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Why did the Framers opt for a bicameral legislature?
they feared a single legislature would lead to tyranny and they wanted legislation to occur only after patient deliberation
How were Senators originally selected?
by state legislatures, not by the people
Know the difference between a delegate and a trustee.
- a delegate will mirror perfectly the views of his or her constituents
- a trustee acts independently, trusting his or her own judgement of how best to serve the public interest
According to your textbook, is Congress representative or unrepresentative? Why or why not?
- in terms of descriptive representation because the legislative body is not similar to the general population in terms of race sex, ethnicity, occupation, religion, age, and the like
What are constituents?
citizens who live in the district of an elected official
Define reapportionment and redistricting.
reapportionment happens every 10 years after the census and is the reallocation of House seats among the states to ensure that seats are held by the states in proportion to the size of their population
redistricting is redrawing of congressional district lines within a state to ensure roughly equal populations within each district
Understand the one-person, one-vote ruling.
- supreme court 1964
- wesberry vs sanders
- one person one vote applies to congressional districts meaning that congressional districts within a state must be of roughly equal population size
redrawing electoral district lines in an extreme and unlikely manner to give an advantage to a particular party or candidate
What is the result of majority-minority districts? Has this occurred in North Carolina?
- meaning when districts are drawn to ensure that a racial minority makes up the majority of voters
- result is increase in the number of racial minority reps in Congress, HOWEVER, the creation of such districts has undermined Democratic Party strength in other districts by taking traditionally Democratic-oriented minority group voters away from previously Democratic-dominated districts
- Yes, this has occurred in North Carolina's Twelfth District
Know the advantages of incumbency.
- always always win because the redistricting process in many states has been fashioned to protect incumbents in each of the parties
- they attract and spend much more campaign money than their rivals
- they use congressional machinery to help their reelection chances
What is franking? What is casework?
franking privilege is public subsidization of mail from the members of Congress to their constituents
casework is services performed by members of Congress to constituents
both are advantages of incumbency
Why is partisanship increasing?
- changing regional bases of the parties (particularly with deep south becoming republican)
- partisan conflict has been on the rise nationally, especially among party activists and party-associated advocacy groups
Understand how leadership in the House of Representatives and in the Senate differ.
leader of House of Reps is Speaker of the House - recognized in constitution and stands 2nd in line for presidency after VP, has more power and influence in the legislative branch than any other rep or senator
majority party in house selects a leader to help Speaker and a whip (keeps members informed, counts votes, etc)
minority party in house elects a leader who acts as chief spokesperson and legislative strategist for opposition
Senate majority leader is as close as one comes to a leader in this body but the powers of the office pale before those of Speaker. Power of position is personal and not institutional and not cannot be passed from leader to leader
Know the types of committees that a member of Congress may sit on and their functions.
- standing: relatively permanent congressional committees that address specific areas of legislation
- select: temporary created to conduct studies or investigations; no power to report bills
- joint: with members from both the House and Senate
- conference: ad hoc made up of members of House and Senate to reconcile differences in the provisions of bills
Define cloture and filibustering.
a filibuster is a parliamentary device used in the Senate to prevent a bill from coming to a vote by "talking it to death" made possible by the norm of unlimited debate
a cloture is a vote to end a filibuster that requires the votes of three-fifths of the membership of the Senate