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1617 GOPO Final Terms A-I
Terms in this set (135)
An independent organization set up to influence the outcome of an election; can receive unlimited "soft money" donations but cannot directly advocate for a particular candidate or have any connection to a candidate. Rendered obsolete by Citizens United. Predecessor to SuperPACs.
Government or business policies favoring a historically disadvantaged minority group (university admissions, hiring decisions); raises 14th Amendment equal protection problems (reverse discrimination); limited by Bakke v. University of California (race can be "plus factor" in admissions but no racial quota system)
Agents of Socialization
Family (most important); TV/media (growing in importance); friends/peers; school (formal socialization). How we develop (absorb) opinions & beliefs.
American Party System
It consists of two main parties (because of electoral rules) with other smaller and less powerful third parties (spoiler, splinter, extremist)
American Political Culture
A set of basic, foundational values and beliefs about government that is shared by most citizens. Key elements: democracy, equality before the law, limited government, capitalism & private property
Americans With Disabilities Act (1990)
Major anti-discrimination law for disabled; requires access (ramps, braille, etc.); unfunded mandate
Amicus Curiae Brief
Literally, a "friend of the court" brief, filed by an individual or interest group to present arguments / points of view in addition to those presented by the immediate parties to a case (lobbying). Solicitor General files Amicus Briefs for U.S. government.
Belief in the abolition of all government (maybe through violent means)
A group who opposed the ratification of the Constitution in 1787. They opposed a strong central government (tyranny) and supported states' rights.
The losing party in a court case who appeals the case to a higher appellate court.
The jurisdiction of courts to hear appeals from lower trial or appellate courts.
The party opposing an appeal from a lower court to an appellate court.
Decide how to spend money allocated to each spending category by Budget Resolution; major source of earmarking
Articles of Confederation
Set up the 1st independent American government (1783-88). Nonbinding "league of friendship" among sovereign states with weak central government to help with common defense & cooperation (like the European Union). Replaced by our current constitution in 1788.
Head of the Justice Department and the chief law enforcement officer of the United States
Copy-cat behavior. People often do things just because other people do them. In primary elections, it is when people support the candidate everyone else seems to be supporting (poll leaders). Leads to Primary Frontloading (states want to have the most impact in the primary process)
Bill of Attainder
Laws that punish individuals or groups without a trial. These laws are always unconstitutional.
Bill of Rights
First ten amendments to the Constitution; major source of civil liberties; applies to states via selective incorporation doctrine; promised to Anti-Federalists to secure ratification of Constitution
Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act
Banned soft money donations to political parties (loophole from FECA); also imposed restrictions on 527 independent expenditures (issue ads only, not direct advocacy for a candidate). Declared unconstitutional by Citizens United case. Also known as McCain-Feingold Act.
Anyone can vote in any party primaries (like open primary) but voters not limited to one party (can vote for example in Democratic presidential primary and Republican senate primary). Least amount of party control over process.Declared unconstitutional (violates party's freedom to associate)
Money given to the states by the federal government for a general purpose (like education or road-building). Unlike categorical grants, states have discretion to decide how to spend the money.
House & Senate standing committees that begins spending process in Congress by setting overall spending size and amounts that will be spent on different topics (ex. defense, education)
The Presidency is one- a good position from which to inspire Congress & the nation, with the help of the media, to follow his political agenda. Example = FDR's fireside chats, Obama's televised State of the Union Address...
Group of important advisors to the President (Heads of Department agencies, VP and other VIPs chosen by president). Created by Washington, example of an informal amendment to the Constitution based on custom / tradition.
The fifteen largest and most influential agencies of the federal bureaucracy (e.g., Department of State, Treasury, Justice...) All headed by Secretary except Attorney General (Department of Justice)
Assistance given to individual constituents by congressional members, like helping an elderly person figure out how to get Medicare benefits. Major incumbency advantage.
Money given to the states by the federal government for a specific purpose or program. The federal government tells the states exactly how to spend the money (no state discretion unlike block grants). Example = Medicaid. Most common type of federal aid because it gives Congress the most control over the states.
Checks and Balances
A major principle of the American system of government. Helps maintain separation of powers so that no one branch gets too powerful. Explained in Federalist 51. Examples: President vetos laws; Senate confirms appointments & treaties; Congress impeaches president & judges...
Intentional breaking of a law to protest against the law. Thoreau vs. Mexican-American War, Rosa Parks & MLK vs. Jim Crow segregation.
Laws dealing with private rights of individuals (defamation, breach of contract, negligence). Violation results in damages or injunction.
Civil Rights Act of 1964
Prohibits discrimination based on race or gender in employment or public accommodations (restaurants, hotels). Created EEOC to enforce. Based on Congress's interstate commerce clause power (discrimination impacts interstate commerce). The most important federal law of its type.
