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1617 ALL GOPO Final Terms
Terms in this set (241)
A political party's statement of its goals and policies for the next four years, created at National Convention.
An independent organization set up to influence the outcome of an election; can receive unlimited "soft money" donations but cannot directly advocate for a particular candidate or have any connection to a candidate. Rendered obsolete by Citizens United. Predecessor to SuperPACs.
Government or business policies favoring a historically disadvantaged minority group (university admissions, hiring decisions); raises 14th Amendment equal protection problems (reverse discrimination); limited by Bakke v. University of California (race can be "plus factor" in admissions but no racial quota system)
Agents of Socialization
Family (most important); TV/media (growing in importance); friends/peers; school (formal socialization). How we develop (absorb) opinions & beliefs.
American Party System
It consists of two main parties (because of electoral rules) with other smaller and less powerful third parties (spoiler, splinter, extremist)
American Political Culture
A set of basic, foundational values and beliefs about government that is shared by most citizens. Key elements: democracy, equality before the law, limited government, capitalism & private property
Americans With Disabilities Act (1990)
Major anti-discrimination law for disabled; requires access (ramps, braille, etc.); unfunded mandate
Amicus Curiae Brief
Literally, a "friend of the court" brief, filed by an individual or interest group to present arguments / points of view in addition to those presented by the immediate parties to a case (lobbying). Solicitor General files Amicus Briefs for U.S. government.
Belief in the abolition of all government (maybe through violent means)
A group who opposed the ratification of the Constitution in 1787. They opposed a strong central government (tyranny) and supported states' rights.
The losing party in a court case who appeals the case to a higher appellate court.
The jurisdiction of courts to hear appeals from lower trial or appellate courts.
The party opposing an appeal from a lower court to an appellate court.
Decide how to spend money allocated to each spending category by Budget Resolution; major source of earmarking
Articles of Confederation
Set up the 1st independent American government (1783-88). Nonbinding "league of friendship" among sovereign states with weak central government to help with common defense & cooperation (like the European Union). Replaced by our current constitution in 1788.
Head of the Justice Department and the chief law enforcement officer of the United States
Copy-cat behavior. People often do things just because other people do them. In primary elections, it is when people support the candidate everyone else seems to be supporting (poll leaders). Leads to Primary Frontloading (states want to have the most impact in the primary process)
Bill of Attainder
Laws that punish individuals or groups without a trial. These laws are always unconstitutional.
Bill of Rights
First ten amendments to the Constitution; major source of civil liberties; applies to states via selective incorporation doctrine; promised to Anti-Federalists to secure ratification of Constitution
Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act
Banned soft money donations to political parties (loophole from FECA); also imposed restrictions on 527 independent expenditures (issue ads only, not direct advocacy for a candidate). Declared unconstitutional by Citizens United case. Also known as McCain-Feingold Act.
Anyone can vote in any party primaries (like open primary) but voters not limited to one party (can vote for example in Democratic presidential primary and Republican senate primary). Least amount of party control over process.Declared unconstitutional (violates party's freedom to associate)
Money given to the states by the federal government for a general purpose (like education or road-building). Unlike categorical grants, states have discretion to decide how to spend the money.
House & Senate standing committees that begins spending process in Congress by setting overall spending size and amounts that will be spent on different topics (ex. defense, education)
The Presidency is one- a good position from which to inspire Congress & the nation, with the help of the media, to follow his political agenda. Example = FDR's fireside chats, Obama's televised State of the Union Address...
The fifteen largest and most influential agencies of the federal bureaucracy (e.g., Department of State, Treasury, Justice...) All headed by Secretary except Attorney General (Department of Justice)
Assistance given to individual constituents by congressional members, like helping an elderly person figure out how to get Medicare benefits. Major incumbency advantage.
Money given to the states by the federal government for a specific purpose or program. The federal government tells the states exactly how to spend the money (no state discretion unlike block grants). Example = Medicaid. Most common type of federal aid because it gives Congress the most control over the states.
Checks and Balances
A major principle of the American system of government. Helps maintain separation of powers so that no one branch gets too powerful. Explained in Federalist 51. Examples: President vetos laws; Senate confirms appointments & treaties; Congress impeaches president & judges...
