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McCulloch v. Maryland

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1

McCulloch v. Maryland

  • Creation of federal bank

  • Elastic (N and P) Clause

    • Article I, Section 8

    • Implied power to create a bank (“tax, borrow money, and regulate commerce”)

  • Supremacy Clause

    • Article VI, Paragraph 2

    • Prohibits states from enacting laws that go against federal laws

  • Unanimous ruling for McCulloch

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United States v. Lopez

  • Texas high school student brings a gun to school and is charged with violating the Gun-Free School Zones Act

  • Commerce Clause

    • Article I, Section 8

    • Congress is given authority to regulate anything relating to interstate commerce

  • 5-4 decision that the GFSZA is unconstitutional b/c Congress doesn’t have authority over that pertaining to the Commerce Clause

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Engel v. Vitale

  • NY school held voluntary prayer at the beginning of school days

  • Claimed this violated Establishment Clause

    • First Amendment

    • Limits government/gov. employees on what they can do involving religion

  • 6-1 verdict in favor of Engel → banned the prayer groups during school days

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Wisconsin v. Yoder

  • Amish children left school at 8th grade; Wisconsin law required them attending until 16 years old

  • Claimed that this violates First Amendment

    • Freedom of Religion

    • Free Exercise Clause

  • 6-1 decision siding with Yoder; students only have to continue up to middle school if they have religious exemption

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Tinker v. Des Moines ISD

  • Students wore armbands to protest Vietnam War and were forced to remove them

  • Parents sued school district saying that this violated First Amendment

    • Freedom of symbolic speech

    • “Students don’t shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gates”

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New York Times vs. United States

  • Secretary of Defense employee sent classified documents to the NYT who published them

  • First Amendment violation

    • Freedom of Press

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Schenck v. United States

  • Schenck opposed the WWI draft and was charged with violating the Espionage Act

  • First Amendment

    • Freedom of Speech

  • Established “Clear and present danger”

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Gideon v. Wainwright

  • Gideon charged with a felony and Florida refused to give him a court-appointed one

    • Filed habeas corpus arguing that it is unlawful to be refused a court-appointed attorney

  • Sixth Amendment

    • Right to a speedy and fair trial

  • Due Process Clause

    • 14th Amendment

    • Applies Sixth Amendment to the states

  • Unanimous siding with Gideon

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McDonald v. Chicago

  • Chicago banned part of the process that was required to get a registration to own a gun

  • McDonald argued that this violated the Second Amendment and the precedent set by District of Columbia v. Heller

  • 5-4 decision in favor of McDonald

    • 14th Amendment Due Process Clause

    • Selective incorporation makes the Second Amendment applicable to the states

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Brown v. Board of Education

  • Segregation in schools was being challenged

  • 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause

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Citizens United v. FEC

  • Citizens United (non-profit org.) makes a movie for Hillary Clinton’s campaign

  • Question about whether or not organizations are protected by First Amendment; whether or not this violated the BCRA (restricting amount of donations one can make)

    • Freedom of Speech

  • 5-4 decision in favor of Citizens United

    • Donation amount cannot be limited for independent non-profit orgs.

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Baker v. Carr

  • Tennessee didn’t redraw their district every ten years; sued by Baker

    • Violates the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause

  • 6-2 ruling in favor of Baker

    • Established Congress’ ability to deal with apportionment claims in legislative issues

    • Esablished “one person, one vote” principle

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Shaw v. Reno

  • North Carolina gerrymandered their districts and had “majority-minority” districts

    • Violates the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause

  • 5-4 decision in favor of Shaw

    • Racial gerrymandering is unconstitutional

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Marbury v. Madison

  • Madison refused to deliver Marbury’s commission, leading to Marbury not becoming a valid Justice

  • Marbury sued Madison and tried to make the government have him deliver his commission

    • Question of Supremacy Clause of Article VI, Paragraph 2

  • Court decided that this violates Supremacy Clause

  • Established judicial review

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Federalist 10

  • Argues for a strong republic to control factions

    • More representatives are elected → greater number of opinions

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Brutus I

  • Antifederalist series of essays against Constitution; Bill of Rights is necessary

  • Federal government requires people to sacrifice their liberties

    • Free republic cannot exist with the size of the U.S.

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Declaration of Independence

  • Natural Rights of Life, Liberty, and Property

    • All people created equal

  • Government is created to protect these rights

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Articles of Confederation

  • Confederation of states with extremely limited central government

  • Sovereign states

  • Unicameral legislature

    • Each state gets one individual vote

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Constitution

  • Outline of federal government structure, powers, and limits

  • Establishes all three branches

    • Article I (Legislative)

    • Article II (Executive)

    • Article III (Judicial)

  • Constitution is Supreme Law

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Bill of Rights

  • First ten amendments

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Federalist 51

  • Proposes government being broken into three branches: Legislative, Executive, and Judicial

    • Splits Legislative branch into House and Senate

  • Establishes checks and balances

  • Made to keep down the power of factions

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Federalist 70

  • Argues that unity in executive branch (one President) is needed for energy and safety

