AP Government Terms Review
Terms in this set (321)
The institutions and processes through which public policies are made for a society
Goods, Like Clean Air, that every one must share.
Single Issue Group
Groups that have a narrow interest, dislike compromise, and draw membership from people new to politics.
Political channels through which people's concerns become political issues on the policy agenda. Include: elections, political parties, interest groups, and the media.
Issues that attract the serious attention of public officials / political leaders at any given point of time.
Policy Making Institutions
Branches of government charged with taking action on political issues. Constitution- Legislative (congress) Executive (President) and the Federal courts. Political Scientists agree that the bureaucracy is now a 4th institution.
A choice the government makes in response to a political issue.
A system where citizens directly vote on all maters of public policy.
a form of government that derives its power directly from the people. The people elect representatives to make public policy.
Majority Rule/ Minority Rights
Fundamental principle of democratic theory that requires the majority desire be respected but guarantees rights to the minority opinion the majority cannot remove
Theory of government and politics emphasizing that politics is mainly competition among interest groups. Each one presses for its own preferred policies.
Elite/ Class Theory
A theory of government and politics that contents societies are divided along class lines and that an upper-class elite will rule, regardless of the formal niceties of governmental organization.
A theory of government and politics contending that groups are so strong that government is weakened. Extreme form of pluralism.
A condition that exists when no coalition is strong enough to form a majority and make policy.
Set of values shared by society.
Promotes free-markets and limited government interaction in the economy.
Gross Domestic Product
Sum total of all the value of goods produced by the nation in a year.
A nations basic law. Creates the institutions of government, assigns and divides power, provides guarantees to citizens.
Declaration of Independence
Polemic written by Thomas Jefferson. Justifies independence. Based on John Locke's Second Treatise on Government. Asserts the independence of the United States.
Life, Liberty, and Property
Consent of the Governed
the idea that government derives its authority by the sanction of the people
A principle of constitutional government; a government whose powers are defined and limited by a constitution.
Articles of Confederation
a written agreement ratified in 1781 by the thirteen original states. Weakly organized the 13 states under a central congress.
Rebellion led by Daniel Shays of farmers in western Massachusetts in 1786-1787, protesting mortgage foreclosures. It highlighted the need for a strong national government just as the call for the Constitutional Convention went out.
A group that seeks to promote its own special interests at the expense of the common good
New Jersey Plan
- opposite of the Virginia Plan, it proposed a single-chamber congress in which each state had one vote. This created a conflict with representation between bigger states, who wanted control befitting their population.
(1787) the plan for government proposed at the Constitutional Convention in which the national government would have supreme power and a legislative branch would have two houses with representation determined by state population
Connecticut (Great) Compromise
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
Writ of Habeas Corpus
A court order requiring jailers to explain to a judge why they are holding a prisoner in custody. Barred by the constitution except in times of war.
Bill of Attainder
A law that declares a person, without a trial, to be guilty of a crime. Barred by the constitution.
Ex Post Facto
A law that would allow a person to be punished for an action that was not against the law when it was committed
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
Checks and Balances
A governmental structure that gives each of the three branches of government some degree of oversight and control over the actions of the others.
Supporters of the constitution during the time states were contemplating ratification--Know arguments of Federalists
Opponents of the Constitution at the time states were contemplating ratification (adoption)--Know arguments of anti-federalists
85 Articles written in support of ratification of the Constitution. John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison.
An essay composed by James Madison which argues that liberty is safest in a large republic because many interests (factions) exist. Such diversity makes tyranny by the majority more difficult since ruling coalitions will always be unstable
Bill of rights
First 10 Amendments to the Constitution. Drafted in response to anti-federalist concerns that the document did not protect individual liberty.
Formal Amendment Process
Process through which amendments are added to the constitution. Phase one is proposal by either 2/3 of Congres or Convention requested by 2/3 of the state Phase 2 is ratification by 3/4 of state legislatures or 3/4 of state conventions.
Informal ways we interpret constitution: Judicial Review, Political Practice (Primaries), Technology, Policy Demands, etc
Marbury V Madison
This case establishes the Supreme Court's power of Judicial Review
Authority given the courts to review constitutionality of acts by the executive/state/legislature; est. in Marbury v. Madison
the way of organizing a nation so two or more levels of government have formal authority over the same land and people. A system of shared power.
a way of organizing a nation so all power resides in a single central government
Article VI of the Constitution: The constitution, laws passed by congress, and treaties, are supreme over state laws when national government is acting within constitutional limits
reserves powers not given to national government to the states,
Power retained by the states, including the power to establish schools, set marriage and divorce laws, and regulate trade within the state. (established by 10th amendment)
those powers that Congress and the president need in order to get the job done right. Although not specified in the Constitution, they are reasonable powers that are a logical part of the powers delegated to Congress and the president.
