POLS 112 Mdtrm 1 Study Guide Den Otter
POLS 112 Mdtrm 1 Study Guide Den Otter POLS 112
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POLS 112 Study guide Article I 1. Bicameral Legislature ● Bicameral: having a legislative assembly composed of two chambers or houses; distinguished from unicameral ● The overall purpose: to provide for representation for both the citizens of a country, as well as the state legislatures on the federal level or in the central government of a country or nation ● 2 chambers ○ The House of Representatives ■ larger body with membership ■ members based on each state’s population (435 people, 53 for california) ■ The House is a more formal institution, where hierarchy and seniority are important factors. ○ The Senate ■ smaller body with each state having two delegates. ■ With one hundred members, the Senate is a more intimate, less formal legislative body than the House ■ Malproportioned, equal representation from each ■ The Senate, as a smaller, more intimate body, is less bound by formal rules than the House. ■ Each state gets 2 senators aside from population ● Bill to become a law has to pass majority vote in both HOR and Senate → President can either Pass or Veto → if vetoed a bill can be overridden if 2/3rd vote in both houses ● PROS: ○ Although the Continental Congresses and the Congress of the Confederation had been unicameral, the Constitutional Convention of 1787 decided that the new national legislature should consist of two branches in order to preserve the identity of the separate states, safeguard the influence of the smaller states, and protect the interests of property. ○ More moderate legislature ○ Avoid Tyranny and one power ○ the bicameral legislature is necessary to maintain an effective system of checks and balances, which will prevent from legislation being enacted into law that would unfavorably affect a certain faction or government or its people. ● CONS: ○ deadlocks or stalemates in this particular system as a deterrent to passing important political reforms, making them more difficult to achieve ○ Extreme partisanship 2. Malapportioned Senate ● Representation not by population ● Historical history ○ Smaller states are not being represented for→ Great Compromise ○ slavery → 3/5th compromise→ inflating states ● Why a problem? ○ Each political person should represent ○ Average person in a small state gets more representation of average person in a big. r state 3. Impeachment power, trial, conviction and removal from office ● 3 presidents have been involved in impeachment proceedings ● HOR have power to impeach → ○ Majority to impeach president on one or more impeachable offense ○ If Pres is not impeached → no trial ● To impeach is to decide whether the president has commitan impeachable offense, or charged with a impeachable offense ● Only impeachable offense: treason, bribery and other high crimes or misdemeanors ● Senate decides whether to convict or or not ○ Needs 2/3rds; supermajority ■ Can remove pores from office ■ Can ban pres from ever holding public office again ● Clinton ○ Monica Lewinsky ■ Sex scandal, blue dress, she talked to police dumb dumb ● Technical meaning: HOR has the sole power of impeachment and can decide if an impeachable offense. Majority vote in HOR to impeach pres to bring a trial of impeachable offense. ○ If president is impeached → SENATE holds the trial ○ Then the senate decides to convict or not, one or more offenses, senate needs supermajority ● . Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton ONLY two pres to have been successfully impeached by the HOR, and both were later acquitted by the Senate ● Nixon resigned before impeachment ● Only impeachment action: ○ Treason ○ Bribery ○ Other high crimes and misdemeanor (deliberately vague) ○ If the president is impeached ● NONE ever been convicted, only penalties: removed from office, never have a public office spot Article II 1. Three requirements to be eligible to be president ● Pres has to be at least 35 yrs old, min age (teddy roosevelt youngest) ● Resident for 14 years ● “Natural born citizen” ○ Has to be BORN in U.S., not naturalized ○ Born in US/american territory → both parents born in US ○ What if one parent is not born in US? → arguable ○ Why a good idea? ○ Take presidential oath 2. Presidential pardon power ● Power to prevent someone from being tried for a federal crime ● Only pardon anyone from JUST FEDERAL crimes ● no matter how serious ● the President "shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment". ○ include the power to grant pardons, conditional pardons, commutations of sentence, conditional commutations of sentence, remissions of fines and forfeitures, respites, andamnesties 3. Electoral college ● Slates of Electors ○ Voters indirectly vote for barack obama throuslate of electors ○ California has 55 electors ○ They 6 weeks later pass their votes for obama and O’beiden ● Electors/Electoral Votes ○ Faithless Elector: an elector who DOESNT vote for who the voters voted for ■ Someone who’s pledged for someone who they didnt votes for ○ They could LIE because its 6 weeks later ● Electoral College ○ Electoral college was originally found in article 2; until amended 17 ○ the way we elect the president ○ In our ORIGINAL constitutional our president wasn't designed to be democratic ■ State legislators were supposed to put together state of electors for that state ● Which house controlled those? ● Each state legislator gets to choose how our state allocates their electoral voter ● Total number of electors = 538 ○ 435 HOR ○ 100 Senators ○ 3 District of Columbia ● Magic # ○ 270 have to have this number if get less election goes to house of representative ○ 4 times in history the winner of the popular vote didnt win the electoral college and didnt become president ■ 1824, 1876,1888, 2000 ● Swing/purple/battleground states ○ no single candidate or