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Questions tagged [us-constitution]

The United States Constitution is the primary legal document for the United States of America.

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On what basis might Trump's executive order on immigration be illegal?

On 27 January 2017, US President Donald Trump has issued an executive order entitled 'Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States'. On 30 January 2017, the acting ...
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What is the meaning of “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” in the 14th amendment?

In the fourteenth amendment, what does the phrase “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof” contribute? What people born in the United States would not have been subject to the jurisdiction of the ...
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What's the most crucial issue when deciding Senator Cruz's citizenship?

Donald Trump is threatening to sue Senator Cruz for his citizenship issue. I understand Senator Cruz was born to an American mother and Cuban father in Canada . I understand it would not be an issue ...
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What does “corruption of blood” mean?

Having read this question, it makes reference to treason, to which part of it states: The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work ...
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Does the US Fifth Amendment only apply to criminal trials? Do any laws protect a person in civil court when testimony would implicate them in a crime?

Suppose someone is accused of burglary. This person is asked to appear in civil court regarding an unrelated event that occurred at the same time as the burglary but in a different location. If the ...
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Why was Joe Arpaio not given a jury trial?

Joe Arpaio, the former Sheriff of Maricopa County, AZ, was found guilty of criminal contempt of court by U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton on July 31, 2017. Apparently Arpaio requested a trial by jury, ...
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How are Trump's actions against NFL protesters not a violation of Constitutional rights?

I've been casually following the NFL player protests against injustice in modern America. Often the controversy is centered around players like Colin Kaepernick, whose career seems to be over even ...
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What part of the constitution makes the US federal agency “Food and Drug Administration” legal?

Which part of the US constitution delegates the US federal government the power to establish the agency "Food and Drug Administration"?
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How does the US constitution apply to aliens?

Does the constitution of the US extend its protections to— legal aliens in the US (e.g. visitors from overseas), and illegal aliens in the US (e.g. someone who has stayed beyond their visa's ...
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1answer
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Voting while serving a sentence for felonious refusal to pay taxes

Last I heard (but my information may not be up to date) in 49 48 of the 50 states in the U.S., persons serving a sentence for a felony are not allowed to vote. Suppose a person is convicted of a ...
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2answers
3k views

Does the right against self incrimination mean you can't be forced to file a tax return?

Irwin Schiff claims that because you have a right against self incrimination and therefore it is wrong for you to have to reveal anything about what you make. Therefore, the government can levy the ...
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Is slavery Illegal in the United States?

I have been bothered by the phrasing of the 13th Amendment since I first read it, in particular the bold: Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime ...
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What exactly is a “title of nobility” under the US Constitution?

Article 1, sections 9 & 10 of the US constitution prohibit granting titles of nobility by the federal government or the states. What exactly is a title of nobility for these purposes? Why is (say) ...
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What (if any) position is the highest office in the line of succession that someone ineligible to be president could hold?

"Can a young US Vice President follow in the line of succession?" was a question that sparked my interest. The answer to that questions is that a VP must actually be legally able to be President, as ...
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539 views

What's the constitutionality of the debt ceiling?

Section IV of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution says the validity of the debt "shall not be questioned." Yet, Congress plays politics with the debt ceiling (as put in this Atlantic article, ...
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2answers
900 views

In the United States, when can someone legally search my personal laptop? (Government or private security)

Unlike the United Kingdom, U.S. citizens don't have an explicit right to privacy in the Constitution. Although there are implied privacy rights within "penumbras" of the Bill of Rights this has ...
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Are US Senate/House rules legally enforcible?

Suppose, for example, that the Senate is considering the passage of a law. A Senator has decided to open a filibuster. After a half hour, the majority leader tires of hearing this Senator speak. He ...
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2answers
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Is there a gap in the office of Speaker of the House?

In the current Congressional elections, the control of the House of Representatives is changing from one party to another, and the current Speaker did not run for re-election. In this situation, is ...
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How could Congress legally abolish the death penalty in all states?

Let us suppose that a sufficiently large majority of the US Congress, with the agreement of the President, decided that the death penalty should be abolished throughout the nation, both at the federal ...
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Can a Corporation Exercise a Fifth-Amendment Right Against Self-Incrimination?

So I googled "can corporations plead the fifth?" and I got a bunch of non-cited sketchy sources. Is there a precedent around a corporation refusing to produce documents as a result of a subpoena to ...
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2answers
417 views

What do the last four words of the Tenth Amendment mean?

The Tenth Amendment to US Constitution says (emphasis added): The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States ...
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2answers
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How can the President appoint Whitaker as Acting Attorney General?

Today the president asked for and received the Attorney General’s resignation. Then it was announced that the DOJ Chief of Staff, Matthew Whitaker would be the Acting AG and according to the Hill, ...
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At what point do immigrants acquire the right to due process

I am asking this because president Trump is calling for sending immigrants who approach the border from Mexico to be sent back without due process. I strongly suspect that it is illegal but a lot of ...
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Would it be considered treason to help plan the movement of a migrant caravan to the border?

Stefan Molyneaux, on Twitter, said: If even one American is found to be one of the forces behind the Honduran ‘caravan,’ that’s straight up treason. He is referring to the migrant caravan that ...
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2answers
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Is American citizenship automatic when born on US soil?

The US constitution states that All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they ...
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6answers
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How is 14th amendment applicable to tourists and illegal immigrants?

