apgov unit 2

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bicameral legislature

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key terms and vocab for lessons 2.1-2.15 by me! **i highly encourage that you study the f. docs and scotus cases outside of these fcs to fully understand them**

111 Terms


bicameral legislature

two-house structure that is demonstrated in Congress

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house of representatives

2 year terms, 435 members, must be at least 25 years of age and a citizen for 7 years. they originate revenue bills, impeach officials, break electoral college ties, focus on revenue & spending, and have limited debate time

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6 year terms, 100 members, must be at least 30 years of age and a citizen for 9 years. they check presidential appointments, handle trials for impeached officials, focus on foreign policy, and have unlimited debate time.

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an informal part of the policymaking process wherein like-minded people are put in groups (ex. Republican and Democratic, and ones that transcend party lines like women’s rights and agriculture)

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seventeenth amendment

the amendment that allows voters to cast direct votes for U.S. senators. prior to its passage, senators were chosen by state legislatures.

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speaker of the house

the only leadership position in the House of Representatives mentioned in the Constitution, usually the leader of the majority party, holds a lot of power

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majority/minority leaders

the spokespeople to the parties, may participate in direct debate, and are the first members recognized in debate

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majority/minority whips

the people who discipline the parties, prods members to vote with their parties instead of straying, also chaperones their party members to check for bad behavior, etc.

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president of the senate

the vice president of the US, rarely in attendance. they break ties in votes

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president pro tempore

the temporary president, a mostly ceremonial position held by most senior majority party member. tasks include ruling when VP isn’t there, signing legislation, and issuing the oath of office to new senators

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twelfth amendment

the amendment that changed how the vice president and president are elected - instead of having the runner-up as the VP, the presidential and VP candidates run as a team

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twentieth amendment

the amendment that changes the president’s start date to January 20th

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twenty-second amendment

the amendment that limits the number of presidential terms to two

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twenty-fifth amendment

the amendment that empowers the VP to take over is the president dies, resigns, becomes ill, unstable, or is in a weakened state. it also empowers the president pro tempore to become VP vacancy

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small groups in Congress that allow lawmakers to use their expertise, informal but have always existed since the beginning of Congress, helps make lawmaking more managable

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standing committees

permanent committees that are focused on a particular policy area (ex. finance,, foreign relations, etc.). in the senate, an example would be the use of this committee for presidential conformational hearings. in the house, the most powerful type of this committee is that Ways and Means Committee, which determines tax policy.

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joint committees

committees where members from both houses come together to address a long-term issue/program, like to manage the Library of Congress, and taxation

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select/special committees

temporary committees where members handle a particular issue/investigation (ex. to investigate the 2012 terrorist attack in Libya on the US Consulate)

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conference committees

committees that ae used when the House and Senate create similar bills with slight differences, the committee will iron out differences to create the exact same bill

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germane amendments

amendments that are related directly to the legislation under consideration

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house rules committee

a committee unique to the House that can easily dispose of a bill and define the guidelines for debate, nothing will reach the House floor if they don’t allow it

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committee of the whole

a committee unique to the House that includes but does not require all representatives, used as a more relaxed state of operation for the House

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discharge petition

a legislative tool used in the house to force a bill out of committee and onto the floor for a vote. it requires the support of a simple majority.

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nongermane amendments

also known as riders, these are amendments that are not related directly to the legislation under consideration. only senators may use them. they are usually added to benefit a member’s own agenda or to enhance the political chances of a bill

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the tactic where senators speak for long periods of time to try to prevent a bill from being voted on

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unanimous consent

approval of all senators

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a measure to stall a bill

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cloture rule

a rule that enables and requires a three-fifths majority to stop debate on a bill (stopping filibuster) and allowing for a vote

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the member who introduces (and typically assumes authorship of) a bill

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omnibus bill

also known as a Christmas tree bill, this bill addresses multiple programs or areas of law. this is because senators added so many riders to it that it sometimes may become unrecognizable

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pork barrel spending

riders that deal with funds earmarked for specific purposes in a legislator’s district (ex. when senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) added a rider to spend over $400m on bridges in Alaska on a bill primarily meant to support US troops in Iraq)

