AP US Government : The Bill of Rights

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP US Government

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Example Questions

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Example Question #102 : Constitutional Amendments

If a federal District Judge fined you one million dollars for contempt, she would likely run afoul of which amendment?

Possible Answers:

9th

10th

11th

8th

Correct answer:

8th

Explanation:

This should have been a relatively simple question. The correct answer is the 8th Amendment. Among other things, the Eighth Amendment prohibits “excessive fines or bail.” It would depend on the circumstances, of course, but a 1 million dollar contempt fine would likely be incredibly excessive.

Example Question #111 : Civil Rights, Amendments, And Court Cases

“. . . nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted” is the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on _________________.

Possible Answers:

Life imprisonment with possibility of parole

The death penalty

Life imprisonment without the possibility of parole

None of these answers are correct

Correct answer:

None of these answers are correct

Explanation:

This is a difficult question. Although your first impression may have been to select the “Death penalty,” that answer in incorrect. In fact, none of the answers are correct. Although the Supreme Court effectively forbade the death penalty for about four years in Furman v. Georgia (holding that the death penalty as applied was unconstitutional), the key part of that holding was “as applied.” Thus, when Georgia rearranged their penalty scheme, the Supreme Court upheld the death penalty in Gregg v. Georgia, which has not been overturned. Thus the death penalty is not an unconstitutional restriction of 8th amendment rights.

Example Question #111 : Constitutional Amendments

Which amendment was written to make certain that the amendments within the Bill of Rights could not be used to deny citizens any un-enumerated rights?

Possible Answers:

9th

8th

5th

10th

Correct answer:

9th

Explanation:

This is a relatively obscure question, as the 9th Amendment is rarely litigated, but the correct answer is the 9th Amendment. The text of the Amendment reads: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” Thus, the 9th Amendment stands for the proposition that the Constitution is not the sum of all rights—it simply mentions some. In other words, it would technically be a violation of the 9th Amendment to deny a historical right based on the fact that it is not specifically listed in the constitution.

Example Question #112 : Constitutional Amendments

What amendment is often referred to as the “states’ rights amendment”? (In large part because it grants to the states ‘residual’ powers).

Possible Answers:

1st

10th

3rd

12th

Correct answer:

10th

Explanation:

The correct answer is the Tenth Amendment. The Tenth Amendment is often called the “states’ rights amendment” because it grants to the states any rights (1) not specifically granted to the federal government and (2) not forbidden to the states. The Tenth Amendment is a broad and sweeping statement of federalism, although challenges under the 10th rarely gain traction (the potent combination of the Supremacy Clause and Interstate Commerce Clause tend to overwhelm the 10th).

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