Unit 4 American Institutions & Practices. http://wtp-prep.wikispaces.com/. Essential Question. How Have The Values And Principles Embodied In The Constitution Shaped American Institutions And Practices?. Unit Overview.
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American Institutions & Practices
How Have The Values And Principles Embodied In The Constitution Shaped American Institutions And Practices?
Congress is often called America’s first branch because of its lawmaking powers and control over the nation’s purse.
Congress is also considered the “People’s Branch” since it is directly accountable to the electorate.
This lesson examines Congress’s constitutional powers and how it represents both the people and the states.
delegate theoryThe idea that a legislative representative should exactly mirror his or her constituents' views in deciding on public policy. enforcement powersThe power of Congress to enforce laws. enumerated powersThose rights and responsibilities of the U.S. government specifically provided for and listed in the Constitution. federalismA form of government in which power is divided and shared between a central government and state and local governments.
gerrymanderingDrawing the boundaries of an electoral district to favor a political party. implied powersThose powers authorized by a legal document that are not expressly stated but can be inferred from expressly stated powers. The power of Congress to do all things "necessary and proper" to carry out the powers delegated to it by Article I, Section 8, Clause 18 of the U.S. Constitution. The "necessary and proper" clause is also known as the "elastic clause," because it greatly expands the Constitution's enumeration of the powers of Congress. Implied powers can be distinguished from "inherent powers," those that are expressly provided for in the Constitution. inherent powersThose powers ingrained so deeply in an institution that they need not be stated. For example, what the "inherent powers of the presidency" might be is a hotly contested subject in American national politics. trustee theory of representationThe idea that a legislative representative should use his or her best judgment in making decisions on public policy, regardless of constituent opinion.
child labor, wages…
Congressman Specter dealing with “unhappy” constituent
town hall meetings…
Congress is one of few national assemblies with the power to initiate legislation, not simply vote on executive’s proposals.
Congress also conducts investigations that lead to important changes in policy and removal of officials.
Despite its rules and leadership structures, the 535 member Congress faces challenges representing their growing and diverse constituencies.
billA proposed law placed before a legislature for approval. clotureA rule of the U.S. Senate stipulating that debate on a legislative proposal be cut off and the proposal voted upon by the full Senate if sixty members agree. filibusterThe practice of refusing to surrender the floor during a debate to prevent the Senate from voting on a proposal. impeachmentCharging a public official with a crime while in office and bringing him or her to trial. Convicted officials are removed from office. lobbyingThe practice of attempting to affect legislation by influencing legislators.
pocket vetoA presidential practice that allows a bill to die if not signed within ten days and Congress is adjourned. The president is conceived as keeping the bill in his pocket rather than taking it out and signing it. power to investigateThe power of Congress to undertake formal inquiries into matters of public business and public policy. resolutionA formal statement of a decision or expression of opinion put before or adopted by an assembly such as the U.S. Congress. seniorityLength of service. In the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate, certain powers and responsibilities of congressional members, such as committee chairmanships, are granted on the basis of their time in office.
testimony or conduct gov’t oversight
exist for limit time for specific
Bill must win majority support at each phase
Sponsors of bill must be persistent and willing to compromise
Lawmaking process demonstrates American system of representative gov’t, limited gov’t and checks and balances at work.
The president is among the most powerful political figures in the world.
Internatioanlly, the president speaks for the country and is the symbol of America.
Domestically, the president suggests policies to Congress and is the leader of their political party.
Americans look to the president for leadership, while also fearing concentration of executive power.
This lesson examines sources of presidential power and ways that checks and balances limit presidential power.
commander in chiefHighest ranked person of the military forces. According to the U.S. Constitution, the president is commander in chief of the nation's armed forces. executive ordersDirectives issued by the president, including Presidential Directives, National Security Directives, and Homeland Security Presidential Directives. Presidents have issued such orders since 1789. Such orders are open to the public, except for National Security Directives. executive powerThe authority to carry out and enforce the law.
Official above partisan politics
Electoral College would identify people with character “preeminent for ability and virtue”
No expectation of campaigns
Wanted “energetic” president as opposed to legislature’s “deliberative” nature
Hamilton: “Bad execution… must be… a bad government.”
on behalf of US, pending
Departments, agencies, and bureaus that administer laws (bureaucracy) touch every aspect of American life.
This lesson examines the role of administrative departments and agencies in America’s national government.
bureaucracyGovernmental departments and agencies and their staffs, principally civil service members and political appointees. cabinetThe group of advisors to the president composed of the heads of the departments of the executive branch and certain other officials. Cabinet advice to U.S. presidents is not binding, as opposed to parliamentary systems, where the consensus of cabinets is said to bind prime ministers.civil serviceEmployment in federal, state or provincial, and local governmental agencies. The civil service was formed in an effort to reduce political patronage and promote professionalism in government. independent agenciesAdministrative organizations located outside the structure of executive departments.
Management & Budget, Council of
Economic Advisors, National Security
key leadership positions
complete change in leadership
As opposed to English tradition, the Constitution provides for an independent judiciary.
Hamilton considered it “least dangerous branch” because it depends on other branches to enforce its decisions.
This lesson examines how the Supreme Court has become a coequal branch of the national government and describes some of the institutional checks on its power.
Explain the difference between the Supreme Court’s original and appellate jurisdiction.
Explain the four methods of constitutional interpretation.
Explain how America’s system of checks and balances limits the power of the Supreme Court.
Evaluate, take, and defend positions on issues relating to the role of the Supreme Court in the constitutional system.
litigantA party involved in a lawsuit. methods of constitutional interpretationInterpretive methods employed by U.S. Supreme Court justices when considering constitutional issues of some cases. See strict construction, original intent, fundamental principles, and instrumentalism
original jurisdictionIn some cases, such as those in which a state is a party, the Supreme Court has the right to consider the facts and the law in a case without it having first been passed on by a lower court. writ of certiorariA type of writ seeking judicial review of a legal decision.
constitutions violate US Constitution
constitutional interpretation and attitude
about role of the court
The powers of and the boundaries between the national and state governments never have been clear.
This lesson examines constitutional provisions affecting the states in their relationship to the national government.
It also explains how state governments are organized, including their creation of units of local government.
Finally, it describes the role of states as “laboratories of democracy.”
Explain how American federalism involves divided sovereignty and an ongoing effort to balance power.
Explain the function of three basic kinds of local government – counties, municipalities, and special districts.
Give examples of governmental innovations at the state and local levels.
Evaluate, take, and defend positions on continuing issues related to America’s unique system of federalism.
initiativeA proposed law placed on the ballots of some states for voter decision. Initiatives that pass immediately become law. local governmentGovernment of a specific local area, such as state subdivisions authorized by states or governments of cities, counties, and towns. Also includes special government units, such as water districts. police powersThe inherent authority of a government to impose restrictions on private rights for the sake of public welfare, order, and security within the boundaries of constitutional law. recallA process of using special or general elections for removing elected officials from office. referendumPlacing a measure approved by a legislature on a ballot for popular approval. reserved powersThose powers referred to in the 9th and 10th Amendments that are reserved to the states or to the people.
State / Local gov’t employees = 15 million
with “national” speed limit.
tried in the states and served as a model
for national legislation.