Politics of Government Part 1: Law and Politics
What is the Authority of Law? • U.S. Constitution: Supreme Law of Land • Congress Passes laws codified as statutes • Delegates authority to Federal Agencies to Implement law. • Serve a particular interest or constituency. • Executive Executes laws via Executive Orders • Guidelines to Justice Department re enforcement of laws. • OMB oversight of budget of federal agencies. • Judiciary Interprets laws • Only hears what comes before it • Can set aside, remand back to agency, or affirm. • Right and Scope of judicial review defined by Statute. • Decision can be “As applied” or “establish precedent”.
How are Laws Implemented? • Statute authorizes agencies that specialize in subject matter Courts defer to agencies in how they exercise discretion. • Independent agencies: bipartisan commission or board decision maker; subject to congressional oversight; fire only for cause. • Executive agencies: Answer to Executive; at-will; appointed individual decision maker. • Both can exercise quasi-legislative and adjudicative functions through rules and orders.
Branch System of Government • Executive, Legislature, Judiciary are authorized by Constitution. • Federal agencies authorized per Congress’ delegated authority. • Subject to procedures and process per APA • Premised on system of checks and balances known as “Separation of Powers.” • Degrees of oversight by usu. 2 branches. E.g. appointment; presentment; special prosecutors; and engage in war.
Political Process • Authority for Process • Twelfth Amendment-Electors select President • Twenty-third Amendment-D.C. can elect electors • U.S. territories can vote-Guam, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands • Election of public officials • Popular vote for Congress every two years • Electoral college for President every four years, 2 term max. • 538 Electors are divided among states, based upon Congressional representation, districts apportioned by population. • Electors usually vote per party based upon popular vote but are not required by law. • Electors usually affiliated with party, supporters. • 48 states have all or nothing vote cast.
Why is the Electoral College Important? • Electors select the President, which is key in a close popular election. • In 2000 presidential election, George W. Bush got fewer popular votes than Al Gore but received a majority of electoral votes. • Can only be changed with a constitutional amendment, proposed by 2/3 majority of both houses, and ratified by ¾ of states.
Questions About Voting ‘06 • How many voted in Nov 6 election? • Did you vote in the last 3 elections? • Did you vote along party lines? • What were the most important issues? Qualifications of candidate or platform Scandals & Corruptions Dissatisfaction with GOP platform Support for presidential policies War in Iraq, Economy, &/or Same sex marriages
Nov. 6 ’06 Congressional Election • Democrats took back control of both houses. • Three states changed hands between 2000-2004 (GOP lead) • 34 states have supported the same party in last 4 elections. • Democrats won 18 states & DC worth 248 votes in 4 elections. Need 270 to win in ’08. • Swing states: Ohio, Colorado, Virginia; • California’s reelection of Schwarzenegger makes it accessible to a moderate-55 votes.
Who Voted How? • Women turned away from GOP and elected 11 Democrats in 11 top Senate race. • Women were less supportive of war. • Independents voted Democrat • Were less supportive of war. • 40% of Latino voters supported Bush • GOP candidates got only 29% • Less supported of GOP hard line on immigration • War in Iraq • 80% who disapproved of Iraq war voted Democrat • 80% who approved of Iraq war voted GOP • Socially moderate, upscale voted Democrat
Top Issues Among Voters in Senate Races • Economy - 83% extremely or very important • Terrorism – 67% • War in Iraq – 62% • Same-sex marriage/abortion – 62% Based upon Prelim exit polls by National Election Pool (Edison Media Research)
Historical Context • GOP took control of Senate in 1994 by winning 8 Senate seats and won House with 52 seats (first time in 40 years.) • Reaction to Pres. Clinton veering left when promised he would be centrist.
Political Process • Constituencies • Lobbyists-stable of interests Have $$$ and focus is on Committees & Sub • Special Interests PAC subject to FEC Have $$$ and focus is on Committees • Watchdogs Compliance and Whistleblowers Committed to Issues • Residents of District Must elect Have votes.
George W. Bush (R) 2003, 2005 • -Yellowcake forgery-Evidence presented on weapons of mass destruction (WMD) claim to justify Iraq war was forged. • -Valerie Plame CIA-identity leak by Bush Administration after husband raised issues re war. • -Tom Delay (R-Tx) reprimanded twice by House Ethics Committee in 2004-2005, leading to an indictment and resignation for influence peddling and improper contributions during 2002 Texas election. • -Jack Abramoff, Republican lobbyist is indicted on wire fraud for bribery. Influence peddling re Indian casinos. • -Abu Ghraib prison & torture allegations (2004-2005) • -Halliburton no-bid $7 billion contracts and over billing army for fuel in Iraq. • -Mark Foley (R-Fl) Sex emails to pages forced resignation.
Bill Clinton (D) 1993 • -Impeached by House over perjury and obstruction of justice charges re sex, travel; acquitted by Senate. • -Series of investigations of several Democrats for influence peddling and lying. • -Suicide of Vince Foster, White House lawyer after documents disappeared.
Jimmy Carter (D) 1977, ‘79 • OMB Bert Lance resigned over misuse of funds. • Koreagate was alleged bribery of 100 members of Congress by South Korea that lead to one conviction. • Billygate where Bill Carter was found to be a paid agent of Libyan government in 1980.
