right to a free copy
of their trial transcript for purposes of appeal of their conviction.
Congress enacted the Criminal Justice Acts of 1964 and 1970 to
implement this right to counsel by establishing a Federal defender
system to represent those defendants who could not afford legal
counsel. Most State legislatures have enacted similar measures.
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.
The Seventh Amendment applies only to Federal civil trials and
not to civil suits in State courts. Except as provided by local Federal
court rules, if a case is brought in a Federal court and a money judg-
ment is sought which exceeds $20, the party bringing the suit and the
defendant are entitled to have the controversy decided by the unani-
mous verdict of a jury.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor
cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Bail has traditionally meant payment by the accused of an amount
of money specified by the court to insure the presence of the accused
at trial. An accused who was released from custody and subsequently
failed to appear for trial forfeited his bail to the court.
This Amendment does not specifically provide that all citizens
have a "right" to bail, but only that bail will not be excessive. A
right to bail has, however, been recognized in common law and by
statute since 1791. In 1966, Congress enacted the Bail Reform Act to
provide for pretrial release of persons accused of noncapital crimes.
Congress thus sought to end pretrial imprisonment of indigent de-
fendants who could not afford to post money bail and who were, in
effect, confined only because of their poverty. The Act also discouraged
the traditional use of money bail by requiring the judge to seek other
means likely to insure that the defendant would appear when his
trial was held.
The lack of a specific constitutional guarantee has indirectly contrib-
uted to legislative enactments which have modified the availability
of bail. In 1970, Congress provided for a system of pretrial detention
in the District of Columbia for those defendants considered to be
dangerous and likely to commit additional crimes if released prior to
trial. The law was highly controversial and is considered by many
to be a violation of the right to bail which they find implied in the
Whether bail, when available, is excessive or not will depend upon
the facts of each particular case. In a few instances, as when a capital
offense such as murder is charged, bail may be denied altogether.
CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT
This clause not only bars government from imposing punishments
that are barbarous and inhumane, but as the Supreme Court lias
announced, it forbids punishments that society's "evolving standards
of decency" would mark as excessive. It also bars punishment that is
disproportionate to the offense committed, based on the facts of the
The Court has recently held that the use of the death penalty as a
punishment for murder does not necessarily constitute cruel and un-
usual punishment. Nevertheless, it did strike down mandatory death
sentences for certain crimes, requiring that attention be focused on the
defendant, the crime itself, and similarly situated defendants. These
considerations notwithstanding, the Court's primary emphasis upon
the discretion of the jury is somewhat inconsistent with its 1972 land-
mark decision which had struck down the death penalty because of
the arbitrary, capricious, and racist manner in which it was usually
applied by juries.
Finally, punishment for narcotics addiction has been held to be
cruel and unusual on the grounds that addiction is a status indicative
of an illness and therefore cannot be properly categorized as a crime.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be
construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
This Amendment reflects the Framers' view that powers of govern-
ment are limited by the rights of the people and that, by expressly
enumerating certain rights of the people in the Constitution, the
Framers did not intend to recognize that government had unlimited
power to invade other rights. Indeed, in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965),
some Justices sought to change the Amendment's status as a rule of
construction to one of positive affirmation and protection of the right
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
The Tenth Amendment embodies the principle of federalism which
reserves for the States the residue of powers not granted to the Federal
Government or withheld from the States.
LATER AMENDMENTS DEALING WITH INDIVIDUAL
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 theirjurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate
SLAVERY AND INVOLUNTARY SERVITUDE
This Amendment prohibits slavery in the United States. It has been
held that certain State laws were in violation of this Amendment
because they had the effect of jailing a debtor who did not perform
his financial obligations. The Supreme Court has ruled, however, that
selective service laws authorizing the draft for military duty are not
prohibited by this Amendment.
