Amendments 11 – 27
Amendment XI – Lawsuits against States
It is impossible for the citizen of one state to sue another state. (So, Salem
can’t sue Iowa)
Amendment XII – Election of President and Vice President
(1804) Provides that members of the electoral college (called electors), vote
for one person as president and one person as vice president.
Amendment XIII – Abolition of Slavery
1st CIVIL WAR AMENDMENT – Slavery is illegal
Amendment XIV- Civil Rights
2nd CIVIL WAR AMENDMENT – Slaves receive Citizenship and protection of
Amendment XV – African American Suffrage
3rd CIVIL WAR AMENDMENT – African Americans receive the right to
vote…note that there is no mention of gender…
Amendment XVI – Income Taxes
Congress has the power to lay and collect taxes on incomes
Amendment XVII- Direct Election of Senators
The states have the power to directly elect senators to represent them.
(Before this, the state legislature decided who the senators were)
Amendment XVIII- Prohibition of Liquor
(1919) Forbade people to make, sell, or transport liquor.
Amendment XIX- Women’s Suffrage; Gives women the power to vote
Amendment XX- Terms of President and Congress
Moves the date that newly elected presidents and members of Congress take
office after election time. President: January 20th, Congress: January 3rd
Amendment XXI-Repeal of Prohibition; Repeals the 18th amendment.
Amendment XXII- Limitation of Presidents to Two Terms
No person can be elected president more than twice.
Amendment XXIII- Suffrage
in the District of Columbia
Allows citizens of Washington D.C. to vote in the presidential elections.
However, they cannot vote for members of Congress.
Amendment XXIV-Poll Taxes
Forbids making voters pay a poll tax before they can vote in a national
Amendment XXV- Presidential Disability
If president is removed, dies, or resigns, the vice president becomes
president. The president fulfills a vice president vacancy, by a majority vote
of both Houses of Congress.
Amendment XXVI- Suffrage for 18-Year-Olds
Voting age moved to 18
Amendment XXVII- Congressional Pay Raises
Any increase in congressional pay does not go into effect until after the next
regular election of the House of Representatives
How a Bill Becomes a Law
1. A member of Congress introduces a bill.
When a senator or representative introduces a bill, it is sent to the clerk of the Senate or
House, who gives it a number and title. Next, the bill goes to the appropriate committee.
2. Committees review and vote on the bill.
Committees specialize in different areas, such as foreign relations or agriculture, and
are made up of small groups of senators or representatives.
The committee may reject the bill and “table” it, meaning it is never discussed again. Or
it may hold hearings to listen to facts and opinions, make changes in the bill and cast
votes. If most committee members vote in favor of the bill, it is sent back to the Senate
and the House for debate.
3. The Senate and the House debate and vote on the bill.
Separately, the Senate and the House debate the bill, offer amendments and cast
votes. If the bill is defeated in either the Senate or the House, the bill dies.
Sometimes, the House and the Senate pass the same bill, but with different
amendments. In these cases, the bill goes to a conference committee made up of
members of Congress. The conference committee works out differences between the
two versions of the bill.
Then the bill goes before all of Congress for a vote. If a majority of both the Senate and
the House votes for the bill, it goes to the President for approval.
4. The President signs the bill—or not.
If the President approves the bill and signs it, the bill becomes a law. However, if the
President disapproves, he can veto the bill by refusing to sign it.
Congress can try to overrule a veto. If both the Senate and the House pass the bill by a
two-thirds majority, the President’s veto is overruled and the bill becomes a law.
How the Electoral College Elects the President
When you vote for a presidential candidate you are really voting to instruct the electors from your
state to cast their votes for the same candidate. For example, if you vote for the Republican candidate,
you are really voting for an elector who will be “pledged” to vote for the Republican candidate. The
candidate who wins the popular vote in a state wins all the pledged votes of the state’s electors.
The Electoral College system was established in Article II of the Constitution and amended by the 12th
Amendment in 1804.
Each state gets a number of electors equal to its number of members in the U.S. House of
Representatives plus one for each of its two U.S. Senators. The District of Columbia gets three
electors. While state laws determine how electors are chosen, they are generally selected by the
political party committees within the states.
Each elector gets one vote. Thus, a state with eight electors would cast eight votes. There are
currently 538 electors and the votes of a majority of them — 270 votes — are required to be elected.
Since Electoral College representation is based on congressional representation, states with larger
populations get more Electoral College votes. See: Electoral Votes From Each State
Should none of the candidates win 270 electoral votes, the 12th Amendment kicks in and the election
is decided by the House of Representatives. The combined representatives of each state get one vote
and a simple majority of states is required to win. This has only happened twice. Presidents Thomas
Jefferson in 1801 and John Quincy Adams in 1825 were elected by the House of Representatives.
While the state electors are “pledged” to vote for the candidate of the party that chose them, nothing
in the Constitution requires them to do so. In rare instances, an elector will defect and not vote for his
or her party’s candidate. Such “faithless” votes rarely change the outcome of the election and laws of
some states prohibit electors from casting them.
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