268 terms

AP US Government Study Guide

Study guide for the AP US Government test, created with my textbook.
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Chapter 1: The Study of American Government
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Legitimacy
political authority conferred by law or by a state or national constitution
Authority
the power or right to give orders or make decisions
Democracy
a political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them
Political elite
An identifiable group of persons who poses a disproportional share of some valued resource, such as money or political power; people who possess more political power than others and are commonly referred to in the U.S. as "activists"
Direct democracy
A form of government in which citizens rule directly and NOT through representatives
Representative democracy
A system of government in which citizens elect representatives, or leaders, to make decisions about the laws for all the people.
Bureaucratic theory
The hierarchical structure and standarized procedures of government allow bureaucrats to hold the real power over public policy; proposed by Max Weber
Power elite theory
the theory that a small number of very wealthy individuals, powerful corporate interest groups, and large financial institutions dominate key policy areas.
Pluralist theory
A theory of government and politics emphasizing that politics is mainly a competition among groups, each one pressing for its own preferred policies.
Marxist theory
the ideology espoused by Karl Marx which holds that government is a reflection of economic forces, primarily ownershop of the means of production
Chapter 2: The Constitution
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Unalienable
incapable of being repudiated or transferred to another, natural rights that belong to everyone and cannot be taken away
Federalists
Supporters of the Constitution that were led by Alexander Hamilton and John Adams. They firmly believed the national government should be strong. They didn't want the Bill of Rights because they felt citizens' rights were already well protected by the Constitution.
Articles of Confederation
this document, the nations first constitution, was adopted by the second continental congress in 1781during the revolution. the document was limited because states held most of the power, and congress lacked the power to tax, regulate trade, or control coinage
Anti-Federalists
They opposed the ratification of the Constitution because it gave more power to the federal government and less to the states, and because it did not ensure individual rights. Many wanted to keep the Articles of Confederation. The Antifederalists were instrumental in obtaining passage of the Bill of Rights as a prerequisite to ratification of the Constitution in several states. After the ratification of the Constitution, the Antifederalists regrouped as the Democratic-Republican (or simply Republican) party.
Declaration of Independence
the document recording the proclamation of the second Continental Congress (4 July 1776) asserting the independence of the colonies from Great Britain
The Federalist Papers
This collection of essays by John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison, explained the importance of a strong central government. It was published to convince New York to ratify the Constitution.
Constitutional Convention
The meeting of state delegates in 1787 in Philadelphia called to revise the Articles of Confederation. It instead designed a new plan of government, the US Constitution.
Separation of powers
Constitutional division of powers among the legislative, executive, and judicial branches, with the legislative branch making law, the executive applying and enforcing the law, and the judiciary interpreting the law
Shays's Rebellion
Rebellion led by Daniel Shays of farmers in western Massachusetts in 1786-1787, protesting mortgage foreclosures. It highlighted the need for a strong national government just as the call for the Constitutional Convention went out; Rebellion led by Daniel Shays of farmers in western Massachusetts in 1786-1787, protesting mortgage foreclosures. It highlighted the need for a strong national government just as the call for the Constitutional Convention went out.
Bill of attainder
A law that declares a person, without a trial, to be guilty of a crime
Great Compromise
Compromise made by Constitutional Convention in which states would have equal representation in one house of the legislature and representation based on population in the other house
Writ of habeas corpus
a court order that requires police to bring a prisoner to court to explain why they are holding the person
Bill of Rights
The first ten amendments of the U.S. Constitution, containing a list of individual rights and liberties, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press.
Ex post facto law
a law that would allow a person to be punished for an action that was not against the law when it was committed
Line-item veto
an executive's ability to block a particular provision in a bill passed by the legislature
Federalism
a form of government in which power is divided between the federal, or national, government and the states
Republic
a political system in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who can elect people to represent them
Amendment
a change in, or addition to, a constitution or law
Checks and balances
A system that allows each branch of government to limit the powers of the other branches in order to prevent abuse of power
Judicial review
review by a court of law of actions of a government official or entity or of some other legally appointed person or body or the review by an appellate court of the decision of a trial court
Chapter 3: Federalism
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Unitary system
a government that gives all key powers to the national or central government
School districts
A special-district government responsible for administering public schools
Confederate system
system of government in which nations or states agree to join together under a central government, to which the nations or states grant certain powers. The United States had a confederate system of government under the Articles of Confederation, from 1781 to 1789.
