75 terms

GOPO Final Terms D-I

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Declaration of Independence
Thomas Jefferson's statement of political liberalism (limited government to protect life liberty and pursuit of happiness; right to revolution).
Defamation
False and malicious (mean) writings ("libel") or speech ("slander") about a living person. Not protected speech under 1st Amendment but check out NY Times v. Sullivan (very difficult for "public figures" to prove defamation)
Defendant
An individual or group being sued by a plaintiff or charged with a crime by a prosecutor.
Defense of Marriage Act (1996)
Federal law defining marriage as man-woman & declaring that no state is forced to recognize same-sex marriage (unconstitutional exception to full faith & credit clause?)
Democratic Party
Demographics: Racial minorities, Jews, Women (gender gap), Labor Unions, PoorIdeology: Center-left coalition... support liberal economic & social policies (government aid, gay marriage, no death penalty, tax on wealthy). (liberalism is a dirty word in America)
Democratic Party Coalition (modern)
Major supporters of Democratic Party = African-Americans, Jews, Women, Labor Union members, poor people
Department of Defense
Cabinet-level agency in charge of the armed forces and military policy. HQ = The Pentagon.
Department of Justice
Federal department responsible for enforcing federal laws (includes FBI, Civil Rights Division, Antitrust Division, Drug Enforcement Administration...)
Department of State
Cabinet-level agency in charge of foreign policy & international affairs.
Deregulation
The lifting of government rules & restrictions on business, industry, and professional activities; major goal of Republicans
Devolution Revolution
The effort to reduce the size & power of the federal government by returning (devolving) power to the states. Associated with economic conservatives, President Reagan & the Tea Party.
District Courts
Federal trial courts. Limited jurisdiction (primarily to hear cases involving constitution and/or federal law). Must follow Supreme Court & their Circuit Court precedents (stare decisis). Federal government represented by U.S. Attorney's Office.
Divided Government
When policymaking institutions of government (President, Senate, House) are divided among the parties (e.g., Democratic President, Republican Congress). Requires more compromise; can lead to gridlock.
Docket
The list of cases that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear (granted certiorari to) in a term (usually 70-100 cases)
Doctrine of Implied Powers
Established by CJ Marshall in McCulloch v. Maryland. Congress has the power to make all laws that are "necessary and proper" for carrying out its enumerated powers. So it can create a National Bank to carry out its power to coin money. Major cause of growth of federal power.
Don't Ask Don't Tell
Compromise gay policy in military from 1993; finally ended by Obama in 2011.
Dual Federalism
System of federalism that strictly separates federal power (ex. foreign relations) and state power (ex. protect against crime). Each level of government is dominant within its own sphere. Probably how the Founders thought America would work (enumerated federal powers + reserved state powers). Also known as "layer-cake federalism."
Earmarking
Practice of congressmen of securing ("appropriating") federal money ("pork") for projects that will benefit their constituents. Major incumbent advantage & source of budget increases
Electioneering
Activity that seeks to influence the outcome of an election. Independent electioneering (SuperPacs & 527s) is protected free speech and so cannot be limited by government.
Electoral College
Constitutional system for electing president and vice president. Each state has electors = to number of senators + representatives (DC also has 3 because of 23rd Amendment). Citizens of state vote for candidate. Winner gets all electoral college votes (except Maine & Nebraska which uses proportional system). Winner of majority of electoral college votes becomes president. If no majority then President picked by House from top 3 candidates.
Electoral Dealignment
A lessening of the importance of party loyalties in voting decision (more independent voters, more split ticket voting, more divided government). Perhaps occurring now?
Elite Theory
Belief that American democracy is a sham; we really live in a plutocracy. The Constitution was written by rich white men for rich white men.
Equal Rights Amendment
Proposed constitutional amendment requiring full equal treatment for men and women (ex. allow women special forces). Proposed by Congress in 1972 but never ratified
Equal Time Rule
FCC rule requiring media stations to offer advertising time to all candidates if they offer it to one candidate.
