2010 Law Day Quiz

This week is celebrated for law week here in Virginia.  One of our own, Carla Nagel has shared this Quiz with us.  She thought you might like to see how smart you are……or think of it this way –  a twist on Jeff Foxworthy’s show “Are you smarter than a fifth grade lawyer”

 The following 10 Questions are True or False

 1.  Representatives from the States met to write a new Constitution in 1776.

2.  Thomas Jefferson’s election as the third President depended upon the vote of the House of Representatives.

3.  The man who did the final writing of the Constitution was Alexander Hamilton.

4.  The Constitution forbids States to coin money.

5. John Adams, our first Vice-President, was chosen by George Washington to be his running mate.

6.  In order to become a part of the Constitution, amendments now usually have to be ratified by the State Legislatures within seven years.

7.  The Constitutional Convention held its meetings in the Capitol building.

8.  The United States can punish a State which denies the right of citizens to vote by reducing the number of its Representatives.

9.  The President’s term of office has always ended at noon on January 20.

10.  The Nineteenth Amendment protects the voting rights of women.

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1.  Representatives from the States met to write a new Constitution in 1776. False.  Alexander Hamilton was responsible for the Annapolis Convention that met in Maryland in 1786 to discuss the economically unstable situation of the thirteen states. Due to poor attendance (only five of the thirteen states were represented), Hamilton asked the Congress of the Confederation to send formal invitations to all thirteen states to meet in Philadelphia in May 1787. The express purpose of this meeting was to amend or change the Articles of Confederation.  Behind closed doors and in secret the delegates agreed to write an entirely new Constitution. All States sent representatives except for Rhode Island.

2.  Thomas Jefferson’s election as the third President depended upon the vote of the House of Representatives. True.  The election of 1800 between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr ended in a tie in the Electoral College. Because neither candidate received a majority of the electoral vote, the election was decided by the House of Representatives after 36 ballots. Thomas Jefferson eventually received the majority of the electoral vote and became President. Aaron Burr who finished second in the vote count became Vice-President. The process was changed in 1804 with the adoption of the Twelfth Amendment.

3.  The man who did the final writing of the Constitution was Alexander Hamilton.False.  Gouverneur Morris (1752-1816) was a delegate from Pennsylvania to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was a member of the Committee on Style and Arrangement and was responsible for the preparation of the final draft of the Constitution.

4.  The Constitution forbids States to coin money. True.  This is a power forbidden to the States as indicated in Article 1, Section 10, Clause 1.  This is based on the difficulty that the country was going through economically during the timeframe that the Articles of Confederation was in effect. Under the Articles each state could print its own money. This caused a tremendous amount of economic instability.  One of the main reasons the Constitutional Convention convened in 1787 was to correct the economic problems of the country.

5. John Adams, our first Vice-President, was chosen by George Washington to be his running mate. False.  The elections of 1789, 1792, 1796 and 1800 were based on the constitutional provision that the individual with the most electoral votes became president and the one with the second highest became Vice-President.  John Adams received the second highest vote count in the election of 1789 and became President George Washington’s vice-President. The process was changed in 1804 with the adoption of the Twelfth Amendment.

6.  In order to become a part of the Constitution, amendments now usually have to be ratified by the State Legislatures within seven years.True. The time limit for 3/4 of the state legislatures to approve a new amendment to the Constitution has been in some cases seven years. In the 1921 decision Dillon v. Gloss, the Supreme Court concluded that Congress had the power to determine a time limit for ratification. The first time that the seven year time limit was imposed was for the Eighteenth Amendment that dealt with prohibition. The seven year time limit was actually a part of the text of the Twentieth, Twenty-First and Twenty-Second Amendments, but was not of the test of the Twenty-Third, Twenty-Fourth, Twenty-Fifth and Twenty-Sixth Amendments. The Twenty-Seventh Amendment had no time limit when it was adopted in 1992.

7.  The Constitutional Convention held its meetings in the Capitol building.False.  The Convention was held in Independence Hall in Philadelphia. This was actually the State House of the Province of Pennsylvania built between 1732 and 1756. It was called Independence Hall because it is where the Declaration of Independence was adopted in 1776.  It also was the location where George Washington was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Revolutionary Army in 1775 and where the Articles of Confederation were adopted in 1781.

8.  The United States can punish a State which denies the right of citizens to vote by reducing the number of its Representatives. True.  This part of the Constitution was passed after the Civil War during the Reconstruction period of American history. Its main intent was to protect the right to vote for the free African American slaves. It is found in Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution: “But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.”

9.  The President’s term of office has always ended at noon on January 20. False.  The Twentieth Amendment (1933) changed Inauguration Day for the President from March 3 to January 20. It was thought that there was too much time from the time of the election in November of the previous year to Inauguration Day, especially if the incumbent President lost the election. Franklin Roosevelt was the first President to be sworn in on January 20th (for his second term). The Twentieth Amendment has been called the “lame duck amendment.”

10.  The Nineteenth Amendment protects the voting rights of women. True.  This Amendment was the result of a historic struggle for women’s voting rights that became a major reform movement in the mid to late nineteenth century. The Amendment was adopted in 1920 and the election between Warren Harding and James Cox was the first election in which women could vote for President. The Amendment states: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”