  • Governmental balance can only be achieved if each branch of gov. has enough restricted power to not become more powerful than one or the other

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Federalist 78

  • Judicial branch needs strengthening because has neither the power of the pen or the purse

  • In favor of judicial review

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Letter from a Birmingham Jail

  • MLK argues that people have the right to fight for justice

    • Up to the oppressed to take charge + demand equality

  • Direct Action is necessary

    • Creates tension in the community → provides awareness to the injustice

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Limited Government

  • A government with legally binding restrictions that prevent them from doing certain things

    • Article I

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Natural Rights

  • Inherent rights: life, liberty, and the right to own property

    • Established throughout Bill of Rights

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Popular Sovereignty

  • The People are the ultimate source of power

    • Preamble of Constitution

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Republicanism

  • Creation of laws must include people subject to those laws

    • Bicameral Congress

    • Article IV, Section IV

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Social Contract

  • Agreement among free and equal people to give up certain rights in order to find security, prosperity, and the common good

    • Preamble of Constitution

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Participatory Democracy

  • Democracy in which all or most people participate

    • Inspired by Ancient Athens

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Pluralist Democracy

  • Democracy in which a few interest groups control policy making

    • i.e. NRA, Labor Unions

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Elitist Democracy

  • Democracy dominated by those with most resources

    • Most wealthy, most educated, etc.

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Great Compromise

  • Two Senators per state regardless of population

    • New Jersey Plan

  • Amount of representatives based on population

    • Virginia Plan

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Legislative Branch

  • Established by Article I

    • House of Representatives and the Senate (Congress)

  • Powers

    • Power to impeach a public official

    • Draft or propose laws

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Legislative Checks

  • Executive:

    • Congress can override POTUS vetoes

    • Senate ratifies presidential appointments and treaties

    • Congress can declare war

    • “Power of the Purse”

  • Judicial

    • Confirm federal judges

    • Changing laws in response to judicial rulings

    • Can amend the Constitution

    • Can change a court’s jurisdiction

    • “Power of the Purse”

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Executive Branch

  • Established by Article II

    • President, VP, Cabinet, commissions, committees, etc.

  • Powers

    • Carry out and enforce laws

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Executive Checks

  • Legislative:

    • Proposes and vetoes legislation + budgets

    • Makes treatiest with foreign nations

  • Judicial:

    • Appoints federal judges

    • Enforces court decisions

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Judicial Branch

  • Established by Article III

    • Supreme Court

  • Powers

    • Decide the constitutionality of federal laws and resolve disputes

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Judicial Checks

  • Judicial Review over both branches

    • Determine Presidential acts unconstitutional

    • Determine laws unconstitutional

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Procedure for impeaching a public official

  • Congress investigates

  • House decides by a simple majority to charge

  • Senate holds a trial—if 2/3rds convict, then the official is removed from office

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Primary Election

  • Election in which a party votes for which candidate they want to run in the general election

  • Only Democrat or only Republican election

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Initiative

  • Citizens proposing legislation (usually by gaining signatures on a proposed law equal to 1/10 of the number of voters in previous elections)

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Referendum

  • Ratifying a policy proposed by the state legislature

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Recall

  • Removing a state or local official before the end of their term

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Writ of Mandamus

  • Court order instructing an official to do something

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Speaker of the House

  • Chosen by majority party

  • Recognizes members for speaking

  • Organizes members for conference committees

  • Influence in law making

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Majority/Minority Leader

  • Lead debate among their party

  • Guide discussion from their side

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Majority/Minority Whip

  • Deputy floor leader

  • In charge of discipline

  • Tally votes

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President of the Senate

  • Formal/ceremonial power

    • Not a lot of power in the senate

  • Rules on procedure and organizes Senate

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Senate Majority Leader

  • Most powerful person in Senate

  • Picked by majority party

  • Chief legislator

    • Sets legislative calendar

    • Guides party caucus

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Committees

  • Smaller groups within each house of Congress

  • Important in law making process

    • Bills first go to the appropriate committee

  • Powers:

    • Investigate people, business, and other branches of government

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Subpoeana

  • Court order that forces somebody to testify or provide evidence

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Standing Committees

  • Permanent committee

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Select Committees

  • Temporary

    • For a limited time and purpose

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Joint Committees

  • Committees that share members of both houses

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Caucuses

  • Non-governmental groups of like-minded people in Congress

  • Work together to achieve Congressional goals without establishing laws

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Process for bills becoming law

  1. Idea for bill is created

  2. Bill is introduced in either House or Senate

  3. Relevant committee either accepts or kills the bill

  4. Congress votes on whether or not they should pass the bill or amend it

  5. President can approve the bill, veto, pocket veto, or do nothing

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How are bills written and introduced?

  • Anybody can write a bill

  • A member of Congress has to introduce the bill

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What can committees do about bills?

