The Constitution of the USA. 

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The Constitution of the USA.

Words and expressions

1. to adopt5. the Preamble and seven articles

2. it lists the set of rules, laws and regulations6. twenty-seven amendments

3. provide the political norms7. the Bill of Rights

4. private property8. the individual rights and




The Constitution of the USA was adopted after the War of Independence on September 17, 1787. It lists the set of rules, laws and regulations, which together provide the political norms regulating the work of the government.

The document represented the interests of privileged class, as the great majority of those who formulated the Constitution were men of property. The main principle under laying the Constitution was as follows: private property is the backbone of liberty.

The Constitution consists of the Preamble and seven articles. Twenty-seven amendments have been added to its original text. The first 10 amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, were added in a group in 1791, as a result of growing popular demands. These amendments establish the individual rights and freedoms to all people of the States, including freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of worship, and the right to peaceful assembly.

All the amendments adopted by Congress become an integral part of the Constitution. Americans feel that of all freedoms proclaimed in the Constitution there is only one freedom – freedom of enterprise. But freedom of enterprise does not at all expend personal freedoms of all citizens. On the contrary, it limits them. Freedom of enterprise in practice means freedom of the wealthy to profit at the expense of the workingman.

The US Government.

Words and expressions

1. a federal union

2. the dual character

3. a certain degree of power

8. the system of checks and balances

9. is vested in

10. ambassadors

4. the Senate and the House of Representatives

5. the Supreme Court

6. the Chief Justice

7. associate Justices

11. decision

12. similar to

The United States of America is a federal union of 50 states. Its basic law is the Constitution, adopted in 1789 and the amendments to it). Besides, each state has its own government. Thus, all governments in America have the dual character of both Federal and state Government. The basic principle of all American government is the separation of the three branches: legislative, executive and judicial. Each branch of government holds a certain degree of power over the other (the system of checks and balances), and all take part in the governmental process.

The highest executive power in the United States is vested in the President of the USA, who is elected for a term of 4 years by electors of each state. The President is to carry out the programmes of the Government, to recommend much of the legislation to Congress. He is to appoint Federal Judges, ambassadors to other countries and heads of government departments, called secretaries.

The legislative power belongs to Congress of the United States consisting of two chambers: the Senate and the House of Representatives. There are 100 Senators and 435 representatives. In order to become a law all bills must pass both the Houses and must be signed by the President.

The Supreme Court is the highest judicial organ of the United States and the head of the judicial branch of power. The Supreme Court consists of the Chief Justice and 8 Associate Justices. The Supreme Court watches over the other two branches. It determines whether or not their laws and acts are in accordance with the Constitution. A decision of the Supreme Court cannot be appealed to any other court. Neither the President no Congress can change its decision.

Each state has a constitution similar to the Constitution of the entire nation. The head of each state is the governor of the state. Each state has its own system of courts similar to that of the Federal courts.


The President of the USA.

Words and expressions

1. term of office

2. a native-born citizen

3. is elected directly by the voters

4. carry out

5. over-ridden

6. resigns or becomes permanently disabled

7. an impeachment process

8. sufficient evidence

The President of the United States is chosen in national elections for a four-year term of office, with no more that two full terms allowed. He must be a native-born citizen at least 35 years old. As is true with Senators and Representatives, The President is elected directly by the voters (through state electors). In other words, the political party with the most Senators and Representatives does not choose the President.

As a head of the Executive Branch the President must carry out the government programmes adopted by Congress. He recommends programmes and laws to Congress and requests money for federal government operations. If a President “vetoes” or refuses to sign a bill passed by Congress, his veto may be over-ridden by two-third vote of both Houses of Congress. The President appoints federal judges ambassadors and hundreds of governmental official, and assign duties to the elected Vice-President. If a President dies, resigns or becomes permanently disabled, the Vice President takes his duties until the next elections.

Under the US Constitution a sitting President may be removed from office before his term expires only by an impeachment process that begins with the House of Representatives. If upon sufficient evidence, the House drafts a “bill of impeachment”, which must be approved by two-thirds of its membership, a trial in the Senate, with the Chief Justice of the United States, acting as the judge, and the Senators, as the jury, follows.



Words and expressions

1. are elected every two years for six-year terms of office

2. congressional districts

3. is based upon

4. to improve taxes

5. to coin money

6. to declare war

7. to propose amendments

8. approve and disapprove

9. ratify treaties

Congress, the legislative branch of the federal government, is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives. There are 100 Senators, two from each state. One third of the Senators are elected every two years for six-year terms of office. The Senators represent all of the people in a state and their interests.

The House has 435 members. They are elected every two years for two-year-terms. They represent the population of “congressional districts” into which each state is divided. The number of Representatives from each state is based upon its population.

The main task of Congress is to make laws. The US Constitution also gives Congress the power to improve taxes, to make rules for trade with foreign countries and states, to coin money, to organize the Armed Forces, to declare war. Another power possessed by Congress is the right to propose amendments to the Constitution whenever two-thirds of both Houses shall consider it necessary.

Under the Constitution US Senate has some special powers not given to the House of Representatives the Senate approves and disapproves major Presidential appointments of such high officials as ambassadors, Cabinet ministers, and federal judges. The Senate must also ratify, by a two-thirds vote, treaties between the USA and foreign countries.

The House of Representatives has a special power of its own. Only a member of the House can introduce a bill to raise money, but it must also be passed by the Senate before it can become law.

III. курс 6 семестр.

The US system of the courts.

Words and expressions

1. court system

2. authority

3. the federal courts

4. set up

5. coexist

6. fall under the jurisdiction of two different court systems

7. to sue and be sued

8. like a pyramid

9. the highest tribunal

10. apex of the pyramid

11. bottom

12. district courts

13. treaties

14. vast majority of cases

15. state courts

16. courts of minor jurisdiction and major trial courts

The American court system is very complex. Throughout the US there are two judicial systems. One is that of the state and local courts established under the authority of the state government. The other is that of the federal courts, set up under the authority of the Constitution by Congress of the United States. These two systems coexist in the US. And individuals fall under the jurisdiction of two different court systems, their state courts and federal courts. They can sue and be sued in either system depending mostly on what their case is about.

Federal courts are organized like a pyramid with 3 tiers. The apex of the pyramid, the highest tribunal of the US, is the Supreme Court. It has original and appellate jurisdiction. Immediately below Supreme Court stand 12 Courts of Appeals and at the bottom of the judicial pyramid are 95 district courts, which are located in 95 judicial districts into which the fifty states are divided. Federal courts have power to decide only those cases in which the Constitution, federal law and treaties of the US give them authority.

But the vast majority of cases are handled by state courts. The same three levels of courts are recognizable in the state court system as in the federal court system. At the lowest level are the trial courts composed of two divisions: courts of minor jurisdiction and major trial courts. Some of the most populous states have a court of appeals above the trial courts and below the state supreme courts. State supreme courts hear cases of appeal from the lower state courts and in a few instances have original jurisdiction. As is evident, state courts differ from federal courts in organization, in name and in jurisdiction.



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