Powers that go beyond those that are enumerated (spelled out) in the constitution. Comes from elastic clause. --Congress has the power to "make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution" the powers enumerated in Article I
Powers specifically given to Congress in the Constitution; including the power to collect taxes, coin money, regulate foreign and interstate commerce, and declare war.
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.
McCulloch V Maryland
An 1819 Supreme Court decision that established the supremacy of the national government over state governments. In deciding this case, Chief Justice John Marshall and his colleagues held that Congress had certain implied powers in addition to the enumerated powers found in the Constitution. (National Bank)
Gibbons V Ogden
This case involved New York trying to grant a monopoly on waterborne trade between New York and New Jersey. Judge Marshal, of the Supreme Court, sternly reminded the state of New York that the Constitution gives Congress alone the control of interstate commerce.
Full Faith and Credit
Constitution's requirement that each state accept the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state
A legal process whereby an alleged criminal offender is surrendered by the officials of one state to officials of the state in which the crime is alleged to have been committed.
Privileges and Immunities
States are prohibited from unreasonably discriminating against residents of other states (article 4)
A system of government in which both the states and the national government remain supreme within their own spheres, each responsible for some policies. Also called "layer cake federalism."
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. Also called "marble cake federalism."
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.
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. Compare to block grants. (Most common grant-in-aid)
the transfer or delegation of power to a lower level, especially by central government to local or regional administration.
Federal grants given more or less automatically to states or communities to support broad programs in areas such as community development and social services
A requirement in federal legislation that forces states and municipalities to comply with certain rules.
actions imposed by the federal or state government on lower levels of government which are not accompanied by the money needed to fund the action required.
legal constitutional protections against government. Spelled out in bill of rights but meaning determined by courts and legislatures.
5 individual liberties: Freedom of the Press, Speech, Religion, Assembly, and Petition
Gitlow v New York
established selective incorporation of the Bill of rights; states cannot deny freedom of speech; protected through the 14th amendment
Due Process Clause
part of the 14th amendment guaranteeing that persons cannot be deprived of life, liberty, or property by the US or state government without due process of law. (see Gitlow)
the legal concept under which the Supreme Court has nationalized the Bill of Rights by making most of its provisions applicable to the states through the fourteenth amendment (due process)
(law) the administration of justice according to established rules and principles
Clause in the First Amendment that says the government may not establish an official religion.
Free Exercise Clause
A First Amendment provision that prohibits government from interfering with the practice of religion.
Lemon V Kurtzman
1971: Established a 3 part test to determine if the Establishment Clause is being violated: nonsecular purpose, does not advance/inhibit religion, is not excessively entangled with government.
Engel V Vitale
A nondenominational prayer was authorized to be said at the start of each day at local public schools. Result: The prayer violated the establishment clause. = 1st A.
School District of Abington Township v Schempp
Pennsylvania v. Schempp,A 1963 Supreme Court decision holding that a Pennsylvania law requiring Bible reading in schools violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment.
Employment Division of the State of Oregon v Smith
states could deny unemployment benefits to a person fired for violating a state prohibition on the use of peyote even though the use of the drug was part of a religious ritual
Religious Freedom Restoration Act
1993 act which forbids any federal agency or state government to restrict a person's free exercise of religion unless the federal government demonstrates that its action 'furthers a compelling government interest'. This was declared unconstitutional on the grounds of the separation of powers principle.
Near v Minnesota
the 1931 Supreme Court decision holding that the first amendment protects newspapers from prior restraint.
A government preventing material from being published. This is a common method of limiting the press in some nations, but it is usually unconstitutional in the United States, according to the First Amendment and as confirmed in the 1931 Supreme Court case of Near v. Minnesota.
Schenck v United STates
A United States Supreme Court decision that upheld the Espionage Act of 1917 and concluded that a defendant did not have a First Amendment right to freedom of speech against the draft during World War I. Ultimately, the case established the "clear and present danger" test.
Brandenburg V Ohio
Gov't can't punish or prohibit inflammatory speech unless it is likely to incite imminent lawless action.
Zurcher v Stanford Daily
A 1978 Supreme Court decision holding that a proper search warrant could be applied to a newspaper as well as to anyone else without necessarily violating the First Amendment rights to freedom of the press.