Government bureaucracy; non-elected agents ("worker bees") that work for executive agencies to execute the law; hierarchical organization, job specialization, detailed rules & procedures, administrative discretion. Massive growth since New Deal & WWII (2.5m people = nation's largest employer)
Class Action Lawsuit
Allows an entire class of people who have been hurt in a similar manner by the same person or corporation to join together in one legal suit. (Example: AT&T overcharging 10 million customers 1 cent a month for a year).
Clear & Present Danger Test
Used in Schenck v. US (1919) to determine whether speech is unprotected "incitement" to illegal activity.
Only registered party members can vote in the party primaries. Maximum party control over process, used in most state primaries.
Closed Rule (aka Closed Bill)
Rule in the House of Representatives that prohibits any amendments to bills or says that only members of the committee reporting the bill may offer amendments
A procedure used in the senate to limit debate on a bill (end a filibuster); requires 60 votes.
Constitutional power of the president - "supreme commander" of the nation's armed forces. Important to keep military under civilian control, leads to conflict with Congress over war power (War Powers Act)
Art. 1, Sec. 8 of the Constitution (enumerated power). Congress has the power to regulate trade with foreign nations, among the several states, and with the "Indians". Interpreted by the Supreme Court very broadly (Gibbons v. Ogden)
Leader of a congressional committee. Usually the longest serving member of the majority party on that committee (seniority rule). A very powerful position - Controls the committee calendar, agenda, and hearings. Can pigeonhole (table) a bill by refusing to schedule debate on it.
Powers that are given to both federal and state governments. Ex., the power to tax and create courts. Unlike exclusive powers, which are given only to one level of government (ex., the power to declare war)
Nonbinding union of sovereign states (example = European Union or America's government before the Constitution)
A joint committee appointed to resolve differences in the senate and house versions of the same bill
Congress' Enumerated Powers (aka Expressed Powers aka Delegated Powers)
Power to tax, borrow & coin money, regulate foreign & interstate commerce, establish army, declare war, make all laws necessary & proper for carrying out the these powers (elastic clause)
Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
Non-partisan legislative support agency (economists) to analyze President's Budget Proposal & how much programs and budget items will cost.
Association of members of Congress created to support a political ideology or regional or special economic interest
Congressional Committee System
Evolved as a way for Congress to handle large and complex work-load; divides up law-making into major subject areas; major responsibility for debating & marking up bills + oversight of execution of laws
Rich highly educated white male protestant lawyers & businessmen! Women VERY underrepresented! (<17%)
The power of Congress to oversee how laws are carried out ("watchdog function" to prevent fraud & waste). Carried out through committee hearings & investigations, appropriations process (how much are we spending on that program again?)
Solves big state-little state debate over representation in federal legislature at Philly Convention. Created bicameral legislature with equal representation for states in Senate and proportional representation in House (seats based on population).
Constituent Services aka Casework
Services a congressperson provides for his/her constituents (ex., helping with government claims like social security & veterans benefits)
A nation's basic law, creates political institutions, assigns or divides power in government and often provides certain guarantees to citizens. Can be written or unwritten.
System of federalism where federal & state governments help each other perform governmental duties. Also known as marble-cake federalism.
Council of Economic Advisors
Three economic experts to help president understand and develop economic policy; must be confirmed by senate
Laws dealing with offenses against society (murder, rape, arson). Prosecuted by the government, violation results in fines or prison sentences
Election in which existing patterns of party loyalty shift. Ex. Northern Democrats switch parties in 1860 to vote for Republican Party (Lincoln).
Declaration of Independence
Thomas Jefferson's statement of political liberalism (limited government to protect life liberty and pursuit of happiness; right to revolution). Problems listed we had with King George
False and malicious (mean) writings ("libel") or speech ("slander") about a living person. Not protected speech under 1st Amendment but check out NY Times v. Sullivan (very difficult for "public figures" to prove it)
An individual or group being sued by a plaintiff or charged with a crime by a prosecutor.
Defense of Marriage Act (1996)
Federal law defining marriage as man-woman & declaring that no state is forced to recognize same-sex marriage (unconstitutional exception to full faith & credit clause?) Overturned by Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015
Party with these demographics: Racial minorities, Jews, Women (gender gap), Labor Unions, Poor
Ideology: Center-left coalition... support liberal economic & social policies (government aid, gay marriage, no death penalty, tax on wealthy).
Department of Defense
Cabinet-level agency in charge of the armed forces and military policy. HQ = The Pentagon.
Department of Justice
Federal department responsible for enforcing federal laws (includes FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration...)
Department of State
Cabinet-level agency in charge of foreign policy & international affairs. How the US interacts with other countries in the world.
The lifting of government rules & restrictions on business, industry, and professional activities; major goal of Republicans
returning power to the states from the federal government.