  1. Report out

  2. Send to sub-committee

  3. Kill the bill

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Log Rolling

  • Trading votes with others to gain support for a bill

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Trustee Model of Voting

  • Using your own best judgment to make decisions

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Delegate Model of Voting

  • Voting based on what your constituents want

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Politico Model of Voting

  • Combination of delegate and trustee

  • Pragmatic approach

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Pork Barrel Spending

  • Amending a bill to send money to your state

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Earmarks

  • Pork barrel spending except extremely specific

    • i.e. to a specific business or city rather than a state

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House Debates

  • One hour maximum for everybody to talk

    • Majority + minority leaders and speaker of the House get longer

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Senate Debates

  • Anybody can talk as long as they want

  • Have a filibuster

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Filibuster

  • Extending the debate as long as possible to prevent a law from being passed

  • Only in Senate

  • Stopped by cloture

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How does the House amend bills?

  • Amendments have to be germane

    • Relevant to whatever the bill is about

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How does the Senate amend bills?

  • Amendments can be about anything

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Cloture

  • Vote that ends filibuster

  • 60 votes needed

    • 50 from majority party and 10 from minority

  • Does not apply to presidential appointments

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How much of Congerss is needed to override a presidential veto (NOT a pocket veto)?

  • 2/3 or 67%

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Pocket Veto

  • POTUS chooses to neither sign nor veto a bill

    • As a result, bill doesn’t become law

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Budget Deficit

  • Spending is larger than income

    • Solved with bonds

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Partisanship

  • Loyalty to a political party

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Divided Government

  • Branches and levels of government being controlled by different parties

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Polarization

  • Government divided by extremes with little attempts to compromise

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Gridlock

  • Government is too divided to accomplish anything

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Echo chambers

  • Seeking out media that reinforces your own beliefs

  • Gathering with those who share the same opinions as yourself

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Reapportionment

  • Federal responsibility

  • Redistribution of seats in the House after every 10-year census

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Redistricting

  • State responsibility

  • Redrawing the district lines on the map

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Gerrymandering

  • Drawing electoral district lines to the advantage of one group or party

  • Packing or Cracking

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Packing Gerrymandering

  • Concentrating minority votes into few districts to gain more seats for the majority surrounding districts

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Cracking Gerrymandering

  • Splitting minority strength across many districts

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POTUS Formal Powers

  • Faithfully execute the law

  • Commander-in-Chief

  • Grant reprieves, pardons for federal offenses

  • Convene Congress in special sessions

  • Receive ambassadors

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POTUS Informal Powers

  • Executive agreements

    • Doesn’t require Senate approval

    • Not successively binding

  • Executive orders

  • Executive privilege

  • Bargaining with Congress/persuading the people (Bully pulpit)

  • Signing statements

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Clemency

  • Grant repreives and pardons to reduce prison time; entirely erase one’s sentencing

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House of Representatives Roles

  • Designed to represent: The People

  • of Legislators: 435

  • Terms: 2 years

  • Number elected every two years: 435

  • How many times can they run for re-election: Infinitely

  • Role for impeachment: Charges a public official

  • Role in appointment of judges: N/A

  • Role in appointment of cabinet secretaries: N/A

  • Role in other pres. appointments: N/A

  • Role in passing tax bills: Introduces

  • Most powerful official: Speaker of the House

  • Type of Democracy: Participatory

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Senate Roles

  • Designed to represent: The States

  • of Legislators: 100

  • Terms: 6 years

  • Number elected every two years: 1/3rd

  • How many times can they run for re-election: Infinitely

  • Role for impeachment: Conducts trial; determines verdict

  • Role in appointment of judges: Approves or disapproves

  • Role in appointment of cabinet secretaries: Approves or disapproves

  • Role in other pres. appointments: Approves or disapproves

  • Role in passing tax bills: N/A

  • Most powerful official: Senate Majority Leader

  • Type of Democracy: Elitist

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90

Federal Court Structure

  • Supreme Court

  • Circuit Courts (11 total)

    • Settle legality issues

    • No jury

  • District (trial) Courts

    • Settle issues of fact

    • With jury

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En banc

  • All Supreme Court justices review a matter because of specific complexity or detail

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Stare Decisis

  • “Let the decision stand”

    • Avoid overruling past decisions

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Originalism

  • Interprets Constitution in original context

  • Favored by Conservatives

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Textualism

  • Wording is vague and can be interpreted differently

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Living Constitution

  • Pragmatic Approach

  • Uses history and current understanding; also allows current opinion to influence laws

  • Favored by Liberals

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Bureaucracy

  • Collection of unelected officiasl who implement the laws and policies of government

    • Part of executive branch

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Delegated Discretionary Authority

  • Congress passes a law + tells an agency to implement it using their judgment/expertise

  • Gives agencies A LOT of authority

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Iron Triangle

  • Symbiotic relationship between Congress, Bureaucracy, and Interest Groups

  • Only those involved in the triangle benefit

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Categorical Grants

  • Congress providing funding for SPECIFIC purposes

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Block Grants

  • Congress providing funds for broad and general reasoning

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