AP Government - Complete Study Set (redesign)
Terms in this set (501)
The idea that certain restrictions should be placed on government to protect the natural rights of citizens.
the idea that all humans are born with rights, which include the right to life, liberty, and property
An agreement between the people and their government signifying their consent to be governed
A belief that ultimate power resides in the people.
The "Grand Committee"
A group chosen to settle disputes between power in states. Led by Benjamin Franklin
Introduction to the Constitution, beginning, "We the People of the United States..."
"The supreme law of the land." Written in 1787 at Philadelphia Convention to replace Articles of Confederation and create stronger central government. Outlines structure & power of 3 branches of national government. Oldest written constitution still in use (but amended 27 times plus myriad informal amendments).
A system of government in which citizens elect representatives, or leaders, to make decisions about the laws for all the people.
a system of democracy in which all members of a group or community participate collectively in making major decisions
a model of democracy that stresses vigorous competition among various interests in a free society
A political system in which the privileged classes acquire the power to decide by a competition for the people's votes and have substantial freedom between elections to rule as they see fit.
a theory of government and politics contending that groups are so strong that government is weakened
A term used to describe supporters of the Constitution during ratification debates in state legislatures.
Anti-Federalists rose up as the opponents of the Constitution during the period of ratification. They opposed the Constitution's powerful centralized government, arguing that the Constitution gave too much political, economic, and military control. They instead advocated a decentralized governmental structure that granted most power to the states
a form of government in which the national government has most of the power, while the states have little power
A decentralized government is one where its top level decision-making processes are dispersed throughout the system rather than being concentrated on one person, place or legislative body
A form of government in which citizens choose their leaders by voting
Political groups that agree on objectives and policies; the origins of political parties.
This conflict in Massachusetts caused many to criticize the Articles of Confederation and admit the weak central government was not working; uprising led by Daniel Shays in an effort to prevent courts from foreclosing on the farms of those who could not pay the taxes
"Large state" proposal for the new constitution, calling for proportional representation in both houses of a bicameral Congress. The plan favored larger states and thus prompted smaller states to come back with their own plan for apportioning representation.
New Jersey Plan
The proposal at the Constitutional Convention that called for equal representation of each state in Congress regardless of the state's population. This plan favored small states.
Compromise agreement by states at the Constitutional Convention for a bicameral legislature with a lower house in which representation would be based on population and an upper house in which each state would have two senators.
Compromise between northern and southern states at the Constitutional Convention that three-fifths of the slave population would be counted for determining direct taxation and representation in the House of Representatives.
Slave Trade Compromise
Prohibited Congress from making any law concerning the importation of slaves for 20 years.
A group of people named by each state legislature to select the president and vice president
outlines the relationship among the states and between the national government and the states
Proposal: amendment proposed by 2/3 vote of both houses of congress OR a constitutional convention called by congress on petition of 2/3 out of 50 states. Ratification: amendment ratified by 3/4 of the 50 state legislatures OR 3/4 of special constitutional conventions called by 50 states THEN the new amendment!
Ratification of the Constitution
Establishes the Legislative Branch
Establishes the Executive Branch
Establishes the Judicial Branch
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
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
Tyranny of the Majority
The potential of a majority to monopolize power for its own gain to the detriment of minority rights and interests.
A system in which power is divided between the national and state governments
Those powers that can be exercised by the National Government alone
the power to interpret laws, to determine their meaning, and to settle disputes that arise within the society
the power to make a law and to frame public policies
the power to execute, enforce, and administer law
A system of government in which both the states and the national government remain supreme within their own spheres, each responsible for some policies.
A system of government in which powers and policy assignments are shared between states and the national government. They may also share costs, administration, and even blame for programs that work poorly.
Layer Cake federalism
federalism characterized by a national government exercising its power independently from state governments.
Marble cake federalism
Conceives of federalism as a marble cake in which all levels of government are involved in a variety of issues and programs, rather than a layer cake, or dual federalism, with fixed divisions between layers or levels of government.
The pattern of spending, taxing, and providing grants in the federal system; it is the cornerstone of the national government's relations with state and local governments.
Grants in aid
programs through which Congress provides money to state and local governments on the condition that the funds be employed for purposes defined by the federal government
a positive or negative environmental stimulus that motivates behavior; the granting of funding to promote a federal objective
conditions of aid
terms set by the national government that states must meet if they are to receive certain federal funds
A law providing for the distribution of a fixed amount or share of federal tax revenues to the states for spending on almost any government purpose.
terms set by the national government that states must meet whether or not they accept federal 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.
Federal grants given more or less automatically to states or communities to support broad programs in areas such as community development and social services
The powers explicitly given to Congress in the Constitution.
The powers of the national government in foreign affairs that the Supreme Court has declared do not depend on constitutional grants but rather grow out of the very existence of the national government.
a written law passed by a legislative body
a local law
A procedure by which voters can propose a law or a constitutional amendment (participatory democracy)
procedure whereby voters can remove an elected official from office (participatory democracy)
a legislative act is referred for final approval to a popular vote by the electorate (participatory democracy)
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)
Established national supremacy; established implied powers; use of elastic clause; state unable to tax fed. Institution; John Marshall; "the power to tax involves the power to destroy."
elastic clause (necessary and proper clause)
Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution, which allows Congress to make all laws that are "necessary and proper" to carry out the powers of the Constitution.
full faith and credit clause
Constitution's requirement that each state accept the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state
privileges and immunities clause
prevents a state from treating citizens of other states in a discriminatory manner.
Part of Article IV of the Constitution that requires states to extradite, or return, criminals to states where they have been convicted or are to stand trial.
17th century English philosopher who opposed the Divine Right of Kings and who asserted that people have a natural right to life, liberty, and property.
"Father of the Constitution," Federalist leader, and fourth President of the United States.
Federal categorical grants distributed according to a formula specified in legislation or in administrative regulations.
A person who believes government power, particularly in the economy, should be limited in order to maximize individual freedom.
A person who believes government power, particularly in the social/political realm, should be limited in order to maximize individual freedom.
A style of government characterized by submission to authority. It tends to opposed individualism and democracy. In its most extreme cases it is one in which political power is concentrated in a leader or leaders, who possess exclusive, unaccountable, and arbitrary power.
Person who believes the government should be as small and interfere with people's life as little as possible.
Liberal political party in the United States
Conservative political party in the United States
A choice that government makes in response to a political issue. A policy is a course of action taken with regard to some problem.
The institution through which a society makes and enforces its public policies
The issues that attract the serious attention of public officials and other people actively involved in politics at the time.
consent of the governed
The idea that government derives its authority by sanction of the people.
