Tuesday, November 30, 2010

12th Amendment Artwork

                                                       Thomas Jefferson VS. John Adams

For the second part of my blog I would like to delve into the background of how the twelfth amendment was created, which starts with the Election of 1800. The presidential candidates for the election of 1800 were John Adams (Federalist), Aaron Bur (Democratic-Republican), John Fay (Federalist), Thomas Jefferson (Democratic-Republican) and there were no 'official' vice presidential candidates in the election. With regards to the U.S. Constitution, electors made two choices for president and whoever received the most votes became president. The person with the second most votes became vice president. This changed however when 12th Amendment was ratified and brought about. Even though there was no official vice presidential candidate, Thomas Jefferson ran with Aaron Burr as his running mate. Their ticket received the most votes and the decision of who would be president was given to the electors. John Adams was paired with either Pinckney or Jay. Significant things to note from this is the aftermath of the Election of 1800 resulted in the passage of the 12th amendment in 1804 requiring that electors vote specifically for the offices of President and Vice President. This election is cited as key in proving that the United States could survive the exchange of power between opposing parties when the Democratic-Republicans took over after the Federalists had been in charge. This was very important because this would allow an election similar to the election of 1800's never to happen.

12th Amendment Artwork

"The Electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and all persons voted for as Vice-President and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate.

The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted.
The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President.
The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States."
- 12th Amendment of the United States Constitution

After reading the twelfth amendment I see that it outlines a couple of important things:

(a) the twelfth amendment requires separate electoral ballots for the president and vice president. This was created because, during the election of 1800 Thomas Jefferson & Aaron burr were going against the federalists, Jefferson & burr won, but they each received 73 electoral votes and the house of representatives had to re-vote 35 times until on the 36th ballot Jefferson won. This happened because during that time the 2 people that got the highest votes were president and vice president, even if they were in different political parties (we spoke about this incident in class).
(b) the twelfth amendment provides the procedure by which the President and Vice President are elected. It replaced the procedure of the Electoral College under Article II, Section 1, Clause 3, which demonstrated problems in the elections of 1796 and 1800, as mentioned earlier with the election of 1800. The twelfth amendment was proposed by the Congress on December 9, 1803 and was ratified by the requisite number of state legislatures on June 15, 1804.

I am glad that the twelfth amendment was put into place because there were too many problems that had the possibility of occurring without it. My primary example is that of the election of 1800 where re-votes had to take place because the winners of the election for the office of president and vice president were of different political parties. 

I thought this comic strip would be interesting for the twelfth amendment. The DCU version of the United States Constitution has a twelfth amendment which, under some circumstances, allows witnesses to give an alias rather than a real name when testifying in court. Even though this image does not correlate with the twelfth amendment we are speaking of, I thought it would be a fun way of reintroducing the twelfth amendment.

Monday, November 29, 2010

11th Amendment Video

The following video refers to the court case of Pennhurst State School V. Halderman (1984). The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the MH/MR Act required the State to adopt the "least restrictive environment" approach for the care of the mentally retarded, and rejecting petitioners' argument that the eleventh amendment barred a federal court from considering this pendent state law claim. 

"The court reasoned that, since that Amendment did not bar a federal court from granting prospective injunctive relief against state officials on the basis of federal claims, the same result obtained with respect to a pendent state law claim."
- EX PARTE YOUNG, 209 U.S. 123 (1908)

The Eleventh Amendment prohibited the District Court from ordering state officials to conform their conduct to state law. The principle of sovereign immunity is a constitutional limitation on the federal judicial power established in Article III of the Constitution. The Eleventh Amendment bars a suit against state officials when the State is the real, substantial party in interest, regardless of whether the suit seeks damages or injunctive relief. The Court in Ex parte Young, supra, recognized an important exception to this general rule: a suit challenging the federal constitutionality of a state official's action is not one against the State. This is where I found an obvious problem with the eleventh amendment as I spoke of in my earlier post. Sometimes there is a need to sue outside states even if you are not a citizen of one. 

11th Amendment Article

"The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State."
-11th Amendment of the United States Constitution

The eleventh amendment protects a state from lawsuits filed by citizens of other states or countries.  For Example someone who is a citizen of Missouri can't sue Virginia. As I mentioned above in layman's terms, the eleventh amendment limits the power of federal courts to hear lawsuits against state governments brought by the citizens of another state or the citizens of a foreign country. The Supreme Court has also interpreted the Eleventh Amendment to bar federal courts from hearing lawsuits instituted by citizens of the state being sued and lawsuits initiated by the governments of foreign countries. For example, the state of New York could call the eleventh Amendment to protect itself from being sued in federal court by its own residents, residents of another state, residents of a foreign country, or the government of a foreign country. I feel as though this is an important yet confusing amendment. What if I had a dispute within a certain state? How would the problem be taken care of? I have some unanswered questions about the amendment that I plan to find the answers to through doing this blog and from learning about it in class. So for my media I plan to find sources that further explain the eleventh Amendment and its importance.

Below is an abstract of an article that argues that the eleventh amendment makes sense, the actual paper is 103 papers long. After reading the abstract and summary, I had a better understanding of the importance of this amendment, especially at the time it was made. This is the first article I have used to support the amendment I was talking about, hopefully it is a good switch up.

The Eleventh Amendment and the Nature of the Union
Bradford R. Clark
George Washington University Law School
"Leading theories of the Eleventh Amendment start from the premise that its text makes no sense. These theories regard the Amendment as either under-inclusive, over-inclusive, or an incoherent compromise because it prohibits federal courts from hearing “any suit” against a state by out-of-state citizens, but does not prohibit suits against a state by its own citizens. Two of these theories would either expand or contract the immunity conferred by the text of the Amendment in order to avoid this absurd or anomalous result. This Article suggests that the Eleventh Amendment made sense as written when understood in its full historical context. In particular, the Articles of Confederation empowered Congress to require states to supply men, money, and supplies, but gave Congress no power to enforce its own commands. Prominent Founders initially argued that the only way to fix the Articles was to give Congress coercive power over states. But the Convention, and the ratifiers, ultimately rejected this idea because they feared that the introduction of such power would lead to a civil war. To avoid this danger, the Founders designed the Constitution to give Congress legislative power over individuals rather than states. This novel approach eliminated the need for coercive power over states, and provided Federalists with a key argument for adopting the Constitution rather than amending the Articles. Anti-federalists threatened to undermine this case for the Constitution by arguing that the state-citizen diversity provisions of Article III — authorizing suits “between” states and out-of-state citizens — could be construed to permit suits against states (and thus imply federal power to enforce any resulting judgments against states). Although Federalists denied this construction, the Supreme Court proceeded to read Article III to permit out-of-state citizens to sue states. Federalists and Anti-federalists quickly joined forces to restore their preferred construction of Article III. In adopting the Eleventh Amendment, they saw no anomaly in prohibiting “any suit” against a state by out-of-state citizens because they did not understand the Constitution to authorize any suits against states by in-state citizens. Federal question jurisdiction did not expressly authorize such suits, and the Founders likely would not have perceived any real need for such jurisdiction given their understanding that the Constitution conferred neither legislative nor coercive power over states. Because the Eleventh Amendment, as written, made sense in light of the nature of the Union, the absurdity doctrine cannot justify departing from the terms of the Amendment."