Page one of the officially engrossed copy of the Constitution signed by delegates. A print run of 500 copies of the final version preceded this copy.
The Court lacked its own building until 1935; from 1791 to 1801, it met in Philadelphia's City Hall.
Signing of the Constitution, September 17, 1787 (1940 by Howard Chandler Christy)
The Royal Exchange, New York City, the first meeting place of the Supreme Court
Dates the 13 states ratified the Constitution
Chief Justice Marshall (1801–1835)
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The U.S. Supreme Court Building, current home of the Supreme Court, which opened in 1935.
"We the People" in an original edition
The Hughes Court in 1937, photographed by Erich Salomon. Members include Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes (center), Louis Brandeis, Benjamin N. Cardozo, Harlan Stone, Owen Roberts, and the "Four Horsemen" Pierce Butler, James Clark McReynolds, George Sutherland, and Willis Van Devanter, who opposed New Deal policies.
Closing endorsement section of the United States Constitution
Justices of the Supreme Court with President George W. Bush (center-right) in October 2005. The justices (left to right) are: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter, Antonin Scalia, John Paul Stevens, John Roberts, Sandra Day O'Connor, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, and Stephen Breyer
United States Bill of Rights
Currently housed in the National Archives.
John Roberts giving testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee during the 2005 hearings on his nomination to be chief justice
John Jay, 1789–1795
Ruth Bader Ginsburg giving testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee during the 1993 hearings on her nomination to be an associate justice
John Marshall, 1801–1835
The interior of the United States Supreme Court
Salmon P. Chase {{refn|group= lower-alpha|The Chase Court, 1864–1873, in 1865 were Salmon P. Chase (chief Justice); Hon. Nathan Clifford, Maine; Stephen J. Field, Justice Supreme Court, U.S.; Hon. Samuel F. Miller, U.S. Supreme Court; Hon. Noah H. Swayne, Justice Supreme Court, U.S.; Judge Morrison R. Waite}}
The first four female justices: O'Connor, Sotomayor, Ginsburg, and Kagan.
William Howard Taft {{refn|group= lower-alpha|The Taft Court, 1921–1930, in 1925 were James Clark McReynolds, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., William Howard Taft (chief justice), Willis Van Devanter, Louis Brandeis. Edward Sanford, George Sutherland, Pierce Butler, Harlan Fiske Stone}}
The current Roberts Court justices (since October 2020): Front row (left to right): Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John Roberts, Stephen Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor. Back row (left to right): Brett Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett.
Earl Warren {{refn|group= lower-alpha|The Warren Court, 1953–1969, in 1963 were Felix Frankfurter; Hugo Black; Earl Warren (chief justice); Stanley Reed; William O. Douglas. Tom Clark; Robert H. Jackson; Harold Burton; Sherman Minton}}
Percentage of cases decided unanimously and by a one-vote margin from 1971 to 2016
William Rehnquist {{refn|group= lower-alpha|The Rehnquist Court, 1986–2005.}}
The present U.S. Supreme Court building as viewed from the front
José Rizal
From the 1860s until the 1930s, the court sat in the Old Senate Chamber of the U.S. Capitol.
Sun Yat-sen
Seth P. Waxman at oral argument presents his case and answers questions from the justices.
Inscription on the wall of the Supreme Court Building from Marbury v. Madison, in which Chief Justice John Marshall outlined the concept of judicial review

The court holds the power of judicial review, the ability to invalidate a statute for violating a provision of the Constitution.

- Supreme Court of the United States

Its first three articles embody the doctrine of the separation of powers, whereby the federal government is divided into three branches: the legislative, consisting of the bicameral Congress (Article I); the executive, consisting of the president and subordinate officers (Article II); and the judicial, consisting of the Supreme Court and other federal courts (Article III).

