The Eighth Amendment

The Eighth Amendment says that fines and bails should not be set too high and should be reasonable, and the severity of punishments that those convicted of a crime receive is restricted. This amendment is important so that the punishments given to criminals are reasonable and proportionate with the crime committed.  The judicial branch decides whether or not the punishment is too harsh or the fines/bails are too high. In this cartoon, a cop catches a cat stealing a cake. The cop, not aware of the 8th amendment apparently, attempts to fine the cat a million dollars for stealing a cake. The cat stands up to the cop and reminds him of his 8th amendment rights. The fine of a million dollars is considered excessive for the crime committed and, therefore, in conflict with the Constitiution.

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The Seventh Amendment

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The Seventh Amendment guarantees a jury trial in civil cases where the litigants could be deprived of life, liberty, and property, where money in dispute is more than $20.  The amendment came about when it was noticed near the end of the Constitutional Convention that nothing in the Constitution said anything about juries in civil lawsuits.  This cartoon explains this Amendment and the importance of juries in the courts system.

 

The Sixth Amendment

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The Sixth Amendment states that citizens accused of a crime have the right to a fair, punctual, and public trial in the area where the crime was committed, a lawyer, impartial jury, confronted with the witness of the crime, and the nature and cause of his/her accusation. This cartoon shows a man being convicted of a man accused of a crime and arrested. He claims he’s not guilty, and 3 weeks later, he gets the trial that this Amendment promises him.

The Fifth Amendment

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The Fifth Amendment states that you can’t be made to answer to a crime unless a grand jury indicts you or offers you a presentment, a document the grand jury issues based on observation and knowledge; this doesn’t apply to those working for the military. In court, you can choose to plead the fifth so you don’t have to testify against yourself. You cannot be charged for the same crime multiple times. You cannot be punished without due process, or a trial, and you must be paid a reasonable price if the government takes your physical property. In this cartoon, a little boy finds he can’t plead the fifth on a spelling test at school, so he had to take the test.

 

The Fourth Amendment

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The Fourth Amendment concerns privacy as well: Law enforcement officers don’t have the right to search for/seize evidence or persons. Except in certain situations, they must have the appropriate court order obtained with on reasonable grounds. This picture shows two citizens acting suspicious and the law enforcement officer calling a search a massage so he doesn’t violate the Fourth Amendment, as he lacks the warrant.

The Third Amendment

The Third Amendment does not allow any kind of member of the military to be quartered in a citizen’s home without the house owner’s consent. This is a right of privacy. This was added after Americans were forced to house British soldiers in the American Revolution. This sign expresses a citizens anger and protest because I suppose his/her rights given to him/her by this Amendment were threatened.

 

 

 

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The Second Amendment

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The Second Amendment gives citizens the right to bear arms. As with the rights in the First Amendment, government cannot infringe on these rights of the citizens. This picture represents the protection of the right to bear arms the Second Amendment gives us.

The First Amendment

The First Amendment

The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees citizens the freedoms of speech, press, to exercise religion of their choice, assembly, and petition. The government cannot violate these rights and protect them. This cartoon shows Uncle Sam, representing the nation, holding a cake of “Freedoms” with certain rights on the candles on the cake, encouraging citizens to celebrate what the First Amendment does for us citizens.

Congress’s Power of the Purse

One of Congress’s responsibilities is more commonly known as “power of the purse”, or control of the use of the nation’s money. Congress, and Congress alone, approves of the nation’s spending. Most importantly, Congress can enforce taxes on the people of the nation. The Congress is a part of the government that is the closest, so to speak, to the people. The people elect members to Congress every two years. The people play a large part in who is elected to Congress, so consequently the people play a large part in how the nation’s money is spent. As part of the checks and balances system established in the Constitution, Congress tracks all spending, and these records are available to the public. If the people are unhappy with the ways in which the money is used, they can elect new members to Congress biannually. This is debatably Congress’s most important power.
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