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Exam 2 Review

by: farrienkhan Notetaker

Exam 2 Review GOV 310L

farrienkhan Notetaker

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Chapters 8 -15
American Government
Study Guide
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This 37 page Study Guide was uploaded by farrienkhan Notetaker on Sunday August 14, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to GOV 310L at University of Texas at Austin taught by Albertson in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 7 views. For similar materials see American Government in Government at University of Texas at Austin.


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Date Created: 08/14/16
Review Sheet – Exam 2 Chapters 8-15 Executive Power (Chapters 8 & 9) ● Commander in chief ○ President communicates with the top civilian and military leaders of the Department of Defense ○ Controversial Constitutional right of executive power ○ Interpreted their power to mobilize troops without a formal declaration of war from Congress if it is in the interest of protecting and preserving the Constitution ○ War Powers Resolution of 1973 enacted by Congress to limit power of  presidents from entering into military engagements without congressional approval. ■ Resolution stated the circumstances under which the  military could be deployed without a formal declaration of war. ● Executive order ○ Declarations issued by a president that relate to the organization of the federal bureaucracy, the execution of federal legislation, and the enforcement of federal court decisions ○ Do not require the approval of Congress but they can be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court or repealed by subsequent administrations ○ Power given by executive power clause ○ Issued to help officers and agencies of the executive branch manage the  operations within the federal government itself. ● Going public ○ President is able to circumvent Congress and appeal directly to the public through increased means of communication like magazines, newspapers, radio, television, and internet ○ Helps to give people the sense that the president is their national representative ○ Fixes the President's bargaining position ● Executive Privilege ○ The act of withholding information from congressional, judicial, or public scrutiny ○ Clearly represents an implied executive power given that it is found nowhere in the Constitution ○ Executive privilege was invoked by President Nixon in the watergate scandal ● Pardon ○ The exoneration (to declare him not guilty for the criminal charges) of both the crime and the associated penalty ○ A president would most likely utilize the power to grant a pardon to a convicted criminal toward the end of his or her term. ○ A president's power to check the judicial branch / exercise of judicial power ● Reprieves ○ The exoneration of penalty associated with a crime but not of the crime itself ● Amnesty ○ Pardon issued to a group of people who are not in compliance with the law ● PRESIDENT ○ Legislative Powers ■ Include the power to veto legislation and the ability to share the legislative agenda through the State of the Union address ○ Judicial Powers ■ President has the ability to nominate justices to the courts and to grant pardons, reprieves, and amnesties which gives him a check over judicial power ■ Presidential nominations are subject to Senate approval and require a majority vote ○ Military Powers ■ Constitution appoints the President as the highest ranking officer of the US armed forces ● Presidential powers ○ Among the president’s expressed, implied, and delegated responsibilities are executive, legislative, judicial, diplomatic, and military powers ○ One of the challenges in evaluating a president other than wars, and economic issues is-divided government ● Expressed ○ Responsibilities that are expressly granted in the Constitution ● Implied ○ Not expressly stated in the Constitution, but have been interpreted by presidents as necessary to faithfully execute the laws and to protect and defend the Constitution ○ Issuing executive orders is an implied presidential power ○ Executive privilege ● Delegated ○ Powers that are delegated to the President by Congress in order to implement legislation ● Veto power ○ Derived from the Article I of the Constitution ○ Rejecting a bill after the House and Senate have approved it for review ○ More frequent in times of divided government (when one party controls the presidency and the other controls Congress) ● Line Item Veto ● Override ○ Congress can override a presidential veto with ⅔ vote in both houses ● Pocket veto ○ The Constitution grants the president 10 days to review a measure passed by the Congress. If the president has not signed the bill after 10 days, it becomes law without his signature. However, if Congress adjourns during the 10-day period, the bill does not become law. ● Policies and Programs ○ Commerce Clause ■ The enumerated powers of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution that grants Congress the authority to regulate commerce ■ Provided the basis for expanded national power through federal legislation on a broad array of issues ● Political Parties and Mass Media ○ Strengthened the connection between the American public and president ● Globalization ○ US: world leader in several industrial sectors ○ One of the largest importers and exporters in the global marketplace ○ Technological progress over the decades has highlighted our relation to other parts of the world ■ Nuclear warfare and missile defense: president responsible for split-second decisions ● Other important concepts: ○ Divided government ■ One party controls the presidency and the