- Constitution of the United States

46 related topics

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U.S. Senator from Michigan Jacob M. Howard, author of the Citizenship Clause

Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution

U.S. Senator from Michigan Jacob M. Howard, author of the Citizenship Clause
Rep. John Bingham of Ohio was the principal author of the Equal Protection Clause
Thurgood Marshall served as chief counsel in the landmark Fourteenth Amendment decision Brown v. Board of Education (1954).
Senate and House votes on the Fourteenth Amendment
Form of the Letter of Transmittal of the Fourteenth Amendment to the several states for its ratification

The Fourteenth Amendment (Amendment XIV) to the United States Constitution was adopted on July 9, 1868, as one of the Reconstruction Amendments.

The amendment, particularly its first section, is one of the most litigated parts of the Constitution, forming the basis for landmark Supreme Court decisions such as Brown v. Board of Education (1954) regarding racial segregation, Roe v. Wade (1973) regarding abortion, Bush v. Gore (2000) regarding the 2000 presidential election, and Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) regarding same-sex marriage.

President of the United States

Head of state and head of government of the United States of America.

Head of state and head of government of the United States of America.

George Washington, the first president of the United States
President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivers a radio address, 1933
President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act as Martin Luther King Jr. and others look on
President Donald Trump delivers his 2018 State of the Union Address, with Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan
President George H. W. Bush and Russian President Gorbachev sign the 1990 Chemical Weapons Accord in the White House.
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, successfully preserved the Union during the American Civil War.
President Barack Obama with his Supreme Court appointee Justice Sotomayor, 2009
President Ronald Reagan reviews honor guards during a state visit to China, 1984
President Woodrow Wilson throws out the ceremonial first ball on Opening Day, 1916
President Jimmy Carter (left) debates Republican nominee Ronald Reagan on October 28, 1980.
Map of the United States showing the number of electoral votes allocated following the 2010 census to each state and the District of Columbia for the 2012, 2016 and 2020 presidential elections; it also notes that Maine and Nebraska distribute electors by way of the congressional district method. 270 electoral votes are required for a majority out of 538 votes possible.
Franklin D. Roosevelt won a record four presidential elections (1932, 1936, 1940 and 1944), leading to the adoption of a two-term limit.
President William McKinley and his successor, Theodore Roosevelt
President Reagan surrounded by Secret Service
From left: George H. W. Bush, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter. Photo taken in the Oval Office on January 7, 2009; Obama formally took office thirteen days later.
Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter at the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in Dallas, 2013
White House, the official residence
Camp David, the official retreat
Blair House, the official guest house
The presidential limousine, dubbed "The Beast"
The presidential plane, called Air Force One when the president is on board
Marine One helicopter, when the president is aboard

It was through the closed-door negotiations at Philadelphia that the presidency framed in the U.S. Constitution emerged.

In Clinton v. City of New York,, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled such a legislative alteration of the veto power to be unconstitutional.

Opening of the 112th Congress in the House of Representatives chamber, January 5, 2011

Article One of the United States Constitution

Opening of the 112th Congress in the House of Representatives chamber, January 5, 2011
Gilded Age monopolies could no longer control the U.S. Senate (left) by corrupting state legislatures (right).
The impeachment trial of President Clinton in 1999, with Chief Justice William Rehnquist presiding
Newly naturalized citizen Albert Einstein received his certificate of American citizenship from Judge Phillip Forman.
Congress's "power of the purse" authorizes taxing citizens, spending money, issuing notes and minting coins.
Chief Justice John Marshall established a broad interpretation of the Commerce Clause.
Congress authorizes defense spending such as the purchase of the USS Bon Homme Richard.
U.S. brig Perry confronting the slave ship Martha off Ambriz on June 6, 1850

Article One of the United States Constitution establishes the legislative branch of the federal government, the United States Congress.

