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AP US GOVERNMENT MIDTERM

 U.S. v. Nixon
o President Nixon claimed he had executive privilege- authority to
withhold information from the courts and Congress
o Although the Constitution doesn’t mention such a privilege, Nixon
contends that the privilege is inherent in the powers of the
presidency
o Without it, presidents could not guarantee confidentiality in convos
with other officials or even foreign leaders- could make it difficult to
govern
 Executive Orders (p. 371)
o Rules or regulations issued by the president that have the force of
law; issued to implement constitutional provisions or statutes
 Executive Agreements
o President ignores the power of Congress to ratify treaties and
makes “not-quite-treaties” between government heads in multiple
countries
o Similar to executive orders “not-quite-legislation” for domestic
issues
o
 White House Staff (Executive Office of the President)
o The president has a cabinet which represents the heads of
executive branch
o They need some experience, expertise in area, and management
skill
o The President selects choices for cabinet posts but they must be
confirmed by the Senate
o Important in presidential decision making, supposd to be free of
political influence
o Usually viewed as president’s advisors, but not necessarily
supposed to be that way
o Cabinet is supposed to be the “experts” and executioners of law,
part of a constant back and forth between the President and the
rest of the branch
o Problem with Bush Cabinet-no expertise but cronyism
o White House staff
 That’s for cronies
 President selects who he wants without confirmation because
they are not official officeholders
 Led by Chief of Staff
o Cabinet is supposed to be more pure policymakers while the staff is
more about political operatives
 Line- Item Veto
o A line-item veto is a power by which the executive can nullify
specific portions of the bill without vetoing the whole thing….the
power is held by governors in all but seven states
 Electoral College
o We don’t directly vote for the president, but rather unnamed
electors that make up the Electoral College
o Idealistically, the electors are supposed to be wise people of the
states who would get together and vote, and they would be locally
known enough that one could validly vote for the one that one
agreed with better
o However, nowadays, it got twisted into “vote for electors who will
definitely vote for the president I want.”
 Wise-people closed-room idea got thrown out
o Electors can still exercise independent judgment, but the check
against that is they are pre-selected by the parties who will usually
choose the “fanatics”
 Office of Management and Budget
o White House office that handles the executive budget
 Article II Powers of the President
o Commander-in-chief of the Army
 He is the “Decider” fro the military – the ultimate/supreme
one
 Founding Fathers didn’t intend it that way; they figured
Congress would have to declare war, but it doesn’t happen
that way anymore
o Head of Executive Branch
 He is ultimately responsible for making sure that the laws are
put into place completely and fairly
o Chief Policymaker
 Not so much implementing the laws as crafting them
 Legislation actually passed by Congress, but the President is
the one who spearheads the legislation and pushes it through
o Chief Diplomat
 Negotiates treaties
 Treaties must be ratified by the Senate
 See executive agreements
o Figurehead
 Leader of the people
 We accept the notion implied by this role, that our President
should be a good representative of the nation
 What’s the one power in the Constitution for which there is no check on
the President?
o Answer: Pardons
 Subcommittees in Congress
o *The realm where most of our life-or-death decisions on bills occur
o First comes the “Marking up of the bill”- People get their hands on it
 Staff of the Congress do research on the topic of the bill, give
input, maybe some executive people as well
 It could be so marked up that it dies, or it could be scheduled
for a hearing
o At a hearing, all the people interested in the bill come in and
discuss it, and the bill is reshaped accordingly
o After the hearing, the subcommittee chairman must schedule it for
a vote – another place it can die
o It can lose the vote in subcommittee, in which case it’s dead
o If it passes, it gets reported back to the committee
 Pork Barrel
o Funding for special projects, buildings, and other public works in the
district or state of a member of Congress. Members support such
projects because they provide jobs for constituents and enhance
the members’ reelection chances, rather than because the projects
are necessarily wise
 Earmark
o A specific amount of money designated – or set aside – at the
request of a member of Congress, for a favored project, usually in
his or her district. The dollar amount may be included in one of the
budget authorization bills, but more commonly is the committee
report attached to the ball that instructs the relevant executive
branch agency how to spend the money authorized for its
operations
 Logrolling
o When you couple earmarking and pork barreling together