The effort to reduce the size & power of the federal government by returning power to the states. Associated with economic conservatives, President Reagan In the 80s & the Tea Party.
Federal trial courts. Limited jurisdiction (primarily to hear cases involving constitution and/or federal law). Must follow Supreme Court & their appellate court precedents (stare decisis).
When policymaking institutions of government (President, Senate, House) are divided among the parties (e.g., Democratic President, Republican Congress). Requires more compromise; can lead to gridlock.
The list of cases that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear (granted certiorari to) in a term (usually 70-100 cases)
Doctrine of Implied Powers
Established by McCulloch v. Maryland. Congress has the power to make all laws that are "necessary and proper" for carrying out its enumerated powers. So it can create a National Bank to carry out its power to coin money. Major cause of growth of federal power.
Don't Ask Don't Tell
Compromise gay policy in military from 1993; finally ended by Obama in 2011.
System of federalism that strictly separates federal power (ex. foreign relations) and state power (ex. protect against crime). Also known as "layer-cake federalism."
Practice of congressmen of securing ("appropriating") federal money ("pork") for projects that will benefit their constituents. Major incumbent advantage & source of budget increases
Activity that seeks to influence the outcome of an election. Independent electioneering (SuperPacs & 527s) is protected free speech and so cannot be limited by government.
Electoral Caucus (historical)
A meeting of important party members to select party candidates. Attacked as corrupt and anti-democratic so not used anymore.
Electoral Caucus (modern)
One way for a state party to select delegates to send to the National Convention. Consists of a series of meetings (local, county, state) among party members. First one is held in Iowa.
Constitutional system for electing president and vice president. Each state gets a set number of votes based on the number of House members plus senators it has.
A lessening of the importance of party loyalties in voting decision (more independent voters, more split ticket voting, more divided government). Perhaps occurring now?
Elite Theory (aka Elitism)
Belief that American democracy is a sham; we really live in a plutocracy. The Constitution was written by rich white men for rich white men. Put forward by Charles Beard.
Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)
Proposed constitutional amendment requiring full equal treatment for men and women (ex. allow women special forces). Proposed by Congress in 1972 but never ratified.
Equal Time Rule
FCC rule requiring media stations to offer advertising time to all candidates if they offer it to one candidate.
1st Amendment clause: Congress cannot make a religion. Judged by the Lemon test
Evidence obtained in violation of 4th Amendment is not admissible in criminal trial. (Weeks v. U.S., Mapp v. Ohio)
Non-treaty agreement between the U.S. president and other nations that does not require Senate ratification (but is not binding on future presidents).
Executive Enumerated Powers
Commander-in-chief of armed forces; pardon power (except for impeachment); treaty power; appointment power; veto power
Executive Office of the President (EOP)
Ten organizations that advise the President. Includes the Office of Management and Budget, the Council of Economic Advisors, and National Security Council. Top positions must be confirmed by Senate.
Regulations & orders from the President to an agency about how to execute a law.
The President's self-declared power to keep executive communications confidential, especially if they relate to national security.
A poll of voters that takes place right after they vote at the polling place to attempt to predict the outcome of the election. May create a bandwagon effect.
Ex Post Facto Laws
Laws that punish conduct that was not illegal when it was performed. These laws are always unconstitutional. Also known as a retroactive law.
Member of the Electoral College who does not vote for the candidate they promised to vote for. These have never determined outcome of presidential election but are a major problem with electoral college system
Federal Communications Commission
Federal agency that regulates the radio, television, wire, satellite and cable communications.
Federal Courts of Appeal (aka Appellate Courts)
Intermediate federal appellate courts. Cover 13 "circuits" across America. Hear appeals from District Courts in their jurisdiction.
Federal Election Campaign Act
First major federal law (1971) to regulate federal elections. Created Federal Election Commission (FEC). Required disclosure of sources of campaign funds (transparency), set limits on contributions to candidates (individuals = $1000, PACs = $5000), spending limits for candidates, limits on independent expenditures.
A system of government in which power is divided between one central government and several regional governments (dual or cooperative). Used in USA and a few other countries. Most countries have unitary (the opposite of this type) governments.
Paper regarding the danger of factions
Paper regarding the need for separation of powers and checks and balances
Written in 1788 by Madison, Hamilton, and Jay to support ratification of the Constitution.
Supporters of the new constitution in 1787. Supported a strong central government. Became first political party (vs. Jefferson's Democratic-Republicans)
Use of unlimited time for debate in the Senate to kill bills by making (or threatening to make) long speeches. One of these don't exist in the House (House Rules Committee places time limits on all debates). Broken by cloture motion (60 votes)
Federal government using money (grants) to influence & control states.
