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What tools are available to the president?
- executive order
- executive privilege
- chief legislator status
- "presidential persuasion"
- judicial power
- chief politician
What is an executive order?
a directive from the president for members of the executive branch to take some sort of action
Why does anyone bother with executive orders?
- They have force of law (unless Congress messes with them).
- Ex. Dept of Homeland Security was created by executive order.
What is executive privilege?
- A president's claim to privacy
- Protect whatever from interference
- Weakened by US v. Nixon (1974)
What does it mean to be chief legislator?
- Gives State of Union Address
- Veto Power
- Can add signing statements
What are signing statements?
A statement added to a bill by the president stating how he intends to enforce the bill when he signs it.
When does presidential persuasion come in handy?
- divided government
What does "divided government" mean?
Majority party of Congress is not the president's party
What is "gridlock"?
passing of legislation slows or stops
What judicial powers does the president have?
- making appointments to the judiciary
- pardoning folks
- solicitor general
Why are 1/10 of judiciary positions vacant?
Presidential appointments are awaiting congressional confirmations
Why does the president have pardoning power?
Monarchs had that power.
What does the solicitor general do?
- takes up the position of government and arguing before a court
- amicus briefs
What are amicus briefs?
arguing for another party in a case
What does the president do as chief politician?
- maintain public opinion (approval ratings)
- maintain good communication (effective media use)
What are the constitutional requirements for presidency?
- 35 years old
- 14 year resident of the States
- natural born citizen
- electoral college
Electors weren't required by law to be chosen by popular vote until
Where does campaign money come from?
- private donors
- interest groups
Where is bureaucracy found in the Constitution?
No where, but it is important in the daily functioning of our lives
- awarding jobs as political prizes
- spawned rampant corruption
What did the Progessive Movement do?
Civil Service Reform
Pendleton Act (1883)
officially established the merit system
designed to protect civil servants from political pressure and keep them from using their jobs to influence others
- hierarchical authority
- job specialization
- formalized rules
- specific goals
Everyone has to answer to someone else.
defined division of labor among employees
elimination of patronage = qualified employees
help the organization run smoothly
- both for individual workers and the organization as a whole.
- Ultimate goal: implementing policy
Cons of Bureaucracy
- Unresponsive to change
- President's Cabinet
- Independent Executive Agencies
- Regulatory Agencies
- Government Corporations
- Presidential Commissions
- appointed by president, confirmed by Senate
- State, Treasury, War/Defense, Justice, Interior
- Each dept serves a particular clientele
- Iron triangle between cabinet, congressional committees, and clientele
Independent Executive Agencies
- narrower scope of authority
- outside cabinet depts for political reasons
- NASA, CIA, FEMA, Peace Corps, Small Business Association
- independent from the executive branch
- much more answerable to Congress
- SEC, FDIC, Federal Reserve Board, EPA, EEOC, NTSB
- run like private businesses, but funded by the government (at least partially)
- USPS, Amtrak, TVA
- mostly temporary advisory things
- not much authority
- Presidential Commission on Civil Rights
Bureaucrats are usually
typical Americans, 30% minority, 45% women
loyalty to the agency, reinforced by professionalism
Pros of Bureaucracy in Action
Cons of Bureaucracy in Action
Political Side of Bureaucracy
- hearings and investigations
- mandatory reports
- inspectors general
- legislative veto
- Government Accountability Office
- Congressional Budget Office
INS v. Chadha (1983)
SC ruled congressional vetos unconstitutional, but Congress continues to use them because there's nothing the SC can do about it
Government Accountability Office
keeps track of funds
- need Senate approval
- recess appointments
What are recess appointments?
The President appoints someone while Congress is in recess. Congress often lets them keep the job.
The American legal system is a
common law tradition (as opposed to a civil law tradition).
