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60 Cards in this Set

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a group of around 2 dozen members (it varies by party) who serve as links between leaders and the parties' rank and file-explaining positions, outlining strategies, counting voters and occasionally whipping party members into line
chief whip position
desirable position for members hoping to lead their party
unanimous-consent agreements
agreement that sets forth the terms according to which the Senate will consider a bill; these are individually negotiated by the leadership for each bill
to keep talking until the other side gives up; used when senators oppose a bill or a presidential nominee but lack the votes to win a floor fight
motion to end debate; requires 60 votes to pass; the senate majority can end a fillibuster by adopting a cloture motion
standing committees
Committee with fixed membership and jurisdiction, continuing from Congress to Congress e.g. The Appropriations, Commerce, and Foreign Relations committees
select committees
Temporary Congressional committee appointed to deal with a specfic issue or problem e.g. Homeland Security
Legislation Reorganization Act of 1946
gave the committee system the shape it largely retains today
the majority-party member with the longest continous service on the committee is usually its chair; parties customarily choose committee chairs based on seniority
partisan theory of committee formation
argue that committees are simply tools of the congressional parties; they point out that parties are so concerned with controlling public policy that they stack committees with loyal members, and argue that party leaders shape committee jurdisdiction so that reliable members write and revise important legislation
distrubutive theory
theory predicting that a legislature's members will serve on the committees most important for delivering benefits to their constituents/ districts
colloquiel term given to politicans' trading of favors, votes, or generalized support for each other's proposals
informational theory
theory that sees committees as means of providing reliable information about the actual consequences of the legislation that members could adopt; stresses that members frequently are uncertain about the outcomes that proposed laws will produce
voluntary groupings of members with common interests have become increasingly common, but smaller than party caucus, these groupings cross party, committee, and even chamber lines
represenative or senator who introduces a bill or resolution
multiple referrals
partice of party leaders who give more than one committee or responsiblity for consdering a bill
process in which a committee or subcommittee considers and revises a bill that has been introduced
suspension of the rules
fast-track procedure for considering bills and resolutions in the House; debate is limited to 40 minutes, no amendments are in order, and a two-thirds majority is required for passage; risk because it needs 2/3 support, even if a majority backs the legsilation, it might fail under the higher threshold
specification of the term and conditions under which a bill or resolution will be considered on the floor of the House-in particular, how long debate will last, how time will be allocated, and the nummber and type of amendments that will be in order; it also may regulate the introduction of amendments, prohibiting them (closed rule) or specifying the amendments that are in order (a restrictive rule)
conference committee
group of represenatives from both the House and the Senate who iron out the differences between the two chambers' versions of a bill or resolution
authorization process
term given to the process of providing statutory authority for a government program activity; does not provide funding for the project
appropriations process
process of providing funding for governmental activities and programs that have been authorized; appropriations bills are priviledged; they take precedence over other legislation, and a motion to take up an appropriations bill can be offered at any time
bugetary laws and regulations that are tucked inside other budget bills so that they have a better chance of passing than a separate bill become of the chaotic nature of teh budgetary process
roll-call vote
a congressional vote in which the specific choice of each member is recorded, allowing constutuents to learn how their representative voted-1971
free mailing priviledges enjoyed by members of Congress when communicating with constituents
pork-barrel spending
government spending that a group considers unneded or wasteful; legislators seek generous spending bills that allow them to spend money around widely and perhaps wastefully to make sure that their congressional districts get a fair share or more of federal programs, projects and expenditures
constituency service
the work a member of Congress performs to win federal funds for the state or district and to help constituents deal with federal agencies
"rally'round the flag" effect
the tendency for the public to back presidents in moments of crisis e.g. 9/11
Judiciary Act of 1789
establish legislation that still provides the basic framework for the modern federal court system; which is divided into 3 basic layers: trial courts, appeals courts, and the Supreme Court
district courts
94 courts, the lowest tier of judicial system; most federal cases begin and end in these district courts, which are alos called trial courts, main responsiblity- hold trials
civil code
regulates the legal rights and obligations of citizens with regard to one another; laws regulating relations among individuals. Alleged violators are sued by presumed victims, who ask courts to award damges and otherwise offer relief e.g. malpractice cases