party has overwhelming support in securing that state's electoral college votes. ○ receive a large share of the attention and campaigning of political parties in presidential elections, since winning these states is the best opportunity for a party to gain electoral votes. ○ Nonswing states are sometimes called safe states, because one candidate has strong enough support that they can safely assume that they will win the state's votes. ○ ULTIMATELY WILL CHOOSE THE NEXT PRES ● How are electoral votes allocated? ○ State legislators get to choose how the electors will be pledged and votes will be allocated ○ Every state has a certain number of electoral votes: 2 senators plus number of districts ○ CA: 53+2 senators ■ Winner take all ○ Winner take all ■ 48 or 50 states have winner take all ● Excluding Nebraska, Maine → congressional district method ■ Who ever wins most popular votes wins ALL of the electoral votes, all 55 electoral slate to that one candidate ○ Congressional district method ■ selecting one elector within each congressional district by popular vote and selecting the remaining two electors by a statewide popular vote ○ Proportional representation ■ Your share of the popular votes gets translated into a share of electoral votes ■ a type of electoral system that decides the makeup of a parliament by allocating seats on the basis of the number of votes each party received ○ Arguments for & against the electoral college ■ Adv: (for) ● Reinforces our 2 party system (STRONGEST ARGUMENT) ○ Brings stability if you had more than 2 parties ■ Disadv: (against) ● Electoral college has and can continue to produce anti democratic results (STRONGEST ARGUMENT) ● No room for third parties ○ No chance of winning electoral votes, therefore eliminating 3rd party candidates ● Way too much emphasis on swing states ● Electoral college depresses voter turnout ○ If no electoral college by popular vote more turnout? ○ What’s the point if you are in a blue state and you are republican?? Your voice is lost. Visa Versa ● Compared with popular vote, more probability of Voter Fraud ○ National Popular Interstate compact ■ So far: Maryland, New Jersey, Ilinois, Hawaii, Wash, Mass, Vermont, CA, RI and NYC, Wash D.C. ● All very blue states; why? ○ In blue state democrats beat republicans more than republicans beat democrats in red states ○ They think that there is a > probability that democrat win popular vote and not electoral vote than Republican ● Need purple states (who probs wont) ● Or red states ■ Opportunity/ way of trying to correct the problem of EC without having to amend the constitution because it is so difficult ● Most diff to amend const in the world ■ In democracy, majority is supposed to prevail, however 4x in history ● Is NOT democratic ● Antidemocratic Outcomes ■ Stuck w electoral college ■ DEF: agreement among states (including CA) that have joined IFthe compact goes into effect all the states who’ve joined have promised to give the nationwide popular vote winner (R or D) to give theallof their electoral votes ● If enough states jion it would guarantee the popular vote winner all of their electoral votes ● Problem: not enough because current states all together is only 165 electoral votes; need @ L 270 Article III 1. The structure of the judiciary ● Federal laws are passed by Congress and signed by the President. The judicial branch decides the constitutionality of federal laws and resolves other disputes about federal laws. However, judges depend on our government’s executive branch to enforce court decisions ● The Supreme Court is the highest court in the United States. Article III of the U.S. Constitution created the Supreme Court and authorized Congress to pass laws establishing a system of lower courts ○ 94 district level trial courts and 13 courts of appeals sit below the Supreme Court ● There are 13 appellate courts that sit below the U.S. Supreme Court, and they are called the U.S. Courts of Appeals. ○ The appellate court’s task is to determine whether or not the law was applied correctly in the trial court. Appeals courts consist of three judges and do not use a jury. ● District courts ○ The nation’s 94 district or trial courts are called U.S. District Courts. District courts resolve disputes by determining the facts and applying legal principles to decide who is right. 2. Nomination and confirmation processes for federal judges ● United States Supreme Court justices are appointed by thPresident of the United Stat and approved by theUnited States Senate. ● justices serve for a life term or until retirement. 3. Life Tenure ● A life tenur or service during good behaviour is aterm of offic that lasts for the office holder's lifetime (in some cases subject to mandatory retirement at a specified age), unless the office holder is removed from office for cause under extraordinary circumstances or chooses to resign. ● The primary goal of life tenure is to insulate the officeholder from external pressures. 4. The Supreme Court ● The Supreme Court consists of the Chief Justice of the United States and such number of Associate Justices as may be fixed by Congress. ● The number of Associate Justices is currently fixed at eight (28 U. S. C. §1). Power to nominate the Justices is vested in the President of the United States, and appointments are made with the advice and consent of the Senate ● Article III,, of the Constitution further provides that "[t]he Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office." ● The Supreme Court is the head of the judicial branch. Unlike a criminal coSupreme Court rules whether something is constitutional or unconstitutional—whether or not it is permitted under the Constitution. On the Supreme Court there are nineustices, or judges: eigassociate justices and one chief justice. ● The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land. Its decisions are final, and no other