Miller v California
Community standards determine if material is obscene in terms of appealing to appealing to "Prurient interest in sex" being "patently offensive" and "lacking in artistic value"
(n.) a written statement that unfairly or falsely harms the reputation of the person about whom it is made; (v.) to write or publish such a statement
A false statement which harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them
New York Times v Sullivan
1964; established guidelines for determining whether public officials and public figures could win damage suits for libel. To do so, individuals must prove that the defamatory statements were made w/ "actual malice" and reckless disregard for the truth
Texas v Johnson
A 1989 case in which the Supreme Court struck down a law banning the burning of the American flag on the grounds that such action was symbolic speech protected by the First Amendment.
nonverbal communication, such as burning a flag or wearing an armband. The Supreme Court has accorded some symbolic speech protection under the first amendment.
Tinker v Des Moines
The case that ruled that students do not lose Constitutional rights when they entered the building but they can be limited if they cause a disruption
NAACP v Alabama
The Supreme Court protected the right to assemble peaceably in this 1958 case when it decided the NAACP did not have to reveal its membership list and thus subject its members to harassment.
(law) evidence sufficient to warrant an arrest or search and seizure
New Jersey v TLO
Supreme court case in which it was decided that a student may be searched if there is "reasonable ground" for doing so.
Unreasonable Search and Seizures
Obtaining evidence in a haphazard or random manner, a practice prohibited by the 4th amendment; probable cause and a search warrant are required for this to be legal
A court order allowing law enforcement officers to search a suspect's home or business and take specific items as evidence
Mapp v Ohio
Established the exclusionary rule was applicable to the states (evidence seized illegally cannot be used in court)
A rule that provides that otherwise admissible evidence cannot be used in a criminal trial if it was the result of illegal police conduct
the situation occurring when an individual accused of a crime is compelled to be a witness against himself or herself in court. The Fifth Amendment forbids self-incrimination.
Miranda V Arizona
Supreme Court held that criminal suspects must be informed of their right to consult with an attorney and of their right against self-incrimination prior to questioning by police.
Gideon v Wainwright
a landmark case in United States Supreme Court history. In the case, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that state courts are required under the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution to provide counsel in criminal cases for defendants unable to afford their own attorneys.
(criminal law) a negotiation in which the defendant agrees to enter a plea of guilty to a lesser charge and the prosecutor agrees to drop a more serious charge
Gregg v Georgia
The 1976 Supreme Court decision that upheld the constitutionality of the death penalty, stating, "It is an extreme sanction, suitable to the most extreme of crimes." The court did not, therefore, believe that the death sentence constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.
Mckleskey v Kemp
death penalty did not violate the equal protection clause on basis of disproportionate minority cases
Right to privacy
A contrived right from unstated liberties in the Bill of Rights.
Griswold v Connecticut
Established that there is an implied right to privacy in the U.S. Constitution
Roe v Wade
established national abortion guidelines; trimester guidelines; no state interference in 1st; state may regulate to protect health of mother in 2nd; state may regulate to protect health or unborn child in 3rd. inferred from right of privacy established in griswald v. connecticut
Planned Parenthood v Casey
A 1992 case in which the Supreme Court loosened its standard for evaluating restrictions on abortion from one of "strict scrutiny" of any restraints on a "fundamental right" to one of "undue burden" that permits considerably more regulation.
Policies designed to protect people from arbitrary or discriminatory treatment by government officials or individuals
Equal Protection Clause
14th amendment clause that prohibits states from denying equal protection under the law, and has been used to combat discrimination
When it comes to classifications on the basis of race, the Supreme Court applies the __________ standard of review
Gender; the Court asks, "does the classification serve an important governmental objective, and is it substantially related to those ends?"
Scott v Sanford
The 1857 Supreme Court decision ruling that a slave who had escaped to a free state enjoyed no rights as a citizen and that Congress had no authority to ban slavery in the territories.
Plessy v Ferguson
a 1896 Supreme Court decision which legalized state ordered segregation so long as the facilities for blacks and whites were equal
Brown v Board of Education
1954 - The Supreme Court overruled Plessy v. Ferguson, declared that racially segregated facilities are inherently unequal and ordered all public schools desegregated.