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when the committee chair decides to move a bill for debate at a later time, or not at all

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when members trade votes to gain support for a bill

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mandatory spending

payment required by law, or mandated, for certain reasons (ex. social security, medicare, unemployment insurance)

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the difference between spending and revenue, the government has to borrow money to pay the deficit

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discretionary spending

funding that congressional committees debate and decide how to divide up (ex. debt, military, human resources)

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caused by intensifying partisanship, this is when the opposing parties are so against each other that it is extremely difficult to get bills to move forward (can be between the houses or Congress and the president)

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delegate model

the voting model where members reflect what their people want

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trustee model

the voting model where members use their education to make the best judgement, regardless how their constituents view an issue

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politico model

the voting model that attempts to blend the delegate and trustee models together (ex. following the delegate model when there is high public support and trustee when there is low public support)

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SCOTUS: Baker v. Carr (1962)

the case that decided that the Supreme Court was entitled to render judgement on the constitutionality of legislative districts, forced Tennessee to follow the law that legislative boundaries need to be redrawn every 10 years, overturned precedent established in Colegrove v. Green, and established the one person-one vote principle that expanded democratic participation & the voting rights of minorities

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the process where illogical district lines are drawn to give an advantage to one party over another

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swing districts

also known as marginal seats, districts where there are closer elections

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safe seats

districts that consistently win by more than 55% of the vote

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partisan gerrymandering

a type of gerrymandering used to guarantee safe seats and one-party rule

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racial gerrymandering

a type of gerrymandering used that was found to dilute the votes of african americans under their fifteenth amendment voting rights, and was found to violate other voters’ rights under the fourteenth amendment’s equal protection clause

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SCOTUS: Shaw v. Reno (1993)

the case that decided that congressional districts that are designed for the purpose of assuring a majority black population is unconstitutional under the fourteenth amendment’s equal protection clause

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divided government

when the president is from one party, while the house and/or the senate are dominated by the other

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lame-duck president

a president who has not won reelection and therefore has limited influence due to the upcoming inauguration of a new president

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policy agenda

a set of issues that the president accomplishes, particularly significant to people involved in policymaking

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qualifications for the president

natural-born citizen, at least 35 years old, US resident for at least 14 years before taking office, and received a majority of electoral college votes

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duties and powers of the president

hold office for a four-year term, Commander in Chief of the army and navy, pardon convicted persons for federal offenses, recommend measures to Congress, and convene or adjourn Congress

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limits of the president

may require opinions of advisers and department heads, and appoint ambassadors, judges, and make treaties only with Senate approval

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chief legislator

the role the president performs when he is recommending measures to Congress at the State of the Union Address or other events, pushing Congress to pass proposals

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powers of persuasion

a informal power/skill the president uses to win support for policy agenda by getting Congress to agree with and pass the legislative agenda

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line-item veto

a power that is not able to be used anymore, used to be able to give the president to cut part of, but not all of a bill

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commander in chief

the role the president plays when he is making energetic orders in response to threat or attack on the US

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chief diplomat

the role the president plays when he is dealing with foreign affairs such as facilitating trade, setting international environmental standards, and preventing weapon testing under Senate approval

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executive agreement

a contract between two heads of state, similar to a treaty but does not require the Senate’s two-thirds vote. appreciated by presidents so they can ensure secrecy and/or act in a timely matter

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chief executive and administrator

the role the president plays when he and his appointees are enforcing or implementing a new law

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executive order

empowers the president to carry out the law or to administer the government (ex. defining how the military and other departments operate), a famous one is FDR’s order that resulted in the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII

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signing statement

explains the president’s interpretation of a bill, their understanding of what is expected of them to carry it out, or just a commentary on the law.

