a fundamental democratic principle requiring that the majority’s view be respected. nonetheless, the constitution originally contained a number of provisions designed to limit majority rule, including the electoral college,life tenure for s.c. justices, and the selection of senators by state legislators.
checks and balances
system in which each branch of government can limit the power of the other two branches. for example, the senate has the power to approve or reject presidential appointments to the supreme court.
system of government in which all power is invested in a central government.
a system of government in which power is divided by a written constitution between a central government and regional governments . As a result, two or more levels of government have formal authority over the same geographic area and people
powers specifically granted to the government by the constitution . for example, the constitution gives congress the power to coin money , impose taxes, and regulate interstate commerce. expressed powers are also called enumerated powers.
powers of the federal government that go beyond those enumerated in the constitution . implied powers are derived from the elastic or necessary and proper clause
powers not specifically granted to the government or denied to the states. Reserved powers are held by the states through the 10th amendment
situations in which the national and state governments work together to complete projects. also called fiscal federalism.
funds provided for a specific or clearly defined purpose.
funds granted to the states for a broadly defined purpose. because block grants shift resources from the federal government to the states, they contribute to the growing number of state and local government employees.
rules telling states what they must do to comply with federal guidelines.unfunded mandates require state and local governments to provide services or comply with regulations without the provision of funds.
a movement to transfer the responsibilities of governing from the federal government to state and local governments.
a set of widely shared political cultures and values.America’s political culture is characterized by strong support for individual liberty, political equality, legal equality , the rule of law, and limited government.
the process by which political values are formed and passed from one generation to the next. the family is the most important agent of political socialization.
attitudes about institutions, leaders, political issues, and events.
a cohesive set of beliefs about politics, public policy, and the role of government.
the belief that ones political participation makes a difference.
voting for candidates of different parties for different offices in the same election. recent elections have witnessed a significant increase in split-ticket voting as the number of voters who identify themselves as independents increases.
a group of citizens who organize to win elections,hold public offices, operate governments and determine public policy.
the winning candidate is the person who recieves more votes than anyone else, but less than half the total.
an electoral district from which one person is chosen by the voters for each elected office.this type of electoral system typically leads to legislatures dominated by two political parties.
an historical period dominated by one political party
an election when significant groups of voters change their traditional patterns of party loyalty.
the majority party is displaced by the minority party, thus ushering in a new party era. for example, in 1932, FDR led the new deal coalition blue-collar workers , racial minorities, southerners, and farm laborers to a sweeping electoral victory.
a government in which one party controls the presidency while another party controls congress. The pattern of divided government has dominated US politics since the early 1970s.
political action committee (Pac)
a committee formed by business, labor , or other interest groups to raise money and make contributions to the campaigns of political candidates whom they support.
an organization of people whose members share views on specific interests and attempt to influence public policy to their benefit.
people who benefit from an interest group without making any contributions. labor unions and public interest groups often have a free-rider problem because people can benefit from the groups activities without joining
power elite theory
the theory that a small number of very wealthy individuals, powerful corporate interest groups, and large financial institutions dominate key policy areas.
the theory that many interest groups compete for power in a large number of policy areas.
the theory that government policy is weakened and often contradictory
means of communication such as newspapers, radio, television, and the internet that can reach large, widely dispersed
institutions that connect citizens to government. the mass media, interest groups, and political parties are the three main linkage institutions.
the tendency of the media to cover campaigns by emphasizing how candidates stand in the polls rather than where they stand on the issues.
the reallocation of representatives each state has in the house of representatives.
the legislative process by which the majority party in each state legislature redraws congressional districts to ensure the maximum number of seats for its candidates.
an officeholder who is seeking reelection. incumbency is the single most important factor in determining the outcome of the congressional elections
the right of members of congress to mail newsletters to their constituents at the governments expense.
permanent subject-matter congressional committees that handle legislation and oversee the bureaucracy.
temporary bodies that are formed to resolve differences between house and senate versions of a bill.
house rules committee
the house rules committee sets the guidelines for floor debate. It gives each bill a rule that places the bill on the legislative calendar, limits time for debate, and determines the type of amendments that will be allowed.
House ways and means committee
house committee that handles tax bills
unwritten rule in both houses of congress reservingcommittee chairs to members of the committee with the longest records of continuous service.
a way of delaying or preventing action on a bill by using long speeches and unlimited debate to “talk a bill to death”
a senate motion to end a filibuster. cloture requires a three-fifths vote.
tactic of mutual aid and vote trading among legislators.
congressional review of the activities of an executive agency, department, or office.
delegate role of representation
when members of congress cast votes based on the wishes of their constituents.
a primary in which voters are required to identify a party preference before teh election and are not allowed to split their ticket.
the recent pattern of states holding primaries early in order to maximize their media attention and political influence. three fourths of the presidential primaries are now held between february and mmid-march.
contributions to political parties for party-building activities. soft money contributions are used to circumvent limits on hard money.
a tax-exempt organization created to influence the political process; 527 groups are not regulated by the federal election commission because they do not coordinate their activities with a candidate or party
the president’s pconstitutional power to reject a bill passed by congress. congress may override the veto with a 2/3 vote in each chamber.
