Unit 2 Vocabulary The Constitution

Amend: making minor changes in order to make it more up-to-date

Constitution: the body of fundamental laws setting out the principles, structures, and processes of a government

Amendment: a change in, or addition to, a constitution or law

Bill of Rights: the first ten amendments to the Constitution

Limited Government: the basic principle of the American government which states that government is restricted in what it may do and each individual has rights the government cannot take away

Separation of Powers: the basic principle of the American system of government that the executive, legislative, and judicial powers are divided among three independent and coequal branches of government

Ratify: giving formal consent

Interstate Commerce: a federal law that was designed to regulate the railroad industry

Article: numbered sections of a document; the unamended Constitution is divided into 7 articles

Jurisdiction: the authority of a court to hear a case

Supremacy Clause: establishes that the Constitution, federal laws made pursuant to it, and treaties made under its authority, constitute the supreme law of the land

Popular Sovereignty: asserts that the people are the source of any and all government power and the government can exist only with the consent of the governed

Federalism: a written constitution divides power between a central, or national, government and several regional governments

Checks and Balances: system of overlapping the powers of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches to permit each branch to check the actions of others

Judicial Review: the power of a court to determine the constitutionality of a governmental action

Expressed Powers: those delegates powers of the National Government that are spelled out in the Constitution

Enumerated Powers: describe how a central government with three distinct branches can operate effectively

Elastic Clause: granting Congress the power to pass all laws necessary and proper for carrying out the enumerated list of powers

Petition: a formal written request, typically one signed by many people, appealing to authority with respect to a particular cause

Executive Agreement: a pact made by the President directly with the head of the foreign state; binding international with the force of law but which does not require Senate consent

Prior Restraint: the government cannot curb ideas before they are expressed

Probable Cause: reasonable grounds

Search Warrant: a court order authorizing a search

Arrest Warrant: a warrant issued by a judge or magistrate on behalf of the state, which authorizes the arrest and detention of an individual, or the search and seizure of an individual's property

Due Process of the Law: fair treatment through the normal judicial system, especially as a citizen's entitlement

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