Counties
A territorial unit between a city/town and the state itself.
Federal system
a government that divides the powers of government between the national government and state or provincial governments
Sovereignty
ability of a state to govern its territory free from control of its internal affairs by other states
Grant-in-aid
when the national gov. appropriates money to the states on the condition that it be spent as dictated by the national gov
10th amendment
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
Block grants
Federal grants given more or less automatically to states or communities to support broad programs in areas such as community development and social services
Necessary and proper clause
Clause of the Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3) setting forth the implied powers of Congress. It states that Congress, in addition to its express powers, has the right to make all laws necessary and proper to carry out all powers the Constitution vests in the national government
Categorical grants
Federal grants that can be used only for specific purposes or "categories," of state and local spending. They come with strings attached, such as nondiscrimination provisions. Compare to block grants.
Dual federalism
A system of government in which both the states and the national government remain supreme within their own spheres, each responsible for some policies.
Revenue-sharing grants
Federal grants distributing a portion of federal tax revenues to state and local governments
Initiative
allowed all citizens to introduce a bill into the legislative and required members to take a vote on it
Referendum
The name given to the political process in which the general public votes on an issue of public concern.
Recall
The act of removing an official by petition
Devolution
the transfer of powers and responsibilities from the federal government to the states
Chapter 4: American Political Culture
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Political culture
The widely shared beliefs, values, and norms concerning the relationship of citizens to government and to one another.
Class consciousness
a belief that you are a member of an economic group whose interests are opposed to people in other such groups
Political ideology
A coherent set of beliefs about politics, public policy, and public purpose. It helps give meaning to political events, personalities, and policies.
Civic competence
A belief that one can affect government policies
Civic duty
The belief that in order to support democratic government, a citizen should always vote.
Political tolerance
The willingness of people to reasonably tolerant to the opinions and actions of others that are not in accordance with their own.
Political efficacy
a belief that you can take part in politics (internal efficacy) or that the government will respond to the citizenry (external efficacy)
Protestant work ethic
Sociological term used to define the Calvinist belief in hard work to illustrate selection in elite group
Internal efficacy
The belief that one can understand politics and therefore participate in politics
External efficacy
The belief that one is effective when participating in politics, for example that the government will respond to one's demands
Chapter 5: Public Opinion
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Gender gap
A term that refers to the regular pattern by which women are more likely to support Democratic candidates. Women tend to be significantly less conservative than men and are more likely to support spending on social services and to oppose higher levels of military spending.
Random sample
A sample that fairly represents a population because each member has an equal chance of inclusion.
Social status
A measure of one's social standing obtained by combining factors such as education, income, and occupation.
Political ideology
A coherent set of beliefs about politics, public policy, and public purpose. It helps give meaning to political events, personalities, and policies.
Liberal
a person who generally believes the government should take an active role in the economy and in social programs but that the government should not dictate social behavior
Poll
an inquiry into public opinion conducted by interviewing a random sample of people
Conservative
a person who believes government power, particularly in the economy, should be limited in order to maximize individual freedom
Sampling error
The level of confidence in the findings of a public opinion poll. The more people interviewed, the more confident one can be of the results.
Public opinion
The distribution of the population's beliefs about politics and policy issues
Libertarians
People who wish to maximize a personal liberty on both economic and social issues. The prefer a small, weak government, that has little control over either the economy or the personal lives of citizens.
Political cleavage
a deep and lasting salient dimension of political conflict and competition within a given society, such as religion, ethnicity, ideology, or other forms of identity.
Populists
People who hold liberal views on economic matters and conservative ones on social matters. The prefer a strong government that will reduce economic inequality, regulate businesses, and impose strincter social and criminal sanctions
Chapter 6: Political Participation
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Registered voters
those legally eligible to vote who have registered in accordance with the requirements prevailing in their state and locality
26th Amendment
lowered the voting age to 18
Motor-voter law
this was a law to encourage more people to participate in voting. This allowed people to register to vote while they renewed their license. The thought was that most people renew their license and thus it would give them a chance to register at the same time.
19th Amendment
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (1920) extended the right to vote to women in federal or state elections.
Literacy test
A test administered as a precondition for voting, often used to prevent African Americans from exercising their right to vote.
Australian ballot
A government printed ballot of uniform size and shape to be cast in secret that was adopted by many states around 1890 in order to reduce the voting fraud associated with party printed ballots cast in public.
