- England - Magna Carta (Wikipedia.org)
"Magna Carta (Latin for "Great Charter", literally "Great Paper"), also called Magna Carta Libertatum ("Great Charter of Freedoms"), is an English charter originally issued in 1215. Magna Carta is the most significant early influence on the long historical process that led to the rule of constitutional law today. Magna Carta was originally created because of disagreements between the Pope, King John and his English barons about the rights of the King. Magna Carta required the king to renounce certain rights, respect certain legal procedures and accept that the will of the king could be bound by law." 07-06
- Government - Impeachable Offense (New York Times)
Provides a lesson regarding the Constitutional basis for impeaching the President of the United States.
- Afghanistan Approves New Constitution (Bloomberg.com)
"Afghanistan's national council approved a constitution paving the way for democratic elections, in a move hailed by U.S. President George W. Bush, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan." 1-04
- Bush Advocates Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriages (ABC News)
"Reviving a major plank of his re-election campaign, President Bush called for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage Tuesday." 6-05
- Constitution of the United States (National Archives)
Provides a graphic of the actual document. Also includes a Web version.
- Corporate Charters - Limitations of the Past (Grossman and Adams)
"Many colonial citizens argued that under the Constitution, no business could be granted special privileges. Others worded that once incorporators amassed wealth, they would use their corporate shields to control jobs and production, buy off the press and dominate elections and the courts." However, in 1886 the U.S. Supreme Court granted corporations the same rights and protections as individual persons.
"Within just a few decades, appointed judges had redefined the 'common good' to mean the corporate use of humans and the Earth for maximum production and profit -- no matter what was manufactured, who was hurt or what was destroyed. Corporations had obtained control over resources, production, commerce, jobs, politicians, judges and the law. Workers, citizens, cities, towns, states and nature were left with fewer and fewer rights that corporations were forced to respect."
"By rewriting the [state] laws governing corporations, we citizens can reassert the convictions of the people who struggled to resist corporate rule in the past." 7-02
- Editorial: Bill Threatens "Unwritten Constitution" (FindLaw)
"Last week, the Senate unanimously approved a defense authorization bill which, if approved by the House, will dramatically curtail the ability of prisoners held at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to challenge their detention in federal court."
"The Amendment's key provision would strip the federal courts of jurisdiction to entertain habeas corpus petitions from Guantanamo Bay detainees--except in two circumstances."
Editor's Note: The purpose of the writ of habeas corpus is to release a person from unlawful imprisonment. The writ addresses whether lawful procedures were used to imprison the person, not whether the person is guilty of a crime. 12-05
- European Union Completes Its Constitution (Independent)
"The European Union's first constitution was finally published yesterday. Almost 16 months of work on revamping Europe's creaking structures concluded with champagne and a rendition of Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy'." The draft must still be approved to be final.
"The French Foreign Minister, Dominique de Villepin, said the draft would make Europe a key player on the world stage. Britain's government representative, Peter Hain, described it as 'a foundation for a modern, more democratic Europe, better anchored to its nation states and more accountable to its citizens'." 6-03
- Federalist Papers (Yale Law School - Avalon Project)
Provides the Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. These documents are used by the U.S. Supreme Court and others to help interprete the U.S. Constitution and American law. 8-02
- Granting Corporations Personhood (Grossman and Adams)
Discusses the U.S. Supreme Court decision of 1886, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, that first granted corporations the same rights as an individual citizen. The Supreme Court stated that:
"The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of opinion that it does."
"Thus it was that a two-sentence assertion by a single judge elevated corporations to the status of persons under the law, prepared the way for the rise of global corporate rule, and thereby changed the course of history." 7-02
- How the U.S. Supreme Court Works (BBC News)
"The Supreme Court is the highest court in the US. Its decisions cannot be appealed and can only be changed by another Supreme Court decision or a constitutional amendment." 6-05
- Human Rights and Constitutional Law (Columbia Law School - McKeever and Rosenbaum)
Provides information on efforts to protect human rights by country, nationality, region, program, and other criteria.
- Impeachable Offense - What is it (New York Times - Glaberson)
Provides a discussion of the Constitutional basis for impeaching the President of the United States.
- Iroquois Constitution (Ratical.org)
"The Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy, one of the world's oldest democracies, is at least three centuries older than most previous estimates, according to research by Barbara Mann and Jerry Fields of Toledo University, Ohio."
"Using a combination of documentary sources, solar eclipse data, and Iroquois oral history, Mann and Fields assert that the Iroquois Confederacy's body of law was adopted by the Senecas (the last of the five nations to ratify it) August 31, 1142. The ratification council convened at a site that is now a football field in Victor, New York. The site is called Gonandaga by the Seneca." 7-05
- Religious Freedom - World Report (ICRF - Colvin)
Provides a summary of religious freedom, such as whether the constitution of each country guarantees religious freedom.
- School Prayer and the First Amendment (Findlaw.com)
Provides the rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the First Amendment of the Constitution. 2-01
- Separation of Church and State (PBS.org - Moyers)
" 'Separation of church and state' is probably a familiar phrase. While it's one of the most frequently debated issues about the Constitution, those exact words don't even appear in the original document. How well do you know the history of God and government in the United States? Learn about it below." 11-04
- U.S. Constitution (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration)
Provides a readable copy of the U.S. Constitution. 2-03
- What Is the Constitution's Role in Wartime? (FindLaw)
"Does law speak in time of war? And, if so, to whom, and how loudly? No question is more important to a polity that claims to be structured by constitutional norms." 12-05
- Writ of Habeas Corpus (Encyclopedia.com)
"The writ's sole function is to release an individual from unlawful imprisonment; through this use it has come to be regarded as the great writ of liberty. The writ tests only whether a prisoner has been accorded due process, not whether he is guilty." 12-05
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