Pressure groups of the USA: impact on issues

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  • Impact of pressure groups on issues
    • Civil rights for African-Americans
      • NAACP
        • Uses its money & professional expertise to bring cases to court for people who could not otherwise afford it. The NAACP has continued to be at the centre of political debate in America over affirmative action programmes.
        • Brown v Board of Education 1954
    • Environmental protection
      • Took off towards the end of the 19th century & beginning of 20th century.
      • Sierra Club; the Wilderness Society & The National Wildlife Federation
        • Such groups have been behind the push towards stricter laws for environmental protection.
    • Women's rights
      • League of Women Voters & the National Organization - pushed - unsuccessfully - for the passage of an Equal Rights Amendment to the constitution during the 1970s & 80s
      • They have remained active in US politics
        • Campaigning on issues such as: equal pay & job opportunities for women & attempting to root out sexual harassment in the work place.
        • Try to increase the number of women elected to congress. EMILY's list supports female candidates early in the election process so that they will be able to demonstrate their ability to raise money late on in the electoral cycle & win seats.
    • Abortion rights
      • Since Roe v Wade 1973; fought to preserve the constitutional right of women to have an abortion, whereas pro-life groups have fought to have it both narrowed & overturned.
      • In pursuing their respective agendas, both sides in the debate have lobbied the senate over presidential judicial appointments,most clearly seen in the fights over the nominations to the Supreme Court of Robert Bork in 1987 & Clarence Thomas in 1991, but also in the confirmation of John Roberts in 2005 & Samuel Alito in 2006
    • Gun control
      • The National Rifle Association (NRA) is arguably one of the most powerful PGs in US politics. It was initially formed to teach Americans how to use guns. Since the 1960s, it has been influential in stopping what it sees as eroachment on citizens rights to own & use legal fire arms.
        • It seeks to uphold the strictest         interpretation of the 2nd amendment right to 'keep and bear arms'. It also works to oppose tougher gun control laws put forward at any level of government.
        • The NRA opposed the Brady Bill & the assault weapons ban, as well as laws requiring background checks on those purchasing guns & the mandatory sale of trigger locks with hand guns.
          • It became involved in a national debate on the availability of guns following the 'Washington sniper' incident in October 2002 & played a significant role in the Supreme Court case of District of Columbia v Heller in 2008

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