american government final
Terms in this set (47)
What does it mean that Congress is bicameral?Why was it designed this way and what are the consequences?
one that divides the legislators into two chambers
The constitution's bicameral structure means that bills (items of legislation) must pass both chambers in identical form in order to be passed and sent to the president
How are seats in Congress apportioned?How do redistricting and gerrymandering work?
Key among these differences is how seats in each are apportioned (distributed) across states. In the senate, each state gets 2, whereas in the House seats are apportioned on the basis of population
Because of the apportionment process, the census results reported every 10 years leads to a round of redistricting. This process places constituents (the body of voters electing a representative) into geographic districts.
Gerrymandering- occurs when politicians deliberately draw congressional district lines for electoral advantage
Three main types:
Partisan: acting in allegiance to a specific political party, cause, or ideology
Incumbent: designed to favor the sitting member of congress and make it difficult for newcomers to win
Racial: takes place when state legislators draw district lines in a way that will increase the likelihood of a racial or ethnic minority candidate winning the seat
What are the three types/sources of congressional power, and what are some examples of each?
Article 1: congress
Section 8: source of congress' legislative power
Explicitly states in the constitution
Power to levy taxes, coin money, declare war
Is not specifically listed in the constitution but necessary to achieve the objectives of the nation government
Article 1 section 8: necessary and proper clause/ elastic clause
Regulate banks/ commerce, national minimum wage, funding highways, overseeing speedlimits
While not enumerated or implied, must be assumed to exist as a direct result of the country's existence
Control country's borders
Describe the various ways in which representation might be conceptualized and might play out in practice.
A model of representation calling for members of congress to serve as the mouthpiece of their constituents in the legislative process. As a delegate, a member is expected to directly reflect constituent sentiment
A model of representation calling calling for members of Congress to protect the interests of their constituents. As a trustee, a member is expected to use his or her best judgment in making legislative decisions
Is another important consideration — does Congress reflect "the people" it represents
An additional way in which members of congress may go about representing constituents is through pork-barrel politics which involves securing federal spending on projects in the district.
Finally, we should consider the collective representation of congress- that is, how well it does representing the nation as a whole
Identify the key positions of party leadership in the House and Senate and describe their functions.
PARTY LEADERSHIP STRONGER IN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
The Speaker of the House is the institutional leader of the House of Representatives.The institutional leader of the Senate is the vice president, but in practice itisthe president pro tempore, who is the most senior member of the majority party. Majority and minority leadersin both chambers provide direction to the party.Whips(majority & minority) are members of Congress tasked with enforcing party discipline and ensuring the presence of other members of the party when votes are taken on the floor of each chamber.
Party leadership & partisanship is weaker
Approve presidential appointments and ratify treaties
Vice President = senate institutional leader
House of Representatives
More formal (because of size)
Members are usually issue specialists
More partisan structure
Can generate revenue bills
Party leadership structure
Meant to be closer to the people
What steps are involved in the legislative process?Be specific!
After bill introduction, Committees Are The First Stop.
A committee is simply a group of members of Congress assigned to consider proposed legislation in a given jurisdiction and make recommendations to the full chamber.
There are different types (select, joint), but Standing committees do most of the work including markup).
Bills that make it through committee are reported to the house or senate for debate
Senate debates are not as structured as debates in the house. As a result filibusters are used to delay action and cloture may be used to end debates
A bill must pass both chambers in identical fashion, which sometimes requires use of a conference committee.If successfully passed by Congress, the President can:• Sign the bill - effectively making it law.• Veto the bill - return it to Congress. Congress must get 2/3rds of members to override the veto. • Not sign the bill - by not signing, the bill becomes law after ten days without Presidential approval.• Pocket veto - by not signing the bill right before the adjournment of Congress the bill does not become law.
describe the dual court system
the system of state and federal courts in the US
-trial courts: where case starts/ is first tried
-appellate courts: review case already heard/ decided by lower court
court of last resort: Supreme Court
What is cloture?
a procedure for ending a debate and taking a vote
happens in senate
needs 60 votes to end filibuster
if congress tries to impeach a president, where does the process begin?
Constitution Article II
house of representatives
have to be tried by both chambers
give an example of the redistributive policy
domestic policy where the costs are born by some with benefits enjoyed by others
Medicaid, pell grants, food stamps
controversial because not everyone gets benefits they are giving money for
what is government corporation? give an example
it is a legal entity that takes commercial activities on behalf of the government
US Postal Services, amtrack
What powers are central to Congress versus the president?
congress: makes laws, declare war
Article I:•Veto power over legislation
Article II, Section 3:•President is required report on the "State of the Union"
president: establish federal departments in the executive branch.
