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Purpose of constitutions?
1. Grant power
2. limit how power can be exercised
3. establish gov't strux for exercise of power
4. sets fourth the fundamental, "the rules for the game"
5. provide govt/system w/greater stability, more permanence, then statute law
6. core of a myth system for the political system
7. identifies goals of the system -- justice, equality, health, safety, edu, etc.
expert-approved generic or ideal const. that is sometimes used as a yard stick against which to measure existing constitutions
US const is the Golden standard
what sets the standard?
1. Both brief and flexible
- 2. should be written to be useful for many years
- -therefore, should contain only the most basic fundamentals
3. const should be brief and flexible
4. replacement const should be better than the const it is replacing
- 5. should be designed to serve as the bedrock of of the state's political and govt system
- -don't fill with "shall nots" and "cannots" or will turn them into statements of mistrust
-also, const often reflect protections and privileges of the influential (tax payer groups, banking interests, etc)
why const so lengthy and rigid?
1. poor draftsmanship
2. preoccupation with detail
3. concerns about corruption and irresponsibility
4. potency of special interests
5. continuous and cumulative effects of expansion of state govt
most likely prob. with a const?
lack of brevity and flexibility
How to formally change const
imperative to have at least one appropriate way to amend a state const
two stage process
- 1. amendment proposed by:
- -state leg.
- -const convention
- -const commission
- -const initiative
2. ratification by vote of state's eligible voters
some states have more complicated processes
expectations of IL const
1. reflect political and social env. of the time of drafting
2. provide as much flexibility as possible
3. be open to the interpretation of the times
4. be amendable -- neither too easy nor too hard to amend
How many IL const
4 -- 1818, 1848, 1870, 1970
two others have also been written but turned down
writing 1st IL const "life as a territory"
-territory status 1809, included WI, MI, part of MN, and IL
-interests began to push for statehood
-early statehood would prevent slavery dispute with MO, and help avoid boundary disputes
-IL petition for statehood was purposefully vague to get around NW ordinance
-Con con to write first const at Bennnett's Tavern in Kaskaskia
-33 delegates elected
-borrowed heavily from other const (KY, OH, IN, NY)
-submitted to congress but not ratified by people
-congress didn't like lack of specific const prohibition of slavery
-admitted as free sttate between two slave states
1818 constitution "beginning of statehood"
distribution of power
-distributed among 3 powers unequally
- -exec deliberately made weak b/c
- -temper of the times
- -frontier spirit and opposition to appointed territorial governors who wielded absolute veto power
- -no gubernatorial veto power provided for in this const
- -Counsel of Revision (gov. & supreme court) could suggest changes in legislation
- -gov. limited to one term consecutively
- -set gov. salary to 1000 a year
-most political and govt power
- -found in the fundamental powers of appointment
- -U.S. senators
- -IL supreme court justices
- -secondary state officials
- -most county officials
-power also found in ability to override suggested changes in legislation made by council of revision by majority vote
-met a few months every other year
- -to vote had to be:
- -and have lived in IL for at least 6 mo.
-very few officials chosen by election
- -state level:
- -Lt. gov
- -state senators
- -state reps
- -local level:
- -county sherif
- -county coroner
- -county commissioners
county was the official unit of local govt
-most county officials appointed by gen. ass.
-language from OH
-prohibited both slavery and involuntary servitude, but protected existing property rights (including indentured servants)
-clause allowed for the continued renting of slaves from TN and KY to work in salt mines
- severity of the punishment depends on the nature of the crime and penalties for various criminal acts including:
- -stocks in town square
- -Public whipping
- -hanging for arson, rape, murder, or horse stealing
-IL 1st state to quit imprisoning debtors
1848 const "const of punishment and change"
calls for con con demanded from diff groups
- -Jacksonian Dem.