John F. Kennedy (D) ’61,’63,’65 • -Sen. Dodd censured for financial misconduct and corruption. • -Bay of Pigs-failed invasion of Cuba.
Harry S. Truman (D) ’45, 49,’51 • -McCarthyism where persons targeted and censured as Communists (1948-1954). • -D o J tax scandal and cover-up that lead to 166 staff resignations.
Intersection & Interconnection • Society is Affected by Laws Enacted through the Political Process. • Human beings with egos, agendas, & missions; who can be influenced and are subject to abuse and misuse. • Attorneys must work within the system to effect change or achieve goal for client. • Political party runs a machine designed to influence, preserve, and change political power. • Subject to same checks and balances through 2-party system. • Threat: POWER CORRUPTS, ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY…
Problem for Case Studies • If the United States wants to remain a world leader in this global society, what ethical standards must we set for our political representatives?
Case Study: Addressing Corruption Proposed Bipartisan Changes • Reducing the number of officials covered by the law; • Eliminating the Independent Counsel (IC) final report; • Allowing the Attorney General (AG) to consider an official's intent in determining whether to investigate; • Creating a two-step process where the Attorney General will appoint and the Special Division will confirm an IC; • Redefine covered persons to focus on discreet against general conduct that focuses on manner in which they conduct; • Empower Department of Justice at preliminary investigation state with subpoena power, change the time limits to allow a more thoughtful preliminary investigation, use notice requirement so work can continue; • Impose the burden of proof on the Independent Counsel to prove by substantial evidence, the existence of criminal activity; • Court appoints the IC from a roster of predetermined list of persons approved by the AG; and • Announce closure on issues at it happens.
Questions to Answer 1) Is the separation of power doctrine effective when it comes to ethical misconduct and corruption within the executive branch and Congress. Explain your answer. 2) Who should have the authority to appoint the IC: the Attorney General, members of Congress, and/or the Judiciary. 3) What types of limits should be placed upon the scope of investigations by the IC and do any of the proposals adequately address the problem.
The Age of Women Part 2: Reform, Reconciliation, & Renewal
Census Changes • 2005-51% of women were living w/o spouse (57.5 million), up from 35% in 1950, 49% in 2000. • Women living longer, marrying later or living by self. • 30% of Black women live with a spouse • 49% of Latino women • 55% non-Hispanic white women • 60% of Asian women • Americans spend half or more of live outside marriage. • 53% of Men are more likely to remarry quickly • Voluntary reason to remain single is unprecedented, except during wartime mobilization and during slavery.
Census Changes 1950-2000 • Women ages 15-24 who married dropped from 42% to 16%; • Women ages 25-34 who married dropped from 82% to 58%.
Reasons to Remain Single • Greater independence • More flexible lifestyles, e.g. living together. • Marriage wasn’t what promised to be. • Divorcees decline to remarry ‘cause “Comfortable in life,” “just beginning to ‘fly again;’” “just beginning to be me.”
Questions What does this mean economically? What does this mean politically?
Year in Review • Women as a political block vote Democrat or Pro-choice, shifting control of both houses to women. • Emily’s List backs 52 of 70 candidates who won during Nov. ’06 election. • Nancy Pelosi becomes first Majority Leader in House. • Major cities have appointed women to serve in cabinet: • Ramsey Ally appointed Police Chief in D.C. ’06 • Rep. Christine Jennings contested 369 vote loss in 13th District in Florida. • Bush fires S.D. US attorney Carolyn Lam, who got tough on corruption (Duke Cunningham) to appoint cronies.
Trends • Increasing use of referendums to enact policy changes at state level • Political debate on stem cell research controls (use discarded tissue from discarded eggs, umbilical cord); • Stem cell bill passes House 1/07, Bush vows to veto. • Same-sex couples seek legal rights; • Womb transplants attempted; • Aids epidemic among populations of heterosexual women; • Bush appoints conservatives to Court; • U.S. Supreme Court to hear abortion cases; • U.S. Supreme Court to hear resegregation cases;
Stem Cell Research • Cells develop with genetic material that as it grows will define the type of tissue or organ is will become. This process is call differentiation. • Stem cells lack this differentiation, but have the potential to become a variety of things and scientists are trying to master how to direct the cell to become a particular organ or tissue. This is called multipotent. • The procedures to identify and isolate stem cells, the methods for maintaining and controlling them in the body or the lab, and the uses and applications are what is stem cell research.
Source of Stem Cells • Stem cells can come from Adults such as bone marrow, skin, muscle, blood and the brain; but the process of separating the stem cell is harder and more problematic. • Stem cells can also come from fetus-associated with umbilical cord, placenta or discarded fetus from an abortion. This method is contested and federal funds restricted for research where this is the method of extraction. • Women who have discarded eggs from in vitro fertilization provide embryos used in stem cell research. By law they have to be destroyed, and this is one use of them, for research. Egg is fertilized in a dish and then implanted in the womb.
Abortion Debate • SCt. Will “reconsider” constitutionality of Federal Abortion Ban, which was previously upheld by Court six years ago. • Moderate woman retired and Bush appointed a conservative male so agreed to hear it. • Many claim abortion rate is dropping for reasons other than law and debate misdirected. • Abortion today is really a problem for poor women (i.e, more poor than middle class women have abortions) • Moral and religious convictions are strong and have stalemated both sides. • Currently efforts to bridge the gap through legislation co-sponsored by pro-life and pro-choice to address underlying problems.