Federal Courts of Appeal (aka Appellate Courts)
Intermediate federal appellate courts. Cover 13 "circuits" across America. Hear appeals from District Courts in their jurisdiction.
Intentional breaking of a law to protest against the law. Thoreau vs. Mexican-American War, Rosa Parks & MLK vs. Jim Crow segregation.
Laws dealing with private rights of individuals (defamation, breach of contract, negligence). Violation results in damages or injunction.
Civil Rights Act of 1964
Prohibits discrimination based on race or gender in employment or public accommodations (restaurants, hotels). Created EEOC to enforce. Based on Congress's interstate commerce clause power (discrimination impacts interstate commerce). The most important federal law of its type.
Government bureaucracy; non-elected agents ("worker bees") that work for executive agencies to execute the law; hierarchical organization, job specialization, detailed rules & procedures, administrative discretion. Massive growth since New Deal & WWII (2.5m people = nation's largest employer)
Class Action Lawsuit
Allows an entire class of people who have been hurt in a similar manner by the same person or corporation to join together in one legal suit. (Example: AT&T overcharging 10 million customers 1 cent a month for a year).
Clear & Present Danger Test
Used in Schenck v. US (1919) to determine whether speech is unprotected "incitement" to illegal activity.
Only registered party members can vote in the party primaries. Maximum party control over process, used in most state primaries.
Closed Rule (aka Closed Bill)
Rule in the House of Representatives that prohibits any amendments to bills or says that only members of the committee reporting the bill may offer amendments
A procedure used in the senate to limit debate on a bill (end a filibuster); requires 60 votes.
Constitutional power of the president - "supreme commander" of the nation's armed forces. Important to keep military under civilian control, leads to conflict with Congress over war power (War Powers Act)
Art. 1, Sec. 8 of the Constitution (enumerated power). Congress has the power to regulate trade with foreign nations, among the several states, and with the "Indians". Interpreted by the Supreme Court very broadly (Gibbons v. Ogden)
Leader of a congressional committee. Usually the longest serving member of the majority party on that committee (seniority rule). A very powerful position - Controls the committee calendar, agenda, and hearings. Can pigeonhole (table) a bill by refusing to schedule debate on it.
Powers that are given to both federal and state governments. Ex., the power to tax and create courts. Unlike exclusive powers, which are given only to one level of government (ex., the power to declare war)
Nonbinding union of sovereign states (example = European Union or America's government before the Constitution)
A joint committee appointed to resolve differences in the senate and house versions of the same bill
Congress' Enumerated Powers (aka Expressed Powers aka Delegated Powers)
Power to tax, borrow & coin money, regulate foreign & interstate commerce, establish army, declare war, make all laws necessary & proper for carrying out the these powers (elastic clause)
Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
Non-partisan legislative support agency (economists) to analyze President's Budget Proposal & how much programs and budget items will cost.
Association of members of Congress created to support a political ideology or regional or special economic interest
Congressional Committee System
Evolved as a way for Congress to handle large and complex work-load; divides up law-making into major subject areas; major responsibility for debating & marking up bills + oversight of execution of laws
Rich highly educated white male protestant lawyers & businessmen! Women VERY underrepresented! (<17%)
The power of Congress to oversee how laws are carried out ("watchdog function" to prevent fraud & waste). Carried out through committee hearings & investigations, appropriations process (how much are we spending on that program again?)
Solves big state-little state debate over representation in federal legislature at Philly Convention. Created bicameral legislature with equal representation for states in Senate and proportional representation in House (seats based on population).
Constituent Services aka Casework
Services a congressperson provides for his/her constituents (ex., helping with government claims like social security & veterans benefits)
A nation's basic law, creates political institutions, assigns or divides power in government and often provides certain guarantees to citizens. Can be written or unwritten.
System of federalism where federal & state governments help each other perform governmental duties. Also known as marble-cake federalism.
