All the powers are vested in Congress (people’s representatives), which comprise the Senate and House of representatives. The bicameral structure of the Congress contains 435 members in the lower body and 100 members in the upper body, House of Representatives and Senate, respectively. The congressional districts or electoral districts are divisions of electing members of the House of Representatives. The population density in each state determines the number of electoral districts it is entitled to. Census in the U.S are decennial; hence the number of congressional districts is decided after every ten years in apportionment and delimitation processes. Congress is vested with powers by the Constitution to make legislation, declare war and override presidential vetoes.
On one hand, members of the House of Representatives are elected after every two years. The representation in the lower house is dependent on the population established in the United States Census. One representative is limited to substitute thirty thousand people. Each state, however, must have at least one congressional representative regardless of the population (Maggs, 2019). Article 1 requires a minimum age of 25 years, U.S citizenship for at least seven years, and residency to the state for qualification to be elected in the House of Representatives.
On the other hand, senators are elected for a six-year term with staggered elections. Every state has two senate representatives to achieve 100 senators for 50 states. A third of the states have to re-elect their senators every two years. Article 1 requires that members vying for senate meet a minimum age of 30 years, at least nine years of U.S citizenship, and inhabitancy to the respective state of the election (Gorgoshadze, 2018). Every two senators represent people of an individual state elected for six years.
The framers granted remarkable but restricted powers to Congress to make it a preeminent branch of government. The preamble lay down the Constitution’s foundation by highlighting the framers’ intention, such as achieving defense, justice, and ensuring domestic tranquility. The power of the Congress is enshrined in Article 1 of the Constitution with special executive powers. The preamble to the U.S constitution advocate for the theory of popular sovereignty and how government power flow from people. First, the preamble recognizes itself with the people of the U.S, signaling that power belongs to the people. At the start of the original draft of the preamble reads, “we the people,” indicating that most of the U.S people agreed upon the Constitution, and hence a majority of the people can amend it (Maggs, 2019). The entire people of the U.S are sovereign indicated in the preamble.
The framers also believe that our rights are naturally given by God or nature rather than by the government. Some of the rights are alienable, while others are not. By formation of the government made the U.S people surrender some of those rights to representatives. The people are sovereign, and the representatives are the people’s servants. Therefore, members of Congress and the president represent the will of the people they represent. According to Maggs (2019), the Constitution itself also didn’t declare for “we the people” when it was proposed until ratification by special conventions elected for that purpose. The people determine the supreme law, and people representatives are the people’s voice. The Enumerated and Implied powers entrenched to the congress grant exclusive capability to the Congress to perform its duties. Such authorities include overriding presidential vetoes and declaring war entrenched in Article 1, section 7, and section 8, respectively.
The president is granted with authority to veto legislation with powers to pass or block legislation by the Constitution. If the president fails to pass legislation into law, it is taken back to both houses for discussion. Congress is, however, granted powers to override the presidential veto if it achieves a two-thirds vote in both Houses. Since Congress represents the people and two-thirds in both houses represent the majority in the U.S, such a law should be passed to maintain the people’s sovereignty over the servants (president). Article 7 allows Congress to override a presidential veto if an act garners significant support (two-thirds votes) in both houses of representation, preventing the president from barring such an act.
Article 1, section 8, grants Congress authority to provide common defense by declaring war. Although the president is the commander in chief of the armed forces, Congress should decide on the declaration of war (Gorgoshadze, 2018). Domestic tranquility, defense, and declaring war are matters of sovereignty that belong to the people through representatives. Therefore, cooperation between the president and Congress is requisite in domestic tranquility and military affairs.
The U.S constitution gives the basis of the government on the idea that people have sovereign power and can alienate some of those powers to people (representatives) who decide on their behalf. The Congress is formed under the Constitution disintegrated into the House of Representatives and the Senate. Congress has 535 elected representatives in both houses acting on behalf of the general American population. The framers created the preamble that demonstrates the flow of power from the people to form the government. Article 1, section 7, and 8 allows Congress to override the president’s veto and declare war, respectively.
Gorgoshadze, M. (2018). The Essence and the Place of the Preamble in the Structure of the Normative-legal Act. Law Rev. Kyiv UL, 346.
Maggs, G. E. (2019). A Guide and Index for Finding Evidence of the Original Meaning of the US Constitution in Early State Constitutions and Declarations of Rights. NCL Rev., 98, 779.