The Court has upheld certain civil rights legislation barring private
acts of discrimination that did not constitute "State action", on the
basis of the authority granted Congress by Section 2 of this Amend-
ment. The Civil Rights Act of 1866, designed to end discrimination in
the sale or rental of real or personal property, is one example. The
Court has recently ruled that the reach of the 1866 Act was wide
enough to forbid racial discrimination in private schools. Title
VIII (the Fair Housing Provisions) of the Civil Rights Act of 1968
also was based upon Section 2. Such legislation is appropriate under
the provisions of the Thirteenth Amendment because it was designed
to erase "badges of servitude."
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 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate
legislation, the provisions of this article.
The purpose of the first sentence of the Amendment was to overrule
the Dred Scott decision, which had held that blacks could not be citizens
of the United States. The Amendment's ratification clearly established
a national rule with regard to citizenship.
The Supreme Court has held pursuant to this clause that an
American citizen becomes a citizen of a particular State once he has
resided there without the present intent of establishing another
PRIVILEGES AND IMMUNITIES
Alexander Hamilton proposed in Federalist Paper #80 that "the
citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immuni-
ties of citizens of the several States." In 1873, however, the Supreme
Court confined the protection of the Privileges and Immunities Clause
to those privileges "which owe their existence to the Federal
Government, its National character, its Constitution, or its laws,"
which the Court deemed to be very few in number. This decision, in
effect, severely limited the scope of the Privileges and Immunities
DUE PROCESS OF LAW
Most of the specific provisions of the Bill of Rights have been
applied to the States through this clause. Its real importance, however,
goes far beyond this application. For the due process clause also
serves as a procedural guarantee in both civil and criminal cases,
where it requires government to observe a host of restraints. Before
action may be taken to deprive one of a basic liberty, his property or to
restrain his exercise of rights over his property, he must be afforded
notice and an opportunity to be heard before an impartial tribunal
under conditions that enforce fairness. For example, public school
teachers who have a reasonable expectation of tenure must be given
the opportunity to have a hearing before they are dismissed. The
same requirement applies before a public school student may be
dismissed or suspended. Also, criminal defendants are protected
from prosecution under vague statutes, and every element necessary
to establish their culpability must be proved beyond a reasonable
doubt. Due process also insures that prosecutors may not conceal
evidence favorable to the defendant and material to his case, at least
where the defendant has requested a review of the evidence in the
prosecution's possession. It protects the rights of convicted persons,
requiring fair treatment of them in prison. Revocation of parole and
probation also must be carried out with regard to due process. In
addition, the Court has begun to apply the notion of due process to
those persons committed to or confined in mental institutions. Finally,
as a function of due process, juvenile defendants are now afforded
procedures tailored both to protect them and to preserve the unique-
ness of the system of juvenile justice. Nonetheless, due process does
not require a hearing in all cases wheie it appears that vested rights
of property or liberty are affected. For example, in some contexts
public employees may be dismissed without any constitutionally-
required opportunity for a hearing to protest that move.
This clause has a substantive aspect as well, protecting individuals
against deprivation of important property and liberty interests.
Substantive due process for a significant period of our history was
held to preclude government from regulating many forms of economic
activity. While these restraints were abandoned in the 1930's, the
Court now accords the protection of substantive due process to certain
fundamental personal rights. Foremost among these is the concept of
the right to privacy, which to date has been limited largely to matters
involving marriage, procreation, and the parental care of children.
For example, it appears that at least in the heterosexual context a
sexual relationship between consenting adults in private is considered
a generally protected privacy interest.
For most of a woman's pregnancy, abortion is also considered a
protected privacy interest. In the first trimester the State may impose
no restrictions upon abortion, such as conditioning the abortion upon
the consent of a spouse, or a parent in the case of an unmarried minor
female. In the second trimester only State laws that are merely
regulatory and directly promote the health of the mother are tenable.
Finally, only in the third trimester may abortions be restricted by the
State, but never where in the opinion of appropriate medical judgment
the mother's life or health is thought to be in jeopardy.
EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAWS
The Equal Protection Clause prohibits the State from making un-
reasonable or arbitrary distinctions among persons as to their rights
and privileges. The Court's primary concern here is avoiding depriva-
tion by the State of a minority group's rights, no matter how small or
unpopular that group may be. Like Hamilton and Madison in the
Federalist Papers, the Court under the Equal Protection Clause seeks
to prevent tyranny rule by the majority. It does so by striking down
almost without exception two categories of distinctions. First is the
"suspect" classification in which the State distinguishes along lines
that traditionally have been used as a basis for deprivation. Classifying
citizens by race in order to preserve segregated schools would be one
example. Any such classification is automatically considered "suspect"
by the Court and is doomed to fall under its strict scrutiny. Second is
where, rather than looking at the two groups being distinguished, the
Court examines the interest being affected by the classification. If it is
deemed a fundamental interest then this form of classification also is
subject to the rigors of the Court's strict scrutiny. For example, making
the fundamental right to vote contingent upon the payment of a poll
tax has been ruled to be a violation of the Equal Protection Clause.
The Court has held that State regulation of commerce or other
activity will be sustained if the regulatory distinction or classification
does not affect a fundamental interest or represent a suspect classifi-
But, as we have seen, active review-and not deference-is the
posture of the Supreme Court in two major areas. First, we have
observed that distinctions among certain classes are inherently
suspect. Race is rarely, if ever, a proper basis for distinguishing among
persons. Nationality and alienage also are improper bases of classi-
fication. It also seems settled that legitimacy is an improper basis of
classification by the State. While the sex classification is not yet
considered suspect by the Court, gender distinctions do require a
greater justification for validity than do ordinary classifications.
Wealth or indigency also are not suspect, classifications, but when
combined with denials of a fundamental interest, such classifications
will often be invalidated.
Second, as aforementioned, when official classification affects a
fundamental interest, it can be justified only by a compelling showing
that the State's interest is legitimate and cannot be served by another
device. Because the right to vote has been deemed fundamental,
numerous suffrage restrictions have fallen. The right to travel being
fundamental, many durational residency requirements also have fallen
under the Court's strict scrutiny. The right to be free of wealth
distinctions in the criminal process is another interest deemed funda-
mental by the Court. Education, however, has not been held to be a
fundamental right. The Court has sustained a State system of support-
ing education based on a taxing scheme permitting great disparities
in financing among school districts.
Only official denials of due process and equal protection are subject
to the Fourteenth Amendment, since the Amendment refers to
"State". Purely private acts, however discriminatory, do not raise
constitutional issues in most instances. However, if such acts implicate
the government, whether through State enforcement, contrivance, or
encouragement, the Amendment is applicable. This is ilso true where
conduct is so "governmental" in character that it is tantamount to
State action, such as in the nomination and election of public official-
or the maintenance of public order.
Section 5 furnishes Congress with a plenary power to enforce the
Amendment's provisions, but no power to restrict, abrogate, or dilute
these guarantees. A number of significant pieces of legislation have
been passed under this positive grant of authority. Among other
guarantees, such legislation has established:
The right to be free from racial discrimination in public dining
The right to be free from segregation by race or color in trans-
The right to be free from segregation in the operation of public
The right of equality of opportunity to hold public employment;
The right to be free from racial discrimination in government
The right to be free from purposeful discrimination by city
authorities in their official relations.
It also should be noted that certain Titles of the comprehensive
Civil Rights Act of 1964 (such as Titles III and IV, dealing with
desegregation of schools and other public facilities) were rooted in
the post-Civil War Amendments, particularly Section 5 of the Four-
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 power to enforce this article by
THE RIGHT TO VOTE-RACE
The intent and purpose of Amendments XV, XIX, and XXVI are
clear. The right to vote, which is the keystone of our democratic
system, may not be denied to any citizen of legal age because of his
race, color, previous condition of servitude, or sex. Amendment XV
has been the source of most corrective legislation in this area, Section
2 of that Amendment providing a broad grant of authority to Congress
to enforce the franchise guarantee. The Voting Rights Act of 1965,
designed primarily to combat racial discrimination in voting, was
passed under the authority of Section 2. That Act was renewed in
1970, and again in 1975 for an additional period of seven years. The
1975 extension expanded the coverage of the Act to include non-
English speaking citizens.
