The process by which the actions of government are determined
A political body that makes decisions for the nation
Having too much power
Citizens mobilize others who care about an issue to attract the attention of government officials and influence the direction of law and policy
ex. organizing a boycott, participating in a rally
Elections pathway of action
Citizens elect leaders to represent them and hold those leaders accountable for the decisions they make.
ex. voting, fundraising, volunteering for a campaign
Lobbying pathway of action
Citizens attempt to influence lawmakers and others involved in the creation of policy by supplying them with information and persuasive arguments
ex. meeting face to face with elected official
Court pathway of action
Citizens use the court system to challenge laws which they feel are unconstitutional and to make the government play by its own rules
ex. filing a suit in court about a state or federal law
Cultural change pathway of action
Citizens attempt to change the hearts and minds of their fellow citizens in order to change the dominant values of society
ex. educating fellow citizens about issues, publicizing events.
One leader controls all
a group of a few people have control
When the people have a say in their elected representative
A state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president
a government that concentrates political power in an authority not responsible to the people
Checks and Balances
A system in our government where each brach has the power to limit the actions of others
An economic system where business and industry are privately owned and there is little governmental interference
An economic system in which the government owns and controls most factories and much or all of the nation's land.
Separation of powers
Split the government into 3 separate branches (Executive, Legislative, and Judicial)
The vote is given to all citizens and the power comes from the people.
The constitution is the supreme law of land which means the government does not have full power.
Checks and Balances
Each group has the right to check on other groups and make sure there is balanced power.
An even amount of power between the states and federal government.
Delegated Powers (Article 1 Section 8)
Powers expressly given to the national government by the constitution.
Powers of the national government based on the Elastic Clause (Necessary and Proper Clause)
Part of the Constitution that lets the national government make all laws that are "necessary and proper)
Powers, usually in foreign affairs, that grow out of the very existence of the national government
Reserved Powers (tenth amendment)
Powers given only to the states
Powers held by both the national and state governments
Prohibited powers (Article 1 section 9)
Powers forbidden to both the national and state governments.
Full Faith and Credit Clause
Location in the constitution where you find what the states owe to eachother other
the surrender of an alleged offender or fugitive to the state in whose territory the alleged offence was committed
a clause in Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution that empowers Congress to regulate interstate commerce and commerce with foreign countries and that forms the constitutional basis for much federal regulation
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.
(law) the right and power to interpret and apply the law
Dual court system
federal and state courts
Body of law dealing with private rights of individuals
A body of law that applies to violations against rules and regulations defined by the government
the power of the Supreme Court to declare laws and actions of local, state, or national governments unconstitutional
an interpretation of the U.S. constitution holding that the spirit of the times and the needs of the nation can legitimately influence judicial decisions (particularly decisions of the Supreme Court)
view that the courts should reject any active lawmaking functions and stick to judicial interpretations of the past
District Courts: original jurisdiction
The court's authority to hear and decide a case for the first time.
Appellate Court: appellate jurisdiction
they hear cases on appeal from the lower federal courts
Court of last resort
The Supreme Court
Writ of Certiorari
A legal order that commands a lower court to send the records of a case up to the U.S. Supreme Court
the opinion joined by a majority of the court
a dissenting opinion written by a justice representing a minority point of view in the losing side of a Supreme Court decision
A Supreme Court opinion by one or more justices who agree with the majority's conclusion but wish to offer differing reasons.
prior cases whose principles are used by judges as the bases for their decisions in present cases
Let the decision stand; decisions are based on precedents from previous cases
Individuals' freedoms and legal protections that cannot be denied by the actions of government.
Bill of Rights
a statement of fundamental rights and privileges (especially the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution)
Incorporation and the 14th amendment
Process used by the Supreme Court to protect individuals from actions by state and local governments by interpreting the due process clause of the 14th amendment as containing selected provisions of the Bill of Rights.
an amendment to the Constitution of the United States guaranteeing the right of free expression
the First Amendment guarantee that the government will not create and support an official state church
Free Exercise Clause
the First Amendment guarantee that citizens may freely engage in the religious activities of their choice
an advocate of secession or separation from a larger group (such as an established church or a national union)
interpretive approach to the establishment clause of the first amendment that would permit the government to provide financial support for certain religious institutions and programs
Lemon Test (Lemon v. Kurtzman)
The purpose is to determine when a law has the effect of establishing religion.
The strict scrutiny standard of judicial review is based on the EQUAL PROTECTION CLAUSE of the Fourteenth Amendment. Federal courts use strict scrutiny to determine whether certain types of government policies are constitutional.
Clear and Present Danger Test (Schenck v. U.S.)
used in dealing with freedom of speech within the first amendment to determine whether or not a statement is protected under the amendment. If the person says something that may cause danger to the people around them, their speech is not protected by the first amendment.
Expressions which comment on government action rather than the private conduct of an individual.
nonverbal communication, such as burning a flag or wearing an armband. The Supreme Court has accorded some symbolic speech protection under the first amendment.
protects you from unreasonable search and seizure of your home and property
Exclusionary Rule (Mapp v. Ohio)
Rule prohibiting the use of illegally obtained evidence in a court of law
a writ from a court commanding police to perform specified acts
Reasonable cause for issuing a search warrent or making an arrest; more than a mere suspicion.
an amendment to the Constitution of the United States that imposes restrictions on the government's prosecution of persons accused of crimes
the prosecution of a defendant for a criminal offense for which he has already been tried
Self-incrimination (Miranda v. Arizona)
Act or declaration, during an investigation or in a court, by which a witness explicitly or implicitly subjects himself or herself to criminal liability. The witness may refuse to reply to the questions the answers to which may implicate him or her in a crime. This privilege, however, does not cover civil cases, and does not apply to an accused being tried for a criminal offense.
part of the United States Bill of Rights which sets forth rights related to criminal prosecutions.
Speedy and public trial
a right contained in the sixth amendment to prevent indefinite pre-trial detention and secret trials
Trial by jury
The right of a person to be tried by a jury, or a group of citizens, to decide if the person is guilty or innocent of committing a crime.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
putting a condemned person to death
Government with both a house of reps and a senate
The view that an elected represent should represent the opinions of his or her constituents.
trustee--do what is best regardless of voter opinion; delegate--do what the voters want
Role played by elected representatives who act as trustees or as delegates, depending on the issue
a formal document charging a public official with misconduct in office
Speaker of the House
The leader of the majority party who serves as the presiding officer of the House of Representatives
leader of the majority party in a legislature
leader of the minority party in a legislature
permanently established legislative committees that consider and are responsible for legislation within a certain subject area
a tactic for delaying or obstructing legislation by making long speeches
People a member of Congress represents
How a Bill Becomes a Law
it gets introduced
then sent to committees (house of reps)
then house votes on it. Then introduced to senate. Then sent to senate committees
senate votes on it. The bill is then on the floor for voting and if it is approved, it is then sent to the president. If the president vetoes it, it can be sent back to the Senate for 2/3s vote.