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63 Cards in this Set

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Magna Carta
Great Charter forced upon King John of England by his barons in 1215; established that the power of the monarchy was not absolute and guaranteed trial by jury and due process of law to the nobility
The Petition of Right
Document prepared by Parliament and signed by King Charles I of England in 1628; challenged the idea of the divine right of kings and declared that even the monarch was subject to the laws of the land
unitary government
A centralized government in which all government powers belong to a single, central agency
popular sovereignty
Basic principle of the AMerican system of government which asserts that the people are the source of any and all governmental power, and government can exist only with the consent of the governed
Articles of Confederation
Plan of the government adopted by the Continental Congress after the American Revolution; established a firm league of friendship amont the States, but allowed few important powers to the central government
Bill of Rights
The first 10 ammendments to the Constitution
delegated powers
those powers, expressed, implied, or inherent, granted to the National Government by the Constitution
reserved powers
those powers that the Constitution does NOT grant to the National Government and does NOT, at the same time, deny it to the states
concurrent powers
those powers that both the National Government and the States possess and exercise
Necessary and Proper Clause
COnstitutional clause that gives COngress the power to make all laws "necessary and proper" for executing its powers (implied powers)
party platforms
formal statement of basic principles, stands on major issues, and objectives
open elections
no primaries, everyone runs together and anybody can vote for anybody
nonpartisan elections
elections in which candidates are not identified by party labels
run-off elections
top two vote-getters out of many face one another
primaries
closed -- party nominating election in which only declared party members can vote

open -- party nominating election in which any qualified voter can take part
caucus
as a nominating device, a group of like minded people who meet to slect the candidates they will wupport in an upcoming election
blanket primary
a voting process in which voters recieve a long ballot containing the names of all contedners, regardless of party, and can vote however they choose
Speaker of the House
the presiding officer of the House of Representatives, chosen by and from the majority party in the House
President of the Senate
the presiding officer of a senate; in Congress, the Vice President of the US; in a States legislature, either the lieutenant governor or senator
bicameral legislature
an adjective describing a legislative body composed of 2 chambers
unicameral legislature
an adjective describing a ledislative body composed of 1 chamber
seniority rule
unwritten rule in both houses of Congress reserving the top posts in each chamber, particularly committee chairmanships, for members with the longest records of service
gerrymandering
the drawing of electoral district lines to advantage of a party or group
riders
unpopular provision added to an important bill certain to pass so that it will "ride" through the legislative process
Cabinet
Presidential advisory body, traditionally made up of the heads of the executive departments and other officers
pardon
release from the punishment of legal consequences of a crime, by the President (in a fedreal case) or a governor (in a state case)
extradition
the legal process by which a fugitive from justice in one State is returned to that State
reprieve
an official postponement of the execution of a sentence
ordinance power
power of the President to issue executive orders; originates from the Constitution and acts of Congress
Miranda rule
the constitutional rights which police must read to a suspect before questioning can occur
probable cause
reasonable grounds, a reasonable suspicion of crime
search warrant
a court ordoer authorizing a search
exlusionary rule
evidence gained as the result of an illegal act by plice cannot be used against the person from whom it was seized
original jurisdiction
the power of a court to hear a case first before an other court
appellate jurisdiction
the authority of a court to review decisions of inferior (lower) courts
grand jury
the formal device by which a person can be accused of a serious crime
indictment
a formal complaint before a grand jury which charges the accused with one or more crimes
acquittal
find not guilty of a charge
bill of attainder
a legislative act that inflicts punishment without a court trial
writ of habeas corpus
a court order which prevents unjust arrests and imprisonments
ex post facto law
a law applied to an act committed before its passage
write of certiiorari
an order by a higher court directing a lower court to send up the record in a given case for review; from the Lation meaning to be more certain
procedural due process
the government must emply fair proceders and methods
National Security Council
meets on short notice, to advice the President in all domestic, foreign, and military matters that relate to the nation's security; Preisdent, VIce President, secretaries of state and defense, as well as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the chairman of th ejoint Chiefs of Staff; (full detail page 420)
direct democracy
also called a pure deomcracy, exists where the will of the people is translated into public policy (law) directly by the people themselves, in mass meetings; does not exist on a national level
Central Intelligance Agency
primary function is obtaining and analyzing information about foreign governments, corporations, and persons, and reporting such information to the branches of the government; covert operations
representative democracy
a small group of persons, chosen by the people to act as their representatives, expresses the popular will
Constitutional Convention
gathering of delegates for the purpose of writing or revising a constitution; fist one took place in Philadelphia in 1787
Common Sense
pamphlet written by Thomas Paine; first published in 1776 during the American Revolution; denounced British rule
White House Office
houses the President's key personal and political staff; (see page 420 for full detail)
Supremacy Clause
establishes the Constitution, Federal Statutes, and U.S. treaties as "the supreme law of the land"; Constitution is the highest form of law in the American legal system, state judges are required to uphold it, even if state laws or constitutions conlict with the clause
Office of Management and Budget
largest and most influential unit in the Executive Office; taks is the preparation of the federal budget, which the Prsident must submit to Congress in January or February each year (see page 421 for list of everything)
primaries
election in which voters in jurisdiction select candidates for a subsequent election (nominating); when political parties decide its nominee for the upcoming general election
Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act
aka the McCain-Feingold Act; U.S. federal law that regulates the financing of political campaigns; addressed the issues of soft money, issue ads, and disturbing campaign practices
Solid South
describes the electoral support of the Southern U.S. for Democratic Party candidates for almost a century after the Reconstruction era
Reapportionment Act of 1929
a combined census and reapportionment bill passed by the U.S. Congress which established a permanent method for apportioning U.S. House of Representatives seats according to each census; neither repealed nor restated the requirements of the previous apportionment acts
Presidential Succession Act of 1947
establishes the order of succession to the office of President of the U.S. in the event neither a President nor Vice President is able to discharge the powers and duties of the office
pork barrel projects
American government spending money that is intended to benefit constituents of a politician in return for their political support, either in the form of campaign contributions or votes
National Security Agency
the U.S. governments cryptologic organization thta was established in 1952; it is responsbile for the collection and analysis of foreign communcations, it coordinates, directs, and performs highly specialized activities to produce foreign signals intelligence information; responsible for protecting U.S. government communcations and information systems from similar agencies elsewhere, which involves signigificant amount of crypotography (message secrecy)
executive privelage
power claimed by the President of the U.S. and other members of the executive branch to resist certain search warrants and other interventions by the legislative and judicial branches of government
U.S. District Courts
Created in 1789 by Congress; each District has a varying number of judges; the general trial courts of the U.S. federal court system; both civil and criminal cases are filed here
U.S. Court of Appeals
Created in 1891; Docket – on the list to be heard by the court; Created because the Supreme Court & District Courts were 3 years behind in court cases, so the Court of Appeal was created as a middle court; appeals can come from prosecution or defense; usually there must be some kind of misconduct evidence by an official or the jury for an appeal to be taken seriously; do not use juries, they use a 3 judge panel and go with a majority vote; if an appeal is upheld (conviction is overturned), then the original victor can then appeal to the Supreme Court
petit jury
ordinary trial jury of 12 persons whose duty it is to find facts; hear evidence presented by both sides at trial and determine the facts in dispute; determines guit or innocence