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191 Cards in this Set

  • Front
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Constituents
Residents of a congressional district or state
Reapportionment
Congress' assigning of congressional seats after each census (10 years). Not to be confused with redistricting
Redistricting
Redrawing of congressional and other legislative district lines following the census (10 years). Done to accommodate population shifts and keep districts as equal as possible in population size
Gerrymandering
Taking advantage of redistricting to draw district lines in such a way that benefits a party, group, or incumbent
Safe seat
Elected office that is predictably won by one party or the other, so the success of that party's candidate is almost taken for granted
Incumbent
Current holder of elected office
Bicameralism
Two-house legislature
Enumerated Powers
Powers of Congress expressly given by Constitution
Speaker
Presiding officer in House. Formally elected by House as a whole, but for all intents and purposes chosen by majority party
Party Caucus
Meeting of party members in legislative chamber to select party leaders and develop party policy. For Republicans, its a Party Conference.
Majority Leader
Selected by majority party. Legislative leader who helps plan party strategy, confers with other party leaders, tries to keep party members in line
Minority Leader
Selected by minority party. Legislative leader who acts as spokesperson for the opposition
Whip
Party leader who "whips" party members into line behind an issue.
Closed rule
Bill can't be amended during allotted voting time.
Open rule
Bill CAN be amended during allotted voting time.
President pro tempore
Officer of Senate (selected by majority party) that acts as chair of Senate in absence of VP
Hold
Procedural practice in Senate where Senator blocks consideration of bill.
Filibuster
Procedural practice in Senate where Senator just won't shut up, thereby delaying proceedings and effectively preventing a vote on a controversial issue
Cloture
Procedure for terminating debate in Senate (used to stop filibusters).
Senatorial courtesy
Presidential custom of submitting for approval the names of prospective appointees to senators from the states where the appointees would work.
Standing committee
Permanent committee established in legislature, usually focused on a broad area of policy.
Special (Select) committee
Congressional committee created for specific purpose (i.e. conducting an investigation)
Joint committee
Committee with members from House and Senate. Oversee Library of Congress and conduct investigations.
Earmark
Vehicle for pork barrel legislation. Amendment to bill that provides for special spending in a single district. Intended to hitchhike on bill's passage.
Seniority rule
Legislative practice that assigns the chair position of committee or sub-committee to majority party member with longest continuous service on the given committee (longest-serving, not the oldest).
Conference committee
Appointed by presiding officers of House and Senate to adjust differences on a bill that was passed by each house in different forms
Delegate
Official who is expected to represent the views of his district even if his own views are different. One interpretation of the role of legislator.
Trustee
Official who is expected to vote independently based on his own judgement. One interpretation of the role of legislator.
Logrolling
Congressmen coming together to trade support for pork barrel legislation.
Attentive Public
Members of public who follow public affairs closely.
Discharge petition
If signed by majority of House of Representatives, a bill can be pried out of committee to be considered on the floor.
Rider
Provision attached to a bill, relevant or not, designed to secure its passage or defeat.
Pocket Veto
Assuming Congress is not in session, President can ignore a bill for 10 days, after which it dies (NOT returned to Congress for possible override).
Override
Congressional overriding of a presidential veto (direct veto, not pocket veto) to pass a bill into law. Requires two-thirds vote in both houses.
Parliamentary System
System of government in which the legislature selects the prime minister or president.
Presidential Ticket
Joint listing of presidential and vice presidential candidates on same ballot (required by 12th Amendment).
Treaty
Formal, public agreement between United States and one or more other nations. Must be approved by two thirds of Senate.
Executive Agreement
Formal agreement between the President and leaders of other nations. Does NOT require Senate approval.
Congressional-executive Agreement
Formal agreement between the President and leaders of other nations that acquires approval of both houses of Congress (doesn't require it, but gets it anyway).
Veto
Formal decision to reject a bill passed by Congress.
Take care clause (Art. 2, Sec. 3)
Constitutional Requirement that presidents take care that the laws are faithfully executed, even if they personally disagree with them.