[THE RIGHT TO VOTE-SEX]
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.
Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any pri-
mary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for Presi-
dent 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 any poll tax or other tax.
Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by
The Twenty-Fourth Amendment prohibits denial of the right to
vote for Federal officials because a person has not paid a tax. This
Amendment was designed to abolish the requirement of a poll tax
which, at the time of its ratification, was imposed by five States as a
condition to voting.
The Supreme Court subsequently held that poll taxes were uncon-
stitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment on the basis that the right to vote should not be con-
ditioned on one's ability to pay a tax. Accordingly, poll taxes are
now prohibited in all State and Federal elections.
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.
THE RIGHT TO VOTE-AGE
The Twenty-Sixth Amendment, which lowered the voting age for
all Federal elections from twenty-one to eighteen years of age, became
law on July 1, 1971. Amendments XV, XIX, and XXVI together
with the Fifth and Fourteenth, prohibit any arbitrary attempt to
disenfranchise an American citizen.
AMENDMENT XXVII (PROPOSED)
Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or
abridged by the United States or by any State on account of ser.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate
legislation, the provisions of this Article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of
This Amendment was proposed by two-thirds of Congress and
submitted to the States for ratification on March 22, 1972. As of the
date of this printing, it has been ratified by thirty-four States, four
short of the three-fourths requirement of Article V.
The object of the proposed Amendment is to abolish unfair or
unreasonable discrimination under the law, based upon a person's sex,
which the Court has refused to otherwise invalidate under the Equal
Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Those States that
have ratified the proposed Amendment are:
1. H aw aii - --------------------- --- ----- -
2. Delaware ---------------------------- -
3. New Hampshire ----------------------------
4. Idaho --------------------------------- -
6. Kansas ------------------------------ ---
7. Nebraska I----------------------------------
8. Tennessee I ---- --------- ----- ----1--- - -
10. Rhode Island--------------------------------
11. New Jersey -------------------------------
14. West Virginia--------------------------------
16. New York---------------------------------
17. Michigan -----------------------------------
18. Maryland --------------------------------
19. Massachusetts ------------------------------
21. Pennsylvania -----------------------------
22. California --------------------------------
23. Wyoming ---------------------------------
24. South Dakota-------------------------------
25. Oregon -------------------------------------
26. Minnesota --------------------------------
27. New Mexico---------------------------------
30. Washington ------------------------------
34. North Dakota -----------------------------
1 Subsequently voted to rescind.
Mar. 22, 1972.
Mar. 23, 1972.
Mar. 24, 1972.
Mar. 28, 1972.
Mar. 29, 1972.
Apr. 4, 1972.
Apr. 5, 1972.
Apr. 14, 1972.
Apr. 17, 1972.
Apr. 19, 1972.
Apr. 21, 1972.
Apr. 22, 1972.
Apr. 26, 1972.
May 3, 1972.
May 22, 1972.
May 26, 1972.
June 21, 1972.
June 26, 1972.
Sept. 26, 1972.
Nov. 13, 1972.
Jan. 26, 1973.
Feb. 5, 1973.
Feb. 8, 1973.
Feb. 12, 1973.
Feb. 28, 1973.
Mar. 1, 1973.
Mar. 15, 1973.
Mar. 22, 1973.
Jan. 18, 1974.
Jan. 25, 1974.
Feb. 7, 1974.
Feb. 3, 1975.
