Constitution of the United States

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How is the Constitution still relevant today?

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The Constitution is still relevant today because it establishes the governmental framework for the United States. The Constitution allows for three branches of government of equal power. Article I outlines the responsibilities for the legislative branch. The legislative branch passes the laws. Article II outlines the responsibilities for the executive...

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The Constitution is still relevant today because it establishes the governmental framework for the United States. The Constitution allows for three branches of government of equal power. Article I outlines the responsibilities for the legislative branch. The legislative branch passes the laws. Article II outlines the responsibilities for the executive branch. The executive branch executes the laws and heads the US military. Article III pertains to the judicial branch, the branch that interprets whether or not the laws fit within the Constitution's legal framework. The Constitution outlines the responsibilities of the federal government and without it government could act in any way that it wished.

The Constitution also provides for the basic liberties of all Americans. The first ten amendments are the Bill of Rights—these provide for such basic things such as freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The Constitution continues to evolve, thus evidenced by the fact that there are seventeen more amendments. These amendments have done such things such as given women the right to vote and ended slavery. The Constitution can also be changed if government makes a mistake, such as when Prohibition was repealed in 1933. The Constitution is a living document and it guarantees the rights and freedoms of Americans. It can also be amended to ensure rights for groups who were not explicitly included by the Founders.

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The central purpose of the United States Constitution is to keep control of the government more democratic—in the hands of the people. It lays out the three branches of the government (judicial, legislative, and executive) and their roles. The Constitution is all about establishing checks and balances of government power, with the intent that the government never takes too much power at the expensive of the governed.

As mentioned in the previous answer, people often point to the Constitution to support their own political and social ideas as "constitutional," while they might argue certain other political and social ideas are "unconstitutional."

So, the Constitution remains very relevant. It is the basis for the US government as a whole, and its purpose is to protect the rights of the people.

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The Constitution is still relevant today in two main ways.

First of all, the Constitution does still lay out the basic set of rules that governs how our country is run.   When the Supreme Court says that a particular law is unconstitutional, that law is no longer in force.  This can have very serious consequences.  For example, the most recent election cycle was impacted strongly by the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the First Amendment.  The Court’s decision in Citizens United allowed “Super PACs” to spend unlimited amounts of money promoting or opposing certain candidates.  In particular, this affected the Republican primaries in a major way.

Second, the Constitution is still relevant because it is a major source of legitimacy for people’s ideas.  Because we revere the Constitution, people are continually referring to it as a way to argue that their ideas are more compatible with basic American beliefs than those of their opponents.  For example, the Tea Party talks constantly about how certain things the government does go beyond the Constitution.  They use this claim to bolster their arguments for smaller government.  Gay rights advocates, by contrast, point to the Constitution as a foundation for their claim that they should be allowed to marry.

In these ways, the Constitution remains relevant both as a source of actual law and a foundation for political arguments. 

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