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100 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
Speech that intentionally gives false information or defames the character of an individual.
slush fund
A collection of money by a political official or administration that is used to make payments for various services. Though slush funds may be used for legitimate purposes, such as paying state employees, the term is generally used to describe money that is not properly accounted for and is being used for personal expenses and political payoffs. Money raised for political campaigns has come under increasing public scrutiny to ensure that it is not misused.
Small Business Administration (SBA)?
The Small Business Administration, or SBA, is a United States Government agency that provides support to small businesses. The SBA was established on July 30, 1953 by the United States Congress with the passage of the Small Business Act.
Smithsonian Institution
(smith-SOH-nee-uhn) A group of over a dozen museums and research and publication facilities, such as the National Air and Space Museum, the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of History and Technology, the National Zoo, and the National Gallery of Art. Many of the Smithsonian’s buildings are on the Washington Mall. The institution is named after James Smithson, an Englishman whose bequest enabled its founding in the nineteenth century.
smoke-filled room
A popular expression used to describe a place where the political wheeling and dealing of machine bosses (see machine politics) is conducted. The image originated during the Republican presidential nominating convention of 1920, in which Warren G. Harding emerged as a dark horse candidate.
social capital
democratic and civic habits of discussion, compromise, and respect for differences, which grow out of participation in voluntary organizations
Social Contract Theory
People are Free and Equal by God-Given right, so people must give their consent to be governed
Social movement
A widely shared demand for change in some aspect of the social or political order. The civil rights movement of the 1960s was such an event, as are broadly based religious revivals. A social movement may have liberal or conservative goals. (Ch. 9)
Social Security Administration
The American system for distributing old age and disability pensions from the federal government. Initiated through the Social Security Act of 1935, Social Security pensions are financed by contributions from workers and employers. Benefits are also available to the survivors of workers covered under Social Security.
Social status
A measure of one's social standing obtained by combining factors such as education, income, and occupation. (Ch. 5)
Social welfare
Entitlement programs such as Social Security and programs such as Aid to Dependent Children paid for by the federal government.
socioeconomic status
a division of population based on occupation, income, education
soft money
Political donations made to parties for the purpose of general party maintenance and support. This type of contribution is not limited by federal law. It can be used for get-out-the-vote campaigns, issue advocacy, and advertisements that promote the party (but not individual candidates).
Solicitor General
4th-ranking member of the Dept. of Justice; responsible for handling all appeals on behalf of the US gov't to the Supreme Court
Solid South
Dominance by the Democratic Party in the South following the Civil War. The Republicans made strong inroads when Ronald Reagan was elected President in 1980 and after the Republicans gained control of the Congress in 1994.
Solidary incentives
The social rewards that lead people to join local or state political organizations. People who find politics fun and want to meet others who share their interests are said to respond to solidary incentives. (Ch. 7, 9)
Sophomore surge
An increase in the votes that congressional candidates usually get when they first run for reelection. (Ch. 18)
Sound bite
A brief statement no longer than a few seconds used on a radio or television news broadcast. (Ch. 10)
Sovereign immunity
A doctrine that a citizen cannot sue the government without its consent. By statute Congress has given its consent for the government to be sued in many cases involving a dispute over a contract or damage done as a result of negligence. (Ch. 14)
Speaker of the House
presiding officer in the House of Representatives, formally elected by the House but actually selected by the majority party
special or select committee
a congressional committee created for a specific purpose, sometimes to conduct an investigation
Special-act charter
A charter that denies the powers of a certain named city and lists what the city can and cannot do. See also General-act charter (Ch. 3)
Special-district government or authority
A local or regional government with responsibility for some single function such as administering schools, handling sewage, or managing airports. (Ch. 3)
Spin doctor
Name given to political consultants who try to shape the story or actions of their clients to the media in a positive manner.
Split ticket
Voting for candidates of different parties for various offices in the same election. For example, voting for a Republican for senator and a Democrat for president. See also Straight ticket (Ch. 7)
split ticket voting
Choosing candidates from different parties for offices listed on the same ballot.
