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The U.S. Constitution FAQ

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The U.S. Constitution On-Line has been online in one form or another since 1995. In that time, I have have had a lot of questions asked of me about the Constitution. This page, and the ones it links to, are a compilation of the best of those questions.

This page lists the questions in no particular order. You can also see the questions grouped by subject and grouped by section of the Constitution. Also available are answers to questions about the structure of or details about the Constitution, and pointers to find the answer yourself.

Finally, after you explore the FAQ, you are welcome to ask your own questions, either by emailing the Webmaster or by posting a message to a Constitution Message Board. Either way, I will answer your question to the best of my ability, and your question may find its way here.

The National Archives has a Q&A page that is full of answers to questions about the Constitution's history and its mechanics. Check it out, too.

These answers were written over a number of years - if you find out-of-date information, please contact the Webmaster. These answers were written by the Webmaster, and you can view his credentials.


  1. Do 18-year-olds really vote for President?
  2. Are elections held during war time?
  3. Is there a non-HTML version of the Constitution online?
  4. What can't Congress do?
  5. Would the Constitution have passed without the Bill of Rights?
  6. Is the 15th Amendment going to expire?
  7. Who wrote the Preamble?
  8. What does the Constitution have to say about capital punishment?
  9. What is the line of Presidential succession?
  10. What parts of the Constitution relate to economics?
  11. Can tabloids be restricted?
  12. Can Congress set up a journalistic ethics committee?
  13. Does the 9th Amendment allow legalized gambling?
  14. How can the 26th amendment be repealed?
  15. Why does the 26th amendment set the age at 18?
  16. What is the most important change in Constitutional interpretation in U.S. history?
  17. What changes to the Constitution have actually changed government and society?
  18. What other countries have used the U.S. Constitution as a blueprint?
  19. Questions about residency requirements for federal elected office.
  20. How old must a Vice President be?
  21. Who wrote the Constitution?
  22. What is habeas corpus?
  23. How and when is a Constitutional Convention held?
  24. Is smoking protected by the ninth amendment?
  25. What rights to foreign nationals have in the U.S. justice system?
  26. By what authority can a judge overrule a jury?
  27. Can a judge be sued in civil court for a decision in criminal court?
  28. What is the 27th amendment all about?
  29. Is it true a woman cannot be elected president?
  30. Please explain the 11th and 12th amendments in modern terms.
  31. How does the 16th amendment make income taxes possible?
  32. Why was the 16th amendment needed?
  33. How many constitutions has the U.S. had?
  34. Was there an amendment that legalized slavery?
  35. How is the per-representative population determined?
  36. Can you go to jail for "taking the 5th"?
  37. A dollar ain't no dollar - unless you want to give it to me...
  38. What is the Constitution's position on same-sex marriage, etc.?
  39. What role does the 21st amendment play in every-day life?
  40. Was the Constitution originally written in German?
  41. Where is the authorization for an Attorney General?
  42. Questions about teaching the Bible in public school.
  43. What is a suspensive veto?
  44. Do American citizens have a right to disobey the law?
  45. What right do states have to regulate various professions?
  46. What are the duties of citizens?
  47. Why is tabloid journalism protected under the 1st Amendment?
  48. Why was the ERA not ratified?
  49. Is the draft unconstitutional?
  50. What are civil rights?
  51. What parts of the Constitution are taken from the Bible?
  52. What is meant by "no corruption of blood"?
  53. How can a trial have a change of venue to another state?
  54. Where is the Constitution housed?
  55. I'm confused about when the Constitution was ratified.
  56. Is the Preamble considered law?
  57. Can an amendment to the Constitution be unconstitutional?
  58. What is an Executive Order and can one be unconstitutional?
  59. Where in the Constitution is slavery implied?
  60. Why was the power to coin money given to the Federal Government?
  61. How is it that the Constitution has been changed so few times over the years?
  62. Do Americans have a Constitutional right to travel within the United States?
  63. Can the Federal Government own land?
  64. Please explain the electoral process.
  65. Where does the Constitution mention a state's right to secede?
  66. Who is President if both the President and Vice President die?
  67. Is there a constitutional right to an education?
  68. Can a prisoner be sold off as a slave?
  69. Is there a holiday honoring the Constitution?
  70. Can an ex-President be in Congress?
  71. Where does the Constitution mention the separation of church and state?
  72. What happens if both the President and Vice-President resign?
  73. Can a person dishonorably-discharged from the military be denied the right to vote?
  74. Based on the 12th Amendment, why don't we vote separately for President and Vice-President?
