The House of Representatives 

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The House of Representatives

The membership of the House is 435. By the Constitution each State is entitled to at least one representative and all beyond this minimum number are apportioned among the states’ Senate Chamber in the North Wing of the Capitol where the Senate of the United States convenes. Public galleries for tourists and other visitors arc above the Chair; the family gallery is to the Chair's left; the diplomatic gallery is directly across from him and the press gallery directly above and behind him according to population. The only constitutional limitation is that the number must not exceed one representative to each 30,000 of population.

The members of the House do not have individual seats, any member may sit where he chooses. Democrats occupy the east side of the chamber – on the Speaker's right, Republicans sit across the main aisle on the Speaker's left.

The officers of the House include Speaker, Chaplain, Clerk, Sergeant-at-Arms, Doorkeeper and Postmaster. Each of these elective officers appoints any employees provided by law for his department.

The Speaker of the House is nominated at a party caucus and chosen by the members of the House of Representatives.

The Speaker of the House presides over the House, appoints the chairman to preside over the Committee of the Whole, appoints all special or select committees, appoints Conference Committees, has the power of recognition of members, makes many important rulings and decisions in the House. The Speaker may vote, but usually does not. The Speaker and the majority leader determine the administration policies in the House, often confer with the President, and are regarded as spokesmen for the Administration if they and the President belong to the same political party.

The sergeant-at-arms has a special symbol of office, the mace.

During sessions, the flag is raised over the House wing of the Capitol. The mace is on its pedestal. At night, if either House is in session, a light is burning in the dome.

The sergeant-at-arms has the mace properly placed on its pedestal to the Speaker's right; it remains there while the House is in session except when it is being borne by the sergeant-at-arms to enforce order on the floor. The mace is a symbol, not an implement, and its solemn exhibition is sufficient.

The whips (of the majority and minority parties) keep track of all important political legislation and endeavour to have all members of their parties present when important measures are to be voted upon. When the vote is likely to be closed they check up, find out who is out of the city, and advise absentees by wire of the important measures coming up.

When the House meets, the Speaker calls the members to order and the sergeant-at-arms places the mace on the pedestal at the right of the Speaker's platform. It is the symbol of authority of the House. Then the chaplain offers prayers. Next the clerk reads the Journal of the preceding day's activities. Members of the committees make reports of bills and then the House is ready to consider the bill left unfinished the day before or take up a new bill on the calendar, if there be no unfinished business.

When any Member means to speak, he is to stand up in his place and to address himself, not to the House or any particular member, but to the Speaker.

The length of time depends upon the matter before the House or the circumstances bringing it up, but in no event is a member of the House allowed to proceed longer than one hour without unanimous consent.

In the House of Representatives a quorum is a majority of the membership. When there are no vacancies in the membership a quorum is 218. There are usually a few vacancies – members who have died or have resigned and their places are yet unfilled. So an actual quorum is usually a little under that figure. Much "business is transacted without a quorum. But no business of any character, except to adjourn, can he transacted without a quorum present if any member objects.

The standing committees of the House of Representatives are as follows: Agriculture; Appropriations; Armed Services; Banking and Currency; District of Columbia; Education and Labour; Foreign Affairs; Government Operations; House Administration; Interior and Insular Affairs; Interstate and Foreign Commerce; Judiciary; Merchant Marine and Fisheries; Post Office and Civil Service; Public Works; Rules; Science and Astronautics; Un-American Activities; Standards of Official Conduct; Veterans Affairs; and Ways and Means.

The Administration

The presidency of the U.S. is the highest governmental office.

The executive branch, which includes the President, Vice-President, and the President's Cabinet, is responsible for administering and executing the laws.

The President must be a natural-born citizen, at least thirty-five years old, and for at least fourteen years a resident of the United States.

The Twentieth Amendment makes noon on January 20, every four years, the time for the beginning of presidential terms. The 22nd Amendment ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the states limits the President to two terms. At noon on January 20 ("Inauguration Day") the President, the chief executive, is sworn to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.

The Oath of the President: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm), that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United Stales, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

The U.S. President is assisted in Administration by a Cabinet of 10—12 members. The Government positions held by members of the President's Cabinet are: Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, Secretary of Defence, Attorney General, Postmaster General, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Agriculture, Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and Secretary of Transportation.

Cabinet officials are appointees of the President and serve during his term. When the President's service ends, it is customary for the Cabinet to resign, so that the new President can appoint new chiefs of the executive departments.

