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EXERCISE 2. Choose the correct word from the list to complete each sentence. Translate the sentences into Russian.

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  10. A. Read and translate the text.


abridging Constitution prohibited prosecutions trial accused responsibility committed established consent amendments


1. The_________ of the USA was written in Philadelphia in 1787.

2. The Constitution can only be changed with the widespread _________ of the citizens.

3. The Constitution can only be changed according to _________ procedures.

4. The Constitution of the US contains a preamble, a main body and twenty seven________.

5. The Constitution establishes the _________ of the government to protect citizens’ rights to life, liberty, and property.

6. She was _________ of having killed her sister.

7. This man is on _________ for murder.

8. In all criminal _________ the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial.

9. Violent crime has recently been _________ in this district.

10. Smoking is _________ in all public places.

11. Congress shall make no law _________ the freedom of speech or of the press.


Reading and language study


The US Constitution


I) Constitutional law is the law which determines the relationship of the citizen to the state and which controls the operation of the various branches of the state. A constitution is a set of customs, traditions, rules, and laws that sets forth the basic way a government is organized and operated. Most constitutions are in writing, some are partly written and partly unwritten, and some are not written at all.

(II) The Constitution is the soul of law in the United States. It sets up a federal system by dividing powers between the national and state governments. It also establishes a balanced national government by dividing authority among three independent branches – the executive, the legislative and the judicial. The executive branch enforces the law, the legislative branch makes the law and the judicial branch explains the law. The executive branch of the national government is usually represented by the President, the legislative branch by Congress and the judicial branch by the Supreme Court.

(III) The Constitution of the United States was written in Philadelphia in 1787, and for more than two hundred years the Constitution has been the core of the nation’s law. According to the Founders, a constitution or higher law should have the following chracteristics:

It sets forth the basic rights of citizens to life, liberty, and property.

It establishes the responsibility of the government to protect those rights.

It establishes the principle of private domain – which means that there are areas of citizens’ lives that are no business of the government and in which the government cannot interfere.

It establishes limitations on how those in government may use their powers with regard to

-citizens’ rights and responsibilities

-the distribution of resources

-the control of conflict

(IV) The Constitution can only be changed with the widespread consent of the citizens, and according to established procedures. This distinguishes the higher law from the ordinary law that governments regularly create and enforce.

(V) * The Constitution of the US contains a preamble, a main body and twenty seven amendments. The Preamble introduces the Constitution by listing six important reasons for writing it.

In order to form a more perfect union - set up a stronger central government with the states more closely united.

To establish justice - set up a system of laws and courts that would make all men equal under the law and give all men equal opportunities for fair treatment if accused of crime.

To ensure domestic tranquility – to settle the problem, such as poor trade relations between states, and to prevent open fighting against state governments.

To provide for the common defense – to have a strong national army and navy that could defend all the states.

To promote the general welfare – to help provide a higher standard of living for the people of the United States through better government.

To secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity - to protect the personal rights of all United States citizens for all time.*

(VI) The main body of the Constitution sets forth government’s structure, allocates powers and duties among public institutions and officials, and defines people’s rights and responsibilities. Constitutional amendments fall into one of three categories. The first group (such as the first ten, the Bill of Rights) protects fundamental principles of liberty and self-government. The second group (such as the voting-rights amendments) expands democracy as a core component of the constitutional system. And the third group repairs defects of the original Constitution or responds to the problems not envisioned by the Constitution’s framers and ratifiers. The US Constitution declares the nation’s central principles - the goals for which Americans came together as a nation, the purposes of its grants of power and limits on power; and the kinds of public and private lives that Americans want to foster under its protection.


EXERCISE 3. Scan the text and find definitions to these legal terms:


- Constitution

- Constitutional law


EXERCISE 4. Skim the text and make up a list of fundamental characteristics the Founders of the US Constitution specified.

EXERCISE 5. Read the text and answer the following questions:

1. How can a constitution be changed?

2. What parts does the US Constitution contain?

3. What principles does the main body of the US Constitution establish?

4. What categories of amendments does the US Constitution contain?

5. What principles does the US Constitution declare?

6. How did the Founders of the US Constitution characterize higher law?


EXERCISE 6. Read the text carefully and complete the sentence given below.


The _________ to the Constitution lists these six reasons for writing it: in order to form a more ________ ________; to establish ________; to ensure ________ ________; to provide for the ________ ________; to promote the ________ ________; and to secure the blessings of ________ for ________ and our ________.

EXERCISE 7.Using the paragraph reference given in brackets, find words in the text which have a similar meaning to:

- act, regulation, rule, statute (I)

- division (I)

- right, privilege (II)

- authorities, state (II)

- declare (III)

- agreement (IV)

- introduction, preface (V)

- favor, advantages (V)

- duty, obligation (VI)

- autonomy, independence (VI)

EXERCISE 8. Put the words into the right order (subject-verb-object) to make up sentences.


1. made, and, the higher law, between, a distinction, is, the ordinary law.

2. the main body, defined, the Constitution, and, are, people’s rights, responsibilities, in, of.

3. the law, enforced, the executive branch, is, by.

4. cannot, in, the government, some, of, interfere, areas, citizens’ lives.

5. three, of, amendments, there, categories, are, constitutional.


EXERCISE 9.Make up sentences using the following words and word combinations:


the relationship of the citizen to the state, set forth, be organized, basic rights, be changed, higher law, fall into, a core component, respond to the problem, establish, provide for, protect, fundamental principles, set up, to settle the problem, promote, people’s rights and responsibilities.


EXERCISE 10. Using the paragraph reference given in brackets, find in the text the English equivalents for these Russian legal terms and expressions.

- установить, учредить федеральную систему (II)

- разделить полномочия (II)

- федеральная (государственная) власть и власти штатов (II)

- законодательная ветвь (II)

- исполнительная ветвь (II)

- судебная ветвь (II)

- формулировать, излагать основные права (III)

- широко выраженное согласие (IV)


EXERCISE 11. Translate the marked *passage of the text THE US CONSTITUTION into Russian. Consult the dictionary of law.

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