o “You support mine and I’ll support yours”
 Steering Committee/Committee on Committees
o With the leadership’s prodding, this committee decides who gets on
what committee
o The Republican version is the Committee on Committees
 Powers of the Speaker
o The leader and presiding officer of the House of Representatives;
chosen by the majority party
o Has control over committees: assigning bills to committees and also
determining the composition thereof
 Elastic Clause
o Congress has authority to make all laws “necessary and proper” for
carrying out its specific powers
o This is sometimes called the implied powers clause because the
federal courts soon interpreted its vague wording to mean that
Congress could legislate in almost any area it wished – greatly
expanded the reach of the national government
 Marbury v. Madison
o Implemented judicial review
o First big Supreme Court ruling
o John Marshall was seeking an opportunity to strengthen the “weak
leg” of the Federal Government (Judicial Branch)
o Judicial review gave a new, very important power to declare laws
unconstitutional
o Fosters power in the national government because it is the counter
point to the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions – States don’t
determine what is constitutional, we do
 McCullogh v. Maryland
o Whether Maryland could tax the Bank of the United States
o Supreme Court says that national law is above state law, and
Congress can constitutionally create a bank
o Acknowledging the power of Congress to do things under the elastic
clause grows Congress’ power to legislate, which concentrates
more power in the national government
 Different Types of Committees
o Standing Committees
 Permanent congressional committees
o Steering/Committee on Committees
 See previously mentioned
o Rules Committee
 Deals with debate of bills in the House; it determines the
rules for debate (the time allotted and special conditions that
might attach)
 Bill dies if never gets rules attached
o Subcommittees
 See previously mentioned
o Select/Special Committees
 Typically organized on a temporary basis to investigate a
specific problem or to hold hearings and issue a report on
special problems that arise (ex. Intelligence agency failures
prior to 9/11 etc)
o Joint Committees
 Includes members from both houses, with the chair
alternating between a House and Senate member
 There are four permanent joint committees, two of which
study budgetary and tax policy
 The other two administer institutions and affiliated with
Congress
o Conference Committee
 Appointed whenever the Senate and the House pass different
versions of the same bill
 Also has joint membership
 Members from the committees that managed the bill in their
respective chambers work out a single version fro the full
membership to vote on
 Can kill the bill by inaction, but it usually works out
compromise language
o Task Forces/Ad Hoc Committees
 The traffic jams and turf wars surrounding much committee
work have led members of Congress with strong interests in
particular areas to look for ways to bypass the committee
structure
 Write bills that offer an alternative to what the relevant
standing committees are likely to produce and doing it more
quickly
 On the other hand, task forces bypass mechanisms for
accountability to the public and to most rank-and file
members
• Bills are written without formal hearings or the
opportunity to point out any potential pitfalls and
problems of legislation
 Filibuster/Cloture
o A continuous speech made by one or more members to prevent the
Senate from taking action on a bill
o Today, a cloture vote of three-fifths of the members closes or ends
debate on an issue thrity hours after cloture is invoked – the
measure then must be brought to a vote
 Pocket Veto
o Final kill point for a bill: The bill goes to the desk of the President,
who must either sign it into law or veto it
o If he doesn’t sign it within the last ten days of Congress’ session,
the bill dies (called a pocket veto)
 Question about the media: All it is trying to say is – “All of the following are
arguments that Waterhouse raised in class that undermine this particular
idea except:”
 Liberal Bias
o Some claim there is some kind of “liberal” bias in the media and
academia
o Media: Proof is journalists are overwhelmingly Democratic
o Academia: There is a liberal bias to education because it is
inherently about seeking new answers to things; and teachers are
mostly liberal because they're teaching because they aren't focused
on making money.
o BUT if the educational process really did liberalize young people,
growing trends in higher education would correlate with growing
trends in liberality amongst youngsters, which is not true
o Similarly, if it was a problem that the media had a “liberal bias,” it
would be affecting our political discourse, making the public more
and more liberal, which is not true as well (We’re a center-right
country)
 Money Bias
o To the degree that your education has gotten you wealth, you want
to keep it, so you’re conservative
o Down the economic scale, traditionally the working class was
Democratic