A government that gives all key powers to the national or central government
A government that divides the powers of government between the national government and state or provincial governments
an alliance of independent states
the transfer of powers and responsibilities from the federal government to the states
Federal categorical grant given for specific purposes and awarded on the basis of the merits of applications.
A term in fiscal federalism which references states that receive more benefits from the federal government for programs and services than their citizens send to the federal government in tax revenue.
A term in fiscal federalism which references states that provide more to the national government in tax dollars than they receive back in services for their state and its citizens.
Powers that are specifically listed in the Constitution as belonging to the national government. These are found in Articles I-III of the Constitution.
Powers which are not directly stated in the Constitution, but are inferred from other language, or directly through the necessary and proper clause of the Constitution. An example would be the power to institute the draft in order to raise a military.
A way of defining power based on which branch of government holds that power. For example, executive power is given to the President and Vice President. Legislative power is given to the Congress.
Power that is not mentioned in the Constitution is understood to belong to the states. It is mentioned in the 10th Amendment to the Constitution specifically using this term.
Some powers are specifically forbidden to the government in the Constitution. For example, the power to grant titles of nobility.
Powers that are held by more than one level of government. For example, the power to tax.
Powers that enable government to write laws, enforce laws and interpret laws. This enables the government to set up three branches of government and give each branch appropriate authority to conduct operations. Powers of the states to protect the public health, safety, morals, and welfare of the public;
Federalist Paper by James Madison analyzing Montesquieu's theory of the appropriate size of state. Madison believes a large state is suitable because factions are diluted over a large geographic area, allowing for the plurality of opinions and frustration of tyranny of the majority. Largest source of faction is unequal distribution of property.
Federalist paper by James Madison analyzing the addition of checks and balances to Montesquieu's call for separation of powers. Rests predominantly on states having inserted checks and balances as a way to frustrate the ambition of one branch (or man) by requiring the action of another branch (or man) to accomplish core actions of the office.
Federalist paper by Alexander Hamilton supporting the idea of the presidency as a branch united in one individual (unitary theory of the presidency) so that the presidency can execute the law quickly and without hesitation while remaining constrained by their sole responsibility for action to the people through elections. The president's energy is essential to good governance, as a multiplicity of executives is inherently weak.
Federalist paper by Alexander Hamilton alluding to the idea of judicial review as an outgrowth of the court's judicial independence, established through terms of good behavior and set compensation. This is not a threat to the states, as the courts lack the ability to implement their own decisions, instead relying on actions taken by Congress (power of the purse or will) and the Presidency (power of the sword or force). It argues that the federal courts have the duty to determine whether acts of Congress are constitutional and to follow the Constitution when there is inconsistency. Hamilton viewed this as a protection against abuse of power by Congress.
written to discourage ratification of the Constitution, the document examines the major complaints of the Constitution which are: 1.) too much power to national government via implied 2.) specter of the standing army 3.) presidency is too powerful 4.) lack of Bill of Rights 5.) national government rules over too large a nation 6.) courts are too powerful
Amendment process is two steps with two options at each step: Proposal requires 2/3rds acceptance at national level, either in Congress or national convention. Ratification requires 3/4ths acceptance at state level either in state legislature or state conventions.
Freedom of religion, expression, association, and petition
Right to bear arms for the purpose of a militia
Ban against quartering of troops
Ban against unreasonable searches and seizures
Grand jury guarantee, double jeopardy, ban on being compelled to witness against self, due process, eminent domain
Right to jury trial
No excessive bail or cruel and unusual punishment
Rights retained to the people that are yet to be enumerated or written down
Reservation of all un-enumerated powers to the people or the states
Federal courts cannot hear suits of individuals against states; creates sovereign immunity of the state governments
Changes Electoral College so that president and vice president ballots are separate
Slaves are citizens
All citizens get due process, privileges and immunities, and equal protection of the law. States can keep felons from voting
No limitation to vote based on race or condition of servitude.
Allowed to lay direct tax (income tax)
Senate is directly elected
Alcohol sales are illegal
Right to vote not based on gender
Change of inauguration dates and start of Congress; Presidential disability before inauguration
repeal of prohibition
Presidential term limits
DC gets three electors in electoral college
Poll tax and other taxes in order to vote are illegal
Presidential disability, vice presidential appointment
Right to vote for 18 and above
Changes to congressional income take effect in the following congressional term.
United States v. Lopez (1995)
The national government's power under the commerce clause does not permit it to regulate matters not directly related to interstate commerce (in this case, banning firearms in a school zone)
Engel v. Vitale (1962)
Prohibited state-sponsored recitation of prayer in public schools by virtue of 1st Amendment's establishment clause and the 14th Amendment's due process clause; Warren Court's judicial activism.
Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972)
Compelling Amish students to attend school past the eighth grade violates the free exercise clause
Tinker v. Des Moines (1969)
Public school students may wear armbands to class protesting against America's war in Vietnam when such display does not disrupt classes
New York Times v. US (1971)
Ruled that in order to exercise restraint, the Government must show sufficient evidence that the publication would cause a "grave and irreparable" danger. Establishes a "heavy presumption against prior restraint" even in cases involving national security (Pentagon Papers)
Schenck v. United States (1919)
A legal case in which it was ruled that government can limit free speech if the speech provokes a "clear and present danger" of substantive evils.
Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)
Extends to the defendant the right of counsel in all state and federal criminal trials regardless of their ability to pay.
Roe v. Wade (1973)
(Burger) Certain state criminal abortion laws violate the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment, which protects against state action the (implied) right to privacy in the Bill of Rights (9th amendment). Abortion cannot be banned in the 1st trimester (1st 3 months), states can regulate the 2nd trimester, 3rd trimester - abortion is illegal except to save the life of the mother; extension of right to privacy to a woman's decision to have an abortion.
McDonald v. Chicago (2010)
The Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms for self-defense is applicable to the states
Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
Overrules Plessy v. Ferguson (no stare decisis). Racial segregation violates 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause ("separate is inherently unequal")
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010)
Political spending by corporations, associations and labor unions is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment; led to formation of Super Pacs.
Shaw v. Reno (1993)
Legislative redistricting must be conscious of race and ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965
Marbury v. Madison (1803)
Established the principle of judicial review empowering the Supreme Court to nullify an act of the legislative or executive branch that violates the Constitution.
Declaration of Independence (1776)
July, 1776; formal separation from Britain. Asserts popular sovereignty and consent of the governed as ruling principles. All men are created equal; endowed with natural rights and when government fails to protect those rights, man should abolish the government.
Articles of Confederation (1781)
Document signed among the 13 colonies to establish the USA as a confederation of sovereign states and serve as the first constitution. It provided direction for the Revolution, the ability to conduct diplomacy with Europe, and deal with territorial issues and Native American relations. 1781-1788 (weaknesses-no executive, no judicial, no power to tax, no power to regulate trade)
Provided a seperation of power between the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of government, Defines, empowers, and limits the U.S. government. It prevents any one group from having total power by making the three branches of government depend on one another from their authority.