In addition to the specific constitutional rights outlined herein.
certain safeguards for the individual are inherent in the structure of
American government. The separation of powers between legislative,
executive, and judicial branches of government is the basis for a
system of "check? and balances", which prevents excessive concentra-
tion of power and the inevitable threat to individual liberties that
accompanies such concentration. With respect to the legislative power
itself, the existence of two Houses of Congress-each apportioned in a
different manner-is an ingrained protection against ill-advised laws
that might threaten constitutional rights. Similarly, our Federal
system, which divides authority between the National Government
and the governments of the various States, provides suitable soil for
the nourishment of constitutional rights.
Yet no matter how well a constitution may be written, the rights it
guarantees have little meaning unless there is popular support for
that constitution and for those rights. Indeed, it is the citizens of this
Nation who are the ultimate repository of the democratic spirit and
to whom the fate of our noble experiment must be entrusted.
On the 17th day of September 1787, a convention of delegates from
twelve States (departing from their express instructions), proposed a
new Constitution to the Congress and the States for ratification. Only
Rhode Island refused to appoint delegates to the convention. The
rights expressed and protected by this Constitution, and by the ten
amendments adopted 4 years later, were not new. Some had roots in
the societies of ancient Rome and Greece, and all were nurtured
during almost 600 years of English history since the signing of the
As colonists under English rule, Americans before the Revolution
were familiar with the ideas that government should be limited in
power and that the law was superior to any government, even the
King. As the Declaration of Independence shows us, the colonists
rebelled because the English King and Parliament refused to allow
them their historic rights as free Englishmen. In September 1774,
delegates from 12 colonies met in the First Continental Congress to
petition England for their rights "to life, liberty, and property," to
trial by jury, "a right peaceably to assemble, consideration of their
grievances, and petition the King," and other rights which they had
been denied. The petition was ignored, and soon afterward fighting
broke out at Concord and Lexington. Meanwhile, citizens in Mecklen-
burg County, North Carolina, declared the laws of Parliament to be
null and void and instituted their own form of local government with
the adoption of the Mecklenburg Resolves in May 1775. In June 1776,
a resolution was introduced in the Continental Congress, and a month
later, the Thirteen United Colonies declared themselves free and
independent. Their announcement was truly revolutionary. They
listed a long number of abuses they had suffered, and then justified
their independence in the historic words-
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,
that they are endowed by their Creator with certain. Inalienable Rights,
that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
The newly independent States joined in a united government under
the Articles of Confederation, which was our Nation's first
But it soon became clear that the Articles of Confederation did not
adequately provide for a working, efficient government. In May
1787, a convention of delegates, meeting in Philadelphia with the
approval of Congress, began to consider amendments to the articles.
But the delegates realized that, beyond mere amendments, a new sys-
tem of government was necessary. After much debate, and several
heated arguments, a compromise Constitution was agreed upon. Al-
though now we honor the wisdom of the delegates, they themselves had
a different opinion of their work. Many were dissatisfied with this
"bundle of compromises", and a few even thought a new Constitution
should be written. No delegate from Rhode Island attended the conven -
tion nor signed the document on September 17, 1787, when the pro-
posed Constitution was announced. Delaware was the first State to
accept it, on December 7, 1787, and by a unanimous vote. Not all
States were as pleased, and for a while it was unclear whether sufficient
States would ratify. In some States the vote was extremely close. A
major argument against ratification was the absence of a Bill of Rights,
those guarantees against Government intrusion originally proposed by
Thomas Jefferson. Only after it became generally agreed that the first
order of business of the new government would be to propose a Bill of
Rights in the form of amendments was acceptance of the Constitution
obtained by a sufficient number of States. On June 21, 1788, New
Hampshire became the ninth State, and ratification of the new Con-
stitution was completed. By the end of July, the important States of
Virginia and New York had joined.
On September 25, 1789, Congress proposed the first ten amendments
to the new Constitution-the Bill of Rights. With the proposal of
these guarantees, the States of North Carolina and Rhode Island, the
last of the Thirteen Original Colonies, ratified the Constitution.