other controls Senate ○ Transition and Honeymoon ○ Presidential popularity: popularity in office tends to decline as term progresses. ○ Impeachment : Thus far in the history of the United States there been three Presidential impeachment proceedings ○ etc ○ Ratification ■ Formally and legally binding approval ○ Senate Confirmation ■ Approval of ⅔ of the senators present of a presidential nominee ○ Federal Bureaucracy ■ The departments, agencies, bureaus, and offices of the Executive branch of government that are characterized by hierarchical organization and the assignment of specific job responsibilities to employees ○ Executive Power Clause ■ Portion of Article II, Section I of the Constitution that grants the President the authority to carry out all laws passed by Congress ■ The vague language of this clause has been used by presidents to significantly expand the powers of the office ■ Combining the presidential oath of office with the Executive Power Clause, presidents have inferred the authority to issue executive orders and claim executive privilege ● Extra Notes: ○ Although Constitution is rather vague about the executive branch of government, it does vest executive power in the President ■ Charged with making sure the laws passed by Congress are faithfully executed which he does with the help of federal bureaucracy ■ President allowed to establish federal departments in executive branch and to appoint their organization heads known as secretaries to implement the law ■ No mention of how the federal bureaucracy should be organized in the Constitution ○ President’s right to appoint the head of federal departments (with the advice and consent of the Senate) is one of the most powerful tools of administration ○ Although the Constitution explicitly states that the president has the power to appoint officers of the federal government it does not describe the creation of specific executive offices ■ Implies that the president has the power to establish offices necessary to faithfully execute the law although the creation of additional departments is subject to congressional funding ○ Article II, Section III of the Constitution requires the President to report to Congress from time to time on the State of the Union ■ Uses this power to set the policy agenda by describing to Congress what sorts of legislation he would be willing to sign in the coming year ■ Also specifies a role for the vice president in the legislative process ■ Vice President acts as the President of the Senate (does not have a vote in the Senate unless there is a tie) ○ Diplomatic Power ■ The Constitution gives the President the ability to enter into treaties with foreign nations, but he must obtain a consent of ⅔ of the voting senators ■ President to act like symbolic head of state ○ Presidents have resorted to interpreting their diplomatic powers to mean that they are at liberty to negotiate executive agreements with foreign nations ■ Executive agreements do not require congressional approval ■ Have their own limitations since they may require federal legislation or congressional funding to execute the terms of agreement ○ The president is constitutionally entitled to receive foreign dignitaries and to appoint US ambassadors ○ The growth and the size of federal bureaucracy over the years has led to increased power for presidents ■ FACTORS that have led to expansion of presidential powers ● Growth in policies and programs that must be administered by the executive branch. ● Development of political parties and mass media, which have strengthened the direct connection between the president and the American people. ● Globalization and advancements in industry and technology that have centrally located the United States in the world. ● Claims of implied constitutional powers by individual presidents, and delegation of greater authority by Congress. ○ President executive, legislative, judicial, and military roles are limited ○ President may be charged with implementing the law, but he depends on Congress for confirmation of department heads, approval of administrative budgets, and appropriation of government resources to keep his departments and offices in business ○ Ability to issue executive orders and exercise executive privilege is limited since both implied powers must fit within the powers of the Constitution ○ President cannot make law; only sets legislative agenda (State of the Union address and policy recommendations and policy appeals) ○ The Constitution also limits the power of the president in judicial politics, military operations, and diplomatic relations. While the president can nominate justices to fill vacancies on the Supreme Court and other lower federal courts, he must receive the advice and consent of the Senate through the process of confirmation. While the president is the commander in chief of the U.S. armed forces, he technically needs a congressional declaration of war or specific statutory authorization of use of force to engage troops in military combat. There is great debate over the efficacy of limitations on presidential military power, but the Constitution does articulate (and Congress has attempted to clarify) the parameters of presidential use of military force. Congress also checks the president’s diplomatic relations, confirming appointment of ambassadors and ratifying presidential treaties with other nations. The Governor (Chapter 9) ● Requirements to serve as the governor of Texas ○ At least 30 yrs old ○ United States citizen ○ Resident of Texas for at least five years preceding election ● Succession ○ In the event the office becomes vacant due to the governor’s death, resignation, or removal, the lieutenant governor becomes governor ■ Serves as