Letter from a Birmingham Jail (1963)
Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote on April 16, 1963. In the letter, King defended the nonviolent protests that he participated in for the fight against racial injustice
the people that each member of Congress represents (for the House, that is the people in their District; for the Senate, it is the people of the entire state)
the process by which House seats are distributed to the states after each Census is taken
authorizing money to be spent from the U.S. treasury through a bill specifically setting aside money for that purpose
power of the purse
Because Congress is in charge of appropriating money for government programs, they have a significant power to check presidential action by whether they appropriate money for a program/project or not. This is referenced as the "power of the purse".
Division of the legislative branch into two houses.
Advice & consent power
a power of the Senate whereby they must give approval to some executive actions, such as presidential appointments to the judiciary and treaties with foreign nations.
To reject; a president can reject a bill passed by Congress. Congress can override a presidential veto with a 2/3 vote of both houses.
necessary and proper clause
Clause in Article I, section 8 which allows Congress to stretch its other powers in section 8 to meet the changing needs of the nation. The "stretch" must relate to another specific expressed power of Congress in order to be Constitutional. Also called the "elastic clause."
Bills to raise revenue for the government (taxes). Revenue bills must originate in the House according to the Constitution, but must be passed by both houses and signed by the president.
Taxes levied on goods/services that are collected and then transmitted to the government based on the purchase of those goods/services (such as gasoline taxes)
Taxes paid directly by individuals to the government (income taxes)
Allowed for income taxes to be levied on individuals to the federal government.
When there is not enough revenue (tax monies) to pay the bills, it is considered a deficit
A situation where revenue exceeds expenditures.
A significant power granted to Congress was the power to regulate trade between the states and with foreign nations. This power is one of the most frequently stretched powers using the necessary and proper clause.
The Congress declares war; the President conducts war. Congress has the power to raise troops and must provide funding for the troops; the president is commander in chief and directs troop operations. Treaties to end war are negotiated by the President, but must be approved by the Senate.
Bill of attainder
A law that punishes a person without the benefit of a trial; these are forbidden by the Constitution
Ex post facto laws
Laws which criminalize an action that has already occurred; these are forbidden by the Constitution
25 years old; citizen for at least 7 years; resident of the state you represent
30 years old; citizen for at least 9 years; resident of the state you represent
Speaker of the House
top leadership position in the House of Representatives; it is elected by the body at the beginning of a new term and is generally held by a member of the majority party; the position comes with great influence including the ability to appoint the heads of all committees and is third in line for the presidency in case of death of the president.
A proposal for a new law
The formalized group of the party which meets and organizes together to push the party's agenda in the House or Senate.
permanent committees in congress who are responsible for both close examination of proposed bills in their jurisdiction area and for oversight of those laws once being implemented by the executive branch
temporary committees which are formed from time to time to carry out items of limited duration, such as investigations.
Committees made up with members from both houses; usually act as study groups to look at upcoming issues and make suggestions for how to coordinate the work of both houses in that policy area.
Committees which form to iron out differences in bills when they pass each house in different formats; produce a conference report which must be voted in a single up/down vote by each house to stay alive and go to the president.
president of the senate
Constitutional role for the Vice President to preside over the Senate; can only vote if there is a tie.
President pro tempore
position held by the highest ranking (longest-seving) member of the majority party; the president pro tempore presides over the Senate in the absence of the VP; he is 4th in line to the presidency in case of death of the president.
Senate Majority Leader
Highest position in the Senate; chosen by the party caucus; his job is to keep the party unified and push the party agenda
Senate Minority leader
Leader of the minority party in the Senate; chosen by the party caucus. His primary roles are to keep the party unified and to offer formal criticisms of majority party bills.
Process in the Senate where committee chairman are chosen based on their seniority on a committee, as well as membership in the majority party; the seniority rule was changed in the 1990's to set term limits for chairmen and to allow committees to vote by secret ballot for committee chairmen.
parliamentary process to delay action on a bill; a Senator will gain control of the floor and speak for a long period of time to delay action on the bill; so long as they hold the floor, they have control of the agenda; in a group filibuster, several senators will yield to one another; record for an individual filibuster is 24 hours and 18 minutes.
parliamentary rule that limits debate to no more than one hour per person; requires 3/5 of the body to invoke cloture (60 members)
House term of office
2 years; entire body is up for election every 2 years
Senate term of office
6 years; staggered; 1/3 of the body is up for election every 2 years; known as a continuous body because 2/3 are always continuing in office
House vacancies require a special election in the state to fill the vacancy
Senate vacancies can be filled by the governor of the state until the next regularly scheduled election
provision added to a bill that is expected to pass; riders generally do not relate to the subject matter of the bill in question; instead they "ride along" to passage of a popular bill
pork barrel legislation
Provisions/riders added to bills which grant special projects to one (or a few) districts rather than to the country as a whole; members of Congress like them because it allows them to use them for "credit claiming" back home for reelection; opponents say they just increase wasteful spending.
Resolution passed by both houses of congress to take care of an extraordinary measure (approval of a presidential action) or only does so through a process requiring ratification by the states (ex., constitutional amendments)
Resolution passed by both houses of congress to take care of a matter that does not become law (setting the yearly calendar for congress)
Committee of the Whole
References the entire body of the House/Senate; votes on a bill or resolution are taken in the Committee of the Whole
The minimum number of people required to be present in order to take action in a legislative body (50%)
roll call vote
A vote taken where each member stands as their name is called alphabetically and speaks their vote on an issue; usually reserved for highly controversial measure as a 'stand and deliver' method of voting.
A recorded vote taken by electronic voting machines; this is the most common method of voting in Congress today
Refers to the action of a committee placing a bill to the side to receive no action; most bills die in committee through inaction (pigeonholing)
Congressional meetings in which testimony is given by experts; can be investigational or part of the bill approval process
Process in committees where the bill is revised and debated before being passed/failed in the committee
Work that members of Congress do to help constituents with problems; example helping grandma find her missing social security check
Opportunities that Congressmen get to claim credit for something that benefits their District (bringing home money for projects at home; working on bills that will benefit their District (ex., new road construction). They can use these activities to promote themselves in the next election.
