ERROL CASTENS: Know your Constitution

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

Sept. 17 marks the 225th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution’s creation. Officeholders from President to constable swear to preserve, protect and defend this document that defines our government’s roles and limits, although it is frequently stretched, minimized, ignored disparaged and flouted by people who don’t want to be bound by its provisions.
In early observance of Constitution Day, here’s a quiz for your entertainment and perhaps your education, too.
QUESTIONS
1. What five freedoms are encoded in the First Amendment?
2. How were senators chosen before 1913?
3. What constitutional amendment was repealed by a later amendment?
4. In what group are federal legislative powers vested?
5. What was the latest amendment added to the Constitution?
6. What amendment authorized federal income tax?
7. Where must revenue bills originate?
8. In what part of the Constitution is the major declaration of Congress’ powers?
9. What is the maximum length of service as president for one person?
10. When did female citizens get the right to vote?
ANSWERS
1. The freedoms of religion, speech, of the press, of assembly, and to petition the government for redress.
2. They were selected by the respective state legislatures.
3. The 18th Amendment, which prohibited liquor, was ratified in 1919 and was repealed by the 21st Amendment in 1933.
4. Congress.
5. The 27th Amendment, ratified in 1992, declares that any change in compensation for Senators and Representatives may not take effect until after the next Congressional election.
6. The 16th Amendment, in 1913.
7. In the House of Representatives.
8. In Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution.
9. 10 years: If a Vice President replaces the President and serves two years or less of that term, he is still eligible to serve two full four-year terms. If his partial term is more than two years, he is limited to one additional term.
10. In 1920, when the 19th Amendment was ratified.

Final comments: In the Ninth Amendment, the framers humbly acknowledged that there may well be rights that they didn’t think of: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
And in the 10th Amendment, they acknowledged there were lots of governing powers unnamed in the Constitution. The fact that any particular power is left out of the Constitution, however, explicitly restricts the federal government from claiming it: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
Something worth considering.
Contact Daily Journal Oxford Bureau reporter Errol Castens at errol.castens@journalinc.com.