•appoint their organization heads, known as secretaries, to implement the law.
•reorganize the government to best meet their management styles and achieve their policy goals
commander in chief
How and why have the exercise of these powers changed over time?
Presidential powers have grown because of
Globalization—the spread and integration of economics, politics, technology, and culture around the world
Public expectations (back to the "bully pulpit"; FDR's 100 days)
In what ways do presidents exercise executive, legislative, and judicial powers? Diplomatic and military powers?
Pardon: exoneration of a crime and penalty
Amnesty: group of people
Reprieve commutation: exoneration of the penalty but not the crime
Nominations- supreme and lower courts (require senate confirmation)
Article I- veto power over legislation
Article II- state of the union address
All presidents have used them, increasingly so under divided governments
Use of emergency powers= expanding power
Executive privilege: right to withhold information from congress
Has a cabinet
Executive agreements- international agreement made without the formal consent of congress
How do presidents go about shaping the bureaucracy and its decisions?
President uses bureaucracy to implement law
Establish federal departments in the executive branch
Appoint their organization heads (secretaries) to implement law
Reorganize government to best meet the needs and styles and achieve their policy goals
What are the contours of presidential selection now and how has this changed over time?
Who controls the size and shape of the federal courts?
Nominations—Supreme and lower courts•Requires Senate confirmation
What is judicial review and where does it originate?
Established in 1803
Judicial review- the power of courts to review actions taken by other branches of governments and rule on their constitutionality
If the courts find something unconstitutional, it becomes null and void
Marberry v. Madison
For the first time, the courts found an act of congress to be unconstitutional
Essential to the system of checks and balances
Now includes state and local action
Describe the overall workload of U.S. courts, and trace the flow of cases through it.How does the Supreme Court work?
US Supreme Court (6,475 cases filed)
US court of appeasl (60,357 cases filed)
US district courts (291,851 cases filed)
State High Courts (78,841 cases filed)
State Intermediate Appellate Courts (185,186 cases filed)
State Trial Courts (55,800,000 cases filed)
shows that lower courts receive the most cases
Identify and define the various levels of courts and types of cases (law) that they administer. Who are the key players?
Trial courts- original jurisdiction; where a case starts
Appellate courts- review cases already heard/decided by lower courts
Court of last resort- supreme court
Types of cases:
Criminal law- government prohibits actions that could cause harm and establishes punishments. In these cases, the government is a "party" to the case.
Civil law- the parties involved are private (i.e., non-governmental) and seek a judicial remedy for harm/injury
What is bureaucracy? How has the U.S. bureaucracy evolved over time?
Bureaucracy- administrative group of non elected officials charged with carrying out functions connected to politics and programs
Bureaucrats and civil servants- are the individuals who work in the bureaucracy.
Public administration- implementation of policy in government agencies and a field of academic study that prepares civil servants to work in those organizations
Bureaucracy size is very stable
Public perceptions of it are often wrong
partisanship began in Jacksonian era with the spoils system
Andrew Jackson promised his supporters jobs (spoils) during his 1828 campaign. This arrangement is known as patronage.•Supporters were often unqualified, contributing to a sense that the bureaucracy was partisan and inefficient.DuringtheProgressiveEra,corruption was tackled by the institution of a merit system based on tested skills and abilities.
How is the bureaucracy structured?(i.e., understand differences between departments,agencies, govt. corporations, etc.)
departments: Cabinet level departments are major executive offices directly accountable to the president. Their heads are usually called "secretaries" (e.g., Secretary of Defense)
agencies: report directly to the president and their heads are appointed by him. But they have more focused tasks (e.g., CIA, NASA, EPA).
gov coprorations: subset of agencies
They are more independent of routine executive branch control, and their members serve long, staggered terms.
Some examples:•Federal Reserve System•InterstateCommerceCommission (ICC)•Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)•Federal CommunicationsCommission(FCC)•Federal Election Commission (FEC)
What is rulemaking and how does it work?
Rulemaking fills in gray areas
Often includes contradictory processes between actors
To workout differences, agencies draft rules and negotiate
How do the branches compete for control over the bureaucracy? Which is most advantaged and why?