Amendment which changed the method of selection of U.S. Senators from the state legislatures to the people of the state.
spending on certain programs that is mandated, or required, by existing law
spending about which Congress is free to make choices
Madatory payments made by the federal government to people meeting eligibility requirements, such as Social Security, vets, welfare, medicare
a controversial Senate maneuver by which a simple majority could decide to allow a majority to bypass the filibuster for certain kinds of votes
Baker v. Carr (1962)
Established the principle of "one person, one vote" and made such patterns of representation illegal. The Court asserted that the federal courts had the right to tell states to reapportion their districts for more equal representation.
politico model of representation
Legislators follow their own judgment until the public becomes vocal about a particular matter, at which point they should follow the dictates of constituents; can also lend itself to following the lead of the party.
trustee model of representation
A model of representative democracy where the representative is trusted to make the right decision on behalf of the people.
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
Amendment which sets forth the line of succession, replaces a vacancy in the vice presidency and allows for a president to be removed if there is a health reason and consensus of incompetence from both a majority of the cabinet and a supermajority in Congress.
A group pardon given by the president; there is no check on this presidential power.
Executive power which allows the president to choose who should fill certain positions in the executive and judicial branches; the president appoints with the advice and consent (approval) of the Senate.
References the unelected component of the executive branch of our government; they implement the laws using a complex system of rules and procedures which are intended to make the process open and transparent and protect the rights and resources of the people.
The set of advisors to the president; not in the Constitution; exists by custom and practice. Formally, it includes the heads (secretaries) of the 15 executive departments and other individuals who the president chooses to add as the need arises.
Civil service system
System of hiring in the federal government which was set up in the 19th century to battle corruption in hiring practices. Federal employees are hired based on a competitive, merit-based system and are subject to certain protects from politics in job security.
An agreement between the president and a foreign head of state; it has the full force and effect of law while that president is in power; often used to conduct foreign policy because it does not require approval from another body in order to take effect.
The fifteen departments created by Congress to carry out the implementation of the laws passed by Congress. The head of each department is selected by the president and confirmed by the Senate. They are the largest component of the bureaucracy in America.
Executive Office of the President
Created by FDR during the Great Depression to help the President carry out the administrative work of his office. The EOP is answerable directly to the president and is made up of several specialized agencies that help him carry out his specific duties and responsibilities (i.e., the Office of Management and Budget).
"Faithfully execute the law"
Presidential responsibility specifically stated in the Constitution and part of the oath of office. The job of the executive is to execute/implement the law.
Foreign relations powers
The president was given more foreign relations power because he is an individual and is constantly in office. In the beginning the Congress was only in Washington for a few months of the year. This falls in line with Locke's writings on the appropriate powers of the executive. It includes the power to negotiate treaties, make executive agreements and grant formal recognition of other countries. The president directs foreign policy in America.
Independent agencies are independent of the federal departments. That makes the head of independent agencies directly answerable to the President rather than through a cabinet secretary. Examples would include NASA or the EPA.
The power to spend the money that is appropriated by Congress to implement the law. Executive power.
An official end to punishment. The president can pardon individuals who are accused or convicted of violating federal law. Pardons erase the crime like they never happened. There is no check on this presidential power.
Presidential action on bills
When a president receives a bill from the Congress, he can sign it and it becomes law. He can veto it and it is not a law unless that veto is overridden by 2/3 of each house of Congress. He can set a bill aside on his desk, taking no action, and it will automatically become law after 10 days if Congress is in session. In rare instances, at the end of a session/term of Congress, he can exercise the pocket veto, which is to set it aside when there are fewer than 10 days left in a Congressional session, in which case it is automatically vetoed.
Presidential appointment power
The president has the power to appoint the heads of all executive departments, agencies, commissions, etc. He appoints ambassadors. He appoints federal court judges. All of these appointments require the approval of the Senate. There are also some positions in the executive branch that he can appoint without the oversight of the Senate, including his personal staff such as Chief of Staff, Press Secretary, and similar.
To be president, the formal qualifications include that an individual must be 35 years of older, a natural born citizen as defined as such by Congress and a resident of the U.S. for 14 years. Informal qualifications reference those things the American public looks for. The last election threw some of that out of the window, but generally Americans prefer someone who has experience in government, is married and is Christian (based on past presidents).
Presidential Succession Act of 1947
Law passed by Congress after the death of FDR to set up a line of succession beyond the Vice President in case both died. Following the president are the Speaker of the House, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, and then the cabinet secretaries in the order that the cabinet departments were created (starting with the State Department and continuing to Homeland Security). This was put into the Constitution in the 25th amendment.
A postponement of punishment for a federal crime. It can be temporary or permanent. There is no check on this presidential power.
Terms of office (executive)
The Constitution initially set a term of 4 years, with no limitations. In the 20th century, the 22nd amendment was added to the Constitution and places a limitation of 2 terms, not to exceed a total of 10 years in office. The additional two years would account for a Vice President taking office with less than half of the prior President's term left to fulfill.
Vice presidential role
According to the Constitution, the role of the VP is to be a spare in case of the death or removal of the President. He presides over the Senate, but cannot enter debate and can only vote in case of a tie.
Chief of State
Ceremonial presidential role in which he stands as a representative of the American people (example - throwing out the first pitch at the World Series). This role blends the role of a King and that of a prime minister. It is a Constitutional role.
Role where the President acts as the "boss" of all federal employees and executes/enforces the law. An example would be signing a law passed by Congress or pardoning someone convicted of a federal crime. This role is his primary responsibility since he is to "faithfully execute the law."
The President is the top foreign policy officer of the United States and oversees all foreign policy and relationships with other countries. An example would be appointing an ambassador to another country or negotiating a treaty. This role is mentioned in the Constitution.
Commander in Chief
The President is the civilian leader of the military in the United States. He cannot declare war, although he can commit troops to action without a war declaration. It was important to the founders that this role be occupied by a civilian because generals have a tendency to want to go to war. This role is mentioned by name in the Constitution.
The President is expected to recommend policy ideas to the Congress to fulfill his goals. An example would be giving the State of the Union address where he outlines what he wants Congress to do in the coming year. This role is referenced in the language of the Constitution.
Chief of Party
The President is the "unofficial" leader of his political party and is expected by the party to pursue their policy agenda. He is also expected to give patronage to loyal party members and offer support to political leaders in the party in elections (assuming he is popular enough that they want his support). This role developed over time.
Chief Economic Planner
The President is expected to oversee the economy and recommend ways to improve the economy. He also prepares an annual budget and presents it to Congress for their consideration (they actually pass a budget - he just makes suggestions). He also is expected to prepare an annual report on the economic health of the United States and present it to Congress. This role developed after WWII.
Lame Duck amendment; it synced up the inauguration dates for the President and the start of Congress into January. It shortened the time period when a sitting president would be in office while knowing he was not returning.