acting governor when the governor is out of state ○ Passes then to the president pro tempore of the Texas Senate, the speaker of the Texas House, the attorney general, and the chief judges of the Texas Courts of Appeals ○ “Governor for the day” ritual: president pro tempore becomes state’s executive officer (governor and lieutenant governor leave the state) ● Removal ○ Impeachment and conviction are the only legal means of removing governor from office ● Impeachment ○ Majority of members in House of Representatives must vote to impeach ● Trial and Conviction ○ ⅔ vote of the Senate is required for conviction which results in the governor’s removal ○ No longer holds qualification to stay in office ● Texas governor’s executive powers are comparatively weak because he doesn’t have the ability to directly implement policy changes or pass the laws he may desire ● In the Constitution of 1876, there was construction of a plural executive which means that power is dispersed among independently elected officials and this weakens the governor ● When presidents come to power, they appoint a trusted network of executive officers, known as the cabinet, with approval from a largely deferential Senate. By contrast, when the Texas governor takes office after a successful election, the same electorate that put him into office also chooses his executive officers for him. Beyond the few he appoints, the people he must work with to run the state and achieve his goals are not automatically “on his team,” nor must they share his policy priorities or even be from the same political party. ● Appointments ○ Executive powers are dispersed throughout the executive branch in the plural executive (the series of elected offices, commissions, and boards) ○ Appointments tend to serve at least one of the three purposes ■ Help implement policies ■ Provide political support ■ Set a political tone ○ Useful to the governor in his pursue of policy goals, allies in strategic places in state government can implement policies in a manner that have goals and priorities ○ Governor can use appointment power to place allies in the executive branch that will protect the governor’s political interest ○ Third way is to establish a political tone which can signal a governor’s political and policy goals ● Limitations ○ The governor’s appointment power is limited in three major ways: ○ First, the Senate must approve appointment with ⅔ vote ○ Second, the confirmation process is shaped by the unwritten tradition of senatorial courtesy ○ Senatorial courtesy: This custom allows the senator from the district of a nominee to effectively veto the appointment; if a senator objects to a nomination, colleagues in the senate respect the objection and will not vote to confirm the nominee. But the legislature must be in session for these objections to occur.. ○ If a vacancy opens when the legislature is not in session, appointees will take their appointed position unchecked and serve in it until the senate eventually convenes and takes up the matter of their confirmation. Remember that the Texas Senate only meets for less than six months out of every two years. So it’s very likely that a governor’s appointees will get to serve at least some time while the senate is in recess—even if it’s fairly certain that the nominee will later be rejected. This can be beneficial, as the nominee can use his limited time in the position to try to convince senators to support him. ○ The third limitation on the governor’s appointment power has to do with timing. Most appointees serve staggered six-year terms, and by Texas law, governors cannot fire their predecessors’ appointees. So unless an unusual number of deaths or resignations occur, it will be several years into a governor’s term before he has appointed enough people to exert significant influence over the boards and commissions of the executive branch that the governor ostensibly appoints people to run. Likewise, governors serving a second consecutive term have distinctly more influence over the executive because they have appointed more people while in office. ● One of the basic legislative power that the governor of Texas does possess is veto which lets the governor nullify bills, joint resolutions, and appropriation items. ● Line item veto: The governor’s constitutional power to veto specific items in the legislature’s budget bill rather than the whole bill. ○ With this the governor can remove particular elements from bills or resolutions that otherwise has passed. ● Limitations on the veto use ○ Vetoes are not absolute. the legislature may reverse, or override, a veto with a two-thirds vote in each chamber. ○ After receiving a bill, the governor has ten days to either sign or veto it. Signing the bill passes it into law; vetoing it returns it to the legislature with a veto message explaining his reasons for rejection. If the legislature is in session at the time of the veto, legislators may try to reverse it or pass modified legislation addressing the governor’s objections. But if the legislative session will end within ten days of the governor’s receipt of any legislation, he has another 20 days from adjournment to act on any such pending bills. ○ Typically there’s a last-minute rush to pass major legislation, so the governor tends to receive most bills in the last ten days of the session. This doubly benefits the governor. First, governors have extra time to consider bills. Second, if the legislature is out of session, it cannot meet to override a veto, so vetoes cast after the session ends are final. ● Budgeting and other powers: ○ Budgeting: to meet emergency needs, she may transfer money between programs or agencies. These transfers are subject to the approval