Sponsored party
A local or state political party that is largely staffed and funded by another organization with established networks in the community. One example is the Democratic party in and around Detroit, which has been developed, led, and to a degree financed by the political-action arm of the United Auto Workers. (Ch. 7)
A legal concept establishing who is entitled to bring a lawsuit to court. For example, an individual must ordinarily show personal harm in order to acquire standing and be heard in court. (Ch. 14)
Standing committees
Permanently established legislative committees that consider and are responsible for legislation within a certain subject area. Examples are the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee. See also Select committees; Joint committees (Ch. 11)
Stare decisis
A Latin term meaning "let the decision stand." The practice of basing judicial decisions on precedents established in similar cases decided in the past. (Ch. 14)
states' rights
Rights guaranteed to the states under the principle of federalism. Under the Constitution, states have considerable autonomy to pass, enforce, and interpret their own laws and to pursue their own public policy programs. Proponents of states’ rights argue that the states should be governed with a minimum of interference from the federal government. The relationship between federal and state responsibilities has often been controversial. Until the middle of the twentieth century, for example, the Supreme Court left the interpretation of many civil rights guarantees to the states, resulting in hostile and widespread discrimination against minorities.
the idea that the rights of the nation are supreme over the rights of the individuals residing in that nation
statute of limitations
Any law that places a time restriction during which a lawsuit must be brought to court or a crime must be prosecuted.
Stewardship Theory
Theory that holds that Article II confers on the president the power and the duty to take whatever actions are deemed necessary in the national interest, unless prohibited by the Constitution or law
Straight ticket
Voting for candidates who are all of the same party. For example, voting for Republican candidates for senator, representative, and president. See also Split ticket (Ch. 7)
Stratified Sampling
A variation of random sampling; census data are used to divide a country into four sampling regions. Sets of counties and standard metropolitan statistical areas are then randomly selected in proportion to the total national population
straw poll
Originally, a small, informal opinion survey. Today, a straw poll is generally a large-scale, scientifically determined public opinion survey based on a random sample of the population. Straw polls are commonly used to test public opinion of candidates running for office.
Straw vote
Nonbinding vote used to determine the views of a small cross section of voters.
strict constructionism
Belief that the Constitution should be read in such a way as to limit as much as possible the powers of the federal government. Strict constructionists emphasize the importance of the Tenth Amendment, which reserves to all states and powers not explicitly granted the federal government.
Strict scrutiny
Part of a hierarchy of standards employed by courts to weigh an asserted government interest against a constitutional right or principle that conflicts with the manner in which the interest is being pursued. Strict scrutiny is applied based on the constitutional conflict at issue regardless of whether a law or action of the U.S. federal government, a state government, or a local municipality is at issue.
(suh-PEE-nuh) An order of a court, a legislature, or a grand jury compelling a witness to be present at a trial or hearing, under penalty of fine or imprisonment. Subpoena is Latin for “under penalty.â€
Substantive Due Process
Judicial interpretation of the Due Process Clause that protects citizens from arbitrary or unjust laws
Substantive representation
The correspondence between representatives' opinions and those of their constituents. See also Descriptive representation (Ch. 11)
The right to vote guaranteed to African-Americans in the Fourteenth Amendment and women in the Nineteenth Amendment.
Sunshine Law
Requires all government meetings and records to be open to the public
Super Tuesday
In general, refers to the Tuesday in February or March of a presidential election year when the greatest number of states hold primary elections to select delegates to national conventions at which each party's presidential candidates are officially nominated.
Supply-side theory
An economic philosophy that holds that sharply cutting taxes will increase the incentive people have to work, save, and invest. Greater investments will lead to more jobs, a more productive economy, and more tax revenues for the government. (Ch. 16)
supremacy clause
Section of the Constitution that requires conflicts between federal law and state law to be resolved in favor of federal law. State constitutions and laws that violate the US Constitution, federal laws, or international treaties can be invalidated through this.
Supreme Court
A federal court; the highest body in the judicial branch. The Supreme Court is composed of a chief justice and eight associate justices, all of whom are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. (See photo, next page.) They serve on the Court as long as they choose, subject only to impeachment. Each state also has a supreme court; these courts are all courts of appeals, primarily hearing cases that have already been tried. The federal Supreme Court (the Supreme Court) has the final word on interpretation of all laws and of the Constitution itself. Supreme Court decisions have a significant impact on public policy and are often extremely controversial. In interpreting the Constitution, the justices of the Supreme Court occasionally have deduced legal doctrines that are not clearly stated (or stated at all) in the Constitution. For example, in the famous case of McCulloch versus Maryland (1819), Chief Justice John Marshall advanced the opinion, accepted by the Court, that the Constitution implicitly gives the federal government the power to establish a national bank, even though such a power is not explicitly granted by the Constitution. Similarly, in Roe versus Wade (1973), the Court ruled that state laws restricting abortion violate the right of privacy. The McCulloch and Roe decisions illustrate the principle of broad construction (interpretation) of the Constitution. The opposite is narrow construction. Those who favor broad construction, or judicial activism, believe that the spirit of the times, the values of the justices, and the needs of the nation may legitimately influence the way justices decide cases. In contrast, narrow constructionists insist that the Court should be bound by the exact words of the Constitution or by the intentions of the framers of the Constitution or by some combination of both. This view is sometimes called judicial restraint.