Jim Crow Laws
Laws designed to enforce segregation of blacks from whites
Civil Rights Act of 1964
1964; banned discrimination in public acomodations, prohibited discrimination in any federally assisted program, outlawed discrimination in most employment; enlarged federal powers to protect voting rights and to speed school desegregation; this and the voting rights act helped to give African-Americans equality on paper, and more federally-protected power so that social equality was a more realistic goal
Right to vote
A special tax that must be paid as a qualification for voting. The Twenty-fourth Amendment to the Constitution outlawed the poll tax in national elections, and in 1966 the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional in all elections. Affected poor minority voters.
the practice of keeping blacks from voting in the southern states' primaries through arbitrary use of registration requirements and intimidation
Voting Rights Act of 1965
1965; invalidated the use of any test or device to deny the vote and authorized federal examiners to register voters in states that had disenfranchised blacks; as more blacks became politically active and elected black representatives, it brought jobs, contracts, and facilities and services for the black community, encouraging greater social equality and decreasing the wealth and education gap
Korematsu v United States
1944 Supreme Court case where the Supreme Court upheld the order providing for the relocation of Japanese Americans. It was not until 1988 that Congress formally apologized and agreed to pay $20,000 to each survivor.
Reed v Reed
(1971) Landmark case in which the Supreme Court for the first time upheld a claim of gender discrimination. Invalidated Idaho state law preferring men to women in court selection of an estate's administrator
Craig V Boren
In this 1976 ruling, the Supreme Court established the "medium scrutiny" standard for determining gender discrimination.
the issue raised when women who hold traditionally female jobs are paid less than men for working at jobs requiring comparable skill
Americans with Disabilities Act
Passed by Congress in 1991, this act banned discrimination against the disabled in employment and mandated easy access to all public and commercial buildings.
A policy in educational admissions or job hiring that gives special attention or compensatory treatment to traditionally disadvantaged groups in an effort to overcome present effects of past discrimination.
Regents of the University of California v Bakke
1978 S. Ct. decision holding that a state university could not admit less qualified individuals solely because of their race. The Court did not, however, rule that such affirmative action policies and the use of race as a criterion for admission were unconstitutional, only that they had to be formulated differently.
Grutter v Bollinger
affirmative action case (lost) ; race could be used as a factor in admissions as long as there was no point system and race was not a major factor; upheld Bakke case
distribution of a population's beliefs about politics and policy
science of population changes
required every 10 years by the Constitution. Valuable for understanding demographic changes.
The process of reallocating seats in the House of Representatives every 10 years on the basis of the results of the census.
Complex process by which people get their sense of political identity, beliefs, and values (family, school, media, religion, national events-all help to socialize) Family is most influential.
Public Opinion Poll
a survey in which individuals are asked to answer questions about a particular issue or person
A relatively small proportion of people who are chosen in a survey so as to be representative of the whole.
A method of poll selection that gives each person in a group the same chance of being selected.
The level of confidence in the findings of a public opinion poll.
Random Digit Dialing
A poll in which respondents are selected at random from a list of 10-digit telephone numbers, with every effort made to avoid bias in the construction of the sample.
A poll taken of a small percentage of voters as they leave the polls, used to forecast the outcome of an election or determine the reasons for voting decisions
A consistent attitudinal pattern where women are more likely than men to express liberal attitudes and to support Democratic candidates.
Voting, Running for Office, Contacting Officials, Donating to Campaigns and Interest Groups-- Goal Change Policy through Direct Action
Protest and Civil Disobedience-- Goal Change Policy through attention of media
A form of political participation that reflects a conscious decision to break a law believed to be immoral and to suffer the consequences.
Television, radio, newspapers, magazines, the Internet, and other means of popular communication.
Events purposely staged for the media that nonetheless look spontaneous. In keeping with politics as theater, media events can be staged by individuals, groups, and government officials, especially presidents.
meetings of public officials with reporters
The use of in depth reporting to unearth scandals, scams and schemes which at times puts the reporters in adversarial relationships with political leaders
Television and radio, as compared with print media.
As opposed to the traditional "broadcasting," the appeal to a narrow, particular audience.
Companies that control a large number of media sources across several types of media outlets.
Information leaked to the media to test public reaction to a possible policy
A brief, memorable comment that can easily be fit into news broadcasts.
A shot of a person's face talking directly to the camera
the issues that attract the serious attention of public officials and other people actually involved in politics at any given point in time
People who invest their political "capital" in an issue. One might say, a policy entrepreneur could be in or out of government, in elected or appointed positions, in interest groups or research organizations.
The battle of the parties for control of public offices. Ups and downs of the two major parties are one of the most important elements in American politics.
A group of individuals with broad common interests who organize to nominate candidates for office, win elections, conduct government, and determine public policy
The channels through which people's concerns become political issues on the government's policy agenda. In the United States, linkage institutions include elections, political parties, interest groups, and the media.