Inherent powers
Powers that are understood to belong to a government simply by virtue of its being a government.
State of the Union Address
The president's annual statement to Congress and the nation.
Impeachment
Formal ACCUSATION against a president or other public official. First step in removing them from office.
Executive Privilege
President's right to keep executive communications confidential, especially in matters of national security (does not extend to criminal investigations, as of Nixon Tapes subpoena and subsequent SC ruling)
Executive orders
Formal orders issued by the president to direct the federal bureaucracy.
Impoundment
Presidential decision NOT to spend money appropriated by Congress. Prohibited under federal law.
Line item veto
Presidential power to veto only specific parts of a spending bill without vetoing the whole thing. Declared unconstitutional by SC.
Chief of Staff
Head of the White House staff.
Executive Office of the President
Cluster of presidential staff agencies that help the president carry out his responsibilities (i.e. Office of Management and Budget, Council of Economic Advisors, etc.)
Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
Presidential staff agency that serves as clearinghouse for budgetary requests and management improvements for government agencies.
Cabinet
Advisory council for the president consisting of: the heads of the executive departments, the VP, and a few other officials selected by the president
Rally point
Rising public approval for the president. Follows a crisis, as Americans rally behind their President (i.e. 9/11)
Mandate
President's claim of broad public support
Cycle of decreasing influence
Tendency of presidents to lose support over time.
Cycle of increasing effectiveness
Tendency of presidents to learn more about their doing their jobs over time (learning on the job).
Party Paper
Newspaper sponsored and run by a political party for political ads, etc.
Gazette of the United States
Federalist party paper. Editor: John Fenno
National Gazette
Democratic Republican party paper. Editor: Phillip Freneau
Gatekeeper
One role of the national press. What the press focuses on is what the public sees, and thus what politicians attend to first (press has power over what makes it through the gate to become a national political issue)
Scorekeeper
One role of the national press. By reporting that one candidate is "winning," they can grant that candidate (inadvertently or not) a significant advantage.
Watchdog
One role of the press. Makes sure politicians are doing their jobs, as well as maintaining decent morals (will report them to hell and back if they don't).
Fourth Estate
The press' role as the unofficial fourth branch of government. With its role as watchdog, keeping the other three branches in line, it is very hard for a public official to sue for libel, etc. because the fourth estate is seen as necessary.
Trial balloon
Testing public reaction to a possible policy by leaking information about it to the media.
Routine stories
Stories that cover major political events. Most major media outputs will cover them regularly.
Feature stories
Public stories, but the reporter must seek them out because they're not routinely covered.
Insider stories
Stories on things that are often secret. Can be uncovered either through investigative reporting work or a leak (intentional or otherwise).
Loaded Language
Phrasing a statement in such a way as to imply a judgement of value without outright saying your opinion. Used as a subtle influence tool.
Selective attention
The tendency of people to pay attention only to those stories with which they agree.
Separate-but-Equal
Doctrine established by Plessy v. Ferguson. Stated that blacks COULD constitutionally be kept in separate but equal facilities
De jure segregation
Racial segregation required by law.
De facto segregation
Racial segregation that arises from non-legal sources (often housing, blockbusting type stuff)
Civil disobedience
Opposing a law considered unjust by peacefully disobeying and accepting the resulting punishment.
Affirmative Action
Programs designed to increase minority participation in certain institutions (i.e. colleges, labor unions, government agencies) by taking active steps to hire more of those minorities.
Reverse discrimination
Using race or sex as justification for preferential treatment (provided the race or sex has been historically discriminated AGAINST)
Reagents of the University of California v. Bakke
1978, Affirmative Action--ruled that Affirmative Action was still constitutional, just not the way California did it (quotas). Instead, must be done with Harvard System.
Harvard System
Race, other suspect classifications must be taken into account when admitting students, on the same level as other criteria.