of the ten-member Legislative Budget Board (LBB). The governor delivers a budget to the LBB, but it has no binding authority. ○ Military and police powers: The governor’s military and police powers are limited and straightforward. ■ Commander of the Texas National Guard: The constitution names the governor commander in chief of the Texas National Guard. ■ Selector of the public safety commission: The governor has limited police powers, as most law enforcement and police investigation responsibilities rest in the hands of city and county governments. The governor, with senate approval, appoints members of the Public Safety Commission, which directs the Department of Public Safety (DPS). ○ Judiciary ■ The Texas governor wields less power over the judiciary than the U.S. president, who makes all appointments to the federal judiciary. In Texas, judges are democratically chosen in partisan elections. ■ Yet governors do influence the state judiciary. They appoint judges to fill vacancies that have opened as a result of death, removal, resignation, or the creation of new courts by the legislature. ■ Appointed judges have the advantage of incumbency if they seek reelection, so many of a governor’s appointees stand a good chance of remaining in the state judiciary over time. ■ Governor has limited clemency powers. Governor of Texas cannot independently issue a pardon (legal release from penalty or punishment for violation of the law) or commute a sentence. He may only recommend cases to the Board of Pardons and Paroles and approve or reject the board’s recommendations on pardons or sentence reductions. In death penalty cases, he may issue one 30-day reprieve per case. ● Important informal powers used within institutional channels include the power to persuade and the message power. ○ Power to persuade: refers to the use of personal influence on the part of the governor, his staff, and lobbyists to manage relationships with the legislature and the bureaucracy during the session. ○ Message Power ■ A successful governor aims to pass legislation consistent with her political agenda and to prevent legislation at odds with this agenda. Once again, the Texas Constitution grants the governor few formal tools to work with. ■ the governor is required to deliver a budget message to the legislature. She is also required to deliver an opening and closing message. She can further deliver special “emergency” messages while the legislature is in session. ■ These are all formal duties or powers given to the governor, but the legislature is not required to pay any attention to them. The informal side of the message power is thus more important: because of round-the-clock coverage of the state’s top official, when the governor addresses groups and makes speeches or statements, her agenda and priorities are routinely shared again and again. ● Successful governors use their informal status as a figurehead of state government to influence the political process. ○ Pollsters use approval ratings to assess the governor’s ability to appeal the public, since a well-regarded governor will often have more success influencing other government actors and thus public policy. Presidents usually see a positive bump in their approval ratings after winning an election. ○ While approval ratings are useful for measuring the current standing of the governor, they are limited in that they rarely give information about the intensity of people’s opinions. ○ Figurehead status: To influence politics and policy, it’s crucial for the Texas governor to leverage his status as a figurehead: the symbolic leader the public most readily identifies with state government and even with the state itself. ○ Bully-pulpit: The unique position as the most prominent elected official in the state gives the governor the ability to attract public attention, primarily through traditional media. The attention automatically paid to the chief executive creates what Teddy Roosevelt referred to as the bully pulpit—a figurative soapbox the president can stand on to loudly build support for his priorities. ● Special sessions: A session of the legislature called by the governor to address issues of his/her choosing. Special sessions are separate from the regular legislative sessions and may last a maximum of 30 days. ● TEXAS GOVERNOR IS RELATIVELY WEAK COMPARED TO THE EXECUTIVE OFFICES OF OTHER STATE GOVERNORS AND THE U.S. PRESIDENT. Chapter 10: Bureaucracy The federal bureaucracy enables the president to implement laws passed by congress. Once the law has been passed by Congress and signed by the president, the law must then be put into action. This is the job of the executive branch, and it is no small task. The executive branch is composed of the president and vice president as well as the cabinet departments, agencies, bureaus, and offices that are responsible for helping the president administer government policies. These executive departments, agencies, bureaus, and offices are collectively known as the federal bureaucracy. Bureaucracy (Chapters 10 & 11) ● Bureaucracy: refers to a set of structures and procedures used by the government to administer policies and programs. ○ It is characterised by a hierarchy of authority, specialization of functions and strict adherence to established procedures. ○ Bureaucracy serves several important functions: ■ First, bureaucracy allows an organization to operate efficiently by dividing labor among employees who are experts at performing specific tasks.The division and specialization of labor in a bureaucracy is often managed by a hierarchy of authority that is typically compared to a pyramid. At the bottom of the pyramid, you find workers with more general skills. As you move up the