Three Headed Giant of the Party
Party in Government; Part in the Electorate, Party as an Organization
Tasks of the Political Parties
Parties Pick Candidates, Run Campaigns, Cue Voters, Articulate Policy, Coordinate Policymaking
Rational Choice Theory
An explanation of political behavior that assumes that individuals are rational beings who bring to the political arena a set of self-defined preferences and adequate knowledge and ability to pursue those preferences.
voter's perception of what the Republicans and Democrats stand for.
A citizen's self-proclaimed preference for one party or the other. To join a party in the US, you simply proclaim your preference.
Voting with one party for one office and another party for other offices.
A Party Machine describes a local party leader who builds loyalty and devotion by passing out perks and privileges. In history party machines often involved mayors who built long-term winning coalitions through the strategic use of patronage. By passing out jobs to their patrons these mayors create a web of loyalists who go out and work to build even more support for the machine boss. These party machines and their respective boss were often charged with corruption and have subsequently fallen in disrepute. As our political process has grown more and more democratic and as our political parties have grown weaker and weaker the influence of party machines has been reduced.
Granting favors or giving contracts or making appointments to office in return for political support
A primary election limited to registered party members. Prevents members of other parties from crossing over to influence the nomination of an opposing party's candidate.
Elections to select party nominees in which voters can decide on Election Day whether they want to participate in the Democratic or Republican contests.
elections to select party nominees in which voters are presented with a list of candidates from all the parties. Voters can then select some Democrats and some Republicans if they like.
A national meeting of delegates elected in 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.
A standing committee of a national political party established to direct and coordinate party activities between national party conventions.
person responsible for the day-to-day activities of the party and is usually hand-picked by the presidential nominee.
A political party's statement of its goals and policies for the next four years. The platform is drafted prior to the party convention by a committee whose members are chosen in rough proportion to each candidate's strength. It is the best formal statement of a party's beliefs.
Historical periods in which a majority of voters cling to the party in power, which tends to win a majority of the elections.
Sharp changes in the existing patterns of party loyalty due to changing social and economic conditions
The displacement of the majority party by the minority party, usually during a critical election period
The Southern Democratic party was conservative on racial issues and civil rights and moderate on economic issues for a large part of the early 20th century. During the Civil Rights movement, when democratic leaderships started to take liberal views on Civil Rights, many southern Democrats split and became Republicans. The two parties began to center themselves around signature issues, and party polarization increased
a vote in which a majority of Democratic legislators oppose a majority of Republican legislators
the gradual disengagement of people and politicians from the parties, as seen in part by shrinking party identification.
A political party organized in opposition to the major parties in a two-party system--Obstacles to success? What do they bring to the system?
An electoral system in which legislative seats are awarded only to the candidates who come in first in the constituencies. In American presidential elections, the system in which the winner of the popular vote in a state receives all the electoral votes of that state.
Single Member District
An electoral district in which voters choose one representative or official.
An election system in which each party running receives the proportion of legislative seats corresponding to its proportion of the vote.
Responsible Party Model
A view favored by some political scientists about how parties should work. According to the model, parties should offer clear choices to the voters, who can then use those choices as cues to their own preferences of candidates. Once in office, parties would carry out their campaign promises.
A political party's official endorsement of a candidate. Generally, success in the primary elections brings momentum, money, and media attention, which ultimately helps a candidate win the nomination from their party.
A meeting of local party members to choose party officials or candidates for public office and to decide the platform. IOWA
A commission formed at the 1968 democratic convention in response to demands for reform by minority groups and others who sought better representation. (You guys will have to get the exact details for yourself)
National party leaders who automatically get a delegate slot at the Democratic national party convention.
The recent tendency of states to hold primaries early in the calendar in order to capitalize on media attention
A method of raising money for a political cause or candidate, in which information and requests for money are sent to people whose names appear on lists of those who have supported similar views or candidates in the past.
Federal Election Campaign Act
A law passed in 1974 for reforming campaign finances. The act created the Federal Election Commission (FEC), provided public financing for presidential primaries and general elections, limited presidential campaign spending, required disclosure, and attempted to limit contributions.
Federal Election Commission
A six-member bipartisan agency created by the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974. The federal Election Commission administers and enforces campaign finance laws.
Presidential Election Campaign Fund
Money from the $3 federal income tax check box goes to this fund, which is given to qualified presidential candidates to subsidize their campaigns.--Barrier to 3rd parties because you must receive 5% of vote in previous election
Banned soft money, increased amount of individual contributions and limited issue ads.
