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Constitutions

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grizzly
77020.  Wed Jun 28, 2006 3:49 am Reply with quote

How many constitutions does the USA have?

 
eggshaped
77032.  Wed Jun 28, 2006 4:28 am Reply with quote

one?

 
QI Individual
77033.  Wed Jun 28, 2006 4:29 am Reply with quote

Since the United STATES of America is a federation of individual states each state has a constitution. That it happens to be the same one for all (I assume - I don't know whether individual states can make/have made modifications) is because 'signing up' to the constitution is the most essential part to what makes you one of the US I guess.

How am I doing so far?

Will I be 'Alaned' or am I in the clear?

 
eggshaped
77039.  Wed Jun 28, 2006 4:35 am Reply with quote

Oh yeah, The State of Texas certainly has its own constitution.

I say two. Or 51. Or 37.

 
Tas
77042.  Wed Jun 28, 2006 4:39 am Reply with quote

I'd say the number of States, plus one.

:-)

Tas

(Awaits the KOD.....That's Klaxon Of Doom)

 
grizzly
77049.  Wed Jun 28, 2006 5:08 am Reply with quote

Klaxon for eggshaped

It is of course 51, one for the federal government and an additional one for each state. For example, California and several other states have a constitution that allows referendums and initiatives to be held as well as recall elections. Voting rights and marriage rights are determined by each state (either by legislation or their constitution).

 
grizzly
77051.  Wed Jun 28, 2006 5:09 am Reply with quote

Well I should say, at least 51. I'm sure there will be those that will suggest other documents that can be included as individual constitutions for the US.

 
djgordy
77052.  Wed Jun 28, 2006 5:14 am Reply with quote

No; the USA only has one constitution. The constitution of, say, Virginia, isn't a constitution of the USA.

 
grizzly
77060.  Wed Jun 28, 2006 5:29 am Reply with quote

I'm not sure that I agree. Virginia is a state of the USA and has a constitution. Therefore the constitution of Virginia is a constitution of the USA.

But if necessary modify the question to say:

How many constitutions are there in the USA?

and thus the point of general ignorance still stands.

 
suze
77061.  Wed Jun 28, 2006 5:39 am Reply with quote

I might go for 56, partly just to be awkward and partly because I reckon it might be the answer.

All the states have a constitution, although that of Washington state has never been ratified. Even so, de facto it serves the purpose for which it was written.

They are not as similar as you might imagine. The Constitution of Alabama is the longest constitution in the world at 360,000 words; it still requires schools to be racially segregated and forbade mixed race marriage until 2000. (These provisions were inoperative as they were explicitly forbidden at a federal level, but Alabama took until 2000 to repeal one and still hasn't repealed the other.) Alabama also finds it necessary to note in the constitution that payment of salary to state employees will cease upon death.

The District of Columbia does not have a constitution - it has a charter, as do many other cities in the USA (and elsewhere).

But American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands do have constitutions. While these places are not states and do not have voting rights in Congress, they are part of the USA to the same extent that DC is - and I do not hear anyone claiming that DC isn't.

 
samivel
77076.  Wed Jun 28, 2006 6:08 am Reply with quote

suze wrote:
Alabama also finds it necessary to note in the constitution that payment of salary to state employees will cease upon death.



The stingy buggers!

 
grizzly
77095.  Wed Jun 28, 2006 7:24 am Reply with quote

Nebraska is the only state to have a unicameral legislature.

 
barbados
77100.  Wed Jun 28, 2006 7:44 am Reply with quote

I think the wording in your question was a little too specific to be ambiguous.

Had you worded it
"How many constitutions are there in the United States?" you could have the 51 answer, other than that you would need to have 1 as the correct. It's a bit like asking "what city is the largest capital in the world?" of course the answer to that question is Honolulu but if you alter it to say "what is the largest capital city in the world?" the answer changes because the implication is that the question is about National capitals raher than State capitals.

 
suze
77107.  Wed Jun 28, 2006 7:55 am Reply with quote

What's this about Honolulu? Is this a reference to the bizarre fact that for local government purposes Midway - more than 1,000 miles away - falls within the City and County of Honolulu?

As for Nebraska, it is indeed unicameral - effectively it only has a Senate as the House of Representatives was abolished in 1934.

It is also the only state where the members of the legislature are non partisan - although this is a piece of fiction, since both the parties "advise" the electorate on which candidate they would prefer to see elected.

Some of the territories and districts also have unicameral legislatures, and that of American Samoa is also non partisan, while Puerto Rico has different parties from the rest of the USA.

Now then, what thing does one do differently in the US Virgin Islands from how one does it in the rest of the USA?

(It's not to do with politics, except that local politicians have repeatedly declined to bring the USVI in line with the rest of the country.)


Last edited by suze on Wed Jun 28, 2006 7:58 am; edited 1 time in total

 
96aelw
77109.  Wed Jun 28, 2006 7:58 am Reply with quote

They don't drive on the left, do they?

 

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