Grandfather clause
A clause in registration laws allowing people who do not meet registration requirements to vote if they or their ancestors had voted before 1867 (basically allowing all whites to get around literacy tests and vote).
15th amendment
Ratified 1870. One of the "Reconstruction Amendments". Provided that no government in the United States shall prevent a citizen from voting based on the citizen's race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
Poll tax
A requirement that citizens pay a tax in order to register to vote
Voter apathy
The lack of interest among the citizenry in participating in elections.
Voting Rights Act of 1970
gave 18 year olds the right to vote in federal elections, contained provisions lowering the voting age to eighteen in state elections.
Voting-age population
Citizens who are eligible to vote after reaching the minimum age requirement.
Chapter 7: Political Parties
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Political party
a group of individuals with broad common interests who organize to nominate candidates for office, win elections, conduct government, and determine public policy
Political machine
well organized political organization that controls election results by awarding jobs and other favors in exchange for votes
Two-party system
An electoral system with two dominant parties that compete in national elections.
Winner-take-all
An almost obsolete system whereby a presidential aspirant who won the preference vote in a primary automatically won all the delegates chosen in the primary
National convention
A national meeting of delegates elected in primaries, caucuses, or state conventions who assemble once every four years to nominate candidates for president and vice president, ratify the party platform, elect officers, and adopt rules.
Super delegates
party leaders and elected officials who become delegates to the national convention without having to run in primaries or caucuses.
National committee
one of the institutions that keep the party operating between conventions. The national committee is composed of representatives from the states and territories.
Straight-ticket voting
Practice of voting for candidates of only one party in an election
Congressional campaign committee
an organization maintained by a political party to raise funds to support its own candidates in congressional elections
Split-ticket voting
Casting votes for candidates of one's own party and for candidates of opposing parties, e.g., voting for a Republican presidential candidate and a Democratic congressional candidate.
National chairman
Day-to-day party manager elected by the national committee
Plurality system
An electoral system in which the winner is the person who gets the most votes, even if he or she does not receive a majority; used in almost all American elections.
Third parties/Minor parties
A party formed as an independent group organized by members of the major political parties.
Ex. Ideological Parties (Socialist Party, Libertarian Party, Green Party), One- Issue Parties (Free- Soil Party, Woman's Party), Economic- Protest Parties (Greenback Party, Populist Party), Factional Parties ("Bull Moose" Progressive party, American Independent Party).
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Party platform
A political party's statement of its goals and policies for the next four years. The platform is drafted prior to the party convention by a committee whose members are chosen in rough proportion to each candidate's strength. It is the best formal statement of a party's beliefs.
Donkey
the symbol of the Democratic Party
Elephant
the symbol of the Republican Party
Chapter 8: Elections and Campaigns
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Coattail effect
The boost that candidates may get in an election because of the popularity of candidates above them on the ballot, especially the president.
Independent
A writer or artist who sells services to different employers without a long-term contract with any of them
Incumbent
An elected official that is already in office
Super Tuesday
Day when several states hold their presidential primaries (usually the second Tuesday in March)
Political action committee (PAC)
Extention of an interest group that contributes money to political campaigns-financial arm of the interest group
Open primary
a primary in which any registered voter can vote (but must vote for candidates of only one party)
Closed primary
a primary in which only registered members of a particular political party can vote
Runoff primary
A second primary election held when no candidate wins a majority of the votes in the first primary.
General election
Election in which voters choose their leaders for elected offices
Sophomore surge
An increase in the votes that congressional candidates usually get when they first run for reelection.
Federal Election Commission (FEC)
A commission created by the 1974 amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act to administer election reform laws. It consists of six commissioners appointed by president and confirmed by the Senate. Its duties include overseeing disclosure of campaign finance information and public funding of presidential elections, and enforcing contribution limits.
Soft money
Money raised in unlimited amounts by political parties for party-building purposes. Now largely illegal except for limited contributions to state or local parties for voter registration and get-out-the-vote efforts.
Hard money
Political contributions given to a party, candidate, or interest group that are limited in amount and fully disclosed. Raising such limited funds is harder than raising unlimited funds, hence the term's name.
Campaign
run, stand, or compete for an office or a position
Chapter 9: Interest Groups
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Lobbying
direct contact made by an interest group representative in order to persuade government officials to support the policies their interest group favors
Ralph Nader
A leftist American politician who promotes the environment, fair consumerism, and social welfare programs. His book Unsafe at Any Speed brought attention to the lack of safety in American automobiles.