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executive privilege

the right for president's to withhold information or their decision-making process from another branch

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the principle officers in each of the executive departments, but also can have additional members added

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a top diplomat or someone impressive who is appointed to represent the US in a nation that the US recognizes

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inherent powers

powers that aren’t explicitly listed but are nonetheless within the jurisdiction of the executive

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FD: Federalist No. 70

the document that focuses on the value of having a united, energetic, single executive to avoid conflicts and ensure accountability

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imperial presidency

a powerful executive position guided by a weaker Congress (ex. Andrew Jackson using the veto 12 times, Abraham Lincoln suspending habeas corpus, Theodore Roosevelt’s acquiring Panama, Woodrow Wilson having a strong international voice, and of course, America’s reliance on FDR during the Great Depression and foreign policy dilemma)

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stewardship theory

the idea coined by Roosevelt that the president had a duty to act in national interests, unless the action was prohibited by the Constitution (like a good steward, the president should exercise as much authority as possible to take care of the American people)

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bully pulpit

used to describe the platform or position that allows a person to speak out and be heard on a large scale (the president persuades the people, the people persuade Congress)

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State of the Union Address

a required report by the president to Congress about the economic, military, and social state of the Union

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US District Courts

an indirectly mentioned constitutional court, the lowest tier of the three-level federal court system

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US Circuit Court of Appeals

an indirectly mentioned constitutional court, the middle tier of the three-level federal court system

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US Supreme Court

the directly mentioned constitutional court, the highest tier of the three-level federal court system

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constitutional courts

the three types of courts that are directly or indirectly mentioned in the Constitution, all judges serving in these courts are appointed by presidents and confirmed by the Senate to hold life terms

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original jurisdiction

the authority held by all three types of federal courts to hear a case for the first time

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appellate jurisdiction

the authority held by the US Circuit of Appeals and the US Supreme Court to act as appeal courts

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defined as “levying war” or giving “aid or comfort” to the enemy; at least two witnesses must testify in open court to the act in order to convict the accused

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FD: Federalist No. 78

the document that responded to anti-federalist concerns about how the proposed Constitution didn’t provide enough limitations on the judiciary branch, Hamilton used the argument of lifetime appointments insulating them from the fear for their jobs, not having the power of purse or sword, and only having the power of review.

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attorney general

the head of the department of justice and the chief law enforcement officer of the federal government.

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latin for “to make more certain” and abbreviated cert, used by the losing party to formally request a higher court to hear an appeals case

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SCOTUS: Marbury v. Madison (1803)

the case that established judicial review

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a ruling that establishes a principle that is typically upheld, or followed

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stare decisis

latin for “let the decision stand,” means to uphold precedent

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binding precedent

the type of precedent that obliges lower courts to follow higher court rulings

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persuasive precedent

the type of precedent that allows judges to consider decisions made in other district courts or far away circuit courts as a guiding basis for a decision

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strict constructionist

conservative view of the Constitution, read word for word

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liberal constructionist

interpretive view of the Constitution, sees it as a living document and takes into account changes in the world since ratification

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rule of four

a rule that makes it so four of nine justices agree to take the case; this is less than a majority which reflects courts’ commitment to claims by minorites

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majority opinion

the opinion that reflected the Court’s ruling, written by justices who have expertise on the topic or are passionate about it

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concurring opinion

an opinion that agrees with the majority but has reservations about the legal rationale

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dissenting opinion

the opinion that is written by those who go against the majority, it has no force of law but allows a justice to explain their disagreements that can help influence later cases

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judicial activism

when judges strike down laws, reverse public policy, or overlook legal precedents and instead follow their own political views in rulings; remember it by judges acting to create the law

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judicial restraint

when judges uphold stare decisis, follow precedent, and don’t overturn previous decisions unless a law is clearly unconstitutional

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senatorial courtesy

a tacit agreement among senators not to vote for any presidential nominee who is opposed by the senators from the nominee's home state

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nuclear option

when the majority Republican Senate threatened to change the rules to disallow the filibuster, averted after a compromise was created to keep the Senate’s rules while confirming most appointees

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the requirements for bringing a case to court

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federal bureaucracy

the vast, hierarchical organization of executive branch employees

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iron triangle

the description of the relationship between an agency, congressional committee, and interest group; the three together create a strong way of making policy (diagram pg. 224)

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issue networks

an alliance of various interest groups and individuals who unite in order to promote a single issue in government policy

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