stuff is put in a Codex, which judges are to consult before ruling
- Latin for "precedent"
- body of law created by judges' decisions
- judges are not legally bound to follow precedents, but they are free to interpret them however they wish
Adversarial Tradition (as opposed to Inquisitorial)
- conflict resolved by conflicting parties presenting their arguments before a neutral judge
- procedural due process
The judge takes a more active role in the precedings (questioning witnesses, doing research)
- comparitively easy access to courts
- strong sense of individual rights
- lack of other mechanisms to protect from risk
Types of Laws
substance of law outlines legality of action
- how law should be enforced (esp. court setting)
- procedural due process
prohibits actions deemed detrimental to society (crimes)
regulates interactions between idividuals (tort)
outlining basic powers and limitations of government and rights of citizens
any law passed by legislature
Constitutional Supreme Court Stuff
Judiciary Act of 1789
- established the rest of the federal judiciary
- Courts of Appeal, District Courts
- cases can go directly to the SC with no preliminary trials
- usually suits between state governments
- All other cases get to the SC by appeals
- Review matters at law
Marbury v. Madison (1803)
- Established judicial review
- nothing in Constitution says judiciary can overturn acts of Congress
writ of mandamus
court order that compels someone to take a certain action, which he or she is legally required to complete
Supreme Court History
- Nation vs. State (1800-1860s)
- Regulating National Economy (1900-1940s)
- Civil Rights/Liberties (1940s-1970s)
SC Nation vs. State
- Early cases were all about states fighting for power against the national government
- McCollugh v. Maryland (1819)
- Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857)
SC Regulating the National Economy
- National government's ability to interfere in private business (usually ruled in favor of business)
- Lochner v. New York (1925)
Lochner v. New York
New York tried to set a 12-hour work day, but the court struck it down, saying that it violated the rights of the businessmen (based on substantive due process)
SC Civil Liberties
Brown v. Board (1954)
Structure of the Federal Judiciary
- Supreme Court
- Courts of Appeal ("circuit courts")
- District Courts
- State Supreme Court
- State Courts of Appeal
- State District Courts
Dual Judicial System
States and Feds have their own court systems
writ of habeas corpus (def)
protects citizens from unlawful inprisonment
- 9 justices (subject to change)
- President appoints, Senate confirms
- lifetime tenure
- impeachment possible, but has never happened
Courts of Appeal Structure
- based on geographic areas
- 13 courts of appeal, federal and DC
District Court Structure
- 94 in all
- 1-4 in each state
- federal trial courts
- usually heard by single judge, but for more serious things, you can have jury
State SC Structure
- cases about the Constitution
- usually go on the SC
Writ of Habeas Corpus
- 5th and 14th Amendments
- You can file a writ of habeas corpus to move from state to federal courts.
- Particularly important to Civil Rights Era, now mostly when the case has some important relationship to constitutional issues
5th and 14th Amendments
- due process
- no witnessing against self
SC decision making
- court of last resort in all matters of US law
- rulings affect all lower courts
- their decisions/opinions make policy
- power of judicial review
gives SC the power in rule on the Constitution and Presidential and Congressional acts
- Become more powerful recently
- gave themselves JR
- took control of their docket in the 1920s
SC Decision Process
- 1. Writ of certiorari
- 2. Conference Vote
- 3. Oral Arguments
- 4. Vote on Merits
- 5. Opinion Writing
Writ of Certiorari/Set the Docket
- Petitioners ask the court to look over a badly ruled case
- Law clerks/cert pool- LC's decide what cases the court should/wants to look at. Sends the good ones to the cert pool, bad ones to the dead pool
- Justices gather to discuss stuff (cases, memos, etc.)
- Rule of Four- if 4 Justices vote to hear a case, they take it
- Cases that make it are docketed, rejects move to the dead pool
- amicus curiae briefs-briefs filed with the court on behalf of the petitioners on one side of the argument
- Solicitor General- government's lawyer to the court, usually has a lot of sway
- Justices listen to arguments
- ask questions, generally to embarrass lawyers involved
Vote on Merits
- final vote for disposition
- winner decided by simple majority
- After the winner is decided, the Justices have to issue an opinion to help guide and set the law
- Majority opinion sets binding precedent
- Chief Justice decides who writes the opinion (usually CJ or next most senior justice)
- Concurring opinion issued by a Justice who voted with the majority, but still wants to issue his/her own opinion
- Dissenting opinion issued by a justice who thinks the case was decided wrongly
SC Making Doctrine/Policy
- Setting Precedent
- Setting Policy
- legal consideration
- overturning cases (Brown v. Board overturned Plessy v. Ferguson)
- building common law
- Political considerations
- other branches
- public opinion
- strict constructionism
- judicial interpretivism
- judicial activism
- judicial restraint
- liberal ideology
- conservative ideology
rule according to the original intent of the law
change with the times
want an active role in setting laws and policies; proactive role
Justices pretend that
their own ideas do affect their decisions.
Selecting Federal Judges
- Appointed by President, confirmed by Senate
- Judging Credential
- Political ideology
- Senate Judiciary Committee
SFJ Judging Credentials
Most start from state courts, well-reputed lawyers
SFJ Political Ideology
- The president tries to choose people who similar PI to his own, who will rule in his favor
- Senate opposition
SFJ Senate Judiciary Committee
- Have hearing to talk to the judges and decide if they want to confirm or not
- One of the more prestigious committees
- Made mostly of former lawyers
- Full Senate confirmation vote
- Good Credentials
- Got through the Committee hearing
- Spouted weirdness before the full Senate, was not confirmed
- A woman came forward accusing Thomas of sexual misconduct
- Threw a massive spotlight onto the precedings
- Thomas was still appointed
SC and Separation of Powers
- unelected ("non-political")
- judicial review
- Legitimacy balances Review
- Court lacks enforcement power
- If other branches disagree, they don't have to listen
- Congress can always amend the Constitution
Ongoinc coalition of interests with common goal of getting candidates elected to pursue policy interests
Parts of a Party
- 1. Organization (from chairperson to door knockers)
- 2. Party-in-Government (ones trying to accomplish the goals in government)
- 3. Party-in-the-Electorate (everyone who considers him/herslf affiliated with the party)
self-identification with the party
What do parties do?