Lobbyist
someone who tries to persuade legislators to vote for bills that the lobbyists favor
PIRG
Stands for the Public Intrest Research Group, in part created by Ralph Nader; it is a pregstigious non-profit lobbyist organization
Interest group
an organization of people sharing a common interest or goal that seeks to influence the making of public policy
Think tank
a nongovernmental organization that seeks to influence public policy through research and education
Grassroots support
public popularity or endorsement of a candidate by large number of voters of the local level
Revolving door
Employment cycle in which individuals who work for government agencies that regulate interests eventually end up working for interest groups or businesses with the same policy concern.
Solidary incentive
A reason or motive having to do with the desire to associate with others and to share with others a particular interest.
Public interest group
an organization that seeks a collective good that will not selectively and materially benefit group members
Material incentive
Something tangible, such as money or services, which attracts people to join mass-membership organizations.
Purposive incentive
A reason for supporting or participating in the activities of a group that is based on agreement with the goals of the group.
Political cue
a signal telling a legislator what values are at stake in a vote, and how that issue fits into his or her own political views on party agenda
AARP
American Association of Retired Persons; Nationwide organization for people over 50 that offers discount drug purchases, health & auto insurance, publications, & other activities
Chapter 11: Congress
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Filibuster
a tactic for delaying or obstructing legislation by making long speeches that have nothing to do with anything.
Standing committee
A permanent committee established in a legislature, usually focusing on a policy area
Cloture rule
Prevents filibustering (16 signatures) and ends debate in the Senate, by a 3/5s vote of the Senate
Subcommittees
A group within a standing committee that specializes in a subcategory of its standing committee's responsibility
"Markup"
A process in which committee members offer changes to a bill before it goes to the floor in either house for a vote.
Conference committee
committee appointed by the presiding officers of each chamber to adjust differences on a particular bill passed by each in different form.
Veto override
If the President vetoes a bill, the Congress may override the veto by a two-thirds majority vote in both houses. The bill would then become law, the President's objections notwithstanding.
Congressional oversight
power used by Congress to gather information useful for the formation of legislation, review the operations and budgets of executive departments and independent regulatory agencies, conduct investigations through committee hearings, and bring to the public's attention the need for public policy
Revenue bills
Tax bills (must originate in the House) to raise money for the government
Congressional caucus
An association or members of Congress based on party, interest, or social group such as gender or race.
Party whip
the assistant to the floor leader in each house of congress who tries to persuade party members to vote for bills the party supports
Census
a population count taken by the census bureau
Rider
a clause that is appended to a legislative bill
Concurrent resolution
An expression of opinion without the force of law that requires the approval of both the House and the Senate, but not the President.
Speaker of the House
An office mandated by the Constitution. The Speaker is chosen in practice by the majority party, has both formal and informal powers, and is second in line to succeed to the presidency should that office become vacant.
House Rules Committee
An institution unique to the House of Representatives that reviews all bills (except revenue, budget, and appropriations bills) coming from a House committee before they go to the full House.
Constituent
a person whom a member of congress has been elected to represent
Quorum
The minimum number of members who must be present to permit a legislative body to take official action
GAO
an independent nonpartisan federal agency that acts as the investigative arm of Congress making the executive branch accountable to Congress and the government accountable to citizens of the United States
Malapportionment
drawing the boundaries of legislative districts so that they are unequal in population
Gerrymandering
Process of redrawing legislative boundaries for the purpose of benefiting the party in power.
Marginal districts
political districts in which candidates elected to the house of representatives win in close elections, typically by less than 55 percent of the vote
Safe districts
Districts in which incumbents win by margins of 55 percent or more.
Majority-minority district
A congressional district created to include a majority of minority voters; ruled constitutional so long as race is not the main factor in redistricting.
Majority leader
1. Helps the Speaker and other party leaders plan the
party's legislative agenda.
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2. Guides the party's agenda through the house
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3. The main spokesperson for his or her party in the house.
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Christmas Tree bill
A bill that has many riders to increase its chances of being passed
Minority leader
The legislative leaded elected by the minority party in the HOR or Senate. Leads the party, helps assist in the scheduling business of the Senate.