- -wanted to end appointments
- -wanted to stop voting by illegal aliens
-many harbored beliefs that for IL to develop rapidly, an new const was needed
-powerful winds of democracy sweeping the world
distribution of power
- -teeter totter theory was still evident
- -to strengthen one branch you have to weaken another
- -executive strengthened
- -gov given regular veto power
- -gov given appointment powers
- -salary raised to 1500
- -leg. branch weakened
- -appointment powers reduced
- -gov veto reduced leg. power
- -sessions were limited in length by pay
- -limits placed on leg power's to pass special leg
- due to Jacksonians, many offices were made elective
- -supreme court justices (9 yr terms)
- -clerk of supreme court
state's indebtedness capped at 50,000 reflection banking interest and public works abuses
- state would fund activities and programs 2 ways:
- 1. property tax
- 2. poll tax
- county govt still chief unit
-township govt option provided to counties
-burden for internal improvements was shifted from state to localities
-power to levy and collect taxes given to counties, townships, cities, towns, villages, school district.
-voting shifted to paper ballots
"const of restrictive correction and reunification"
-drafting in 1869 was 4 yrs after civil war
-written at a time of very deep internal divisions resulting from the civil war
-document was useful for cleaning up some problems in the 1848 constitution
-wasn't designed, nor built to last a century
-new distrust in legistlature was one of chief causes for summoning a new constitution to be drafted after the Civil War
-leg branch was again weakened
- -new limits:
- -passing special legislation
- -passing laws granting divorces or changing names of persons or places
- -limits on session length were removed
efforts to reunify Illinois
North Pro-Union and totally Republican
South Pro-Confederate and totally Democrat
So they wanted to resuscitate the two political parties in both the north and the south
So constitution writers developed a new leg system for the House
System was called cumulative voting
- Cumulative voting: state divided in the 59 house districts;
- each house district would elect 3-year representatives;
- political parties had the power to decide how many seats to compete for in each district (compete for up to 3 seats)
Optimists envisioned the ultimate in democracy
- Realists belief system was designed so the parties would find it in their best interest to work out district deals
- -This was the way the system was designed
- Under cumulative voting, each voter was given 3 votes.
- -All the voter's votes could be given to a single candidate, or he could divide them among the three any way he wanted
This electoral system makes it possible for a minority party to elect at least one representative.
**Cumulative voting helped reunify Illinois**
Constitution of 1870
Features and Oddities
Governor still not allowed immediate re-election
Section on the protection of miners
Spending limited on the new state capitol to 3.5 million
Section providing the host of the Columbian Expedition of 1890
Section on public warehouse and railroads, because farmers complained about freight rates
- State militia was provided for.
- -Able-bodied men 18-45 required to serve
- -Conscientious objectors could be excused by paying a fee
State indebtedness was increased to 250,000
Black males were given the right to vote, if at least 21 years old
Section on taxation listed certain occupations to be taxed (pedalers, hockers, showmen, jugglers, and liquor dealers)
Changing the Constitution
Only single method for change
Amendments would be ratified only if approved by the majority voting in the election.
If citizens voted in the election but don't complete the ballot, this is known as roll-off or ballot fatigue.
- 1870-1890: parties printed out ballots and filled them out in advance for voters
- Five amendments were passed this way before the practice was ended in 1891.
- 1950: passage on 6th try of the Gateway Amendment
- offered alternative to the existing majority approval requirement to pass an amendment
- this alternative provided that 2/3 of voters voting on the amendment itself could pass it
Usefulness of 1870 Constitution
Too lengthy; too many details to be used for a period of time
For 80 out of the 100 years, it was very difficult to amend and correct problems.
Write a new constitution?
Late 1960s voters were asked if they should write a new constitution; they voted yes.
Constitution of Modernization
Much of the statute law was removed
Section to citizens right to a healthy environment was added.