War Powers Act of 1973
Law passed by Congress which recognizes the reality that Presidents can commit troops in times of conflict without a war declaration. It was passed to try to control that tendency at the end of the Vietnam Conflict. Under this law, presidents can commit troops, but must notify Congress in writing within 48 hours that they have done so. They can continues operates for up to 90 days without congressional approval. While the law says they must then cease the operations without Congressional approval, the reality is that most feel we look weak if we leave without "winning" and so Congress never enforces this provision. This law was passed over the veto of President Nixon who believed that it weakened presidential power.
A formal agreement between two nations. The president negotiates treaties, but they need a 2/3 vote of the Senate for ratification.
Amendment which limited the president to no more than two terms in office. Passed in response to FDR's election to 4 terms.
Presidential compensation and benefits
These are set by Congress in the Constitution. Congress cannot raise or lower a president's salary during their term in office, but otherwise, there are not limits to the pay they can set. Since the 1940's, presidents have also been entitled to a pension after leaving office. There are other benefits to the job such as free housing, free travel, around the clock security detail and free postage for life.
An official charge of misconduct. The House brings the charges of impeachment for executive and judicial branch officials. A trial will be held in the Senate. The remedy to impeachment is acquittal (no removal) or removal.
President is seen as emperor taking strong actions without consulting Congress or seeking its approval
A concept based on the idea that "the people have spoken." It is a powerful symbol in American electoral politics, according legitimacy and credibility to a newly elected president's proposals.
the time following an election when a president's popularity is high and congressional relations are likely to be productive
State of the Union Address
A yearly report by the president to Congress describing the nation's condition and recommending programs and policies
a rule or order issued by the president to an executive branch of the government and having the force of law. Can be controversial if used to enact legislation rather than just implement it.
National Security Council
An office created in 1947 to coordinate the president's foreign and military policy advisers. Its formal members are the president, vice president, secretary of state, and secretary of defense, and it is managed by the president's national security assistant.
Activities undertaken to establish whether a process or procedure is carried out in conformance with relevant external requirements, whether set through legislation, regulations, or directions
Office of Management and Budget
An office that prepares the president's budget and also advises presidents on proposals from departments and agencies and helps review their proposed regulations.
A quasi-legislative administrative process that produces regulations by government agencies
complex bureaucratic rules and procedures that must be followed to get something done
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
Law requiring agency meetings and decision-making process to be open to the public. One way of making agencies more accountable to Congress and the public.
A federal law prohibiting government employees from active participation in partisan politics.
Whistleblower Protection Act
A law passed in 1989 which created an Office of Special Counsel to investigate complaints from bureaucrats claiming they were punished after reporting to Congress about waste, fraud, or abuse in their agencies.
a presidential document that reveals what the president thinks of a new law and how it ought to be enforced
A theory that argues for a strong, assertive presidential role, with presidential authority limited only at points specifically prohibited by law.
Lame duck period
The time during which a president who has lost an election or has ended a second term is still in office before the new president serves
The extent to which appointed bureaucrats can choose courses of action and make policies that are not spelled out in advance by laws.
Resolution by congress that sets the bottom line of the budget during the budget process
the president's use of his prestige and visibility to guide or enthuse the American public
Congressional groups that share interests
Chief of Staff
The head of the White House staff.
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.
Delegate model of representation
An official who is expected to represent the views of his or her constituents even when personally holding different views; one interpretation of the role of legislator.
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.
The right to keep executive communications confidential, especially if they relate to National Security.
Congress mailing newsletters to their constituents at the government's expense during an election.
The drawing of legislative district boundaries to benefit a party, group, or incumbent; many forms of gerrymandering have been declared illegal by the courts, but not all.
Inability to accomplish anything because of divided government.
The current holder of the elected office.
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.
Mutual aid and vote trading among legislators.
The legislative leader selected by the majority party who helps plan party strategy, confers with other party leaders, and tries to keep members of the party in line.
A president's claim of broad public support.
The legislative leader selected by the minority party as spokesperson for the opposition (legislators opposed to the party in power.); responsible for steering the minority party's legislation through the process of becoming a law.
A procedural rule in the House of Representatives that permits floor amendments within the overall time allocated to the bill.
An action taken by Congress to reverse the presidential veto, requiring a two-thirds majority in each chamber.
A system of government in which the elected legislature votes on laws and selects the prime minister or president.
A formal decision to reject a bill passed by Congress after it adjourns - if Congress adjourns during the ten days that the president is allowed in order to sign or veto law, the president can reject the law by taking no action at all.
The extent to which liberals and conservatives occupy the more extreme positions on the liberal-conservative ideological spectrum.
The joint listing of the presidential and vice presidential candidates on the same ballot as required by the Twelfth Amendment.
Redistributing congressional seats after each census. State legislatures then redraw the districts in their state.
Presidential appointment made without Senate confirmation during Senate recess.
The redrawing of congressional and other legislative district lines following the census, to accommodate population shifts and keep districts as equal as possible in population
The presiding officer in the House of Representatives, formally elected by the House but actually selected by the majority party.
Special or Select Committee
A congressional committee created for a specific purpose, sometimes to conduct an investigation. (e.g. Watergate)
Party leader who is the liaison between the leadership and the rank-and-file in the legislature.
Jurisdiction of appeals; courts in the federal system with appellate jurisdiction are the Circuit Courts of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
Written legal arguments to support your position on the case.
In the federal system, the appellate courts are called Circuit Courts. There are 13 Circuits in the United States. These are created by Congress.
In the federal system, the trial courts are called District Courts. There are 94 districts, scattered amongst the states based on caseload. The Congress creates these courts in accordance with Article III of the Constitution.
Dual court system
This references the fact that there are two justice systems operating in the United States. There are state court systems with jurisdiction over state laws and state constitutions. There is the federal system with jurisdiction over federal law and the U.S. Constitution.
A decision made by a group of judges hearing a case as compared to a single judge making a decision.
Some types of cases are specifically given to the Supreme Court as cases of exclusive jurisdiction in the Constitution. These would include cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Minister and Consuls and those in which a state shall be party.
The territorial jurisdiction of an appellate court. For instance, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals is based in Atlanta and hears appeals arising from the states of Alabama, Georgia or Florida.
The territorial jurisdiction of a trial court. For example, Alabama has three districts - the Northern, Middle and Southern Districts. Cases are tried based on where the offense occurred within the state.
There are no qualifications listed in the Constitution. The president appoints judges/justices and the Senate confirms.
The power of the court to interpret the law in accordance with the Constitution. This power was assumed rather than specifically stated. Hamilton described the power in Federalist Paper #78.
Where a case goes when appealed. For most cases, that will be the Circuit Court of Appeals and then, potentially, the Supreme Court. The Circuit Courts must consider all cases that come to them. The Supreme Court only chooses those of which there is "confusion in the Circuits" (meaning that there are contrary rulings in different places in the country) or which they believe is a Constitutional issue that has not already been settled.