Formal Amendment Process
Article V; the (very difficult) process of adding or deleting words to the constitution (27 times since 1788); propose by 2/3 vote of Congress or Constitutional Convention (never used); ratify by 3/4 vote of state legislators or state convention (only used once)
The right of congresspeople to send job-related mail to their constituents without paying postage. Major incumbency advantage.
Freedom of Information Act
Gives all citizens the right to inspect all records of federal agencies except those containing military, intelligence, or trade secrets; increases accountability of bureaucracy. Edwards skipped this but it matters.
Free Exercise Clause
1st Amendment clause; Government cannot make a law prohibiting the way one practices their religion. Beliefs are 100% protected, but religious practices are not exempt (doing something for religious purposes doesn't make that thing legal) (ex., polygamy & illegal drugs)
Free Speech Clause
1st Amendment clause; Congress can make no law abridging freedom of speech (including symbolic speech); Gitlow v. NY incorporates clause into 14th Amendment.
Full Faith & Credit Clause
States must recognize laws & judicial decisions of other states (ex., marriage, child support payments driver's licenses); public policy.
Belief / observation that women are more likely to support Democratic / liberal candidates & issues than men. Women are more likely to support spending on welfare & education, and to oppose higher levels of military spending.
Election in which the winner becomes an elected government official. (usually November)
The drawing of district boundaries by the state legislature to benefit a party, group, or incumbents. Major types are political & racial. (racial type is illegal)
Gibbons v Ogden
Commerce clause case (1824). Decision greatly enlarged Congress' interstate commerce clause power by broadly defining the meaning of "commerce" to include virtually all types of economic activity. About which ferry can have a monopoly in the harbor (state or federal?)
Government Accountability Office (GAO)
A federal legislative agency that audits (investigates) other agencies of the federal government and reports it's findings to Congress (makes sure they are not spending more money than the government has appropriated for them).
Corporation set up and run by the government; provides a service to the public that can be provided by the private sector. (ex. US Postal Service, PBS)
Jim Crow era state laws that discouraged African Americans from voting by saying that if your grandpa couldn't vote, then neither can you. The newly-freed slaves' grandpas couldn't vote, so neither could they. Declared unconstitutional in 1915.
A method to deny blacks right to vote during the Jim Crow Era. If a person's grandfather had the right to vote, then the potential voter does not have to take a literacy test to vote.
Electioneering and issue advocacy by ordinary & unpaid citizens. fundraising, volunteering, get-out-the-vote activities (knocking on doors) Examples include Tea Party, youth activism in Obama 2008.
The right to challenge the legality of your detention by government (to have a judge determine whether or not the government can detain you). This right can be temporarily suspended by Congress in times of rebellion or unrest. (Lincoln suspended it during the Civil War)
The short period (days or months) following an election when a president's popularity and ability to influence Congress is at its highest.
Media tends to cover elections like a sporting event because it generates excitement (who is ahead, who is behind) & it is easy to do (poll data). It is bad because it reduces time spent on analysis of issues & it can create a bandwagon effect in coverage of elections
House and Senate Whips
Deputy leadership position. Connects leaders with "rank and file" members, and tries to encourage party unity & discipline. (Vote on party lines)
House Rules Committee
Powerful House standing committee that reviews all bills coming from other House committees before they go to the full House; sets time limit for debate decides whether amendments can be added (open or closed rule).
House Ways and Means Committee
Important House standing committee responsible for initiating all taxation bills.
Belief that government is paralyzed by too many interest groups demanding things too many things from government. Government is designed to become gridlocked.
Idealism (foreign policy)
Use American power to promote democracy and peace around the world. (Opposite to realism)
Constitutional process for removing executive officers & judges for "treason, high crimes & misdemeanors"
Name recognition, campaign contributions, credit-claiming (pork & casework). Things that get people reelected more often than losing to newcomers.
Independent Executive Agencies
Federal agencies that aren't large or important enough to get department status. Directors are appointed by President w/ advice & consent of Senate. Ex. NASA, CIA, EPA
Independent Regulatory Commissions
Agencies created by Congress to keep an eye important aspects of the nation's economy. Commissioners appointed by President but not removable except "for cause" (to protect independence).
Informal Amendment Process
Changing the meaning of the Constitution without changing the actual words (which requires a formal amendment through Article V process). Examples = Supreme Court opinions, laws, traditions.
Initiative (aka Referendum)
Where some states allow citizens to come up with their own ideas for laws to put on an election ballot. If the proposition passes it becomes a law. Requires many voter signatures (petition) to get on the ballot. Most direct form of democracy (citizen law-making)
Informal raising of support (and money) before first primaries
Creation of powerful relationship of mutual benefit & support among congressional committee, government agency and regulated interest group(s).
Old as Washington, a belief that America should not seek to become engaged in foreign affairs.
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