- recruit and train leaders
- foster political participation among the masses
- connect citizens to leaders in electorate and policy coalitions
- allow citizens to hold leaders responsible for their actions
- channel and constrain political conflict
- organize the activities of government
Party labels make it easier for
people to identify with leaders.
- No one intended parties, but the way the political system is set up made them necessary
- Federalists and Jeffersonian Democrats
- Jacksonian Era
- Progressive Movement
- Australian Ballot
Federalists vs. Jeffersonian Democrats
Major beef- state and national government power
- Grassroots Movement-someone out of the political elite becoming involved in party issues
- National Conventions-then to choose candidates, now just a big party
- Party Machines-party organization controlled everything that went on in politics. Lead to corruption and the spoils system.
- Attempt to overturn some of the bad stuff from the Jacksonian Era
- Populist Party- attempt to get agrarian interests heard in government
- Progressive Party- encouraged civil and social reform
- Primary elections begin, so instead of the machine choosing all the candidates, the citizenry gets a say
initiatives and referenda
Instead of having politicians pass all laws, citizens can write laws and petition to get them put on the ballot. DIRECT DEMOCRACY
Australian (Secret) Ballot
- rise in party ideology- parties began using political ideology to influence constituents
- decline in political participation- no more jobs attached, voting became less important
major disruption of the existing political order usually through a particularly divisive issue bringing about significant policy changes at the national level, reflected in enduring change in party colaitions and usually started during a "critical" election. Comes down to a change in party system.
- Found in countries that took cues from GB
- tend to go with the SMD style
tend to go with proportional representation- all seats are up for grabs. Proportion of votes a party recieves is equated into the number of seats it gets
- Proportional representation = multi-party system
- Single member district = two-party system
- These two parties tend to converge at an ideological center while maintaining differences to get votes
- Usually not very successful
- They keep rising up only to be squashed by the US system.
Third Party Types
- 1. Reform parties- usually come from eras when one party system has been in place long enough to be corrupted
- 2. Single-Issue Parties-only concerned with one thing
- 3. Ideological Parties- usually on the fringe
- Rise in candidate-centered elections
- professional political consultants (campaign managers, media experts, etc.)
- Volunteers often rounded up by the national party
- campaign finance
- get out the vote (calling, visiting, mail)
- utilizing media better
Parties in Government
- The American government cannot exist without political parties.
- Structure political conflict
- Majority party decides who gets to speak in Congress etc.
- Party Responsibility
- idea of what the parties are supposed to do for the citzens and how the citizens should connect to the party
- 1. present clear ideological platform
- 2. candidates faithfully implement policies
- 3. voters hold elected officials responsible by voting them out
- 4. parties hold sway over elected officals, keeping them in line with party beliefs.
statement of the ideological stands of the party
- intended to be the branch with the most responsibility
- national lawmaking body
- policy making (large-scale impact)
- enumerated powers
- implied powers
- fiscla power
pork barrel spending
projects, grants, expenditures for someone's home state rather than the whole country
How many representatives are in the House?
What other requirements do reps have?
- 25 years old
- live in the US for 7 years or more
How long is a representative's term?
Representation in the House is
proportional by state populations
How many Senators are there?
100, 2 per state
What are the Constitutional requirements for Senators?
- 30 years old
- lived in US 9 years or more
How long is a Senator's term?
Special Responsibilites of the Senate
- approve treaties
- equal representation
- executive and legislative members elected seperately
- executive and legislature often at odds about who can do what--different agendas
Results of the Presidential System
- Potential for gridlock in policy creation
- more freedom to cater to constituents
- used in most older western democracies
- mostly in Europe
- Prime Minisiter is a member of the legislative body
- ensures that lead and body are the same party and agenda
- single member district
- simple majority
- run-off = must have 50% of the vote
every 10 years after the census to keep equal representation among districts
Redistricting is decided by
redistricting to the advantage of a particular person or party
Wesberry v. Sanders (1964)
- all districts must have equal representation
- makes gerrymandering more difficult
- District lines are drawn to equally represent races
- Good in theory, but not cool in practice.
- Often violated one person, one vote.
Thornburg v. Gingles (1986)
- Louisianna Zorro Districts ruled too ridiculous to be allowed.
- Districts cannot be drawn to dilute minority representation, but race can no longer be a primary concern in drawing district lines
Majoritarian Institution Benefits
- setting agenda
- setting rules and procedures to an extent
- chairin committees