Campaign contributions unregulated by federal or state law, usually given to parties and party committees to help fund general party activities.
Citizens United v FEC
A 2010 decision by the United States Supreme Court holding that independent expenditures are free speech protected by the 1st Amendment and so cannot be limited by federal law. Leads to creation of SuperPACs & massive rise in amount of third party electioneering.
Political Action Committee (PAC)
A committee set up by a corporation, labor union, or interest group that raises and spends campaign money from voluntary donations
Buckley v Valeo
A case in which the Supreme Court of the United States upheld federal limits on campaign contributions and ruled that spending money to influence elections is a form of constitutionally protected free speech. The court also stated candidates can give unlimited amounts of money to their own campaigns.
Functions of a campaign
Reinforcement, Activation, Conversion
An election held to choose which candidate will hold office
Election in which voters choose the candidates from each party who will run in the general election
a legislative act is referred for final approval to a popular vote by the electorate
A process permitted in some states whereby voters may put proposed changes in the state constitution to a vote if sufficient signatures are obtained on petitions calling for such a referendum.
The belief that one's political participation really matters - that one's vote can actually make a difference
A system adopted by the states that requires voters to register well in advance of Election Day. A few states permit Election day registration.
Motor Voter Act of 1993
The legislation required state governments to allow for registration when a qualifying voter applied for or renewed their driver's license or applied for social services.
Voter ID laws
laws requiring that voters show government made ID at polls, done by Republicans to decrease voter fraud but also deters lots of Democrats from voting because elderly and poor are less likely to get a good enough ID
the perception that an election victory signals broad support for the winner's proposed policies
A group selected by the states to elect the president and the vice-president, in which each state's number of electors is equal to the number of its senators and representatives in Congress.
A theory of voting in which voters essentially ask this simple question: "What have you done for me lately?"
Elections held midway between presidential elections.
An organization of people sharing a common interest or goal that seeks to influence the making of public policy
A network of groups within the American political system that exercise a great deal of control over specific policy areas. Also known as iron triangles, they are composed of interest group leaders interested in a particular policy, the government agency in charge of administering that policy, and the members of congressional committees and subcommittees handling policy.
A powerful alliance of mutual benefit among an agency or unit of the government, an interest group, and a committee or subcommittee of Congress. Also called a triangle or a sub-government.
something of value (money, a tax write-off, prestige, clean air, and so on) that cannot be withheld from a group member
Groups that have a narrow interest, tend to dislike compromise, and often draw membership from people new to politics. These features distinguish them from traditional interest groups.
A strategy by which organized interests seek to influence the passage of legislation by exerting direct pressure on members of the legislature or bureaucracy.
Direct group involvement in the electoral process. Groups can help fund campaigns, provide testimony, and get members to work for candidates, and some form political action committees (PAC)
Amicus Curiae Briefs
Legal briefs submitted by a "friend of the court" for the purpose of raising additional points of view and presenting information not contained in the briefs of the formal parties. These briefs attempt to influence a court's decision. Often submitted by interest groups.
Class Action Suit
Lawsuit brought by an individual or a group of people on behalf of all those similarly situated
A provision found in some collective bargaining agreements requiring all employees of a business to join the union within a short period, usually 30 days, and to remain members as a condition of employment
Right to Work Law
legislation that gives workers the right, under an open shop, to join or not join a union if it is present
Public Interest Lobby
a group that promotes some conception of the public interest rather than the narrowly defined economic or other special interests of its members
An officeholder who is seeking reelection.
Advantages of Incumbency
Advertising, Casework, Pork Barrel, Campaign Spending, Weak Opponents
Activities of members of Congress that help constituents as individuals; cutting through bureaucratic red tape to get people what they think they have a right to get
the mighty list of federal projects, grants, and contracts available to cities, businesses, colleges, and institutions available in a congressional district
"Hidden" congressional provisions that direct the federal government to fund specific projects or that exempt specific persons or groups from paying specific federal taxes or fees
The principle of a two-house legislature
House Rules Committee
An institution unique to the House of Representative that reviews all bills (except revenue, budget, and appropriations bills) coming from a House committee before they go to the full House. (Traffic Cop)
Speaker of the House
An office mandated by the Constitution. The Speaker is chosen in practice by the majority party, has both formal and informal powers, and is second in line to succeed to the presidency should that office become vacant.
House Majority Leader
Elected leader of the party that controls the House of Representatives.