pyramid, skills become more specialized, with fewer workers who possess them. At each level there are managers who report to the manager above them in the hierarchy, and at the top of the pyramid you find a set of high-level managers who oversee the operations of the organization. ■ Second, bureaucracy allows processes to be standardized so that products and services can be provided with consistency, with transparency, and with fairness at large scales. Though bureaucracy is often associated with a sea of paperwork and rigid adherence to rules, paperwork and rules serve an important function. Paperwork represents a standardized set of procedures that allows the government to coordinate numerous actions and administer massive programs in a consistent and equitable way. ● How is the federal bureaucracy organized? ○ It is composed of cabinet departments, independent agencies and regulatory commissions and government corporations. ● Executive Office of the President (EOP)- The president’s white house staff and the EOP include some of the president’s closest advisors and the people who assist him with his day-to-day responsibilities. ○ Another arm of executive branch, separate from the cabinet. ○ While cabinet is organised by departments and headed by secretaries, EOP includes several advisory bodies to the president. ○ 13 entities in EOP including National security council and the Office of Management and Budget. ● The largest units in the executive branch are the executive (or cabinet) departments. ○ There are 15 executive departments. ○ Each department is headed by a presidential appointee who must be confirmed by the Senate. These individuals are referred to as cabinet secretaries. ○ Each department is organized hierarchically and contains several smaller units within it. ○ In addition to the 15 executive departments, there are numerous agencies, regulatory commissions, and government corporations in the executive branch. ■ An independent agency is an organization set up by Congress outside of the cabinet department structure. These agencies coordinate and carry out important government functions, like the intelligence activities conducted by the CIA and the scientific research overseen by NASA. The heads of these agencies, known as administrators, are appointed by the president, but they generally report to Congress rather than to the president. One exception is the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who is usually invited to cabinet meetings and reports directly to the president. ■ Independent regulatory commissions are also part of the executive branch, but, like agencies, they are responsible to Congress. Congress established these commissions to make rules on issues involving commerce, economics, communications, and elections. These commissions include the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Election Commission. During the 1960s and early 1970s, most new regulatory programs were placed within the cabinet departments and made directly responsible to the president instead of Congress. ■ The executive branch also includes government corporations, which provide a public service for a charge. The U.S. Postal Service and Amtrak are both government corporations. ● Federal bureaucracy grew considerably since the founding, and especially since the Great Depression. ● The history of the federal bureaucracy is one of government continuously attempting to address the demands of an evolving American society. As the responsibilities of the bureaucracy have increased, so has its power. But the bureaucracy still relies on the president and Congress for its size and funding, and thus remains limited in what it can do. ● Limitations on bureaucratic Power ○ Although bureaucrats do have considerable power to interpret laws and make rules when it comes to implementation, a number of factors prevent them from abusing this power. One such factor is accountability. The department and agencies in the executive branch are accountable to both Congress, which makes the laws being implemented, and to the president, who is responsible for appointing the heads of the departments. ○ It is important to note that although the president is the head of the executive branch, he does not have unlimited control over the bureaucracy. His main sources of power over the bureaucracy come in the form of his capacity to appoint the heads of departments and agencies and his ability to propose each agency’s budget to Congress. The president also has the authority to reorganize the executive branch to better serve his priorities. ○ While bureaucrats do have a great deal of discretion in implementing public policy, several checks and balances limit the power of the bureaucracy. The president controls the bureaucracy through his appointment power. Congress controls the bureaucracy through its power over funding levels for executive departments and agencies. When the public expresses dissatisfaction with the performance of the federal bureaucracy, the president and Congress consider options for reform. ● Cabinet ● Departments ● Government Corporations ● Independent Regulatory Commissions ● Issue network- the relationship between a clientele oriented department, the clientele it serves and the congressional committee sharing jurisdiction with the department is known as an issue network. are an alliance of various interest groups and individuals who unite in order to promote a single issue in government policy. An informal and relatively open network of public officials and lobbyists who have a common interest in a given area and who are brought together by a proposed policy in that area. Unlike an iron triangle, an issue network disbands after the issue is