 Problems with Polls


o The way questions are worded can change a person’s answer
o People’s views on issues can change frequently
o May not be an accurate representation of the public
 Interest Groups
o Groups that are coalesced around an interest for the purpose of
influencing/intersecting with government
o Exist because of the emergence of a bureaucracy and of a complex
legislative structure
o Private Interest Groups
 Usually organized around money (industry, economic
interests)
 Iron Triangle
• Essentially the sum of the three main parts of the
process surrounding interest groups: the interest group
itself, the bureaucracy that group deals with, and the
legislative committee it deals with
• Coordination between these three parts are what puts
the ideas of the group into action
• Klein mentioned that a lot of the time the primary
positions held in each of these three categories are
held by the same elite people (although not at the
same time). This notion is bad for pluralism (because
the same ideas are being propagated - no questioning)
but good in a way for the interest group because it
forces the government to get things done
 Lobbying: the efforts of interest groups to influence
government
o Public Interest Groups (Social Issues)
 Single-issue group: Pursue a single public interest goal and
are characteristically reluctant to compromise (Ex. NRA)
 Multiple-issue groups: Usually represent a demographic with
issues in common (Ex. NAACP)
 Our Party System v. European Ones
o We have a winner-take-all kind of system while most of the rest of
the world has parliamentary democracies with proportional
representation – In one way or another, if as a party you get X% of
the vote, you get X% of the power
o In the US, a party gets no presentation unless they win an election
(a party can get 46.3% of the vote and get far less or far more than
that percentage of power)
 Federalism
o Division of power btwn state + fed gov
 How can state influence fed?
• States elect senators (represent state’s interests)
 Another way to check national gov. power
o Confederal- states are more powerful
o Unitary- national gov is more powerful
o Geographic based diversityfederalist system
 Age, occupation, income, ethnicity, political culture
 PROBLEMS w/ federalism- slow to respond
o Creates entities that can unite, vast inconsistencies state by
state
 Constitution gave specific powers to national gov. (state gov. take over
other powers)
o States CAN’Ttreaty, raise army, currency
o Fed gov CAN’Tabolish states
 3 types of federalism- nation-centered, state-centered, dual
o Nation-centered
 Crises- ex. Great Depressions- FDR intervened in state
affairs (grants-in-aid)
• Post-WWII- fed gov involved in welfare, healthcare,
education, voting…
 Times of activism- LBJ- Great Society
 Supreme court- Marshall court
• Maryland vs. McCullogh- ‘necessary and proper’
Marshall Court stretched pres power
• Gibbons vs. Ogden- expanded interstate commerce
• Brown vs. Board of Education- states can’t violate
Warren Court
Bill of Rights
• Baker vs Carr- reapportionment
o Dual- 70’s- Nixon, Reagan swung gov back to dual
 Devolution- let power spread to states
 Nixon- ‘New Federalism’- revenue sharing w/ states,
grants-in-aid
 Reagan- gave responsibility to states (didn’t like it- not
enough $$)
• Unfunded mandates
 Clinton- Repub Congress w/ Newt Gingrich who supported
devolution
• Welfare Reform Act- states have more leeway
 Bush II- made environment state’s responsibility
 90’s- supreme court- fed powerstate power
o 1. Narrow interpretation of interstate commerce- overturned
unfunded mandates
 Brady Bill (overturned), Superfund Act (overturned)
 Violence of women act (overturned), Federal Wetlands Act
(overturned)
o 2. 11th amendment- state sovereign immunity
 You can’t sue your own or another state in federal court
 Federal patent law, American disabilities Act
o EXCEPTIONS- Motor Voter Bill, states attempt to create term
limits overturned
 1970-2001- TREND- fed powerstate power
o States became more activist- environmental issues, immigration,
welfare, healthcare…
 Result of New Federalism (devolution)- size of fed gov. the same
o State power has increased
 State vs. state conflict- full faith + credit, fed funds, fight for big
business (lower corporate tax)