Surface Transportation Board?
The STB is an economic regulatory agency that Congress created to resolve railroad rate and service disputes and reviewing proposed railroad mergers. The STB is decisionally independent, although it is administratively affiliated with the U.S. Department of Transportation.
Susan B. Anthony
Political activist who spent her life campaigning for women's right to vote.
Suspect classifications
Classifications of people on the basis of their race and ethnicity. The courts have ruled that laws classifying people on these grounds will be subject to "strict scrutiny." (Ch. 19)
sweetener amendment
Amendment to a bill proposed in hopes of attracting the support of the bill's opponents. This includes appropriations earmarked for the district of a bill's opponent, for example.
Symbolic speech
Form of free speech interpreted by the Supreme Court as a guarantee under the First Amendment to the Constitution, such as wearing a black armband to protest a governmental action or burning an American flag in protest for political reasons.
Taft-Hartley Act?
The Taft-Hartley Act, passed in 1947 and still largely in effect, severely restricts the activities and power of labor unions in the United States. The Act, officially known as the Labor-Management Relations Act, was sponsored by Senator Robert Taft and Representative Fred Hartley. U.S. President Harry S. Truman described the act as a "slave-labor bill" and vetoed it. The United States Senate followed the United States House of Representatives in overriding Truman's veto on June 23, 1947, establishing the act as a law. The Taft-Hartley Act amended the Wagner Act, officially known as the National Labor Relations Act, which Congress had passed in 1935.

During the year after V-J Day, more than five million American workers were involved in strikes, which lasted on average four times longer than those during the war.[6] The Taft–Hartley Act was seen as a means of demobilizing the labor movement by imposing limits on labor's ability to strike and by prohibiting radicals from their leadership.[7]
Taftian Theory
A Theory that holds that the president is limited by the specific grants of executive power found in the Constitution
take care clause
Article 2, Section 3; the presidents take care that the laws are faithfully executed, even if they disagree with the purpose of those laws
Talking heads
Politicians who use sound bites or other means to present a superficial look at a policy position rather than an in-depth approach in explaining their views.
Teller vote
A Congressional vote in which the names of those voting for and against a motion may be recorded. (vs. Voice Vote: does not allow one to determine at a later date which members voted for and against the motion.)
The Federalist
series of essays promoting ratification of the Constitution, published anonymously by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison in 1787 and 1788
The Patriot Act (2001)
act passed in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The Act dramatically reduced restrictions on law enforcement agencies' ability to
- search telephone, e-mail communications, medical, financial, and other records;
- eased restrictions on foreign intelligence gathering within the United States;
- expanded the Secretary of the Treasury’s authority to regulate financial transactions.
the Ugly American
(1958). Pejorative term for Americans traveling or living abroad who remain ignorant of local culture and judge everything by American standards. The term is taken from the title of a book by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer.
gov by religious leaders, who claim divine guidance
think tank
An institution in which scholars pursue research in public policy. Largely funded by endowments and grants, think tanks work to improve public awareness of policy issues (through publications) and to influence the government to act upon issues of national importance. (See power elite.)
Third political parties
Political parties that can be described as ideological, single-issue orientated, economically motivated, and personality driven. Examples include the Free Soil Party, Know-Nothings, Populist, and Bull Moose Parties. In 1996 Ross Perot created a new national third party called the Reform party.
Third-order devolution
The use of nongovernmental organizations to implement public policy. (Ch. 3)
The tendency of 3rd parties to arise with some regularity in a nominally 2-party system
thirteenth amendment
Abolished slavery
Thirty-second spots
Paid political ads 30 seconds in duration.
three-fifths compromise
Agreement reached at the Constitutional Convention between southern and northern states. The south wanted slaves counted among the population for voting purposes but not for tax purposes; the North wanted the exact opposite. Both sides agreed that 3/5ths of a state's slave population would be counted toward both Congressional apportionment and taxation.
Title IX
Provision for the Education Amendments of 1972 that bars educational institutions receiving federal funds from discriminating against female students
Form of government in which government's powers are unlimited.