resolved. ● Iron Triangle- A term describing the coordination among congressional committee bureaucratic agencies and interest groups. (Sometimes the issue network can develop into a powerful alliance between the three. This alliance is known as an iron triangle, and it can result in policies and rules that benefit a narrow segment of the Population. This relationship, the three actors involved serve one another in exchange for information, political support, and favors. ● Spoils system/Patronage- A political system in which the winning party in an election compensates its supporters with government jobs and services. These jobs were often given to unqualified candidates, thus contributing to a sense that the bureaucracy was partisan and inefficient. -The Pendleton Act moves us away from this horrible system to a merit based system. ● Progressive Era (1880-1920): The period in the late 19th and early 20th centuries marked by a social movement calling for sweeping reforms through increased government regulation. Some of the progressives’ priorities included prohibition of alcohol, extension of voting rights to women and limitations on government corruption. ● Pendleton Act: Required federal employees to be hired based on merit. This prevented future presidents from seeking favors from people in exchange for federal employment, and further resulted in the hiring of bureaucrats qualified to hold their positions. (moved us away from the spoils system, something that still exists in 3rd world countries where corruption is inevitable). ● Great Society: A series of federal government programs, promoted by president lyndon johnson in the 1960s, that aimed to end poverty and racial injustice. ● Civil Service ● Devolution- The delegation of the power by the federal government to the state and local governments. (strategy for reducing the size of the federal government) ● Privatization- a shift in responsibility for service provision from the public sector to the private sector. (strategy for reducing the size and scope of federal government) Texas: The Executive Branch (Chapter 11) ● Lieutenant Governor ○ An elected executive official who is both first in line to succeed the governor and the president of the Senate, where the office chief power and authority reside ○ Member of the executive branch ○ Serves as the acting governor when the governor is out of state and is first in line of succession should the governor be unable to perform his duties ■ DUTIES: (natural comparison: US Vice Presidency) ● Appointing the committees of the senate ○ Power is significant because committees generally control specific policy areas, therefore, by strategically assigning people who support his policy ideas to certain committees, the lieutenant governor can influence the choices the senate makes ● Assigning bills to specific senate committees ● Casting the deciding vote in the event of a tie in the senate ● Chairing the Legislative Budget Board and the Legislative Council ● Vice-chairing the Legislative Audit Committee and the Legislative Education Board ● Serving as one of the five members of the Legislative Redistricting Board when it convenes ○ Length of term of office was constitutionally extended from two to four years ○ It became customary for the lieutenant governor to serve more numerous terms (more informal influence and legislative expertise and strengthen control over committees that write the laws) ○ Current Lieutenant Governor: Republican Dan Patrick ● Attorney General ○ State’s elected chief lawyer who is responsible for defending the state in lawsuits and advising other state officials ○ 4 year terms and state’s top lawyer ○ Legal role primarily civil ○ Significant impact on public policy ● Comptroller of Public Accounts ○ State’s elected chief tax collector, accountant, estimator of revenues, and treasurer ○ 4 year terms ○ Influence over the legislative budget process because they are charged with making prospective revenue estimates that lawmakers must heed when creating a budget for the following biennium ○ Overriding the comptroller requires a nearly impossible ⅘ vote majority in both houses of the legislature (no comptroller has ever been overridden in history) ○ Taxation and Budget Responsibilities: ■ Collecting taxes imposed by the state (sales tax, motor fuel tax, inheritance tax) ■ Facilitating payment of those taxes by providing forms, schedules, and other taxpayer assistance ■ Returning abandoned money and property ○ Additional power with the abolishment of the Office of the Treasurer in 1996 ● Balanced Budget Requirement ○ A constitutional requirement that the state’s spending in each fiscal year not exceed its revenues or income ○ Texas operates under this (pay-as-you-go principle) ● Commissioner of the Land Office (George P. Bush) ○ Land Commissioner: head of the General Land Office ■ Hains his power and significance from Texas’s large amount of public land and the resources, particularly energy, found in them ■ 4 year terms to administer use of all state- owned lands which includes monitoring the environmental quality of public lands and waters and leasing them for mining, grazing, and oil and gas production ■ Authorizes exploration and exploitation of public lands ■ Revenue from state lands is very important because Texas collects no income tax unlike most states ■ Key portion of oil and gas royalties funds public education ● Commissioner of Agriculture (Sid Miller) ○ Heads the Department of Agriculture and enforces all of Texas’s agricultural laws ○ 4 years terms ○ Covers matters ranging from food inspection and animal quarantine laws to licensing to disease and pest control to promoting exports ○ Texas is the second leading overall agricultural