Council of Economic Advisors
Three economic experts to help president understand and develop economic policy; must be confirmed by senate
Laws dealing with offenses against society (murder, rape, arson). Prosecuted by the government, violation results in fines or prison sentences
Election in which existing patterns of party loyalty shift. Ex. Northern Democrats switch parties in 1860 to vote for Republican Party (Lincoln).
Declaration of Independence
Thomas Jefferson's statement of political liberalism (limited government to protect life liberty and pursuit of happiness; right to revolution). Problems listed we had with King George
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 it)
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?) Overturned by Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015
Party with these demographics: Racial minorities, Jews, Women (gender gap), Labor Unions, Poor
Ideology: Center-left coalition... support liberal economic & social policies (government aid, gay marriage, no death penalty, tax on wealthy).
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, Drug Enforcement Administration...)
Department of State
Cabinet-level agency in charge of foreign policy & international affairs. How the US interacts with other countries in the world.
The lifting of government rules & restrictions on business, industry, and professional activities; major goal of Republicans
The effort to reduce the size & power of the federal government by returning power to the states. Associated with economic conservatives, President Reagan In the 80s & the Tea Party.
returning power to the states from the federal government.
Federal trial courts. Limited jurisdiction (primarily to hear cases involving constitution and/or federal law). Must follow Supreme Court & their appellate court precedents (stare decisis).
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.
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 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.
System of federalism that strictly separates federal power (ex. foreign relations) and state power (ex. protect against crime). Also known as "layer-cake federalism."
Practice of congressmen of securing ("appropriating") federal money ("pork") for projects that will benefit their constituents. Major incumbent advantage & source of budget increases
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.
Constitutional system for electing president and vice president. Each state gets a set number of votes based on the number of House members plus senators it has.
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 (aka Elitism)
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. Put forward by Charles Beard.
Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)
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.
1st Amendment clause: Congress cannot make a religion. Judged by the 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.
Evidence obtained in violation of 4th Amendment is not admissible in criminal trial. (Weeks v. U.S., Mapp v. Ohio)
Non-treaty agreement between the U.S. president and other nations that does not require Senate ratification (but is not binding on future presidents).
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.
Regulations & orders from the President to an agency about how to execute a law.
The President's self-declared power to keep executive communications confidential, especially if they relate to national security.
A poll of voters that takes place right after they vote at the polling place to attempt to predict the outcome of the election. May create a bandwagon effect.
Member of the Electoral College who does not vote for the candidate they promised to vote for. These have never determined outcome of presidential election but are 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.
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 (the opposite of this type) governments.
Written in 1788 by Madison, Hamilton, and Jay to support ratification of the Constitution.
Paper regarding the danger of factions
Paper regarding the need for separation of powers and checks and balances
Supporters of the new constitution in 1787. Supported a strong central government. Became first political party (vs. Jefferson's Democratic-Republicans)
Use of unlimited time for debate in the Senate to kill bills by making (or threatening to make) long speeches. One of these don't exist in the House (House Rules Committee places time limits on all debates). Broken by cloture motion (60 votes)
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)
The right of congresspeople to send job-related mail to their constituents without paying postage. Major incumbency advantage.
Free Exercise Clause
1st Amendment clause; Government cannot make a law prohibiting the way one practices their religion. Beliefs are 100% protected, but religious practices are not exempt (doing something for religious purposes doesn't make that thing legal) (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. Edwards skipped this but it matters.
Full Faith & Credit Clause
States must recognize laws & judicial decisions of other states (ex., marriage, child support payments driver's licenses); public policy.
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.
Election in which the winner becomes an elected government official. (usually November)
The drawing of district boundaries by the state legislature to benefit a party, group, or incumbents. Major types are political & racial. (racial type is illegal)
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. About which ferry can have a monopoly in the harbor (state or federal?)
Government Accountability Office (GAO)
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).
Corporation set up and run by the government; provides a service to the public that can be provided by the private sector. (ex. US Postal Service, PBS)
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.
Electioneering and issue advocacy by ordinary & unpaid citizens. fundraising, volunteering, get-out-the-vote activities (knocking on doors) Examples include Tea Party, youth activism in Obama 2008.
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. (Lincoln suspended it during the Civil War)
The short period (days or months) following an election when a president's popularity and ability to influence Congress is at its highest.