Town or township
A subunit of county government in many eastern and Midwestern states. (Ch. 3)
Townshend Acts of 1767
The purpose of the Townshend Acts was to raise revenue in the colonies to pay the salaries of governors and judges so that they would be independent of colonial rule, to create a more effective means of enforcing compliance with trade regulations, to punish the province of New York for failing to comply with the 1765 Quartering Act, and to establish the precedent that the British Parliament had the right to tax the colonies.[2] The Townshend Acts were met with resistance in the colonies, prompting the occupation of Boston by British troops in 1768, which eventually resulted in the Boston Massacre of 1770.
Tracking poll
Polls conducted by media outlets to gauge the potential outcome of a political election on a periodic basis.
a formal public agreement between the United States and one or more nations that must be approved by two thirds of the Senate
Trial Court
Court of original jurisdiction where a case begins
Trust funds
Funds for government programs that are collected and spent outside the regular government budget; the amounts are determined by preexisting law rather than by annual appropriations. The Social Security trust fund is the largest of these. See also Appropriation (Ch. 13)
an official who is expected to vote independetly basedon his or her judgment of the circumstances; one interpretation of the role of the legislator
Trustee approach
The view that an elected representative should act on his or her own best judgment of what public policy requires. (Ch. 12)
the proportion of the voting age public that votes, sometimes as the nubmer of registered voters that vote
Twent-second Amendment (1951)
Limited the number of years an individual may serve as president. According to this, a president may be elected no more than twice.
Twenty-fifth Amendment
Deals with succession to the Presidency and establishes procedures both for filling a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, as well as responding to Presidential disabilities. It supersedes the ambiguous wording of Article II, Section 1, Clause 6 of the Constitution, which does not expressly state whether the Vice President becomes the President, as opposed to an Acting President, if the President dies, resigns, is removed from office or is otherwise unable to discharge the powers of the presidency.
Twenty-fourth Amendment (1964)
Outlawed poll taxes, which had been used to prevent the poor from voting.
twenty-second amendment
Limited the number of years an individual may serve as president
Twenty-sixth Amendment (1971)
Lowered the voting age from 21 to 18.
Two-party system
An electoral system with two dominant parties that compete in state or national elections. Third parties have little chance of winning. (Ch. 7)
Unalienable rights
Rights such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, which are derived from the doctrine of natural rights.
A term used, primarily by extreme conservatives, to attack principles or practices considered to be at odds with the values of most Americans. Many object to the use of the term on the grounds that it is vague, shortsighted, and intolerant. The House of Representatives maintained a Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) for several years. It was especially known for investigation of alleged communists. (See Alger Hiss.)
unanimous consent decree
Agreement passed by the Senate that establishes the rules under which a bill will be debated, amended, and voted upon.
Unanimous decisions
A decision made by the Supreme Court that has no dissent. A unanimous decision by the Court is 9-0.
Unfunded mandates
Those regulations passed by Congress or issued by regulatory agencies to the states without federal funds to support them.
Unified government
A government in which the same party controls both the White House and both houses of Congress. When Bill Clinton became president in 1993, it was the first time since 1981 (and only the second time since 1969) that the same party was in charge of the presidency and Congress. See also Divided government (Ch. 12)
union shop
A workplace where an employee must pay dues or their equivalent to the union, but may not be fired if he or she fails to maintain membership in good standing in the union for any reason other than failure to pay such dues.
Unit Rule
A traditional party practice under which the majority of a state delegation can force the minority to vote for its candidate
United Nations
International organization established following WWII. It aims to preserve international peace and foster international cooperation.
United States Information Agency
A federal agency responsible for spreading information favorable to the United States around the world.
Universal suffrage
Right of all qualified adults to vote.
unwritten Constitution
Certain deeply ingrained aspects of our government which are not mentioned in the Constitution, such as political parties; political conventions; and cabinet meetings.
USA Freedom Corps?
The USA Freedom Corps is a body within the Executive Office of the President of the United States, the President serving as its chair. Its creation was announced by George W. Bush in his State of the Union Address of January 29, 2002, and it was officially established on January 30, 2002, the next day. Housed at the White House, it identifies itself as a "Coordinating Council... working to strengthen our culture of service and help find opportunities for every American to start volunteering." [1] A USA Freedom Corps Network promotes individual volunteer service opportunities within the United States and abroad. The council is also involved with U.S. federal government service programs such as the Peace Corps, Citizen Corps, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps.