AP Gov - Ch. 7 and 10 "What About"s
Terms in this set (78)
The people that the representatives/senators are representing. The people who live and vote in the home district or state. Always on the mind of a member when casting a vote for a bill-members vote in conformity with public opinion in their districts 2/3 of the time.
General powers include the ability to create law, declare war, print money, collect taxes, establish courts, etc. Enumerated Powers outline their specific powers.
Article I, Section 8. Lists the bulk of congressional powers.
Necessary and Proper (Elastic) Clause
Grants Congress the power to "Make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution" (18th clause of Article I, Section 8)
Loose constructionist = fans of this clause, it allows for vast changes and updates to the law
Strict constructionist = supports it, but does not wish for it to be used liberally
Vote trading; voting yea to support a colleague's bill in return for a promise of future support.
Legislation that allows representatives to "bring home the bacon" to their districts in the form of public works programs, military bases, or other programs designed to benefit their districts directly.
Role of Trustee
Role played by elected representatives who listen to constituents' opinions and then use their best judgement to make final decisions. Think "trust" - trustees trust in their own best judgement to decide.
Role of Delegates
Role played by elected representatives who vote the way their constituents would want them to, regardless of their own opinions.
Role of Partisans
Role played by elected representatives who vote the way that their party would want them to, regardless of personal opinion.
Role of Politicos
Elected representatives who play the role of either delegates or trustees, depending upon the situation
Factors that Influence Congressional Decisions
Parties, constituents, interest groups/lobbyists, colleagues & caucuses, staff, and support agencies.
Differences of the House
Initiates all "money bills"
Starts the impeachment process(accuses).
More centralized and formal
Closer to the people due to higher number of reps.
Rules Committee powerful in controlling time and rules of debate with the Speaker
Power distributed less evenly, centralized in the speakers inner circle of advisers
Highly specialized members
Emphasizes tax & revenue policy (due to them handling money bills)
Procedures becoming more efficient
Turnover relatively high, however incumbents almost always get reelected
Differences of the Senate
Offers "advice and consent" on many major presidential appointments
Tries impeached officials
Less centralized and less formal
Power distributed evenly
Emphasizes foreign policy
More difficult to pass legislation - threat of filibusters more frequent now
Workload and informality breaking down
Turnover is moderate
Formal way of halting action on a bill by means of long speeches or unlimited debate in the Senate. Relatively rare.
Mechanism requiring 60 senators to vote to cut off debate, and after passing, senators can spend no more than 30 additional hours debating the legislation. Used to end a filibuster.
Characteristics of House Reps
Two year terms
435 members apportioned by state population
Leader is the Speaker
Must be at least 25 years old
Must have resided in the US for 7 years
Must be legal residents of state from which they are elected
Elected by a vote of eligible electorate in each congressional district (direct election)
Characteristics of Senators
Six year terms
100 members, two per state
Presiding officer is the Vice President
Actual Leader is the Majority Leader - President Pro Tempore
Must be at least 30 years old
Must have resided in the US for 9 years
Must be legal residents of state from which they are elected
1/3 up for reelection every two years through direct election(17th Amendment)
Characteristics of Both Reps and Senators
Majority Leader - elected leader of the party controlling the highest number of seats in a chamber of Congress (majority party).
Minority Leader - elected leader of the party controlling the second highest number of seats in a chamber of Congress (minority party).
Whips - representatives (both House & Senate) who keep close contact with all members, take nose counts on key votes, prepare summaries of bills, and act as general communication links within the party.
Proportional process of allotting congressional seats to each state following the decennial census.
Redrawing of congressional district lines to reflect increases or decreases in seats allotted to the states, as well as population shifts within the state.
Legislative process through which the majority party in each statehouse tries to assure that the maximum number of representatives from its political party can be elected to Congress through the redrawing of legislative districts. Manipulation of district lines to obtain the greatest possible number of votes for a party.
Congressional privilege that allows members of Congress to send mail under their signature without postage; essentially free mail for congress members.
Proposed bills are referred to this committee. Permanent. Most important committee.
Conducts investigations and special studies. Includes members of the House and Senate, helps speed up the business between the houses and focus attention on major matters (economy, taxation, scandals, etc.).
Special joint committee set up to "iron out" differences between the House and Senate versions of a specific bill. Made up of members from House and Senate committees who originally considered the bill.
Select (Special) Committee
Temporary committee appointed for specific purposes, such as conducting investigations or studies. Used mainly in extreme situations, ex. JFK Assassination, 9/11, etc.
Path of a Bill
1. Introduced in the House or Senate
2. Referred to the appropriate House/Senate Committees for consideration (can defeat bill here with vote)
3. Referred to a subcommittee to research the bill, decide upon holding hearings on it, revise it, and voting on approval or defeat of it.