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). It is bad because it reduces time spent on analysis of issues & it can create a bandwagon effect in coverage of elections
House and Senate Whips
Deputy leadership position. Connects leaders with "rank and file" members, and tries to encourage party unity & discipline. (Vote on party lines)
House Rules Committee
Powerful House standing committee that reviews all bills coming from other House committees before they go to the full House; 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.
Belief that government is paralyzed by too many interest groups demanding things too many things from government. Government is designed to become gridlocked.
Idealism (foreign policy)
Use American power to promote democracy and peace around the world. (Opposite to realism)
Constitutional process for removing executive officers & judges for "treason, high crimes & misdemeanors"
Name recognition, campaign contributions, credit-claiming (pork & casework). Things that get people reelected more often than losing to newcomers.
Independent Executive Agencies
Federal agencies that aren't large or important enough to get department status. Directors are appointed by President w/ advice & consent of Senate. Ex. NASA, CIA, EPA
Independent Regulatory Commissions
Agencies created by Congress to keep an eye important aspects of the nation's economy. Commissioners appointed by President but not removable except "for cause" (to protect independence).
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 (aka Referendum)
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)
Informal raising of support (and money) before first primaries
Creation of powerful relationship of mutual benefit & support among congressional committee, government agency and regulated interest group(s).
Old as Washington, a belief that America should not seek to become engaged in foreign affairs.
The first major opening up of American suffrage (voting rights) by Jackson's new Democratic Party in 1830s. Franchise extended to all white men (not just rich white men). Removed the rule that you had to own land and not be in debt to vote.
Jim Crow Era
Era in the South after Civil War (1865) until 1950s. African Americans were freed from slavery and could legally vote (Amendments 13, 14, 15) but were still subjected to discriminatory state laws enforcing segregation and kept from voting by laws (ex. poll taxes, literacy tests) and by violence (KKK)
Father of political liberalism (limited government to protect life liberty & property; right to revolt if government becomes a tyranny); he greatly influenced Jefferson & the Declaration of Independence.
Joint Chiefs of Staff
One General from each of the 4 armed service branches (army, navy, air force, marines) and, since 1/2012, the National Guard. Key military advisors to the President.
Congressional committees to discuss & supervise certain topics, with membership drawn from both houses. (ex., Committee on Library, Taxation)
A philosophy of judicial decision-making whereby judges allow their personal views about public policy (liberal or conservative) to guide their decisions. Are comfortable declaring laws unconstitutional.
Judicial Appointment Factors
Political ideology (litmus test); acceptability to Senate (not too radical); judicial experience; diversity
A philosophy of judicial decision-making whereby judges give significant deference to the decisions made by elected representatives in the legislative and executive branches. Are uncomfortable declaring laws unconstitutional. Maintain the status quo.
The power of the Supreme Court to declare laws and actions of local, state, or national governments unconstitutional. Established in Marbury v. Madison
The right & power to make decisions in a particular area. Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction.
Person holding office after his or her replacement has been elected to the office, but before the current term has ended.
"Supervision" Congress making sure the Executive Branch and the Bureaucracy is correctly executing (carrying out) laws.
Belief in as much freedom and as little government as possible (tolerates some government to provide stability & security). Supports free market economy, no government regulation of morality, low taxes.
Line Item Veto
Law giving president power to veto portions of budget bill; purpose = reduce size of national deficit; declared unconstitutional (violates separation of powers)
A method to deny blacks right to vote during the Jim Crow Era by requiring reading or civics test in order to vote. Rationale: only the educated should vote. Prohibited by the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
A method to deny blacks right to vote during the Jim Crow Era. If a person's grandfather had the right to vote, then the potential voter does not have to take a literacy test to vote.
The act of trying to influence a politician or bureaucrat. Usually done by highly paid insiders with access to people in power. Major weapon of corporate interest groups.
You support my bill, I'll support yours. Trading favors by legislators to help pass their bills.
Mapp v Ohio
1961 case incorporating 4th Amendment (and exclusionary rule) into 14th Amendment (Due Process Clause)
Marbury vs. Madison
Case that founds the power of judicial review: the power of the Supreme Court to declare laws and actions of local, state, or national governments unconstitutional.
