Although this is a little off topic for the Longshore & DBA Review, I had to share a link to the Interactive Constitution: http://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution. Have a question about an Article or Amendment? Then the Interactive Constitution might have the answer…and then some:
On this site, constitutional experts interact with each other to explore the Constitution’s history and what it means today. For each provision of the Constitution, scholars of different perspectives discuss what they agree upon, and what they disagree about. These experts were selected with the guidance of leaders of two prominent constitutional law organizations–The American Constitution Society and The Federalist Society. This project is sponsored by a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation.
The Interactive Constitution is a work-in-progress. For instance, there is interactive content for Amendments 1-15, but content is in the works for other Amendments. Here’s a snippet of Gordon Wood’s write up of the Third Amendment:
The Third Amendment seems to have no direct constitutional relevance at present; indeed, not only is it the least litigated amendment in the Bill of Rights, but the Supreme Court has never decided a case on the basis of it.
The federal government today is not likely to ask people to house soldiers in their homes, even in time of war. Nevertheless, the amendment has some modern implications. It suggests the individual’s right of domestic privacy—that people are protected from governmental intrusion into their homes; and it is the only part of the Constitution that deals directly with the relationship between the rights of individuals and the military in both peace and war—rights that emphasize the importance of civilian control over the armed forces. Some legal scholars have even begun to argue that the amendment might be applied to the government’s response to terror attacks and natural disasters, and to issues involving eminent domain and the militarization of the police.
Even when the Interactive Constitution website doesn’t have a heavy-hitting historian or legal expert’s analysis, it still has Annenberg Classroom analysis. Here’s the Annenberg analysis for Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution:
Article III establishes the federal court system. The first section creates the U.S. Supreme Court as the federal system’s highest court. The Supreme Court has final say on matters of federal law that come before it. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court has nine justices who are appointed by the president with the approval of the Senate.
Congress has the power to create and organize the lower federal courts. Today, there are lower federal courts in every state. A case is filed and tried in the federal district courts and in some specialty courts, such as admiralty or bankruptcy courts. The trial courts look at the facts of the case and decide guilt or innocence or which side is right in an argument or dispute. The courts of appeal hear appeals of the losing parties. The appellate courts look at whether the trial was fair, whether the process followed the rules, and whether the law was correctly applied.
To ensure that they are insulated from political influence, federal judges are appointed for life as long as they are on “good behavior.” This generally means for as long as they want the job or until they are impeached for committing a serious crime. In addition, the Constitution specifies that Congress cannot cut a judge’s pay. This prevents members of Congress from punishing a judge when they do not like one of his or her decisions.
Photo: Howard Chandler Christy‘s Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States.