President pro tempore
Officer of the Senate selected by the majority party to act as chair in the absence of the vice president
Discharge petition
Petition that, if signed by majority of the House of Representatives' members, will pry a bill from committee and bring it to the floor for consideration.
Open rule
A procedural rule in the House of Representatives that permits floor amendments within the overall time allocated to the bill.
Franking privilege
benefit allowing members of Congress to mail letters and other materials postage-free
Closed rule
A procedural rule in the House of Representatives that prohibits any amendments to bills or provides that only members of the committee reporting the bill may offer amendments.
Bicameral legislature
A law making body made of two houses (bi means 2). Example: Congress (our legislature) is made of two house - The House of Representatives and The Senate.
Pork barrel spending
The appropriation of government spending for projects that are intended primarily to benefit particular constituents, such as those in marginal seats or campaign contributors.
Chapter 12: The Presidency
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Advise and consent
the power of the senate to approve or disapprove of any of the president's appointments or treaties
Line-item veto
Presidential power to strike, or remove, specific items from a spending bill without vetoing the entire package; declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
Divided government
Governance divided between the parties, as when one holds the presidency and the other controls one or both houses of Congress.
Executive privilege
The right to keep executive communications confidential, especially if they relate to national security.
Gridlock
The inability of the government to act because rival parties control different parts of the government.
United States vs. Nixon
The 1974 case in which the Supreme Court unanimously held that the doctrine of executive privilege was implicit in the Constitution but could not be extended to protect documents relevant to criminal prosecutions.
Electoral College
Group of persons chosen in each State and the District of Columbia every four years who make a formal selection of the President and Vice President
Succession
Order in which the office of president is filled if it becomes vacant before an election
Electors
people elected by the voters in a presedential election as members of the electoral college
Impeachment
The political equivalent of an indictment in criminal law, prescribed by the Constitution. The House of Representatives may impeach the president by a majority vote for "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."
Cabinet
persons appointed by a head of state to head executive departments of government and act as official advisers
Office Management and Budget (OMB)
Presidential staff agency that serves as a clearinghouse for budgetary requests and management improvements for government agencies.
Perks
A short form of perquisites, meaning "fringe benefits of office." Among the perks of political office for high-ranking officials are limousines, expense accounts, free air travel, fancy offices, and staff assistants.
Lame duck
an outgoing official serving out the remainder of a term, after retiring or being defeated for reelection
Pocket veto
When a president kills a bill passed during the last 10 days Congress is in session by simply refusing to act on it
Impoundment
Presidential refusal to allow an agency to spend funds that Congress authorized and appropriated
Executive Office of the President
The cluster of presidential staff agencies that help the president carry out his responsibilities. Currently the office includes the Office of Management and Budget, the Council of Economic Advisers, and several other units.
Pardons and reprieves
Importance: Check on the Judicial branch; If Judiciary unfairly punishes a criminal, President can fix the abuse; Famous: Eugene Debs (Harding); Ford and Nixon over the Watergate Scandal; are final, but if done with illegal intentions, President is subject to penalty (Clinton)
White House Office (West Wing)
Contains the closest assistants of the president. It is in charge of collecting all documents signed by the president that form his official public actions. The officers in this branch also act as the president's personal and political advisors.
Chapter 13: Bureaucracy
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Bureaucracy
A system of managing government through departments run by appointed officials
Bureaucrat
one who works for a department or agency of the federal government—civil servant
Spoils system
the system of employing and promoting civil servants who are friends and supporters of the group in power
Laissez-faire
policy based on the idea that government should play as small a role as possible in the economy
Public interest
the best interests of the overall community; the national good, rather than the narrow interests of a particular group
Discretionary authority
the extent to which appointed bureaucrats can choose coarses of action and make policies that are not spelled out in advance by laws
Competitive service
the government offices to which people are appointed on the basis of merit, as ascertained by a written exam or by applying certain selection criteria.
Buddy system
a cooperative practice of pairing two or more people together for mutual assistance or safety (especially in recreational swimming)
Name-request job
A job to be filled by a person whom a government agency has identified by name
Administrative Procedure Act (1946)
requires federal agencies to give notice, solicit comments, and (sometimes) hold public hearings before adopting any new rules.
Freedom of Information Act (1966)
Provides a system for the public to obtain government records, as long as they do not invade individuals' privacy, reveal trade secrets, or endanger military security.
National Environmental Policy Act (1969)
Environmental Impact statements must be done before any project affecting federal lands is started. Created a council on environmental quality.