The arguments set forth orally before the court to justify the position of the party giving them. Each side has a time limit before the appellate court in which they are allowed to make their remarks and answer any questions that the judges may ask them.
The highest court in the United States; court of last resort. It is the only court that will potentially hold both original and appellate jurisdiction in the United States and is the only court specifically mentioned in the Constitution.
Terms of office (judicial)
The Constitution sets a term of "on good behavior" for federal judges; this is generally short-handed to "life". Justices serve until they die or retire, assuming they are not impeached and removed from office.
Writ of Certiorari
An order from the Supreme Court to a lower court and the appellant that they will take the case and they should send all the evidence to the Supreme Court for review.
Rule of Four
For the Supreme Court to hear a case, 4 justices must agree that it is worthy of review.
This is defined in Article III. Congress can declare the punishment, but the courts will rule on it. Congress cannot include "corruption of blood" (you are guilty because your ancestors were) or forfeiture of all property to descendants (unless during the life of the one committing treason). To convict for terrorism requires two witnesses to the same overt act or a confession in open court. It is very hard to prove treason....because that was a favorite punishment of Kings.
Something to follow in the future. Precedents are set by court decisions which tell the government the meaning of the law, so that it can be applied uniformly from that point forward.
"Let the Decision Stand"; legal principle that respects the importance of the law being consistent over time. We can't know what is or is not allowed in our system if the law is not consistently applied. It references an intention to respect precedent and the rule of law.
The opinion of a majority of the justices on the Supreme Court (at least 5).
An opinion written by a justice who disagrees with the majority opinion and feels compelled to put it in the legal record for posterity.
Per curiam opinion
A short, unsigned ruling of the court. It generally gives instructions to a lower court.
Special court where people can dispute rulings of the IRS on taxes.
Court of Federal Claims
Special court where people can dispute rulings in which they believe that federal law has caused them harm.
A special court is a court with limited jurisdiction, that deals with a particular field of law rather than a particular territorial jurisdiction.
Rule of Law
A nation is run in accordance with the law if it is run by laws rather than by men. In other words, the "law" as an entity is more important than the opinions or wishes of individuals. It is a method of controlling/limiting government.
The Federal bureaucracy to use reasonable judgment in implementing the laws.
A judicial system in which the court of law is a neutral arena where two parties argue their differences.
Amicus Curiae Brief
A "friend of the court" brief, filed by an individual or organization to present arguments in addition to those presented by the immediate parties to a case.
A career government employee.
A law that governs relationships between individuals and defines their legal rights.
Federal employees who work for government through a competitive, not political selection process.
An opinion written by a justice who voted on the winning side of a case, but feels there are other important legal reasons that should be put into the legal record for posterity.
A law that defines crimes against the public order.
In a criminal action, the person or party accused of an offense.
The list cases that on the courts schedule.
Official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents.
Federal Reserve Board
A variation of an independent regulatory agency with a chairman and board that controls the supply of money that flows through the U.S. economy using monetary policy.
A government agency that operates like a business and could be provided by private businesses
The process of putting a law into practice through bureaucratic rules or spending.
Independent Regulatory Commission
A government agency or commission with regulatory power whose independence is protected by Congress.
A policy-making instrument composed of a tightly related alliance of a congressional committee, interest groups, and a federal department or agency.
Philosophy proposing that judges should interpret the Constitution to reflect what the framers intended and what its words literally say. (and defer to the legislature)
A dispute growing out of an actual case or controversy and that is capable of settlement by legal methods.
Office of Personnel Management (OPM)
Agency in charge of hiring for federal agencies. Administers civil service laws, rules, and regulations
Opinion of the Court
An explanation of the decision of the Supreme Court or any other appellate court. Legal reasoning behind the decision
Trial court. Where the facts of a case are heard. The authority of a court to hear a case "in the first instance." Most are first heard in state court. Federal cases normally start in District Court
Legislative or executive review of a particular government program or organization. Can be in response to a crisis of some kind or part of routine review.
The party instigating a civil lawsuit.
Agreement between a prosecutor and a defendant that the defendant will plead guilty to a lesser offense to avoid having to stand trial for a more serious offense.
How a group gains control of the government and making decisions like who gets what, when, where, and how from government.
Government lawyer who tries criminal cases, often referred to as a district attorney or a U.S. Attorney.
A policy that provides to one group of society while taking benefits from another through policy solutions such as tax increases to pay for job training.
A precise statement of how a law is implemented. (The formal instructions that government issues for implementing laws.) Often used to achieve social goals such as protecting workers and the environment.
Not confirming federal judges against the wishes of the senator from the state in which the appointees are to work. (if the senator is in the majority party)
The third ranking official in the Department of Justice who is responsible for representing the United States in cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.
A system of public employment based on rewarding party loyalists and friends.
U.S. Attorney General
The chief law enforcement officer in the United States and the head of the Department of Justice
Remedial action designed to overcome the effects of previous discrimination against minorities and women.
Deliberate refusal to obey law or comply with orders of public officials as a means of expressing opposition.
Protect individuals from arbitrary acts of government; include freedom of speech and guarantees of a fair trial. (Bill of Rights)
The rights of all people to be free from discrimination based on race, religion, sex, or ethnic origin.
Civil Rights Act of 1964
Made discrimination illegal in public accommodations, Forbade employment discrimination on race, color, national origin, sex, or religion, Created Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to protect jobs
Clear and Present Danger Test
Judicial interpretation of the First Amendment that government may not ban speech unless it poses an imminent threat to society.
Advertisements and commercials for products and services; they receive less First Amendment protection, primarily to discourage false and misleading ads.
Cruel & Unusual Punishment
Too barbaric or severe or not in proportion to the crime; forbidden in the 8th amendment (common controversy - death penalty)
De Facto Segregation
Segregation resulting from economic or social conditions or personal choice.
De Jure Segregation
Segregation imposed by law
Trial or punishment for the same crime by the same government; forbidden by the Constitution
Established rules and regulations that restrain government officials and protect citizens.
Due Process Clause
Clause in the Fifth Amendment limiting the power of the national government; similar clause in the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the state governments from depriving any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.
The power of a government to take private property for public use; they must pay for the property.
Equal Protection Clause
The major constitutional restraint on the power of governments to discriminate against persons because of race, national origin, or sex. Clause in the 14th Amendment. By interpretation, the 5th Amendment imposes the same limitation on the national government.
Prohibits Congress from creating a government-sponsored religion. A provision of the 1st Amendment
Courtroom ban on evidence obtained by illegal searches or seizures. Supreme Court guideline.
Words that by their very nature inflict injury on those to whom they are addressed or incite them to acts of violence.