Ratification of the Bill of Rights itself was completed on Decem-
ber 15, 1791. Since that date, it has served as the testimony of our
Nation to its belief in the basic and inalienable rights of the people,
and in the limitations on the power of government. Together with the
provisions of the original Constitution, they protect that great body of
liberties which belong to every citizen.
CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES
WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union
establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common de-
fence, 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.
Section 1. All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress
of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
Section 2.1 The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members
chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors
in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most
numerous Branch of the State Legislature.
2 No person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age
of twenty-five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and
who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be
3 *[Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several
States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective
Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Per-
sons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians
not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.]. The actual Enumeration shall be
made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United
States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they
shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for
every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative;
and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be
entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence
Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania
eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South
Carolina five, and Georgia three.
4 When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive
Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such vacancies.
I The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers;
and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.
Section 3. **The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two
Senators from each State, [chosen by the Legislature] thereof, for six Years; and
each Senator shall have one Vote.
2 Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence of the first Election,
they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes. The Seats of the
Senators of the first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration of the Second Year,
of the second Class at the Expiration of the fourth Year, and of the third Class
at the Expiration of the sixth Year, so that one-third may be chosen every second
Year; [and if Vacancies happen by Resignation, or otherwise, during the Recess
of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary
Appointments until the next Meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill
NOTE.-The text of the Constitution, as set out In this document. follows the engrossed
copy signed by President Washington and the deputies from the twelve States. The superior
number preceding the paragraphs designates the number of the clause; those numbers
were not written in the Constitution.
*The part included in heavy brackets was repealed by section 2 of amendment XIV.
**The part included In heavy brackets was repealed by section 1 of amendment XVII.
***The part included In heavy brackets was changed by clause 2 of amendment XVII.
3 No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty
Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not,
when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.
4 The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but
shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.
5 The Senate shall chuse their other Officers, and also a President pro tempore,
in the absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of Presi-
dent of the United States.
I The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments. When sitting
for that Purpose, they shall be on Oath or Affirmation. When the President of
the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside: And no Person shall be
convicted without the Concurrence of two-thirds of the Members present.
7 Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal
from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust, or
Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be
liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment, and Punishment, according
Section 4. 1 The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators
and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof;
but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except
as to the Places of chusing Senators.
2 The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year, and such Meeting
shall (be on the first Monday in December,] unless they shall by Law appoint
a different Day.*
Section 5. 1 Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns, and
Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a
Quorum to do Business; but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day, and
may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner,
and under such Penalties as each House may provide.
2 Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members
for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a Member.
3 Each House shall keep a Journal of its Proceedings, and from time to time
publish the same, excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy;
and the Yeas and Nays of the Members of either House on any question shall,
at the Desire of one fifth of those Present, be entered on the Journal.
4 Neither House, during the Session of Congress, shall, without the Consent of
the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other Place than that in
which the two Houses shall be sitting.
Section 6. 1 The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation
for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the
United States. They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of
the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of
their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for
any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other
2 No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected,
be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which
shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased
during such time; and no Person holding any Office under the United States,
shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office.
Section 7. 1 All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of
Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on
2 Every Bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the
Senate, shall, before it become a Law, be presented to the President of the United
States; If he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his Objec-
tions to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the Objec-
tions at large on their Journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such
Reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the Bill, it shall be
sent, together with the Objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise
be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a
Law. But in all such Cases the Votes of both Houses shall be determined by
*The part included In heavy brackets was changed by section 2 of amendment XX.
Yeas and Nays, and the Names of the Persons voting for and against the Bill
shall be entered on the Journal of each House respectively. If any Bill shall not
be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall
have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had
signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which
Case it shall not be a Law.
3 Every Order, Resolution, or Vote to which the Concurrence of the Senate
and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjourn-
ment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the
Same shall take Effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him,
shall be repassed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives,
according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case of a Bill.