court can overrule those decisions. Decisions of the Supreme Court set precedents—new ways of interpreting the law. Article V 1. Amendment and Ratification process ● PROPOSAL STAGE RATIFICATION STAGE SED? U ● 2/3 vote in both houses of Congress State legislatures in 3/4 of states 26 Amendments Ratifying Conventions in 3/4 states 21st amd ● Const. convention by 2/3 states State legislatures in 3/4 states never used ● Ratifying conventions in 3/4 states never used ● An amendment can be offered in one of two ways: ○ when twothirds of the Senate (67 of 100 senators) and twothirds of the House of Representatives (290 of 435 representatives) call for a change to be made; ○ or when twothirds of the states (34 of 50 states) call for a national constitutional convention (a gathering of representatives of each state) to make a change. ● Once the amendment is proposed ○ threefourths of the state legislatures or state conventions (38 of 50 states) must vote to approve (ratify) the change. ○ An amendment becomes effective when the necessary states have ratified it. ● article also forbids three specific amendments: ○ that would deny a state its votes in the Senate, that before 1808 would enable Congress to prohibit the importation of slaves ○ and that before 1808 would allow direct taxation except as based on the system of enumeration set out in Article I, Section 2. ○ As a result, the threefifths compromise contained in Article I, Section 9 remained in place until 1808 when Congress banned the international slave trade. ● The only method ever used is the congressional method. It lets Congress pass constitutional amendments by a twothirds majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Such amendments must then be ratified by threefourths of the state legislatures or special state conventions, as Congress determines. Over 10,000 amendments have been introduced into Congress since 1789. Only 33 have been approved. Of these, 27 have been ratified and added to the Constitution. 2. Entrenchment Clause (recall wyoming example from class) ● Entrenchment clause ○ Technical meaning: Cannot be amended through the normal procedures ○ 2 ways can be proposed ○ 2 ways amended ○ Only part of the const that is entrenched is in article 5 and is the malapportioned senate: equal suffrage in the senate ○ “No state without its consent shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the senate” ■ If wyoming wre to have one senator and the other 49 states were to retain their 2 senator its possible if a. Wyoming agrees to lose one of its senators and the other 49 states would have to agree to wyoming’s losing ■ Why would other 49 states have to consent? Article VI 1. Supremacy Clause ● establishes that the Constitution, federal laws made pursuant to it,treatie made under its authority, constitute the supreme law of the land ● FEDERAL>STATE ● A constitutional provision announcing the supremacy of federal law, the Supremacy Clause assumes the underlying priority of federal authority, at least when that authority is expressed in the Constitution itself. ● No matter what the federal government or the states might wish to do, they have to stay within the boundaries of the Constitution. This makes the Supremacy Clause the cornerstone of the whole American political structure. 2. Example of State and federal marijuana Laws ● Famously, voters in Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana in November 2012. Both states only permit personal recreational use of marijuana by adults 21 or older. ● Basically, the legalization of marijuana means you can't be arrested, ticketed, or convicted for using marijuana, if you follow the state laws as to age, place, and amount for consumption. However, you can still get arrested for selling or trafficking marijuana if you aren’t following state laws on licensure and taxation. For example, black market marijuana is still sold in Colorado despite legalization and is still illegal. ● Marijuana has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes. Since 1996 when California started the trend, almost half of the states and DC have legalized medical marijuana. Typically, there are limits placed on the number of ounces of marijuana and marijuana plants that can be owned. ● decriminalization of marijuana is not the same as legalization of marijuana. ○ this means individuals caught with small amounts of marijuana for personal consumption won’t be prosecuted and won’t subsequently receive a criminal record or a jail sentence ● When federal law and state law conflict, the federal law trumps. Federal law doesn’t permit marijuana sale and usage because it is illegal under the Controlled Substance Act. In states where marijuana has been legalized for recreational purposes, the state law conflict with federal law ○ If Colorado and Washington mange to keep their marijuana retail businesses completely instate, it may be legal. That means the marijuana must be grown, sold, used, and taxed all within the state without using any federal land or means of commerce. This prevents the retail marijuana businesses from using banks, which are federally regulated. It also prevents marijuana businesses from deducting business expenses on their federal income taxes. This also prevent farmers from using water from federally managed resources. Should we have a new constituitonal convention? Why or Why not? ● Article V of the Constitution provides two methods for adding Amendments. ○ Congress introduces amendments by one method; the states initiate them under the other. ○ The other way of amending the Constitution has never been successfully used. Under this procedure, the states initiate the amending process by petitioning Congress for a constitutional convention. When twothirds of the states have submitted petitions, Congress must call a convention. Any amendments approved by such a convention must be ratified