Am Govt Homework 11 Answers - Student Six

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1. The Supremacy Clause may be the most important provision in the entire U.S. Constitution. Discuss.

The Supremacy Clause refers to the part of the Constitution stating that “This Constitution and the Laws of the United States ... shall be the supreme Law of the Land.” This supreme authority means that any state law that contradicts the U.S. Constitution and/or the laws of the U.S. are invalid. This clause can be both good and bad in different circumstances. On one hand, this law prevents unconstitutional laws taking effect (such as a state writing a law to limit free speech.) On the other hand, it prevents states from imposing state laws to correct those that the federal government neglects to enforce (as with border security in Arizona.)

Excellent answer, one of the finest in the class.

2. What is the 16th Amendment, and how did it change the United States?

The 16th amendment gives Congress power to impose unlimited income taxes; this is now one of the government's primary sources of income. This gave the federal government oodles of new income so that they could spend excessively on things where the government has no place.


3. What is the Voting Rights Act, and what is your view of it? Is New Jersey covered by it - yes or no (no further explanation needed for this part of the question)?

The voting rights act of 1965 abolished voting requirements such as a literacy test that could indirectly discriminate against colored people. Initially this law was good, but like any law, when enforced beyond its reason, can become a very ugly thing, enabling noncitizens to vote in US elections. New Jersey is not covered by the voting rights act.

Very good analysis. Notice the capitalization in "Voting Rights Act" (and any other formal title of a federal law).

4. Why did Rhode Island decline to join the United States initially, even after George Washington became president?

Because the U.S. Constitution allowed the federal government to tax imports and restricted the states from doing so. These taxes were Rhode Island's primary source of income, so naturally they didn't want to give it up.


5. For what purpose does the Supreme Court use the "Elastic Clause" (or the "Necessary and Proper Clause")?

To support decisions by Congress that it does not have express constitutional power to pass.

"decisions" is the wrong word there. (-1) Also, the point needs to be made that the "Elastic Clause" enables Congress to "stretch" beyond what it has the power under the Constitution to do. (-1) Otherwise your answer is good.

6. Pick any Supreme Court decision described in this lecture, and explain it briefly.

Reynolds v. Sims was a Supreme Court case in the year 1964. This case ruled that all congressional districts must have approximately the same population, rather than area. This allowed states such as New York, Michigan, Illinois, and California to be dominated by their large cities.

Not "all congressional districts," where equal population was already the practice. The change in Reynolds v. Sims was to require all state legislative districts to have the same population. (-1)

7. "Be careful what you ask for" might describe which ironic part of political history for Democrats in Illinois?

In Order to block an amendment proposed by Everett Dirksen, Democrats changed the percentage of state legislature needed to ratify a constitutional amendment from 51% to 60% in the Illinois Constitution. They succeeded in blocking this amendment, but later on when they were attempting to pass their own amendment (ERA) they could not reach the 60% needed.

Good, but notice that the Illinois provision passed by Democrats was never needed to block Dirksen's amendment. Dirksen's amendment never made it out of the U.S. Senate. (-1)

8. Comment on a question that you missed in one of the quizzes taken so far in this course - and how you won't miss a question about it in the future.

Many good answers. Total score: 66/70.--Andy Schlafly 17:28, 8 January 2013 (EST)