Privacy Act (1974)
Government agencies can't disclose any record to any person, or to another agency, except after written request by, or with prior written consent of, the person to whom the record pertains. Protects the privacy of govt records pertaining to individual citizens.
Open Meeting Law (1976)
A constraint on agencies. Every part of every agency meeting must be open to the public unless certain matters (like military/trade secrets) are being discussed.
Archeson's Rule
A memorandum is written not to inform the reader but to protect the writer.
Boren's Laws
1) When in doubt, mumble.
2) When in trouble, delegate.
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3) When in charge, ponder.
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Chapman's Rules of Committees
Never arrive on time, or you will be stamped a beginner. Don't say anything until the meeting is half over; this stamps you as being wise. Be as vague as possible; this prevents irritating others. When in doubt, suggest that a subcommittee be appointed.
Meskimen's Law
There's never time to do it right but always time to do it over.
Murphy's Law
If something can go wrong, it will.
O'Toole's Corollary to Murphy's Law
Murphy was an optimist.
Parkinson's First Law
Work expands to fill the time available for its completion; the thing to be done swells in perceived importance and complexity in a direct ratio with the time to be spent in its completion.
Parkinson's Second Law
Expenditure rises to meet income.
Peter Principle
a principle of organizational life according to which every employee within a hierarchy tends to rise to his or her level of incompetence
Robertson's Rule
The more directives you issue to solve a problem, the worse it gets.
Smith's Principle
Never do anything for the first time.
Iron triangle
A close relationship between an agency, a congressional committee, and an interest group
Issue network
Relationships among interest groups, congressional committees and subcommittees, and the government agencies that share a common policy concern.
Congressional Oversight
Power used by Congress to gather information useful for the formation of legislation, review the operations and budgets of executive departments and independent regulatory agencies, conduct investigations through committee hearings, and bring to the public's attention the need for public policy
Authorization legislation
Legislation that originates in a legislative committee stating the maximum amount of money that an agency may spend on a given program.
Appropriation
Money that Congress has allocated to be spent
Appropriations Committee
A committee of the United States House of Representatives. It is in charge of setting the specific expenditures of money by the government
Legislative Committee
Group of congressmen established in both houses of Congress for the purpose of considering legislation, conducting investigations, and other duties assigned
Trust funds
Funds for government programs that are collected and spent outside the regular government budget
Annual authorizations
Monies that are budgeted on a yearly basis; for example Congress may set yearly limits on what agencies can spend
Committee clearance
the ability of a congressional committee to review and approve certain agency decisions in advance and without passing a law
Legislative veto
The authority of Congress to block a presidential action after it has taken place. The Supreme Court has held that Congress does not have this power
Red tape
complex bureaucratic rules and procedures that must be followed to get something done
Supreme Court Cases
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Substantive Due Process
Constitutional requirement that governments act reasonably and that the substance of the laws themselves be fair and reasonable; limits what a government may do.
Roe v Wade
established national abortion guidelines; trimester guidelines; no state interference in 1st; state may regulate to protect health of mother in 2nd; state may regulate to protect health or unborn child in 3rd. inferred from right of privacy established in Griswald v. Connecticut
Planned Parenthood v Casey
A 1992 case in which the Supreme Court loosened its standard for evaluating restrictions on abortion from one of "strict scrutiny" of any restraints on a "fundamental right" to one of "undue burden" that permits considerably more regulation.
Griswold v Connecticut
Married couple wanted to get contraceptives; struck down a Connecticut law prohibiting the sale of contraceptives; established the right of privacy through the 4th and 9th amendment
Equal Protection
A clause that is part of the 14th Amendment stating that "no state shall...deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." Protected an individual from not only federal laws, but also at the state level.
Dred Scott v Sanford
Supreme Court case that decided US Congress did not have the power to prohibit slavery in federal territories and slaves, as private property, could not be taken away without due process - basically slaves would remain slaves in non-slave states and slaves could not sue because they were not citizens
Regents of the University of California v Bakke
A 1978 Supreme Court decision holding that a state university could not admit less qualified individuals solely because of their race.
Plessy v Ferguson
A 1896 Supreme Court decision which legalized state ordered segregation so long as the facilities for blacks and whites were equal
Korematsu v United States
1944 Supreme Court case where the Supreme Court upheld the order providing for the relocation of Japanese Americans. It was not until 1988 that Congress formally apologized and agreed to pay $20,000 to each survivor.