Establishment Clause
1st Amendment clause: Congress cannot "establish" a religion. Accomodationists (establishment = government-funded religion) vs. Separationists (establishment = ANY involvement with religion); Lemon test
Ex Post Facto Laws
Laws that punish conduct that was not illegal when it was performed. These laws are always unconstitutional. Also known as a retroactive law.
Exclusionary Rule
Evidence obtained in violation of 4th Amendment is not admissible in criminal trial. (Weeks v. U.S., Mapp v. Ohio)
Executive Agreement
Non-treaty agreement between the U.S. president and other nations that does not require Senate ratification (but is not binding on future presidents). Since 1939, executive agreements have comprised more than 90% of the international agreements (because senate ratification is a real drag!)
Executive Enumerated Powers
Commander-in-chief of armed forces; pardon power (except for impeachment); treaty power; appointment power; veto power
Executive Office of the President (EOP)
Ten organizations that advise the President. Includes the Office of Management and Budget, the Council of Economic Advisors, and National Security Council. Top positions must be confirmed by Senate.
Executive Orders
Regulations & orders from the President to an agency about how to execute a law. They are one of the ways presidents can try to control the bureaucracy.
Executive Privilege
The President's self-declared power to keep executive communications confidential, especially if they relate to national security. Informal amendment to Constitution (by tradition). Can lead to conflict with other branches (Watergate).
Exit Poll
A poll of voters exiting the polls (voting locations) to attempt to predict the outcome of the election. May create a bandwagon effect.
Faithless Elector
Elector who does not vote for the candidate they promised to vote for. These have never determined outcome of presidential election but is a major problem with electoral college system
Federal Communications Commission
Federal agency that regulates the radio, television, wire, satellite and cable communications.
Federal Election Campaign Act
First major federal law (1971) to regulate federal elections. Created Federal Election Commission (FEC). Required disclosure of sources of campaign funds (transparency), set limits on contributions to candidates (individuals = $1000, PACs = $5000), spending limits for candidates, limits on independent expenditures.
Federalism
A system of government in which power is divided between one central government and several regional governments (dual or cooperative). Used in USA and a few other countries. Most countries have unitary governments.
Federalist Papers
Written in 1788 by Madison, Hamilton, and Jay to support ratification of the Constitution. Fed 10 (factions) & Fed 51 (separation of powers, checks & balances)
Federalists
Supporters of the new constitution in 1787. Supported a strong central government. Hamilton, Washington, Marshall. Became first political party (vs. Jefferson's Democratic-Republicans)
Filibuster
Use of unlimited time for debate in the Senate to kill bills by making (or threatening to make) long speeches. No filibuster in House (House Rules Committee places time limits on all debates). Broken by cloture motion (60 votes)
Fiscal Federalism
Federal government using money (grants) to influence & control states.
Formal Amendment Process
Article V; the (very difficult) process of adding or deleting words to the constitution (27 times since 1788); propose by 2/3 vote of Congress or Constitutional Convention (never used); ratify by 3/4 vote of state legislators or state convention (only used once)
Franking Privilege
The right of congresspeople to send job-related mail to their constituents without paying postage. Incumbency advantage.
Free Exercise Clause
1st Amendment clause; Government cannot make a law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. Beliefs are 100% protected but religious practices are not exempt from neutral laws that affect everyone (ex., polygamy & illegal drugs)
Free Speech Clause
1st Amendment clause; Congress can make no law abridging freedom of speech (including symbolic speech); Gitlow v. NY incorporates clause into 14th Amendment.
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
Full Faith & Credit Clause
States must recognize laws & judicial decisions of other states (ex., marriage, child support payments); public policy exception for gay marriage?
Gender Gap
Belief / observation that women are more likely to support Democratic / liberal candidates & issues than men. Women are more likely to support spending on welfare & education, and to oppose higher levels of military spending.
General Election
Election in which the winner becomes an elected government official.
Gerrymandering
The drawing of district boundaries by the state legislature to benefit a party, group, or incumbents. Major types are political & racial.
Gibbons v Ogden
Commerce clause case (1824). Decision greatly enlarged Congress' interstate commerce clause power by broadly defining the meaning of "commerce" to include virtually all types of economic activity. Pair with Lopez & Morrison cases (limiting commerce power).