by threefourths of the states. Congress decides whether state legislatures or state conventions will ratify these amendments. ● NO ○ Modern world changes → We can amend through the normal method ○ Could make it worse ■ Many people have voiced concern over the convention method of amending the Constitution. Our only experience with a national constitutional convention took place 200 years ago. At that time the delegates took it upon themselves to ignore the reason for calling the convention, which was merely to improve the Articles of Confederation. The Founding Fathers also violated the procedure for changing the Articles of Confederation. Instead of requiring approval of all the state legislatures, the signers of the Constitution called for ratification by elected state conventions in only nine of the 13 states. ○ Another point of anxiety is that Article V of the Constitution says nothing about what a convention may or may not do. If a convention is held, must it deal with only one proposed amendment? Or could the delegates vote on any number of amendments that were introduced? The Constitution itself provides no answers to these questions. ○ Who will do it, has the right? ○ Howard Jarvis, the late leader of the conservative tax revolt in California during the 1970s, opposed a convention. He stated that a convention "would put the Constitution back on the drawing board, where every radical crackpot or special interest group would have the chance to write the supreme law of the land." ○ Hard to get states all on same page we need a 2/3rds of states to petition and then 3/4ths of states to actually ratify → take forever→ stalemate You have to write a new const. Tell me about what its content should be. Changes ● Change is Constant ○ We are in a everchanging world. So why be afraid of change if it is aready happening all around you. Some amendments are just not up to par with todays society. It still says that African Americans are 3/5 of a human that is riduculous and needs to be changed. ● Outdated Amendments need change ○ Many amendments were made under the circumstances of the time period of which they were made. One example is the third amendment, which allows people to decide whether or not soldiers stay in their homes. This amendment was made during the revolutionary war, when soldiers would take over people’s homes for living quarters, because states had their own militias, and the U.S. didn’t have an established army with bases across the country like it does now. Not many American soldiers are trying to take over our homes nowadays. ○ Another outdated amendment is the 12th amendment, which is the amendment that establishes the electoral college. This was made because they only wanted educated people voting. In today’s society however, people know more about politics and have a more clear understanding of who and what they’re voting on. Candidates just use this outdated amendment to manipulate the voting system. ○ And changing the constitution doesn’t “take our freedoms away” ■ Even now, amendments can be ratified and repealed, changing them. One example is the 18th amendment which banned all sales of alcohol. When it was found to be a bad idea, they created the 21st amendment, which repealed the 18th amendment. ■ The document itself was an experimental document, made for a society over 200 years ago, for a government style that had not yet been known. Even Thomas Jefferson himself believed the constitution should be changed every 19 years, to be able to stay with the times. ○ From the separation of powers to the Bill of Rights, the United States Constitution remains brilliant in its overall composition. Since 1787, however, we have seen tremendous growth in our technologies, economy, population and military strength. Our founding document no longer addresses the complicated issues that affect our government and our citizens. If we really want to make progress and achieve greater fairness as a society, it is time for elemental change. And we should start by looking at the Constitution, with the goal of holding a new Constitutional Convention. ● Creating a more representative Senate. ○ Stunningly, just 17 percent of the current American population elects a majority of the U.S. Senate. This is because even though California has about 70 times the population of Wyoming, both states get two U.S. senators. The larger states may have 83 percent of the nation's people, but they get nothing without the approval of the lightly populated states. In the beginning of the republic, the population differential between the large and small states and thus the unfairness was far less. ○ But today, the structure of the upper chamber of Congress is completely outmoded. Let's build a fairer Senate by granting the 10 states with the greatest population two additional senators each, and the next 15 most populated states one additional senator each. ● Transforming presidential elections. Americans don't have to be convinced that our presidential election system is broken. The nation needs a sensible system of rotating regional primaries so that it would no longer be subject to the selfish whims of a few states. ● Instituting Judiciary Term Limits. ○ Excessive authority has accrued to the federal courts, especially the Supreme Courtso much so that had the founders realized the courts' eventual powers, they would have limited judicial authority. The insularity of lifetime tenure, combined with the appointments of relatively young attorneys who give long service on the bench, produces senior judges representing the views of past generations better than views of the current day. ○ A nonrenewable term limit of 15 years should apply to all federal judges, from the district courts all the way up to the Supreme Court. No change ● Prideful longest living document in history ●
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