Lawrence v. Texas
2003, Gay Rights--state law may NOT ban sexual relations between same-sex partners
Boy Scouts of America v. Dale
2000, Gay Rights--private organizations MAY ban gays from joining
Undisciplined party
Party does NOT have the power to remove from office those members that have already been elected. Therefore, those members are more likely to respond to the demands of their constituents than those of the party. Party leaders must deal and negotiate with elected members to get them to do what they want.
Faction
Differs from a political party in that it arises only to deal with a specific set of issues. When those issues are resolved, the faction dissolves.
Cadre party
Practical party seeking to win election, use power to further interests of supporters
Mass party
Does not tolerate political opposition. Demands active support from entire society. Often totalitarian, etc.
Ideological party
More interested in changing political ideas than winning election. Setting up for future elections.
Socialist party
Led by Eugene V. Debs, who became convinced that US must switch to socialism after his arrest at the Pullman Strike. Took part in four-way 1912 election.
New Deal Coalition
GAVE DEMOCRATS MAJORITY UNTIL 1968: Organized labor, Catholics and Jews, Solid South (old Confederacy, hated Rep's), liberals (supported regulation), urban poor, rural poor, academics and intellectuals (for their roles as speakers, leadership, etc.)
Realignment
Shifting of a group's support/voting patterns from one party to another. Often occurs during a crisis, when new issues come up and the group agrees with the other party's answer more.
Tertium Quiz
Faction of old Republicans angry at Jefferson for changing views upon gaining office
Dixie-crats
Faction from old Confederate states. Racist, segregationists, etc. Traditionally voted Democrat, but moved to Republicans as Democrats embraced Civil Rights (realignment completed in 1980, Reagan)
Party identification factors
family's party, spouse's party, opinion leaders, education (generally, Republicans are more educated than Democrats), occupation, perceived interests
What are two goals of gerrymandering?
Make a district seat safe for a party. Take a safe seat away from the other party.
What are two limits the SC has placed on gerrymandering?
No fragmenting (disempowers cities, urban areas). No gerrymandering by race or wealth.
House Unamerican Activity Committee (HUAC)
Committee in 1950's that made accusations of communism, investigated left-wing thinkers, generally persecuted them. Helped push Richard Nixon to national importance.
House Black Caucus
Caucus of black members of the House
House Women's Caucus
Caucus of women members of the House
Mandatory spending
Spending on certain programs that is required by law
Party polarization
When parties become more extreme in their stances. Makes it difficult for the President to govern from the center
Lame-duck period
Period of decreased influence and power for a President (or other official) that stems from them being about to leave office
Which Enlightenment philosopher's inspired the framers of the Constitution?
Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Charles de Montesquieu, Jean Jacques Rousseau
Thomas Hobbes
Author of Leviathan. Believed humans inherently evil. Argued that best way to protect humans from themselves was absolute monarchy
John Locke
Author of Second Treatise on Civil Government. Believed humans inherently good. Argued that life, liberty, and property were God-given rights, and a people had a right to rebel if their government did not protect these rights.
Charles de Montesquieu
Author of The Spirit of the Laws, which advocated the separation of powers between three branches of government.
Jean Jacques Rousseau
Believed in "social contract," that the only good government is one formed with the consent of the governed.
Articles of Confederation
Predecessor to the Constitution. Lasted from 1774-1787 (ratified 1781)
Successes of Articles of Confederation
Won the Revolutionary War. Established the Northwest Ordinance (how new states could enter the union). Negotiated the treaty that ended the War. Set the precedent of federalism.
Weaknesses of Articles of Confederation
No draft. No taxing power (could only ask state legislatures for revenue). Could not pay off war debt. No interstate trade regulation. No Supreme Court to interpret law. No executive branch. No national currency. Amendments had to be unanimous. All legislation needed 9 of 13 states' approval.
Constitutional Convention
Philadelphia, 1787. Originally intended to revise Articles. Came out with brand new Constitution instead.
Shay's Rebellion
Armed farmers attacked federal arsenal to protest foreclosure of farms. Sparked the Constitutional Convention.