Government Accountability Office
A federal legislative agency that audits (investigates) other agencies of the federal government and reports it's findings to Congress (makes sure they are not spending more money than the government has appropriated for them).
Government Corporation
Corporation set up and run by the government; provides a service to the public (ex. US Postal Service)
Government Corporations
A government organization that, like regular corporations, provides a service to the public and typically charges for its services. The U.S. Postal Service is an example. Privatization would abolish GCs.
Grandfather Clause
Jim Crow era state laws that discouraged African Americans from voting by saying that if your grandpa couldn't vote, then neither can you. The newly-freed slaves grandpas couldn't vote, so neither could they. Declared unconstitutional in 1915.
Grassroots Activism
Electioneering and issue advocacy by ordinary & unpaid citizens (the roots of American political system). Examples include Tea Party, youth activism in Obama 2008. Compare with "Astroturf Activism" - fake grassroots efforts (paid for by political interests).
Grassroots Politics
Political action on the local level by ordinary citizens (the roots): fundraising, volunteering, get-out-the-vote activities (knocking on doors); important function of local party organization
Habeas Corpus
The right to challenge the legality of your detention by government (to have a judge determine whether or not the government can detain you). This right can be temporarily suspended by Congress in times of rebellion or unrest.
Honeymoon Period
The short period (days or months) following an election when a president's popularity and ability to influence Congress is at its highest.
Horse-Race Journalism
Media tends to cover elections like a sporting event because it generates excitement (who is ahead, who is behind) & it is easy to do (poll data). HRJ is bad because it reduces time spent on analysis of issues & it can create a bandwagon effect in coverage of elections ("Romney looks like he will win this one...")
House and Senate Whips
Deputy leadership position. Connects leaders with "rank and file" members, and tries to encourage party unity & discipline
House Rules Committee
Powerful House standing committee that reviews all bills coming from other House committees before they go to the full House (gatekeeper function); sets time limit for debate decides whether amendments can be added (open or closed rule).
House Ways and Means Committee
Important House standing committee responsible for initiating all taxation bills.
Hyperpluralist Theory
Pluralism gone wrong; belief that government is paralyzed by too many interest groups demanding things too many things from government
Idealism (foreign policy)
Use American power to promote democracy and peace around the world. (Compare with realism)
Impeachment Process
Constitutional process for removing executive officers & judges for "treason, high crimes & misdemeanors" (whatever Congress thinks is impeachable). Two stages: (1) House decides to impeach (accuse) target (simple majority); (2) Senate holds trial to convict (2/3 majority). Andy Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached but not convicted. Nixon resigned as Articles of Impeachment were being drafted!
Incumbent Advantages
Name recognition, campaign contributions, credit-claiming (pork & casework).
Independent Executive Agencies
Federal agencies that aren't large or important enough to get department status. Directors appointed by President w/ advice & consent of Senate. Ex. NASA, CIA, EPA
Independent Regulatory Commissions
Independent agencies created by Congress to regulate important aspects of the nation's economy. Commissioners appointed by President but not removable except "for cause" (to protect independence). Most independent and least accountable part of the federal bureaucracy.
Informal Amendment Process
Changing the meaning of the Constitution without changing the actual words (which requires a formal amendment through Article V process). Examples = Supreme Court opinions, laws, traditions.
Initiative
Where some states allow citizens to come up with their own ideas for laws to put on an election ballot. If the proposition passes it becomes a law. Requires many voter signatures (petition) to get on the ballot. Most direct form of democracy (citizen law-making)
Injunction
A judicial order to a party to do or stop doing something (example: a restraining order to stay away from a specific person).
Invisible Primary
Informal raising of support (and money) before first primaries
Iron Triangle
Creation of powerful (iron) relationship of mutual benefit & support among congressional committee, government agency and regulated interest group(s). Can lead to corruption and "agency capture" (where the agency is controlled by the target of regulation). Problem exacerbated by revolving door.
Isolationism
Old as Washington, a belief that America should not seek to become engaged in foreign affairs.
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