The Power Grab Game The U.S. Constitution

OVERVIEW: The highest law of the land is the Constitution. The Constitution and its amendments outline the framework for the society in which we live. The core ideas of American Government are embodied in the Constitution: checks and balances, separation of powers, the Bill of Rights and amendments.


RULES:Working in groups of three, you should complete the following activity.In each round of the activity, a branch of government will have an opportunity to make an unconstitutional "Power Grab". Your group must find proof from the Constitution and its amendments (by article, section, and clause) that explains why the power grab is unconstitutional.


You should mark the appropriate source by each unconstitutional power grab.



Round 1

PresidentóA serious economic crisis takes place In the U.S. President Baldukas decides he can solve the crisis and runs for a third term.

CongressóCongress passes a law taking 25% of all the profits from all cheese exported from Wisconsin.


CourtsóThe Court rules that the government may not issue patents because of the need for technological advance.



Round 2

PresidentóPresident Xiong decides to declare war on Mexico because he thinks they are corrupting American youth on spring break trips.


CongressóCongress passes a law that people from Wisconsin may not drive cars in other states because they will cause pollution.


CourtsóSince Washington D.C. is not a state, residents who live there may not vote in any national elections.



Round 3


PresidentóThe President appoints Jean Burrows to Senator Kohl's seat when Kohl resigns due to a personal scandal.


CongressóCongress impeaches President Bush because he pardons Dick Cheney for some minor crime. The Democratic Senate uses their anger to "get him".


CourtsóBecause of our huge national debt, the U.S. can no longer borrow money.



Round 4


PresidentóPresident Teska decides that to fight terrorism, anyone found guilty of hijacking will be punished by having their fingernails ripped off.


CongressóCongress decides that beards and mustaches are illegal; anyone who wore one in the last year must pay a $100 fine.


CourtsóThe Court decides that since religion and politics don't mix, no government official is required to take an oath of office.



Round 5


PresidentóThe President decides that Congress will meet in regular session on December 15 of each year.


CongressóCongress decides to Impeach President Clinton with the President Pro-Temp of the Senate presiding.


CourtsóThe ambassador to Spain is brought home and tried in a New York court for crimes.



Round 6


PresidentóThe President orders that a mass murderer be sent back to Wisconsin from California.


CongressóA House member dies, the House takes four days off to mourn but the Senate says they can only have two days off.


CourtsóThe Court rules that the heads of departments may no longer make appointments of inferior officers, but only the President of the U.S. can make those appointments.


Round 7


PresidentóBrad Pitt comes to Washington D.C. and cuts off the heads of all the parking meters. President Bush pardons him.


CongressóCongress passes a law naming 15 university students guilty of crimes against the government and orders them expelled from school.


CourtsóA male teacher sues over sexual discrimination by taking the case directly to the Supreme Court.



Round 8


PresidentóYour land is in the way of a federal highway, so the President takes your land without compensation.


CongressóCongress passes a law that says you can sue your state in federal court.


CourtsóThe Court rules that income tax is illegal and you don't have to pay.



Round 9


PresidentóThe President orders that since all citizens over 18 want to vote for the President, they may do so by popular vote.


CongressóCongress decides that because of the contributions of Brett Favre to football, they will honor him with the title. "Sir Brett Favre".


CourtsóThe Court rules that because of the difficulty in finding honest, law abiding citizens, they will allow Mr. Novak to be Secretary of the Interior.



Round 10


PresidentóThe President, concerned about drug violations in the state of Wisconsin, allows the Governor and Attorney General to suspend democracy for a period of one month.


CongressóCongress decides to change the Constitution to allow the President to be elected to one term of six years.


CourtsóThe Courts find President Clinton guilty of perjury on the basis of testimony of Monica Lewinsky alone.