4. Reported by full committee with rejection or favorable recommendation of the bill.
5. If introduced in the House, the Rules Committee takes action, which grants approval of the bill and gives a rule on what types of amendments may be attached to the bill, and puts the date of debate on the calendar OR reject the bill. If not, skip.
6. Full House/Senate debates and votes on passage, and then sends it to the opposite house of Congress if approved. The process repeats at step 1 in the opposite house.
7. House and Senate versions of the bill are sent to the Conference Committee to "iron out" differences, and then sent back for House and Senate for a final vote.
8. If the bill is approved, it is sent to the president, who has 10 days to choose from 4 options.
-Sign the bill, making it a law
-Veto the bill (with possibility of override from 2/3 vote in each house)
-Pocket veto (if Congress adjourns before 10 days are up, President can choose not to sign the bill)
-Automatic law (if Congress is in session after the 10 days are up, the bill automatically becomes law without his signature.)
Petition that gives a majority of the House of Reps the authority to bring an issue to the floor in the face of committee inaction. Forces bills out of a committee with a majority signing of the petition.
Leadership Structure of House
1. Leader is the Speaker, who is traditionally a member of the majority party
2. Majority Leader
3. Minority Leader
Leadership Structure of Senate
1. Presiding officer is the Vice President; Actual Leader is the President Pro Tempore who is the Majority Leader
2. Minority Leader
Bills that concern taxing and spending; these are handled by the House.
Name recognition from previous campaigns & repeated visits to the district
Credit claimed from grants and contracts to the district
Positive evaluations from constituents from doing favors(casework)
Distribution of newsletters & other noncampaign materials for free(Franking Privilege)
Access to the media
Greater ease in fundraising - high reelection rates
Superior knowledge about issues
Record for supporting locally popular policy opinions
District drawn to enhance electability
Congressional Limits on Executive Branch
House - creates revenue bills, can impeach
Senate - offers advice and consent on pres. appointments, approves treaties, tries impeached officials
Congressional Oversight-review of activities of an agency, department, or office.
Congressional Review - con nullify agency regulations by a joint resolution of legislative disapproval
War Powers Act
Confirms presidential appointments
Congressional Limits on Judicial Branch
Can establish the size of the Supreme Court, its appellate jurisdiction, and the structure of the federal court system
Can accept or reject presidential nominees to federal courts-senatorial courtesy
Can create new courts & jurisdictions
Can pass an amendment (rare)
Carl Levin (D)
Debbie Stabenow (D)
Michigan US District 8 Representative
Mike Rodgers (R)
Codes of behavior related to business and contractual relationships between groups and individuals. Issues with civil law do not constitute a threat to society at large, examples include lawsuits to recover something of value. Think Judge Judy cases.
Codes of behavior related to the protection of property and individual safety. Examples of breaking criminal law include murder, rape, assault & battery, robbery, etc.
Constitutional Provisions for Courts
Article 3 outlines the court system of the US in broad terms.
1. Congress has the authority to establish other courts as it sees fit.
2. Specifies SC's judicial power, original and appellate jurisdiction, and explains that all federal crimes, except impeachment, shall be tried by jury.
3. Discusses impeachment trials - at least two witnesses must appear in these cases.
Judiciary Act of 1789
Established a three-tiered structure of the federal court system:
1. Supreme Court - Congress sets the size of the SC
2. Circuit Courts - courts of appeals today, appellate jurisdiction exclusive in 1891
3. Federal Courts - bottom tier, can retry in circuit courts
Court's authority to hear cases as a trial court - they hear the case first and determine the facts under their jurisdiction.
Court's ability to act as an appellate court - they review and/or revise cases already heard and decided by trial courts. Ordinarily don't review factual record; instead, they review legal procedures to make certain that the law was applied properly to the issues presented in the case.
Courts established by Congress for specialized purposes. Also known as Article I courts.
Examples: US Territorial Courts, Court of Veterans Appeals, Court of Military Appeals, etc.
Courts that are created through the Judiciary Act - federal district courts, appellate courts, and the Supreme Court.
Most criminal cases are heard...
in STATE courts. Most of these cases end with a deal - a plea bargain, where they negotiate the consequences of the crime. (Think - getting a speeding ticket is a crime, you would go to the court and undergo a plea bargain to try and lower the charges.)
Number of Judicial Circuits
Currently 11. However, there is a 12th, DC Court of Appeals, and 13th, US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Number of SC Justices
Currently 9. 8 associate justices and one chief justice.
Functions of the SC
Reviews cases from the US Court of Appeals and state supreme courts (and other courts of last resort), and acts as the final interpreter of the US Constitution. Decides major cases with tremendous policy significance, ensures uniformity in interpretation of national laws and Constitution, resolves conflicts among states, and maintains supremacy of national law in the federal system.
Historical Size of the SC
1789-1869 - Congress periodically altered size, varied from the least at 6 to the most at 10.