Supremacy Clause
Federal law trumps state law. Art. 6
Writ of Habeas Corpus
No indefinite incarceration without trial. Government may not suspend.
Ex Post Facto laws
Retroactive laws. Laws that make past actions illegal. Government may not pass.
Privilege and Immunities Clause
States must offer same protection of laws to citizens of different states as they do to their own citizens.
Full Faith and Credit Clause
States must respect licenses, court judgements, documents of other states.
Extradition
Returning a fugitive to the state from which he has fled.
Dual Federalism
Federalism system under which state and central governments remain largely independent of one another.
Bill of Attainder
Declares individual guilty of capital offense without trial. Violates due process, so government may not issue.
States' Rightists
Those who believe federalism means state's retain most of the political power.
Nationalists
Those who believe federalism means the central government is supreme.
Categorical Grants
Federal grants to state administrative programs with strict rules on how the money is to be spent.
Block Grants
Federal grants to states that the states can experiment with and spend as they see fit.
Advantages of Federalism
Mass participation; Regional autonomy; Government at many levels; innovative methods (states can be testing grounds for nation policy)
Disadvantages of Federalism
Lack of consistency; Inefficiency; Bureaucracy
Separation of Powers
Form of countervailing powers. Powers of government divided between three branches, Legislative, Executive, and Judicial
Checks and Balances
Form of countervailing powers. Requires branches of government to share powers and cooperate in order to accomplish anything (all important actions require participation from at least two branches)
Ratifying Convention
Method for state ratification of proposed amendments. Mandated by Congress, the state's send delegates specifically elected to vote on the amendment. Used for 21.
Griswold v. Connecticut
1965, SC ruled that Constitution implied a right to privacy
Fifth Amendment
Indictment by grand jury; no double jeopardy; no forced self-incrimination; eminent domain; may not deprive citizens of life, liberty, or property without due process of law
Sixth Amendment
Right to public and speedy trial.
Eighth Amendment
No excessive bail; no cruel and unusual punishment
Ninth Amendment
Bill of Rights shall not be construed to deny to citizens rights it did not expressly grant them.
First Amendment
Free speech and press; free religion; free assembly and petition
Second Amendment
Right to bear arms
Third Amendment
No forced quartering of soldiers except in wartime, when it will be defined by law.
Fourth Amendment
No unreasonable searches or seizures. Used in Mapp v. Ohio (1961)
Seventh Amendment
Trial by jury in common-law cases.
Tenth Amendment
All rights not specifically delegated to central government or prohibited to states are reserved for states and people, respectively.
Thirteenth Amendment
Outlawed slavery
Fourteenth Amendment
States can't make discriminatory laws.
Fifteenth Amendment
Voting rights for blacks.
Sixteenth Amendment
1913; Allowed for federal income tax
Eighteenth Amendment
1920; Prohibition (manufacture, sale, and transportation in or out of country)
Seventeenth Amendment
1913; Direct election of senators
Nineteenth Amendment
1920; Voting rights for women
Twentieth Amendment
1933; President and VP terms end at noon on January 20; Senator and Representative terms end at noon on January 3
Twenty-first Amendment
1933; repealed Prohibition
Twenty-second Amendment
1951; two-term Presidential limit
Twenty-third Amendment
1961; allowed DC residents to vote in presidential elections; raises total electoral votes to 538
Twenty-fourth Amendment
1964; eliminated poll taxes
Twenty-fifth Amendment
1967; clarified finding new VP if the position became vacant; VP may formally become president temporarily if current president is incapacitated
Twenty-sixth Amendment
1971; Voting age lowered to 18 (from 21)
Twenty-seventh Amendment
1992; Congressional pay raises do not take effect until after the next election (proposed over 200 years ago)
Saliency
How important the issue is to a particular group or interest
Intensity
How strongly do people feel about the issue? If very strongly, they can wield much greater political influence
Stability
How likely are people to change their minds on the issue?
Exit polling
Randomly polling voters as they leave the voting place.