the power to veto specific dollar amounts or line items from major congressional spending bills. the supreme court struck down the line-item veto as an unconstitutional expansion of the presidents veto power.
a pact between the president and a head of a foreign state. Executive agreements do not have to be approved by the senate. however, unlike treatys, executive agreements are not part of US law and are not binding on future presidents.
the president ‘s power to refuse to disclose confidential information. IN united states v. nixon (1974), the supreme court ruled that there is no constitutional guarantee of unqualified executive privilege.
the period of time in which the president ‘s term is about to come to an end. presidents typically have less influence during a lame-duck period.
a large, complex organization of appointed officials
a directive,order,or regulation issued by the president. Executive orders are based on constitutional or statutory authority and have the force of the law.
An alliance among an administrative agency, an interest group, and a congressional committee.Each member of the iron triangle provides key services, information, or policy for the others.
a network that includes policy experts, media pundits,congressional staff members, and interest groups who regularly debate an issue.
a set of issues and problems that policy makers consider important. the mass media play an important role in influencing the issues which recieve public attention.
the authority of a court to hear an appeal from a lower court.
an unwritten tradition whereby the senate will not confirm nominations for lower court positions that are opposed by a a senator of the president’s own party from the state in which the nominee is to serve.
writ of certiorari
an order by the supreme court directing a lower court to send up the record in a given case for its review
rule of four
the supreme court will hear a case if four justices agrees to do so.
the solicitor general is responsible for handling all appeals on behalf of the united states government to the supreme court.
Amicus curiae brief
a friend of the court brief filed by an interest group or interested party to influence a supreme court decision
stare decisis is a latin phrase meaning “let the decision stand” . the vast majority of supreme court decisions are based on precedents established in earlier cases.
philosophy that the supreme court should use precedent and the framers original intent to decide cases.
philosophy that the supreme court must correct injustices when other branches of government or the states refuse to do so.
monetary policy involves regulating the money supply, controlling inflation, and adjusting interest rates. Monetary policy is controlled by the Federal Reserve Board
raising and lowering taxes and government spending programs. fiscal policy is controlled by the executive and legislative branches.
a government-sponsored program that provides mandated benefits to those who meet eligibility requirements. social security and medicare are the government’s largest entitlement programs.
Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
the OMB is responsible for preparing the budget that the president submits to congress.
legal abnd constitutional rights that protect individuals from arbitrary acts of government. civil liberties include freedom of speech and guarentees of a fair trial.
policies designed to protect people against arbitrary or discriminatory treatment by government officials or individuals. Civil Rights include laws prohibiting racial and gender discrimination
the case-by-case process by which liberties listed in the bill of rights have been applied to the statues using the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
a provision of the first amendment that prohibits congress from establishing an official government-sponsored religion.
Free Exercise Clause
A provision of the first amendment that guarantees each person the right to believe what he or she wants . However a religion cannot make an act legal that would otherwise be illegal.
Clear and Present Danger Test
judicial interpretation of the first amendment that government may not ban speech unless it poses an imminent threat to society.
Writ of Habeas Corpus
A court order directing that a prisoner be brought before a court and that the court officers show cause why the prisoner should not be released.
Bill of Attainder
A legislative Act that provides for the punishment of a person without a court trial.
Ex Post Facto Law
A law applied to an act committed before the law was enacted.
supreme court guideline that prohibits evidence obtained by illegal searches or seizures from being admitted in court.
warnings that police must read to suspects prior to questioning that advises them of their rights.
supreme court rule that classification by race and ethnic background is inherently suspect and must be justified by a compelling “public interest”
a policy requiring federal agencies ,universities, and most employers to take positive steps to remedy the effects of past discrimination.
Marbury v. Madison
Established the principle of a judicial review. Strengthened the power of the judicial branch by giving the supreme court the authority to declare acts of congress unconstitutional.
McCulloch v. Maryland
Confirmed the right of congress to utilize implied powers to carry out its expressed powers. Validated the supremacy of the national government over the states by declaring that states cannot interfere with or tax the legitimate activities of the federal government.
Gibbons v Ogden
Strengthened the power of the federal government to regulate interstate commerce.established the commerce clause’s role as a key vehicle for the expansion of federal power.
Engel v Vitale
Struck down state-sponsored prayer in public schools. Ruled that the regents’ prayer was an unconstitutional violation of the establishment clause
Lemon v. Kurtzman
Struck down state funding for private religious schools. Ruled that state aid to church-related private schools must meet three tests; (A) the purpose of the aid must be clearly secular, (B) the governments action must neither advance nor inhibit religion, and (c) the government’s action must not foster an “excessive entanglement” between government and religion.
Reynolds v. United States
Banned Polygamy. Distinguished between religious beliefs that are protected by the free exercise clause and religious practices that may be restricted. Ruled that religious practices cannot make an act legal that would otherwise be illegal.
Oregon v. Smith
Banned the use of illegal drugs in religious ceremonies. Ruled that the government can act when religious practices violate criminal laws.
Schenk v. US
ruled that free speech could be limited when it presents a “clear and present danger…”. Established the “clear and present danger ” test to define conditions under which publivauthorities can limit free speech.