criminal code
laws regulating relations between individuals and society. Alleged violates are prosecuted by government
US attorney
person responsible for prosecuting violations of the federal criminal code; have a particulary high political profile, share the president's party affiliation and concentrate on attention-grabbing activities that can lead to a candidacy for higher offices
circuit court of appeals
the court empowered to review all district rulings
plenary session
activities of a court in which all judges participate
writ of certiorari (cert)
a document issued by the Supreme Court indicating that the Court will review a decision made by a lower court; the case for cert is strongest if two courts have reached opposite conclusions on simliar cases
written legal arguments submitted by the opposing sides
stare decisis
in court rulings, remaining consistent with precedents
prior decisions including written justifcations known as opinions of the court that explained past decisions
opinion of the court
a court's written explanation for its decision
dissenting opinion
written opinion presenting the reasoning of judges who vote against the majority
concurring opinion
a written opinion pepared by judges who vote with the majority but who wish to disagree with or eleborate on some aspect of the majority opinion
to send a case to a lower court to determine the best way of implementing the higher court's decision because the Supreme Court regards itself as responsible for establishing general principles and an overall framework, it seledom becomes involved in the detailed resolution of particular cases. This procedure leaves a great deal of legal responsiblity in the hands of the lower courts
the compensation for the injury, if a court finds that an injury has been suffered, it is up to the court to fashion a remedy uusally monetary compensation or maybe alter behavior e.g. racial segregation in schools
solicitor general
a government official responsible for airing the presidential admirstration's views before the Court; presents the government's case whenever it is party to a suit and in other cases may submit amicus curiae-briefs submitted by a "friend of the court" explaining its position; almost a 10th justice because the Court accepts 60% of his cert petitions
law clerks
young aides hired by each of the justices; initially reviewed certs, but now draft many opinions -the enthusiam of the younger clerks and the experience of the justices are likely better in combination than either would be alone
class action suits
suit brought on behalf of all individuals in a particular category whether or not they are actually participating in the suit; brought on by advocacy groups e.g. late 90s groups of formers smokers in several states filed class action suits against the major tobacco companies for lying to consumers about the health hazards caused by smoking; justified on the grounds that the issues affect many people in essentially the same way
senatorial courtesty
an informal rule that requires that a judicial nominee be acceptable to the senior senator of the state or reigion involved who shares the president's political party
justice review
court authority to declare null and void laws of Congress and of state legislatures on the grounds that they violate the Constitution
Marbury v. Madison
1803- considered the most significant Supreme Court decision ever rendered, first exercised the power of judicial review. In the last days before Adam left office, he nominated numerous including 42 new justices of the peace for Washington DC. The Jeffersonians decided that appointees had no right to their posts until they received commissions and so refrained from delivering them. But appointee William Marbury did not believe that the Jefferson adminstration could deny him a position simply because the official notification had not gone out. A law passed by in 1789 Judiciary Act specifying how jilted appointees might challenge denial of their posts. they could request a writ of mandamus directly from the Supreme Court. Marshall however explained that the Judicary Act violated the Constitution by gibing the Court original jurisdiction over cases involving the Secretary of State; Marbury lost on a technicality
living-constitution theory
allows judges to update the meaning of laws in light of the entire history of the United States as a nation; it gives extreme flexibility when adapting law to situations alien to the framers
theory of plain meaning
the law is whatever the written law says; clear advantages: 1) it is the approach least open to judicial abuse, because courts must restrict their attention to the laws before them 2) it calls upon judges to perform the task for which they are best trained, which is to decipher the meaning of legal language
theory of original intent
tries to remain true to inheirted law-but helps the authors a bit by filling in the meaning of words
judicial restraint
forcing the majority to soften written opinions or weaking those opinions by writing a softer concurrence
Dred Scott v. Sandford
the second-time the Supreme Court declared a law of Congress unconstitutional, the 1857 case; it helped precipitate the Civil War
Lochner v. NY
declared in 1905, struck down a New York state law limiting the number of hours bakers could work
Schechter Poultry Corp. V. US
slowed the New Deal; struck down the National Industrial Recovery Act, which managed labor and competition in the private sector
statutory interpretation
the judicial act of applying laws to particular cases
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)
Supreme Court made it clear that the power of judical review applied to state laws
Fifth Amendment
forbids double jeopardy-being tried twice for the same crime