The twelve executive departments are: the State Department (established in 1789), the Treasury Department (1789), Department of Defence (1949), Department of Justice (1870), Post Office Department (1872), Department of the Interior (1849), Department of Agriculture (1862), Department of Commerce (1903), Department of Labour (1913), Department of Health, Education and Welfare (1953), Department of Housing and Urban Development (1965), Department of Transportation (1966).

The fourth Act of Congress after adoption of the Constitution was a bill establishing a Department of Foreign Affairs, on July 27, 1789. That is, the State Department ranks ahead of other Departments in prestige and seniority.

Among major activities of the State Department are: Embassies and Legations; European Affairs; Far Eastern Affairs; Near Eastern, South Asian and African Affairs; Inter-American Affairs; Bureau of Economic Affairs; International Trade and Resources; International Organization Affairs; International Cooperation Administration; Mission of the United Nations; Passports and Visas.

The political power of the Secretary of Stale is second only to that of the President. The Secretary of State has the duty of trying to maintain peace and to negotiate economic and political treaties.

Text E. Translate the text in writing. Get ready to discuss it.

Department of Justice

The Attorney General is the chief law-enforcement officer in the United States. He represents the United States in legal matters generally, and gives advice and opinion when requested by the President or by executive-departments heads.

While the President has a special counsel, the White House also calls on the Attorney General for legal advice, particularly on bills and resolutions passed in Congress and sent to the chief executive for his signature. The President also calls on the Attorney General for legal opinions concerning the exercising of special emergency powers. This was particularly true during World War II and in the two years that followed.

The Attorney General has a wide discretion about what laws to enforce and about what actions he will regard as violations of the law. His decision will not be made without reference to the policies of the President; and those in turn are strongly influenced by politics.

With all the political forces that influence the interpretation of the Constitution and the laws, from the choices of the Attorney General to the personalities of the Supreme Court justices, the law is evidently not the simple block of enduring granite that the layman might wish he could have under his feet. The law, in fact, is less certain today than it was thought to be in 1787.

The Solicitor General is the second ranking officer of the Department of Justice assuming the duties of Attorney General in his absence. He represents the Government in cases "before the Supreme Court, and at the request of the Attorney General, in cases affecting the United States in state courts or elsewhere.

The main unit of the Justice Department is the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The Bureau is in effect an intelligence agency for the Justice Department, gathering information on criminal matters which come within the jurisdiction of the Department. Functions of the FBI include the investigation of espionage, sabotage, and matters pertaining to the internal security of the United States as well as investigations of alleged violations of approximately 100 Federal statutes. The FBI deals with kidnappers, bank robbers, and many other violators of Federal law, and is active in counterespionage. It does the field work of investigating the loyalty of Government employees. Other secret services, located in the Treasury, pursue counterfeiters, smugglers, narcotics traders, income-tax dodgers. All such persons when caught are prosecuted in Federal courts by the Department of Justice or the local United States attorneys under its supervision.

(Wright Patman, "Our American Government", New York, 1957)


Text F. Read and translate the text. Make up the summary of the text in writing.

Political Parties

The Republican and the Democratic Party are the two leading parties in the USA. There are some minor parties in the country, but they do not play any serious role in national politics. The political parties in the United States have much less actual power than they do in other nations.

Although the U.S. Constitution does not talk about political parties, they began their existence during George Washington’s term of office, in the eighteenth century. The framers of the constitution tried by the device of an electoral college to avoid having political parties control in the election of the President.

In 1796 Adams won the elections because two electors from Jefferson States voted for him. All this led to the formation of political parties. The parties formed so that they could choose electors pledged to support party candidates in national elections. Thus two lists of party candidates for electors were created in the 1800 election.

On one side were the Federalists. They wanted a strong federal government. On the other side, the Democratic-Republicans wanted to limit the power of the national government. Their leader was Thomas Jefferson, and their group later became the Democratic Party.

Some of the early political parties, such as the Federalists and the Whigs, no longer exist. The Federalist party practically disappeared after the War of 1812 and was succeeded by the National Republicans and Whigs. The Whig party in turn disintegrated after 1852 and the (present) Republican party took form in 1854, its first President candidate being John C. Flemont in 1856. Since that time the two major parties have been the Democrats and the Republicans. Smaller parties have lasted for only a short time. “Third parties” have won in local elections, but their candidates have never won a Presidential election.

Many people say that there is not much difference between the Republican and Democratic Parties. “Liberal” politicians usually favor reform (change) and progress. “Conservative” politicians usually oppose change. But both liberal and conservative members belong to the two major political parties, and their ideas often change with the times and the issues.

The Democratic Party is the oldest party in the United States. In 1829, Andrew Jackson became the first Democratic President. Since that time, the issues of the nation and the ideas of the party have changed. Both the major parties have liberal and conservative members, but in general people consider the Democrats today more liberal than the Republicans. Democrats often want the government to establish social programs for people in need, such as the poor, the unemployed, and the elderly. They usually say they believe in equal rights for women and minorities and they oppose nuclear weapons and too much military spending. The symbol of the Democratic Party (from political cartoons) is the donkey.

The Republic Party, sometimes called the G.O.P. (the Grand Old Party), began in 1854 over the issue of slavery. Republicans oppose slavery. The first Republican candidate to become President was Abraham Lincoln. After the Civil War, Republicans got interested in farm, land and business issues. In general, Republicans vote more conservatively than Democrats. They want government to support big business but not to control the lives of citizens. They often oppose government spending for social programs but support military spending. The party symbol is the elephant.

Both national parties remained in fact the parties supported and controlled by big business. The national Democratic Party tended to get more big business support when a course of compromise was deemed advisable or unavoidable. The national Republican Party was the greater recipient of this support when a policy of concessions was opposed, or when it was feared that the pressure for reform would get out of hand. Monopoly groupings and individual capitalists have leaned in one direction or the other, depending also upon the nature of their investments, their market problems, and the struggle within the ranks of finance capital for the lion's share of the yearly 100 billion dollars of federal spending.

Summing up

Discuss the main points of the Unit:

1. The Constitution of the USA

2. Congress

3. The Senate

4. The House of Representatives

5. Judicial Department

6. Political Parties in the USA

Revision translation

Правовая система США

На территории Северной Америки английское право было распространено переселенцами из Англии. Обычаи и традиции местных индейцев игнорировались как нечто чуждое и нецивилизованное. Однако английское право претерпело в колониях довольно значительные изменения. Это было связано с новыми условиями и в первую очередь с тем, что в Новом Свете отсутствовал феодальный уклад. Потребность в регулировании новых отношений, складывавшихся в колониях, способствовала утверждению идеи о необходимости создания кодифицированного права.

Провозглашение независимости выдвинуло на первый план идею создания самостоятельного американского права, порывающего со своим «английским прошлым». Принятие федеральной Конституции 1787 г. и конституций штатов, вошедших в состав США, явилось первым и важным шагом на этом пути. В ряде штатов были приняты уголовные, уголовно-процессуальные и гражданские процессуальные кодексы, запрещены ссылки на английские судебные решения. Однако восприятия принципов континентальной правовой системы в праве США не произошло. Лишь некоторые штаты, бывшие ранее французскими и испанскими колониями (Луизиана, Калифорния), приняли кодексы романского типа. Законы большинства штатов прямо оговорили, что общее право является действующим. В целом в США сложилась система, сходная с английской: прецедентное право во взаимодействии со статутным при приоритете прецедента. Долгое время Англия оставалась моделью для американских юристов.

Как для английского, так и для американского юриста право – это, прежде всего судебная практика, а нормы закона входят в систему права лишь после того, как неоднократно будут применены и истолкованы судьями. В американских судах обычно ссылаются не на законы, а на судебные решения, где они применены.

Одно из весьма существенных различий американского и английского законодательства связано с федеральной структурой США. Штаты в пределах своей компетенции создают свое законодательство и свою систему прецедентного права. Поэтому в США существует 51 система права: 50 – в штатах и одна – федеральная. Нормы права США устанавливаются судами.



Legal Profession

Subject of Study

Texts: A: Legal profession in Great Britain

B: The Lawyers in the United States

C: Judges in the United States

D: Judges nomination

E: Judicial independence

F: American Sheriffs


The Infinitive.

The Infinitive Constructions


Modal Verbs


abolishv отменять
acceptv принимать
accusedadj обвиняемый
acquitv оправдывать
administerv управлять; отправлять (правосудие)
adoptv принимать
aforesaidadj вышеупомянутый
ambiguityn неясность, двусмысленность
appearv выступать в суде
appearancen появление, явка в суд
applicationn применение, обращение
applyv обращаться, применять
approvev одобрять
attemptn попытка
attorneyn юрист, адвокат, прокурор
authorityn полномочие
backgroundn основа, данные
barn адвокатура
barristern барристер, адвокат
behavev поступать, вести себя
breakv нарушать
casen случай, судебное дело, случай в судебной практике, прецедент
chargen обвинение
civiladj гражданский
claimv претендовать, заявлять право (на что-либо)
coden кодекс, свод законов
codifyv составлять кодекс, приводить в систему
commitv совершать
conductn поведение, образ действия
confirmv подтверждать, утвердить, ратифицировать
considerationn компенсация, возмещение
convictv осудить
counseln участвующий в деле адвокат
сourtn суд
createv творить, создавать
crimen преступление; преступность
criminaladj уголовный, преступный
сross-examinev вести перекрестный допрос
deal(with)v иметь дело (с чём-л., кем-л.), рассматривать
defendv защищать (ся)
defendantn обвиняемый, ответчик
definev определять, давать определение
dependv зависеть
determinev устанавливать, определять
dischargev прекращать уголовное преследование
enforcev оказывать давление, принуждать
evidencen доказательство; свидетельские показания
expressadj определенный, точно выраженный
finen штраф
governv управлять, править
guaranteev гарантировать
imprisonmentn тюремное заключение, содержание под стражей
inflictv налагать (наказание и т.п.)
institutev устанавливать, учреждать; начинать (следствие и т.п.)
judgen судья
judiciaryn суд, судебная власть
jurorn присяжный заседатель
juryn суд присяжных
lawmakern законодатель
lawyern юрист, адвокат
legaladj юридический, правовой
legalesen язык, используемый в юридической документации
legislatorn законодатель
litigationn тяжба, гражданский судебный спор, процесс
murdern убийство (преднамеренное)
nuisancen помеха, неудобство, вред
obediencen послушание, повиновение
obligationn обязательство
observancen соблюдение
observev соблюдать
offencen правонарушение, преступление
offendv совершить преступление
offendern правонарушитель, преступник
omissionn упущение, пропуск
passv принимать (закон, резолюцию)
patternn образец, модель
penaltyn наказание; штраф
plaintiffn истец
pleadv делать заявление
powern могущество, власть
prevailv преобладать
preventiveadj предупредительный, превентивный
proceedv привлекать к суду; возбуждать процесс
proceedingsn процессуальное действие, процесс, судопроизводство
proposev предлагать, вносить предложение
prosecutev преследовать в судебном порядке
prosecutionn судебное преследование
punishv наказывать, карать
punishmentn наказание
reducev сводить, приводить (к)
referv отсылать; передавать на рассмотрение
refusev отказывать, отвергать
regulatev регулировать, упорядочивать
replevinn иск о возвращении владения движимой вещью, виндикация
representv представлять
retirev уходить в отставку
retryv повторно разбирать дело
rulen правило, норма
selectv отбирать, выбирать
sentencen приговор, наказание
sentencev приговаривать, осуждать
solicitorn солиситор, адвокат, поверенный
suev предъявлять иск
sufferv страдать, испытывать, претерпевать
summarizev резюмировать, подводить итог
summonv вызывать в суд
summonsn судебная повестка, извещение ответчика о предъявленном иске
supervisev наблюдать; осуществлять надзор
trialn судебный процесс, судебное разбирательство
undertakev предпринимать
verdictn решение суда присяжных, вердикт
violatev нарушать (право, закон)
violentlyadv сильно, неистово
willn завещание
witnessn свидетель

Vocabulary Notes:

accept the rules принимать правила
break the law нарушать закон
Case Law прецедентное право
commit a crime совершать преступление
counsel for the defence защитник обвиняемого
counsel for the prosecution обвинитель
court decision решение суда
criminal proceeding уголовный процесс
customary rules обычные нормы
enforce law принуждать выполнять закон
forms of behaviour формы поведения
government in power правительство, находящееся у власти
habeas corpus Хабеас Корпус (английский закон 1679 г. о неприкосновенности)
indictable offence преступление, преследуемое по обвинительному акту
legal rights законные права
life imprisonment пожизненное заключение
observe the rules соблюдать нормы
on behalf of от имени кого-либо
pattern of behaviour модель поведения
petty crime мелкое преступление
power of the police власть полиции
preventive detention превентивное заключение
public prosecutor прокурор
reduce to writing выразить в письменной форме
suffer penalty нести наказание
the right of audience право выступать в суде
to deal with a case вести процесс (дело)
to inflict punishment назначать наказание
to institute proceedings (case) возбуждать дело
to make a will составить завещание
to move а charge выдвинуть обвинение
to plead guilty признать себя виновным
to return a verdict выносить вердикт
witness for the prosecution свидетель обвинения или свидетель со стороны истца

Text A. Read and translate the text. Do the exercises given below.

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