Brown v Board of Education of Topeka
In a 9-0 vote, the separate but equal doctrine was abandoned when it was decided that the education system was not equal.
Procedural Due Process
Constitutional requirement that governments proceed by proper methods; limits how government may exercise power.
Mapp v Ohio
A landmark case in the area of U.S. criminal procedure, in which the United States Supreme Court decided that evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment protection against "unreasonable searches and seizures" may not be used in criminal prosecutions in state courts, as well as federal courts.
Gideon v Wainwright
A landmark case in United States Supreme Court history. In the case, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that state courts are required under the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution to provide counsel in criminal cases for defendants unable to afford their own attorneys.
Miranda v Arizona
Supreme Court held that criminal suspects must be informed of their right to consult with an attorney and of their right against self-incrimination prior to questioning by police.
Furman v Georgia
This 1972 Supreme Court case struck down all state laws allowing the death penalty stating that they allowed for too much discretion on the part of the judge and jury resulting in lack of consistent administration of the penalty.
New Jersey v TLO
4th amendment protects against unreasonable searches, but schools can perform these searches; girl has drugs in her purse, school searches it and finds it, she tries to claim its unconstitutional, Supreme Court says search is reasonable because of reasonable suspicion and probable cause
Freedom of Speech
The right to express oneself, with words or actions (verbally or symbolically). This freedom is guaranteed in the First Amendment to the US Constitution; although the Supreme Court has ruled that this freedom is not absolute: it should not be applied when it endangers or harms the lives, liberty or property of others.
Schenck v US
A United States Supreme Court decision concerning the question of whether the defendant possessed a First Amendment right to free speech against the draft during World War I. Ultimately, the case served as the founding of the "clear and present danger" rule.
Gitlow v NY
The 1925 Supreme Ct decision holding that freedoms of the press and speech are "fundamental personal rights and liberties protected by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment from impairment by the states" as well as by the federal government.
Near v Minnesota
The 1931 Supreme Court decision holding that the first amendment protects newspapers from prior restraint.
NY Times Co. v Sullivan
Public officials may not win damages for defamatory statements regarding their official conduct unless they can prove malice.
Texas v Johnson
A 1989 case in which the Supreme Court struck down a law banning the burning of the American flag on the grounds that such action was symbolic speech protected by the First Amendment.
Tinker v Des Moines Independent Community School District
1969 - The First Amendment, as applied through the Fourteenth, did not permit a public school to punish a student for wearing a black armband as an anti-war protest, absent any evidence that the rule was necessary to avoid substantial interference with school discipline or the rights of others.
Hazelwood School District v Kuhlmeier
The Court held that public school curricular student newspapers that have not been established as forums for student expression are subject to a lower level of First Amendment protection than independent student expression or newspapers established (by policy or practice) as forums for student expression.
Freedom of Religion
People shall be free to exercise their religion, and government may not establish a religion.
Engle v Vitale
Supreme Court case that ruled that prayer in public school violated the principle of separation of church and state.
Lemon v Kurtzman
The 1971 Supreme Court decision that established that aid to church-related schools must (1) have a secular legislative purpose; (2) have a primary effect that neither advances nor inhibits religion; and (3) not foster excessive government entanglement with religion.
Oregon v Smith
Determined that the state could deny unemployment benefits to a person fired for violating a state prohibition on the use of peyote, even though the use of the drug was part of a religious ritual and the state's Supreme Court had determined the prohibition was constitutionally invalid.
Reynolds v US
Court ruled that one cannot use religion as a defense to the crime of polygamy. Court ruled that religious practices that impair the public interest do not fall under the First Amendment.
Incorporation
A process that extended the protections of the Bill of Rights against the actions of state and local governments
Barron v Baltimore
the 1833 Supreme Court decision holding that the Bill of Rights restrained only the national government, not the states and cities
Gitlow v NY
The 1925 Supreme Ct decision holding that freedoms of the press and speech are "fundamental personal rights and liberties protected by the due process clause of the 14th Amendment from impairment by the states" as well as by the fed gov't.
Near v Minnesota
The 1931 supreme court decision holding that the first amendment protects newspapers from prior restraint
Palko v Connecticut
The Fifth Amendment right to protection against double jeopardy is not a fundamental right incorporated by the Fourteenth Amendment to the individual states.