The other day, a posting at Mahablog suggested that people should propose questions for a quiz on what the US Constitution actually says. Having got carried away with writing up some of my favorite questions and got fed up with trying to get anything formatted at all in a comment, I've decided to re-post here.
With some revisions, of course. Still too verbose and preachy, but I may manage to improve it with time.
1. By whose power was the Constitution established?
(a) King George III
(b) George Washington
(c) The states
(d) The people
You are expected to provide backing for your answers from the Constitution, in this as in other questions.
2. Where in the Constitution does each of the following phrases occur?
a. Balance of powers
b. Executive privilege
c. Separation of powers
d. Supreme law of the Land
e. Wall of separation between church and state
3. The supreme law of the land
3a.What constitutes the supreme law of the land, to which the judges in every state are bound? (Incomplete answers get very little partial credit.)
3b. Can such law be overridden by the constitution or laws of any state?
4. The Preamble consists of an explanation of why the Constitution was created, and by whose authority. What other provisions, if any, contain an explanation or justification for their existence?
5a. In the original intention of the Constitution there was a provision that counted three-fifths of the number of slaves, as compared with the whole number of all free citizens. What, specifically, did this provision have to do with?
5b. Did that provision directly name “slaves”? Persons of some particular race?
5c. What was the purpose and effect of the three-fifths provision?
(a) To decrease the political power of slaves
(b) To increase the political power of slaves
(c) To decrease the political power of slave owners
(d) To increase the political power of slave owners
(e) Not really any of above, because there is a flaw in this question itself.
6. In the whole body of the Constitution before the abolition of slavery in the 13th Amendment, where is there mention of slaves or slavery, under those names or direct equivalents?
7a. In the body of the Constitution as it was originally adopted, laying out its purpose and the laws and procedures of the nation, where is religion mentioned directly?
7b.Where is any practice that is specifically religious mentioned?
7c.Where is a distinction between any religion and any other mentioned? If there is such a place, is any preference given to one over another?
8. Name as many things as you can that States cannot do.
BONUS QUESTIONS: Here we read the plain words of the Constitution and apply them to matters of fact.
Bonus 1a. Is torture illegal in the United States of America? (Here and now, not hypothetically or by debatable reasoning in some court)
Bonus 1b. If there are any conditions in which it is actually illegal, what are they; alternatively, what are the specific exemptions from that law?
[More to come, perhaps]
Answers will appear in a future posting, intermingled with repetition of the questions because I hate flipping back and forth when reading such things.
Update: A few edits, inluding moving question 5 to be question 2. Oh, and introducing question 6. And providing the second half of the Bonus Question.