(Taxes are apportioned by state population) It includes several enumerated powers, including the power to lay and collect "taxes, duties, imposts, and excises" (provided duties, imposts, and excises are uniform throughout the US), "to provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States," the power to regulate interstate and international commerce, the power to set naturalization laws, the power to coin and regulate money, the power to borrow money on the credit of the United States, the power to establish post offices and post roads, the power to establish federal courts inferior to the Supreme Court, the power to raise and support an army and a navy, the power to call forth the militia "to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions" and to provide for the militia's "organizing, arming, disciplining...and governing" and granting Congress the power to declare war.

In 1868, this committee of representatives prosecuted President Andrew Johnson in his impeachment trial, but the Senate did not convict him.

United States Congress

Legislature of the federal government of the United States.

Legislature of the federal government of the United States.

In 1868, this committee of representatives prosecuted President Andrew Johnson in his impeachment trial, but the Senate did not convict him.
The 1940 painting Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States, depicting George Washington presiding over the signing of the United States Constitution.
United States Congress c. 1915
Historical graph of party control of the Senate, House, and Presidency. Since 1980, the Democrats have held the Presidency for four terms, but because of the Senate filibuster, have only been able to freely legislate in two years. The Republicans have been similarly disabled.
Congress's "power of the purse" authorizes taxing citizens, spending money, and printing currency.
Congress authorizes defense spending such as the purchase of the USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31).
Congress oversees other government branches, for example, the Senate Watergate Committee, investigating President Nixon and Watergate, in 1973–74.
View of the United States Capitol from the United States Supreme Court building
The impeachment trial of President Clinton in 1999, Chief Justice William Rehnquist presiding
Second committee room in Congress Hall in Philadelphia
Library of Congress Jefferson Building
Lobbying depends on cultivating personal relationships over many years. Photo: Lobbyist Tony Podesta (left) with former senator Kay Hagan (center) and her husband.
An Act of Congress from 1960.
The House Financial Services committee meets. Committee members sit in the tiers of raised chairs, while those testifying, and audience members sit below.
In this example, the more even distribution is on the left and the gerrymandering is presented on the right.
The Federalist Papers argued in favor of a strong connection between citizens and their representatives.

The Congress was created by the Constitution of the United States and first met in 1789, replacing in its legislative function the Congress of the Confederation.

John Marshall, 4th chief justice of the Supreme Court, empowered the courts by establishing the principle of judicial review in law in the landmark case Marbury v. Madison in 1803, effectively giving the Supreme Court a power to nullify Congressional legislation.

Portrait by Alexander Gardner, November 1863

Abraham Lincoln

American lawyer and statesman who served as the 16th president of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in 1865.

American lawyer and statesman who served as the 16th president of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in 1865.

Portrait by Alexander Gardner, November 1863
The farm site where Lincoln grew up in Spencer County, Indiana
Lincoln's home in Springfield, Illinois
Lincoln in his late 30s as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Photo taken by one of Lincoln's law students around 1846.
Lincoln in 1857
Lincoln in 1858, the year of his debates with Stephen Douglas over slavery
A portrait of Dred Scott, petitioner in Dred Scott v. Sandford
Abraham Lincoln (1860) by Mathew Brady, taken the day of the Cooper Union speech
A Timothy Cole wood engraving taken from a May 20, 1860, ambrotype of Lincoln, two days following his nomination for president
Headlines on the day of Lincoln's inauguration portended hostilities with the Confederacy, Fort Sumter being attacked less than six weeks later.
March 1861 inaugural at the Capitol building. The dome above the rotunda was still under construction.
Lincoln with officers after the Battle of Antietam. Notable figures (from left) are 1. Col. Delos Sackett; 4. Gen. George W. Morell; 5. Alexander S. Webb, Chief of Staff, V Corps; 6. McClellan;. 8. Dr. Jonathan Letterman; 10. Lincoln; 11. Henry J. Hunt; 12. Fitz John Porter; 15. Andrew A. Humphreys; 16. Capt. George Armstrong Custer.
Running the Machine: An 1864 political cartoon satirizing Lincoln's administration – featuring William Fessenden, Edwin Stanton, William Seward, Gideon Welles, Lincoln, and others
Lincoln and McClellan
Lincoln, absent his usual top hat, is highlighted at Gettysburg.
An electoral landslide for Lincoln (in red) in the 1864 election; southern states (brown) and territories (gray) not in play
A poster of the 1864 election campaign with Lincoln as the candidate for president and Andrew Johnson as the candidate for vice president
Lincoln's second inaugural address in 1865 at the almost completed Capitol building
A political cartoon of Vice President Andrew Johnson (a former tailor) and Lincoln, 1865, entitled The 'Rail Splitter' At Work Repairing the Union. The caption reads (Johnson): "Take it quietly Uncle Abe and I will draw it closer than ever." (Lincoln): "A few more stitches Andy and the good old Union will be mended."
Shown in the presidential booth of Ford's Theatre, from left to right, are assassin John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln, Clara Harris, and Henry Rathbone.
Funeral of Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln, painting by George Peter Alexander Healy in 1869
Lincoln in February 1865, two months before his death
Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
The Lincoln cent, an American coin portraying Lincoln
Lincoln's image carved into the stone of Mount Rushmore|alt=See caption
Abraham Lincoln, a 1909 bronze statue by Adolph Weinman, sits before a historic church in Hodgenville, Kentucky.|alt=See caption
The Lincoln memorial postage stamp of 1866 was issued by the U.S. Post Office exactly one year after Lincoln's death.
Painting of Abraham Lincoln for the U.S. Capitol, by Ned Bittinger