The process by which a congressional subcommittee debates, amends, and/or rewrites bills.
McCulloch v. Maryland (1824)
Establishes doctrine of implied powers (Congress can create a national bank because it is necessary & proper to carrying out the enumerated power to coin money); (2) Supremacy clause prevents state (Maryland) from taxing the National Bank.
Motor Voter Act (1993)
Tried to increase voter turnout by allowing voter registration at same time as getting or renewing driver's license. Increased the registration rate, but not the voter turnout rate (people still apathetic or not motivated to vote)
The modern media trend for TV and radio shows to target very small ideological audiences (liberal shows on MSNBC and conservative shows on Fox News) Results in greater political polarization
National Party Committee
National party organization that, with Congressional leaders and President, runs party affairs between national conventions. They do not have a lot of centralized power over the state or local level of the party.
The meeting of party delegates every four years to choose a presidential ticket and write the party's platform.
National Security Counsel
Consults with the president on matters of defense and foreign policy.
Necessary and Proper Clause
Gives congress the power to do anything that it has to do to carry out an enumerated power. Also known as the "elastic clause."
New Jersey Plan
Plan at Philadelphia Convention for equal representation in new Congress (1 state 1 vote). Also known as "small state plan." Opposite of the Virginia "big state" Plan. Becomes basis of representation in the Senate.
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
Free trade agreement among USA, Canada & Mexico. Goal = promote economic prosperity & cooperation.
Office of Management and Budget
Executive Office of the President agency that helps the President prepare annual budget proposal and evaluates budget priorities and effectiveness of federal agencies (oversight)
Anyone can vote in any party primaries (but can only vote in the primaries of one party). Less party control over process.
Open Rule (aka Open Amendments)
An order from the House Rules Committee that permits a bill to be amended on the floor (allows "death by amendment")
The stage in Supreme Court proceedings in which attorneys for both sides appear before the Court to present their positions and answer questions posed by the justices.
The jurisdiction of courts to hear a case for the first time (trial).
Electoral Caucus (modern)
One way for a state party to select delegates to send to the National Convention. Consists of a series of meetings (local, county, state) among party members. First one is held in Iowa.
Electoral Caucus (historical)
A meeting of important party members to select party candidates. Attacked as corrupt and anti-democratic so not used anymore.
Patriot Act (2001)
Law responding to 9/11. Expands anti-terrorist powers (wiretapping, surveillance); 4th Amendment concern for civil liberties. Led to a growth of power of the NSA (National Security Agency)
Patronage System (aka Spoils System)
Filling government bureaucracy based on connections & political favors not merit (cronyism); ended by Pendleton Act (1883)
Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act
1883 reform law that replaced the patronage/spoils system in the federal bureaucracy with a merit-based professional system. "Important" leadership positions in bureaucracy (Secretaries, Commissioners, Directors) & federal judges still appointed by president, but lower positions filled by exam.
Occurs when a committee ignores a bill and doesn't report it out. Also known as "tabling" or "death by committee." Major cause of bill death.
One who brings a court action against another (the complainer)
Belief that American political system basically works; competing interest groups all get heard at different times and places in government.
If a bill is proposed within 10 days of congress adjourning and the president does not sign it , it will die (un-overrideable veto).
Political Action Committee
A committee set up by a corporation or interest group to raise and funnels money to political candidates. Donation amounts to them are limited by FECA rules (hard money).
A more or less consistent set of beliefs about what policies government should pursue.
The way people take part in the government. Main form = voting. Also joining political party, volunteering on political campaign, campaign contributions, running for office, protests.
A group of individuals with broad common interests who organize to nominate candidates for office, develop a platform (policy goals), win elections, and run government
The process by which individuals acquire (absorb) a sense of political identity (beliefs & behaviors). Key agents include family, media, peers.Process can be informal (family) or formal (school)
Fee on voting. Used to discourage African Americans from voting during the Jim Crow era. Also used to exclude poor whites. Declared unconstitutional by 24th Amendment.
A decision in a previous court case that is used as the basis for a decision in a similar case.
