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Flashcards / ap gov key terms- institutions

ap gov key terms- institutions

ap gov key terms- institutions


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Name: ap gov key terms- institutions
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money that Congress has allocated to be spent

Appropriations Committee

congressional committee that deals with federal spending

Appellate jurisdiction

authority of a court to hear an appeal from a lower court


departments, agencies, bureaus and commissions in the executive branch of government


personal work done by a member of Congress for his constituents

Civil Law

concerns noncriminal disputes between private parties

Class Action lawsuit

lawsuit brought on behalf of a class of people against a defendant, e.r., lawsuits brought by those who have suffered from smoking against tobacco companies

Closed Rule

Rules Committee rule that bans amendments to a bill


Senate motion to end a filibuster that requires a 3/5 vote

Concurring opinion

written by a Supreme Court Justice who voted with the majority, but for different reasons

Conference Committee

works out a compromise between differing House-Senate versions of a bill


the people who are represented by elected officials

Discharge Petition

a motion to force a bill to the House floor that has been bottled up in committee

Dissenting opinion

written by a Supreme Court Justice (or Justices) who express a minority viewpoint in a case

Executive agreement

an agreement between the President and another head of state that, unlike a treaty, does not require Senate consent

executive order

presidential rule or regulation that has the force of law

Executive Privilege

the privilege of a President and his staff to withhold their 'privileged' conversations from Congress or the courts


nonstop Senate debate that prevents a bill from coming to a vote

Finance Committee

Senate committee that handles tax bills

Franking privilege

allows members of Congress to send mail postage free


redrawing district lines to favor one party at the expense of the other


senate maneuver that allows a Senator to stop or delay consideration of a bill or presidential appointment


House action that formally charges an official with wrongdoing. Conviction requires 2/3 vote from the Senate


refusal of a President to spend money that has been appropriated by Congress


court order that forbids a party from performing a certain action

Judicial activism

philosophy that the courts should take an active role in solving problems

Judicial Restraint

philosophy that the court should defer to elected lawmakers in setting policy, and should instead focus on interpreting law rather than making law

Legislative oversight

ongoing process of congressional monitoring of the executive branch to enure that the latter complies with the law

Legislative Veto

process in which Congress overturned rules and regulations proposed by executive branch agencies. Struck down in 1983

Line item veto

power of most governors (and president Clinton for only a few years) to delete or reduce funding in a bill on a line by line basis


when two members of Congress agree to vote for each other's bill

Majority Opinion

written to express the majority viewpoint in a Supreme Court Case

Mark Up

committee action to amend a proposed bill

merit system

system of hiring federal workers based upon competitive exams

open rule

House Rules Committee rule that allows amendments to a bill

Original Jurisdiction

authority of a court to first hear a case


power to appoint loyal party members to federal positions

Pocket veto

presidential killing of a bill by inaction after Congress adjourns

Political appointees

those who have received presidential appointments to office. Contrast with Civil Service employees, who receive federal jobs by competitive exams

Pork barrel

wasteful congressional spending, e.g. funding for a Lawrence Welk Museum in North Dakota


minimum number of members needed for the House or Senate to Meet


reallocation of House seats to the states on the basis of changes in state populations, as determined by the census


redrawing of congressional district boundaries by the party in power of the state legislature

red tape

complex rules and procedures required by bureaucratic agencies


the Supreme Court's sending of a case back to the original court in which it was heard


amendment to a bill that has little to do with that bill. Also known as a nongermane amendment

Rule of Four

the Supreme Court will hear a case if four Justices agree to do so

rules Committee

the "traffic cop" of the House that sets the legislative calendar and issues rules for debate on a bill

Senatorial courtesy

tradition in which the President consults with the senators within a state in which an appointment is to be made

Seniority System

tradition in which the Senator from the majority party with the most years of service on a committee becomes the chairman of that committee

Spoils System

like patronage... power to appoint loyal party members to federal positions

Standing committee

the permanent congressional committees that handle legislation

stare decisis

Latin for "let the decision stand." Supreme Court policy of following precedent in deciding cases

Sunset laws

laws that automatically expire after a given time

Ways and Means Committee

house committee that handles tax bills


an employee who exposes unethical or illegal conduct within the federal government or one of its contractors

writ of certiorari

issued by the Supreme Court to a lower court to send up the records of a case so that it can be reviewed by the high court

writ of habeas corpus

court order that the authorities show cause for why they are holding a prisoner in custody. Deters unlawful imprisonment

writ of Mandamus

court order directing a party to perform a certain action