Leader of the minority party in a legislature
A senator or representative who helps the party leader stay informed about what party members are thinking, rounds up members when important votes are to be taken, and attempts to keep a nose count on how the voting on controversial issues is likely to go.
Senate Majority Leader
First-ranking party position, held by a distinguished senior member of the majority party in the Senate. The Senate majority leader schedules floor actions on bills, and helps guide the majority party's legislative program through the Senate.
President of the Senate
the presiding officer of a senate; in Congress, the vice president of the United States; Can break a tie
A strategy unique to the Senate whereby opponents of a piece of legislation try to talk it to death, based on the tradition of unlimited debate. Today, 60 members present and voting can halt a filibuster.
A rule used by the Senate to end or limit debate. Designed to prevent "talking a bill to death" by filibuster. For a bill to pass in the Senate, three-fifths of the entire Senate membership must vote for it.
A permanent committee established in a legislature, usually focusing on a policy area
A committee of the House and the Senate that usually acts as a study group and reports its findings back to the House and the Senate
Committee appointed by the presiding officers of each chamber to adjust differences on a particular bill passed by each in different form.
Committees created by Congress to conduct special investigations.
Congress' monitoring of the bureaucracy and its administration of policy, performed mainly through hearings
The most important influencers of the congressional agenda. They play dominant roles in scheduling hearings, hiring staff, appointing subcommittees, and managing committee bills when they are brought before the full house.
An association or members of Congress based on party, interest, or social group such as gender or race.
House Term of Office
Senate Term of Office
An action by the House of Representatives to accuse the president, vice president, or other civil officers of the United States of committing "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."
Senate holds trial (convicts with 2/3 vote) and Chief Justice presides.
(RN), 1972, The events and scandal surrounding a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in 1972 and the subsequent cover-up of White House involvement, leading to the eventual resignation of President Nixon under the threat of impeachment, Ford becomes President
According to the Constitution this person is the official head of the Senate
Advisory council for the president consisting of the heads of the executive departments, the vice president, and a few other officials selected by the president. Cabinet departments are created by CONGRESS
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 adviser.
Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
Executive office responsible for helping the President write the federal budget and monitoring federal spending.
Chief of Staff
Head of the White House staff, who has continuous, direct contact with the president.
Chief executive's power to reject a bill passed by a legislature. Overridden with 2/3 vote of both houses.
Advice and Consent
Terms in the Constitution describing the U.S. Senate's power to review and approve treaties and presidential appointments.
A veto taking place when Congress adjourns within 10 days of submitting a bill to the president, who simply lets it die by neither signing nor vetoing it.
A rule or regulation issued by the president that has the effect of law. Executive orders can implement and give administrative effect to provisions in the Constitution, to treaties, and to statutes.
An agreement made between the executive branch of the U.S. government and a foreign government without ratification by the Senate
These occur when voters cast their ballots for congressional candidates of the president's party because they support the president. Recent studies show that few races are won this way.
War Powers Act of 1973
In 1973, Congress passed this law which requires that soldiers sent into military action overseas by the President be brought back within sixty days unless Congress approves the action.
The role of the president in recognizing foreign governments, making treaties, and effecting executive agreements.
Commander in Chief
The role of the president as supreme commander of the military forces of the United States and of the state National Guard units when they are called into federal service
The ability of Congress to override a presidential decision. Although the War Powers Resolution asserts this authority, there is reason to believe that, if challenged, the Supreme Court would find the legislative veto in violation of the doctrine of separation of powers.
A government policy for dealing with the budget (especially with taxation and borrowing)
An important tool of national governments to influence broad macroeconomic conditions such as unemployment, inflation, and economic growth. Typically, governments alter their monetary policies by changing national interest rates or exchange rates. (Federal Reserve)
A policy document allocating burdens (taxes) and benefits (expenditures).
The amount of money a year the government spends above what it takes in.
Shares of individual wages and corporate revenues collected by the government. The Sixteenth Amendment explicitly authorized Congress to levy a tax on income.
all the money borrowed by the federal government over the years and still outstanding
A tax for which the percentage of income paid in taxes increases as income increases
A tax for which the percentage of income paid in taxes decreases as income increases
Government benefits that all citizens meeting eligibility criteria such as age, income level, or unemployment are legally "entitled" to receive. (Social Security)
Social Security Act
(FDR) 1935, guaranteed retirement payments for enrolled workers beginning at age 65; set up federal-state system of unemployment insurance and care for dependent mothers and children, the handicapped, and public health
A federal program of health insurance for persons 65 years of age and older
A public assistance program designed to provide healthcare to poor Americans. (Compare to Medicare)
Welfare Reform Act of 1996
This act established the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program in place of the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program and tightened Medicaid eligibility requirements. This greatly reduced the width of welfare, and imposed strict employment requirements on the states.