- Enlarged Bill of Rights:
- -no discrimination in employment or sell of property
- -no discrimination on basis of gender
- -section on individual dignity and privacy
- -no discrimination on the basis of physical or mental handicaps
- New Theory of Power:
- -replaced teeter-totter theory
- -best way to balance branches is to make sure each branch is as strong as possible, making them capable of checking and balancing the power of the other
- two branches
- Existing Veto Powers:
- -General veto (regular)
- -Line item veto (in money bills)
- 1970 New Powers to Governor:
- -reducing veto (majority to override in money bills)
- -amendatory veto (majority to agree)
- -allows to write replacement or take-out sections
- -allows to correct clerical errors or to re-write the whole bill
- -majority of both houses have to agree to changes, or it's treated as if the governor vetoed the whole thing
- -long-time practice of governors recommending specific changes in their veto message into the Constitution
- Elections for all executive branch officials were moved to non-Presidential election years
- -more Democrats vote during the Presidential elections
- -Republics just vote all the time
Abolish the position of superintendent of public instruction as an elective office
Governor and Lieutenant Governor run as a team in the general election.
Gubernatorial succession changed to: lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state
- Governor also given broad powers of re-organization of executive branch
- -Governor prepares the plan of re-organization and submits to the general assembly
- -If neither house of general assembly disapproves, re-organization takes effect. Simple majority required for disapproval.
Annual session required
Removed lieutenant governor as presiding officer of senate
Senators elect president from among members
Senator membership increased
- Reduced number of votes required for veto overrides
- -3/5 now required for regular and line-item veto
Leg leaders given power to appoint members of leg re-districting commission
Separation of 2 Branches
- Efforts made to make the executive and leg branch more separate
- -Removal of lieutenant governor as presiding officer of senate
- -Leg re-districting commission appointed power from governor to legislature
- -Speaker of the House no longer in order of gubernatorial succession
Local Government Changes
Streamline county government
Counties may have an elected chief executive if people approve
Coroner, auditer, recorder, and assessor no longer have to be elected if people approve
- Home rule:
- -home rule given automatically to counties and cities, if population was over 25,000 or by vote otherwise
- Home rule definition:
- -gives power to local government
- -if gets out of hand, voters will shoot them down
- -responsibilities are on local government, not state
Role of General Assembly in Amending the Constitution
general assembly expected to be the initiator of most amendments
at least 3/5 of each house must vote
must be passed by general assembly at least 6 months before election
may be withdrawn by general assembly before May 1, by majority vote
no more than 3 amendments per election
Role of People in Amendment Process
- considered approved if:
- -majority of those who voted in the electon approved
- -or 3/5 of those who voted on the amendment approved
- effort to have an informed electorate:
- -voters are sent materials on each amendment
- -actual wording
- -non-biased explanation
- -arguments both in favor and in oppositon to the proposed amendment
alternative initiation of an amendment
- called Citizens Initiative
- -requires petition equal to 8% of most recent total vote for governor
- -used to begin the amendment process, in place of general assembly
- -amendment being proposed by citizen initiative is ratified in the same way as regular
- -i love you, you're awesome
- -Example: used once in 1980 "Cutback Amendment"
- -reduced size of house, elimiated cumulative voting in 3 member legislative districts, also provided for electing new house members from single
- member districts
Provision for Writing New Constitution
question for convening new con-con had to be voted on by general assembly
if general assembly doesn't vote to put on ballot, then the question automaticallly gets put on the ballot by the secretary for state after 20 years
Politicalness of Constitution Writing
decision is political, given positions that must be made and the work that must be done to achieve ratification
- Example: ratification of 1970 Constitution
- -final approval by con-con delegates in 1970
- -delegates opted for ratification in special election Saturday, December 15
- -voters asked to make 3 decisions: yes/no to new constitution; retain cumulative voting or replace with single-member districts; and continue with
- present partisan elections of judges with retention elections, or replaced with appointment system coupled with retention elections.
- Mayor Daly in ratification
- -Political Boss Chicago
- -son was a delegate at the 1970 con-con
- -took sweet time to endorse it
- -favored new Constitution
- -favored retaining cumulative voting in 3-member districts for the house
- -favorted partisan elections of judges
- -Daly ordered political machine to turn out voters for each of his positions
- -it was ratified because of him,cuz Daly is bosss
- -Cook County accounted for 62% of votes cast for ratification election
Reason for holding special election for ratification was that the con-con delegates only wanted people who cared to vote to vote.\
Efforts to Amend 1970 Constitution
The only amendment passed without provision that allows 3/5 of those voting on an amendment to approve it was the 1980 Cutback Amendment.