President's Budget Proposal
Detailed budget outline prepared by President & OMB. Sets priorities in discretionary spending & proposes changes to entitlement programs. Start of annual budget process.
One way for a state party to select delegates to send to the National Convention. Can be closed, open or blanket. Now used by most states instead of caucus (cheaper, quicker, more democratic).
The tendency of states to move their primaries & caucuses earlier in the calendar in order to maximize their impact on nomination process
Government censorship of written material (preventing publication). Almost impossible due to 1st Amendment (only when major threat to national security).
Process of ending government services and allowing the free market (private firms) to provide the service. Purpose = reduce government spending & provide more efficient services. Example = abolishing the postal service. Supported by Republicans.
Procedural Due Process
Literal meaning of 5th & 14th clauses: Government cannot deprive you of life, liberty or property without holding certain procedures (trial, lawyer, right to question witnesses).
The state or federal government attorney in a criminal case.
Short-term patriotic increase in president's popularity and power during times of serious international crisis or war (e.g. Bush after 9/11)
Major foreign policy ideology. Act in the world only to protect and benefit yourself. (Contrast with idealism)
When a STATE legislature or independent commission draws new House district lines (if gain/loss of seats after reapportionment process based on census every ten years)
Representative democracy. People vote for representatives who make laws. Sovereignty rests with the people, as opposed to a king or monarch.
One of the two major modern American political parties. It emerged in the 1850s as an antislavery party and consisted of former northern Whigs and antislavery Democrats. Now the party is conservative (pro-life, anti-affirmative action, anti-too much government intervention, anti-taxing on the rich, pro-death penalty)
Rule of 4
How the Supreme Court decides whether to hear a case. Requires four or more justices to "grant certiorari" (agree to hear an appeal). Supreme Court agrees to hear <1% of cases.
Temporary congressional committees appointed for a specific purpose, such as impeachment investigations
Selective Incorporation Doctrine
Judicial doctrine that applies the Bill of Rights (one right at a time) to state and local governments by incorporating them into the concept of liberty in the 14th Amendment's Due Process Clause (which is binding on the states)
The heads of the minority and majority parties in the Senate. They set legislative agenda for their party and help set the daily Senate agenda.
Senate will not confirm a presidential nomination for a position within a state (ex., District Court Judge) without the consent of the senior senator of the President's party from that state. Informal amendment to appointment process (by tradition)
A congressional custom that gives the chair of a committee or subcommittee to the member of the majority party with the longest continuous service on the committee.
Separation of Powers
The principle of dividing governmental powers among different branches of government to protect against tyranny (Federalist 51).
Failed rebellion in 1786 by poor farmers in MA against state government & banks that were taking their farms. Showed how weak the Articles of Confederation government was vs. threats to private property and order. Major factor in creation of Constitutional Convention in 1787
Single-Member Plurality District
Electoral district with only one representative (single member). The representative is whoever wins a plurality of the votes in a general election (no run-off elections). Senate and House districts are set up this way. Discourages third parties, leads to two-party system.
Government should protect "traditional" (Christian) views on marriage, gender roles, & social issues. Oppose gay marriage, legalization of drugs, abortion.
Belief in government assistance to improve society, especially for the poor and minorities. Socially liberal policies include universal health care, public education, affirmative action, welfare programs
A policial ideology that opposes capitalism and supports government control of major aspects of the economy (ex. electricity, health care).
Money that is not subject to campaign finance limits and regulation by the FEC. All money before FECA was this kind of money. FECA shut down unlimited contributions to candidates so this kind of money flowed to political parties. McCain-Feingold shut down this type of money to be used for contributions to political parties so now unlimited contributions flow to Super-Pacs.
Senior Justice Department attorney. Decides what cases the government will appeal to the Supreme Court.
Speaker of the House
The leader of the majority party and presiding officer of the House of Representatives. Key role in assigning bills to committee and members to committees & setting party's legislative agenda
The attempt of politicians to cast their words & actions in the most flattering light (propaganda, distortion)
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.
Permanent committees in House and Senate that handle bills dealing with a particular subject area. Examples: Defense, Budget, Education.