New York Times v. Sullivan (1964)
ruled that public officials cannot win a suit for defamation unless the statement is made with actu”actual malice”Established the “actual Malice” standard to promote “uninhibited, robust, and wide-open” public debate.
Roth v US
ruled that obscenity is not constitutionally protected free speech. Created :prevailing community standards rule requiring a consideration of the work as a whole
Tinker v Des Moines
Protected some forms of symbolic speech. Ruled that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the school house gate”
Texas v Johnson
Ruled that flag burning is a form of symbolic speech protected by the first amendment.
Barron v Baltimore
Ruled that the bill of rights cannot be applied to the states.
Gitlow v New York
established precedent for the doctrine of selective incorporation, thus extending most of the requirements of the bill of rights to the states.
Weeks v US
Established the exclusionary rule in federal cases. Prohibited evidence obtained by illegal searches and seizures from being admitted in court.
Mapp v Ohio
Extended the exclusionary rule to the states. Illustrated the process of selective incorporation through the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment,.
Gideon v Wainwright
Ruled that the sixth amendment right-to counsel provision applies to those accused of major crimes under state laws. Illustrated the process of incorporation by which the sixth amendment was applied to the states through the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment.
Miranda v Arizona
ruled that the police must inform criminal suspects of their constitutional rights before questioning suspects after arrest. Required police to read the miranda rules to criminal suspects.
Dred Scott v Sandford
ruled that african americans were not citizens and therefore could not petition the supreme court. Overturned by the fourteenth amendment
Plessy v Ferguson
Upheld jim crow segregation by approving “separate but equal” public facilities for African Americans
Brown v Board of Ed
Ruled that racially segregated schools violated the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. Reversed the principle of “separate but equal” established in Plessy v Ferguson
University of california v Bakke
ordered the medical school at the university of california at davis to admit bakke. Ruled that the medical school’s strict quota system denied bakke the equal protection guaranteed by the fourteenth amendment. Ruled that race could be used as one factor among others in the competition for available places
Grutter v Bollinger
upheld the affirmative action policy of the university of michigan law school. Upheld bakke ruling that race could be a consideration in admissions policy but that quotas are illegal.
Griswold v. Connecticut
ruled that a connecticut law criminalizing the use of contraceptives violated the right to marital privacy. Established an important precedent for Roe v. Wade
Roe v Wade
Ruled that the decision to obtain an abortion is protected by the right to privacy implied by the bill of rights.
Baker v Carr
Ruled that the judicial branch of governemtn can rule on matters of legislative apoortionment. Used the principle of “one person, one vote”. Ordered stated legislative districts to be as equal as possible.
Wesberry v Sanders
Established the principle of “one person, one vote” in drawing congressional districts. Triggered widespread redistricting that gave cities and suburbs greater representation in congress.
Korematsu v US
Upheld the constitutionality of the relocation of japanese americans as a wartime necessity. Viewed by contemporary scholars as a flagrant violation of civil liberties.
US v Nixon
Ruled that there is no constitutional guarantee of unqualified executive privilege
Buckley v Valeo
Upheld federal limits on campaign contributions. Struck down the portion of the federal election campaign act limiting the amount of money individuals can contribute to their own campaign. Ruled that spending money on one’s own campaign is a form of constitutionally protected free speech. Complicated congressional efforts to enact significant campaign finance reform.
The civil Rights act of 1964
Enforced the fourteenth amendment . ended Jim crow segregation in hotels, motels., restaurants, and other places of public accommodation. prohibited discrimination in employment on the basis of race color, national origin, religion , or gender. Created the equal Employment opportunity commission to monitor and enforce protections against job discrimination.Prohibited discrimination in employment on grounds of race, color, religion, national origin, oi, or sex. Upheld by the supreme court on the grounds that segregation affected interstate commerce.
The Voting Rights act of 1965
Outlawed literacy tests and other discriminatory practices that had been responsible for disenfranchising African American voters. Provided for federal oversight of voter registration in areas with a history of discriminatory voting practices. Improved the voter registration disparity between whites and African Americans.
The Clean Air Act
Passed in 1970, this gives the EPA the authority to regulate vehicle emissions in the U.S.
The War Powers Resolution
limits the power of the president (send troops in for sixty days then congress has to declare war or troops get sent home)
The Budget and impoundment control act of 1974
Enacted to help congress regain powers previously lost to executive branch.
the federal election campaign act
Require Candidates to disclose all contributions made to their campaign
Americans with disabilities act
Passed by Congress in 1991, this act banned discrimination against the disabled in employment and mandated easy access to all public and commerical buildings.
Welfare Reform Act
1996 law that established the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program in place of the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program and tightened Medicaid eligibility requirements
no child left behind act
Federal law enacted in January 2002 that introduced new accountability measures for elementary and secondary schools in all states that wish to receive federal aid.
Expands the definition of terrorism to include domestic terrorism. Authorized searches of a home or business without the owner’s or the occupants permission or knowledge. Increases the ability of law enforcement agencies to seatch telephone, email communication, medical, financial, and other records.