Free Exercise Clause
1st Amendment guarantee that each person has the right to believe what they want. However, a religion cannot make an act legal that would otherwise be illegal
Good Faith & Plain View Exceptions
Exceptions to the exclusionary rule. If police rely on legal warrant that is defective or police see something illegal without searching, these will be admissible.
A jury of 12 to 23 persons who, in private, hear evidence presented by the government to determine whether persons shall be required to stand trial. If the jury believes there is sufficient evidence that a crime was committed, it issues an indictment
A formal written statement from a grand jury charging an individual with an offense; also called a true bill
Jim Crow Laws
State laws formerly pervasive throughout the South requiring public facilities and accommodations to be segregated by race; ruled unconstitutional.
Written defamation of another person. For public officials and public figures, the constitutional tests designed to restrict libel actions are especially rigid.
Literacy requirements some states imposed as a condition of voting, generally used to disqualify black voters in the South; now illegal
Warnings that police must read to suspects prior to questioning that advises them of their rights (You have the right to remain silent, ..to an Attorney...); from Miranda v. Arizona case (1967)
Depicting sexual conduct in a patently offensive way and that lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value
A jury of 6 to 12 persons that determines guilt or innocence in a civil or criminal action
Tax required to vote; prohibited for national elections by the Twenty-Fourth Amendment (1964) and ruled unconstitutional for all elections in 1966.
Censorship imposed before a speech is made or a newspaper is published; usually presumed to be unconstitutional.
Reasonable reasons to believe that someone is guilty of a crime.
Procedural Due Process
Constitutional requirement that governments proceed by proper methods; limits how government may exercise power.
The drawing of election districts to ensure that members of a certain race are a minority in the district; ruled unconstitutional in 1960
Right to Privacy
The right to a private personal life free from government intrusion
A writ issued by a magistrate that authorizes the police to search a particular place or person, specifying the place to be searched and the objects to be seized
The case-by-case process by which liberties listed in the Bill of Rights have been applied to the states using the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
You have a 5th Amendment right not to provide information that may be used against you.
Supreme Court rule that classification by race and ethnic background is inherently suspect and must be justified by a "compelling public interest" and "narrowly tailored" to meet it. (Nothing meets this test)
Substantive Due Process
Constitutional requirement that governments act reasonably and that the substance of the laws themselves be fair and reasonable; limits what the government may do.
Actions that purposefully and discernibly convey a particular message or statement to those viewing it.
Libel, obscenity, and fighting words which are not entitled to constitutional protection in all circumstances.
Voting Rights Act of 1965
Can't refuse to allow someone to vote based on race or color, abolished literacy tests, sent federal vote registrars to the south, needed pre-clearances for new voting laws
Democratic Party primary in the old "one-party South" that was limited to white people and essentially constituted an election; ruled unconstitutional in 1944.
The right of women to vote.
Writ of Habeas Corpus
A court order directing that a prisoner be brought before a court and that the court officers show cause why the prisoner should not be released.
People do something primarily because other people are doing it, regardless of their own beliefs
A meeting of local/state party members to choose candidates for public office and to decide the platform.
The counting of all of our population that occurs in zero years (2010, 2020) used to determine how many representatives each state gets in the House
The boost that candidates may get in an election because of the popularity of candidates above them on the ballot, especially the president.
A belief that the state owns property in common for all people and a single political party that represents the working classes controls the government.
Poll of voters taken immediately after they have exited the polling stations
Federal Election Commission (FEC)
Oversees disclosure of campaign finance information and public funding of presidential elections, and enforces contribution limits. Created 1974.
States holding primaries earlier to gain media attention
Women supporting democrats, social services spending, and reducing military at greater rates than men.
Elections in which voters elect officeholders.
Margin of Error
Rate of error in a random sampling - usually +/- 3% for a sample of at least 1,500 individuals.
Elections held midway between presidential elections. Includes 1/3 of senators and all house members.
Motor Voter Act
Allows people to register to vote when they get or renew their license
Incumbents have an advantage over challengers in election campaigns because voters are more familiar with them, and incumbents are more recognizable
National Party Convention
A national meeting of delegates elected at 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.
Elections held in odd numbered calendar years. Normally features local offices and initiatives.
An informal and subjective affiliation with a political party that most people acquire in childhood.
Belief that your vote can make a difference
A consistent pattern of beliefs about political values and the role of government.
The process - most notably in families and schools - by which we develop our political attitudes, values, and beliefs.
Elections held in years when the president is on the ballot
Elections in which voters determine party nominees.
Election system in which each party running receives the proportion of legislative seats corresponding to its proportion of the vote
Prospective Issue Voting
Voting based on what a candidate pledges to do in the future about an issue if elected.
The sum of many individual opinions of a given issue, candidate, or institution
In this type of sample, every individual has unknown and equal chance of being selected.
Retrospective Issue Voting
Holding incumbents, usually the president's party, responsible for their records on issues, such as the economy or foreign policy.
The level of confidence that the sample represents the group accurately. More people = lower error. 1500-2000 people can generate confidence within 3 percent
Elected office that is predictably won by one party or the other, so the success of the party's candidate is almost taken for granted.
Extent to which people believe issues are relevant to them.
An electoral district in which voters choose one representative or official.
A governmental system where some of the means of production are controlled by the state.
Money raised in unlimited amounts by political parties for party-building purposes. Now largely illegal except for limited contributions to state and local parties for voter registration and get-out the-vote efforts.
(Democratic Party) An unelected delegate who is free to support any candidate for the presidential nomination at the party's national convention. (normally these are governors, past presidents, etc.)
The proportion of the voting age public that votes, sometimes defined as the number of registered voters that vote.
An election system in which the candidate with the most votes wins
24/7 News Cycle
News is now constantly updated and presented via Internet sites like the New York Times or Wall Street Journal and cable news sources like CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC
A political group organized under section 527 of the IRS code that may accept and spend unlimited amounts of money on election activities so long as they are not spent on broadcast ads run in the last 30 days before a primary or 60 days before a general election in which a clearly identified candidate is referred to and a relevant electorate is targeted.
PACs collect contributions from like-minded individuals (each limited to $5000) and present them to a candidate or political party as a "bundle," thus increasing the PAC's influence.
Primary election in which only persons registered in the party holding the primary may vote.
Voting by member of one party for a candidate of another party.
Weakening of partisan preferences that point to a rejection of both major parties and a rise in the number of independents
An individual who does not to join a group yet receives the benefit of the group's influence.
Political contributions given to a party, candidate, or interest group that are limited in amounts and fully disclosed. Raising such limited funds is harder than raising unlimited funds, hence the term hard money.
Horse Race Journalism
A close contest; by extension, any contest in which the focus is on who is ahead and by how much, rather than on substantive differences between the candidates.