•Appointment power, organization, executive orders
•Oversight (usually via committee)
•Budgeting and appropriations (power of the purse)
•Drafting law (inspectors general)
•Personnel (Senate confirmation, impeachment)
What is a public policy and what forms (types) might policy take domestically
the broad strategy that government uses to do its job. Another is in terms of the actions taken by government to address matters of concern to some part of society
Costs are born by many with benefits concentrated on relatively few (agriculture subsidies, construction of the transcontinental railroad in the 1800s)
Costs are born by some with benefits enjoyed by others (medicaid, TANF, Pell grants)
Costs are concentrated while benefits are diffuse/ widely enjoyed (public health and safety, environmental regulation
Controlled by the Federal Reserve (a "central bank") and involves the money supply and interest rates
Controlled by the national government and involves government spending (purchasing and transfer payments) and revenue generation (taxes)
How does the federal tax system work?
in what ways is revenue raised, spent, and so for that the federal level (e.g., what is a tax expenditure)?
The government uses revenue to fund government programs and services as well as to pay interest debt
sources of revenue: income tax, payroll tax, corporate income tax, excise/estate/other tax
Tax expenditures- some things that are exempt from government taxing
Revenue is raised through taxes
What is the current state of the federal budget, national debt, etc.?
deficit/surplus (current year "balance")
National debt (accumulated deficits outstanding)
The us government uses revenue to fund government programs and services as well as to pay interest on accumulated debt
Two types of budgetary spending: discretionary and mandatory (most of which are entitlements) 22 trillion in debt
Identify some examples of entitlement programs and explain why we use this term to describe them.
program that guarantees to members of a specific group or segment of the population (social security, medicaid, disability checks)
where in the constitution can you find the powers of congress? what are this powers? describe
article 1 section 8 (most detailed branch)
enumerated powers (specifically stated): collect taxes, declare war, create post offices and roads, force patents, regulate commerce within states and foreign nations, coin money
What is the elastic clause?
The "necessary and proper clause"
Congress can do anything that is necessary and proper. (Cyber security, air force, nuclear arms, automobiles, etc)
What is gerrymandering?
manipulation of political districts
house of representatives/ congressional districts
how many terms can a president serve? why
rule since washington, FDR was elected 4 times
tradition, washington only served twice
after FDR passed 22nd amendment saying you could only serve 2 times
how has the presidency evolved over time? be specific
president now carries out more executive order, which congress used to do (more powerful/important over time)
how they are elected has changed, has become more democratic overtime, increased partisanship
two term limit now
what are you doing if you "mark up" a bill?
amending the bill/ changing parts of it
what is a descriptive representation
representing constituents by mirroring their personal, politically relevant characteristics
be more relatable to the people they are representing (gender, race, etc.)
they know what like it is to be you/ challenges you face
What is the rule of four?
4 out of 9 Supreme Court justices must vote in order to hear a case in the supreme court
what is the overall current debt and deficit in the US federal government? Tell me more about the federal budget: what is the difference between mandatory and discretionary spending? which of those is more difficult to cut? why? describe the tax rates we went over in class
debt is 22 trillion dollars
deficit is 1-2 trillion
mandatory spending: have to spend money on it becuase agreed on already (social security, medicaid/medicare)
discretionary spending: made a choice to spend money (roads, education, military spending)
discretionary is easier to cut
how often do we redraw the congressional district lines
redraw every 10 years based on census data
What does the bureaucracy do?
implements laws passed and signed by president
Types of opinions
The majority opinion is the one with which a majority of the justices agree
A dissenting opinion is written by a justice who disagrees with the majority opinion of the court
A concurring opinion is written by a justice who agrees with the court's majority opinion but has different reasons for doing so
Supreme Court Justices
9 justices, lifetime appointment, nominated by the president,approved by the Senate
decides which cases (where the government is a party) to appeal, write briefs (even amicus curiae, or "friend of the court" briefs), etc
A presidential appointee and the third-ranking office in the Department of Justice. The solicitor general is in charge of the appellate court litigation of the federal government.
Decisions by the higher courts
principle of stare decisis
The policy of courts to abide by or adhere to principles established by decisions in earlier cases.
types of cases
With criminal law government prohibits actions that could cause harm and established punishments. In these cases, the government is a "party" to the case
In civil law the parties involved are private (i.e. non-governmental) and seek a judicial remedy for harm/injury
pardon-the exoneration of both the crime and the associated penalty
President Ford pardoned Richard Nixon after the Watergate scandal.
Amnesty-a pardon that is issued to a group of people who are not in compliance with the law
President Carter granted unconditional amnesty to Vietnam War draft dodgers.
Reprieve (commutation)-the exoneration of the penalty associated with a crime, but not the crime itself.
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