 Unfunded Mandates (p.74-75)


o Laws or regulations imposed on the states unaccompanied by
sufficient funding to implement them
o Ex. No Child Left Behind imposed testing and reporting regime on
states and local school districts
o Grant-in-aid: Opposite of unfunded mandates, government gives
money to states to do things
• Charles Beard
o Talked about economic motivations of founding fathers
o Talked about different the different type of wealth founding fathers
had versus the average American
o Founders’ fortunes were in a “personalty” unusual to normal
Americans – Most Americans had realty (land), FF’s had personalty
(non-landed wealth)
• Preemption
o Once Congress legislates in a field, the states don't get to legislate
in that field anymore
o Modern-day battlegrounds: medicinal marijuana in California would
fall under the purview of the FDA.
o And environmental stuff: we want to have our own standards for
cars here, be more restrictive than the national government's
standards, and the preemption argument says California can't do
that
• Devolution
o An approach to shifting responsibility to the states on a program-by-
program basis
o “Welfare” reform is the best example, in which, under Clinton, each
state could craft its own program to reach the broad goals set at
the national level
• McCain-Feingold Act (2002)
o Goals: To close the loophole of “soft money” donations – funds
given to political parties and other groups for uses other than
campaigning – to national, state and local political parties
o Previously, soft money had been one of the loopholes in the 1974
legislation because it was not to be used for the campaign and was
therefore not limited. It was allegedly for “party-building” activities
such as national party conventions, voter registration drives, etc.
o To raise hard money contribution limits (to $2,000 by individuals per
candidate per election) to catch up with rising costs of elections
since the 1974 legislation
o To increase disclosure provisions for contributions to groups
sponsoring political ads
o To try to further regulate the use of soft money-funded
advertisements by corporate and labor groups➢
o Effect: Closed part of the soft money loophole but not all of it
o Hurt Democrats more than Republicans because Democrats rely
more on soft money (whereas Republicans raised more hard
money)
• Racial Gerrymandering
o Drawing the lines of a district in a strange way that causes a
disproportionate balance within (goal is to enhance political
empowerment for a party)
o Generally not unconstitutional when it’s used for party imbalancing,
but gerrymandering for the purpose of achieving racial inequality is
unconstitutional
o Cracking, Packing, and Stacking are illegal uses of gerrymandering
for racial purposes
 Cracking: the idea that you gerrymander more than one
district so as to split a concentration of minority votes.
Minority folks are likely to vote for a minority representative;
the splitting makes that impossible
 Packing: the idea that you “pack” all the minority votes
together, in one gerrymandered district, so they only get at
most one representative
 Stacking: when you fold a smaller minority area into a non-
minority group where you know the minority vote is going to
be overwhelmed
• Founding Father’s Attitude Toward Political Parties
o Political parties are not mentioned in the Constitution at all, and
they were far from the founding fathers’ mindset – which we know
from Fed 10 and from Washington’s farewell address
o However, they emerged right away as an informal mechanism for
public attitudes
• Federalism Question: What’s traditionally left with the states?
• Political Participation
o There has been an ever-increasing push towards more and more
suffrage (White males w/ land⇒Property qualifications started
disappearing⇒15th amendment (1869) blacks got the right⇒19th
amendment (1919) women did⇒ 1965 Voting Rights Act outlawed
poll taxes and literacy tests⇒Vietnam-era 18 year olds could vote)
o Turnout has been fairly constant over the past several decades
(60%)
o High point was during the Gilded Age
o The counterpoint to voting is “nonvoting”: orthodoxy is that
nonvoting stems from people being too apathetic to care, but
nonvoting is also a form of voting – just means you want things to
stay the same
• President v. Congress in Foreign Policy
o President has totally usurped Congressional authority for foreign
policymaking; the last declared war that the US fought in was World
War II
o The recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan stemmed from
Authorization for Use of Military Force passed by Congress (Cheney
made a specific choice not to ask for an outright war declaration
because he wanted the precedent of more power in the Presidency)
o Congress is supposed to ratify treaties, but the President can
overcome these requirements with executive agreements and
executive orders (see previously mentioned)
o Congress’ pullback to sucking of war into the Presidential power
was the 1974 War Powers Act: “We’re going to buy into this thing
that the President can use the military short of a declaration of war,
but he can’t do it indefinitely – timeframes after which he must get
continued authorization from Congress”

Topics that still need to be explained:


o Irrelevancy of the Supreme Court in policymaking
o Bills raising revnue
o Campaign Finance
o Current trend of elections
o Primary elections and their effect on political parties
o Voting patterns
o President’s effectiveness
o Powers in Congress

Ponder for the exam: What other forces, informal mechanisms, are
at work in the modern era that dictate that foreign policy power must be in
the presidency?