Votes haven't voted on anything since 1998.
- Roll-off in amendment voting:
- -on the 17 proposed amendments, roll-off has ranged from 14% to 59%.
- -for all practical purposes, the only way to ratify an amendment is to gain the approval of 3/5 of those voting on the amendment itself.
Politics of Nominations
A candidate's party label is the most important cue card that most voters employ.
- The issue is power.
- -revolves around who will make the decision.
Any citizen who meets the specified legal requirements can get on the ballot and run for public office.
In Illinois, a person gets on the ballot by submitting a petition.
Illinois person runs as Democrat, Republican, or Third Party.
In Illinois, you have to declare a party ballot.
Once petition is submitted and verified, the person's name is placed on the primary ballot.
- Order of the names on the ballot is determined by the time of filing petitions. Tie is broken by lottery.
- -Important because 1st, 2nd, and last get highest percentage of votes in primary contest
- -So ballot position is important.
Whoever gets more votes in the primary wins.
Party has no voice in choosing its nominee.
There are no limits on who can run for public office.
Choosing the Best Nominee
Each party wants to nominate the best nominee it can to do to do battle with the nominee of the opposing party.
In most states, the parties don't have the power to decide how party nominees should be chosen. Those decisions are left to the state legislature.
Differences in Nominees Depending on Selection Process
- party leaders or party alting committee:
- -probably seek one who is most likely to win.
- party members who vote in closed primaries:
- -probably seek someone they agree with.
- party members voting in caucus or convention:
- -probably seek someone they agree with.
- members of the public:
- -seek ideological or position agreement.
- -based on particular issues.
- -based on advertising.
- -or because they want a particular type of candidate.
Primary Election Participants
official members of party vote in the primary for their party.
have option to vote in either party's primary (Illinois).
- blanket primary: vote for 1 candidate from either candidate from either party based on office.
- -does most damage to party responsibility.
illustrates changing role of citizens and participation
used to nominate persons for seats in Congress, statewide political positions, state legislative seats, etc.
figures very prominently into the nomination process for choosing a party's nominee for President.
Evolution of the Nominations
1800s-1820s: by legislative caucus
- 1820s-1960s: by nominating conventions
- -became dominated by political bosses
- 1970s-now: combination of direct primaries, caucuses, and nominating conventions
- -power shifted to the people who participate in primaries and caucuses
"In order to cue the ills of democracy, more democracy is needed."
Nomination process is all about power
Also about who has the power
Also about who should have the power
Parties in Campaigns
Provide a cue card or label **most important**
Provide ticket to run-on
Provide campaign expertise and staff
Run ads attacking candidates' opponents
Provide platform for candidates to embrace or ignore
Interest Groups in Campaigns
Provide $$$$$ ***most important***
Idenitfy and support candidates that agree with them
Do attack ads
Do positive ads
Work to defeat canddiates not sympathetic to their cause
Means to achieve the collective good
Just another way to achieve individual goals
Government as dominated by elites
Preserve well-established society
Conservative as shit
Laboratories of Democracy
Describes states and their ability to engage in different policy experiments without interference from the federal government
Responsibility away from federal government, giving it to the state and local governments
Citizens make law themselves
people live under 2 sovereign powers
In the U.S., state of residents and federal government
Natural or Higher Law
Instead of moral and political rules based on divine law and binding on all people
Laws passed by legislatures authorizing transfers of money to executive
Unicameral vs. Bicameral
One or two chamber legislatures
Separation of Powers
Principle that government should be separated into branches, each with its own powers and responsibilities.
assembly convened for expressing the purpose of amending our place of re-connsitution
vote of an entire electorate to approve a constitution change, referendum, or ballot initiative
voters directly convey instructions to the legislature, approve a law, or amend the constitution
procedure that allows the electorate to accept or reject laws passed by the legislature
power to reject a portion of a bill, while the rest remains intact