Colorado Rights Blog

Caryn Osterman By: Caryn Osterman 9.17.2013

Happy Constitution Day!

Test your Constution IQ!

Word Bank:

Republican, constitutional, Article I, judicial, Articles of Confederation, Declaration of Independence, republican, president, executive, establishment clause, senate, balancing powers/checking powers, delegated powers, equal protection of the laws, Bill of Rights, making laws, John Locke, legislative, Article II, house of representatives, freedom of expression, natural rights, Great Compromise
(Some words/phrases may be used more than once, answers at bottom of page)

1) The Founders Fathers of America believed that life, liberty, and property were _________________.


2) ________________was an Englishman who lived from 1632 to 1704. He wrote about the importance of natural rights as a way of protecting the rights of people.


3) A __________________ is a government where people hold the power of government, the people give power to leaders they elect to represent them and to serve their interests, and the representatives are responsible for helping all the people in the country, not just the few.


4) A _____________________government means that there are limits on the powers of government.


5) Thomas Jefferson wrote the ___________________________ which provides basic ideas about people and government; reasons why the Founders thought they had the right to be free from British rule, and included complaints against the British king.


6) After 1776, the new state governments included ideas about ______________________rights , a _____________________ government, and a _________________________ government.


7) The states _________________________ included the rights of citizens. Some of these are the right to vote in free and frequent elections, freedom of speech and of the press, representation on tax matters, have a lawyer if accused of a crime, trial by jury, protection from illegal search and seizure, and protections from cruel and unusual punishment.


8) The first plan of government for the United States was the ____________________________ . Under this plan the power of the government was weak, it did not have money or the authority to get it, and there were no courts to settle disputes among the states.


9) The _______________________ solved the problem of providing equal representation in the government.


10) Each state would have two representatives in the _________________; in the ___________________the number of representatives from each state would be based on the number of people living in that state.


11) The power to make laws belongs to the ___________________________branch of government.


12) The power to carry out and enforce the laws made by Congress belongs to the ______________________branch of government.


13) The branch that settles disagreements about what laws mean is the ____________________ branch.


14) _____________________________ divides the power of the branches among the government and __________________________________ means that no one government can completely control the other branches.

15) The powers of Congress include: passing laws, taxing the people, raising an army and navy to defend our nations, declaring war, creating a court system, and coining money. They are part of __________________ of the Constitution.


16) Writing a bill, going to committee, getting a majority vote of Congress, and getting the president to approve the bill are part of the process of _____________________________.


17) __________________________ of the Constitution lists the duties and powers of the president.


18) The __________________________ acts as the commander in chief of the armed forces, makes treaties, appoints ambassadors, appoints judges, grants pardons for crimes against the United States, acts as the head of the executive branch, suggest laws and policies, and sets policies for dealing with other countries in the world.


19) The Department of State, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of War (now called Defense), and the Attorney General are advisors to the __________________________ .


20) Article III of the Constitution describes the responsibilities and powers of the ____________________ branch of the national government. This is comprised of the Supreme Court and of lower courts.


21) Powers given to the national government, state governments, national and state governments, and by the people are called _____________________________ .


22) The _________________________________, added in 1791, is the name of the first ten amendments to the Constitution. Many of the amendments give rights to people who were not given these rights in the original Constitution.


23) The First Amendment includes freedom of speech, press, assembly, and petition and is all part of ______________________________.


24) The _____________________________ clause says that Congress may not establish an official religion for our country or favor any one religion over others.


25) After the Civil War, the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments were added to the Constitution to end slavery and give former slaves the same rights as other people and to stop state governments from unfairly discriminating against African Americans. The 14th Amendment includes the concept of __________________________ and means that state governments must not treat people differently unless there is a good and fair reason for doing so.

1) Natural rights
2) John Locke
3) Republican
4) Constitutional
5) Declaration of Independence
6) Natural, republican, and constitutional 
7) Bill of rights
8) Articles of Confederation
9) Great Compromise
10) Senate; House of Representatives
11) Legislative
12) Executive
13) Judicial
14) Balancing powers/checking powers
15) Article I
16) Making laws
17) Article II
18) President
19) President
20) Judicial
21) Delegated powers
22) Bill of Rights
23) Freedom of Expression
24) Establishment 
25) Equal Protection of the Laws



  • Cedric Watkins is a father, uncle, entrepreneur-in-training, and a vital community pillar for many others. While behind bars, he has tirelessly devoted himself to serving his peers and his community. He developed gang disaffiliation programs for other incarcerated individuals and is currently involved with Defy Ventures. He sends letters and calls his daughter as much as he can.

    Cedric is currently in prison at Sterling Correctional Facility. He was convicted of aggravated robbery, burglary, kidnapping, theft and sentenced to 80 years; no one was seriously injured or killed. For comparison, a person convicted of second-degree murder in Colorado faces a maximum sentence of 48 years. Cedric has already served 20 years and has fully rehabilitated during that time.

    It’s time to bring Cedric home: Redemption is real. Clemency is compassion.

  • On November 21, 2016, 13 Aurora police officers responded to a simple noise complaint at Alberto Torres’s home. As happens all too often, Aurora police officers escalated this minor issue into a brutal affair. They beat Mr. Torres solely because he delayed exiting his garage to ask his wife to interpret for him. With that beating, the lives of Mr. Torres and every member of his family were changed and he has yet to recover. ACLU of Colorado fought to obtain justice for Mr. Torres, and Aurora has now paid him $285,000. But money is not justice, and the brutality of the Aurora Police Department against people of color has continued unabated.

    It doesn’t have to be this way.

    Imagine, if instead of 13 officers being dispatched to Mr. Torres’s home for a noise complaint, the City of Aurora sent a civilian-led response team to check on his welfare and ask that he and his friends lower their sound, resulting in a non-violent solution to a minor issue?

    ACLU Settles Case With Aurora After Police Brutalize and Unlawfully Arrest Alberto Torres

  • Hope is a discipline. It’s a commitment that together, we can create a more perfect union. We won’t rest until we fulfill the promise of equal rights for ALL people in the United States.

    Join us in our fight to fulfill this promise and move forward with hope by donating to the ACLU of Colorado. Your donation supports the ACLU’s strengths that make our work effective and collaborative.

    Donate now at

  • Anthony Martinez is 84-years-old and suffering from renal failure, as well as other serious medical conditions including dementia. He is currently incarcerated in the Sterling Correctional Facility, site of one of Colorado’s largest COVID-19 outbreaks with almost 600 active COVID-19 cases. He and his family are understandably terrified that he will catch the virus and die.

    In the midst of this public health crisis, incarcerated people as vulnerable as Anthony, could and should be immediately released to safely live out their remaining years with family.

    Read more about Anthony Martinez and other at-risk incarcerated people.