14th amendment states "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States...". Given this wording how is it that foreign ...
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2answers
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Which part of the US constitution protects the life and safety of US citizens?

I could not find any interpretation of the US constitution that US citizens have the right of life and safety. So what is the constitutional base for laws of crimes against the person (murder, battery,...
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Could the Senate abolish the Supreme Court?

As a follow up from this question, suppose the Senate got tired of the "pesky" Court overturning its laws. Or, suppose that additional elections produced Senate majorities of a different party than ...
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1answer
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Can a young US Vice President follow in the line of succession?

As far as I know, the VPOTUS (Vice President of the United States) has no age limitations. With that, could a 30 year-old VPOTUS serve as president under the line of succession in the event the POTUS ...
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2answers
828 views

Confirming a new vice-president

Whenever the Office of President of the United States becomes vacant, whether by resignation, impeachment, ill health, whatever, the reason is immaterial. Naturally, the Vice President takes over ...
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1answer
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Can a US President give police a “kill order”?

Warning: spoilers for the TV show Designated Survivor ahead. The American TV drama Designated Survivor is set in a hypothetical world where terrorists have successfully attacked the State of the ...
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2answers
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Could Executive Order 9066 be repeated with other groups today?

In World War II, Executive Order 9066 suspended basic rights of Japanese Americans - even people whose loyalty to the United States was never questioned, though the government feared the group as a ...
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2answers
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What is the theory that allows a state to appeal a judgment of its own supreme court to the US Supreme Court?

Suppose John Doe is facing criminal prosecution in Florida. He raises a 4th Amendment issue, and the Florida Supreme Court grants him relief. At this point, the state of Florida can appeal to the US ...
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2answers
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Choosing what level of scrutiny to apply to enumerated rights

In court decisions dealing with burdens on enumerated rights you often see a discussion, or at least a reference to a previous decision, as to what level of scrutiny to apply. Why, in the case of ...
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2answers
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Could the Supreme Court prohibit abortion? (And other misconceptions about overturning Roe v Wade)

Here's my layman's understanding of Roe v Wade: A state had a law prohibiting abortion; That law was challenged all the way up to the Supreme Court; The Supreme Court found a right to abortion in the ...
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1answer
755 views

Does the Universal Declaration of Human Rights override the United States Constitution?

Does the Universal Declaration of Human Rights override the United States Constitution when it comes to the rights of civilians?
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1answer
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Is receiving support from an enemy (i.e. reverse treason) a crime?

I think committing treason, in the U.S. constitution, can involve giving aid & comfort to our enemies. What if the enemy gives aid & comfort to you instead? Is that treason? Is it covered ...
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2answers
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If someone was charged with 15 counts but was only indicted on 2, can the prosecutor introduce evidence at sentencing of charges that we not indicted?

I just have a question about information being presented that a defendant was not indicted on. If someone was charged with 15 counts of a crime but was only indicted on 2 counts, can the prosecutor ...
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5answers
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Could the President abolish the Supreme Court?

Article II, Section 2, of the US Constitution states: [The President] shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and ...
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4answers
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Does the “natural born Citizen” requirement for presidency violate the ICERD?

Article two, clause five of the United States Constitution states: No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, ...
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1answer
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Can the President be removed from office if he is deemed, by competent authority, to be unfit to carry out his duties?

Suppose, for example, that a sitting President is diagnosed with a mental illness that a competent authority decides makes the President unable to carry out his duties, but the President refuses to ...
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2answers
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Who enjoys freedom of the press?

In the 18th century it was decided that in the U.S.A. "freedom of the press" would prevail. "The press" is the printing press, a technology for mass-producing copies on paper. Thus freedom of the ...
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2answers
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Could Congress have ended slavery without the 13th Amendment?

The 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution reads: Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall ...
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2answers
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USA - Grounds for Treason / Arrests to Prevent a Coup

The base question is what grounds must a president have to initiate arrests on the basis of treason. What evidence must be had, if any. In the event of a suspected Coup, what acts may the president ...
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1answer
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What if a juror admits to having disregarded a judge's faulty instructions?

There are a number of situations where this could arise, but I'll use the one that I'm most familiar with: the Frank Quattrone (mis)trial. Frank Quattrone was an investment banker who was charged and ...
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2answers
470 views

Why can ONLY federal authorities regulate interstate commerce?

The Constitution of the United States gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce. It seems the federal courts have held that only Congress, and not state legislatures, can regulate ...
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3answers
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How does the “well regulated militia” clause affect laws?

The second amendment to the US Constitution states: 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. ...
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2answers
123 views

Is lying about a candidate protected speech in the United States?

Per Wikipedia: False statements that are on matters of public concern and that defame public figures are unprotected if either the speaker has knowledge that his statements are false, there is ...
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“Designated Survivor” scenario: What if a President is sworn in and someone earlier in succession resurfaces?

If something like what's depicted in "Designated Survivor" (TV-show) happened – POTUS, VPOTUS, Speaker, &c, were all (believed to be) dead – and the "designated survivor" had become acting ...
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2answers
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Does the President's Pardon authority extend to crimes not committed at the time of the pardon?

Does the U.S. Constitutional power of the President to pardon extend to crimes not yet committed? I know Ford gave Nixon a blanket pardon, but he did so for acts that (might have) been committed in ...