Section 8. The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties,
Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and
general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall
be uniform throughout the United States;
2 To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;
3 To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States,
and with the Indian Tribes;
4 To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the
subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
5 To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the
Standard of Weights and Measures;
I To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current
Coin of the United States;
7 To Establish Post Offices and post Roads;
8 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
To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
10 To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and
Offences against the Law of Nations;
u1 To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules
concerning Captures on Land and Water;
12 To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use
shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
13 To provide and maintain a Navy;
1 To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval
15 To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union,
suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
16 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
17 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, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings ;-And
Is 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.
Section 9. 1 The Migration or Importation of Such Persons as any of the
States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the
Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or
duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each
2 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.
I No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.
4 *No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in Proportion to
the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.
No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.
*See also amendment XVI.
6 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.
7 No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appro-
priations 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.
8 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 the
Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind what-
ever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.
Section 10. 1 No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation;
grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any
Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of
Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or
grant any Title of Nobility.
2 No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or
Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for
executing its inspection Laws; and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts,
laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of
the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul
of the Congress.
3 No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage,
keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any 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.
Section 1. 1 The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United
States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and,
together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows
2 Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may
direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Repre-
sentatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or
Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United
States, shall be appointed an Elector.
*[The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two
Persons of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with
themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the
Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit
sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the Presi-
dent 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 shall
be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors
appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an
equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately
chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then
from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the
President. But in causing 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. In every Case, after the Choice of
the President the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors
shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have
equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.]
3 The Congress may determine the Time of chusing the Electors and the Day
on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the
4 No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at
the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of
President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have
attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident with-
in the United States.
5 In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resigna-
tion or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the same
*This paragraph has been superseded by amendment XXT.
shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by Law provide for
the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and
Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer
shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be
6 The President shall, at stated Times, receive for his Services, a Compensation,
which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which he
shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that Period any other
Emolument from the United States, or any of them.
7 Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath
or Affirmation:-"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute
the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability,
preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Section 2.1 The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and
Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called
into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in
writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any
subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power
to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in
Cases of Impeachment.
2 He shall have Power, 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.
3 The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen
during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at
the End of their next Session.
Section 3. He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the
State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he
shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene
both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with
Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he
shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he
shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all
the Officers of the United States.
Section 4. The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United
States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of,
Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Section 1. The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one
supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to
time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts,
shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive
for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their
Continuance in Office.
Section 2.1 The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity,
arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties
made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;-to all Cases affecting
Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;-to all Cases of admiralty
and maritime Jurisdiction;-to Controversies to which the United States shall
be a Party;-to Controversies between two or more States;-between a State
and Citizens of another State;*-between Citizens of different States;-between
Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and
between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.
2 In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and
those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original
Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall
have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and
under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.
*Thlis clause has been affected by amendment XI.
8 The trial of all Crimes except in Cases of Impeachment shall be by Jury;
and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been
committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at
such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.
Section 3. 'Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying
War against them, or, in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.
No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses
to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
2 The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no
Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during
the Life of the Person attainted.
Section 1. Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public
Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress
may by general Laws prescribe the Manner is which such Acts, Records and
Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.
Section 2. 1 The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and
Immunities of Citizens in the several States.
2 A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who
shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on demand of the
executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be re-
moved to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.
3 *[No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof,
escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein,
be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim
of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.]
Section 3.1 New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union;
but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other
State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts
of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as
well as of the Congress.
2 The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and
Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United
States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice
any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.
Section 4. The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a
Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion;
and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature
cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary,
shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the
Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for pro-
posing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and
Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three
fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the
one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided
that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight
hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the
Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall
be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
1 Al Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of
this Constitution shall be as valid against the United States under this Consti-
tution, as under the Confederation.