House Ways and Means Committee
Charged with writing tax legislation and bills affecting Social Security, Medicare, and other entitlement programs.
Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act of 1974
Advises Congress on the probable consequences of its decisions, forecasts revenues, and is a counterweight to the president's Office of Management and Budget.
An act of Congress that actually funds programs within limits established by authorization bills. Appropriations usually cover one year.
A temporary funding law that Congress passes when an appropriations bill has not been decided by the beginning of the new fiscal year on October 1.
A complex structure of offices, tasks, and rules in which employees have specific responsibilities and work within a hierarchy of authority. Government bureaucracies are charged with implementing policies.
Pendleton Civil Service Act
1883 law that created a Civil Service Commission and stated that federal employees could not be required to contribute to campaign funds nor be fired for political reasons
A system of hiring and promotion based on the merit principle and the desire to create a nonpartisan government service.
The idea that hiring should be based on entrance exams and promotion ratings to produce administration by people with talent and skill.
Federal statute barring Federal employees from active participation in certain kinds of politics and protecting them from being fired on partisan grounds.
Independent Regulatory Commission
Government agencies that exercise quasi-judicial and quasi-legislative powers and are administratively independent of both the president and Congress (although politically independent of neither).
the stage of policymaking between the establishment of a policy and the consequences of the policy for the people whom it affects. It involves translating the goals and objectives of a policy into an operating, ongoing program.
Standard Operating Procedures
rules that lower-level bureaucrats must follow when implementing policy
Street Level Bureaucrats
refers to those bureaucrats who are in constant contact with the public and have considerable administrative discretion
A policy promoting cutbacks in the amount of Federal regulation in specific areas of economic activity.
Presidents Control the Bureaucracy
Appoint Right Agency Heads; Issue Executive Orders, Alter Agencies Budget Requests; Reorganize an Agency
Congress Control the Bureaucracy
Legislative Oversight (Hearings); Senate can influence appointment of agency heads; power of the purse; rewrite or make law more detailed
Power of the Purse
Constitutional power given to Congress to raise and spend money
Bills that raise taxes must originate in the House of Representatives
Standing to Sue
the requirement that plaintiffs have a serious interest in a case, which depends on whether they have sustained or are likely to sustain a direct and substantial injury from a party or an action of government
A law that governs relationships between individuals and defines their legal rights.
A law that defines crimes against the public order.
The jurisdiction of courts that hear a case first, usually in a trial. These are the courts that determine the facts about a case.
Authority of court to review a decision of a lower court or administrative agency.
A court system that has original jurisdiction over most federal cases, meaning they try a case the first time it is heard. Both civil and criminal cases are heard in these courts and most federal cases begin.
Circuit Courts (Courts of Appeal)
Review final decisions of district courts. Look for errors in procedures or law. Review decisions of agencies.
Consists of nine justices, each appointed by the President and confirmed by Congress. Appointment is for life. Supreme Court exercises the power to determine constitutionality of statutes
Practice of allowing senators from the president's party who represent the state where a judicial district is located to approve or disapprove potential nominees for lower federal courts
Rule of Four
Requirement that a case can only be heard by the Supreme Court if four justices vote to hear the case
Writ of Certiorari
Order by the Supreme Court directing a lower court to send up the records of a case for review
A common law doctrine under which judges are obligated to follow the precedents established in prior decisions
The third-ranking officer in the Justice Department, who decides what cases the federal government will appeal from lower courts and personally approves every case the government presents to the Supreme Court.
a statement that presents the views of the majority of supreme court justices regarding a case
A statement written by a justice who disagrees with the majority opinion, presenting his or her opinion
an opinion that agrees with the majority in a supreme court ruling but differs on the reasoning
A court decision that furnishes an example or authority for deciding subsequent cases involving identical or similar facts.
A view that the Constitution should be interpreted according to the original intent of the framers.
the belief that the United States Constitution should be interpreted in the way the authors originally intended it
The power to keep executive communications confidential, especially if they relate to national security
philosophy that decisions regarding social, economic and political problems should be left to the other branches of government and states
An interpretation of the U.S. constitution holding that the spirit of the times and the needs of the nation can legitimately influence judicial decisions (particularly decisions of the Supreme Court)
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