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
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?
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
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
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
Electors weren't required by law to be chosen by popular vote until
Where does campaign money come from?
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
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
Pros of Bureaucracy
Cons of Bureaucracy
Unresponsive to change
Independent Executive Agencies
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
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
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
Courts of Appeal ("circuit 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
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
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
overturning cases (Brown v. Board overturned Plessy v. Ferguson)
building common law
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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)
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
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
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