Money spent by individuals or groups not associated with candidates to elect or defeat candidates for office. Unlimited $. Also known as a SuperPac.
Groups who seek to influence government for specific ends (policy related goals) through tactics such as lobbying, donating, campaigning, endorsing
Promoting a particular position or an issue paid for by interest groups or individuals but not candidates.
Relationships among interest groups, congressional committees and subcommittees, and the government agencies that share a common policy concern.
Connects the people to the government. These institutions include: elections, political parties, interest groups, and the media.
Engaging in activities aimed at influencing public officials, especially legislators, and the policies they enact.
Newspapers and magazines, radio, television (broadcast, cable, and satellite), films, recordings, books, and electronic communication designed to reach the public.
Cater to smaller audience defined by special interest; by-product of advent of cable and proliferation of specialized channels.
Media that emphasize the news.
A local or judicial election in which candidates are not selected or endorsed by political parties and party affiliation is not listed on ballots.
Primary election in which any voter, regardless of party, may vote for a single candidate in either party
A meeting of party delegates to vote on matters of policy and in some cases to select party candidates for public office.
The dispensing of government jobs to persons who belong to the winning political party.
A document stating the policy positions of the party. Drafted/ratified at presidential nominating conventions
Political Action Committee (PAC)
The political arm of an interest group that is legally entitled to raise funds on a voluntary basis from members, stockholders, or employees to contribute funds to candidates or political parties.
An organization that seeks to control the government by electing people to office so that its positions and philosophy become public policy.
An election during periods of expanded suffrage and change in the economy and society that proves to be a turning point, redefining the agenda of politics and the alignment of voters within parties
Employment cycle in which individuals who work for governmental agencies that regulate interests eventually end up working for interest groups or businesses with the same policy concern.
The process by which individuals perceive what they want to in media messages.
Individuals choosing to access media with which they agree or avoiding media with which they disagree. Screening out messages that do not conform to their own biases
A short clip from a video, chosen for its news value
Independent expenditure-only PACs -They may accept donations of any size and can endorse candidates. Their contributions and expenditures must be periodically reported to the FEC.
Intentional leaks used to test public reaction
Swift Boat Veterans for Truth
interest group that aired a TV ad charging that Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry was lying about his military service record
interest group that countered the Swift Boat Veterans ad with a commercial attacking the many gaps in President Bush's military record
single issue group; opponent of gun control legislation
supports issues such as abortion and reproductive rights, affirmative action, economic equity, and same-sex marriage
Chamber of Commerce
second major business organization; effective spokesperson for member companies
a group that represents a specific industry
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
an organization founded in 1920 to defend the civil rights of all U.S. citizens.
American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
interest group for retired people
a good-government group that acts as a watchdog over the federal government; challenged aspects of the congressional seniority system, urged the passage of sweeping campaign reforms, and played a major role in the enactment of legislation authorizing federal financing of presidential candidates
labor organization; pressured government to protect concessions won from employers at the bargaining table and to other issues of concern to its members, including minimum wage laws, the environment, civil rights, medical insurance, and health care
Ethics in Government Act
attempted to curtail questionable moves by barring members of the executive branch from representing any clients before their agency for one year after leaving governmental service
form of pressure-group activity that attempts to involve individuals who contact their representatives directly in an effort to to affect policy
A nominating process in which voters indicate their preferences by using a single ballot on which are printed the names and respective party labels of all persons seeking nomination. A candidate who receives more than 50 percent of the vote is elected; otherwise, a runoff between the top two candidates must be held. Also called a top-two primary.
A judicial philosophy in which judges make bold policy decisions, even charting new constitutional ground. Advocates of this approach emphasize that the courts can correct pressing needs, especially those unmet by the majoritarian political process.
Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002
banned soft money contributions to national political parties from corporations and unions; independent expenditures by corporations, labor unions, trade associations, and nonprofit organizations are sharply restricted; also called McCain-Feingold; Citizens United v. FEC will overturn most provisions other than the "stand by your ad" provisions.
A principle that formerly obligated broadcasters to present both sides of an issue
equal time rule
An FCC rule that if a broadcaster sells time to one candidate, it must sell equal time to other candidates.
right of rebuttal rule
An FCC regulation that people attacked on a radio or television broadcast be offered the opportunity to respond.
party line voting
Supporting a party by voting for candidates from one political party for all public offices at the same level of government.
A theory of voting in which voters essentially ask this simple question: "What have you done for me lately?"
rational choice voting
Voting based on what is perceived to be in the citizen's individual interest
congressional elections that do not coincide with a presidential election; also called off-year elections
Patriot Act (2001)
Law responding to 9/11. Expands anti-terrorist powers (wiretapping, surveillance); 4th Amendment concern for civil liberties.
the transmission of radio waves or TV signals to a broad public audience
state laws that protect journalists from having to reveal their sources
When a 3rd party candidate takes enough votes away from one of the main party candidates to make him/her lose the election. Ex., Ralph Nader & Green Party may have caused Al Gore to lose 2000 election to George Bush.
Government benefits that certain qualified individuals are entitled to by law, regardless of need.
improperly gathered evidence may not be introduced in a criminal trial
Title IX of Education Act of 1972
Prohibited gender discrimination in federally subsidized education programs
equality of opportunity
a widely shared American ideal that all people should have the freedom to use whatever talents and wealth they have to reach their fullest potential
equality of results
Distributing desired things equally to all groups, including those who are historically disadvantaged due to race, ethnicity, gender or socioeconomic status.
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.
single member district
An electoral district from which one person is chosen by the voters for each elected office. This type of electoral system typically leads to legislatures dominated by two political parties.
Government action based on firm allegiance to a political party
Federal-state relationship that sought to involve local populations and cities directly in addressing urban problems during the 1960s and 1970s.
Article VI of the Constitution, which makes the Constitution, national laws, and treaties supreme over state laws when the national government is acting within its constitutional limits.
A type of poll that attempts to influence opinions secretly using a poll (would you vote for McCain if you knew that he had a black, illegitimate child?)
All of the people entitled to vote in a given election
Money government provides to parents to pay their children's tuition in a public or private school of their choice.
A doctrine under which certain federal laws preempt, or take precedence over, conflicting state or local laws.
Government policy that attempts to manage the economy by controlling the money supply and thus interest rates.
Government policy that attempts to manage the economy by controlling taxing and spending.
The media's role in influencing what subjects become national political issues and for how long.
agenda setting role
The media's role in influencing what subjects gain the attention of the government through their coverage and positioning of them.
the way an issue is posed; how an issue is framed can significantly affect decisions and judgments.
the press stands ready to expose any official who violates accepted legal, ethical, and performance standards
the use of in-depth reporting to unearth scandals, scams, and schemes, at times putting reporters in adversarial relationships with political leaders
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