US POLITICS

  • Created by: CarlaBa
  • Created on: 21-03-19 10:36
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  • US POLITICS
    • Constitution
      • written in 1787, ratified in 1789
      • Key features
        • Vagueness: allows it to be interpreted and adapted over time
        • Codified
          • Sovereign
          • Entrenched
      • Constitutional framework
        • Gives each of the 3 branches of government enumerated powers
          • Executive branch
            • Recognises other countries
              • Nominates federal judges
            • Negotiates treaties
              • Commander-in-chief
            • Grants pardons
              • Vetoes legislation
          • Legislative branch
            • Collects taxes
            • Borrows money
              • Ratifies treaties and appointments
            • Declares war
              • Regulates trade
          • Judicial branch
            • Inference of judicial review
              • Wasn't formalised until Marbury v Madison (1803) and Fletcher v Peck (1810)
      • Amendment process
        • Amendment processes outlined in Article 5.
          • 2 Stages:
            • 1) Proposal stage at national level
              • 2/3 of Congress must agree to a proposed amendment.
                • Congress can place a time limit on the ratification, typically 7 years.
            • 2) Proposal stage at state level
              • 3/4 of state legislatures must ratify it.
                • 2/3 of Congress must agree to a proposed amendment.
                  • Congress can place a time limit on the ratification, typically 7 years.
      • Principles
        • 1) Separation of powers
          • 2) Checks and balances
            • 3) Bipartisanship
              • 4) Limited Government
                • 5) Federalism
                  • Shared sovereignty between state and federal gov.
                    • eg states have the right to run their own elections, powers not enumerated go to the states
                    • SC supported state's rights (Texas v US 2016)
                      • Federal gov has grown in size; eg Obamacare
                  • Federalism
                    • Concurrent powers; powers the states and federal governments share
                    • Factors affecting federal-state relationship
                      • 'Necessary and proper' clause allows federal gov considerable growth
                      • With growing globalisation the fed gov alone has the funds to deal w issues such as terrorism or natural disasters
                      • If state and fed law conflict, fed law usually wins, but SC does sometimes favour state rights
                      • The 'commerce' clause allows fed gov to regulate interstate trade. Grants more power.
                • Enumeration of powers limits gov power; Bill of Rights protects citizen's rights from gov.
                  • SC has protected citizen's rights: eg Carpenter v US (2018)
                  • Guantanamo bay remains open, infringes citizen's rights
              • 2/3 requirement and veto override
                • USA seems more partisan than ever, with multiple government shutdowns in the last 6 years
                • Use of the veto override demonstrates bipartisanship can be achieved
            • They are outlined in Articles 1, 2, and 3.
              • Branches remain separated and can act independently
              • President has usurped some of Congress' powers eg. military control
            • Use of checks such as veto and override demonstrate their importance
              • Lead to gridlock and government shutdowns
          • Powers divided into 3 branches of Government
            • They are outlined in Articles 1, 2, and 3.
              • Branches remain separated and can act independently
              • President has usurped some of Congress' powers eg. military control
    • Congress
      • Structure
        • Senate
          • 100
          • Every state has 2. The one who has served the longest represents the state.
            • 6 year term
              • 1/3 elected every 2 years
            • Must be at least 30, and citizen for 9 years
        • House
          • 435
          • Each state must have at least 1.
            • 2 year term
            • Must be at least 25, citizen of US for 7 years
      • Powers
        • Concurrent
          • Exercised by House & Senate
            • Constitutional amendments
            • Declaring war
            • Confirming a new vice-president
            • Passing legislation
        • Exclusive
          • Senate
            • Confirm presidential appointments
            • Ratify treaties
            • Elect VP if EC deadlocked
            • Try cases of impeachment
          • House
            • Elect pres if EC is deadlocked
            • Initiate money bills
            • Bring cases of impeachment
      • Function
        • Representative
          • Incumbency rates are high
            • Due to...
              • Name recognition
              • Legislative record
              • Congressional franking privileges
              • Gerrymandering
        • Legislative
          • Create, scrutinise, amend and delay legislation
            • Strengths and weaknesses
              • High level of security
              • Prevents tyranny
              • Unanimous consent means bipartisanship is inevitable
              • Incredibly slow
              • Gridlock
        • Oversight
          • Powers
            • Impeachment
              • Investigation of action of executive branch
            • Determining funding
              • Declaring war
              • Ratification of appointments & treaties
    • President
    • Supreme Court
      • Nature
        • Judicial Review
          • Created by SC in Marbury v Madison 1803 and Fletcher v Peck 1810.
          • Means they can declare acts of any branch of government unconstitutional
        • Independence; protected through...
          • Separation of powers
          • Life tenure
          • Protected salary
          • Appointment process
            • A vacancy occurs
              • Presidential nomination
                • American Bar Association rating
                  • Senate Judiciary Committee holds hearings
                    • Full Senate vote
            • Ensures independence
            • Ensures nominees are qualified
              • Politicised by Pres and Senate
            • Involvement of elected branches gives some accountability
        • Receives approx. 8000 cases a year but hears 60-100 of them
      • Public policy
        • Has 3 potential impacts on public policy...
          • By upholding constitutionality, it protects policy
            • Occasionally this results in new policy
          • By striking down constitutionality, it removes policy
            • Occasionally this results in new policy
    • Elections
    • Parties
    • Interest groups
    • Comparison
  • Amendment Process: Evaluation
      • Process works; 27 amendments made
      • Has endured the test of time
      • Process requires bipartisanship; prevents tyranny of one opinion/party
      • Protects federalism
      • Requirement for supermajorities makes the process too difficult
      • SC has too much power for an unelected body
      • Can allow for tyranny of the minority
      • Process makes it hard to update it for modern society
  • Evaluation: the US constitution
    • Interpretive amendments allow the constitution to remain flexible
      • Interpretation of constitution by SC allows for non-partisan interpretation
        • Amendment process has allowed some change, and protected from drastic/frequent change
        • States have remained largely independent
          • Fed gov hasn't amassed undue power
    • Interpretive amendments have reduced state rights
      • SC has too much power over the constitution
      • Amendment process inhibits necessary change
        • State power has decreased while fed gov power increased
          • Interpretive amendments have reduced state rights
            • SC has too much power over the constitution
            • Amendment process inhibits necessary change
              • State power has decreased while fed gov power increased
    • Effectiveness of Congress
      • Representation
        • Who does it represent?
          • Descriptive
          • Interest groups
          • Districts/states
          • party
          • constituents
          • congressional caucuses
      • Joint
      • House
      • Senate
      • Impeachment
        • Effective threat
          • Failed to successfully impeach 3 times
      • Declaring war
        • Has used 11 times. not since ww2
        • Arguably has little choice/power

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