  75. Please explain how they chose Jefferson over Burr in the 1800 Presidential election.
  76. Is the United States a Constitutional Republic?
  77. Is it constitutional for the NCAA to place restrictions on an athlete's right to work?
  78. Can a President serve two terms, sit out a term, and be elected a third time?
  79. Is perjury a "high crime or misdemeanor"?
  80. What does the Constitution say about citizenship and voting rights?
  81. Can the President and Vice-President be from different parties?
  82. To whom would a President tender a resignation?
  83. If the President is impeached, who else is affected?
  84. Who actually wrote down the final draft of the Constitution?
  85. Who signed the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, and Constitution??
  86. What are the powers of the Vice President in the Senate?
  87. How long did it take to write the Constitution?
  88. Can a sitting President be convicted of a crime?
  89. Can a sitting President be sued in civil court?
  90. How many words are in the Constitution? In the Declaration?
  91. Is the U.S. Constitution illegal?
  92. Was President Clinton guilty of treason?
  93. Why is Constitution a living document?
  94. When is inauguration day?
  95. How is it that the Constitution has lasted over 200 years?
  96. What government body elects the President?
  97. How many members of Congress are there?
  98. What kind of questions do I have to answer for the Census?
  99. How many electors are there?
  100. Which of the Framers served on the Supreme Court?
  101. Where does it say a President and Vice President must be from different states?
  102. What was the religious affiliation of the Framers?
  103. Is the Constitution based on an Indian constitution?
  104. When do the presidential electors meet?
  105. Is it true that the official language of the U.S. was almost German?
  106. How would Canada go about joining the United States as a state?
  107. Where do executive departments and agencies derive their power?
  108. Who can declare war?
  109. Why didn't Rhode Island send delegates to the Constitutional Convention?
  110. Who has the legal authority to cancel a treaty?
  111. What's the difference between a terrorist caught overseas and a foreign criminal caught in the U.S.?
  112. Isn't calling a judge "your honor" like using a title of nobility?
  113. Where can I find the right to privacy in the Constitution?
  114. Is treason the only crime defined in the Constitution?
  115. What is the impeachment process?
  116. Who signed the Constitution first?
  117. Where did the Cabinet get its name?
  118. Can the people replace the entire government?
  119. Is the 14th Amendment unconstitutional?
  120. Does the Vice President have the same qualifications as the President?
  121. Can a foreign-born Cabinet member ever ascend to the Presidency?
  122. How can a state be created from within another state?
  123. Are civil rights and civil liberties the same thing?
  124. Can the Supreme Court strike down a constitutional amendment?
  125. Can the Senate originate a spending bill?
  126. Was George Washington really the first President?
  127. Can a president be impeached in a time of war?
  128. What are the requirements to be a member of the Cabinet?
  129. What are the dimensions of the Constitution?
  130. Can federal elected officials be recalled?
  131. How many declared wars has the U.S. been in?
  132. Was the Constitution the result of plagiarism?
  133. Is God ever referenced in the Constitution?
  134. Does the Constitution ban discrimination based on sexual preference?
  135. Were Roman Catholics ever banned from being President?
  136. Can Congress declare war for any reason?
  137. What would it take to repeal an Amendment?
  138. When does the Constitution call for a super-majority?
  139. Where can I find the filibuster in the Constitution?
  140. Is there any circumstance where a two-term president could be president again?
  141. When do you write "Constitution" versus "constitution"?
  142. What was the first constitution of the United States?
  143. What are the duties of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court?
  144. Why are amendments stuck at the end of the Constitution?
  145. What kind of paper is the Constitution written on?
  146. Are there really no confederations anymore?
  147. Are Moses and Mohammed really depicted in the Supreme Court?
  148. Why specify conventions to ratify the Constitution?
  149. What are some of the Constitution's weaknesses?
  150. What is a presidential signing statement?
  151. Is knighthood a bar to being President?
  152. Why was the Convention held in Philadelphia?
  153. Is the U.S. government based on the Holy Trinity?
  154. How is it constitutional to print paper money?
  155. Who is more powerful, the Congress or the President?
  156. Why was the 19th Amendment necessary?
  157. Are new states required to ratify the Constitution?
  158. If attorneys are officers of the court, how can they serve in Congress?
  159. How can George Washington be said to have been unanimously elected?
  160. What is the "Saxbe Fix" and how does it allow Hillary Clinton to be Secretary of State?
  161. How many times has the Constitution been changed?
  162. Is Congress really exempt from many of the laws it passes?
  163. What exactly is meant when the Constitution guarantees all states a republican form of government?


URL: http://www.usconstitution.net/constfaq.html

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