1869-Today - 9 justices have been the norm.
Path of Cases Going to the SC
US District Courts → US Courts of Appeals → US Supreme Court
State Trial Courts → State Int. Appellate Courts → Highest State Courts ↑
Nearly 99% of SC cases are under appellate jurisdiction, so the case must have gone through the appeals of other lower courts, and have enough significance to the SC to actually be heard. To actually be heard:
Rule of Four - 4 justices must vote to consider the case before hearing
The Federal gov't is the party asking for review
The case involves...
-conflict among circuit courts
-civil rights/liberties question
-ideological/policy preferences of the judges
-social or political interest, marked by amount of amicus briefs
Process by which presidents, when selecting district court judges, defer to the senator in whose state the vacancy occurs. Normally for the sake of speed and expertise (the senator of the state would know who is the best fit for the job).
Selection of SC Justices
Possible nominations should be able to fit the following criteria
Competence - they should have prior judicial or governmental experience
Ideology/Policy Preference - most presidents will nominate judges who share their preferences in policy.
Rewards - historically, many appointed to the SC have been favored personal friends of presidents.
Pursuit of Political Support - presidents will be more likely to appoint those who help push their own campaign and gain support from the public.
Religion - sometimes a factor for nomination in terms of diversity on the court, less important that it was historically.
Race, Ethnicity, Gender - helps to add diversity to the court and support from the public.
Role of the Senate Judiciary Committee
Holds closed hearings on Supreme Court nominees, sometimes involving the use of asking probing questions, and makes recommendations to the full Senate on whether or not the nominee should be appointed.
First Woman SC Justice
Sandra Day O'Connor
Current Chief Justice
John G Roberts Jr.
Presidential Selection of SC Nominees
Presidents select their nominees based on the criteria mentioned earlier, and the names of these nominees are sent to the FBI, who "vets"(deeply investigates) the nominees, and the ABA, who rates the nominees on a scale of qualification. After a formal nomination is made and sent to the Senate, the Senate Judiciary Committee conducts its own investigation as well. Interest groups also lobby for or against the nominees. The SJC then conducts formal closed hearings and then gives recommendations to the full Senate. The full Senate then deliberates on the nominee before voting. A majority vote is required for confirmation.
Rule of Four
At least four justices of the Supreme Court must vote to consider a case before it can be heard.
Writ of Certiorari
A request for the Court to order up the records from a lower court to review the case.
Represents the US government in court. Responsible for handling all appeals on behalf of the US government to the Supreme Court; 4th ranking member of the Department of Justice.
Number of Cases Decided by SC Each Term (Year)
Less than 100.
Amicus Curiae briefs
"Friend of the court" briefs made by "amici" who argue interests before the SC.
"Winning opinion," an opinion that is commonly shared and agreed upon. The final opinion of the Supreme Court after it has reached a decision in conference.
Opposite - dissenting opinion
Per Curiam Decision
Ruling issued by an appellate (& Supreme) court of multiple judges in which the decision made has no legal reasoning behind it. It cannot be used as a precedent, and it is mainly used for speed.
"Let the decision stand." Relying on precedent (decisions by lower courts or previous decisions) when deciding a case.
Refers to how and whether judicial decisions are translated into actual public policies affecting more than the immediate parties to a lawsuit.
Strict constructionist approach - making decisions that emphasize the Framers' original intentions.
Brown v. Board Implementation
Very slow. Swann v. Charlotte helped implementation speed up by ruling that busing students was a constitutional way to integrate.
Historical Focus of SC
Framers viewed the judicial branch as the "least dangerous" branch that instilled a minor check on the other two branches.
Marshall Court - federal power, judicial activism (McCullouch, Gibbons, etc.)
Warren Court - civil rights, liberal, judicial activism
Burger Court - conservative response to Warren, restraint (activism to change back previous liberal laws)
Implementation and Circumstances of Marbury v. Madison
Helped to establish the power of judicial review by the SC of acts of the national government. However, SC had little power to enforce the decisions.
Power of the courts to review acts of other branches of government and the states.
SC During the New Deal Era
After 1936, the SC reversed many of its earlier decisions that had blocked FDR's New Deal legislation. Based mainly on civil rights.
Early - conservative when FDR took office
Later - liberal after "court packing" to help New Deal legislation
Most Liberal SC of all Time
Chief Justice Warren Burger
Served as a conservative response/reaction to the Warren Court.
US v. Nixon
The Watergate case. This case was one where public support for the Supreme Court was the highest due to a loss of faith in the presidency.
Courts should allow the decisions of other branches of government to stand, even when they offend a judge's own sense of principles.
Judges should use their power broadly to further justice, especially in the areas of equality and personal liberty.
Two house legislature - House of Reps. & Congress in the US. All states (except Nebraska which is unicameral) have bicameral legislatures.
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