Lincoln's engagement became distinctly personal on one occasion in 1864 when Confederate general Jubal Early raided Washington, D.C. Legend has it that while Lincoln watched from an exposed position, Union Captain (and future Supreme Court Justice) Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. shouted at him, "Get down, you damn fool, before you get shot!"

He did this at a time when the Constitution, which "tolerated slavery", was the focus of most political discourse.

Coat of arms

Federal government of the United States

National government of the United States, a federal republic in North America, composed of 50 states, a city within a federal district (the city of Washington in the District of Columbia, where the entire federal government is based), five major self-governing territories and several island possessions.

National government of the United States, a federal republic in North America, composed of 50 states, a city within a federal district (the city of Washington in the District of Columbia, where the entire federal government is based), five major self-governing territories and several island possessions.

Coat of arms
Political system of the United States
Seal of the U.S. Congress
The 435 seats of the House grouped by state
The United States Capitol is the seat of government for Congress.
Seal of the president of the United States
Uncle Sam, a common personification of the United States Federal Government
Seal of the vice president of the United States
Seal of the U.S. Supreme Court
Federal Revenue and Spending
Diagram of the Federal Government and American Union, 1862
The states of the United States as divided into counties (or, in Louisiana and Alaska, parishes and boroughs, respectively). Alaska and Hawaii are not to scale and the Aleutian and uninhabited Northwestern Hawaiian Islands have been omitted.

The federal government is composed of three distinct branches: legislative, executive, and judicial, whose powers are vested by the U.S. Constitution in the Congress, the president and the federal courts, respectively.

The powers and duties of these branches are further defined by acts of Congress, including the creation of executive departments and courts inferior to the Supreme Court.

An 1808 engraving of Chief Justice John Marshall by French portrait painter Charles Balthazar Julien Févret de Saint-Mémin

Marbury v. Madison

An 1808 engraving of Chief Justice John Marshall by French portrait painter Charles Balthazar Julien Févret de Saint-Mémin
The U.S. Capitol, home of the U.S. Congress and also where the U.S. Supreme Court convened from 1801 until the Supreme Court Building's completion in 1935.
Marshall's famous line from Marbury v. Madison on American federal courts' power to interpret the law, now inscribed on the wall of the U.S. Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C.
Chief justice John Marshall, as painted by Henry Inman in 1832, after having presided over the American federal judiciary for over 30 years

Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. (1 Cranch) 137 (1803), was a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that established the principle of judicial review in the United States, meaning that American courts have the power to strike down laws and statutes that they find to violate the Constitution of the United States.

