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AP US Government Review

AP US Government Review

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AP US Government Review

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  1. AP US Government Review Bureaucracy and the Courts Chapters 14-16

  2. Bureaucratic Organization • Cabinet departments: top of the pyramid, very public. Secretary of… • Regulatory agencies: Fed, FCC, NLRB, SEC • Government corporations: COULD be private, USPS, Amtrak • Independent exec. agencies- everything else. NASA

  3. Implementation • SOPs- What they seek to accomplish (standardization) vs. what actually happens (ossification) • Street-level bureaucrats- who these people are, why their job sucks • Slippage- what gov’t expects vs. what actually happens

  4. Iron Triangles Cong. Committee Incest! (Professional) Private industry/lobby Part of the bureaucracy

  5. Criticisms of the System • Red tape- link to SOPs • Conflict- agencies clash for a variety of reasons, counter to the intention of a bureaucracy • Duplication • “Imperialism”- not Spanish-American War style, inter-office politics style • Waste- Like an auditorium full of students and one poor, tortured soul trying to teach them. How can he possibly do anything about the people texting and watching YouTube in the last row? System is too big to be efficient and properly monitored

  6. Who runs this mess? • The President • Appointments • Executive orders- pros and cons • Budget proposal • Reorganization/elimination- capitalize on his level of public attention, can be a risky move • Congress • Senate approves appointments • Budget must be passed by Congress • Legislative oversight- definition of • Rewrite legislation- clarify, add detail

  7. FRQ Topics! • Iron triangles- the three vertices, how they influence each other, what makes it “iron” • Presidential/Congressional interaction- the tug of war that is the bureaucracy, esp. when a Pres. and Cong. are not happy in their marriage (to each other, not their personal marriages… that would be the Clintons) • Impact on scope of government- “The government spends too much!” says EVERYONE. “My department/pet project/pork fest can cut back a little to save cash.” says NO ONE.

  8. The Courts- Supreme Court • Supreme Court JUSTICES, not judges. Even your packet mixes this one up frequently • Appellate jurisdiction • Remember, you can’t “take it to the Supreme Court” (at least, not right away) • Writ of Certiorari • Cannot rule in the abstract • Tries to avoid political issues, stays above the parties’ bickering (at least, tries to)

  9. Judicial Selection • Pres. rarely nominates from “across the aisle” • Things to consider: • Demographics • Professional experience and reputation • Legal record • The “litmus test” • Senatorial courtesy

  10. Judicial Selection- Undue Influence • Process is meant to be non-political and shielded from those outside gov’t, but… • Advertisements • Campaign contributions to Senators • Op-ed pieces • Press conferences • Protests • Talk shows • Testifying at confirmation hearings • Writing to voters All of these can be used in an effort to sway the public and get the voters more involved. SIGs are particularly good at this

  11. Public Opinion Doesn’t Matter • The most protected of all branches, why? • Appointment means no elections, states that have gone to electing judges/justices have found it disastrous • Serve for life, practical as well as political • Can be impeached/removed, but rare • No reelection or retention votes (another state favorite) • Deliberations held in secret, media outlets have people that specialize in “court watching,” essentially verdict divination • Salaries cannot be reduced

  12. Public Opinion Matters • Important issues such as the number of justices are not clearly outlined in the Constitution, meaning Congress could change • Presidents are beholden to public opinion and their nomination choices can factor into an election • Same with Senators and approving the nomination • Justices care about their reputation, as they are the most famous people in their field • The Court cares about its reputation. SC is aware that it is the “least democratic” of branches. • This is especially important since it is wholly reliant on other branches to enforce its rulings

  13. SIGs and Influence on Court Rulings • Influence appointments (already discussed) • Amicus curiae briefs- as much about showing which groups support which side of a case as it is about shedding new light or insight • Bringing the actual lawsuit- NAACP and the origins of the Civil Rights movement

  14. When SIGs Go Legal • When popular support is lacking (tyranny of the majority)- Linda Brown • Lack of influence in Congress- gay marriage • Civil Rights are involved- Constitutional matter to be solved by the branch designed to solve such quandaries • Establish a precedent- tearing down a wall must start with a single crack

  15. Courts as Policymakers • Judicial Review- perhaps the greatest bit of judicial activism EVER • Original intent • Judicial activism vs. judicial restraint- narrow vs. broad interpretation of the Constitution • Contrary to popular belief, one is not liberal and the other conservative. Rulings popular with conservos can be just as activist as one loved by a libby

  16. Checking the Court (or, Slaying the Monster, if you prefer) • Impeachment- justices must show good behavior, not impeached for political reasons (in theory) • Congress can clarify legislation- mold the law to bend around a ruling • Executive can refuse to enforce rulings- Sway over Justice Dept. has great impact on what the fed. gov’t will prosecute and what not • Constitutional Amendments- beyond the reach of the court, hence marriage amendments, abortion amendments, flag burning amendments, gender equity amendments, etc.

  17. FRQ 2! • Influences on appointments- how a supposedly non-political branch can become quite politicized. What goes into deciding who gets to be among the longest-serving public officials • Courts and public opinion- how the Court stays away from it, how it still manages to seep in. Evidence of both • SIG influence- why SIGs care so much about a ruling and how they will go out of their way to impact it

  18. Vocab Worth Remembering Bureaucracy • Iron triangle (issue network) • Lobbying • (Legislative) Oversight The Courts • Amicus curiae • Judicial activism • Judicial restraint • Judicial review • Litigation • Original intent • Stare decisis • Writ of certiorari