2 This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made
in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the
Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the
Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or
Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
3 The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the
several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the
*Thlr paragraph has been superseded by Amendment XIIL
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 or public Trust under the United States.
The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the
Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.
DONE in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the
Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven
hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independence of the United States of
America the Twelfth. IN WITNESS whereof We have hereto subscribed our Names,
Presid'. and deputy from Virginia.
[Signed also by the deputies of twelve States.]
WM. SAML. JOHNSON,
GUNNING BEDFORD, jun,
DAN OF ST THos. JENIFER,
JAMES MADISON Jr.
RICH'D DOBBS SPAIGHT,
CHARLES COTESWORTH PINCKNEY,
WILUAM JACKSON, Secretary.
RATIFICATION OF THE CONSTITUTION
The Constitution was adopted by a convention of the States on September 17,
1787, and was subsequently ratified by the several States, on the following dates:
Delaware, December 7, 1787; Pennsylvania, December 12, 1787; New Jersey,
December 18, 1787; Georgia, January 2, 1788; Connecticut, January 9, 1788;
Massachusetts, February 6, 1788; Maryland, April 28, 1788; South Carolina,
May 23, 1788; New Hampshire, June 21, 1788; Virginia, June 25, 1788; New
York, July 26, 1788; North Carolina, November 21, 1789; Rhode Island, May 29,
1790. It was declared in operation September 13, 1788; by a resolution of the
ARTICLES IN ADDITION TO, AND AMENDMENT OF, THE CONSTITUTION OF THE
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PROPOSED BY CONGRESS, AND RATIFIED BY
THE LEGISLATURES OF THE SEVERAL STATES, PURSUANT TO THE FIFTH ARTICLE
OF THE ORIGINAL CONSTITUTION
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohib-
iting 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 wit-
nesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
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 jury,
shall be otherwise reexamined in any Court of the United States, than according
to the rules of the common law.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and
unusual punishments inflicted.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed
to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor pro-
hibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
(Ratification of first ten amendments completed December 15, 1791.)
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.
(Declared ratified January 8, 1798.)
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 presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the
certificates and theyvotes 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 immedi-
ately, 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 the 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 Sena-
tors, 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.
(Declared ratified September 25, 1804.)
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
(Declared ratified December 18, 1865.)
*The part included in heavy brackets has been superseded by section 3 of amendment XX.
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 serv-
ices 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 6. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation,
the provisions of this article.
(Declared ratified July 28, 1868.)
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 power to enforce this article by appropriate
(Declared ratified March 30, 1870.)
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.
(Declared ratified February 25, 1913.)
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.
(Declared ratified May 31, 1913.)
[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.]*
(Declared ratified January 29, 1919.)
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.
(Declared ratified August 26, 1920.)
Section 1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon
on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at
noon on the 3d 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
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 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 Presi-
dent 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 elect 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 follow-
ing 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.
(Declared ratified February 6, 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.
(Declared ratified December 5, 1933.)
*Amendment XVIII was repealed by section 1 of amendment XXI.
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 the President more than once. But this article shall
not apply to any person holding the office of President when this Article was
proposed by the 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 Presi-
dent 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
(Declared ratified March 1, 1951.)
Section 1. The District constituting the seat of Government of the United
States shall appoint in such manner as the 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 con-
sidered 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
(Declared ratified April 3, 1961.)
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 any poll
tax or other tax.
Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate
(Declared ratified February 4, 1962.)
Section 1. In case of the removal of the President from office or 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 confir-
mation 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 declara-
tion 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 the 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 un-
able 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 Presi-
dent shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the
President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.
(Declared ratified February 10, 1967.)
Section 1. The right to 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
(Declared ratified July 1, 1971.)
AMENDMENT XXVII (PROPOSED)
Section 1. Equality of rights vnder the law shall not be denied or abridged by the
United States or by any State on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation,
the provisions of this Article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
(Submitted to the States on March 22, 1972.)
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