Post-convention bump
Rise in candidate's public approval following his party's national convention
Pendleton Act
1833; eliminated spoils system, set up exam-based merit system
Sherman Anti-Trust Act
1896; gives Congress authority to regulate and break up monopolies (trusts)
Hatch Act
1939; Permitted government officials to vote in elections, but forbade them from engaging in partisan politics
Air Quality Act
1967; first in a series of acts to regulate environmental impacts
Federal Election Campaign Acts
1971-1974; series of laws that created the Federal Election Commission (FEC); placed limits on and required disclosure of campaign donations
Northwest Ordinance
1789; one of few successes of Articles of Confederation; gave clear guidelines for settlement of new territory and how territory could achieve statehood
War Powers Act
1973; limited amount of troops President could deploy without Congressional approval, put time limit on use (Congress had to approve before time limit was up); still stands, but considered by some to be an unconstitutional "legislative veto"
Budget and Impoundment Control Act
1974; established Congressional budget committees and the Congressional Budget Office; gave Congress the power to prevent the president from refusing to fund Congressional initiatives (impoundment)
Freedom of Information Act
1974; declassified government documents for public use
Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Bill
1985; set budget reduction targets to balance budget; failed to cover loopholes
Espionage Act and Sedition Act
1917 and 1918, respectively; greatly restricted civil liberties of Americans during wartime; also greatly increased the power of federal government to control public activity
Immigration Act
1924; greatly limited the number of immigrants allowed into US and set strict quotas for entry
Americans with Disabilities Act
1990; protected civil liberties of disabled Americans; mandated "reasonable accommodations" in public facilities
National Voter Registration Bill (Motor Vehicle Act)
1993; allowed people to register to vote when applying for driver's license
Patriot Act
2001; response to 9/11; broad police authority granted to federal, state, and local governments to interdict, prosecute, and convict suspected terrorists
New Deal Legislation
1933-1939; expanded government's role in the economy; created Social Security, Securities and Exchange Commission, Tennessee Valley Authority, etc.
Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (Welfare Reform Act)
1996; sought to increase the role of personal responsibility of welfare recipients and left more responsibilities for welfare provision to state governments
Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (McCain-Feingold Act)
2002; banned soft money contributions to national political parties and raised hard money limits to $2,000; parts of this law were struck down in Citizens United vs. FEC, 2010 (namely, corporations' donations to candidate could not be limited, as it was political speech)
Presumption of Innocence
innocent until proven guilty
Adversarial System
pitting prosecution and defense against one another to come up with best solution
Criminal law
serious crimes that harm individuals or society; requires indictment by grand jury; prosecution is always the state/government
Grand Jury
24 to 48 jurors who decide if a case should be sent to trial; does NOT decide innocence or guilt
Plea bargain
after being sent to trial by grand jury (in criminal law), accused may plea bargain (agree to plea guilty in exchange for lesser charges from prosecution)
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
in criminal law, prosecution must prove defendant guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt"
Petit juries
"normal" jury; 12 members that decide guilt or innocence
Civil law
law dealing with disputes over contracts, property, custody, etc. (government is only a party if its being sued)
Settlement
civil law counterpart to criminal plea bargain; after case has been admitted to trial, parties may discuss concessions to avoid lawsuit
Preponderance of evidence
in civil law, plaintiff need not prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; if most of the evidence favors the plaintiff, he wins
Plaintiff
prosecution in a civil lawsuit
Equity
person who loses a civil law case must stop whatever it was they were doing to the plaintiff
Three levels of federal courts
Federal District Courts, Federal Circuit Courts of Appeals, and the Supreme Court
Federal District Courts
have original jurisdiction; 91 courts
Federal Circuit Court of Appeals
have appellate jurisdiction (hear appeals on District Court cases); only decides if something went wrong procedurally (not whether or not the verdict was correct); 13 courts
Supreme Court's Jurisdiction
has original AND appellate jurisdiction
Standing
having the right to bring a case (being directly involved in the dispute)