The decision stands. A rule in deciding cases where judges follow precedent (how similar cases were decided in the past).
State of the Union Address
A yearly report by the president to Congress required by Constitution describing the nation's condition and recommending programs and policies (bully pulpit to set legislative agenda )
A group within a standing committee that specializes in a subcategory of the standing committee's responsibility.
Organization set up after Citizens United to engage in independent electioneering. Can receive unlimited donations but cannot coordinate with a candidate. Causing amount of money spent on elections to skyrocket
The Federal constitution, laws, and treaties are the supreme law of the land. States cannot interfere with federal power (ex. McCulloch v. Maryland).
Final federal appellate court ("court of last resort"). Hears appeals from Circuit Courts (certiorari petition / rule of 4). Only hears "important" constitutional cases.
A state that could go either way in a presidential elections (unlike "safe states"). Target of a lot of attention in elections. Also known as "battleground states" or "purple states" (Ohio, Florida in 2008)
Group of important advisors to the President (Heads of Department agencies, VP and other VIPs chosen by president). Created by Washington, example of an informal amendment to the Constitution based on custom / tradition.
The New Deal
Series of liberal (Keynesian) economic laws enacted by FDR to combat Great Depression. Includes Social Security System & federal minimum wage law. Birth of Democratic Party as liberal party
Any political party that appears as an alternative to the two main parties of the Democrats and the Republicans. Often extremist, single-issue or candidate-centered. Not major feature of US political system because of winner-take-all electoral system. Can have spoiler effect (Nader in 2000) or are absorbed into major party (Tea Party in 2008).
Voting for one party for one office and for another party for other offices. Frequent among independent voters; leads to divided government.
Voting for one party in every race on a ticket. Can be done in many states by clicking on one button at the top of the ballot.
Title IX (Title 9)
Major anti-gender discrimination law that applies to universities and schools that accept federal funding. Controversial because many universities cut male sports programs so as not to violate it.
U.S. v. Nixon
President cannot use executive privilege as an excuse to withhold evidence in impeachment process. Led to the president's resignation.
Federal laws that require the states to do things without providing the money to do so. Examples: ADA, NCLB
A state ruled by one central government. This is the system used by most countries. Compare with federal state.
Replaced the League of Nations after WWII. Global organization to maintain peace and facilitate diplomacy.
The supreme law of the land. Written in 1787 at Philadelphia Convention to replace Articles of Confederation and create stronger central government.
Back-up president. Only constitutional role = President of Senate & casts tie-breaker vote in Senate. Typically selected to increase odds in election
Also known as the Big State Plan. Wanted proportional representation in Congress (based on population).
Low in America compared to other western democracies (50-60% for presidential elections; 40-50% for midterms)
Voting Rights Act (1965)
Federal law protecting against racial discrimination in voting. Major accomplishment of civil rights movement vs. Jim Crow. Bans all discriminatory voting procedures.
War Powers Act
A law passed in 1973 after Vietnam fiasco requiring (1) president to notify Congress within 48 hours of sending troops into combat and (2) begin to remove troops after 60 days unless Congress approves of the action.
Nixon's "friends" broke into Democratic National Committee HQ during 1972 election, then Nixon tried to cover up White House involvement. Example of media muckraking. Led to resignation of Richard Nixon.
White House Chief of Staff
Closest presidential advisor. Powerful gatekeeper in pyramidal system; does not require senate confirmation
White House Press Secretary
Member of White House staff that controls flow of information from president, holds daily press briefings, tries to spin/control media
A form of restricting African American's 15th Amendment rights during the Jim Crow Era by only allowing whites to vote in the primary elections; giving African Americans only the opportunity to vote for white racist A or white racist B.
Winner-Take-All System (Electoral College)
Most common state system for allocating electoral college votes (candidate with the most votes wins all of the electoral votes of that state). Used in all but 2 states. Maximizes states' influence in electoral process but completely ignores votes for losing candidates (undemocratic).
Writ of Certiorari
An order by the Supreme Court saying that it will hear a certain case. Granted in cases that raise important constitutional questions or where circuit courts have reached different opinions on a particular issue.
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