Secretary of State James Madison, who won Marbury v. Madison, but lost judicial review

Article Three of the United States Constitution

Secretary of State James Madison, who won Marbury v. Madison, but lost judicial review
A nineteenth-century painting of a jury
Iva Toguri, known as Tokyo Rose, and Tomoya Kawakita were two Japanese Americans who were tried for treason after World War II.

Article Three of the United States Constitution establishes the judicial branch of the federal government.

Under Article Three, the judicial branch consists of the Supreme Court of the United States, as well as lower courts created by Congress.

Washington, D.C.

Capital city and only federal district of the United States.

Capital city and only federal district of the United States.

Looking West at the Capitol & the Mall, Washington DC
Historical coat of arms, as recorded in 1876
Following their victory at the Battle of Bladensburg (1814), the British entered Washington, D.C., burning down buildings, including the White House.
President Abraham Lincoln insisted that construction of the United States Capitol dome continue during the American Civil War (1861).
Crowds surrounding the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool during the March on Washington, 1963
Satellite photo of Washington, D.C. by ESA
The Washington Monument, seen across the Tidal Basin during 2007's National Cherry Blossom Festival
The L'Enfant Plan for Washington, D.C., as revised by Andrew Ellicott in 1792
Looking Northwest at the Mall, Washington DC
Looking West from RFK Stadium, Washington DC
Construction of the 12-story Cairo Apartment Building (1894) in the Dupont Circle neighborhood spurred building height restrictions.
The Georgetown neighborhood is known for its historic Federal-style rowhouses. In the foreground is the 19th century Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.
Meridian Hill Park, in Columbia Heights
Map of racial distribution in Washington, D.C., according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Each dot is 25 people:
D.C. police on Harley-Davidson motorcycles escort a protest in 2018.
Federal Triangle, between Constitution Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue. The U.S. federal government accounts for about 29% of D.C. jobs.
The Lincoln Memorial receives about six million visits annually.
The Smithsonian Institution is the world's largest research and museum complex. Like its administration building, known as The Castle, many of its museums are on the National Mall.
The National Gallery of Art
The Kennedy Center for Performing Arts is home to the Washington National Opera and National Symphony Orchestra.
Nationals Park in the Navy Yard area on the Anacostia River
is the home of the Washington Nationals baseball team.
The hometown Washington Capitals NHL hockey team plays in Penn Quarter's Capital One Arena; the arena is also home to the Washington Wizards NBA basketball team.
One Franklin Square: The Washington Post Building on Franklin Square
The Watergate complex was the site of the Watergate Scandal, which led to President Nixon's resignation.
The John A. Wilson Building houses the offices of the mayor of Washington and the Council of the District of Columbia.
The Eisenhower Executive Office Building, once the world's largest office building, houses the Executive Office of the President of the United States.
The Library of Congress is one of the world's largest libraries, with more than 167 million cataloged items.
Georgetown Day at Georgetown University
A Blue Line train at Farragut West, an underground station on the Washington Metro
Washington Union Station is one of the busiest rail stations in the United States.
I-66 in Washington, D.C.
The Capitol Power Plant, built to supply energy for the U.S. Capitol Complex, is under the jurisdiction of the Architect of the Capitol.

The U.S. Constitution provides for a federal district under the exclusive jurisdiction of Congress; the district is therefore not a part of any U.S. state (nor is it one itself).

The three branches of the U.S. federal government are centered in the district: Congress (legislative), the president (executive), and the Supreme Court (judicial).

Page one of the officially engrossed copy of the Constitution signed by delegates. A print run of 500 copies of the final version preceded this copy.

Commerce Clause

Page one of the officially engrossed copy of the Constitution signed by delegates. A print run of 500 copies of the final version preceded this copy.

The Commerce Clause describes an enumerated power listed in the United States Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3).

However, the effect of the Commerce Clause has varied significantly depending on the U.S. Supreme Court's interpretation.