producer in the United States behind only California ○ *An elected official who implements and enforces the state’s agricultural laws ● Texas Railroad Commission ○ A publicly elected three member body that regulates railroads, trucking, mining, and oil and gas production within the state ○ Reputation as a highly influential regulatory body ● State Board of Education ○ An elected 15 member body charged with overseeing Texas’s system of public education at the primary and secondary levels ○ Implement the mandate for a free public education system ○ 4 year terms and represent individual districts that together cover the entire state ● Secretary of State (Carlos Cascos) ○ The only constitutional executive branch official appointed by the governor ○ Office administers elections and maintains important state records ○ Most visible role is the administration of elections ○ Highest ranking official appointed by the governor without senate approval ○ Two Major Responsibilities: ■ Overseeing voter registration ● This includes cooperating in voter-registration drives with civic and service organizations such as the League of Women Voters, an organization that encourages registration and informed voting ■ Keeping record of all debt and Uniform Commercial Code filings ● Every time someone borrows money from a bank or other financial institution in Texas, a copy of the loan agreement is filed with the secretary of state ● Ex-officio members ○ Board or commission members who automatically serve because of some other position they occupy ● Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) ○ Regulates all aspects of the production, distribution, and sale of alcoholic drinks in the state ○ Enforcement of legal drinking age: 21 ● Public Utilities Commission ○ Three members appointed by the governor for staggered six year terms ○ Oversees rates and enforces rules and laws related to electricity and telecommunications ● Bureaucracy ○ A large group of unelected individuals directly involved in running the government ○ Carries out the government’s policies and by design takes on large-scale highly complex work ○ Two main characteristics: ■ Operates according to clear and impersonal rules ■ Assigns responsibilities based on technical competence ○ Necessary for carrying out complex tasks within our industrialized democratic societies ● Structure ○ State bureaucracy is decentralized to disperse power and organizationally varied to meet the needs of both constitutional mandates and federal frameworks ● Leadership ○ Decentralization usually means that cooperation and coordination among organizations is inherently difficult and can depend on the goodwill and self-interest of those leaders Judiciary (Chapter 12) ● The Supreme Court: Chief Justice & Associate Justices ○ Article III (details Judicial branch) (shortest of the articles devoted to a government institution) of the Constitution established only the Supreme Court; the rest of the federal judiciary was created by Congress ■ Contains guidelines outlining the structure of the federal court system, the parameters governing judicial terms and compensation, the jurisdiction of the federal courts, and specific treatment of the crime of treason ○ The Constitution only created the Supreme Court and left the creation of all lower courts of the federal judiciary to the U.S. Congress. ○ The Judiciary act of 1789 created a three tiered federal court structure. Before reaching the Supreme Court, cases must travel through one of the 94 federal district courts spread across the country, then through one of the 13 courts of appeals. ○ Supreme Court cannot initiate a case, but it can choose which case it hears ○ The executive and legislative branches influence the judicial branch by appointing judges ○ Judges’ decisions can be influenced by personal experience, judicial philosophy, political ideology, and political context ○ First Supreme Court was composed of six justices, but today the Supreme Court is composed of nine justices including the chief justice and eight associate justices ■ This number was fixed by Congress in 1869, although Congress still retains the power to change it ○ Checks on its power ■ Supreme Court does not have the power to implement its own decisions ● EX: ruled that segregation was unconstitutional and yet many states continued the practice despite the Court’s ruling ■ Involves the process by which the Court hears cases ● Justices can pick and choose among the cases that come to the, but they are not able to initiate cases ○ Supreme Court generally hears less than 1% of all cases submitted (criteria for selection of cases) ■ There must be an actual case or controversy involving two adversarial parties ■ The parties involved must have standing ● Parties involved must have a stake in the outcome of the case and must be able to show personal or economic injury ■ Cases that are moot do not qualify for consideration by the Court ● Moot: case is considered moot when the issue at stake has already been resolved or is no longer relevant ■ Cases that are not ripe do not qualify for consideration by the court ● If a law has not yet been implemented or a discriminatory action has not yet occurred, the Court will not hear a case concerning its constitutionality ○ If the case meets the criteria above, it can follow two paths to the Supreme Court ■ Through the Court’s original jurisdiction (less common path) ■ Through its appellate jurisdiction (more common path) ○ Decision-Making Process of Supreme Court ■ Original Jurisdiction and Appellate Jurisdiction (writ of certiorari, writ of certificate, and writ of appeal) ● Justices Compile and Discuss ● Justices Meet in Conference and Select Cases Based on the Rule of Four ● Lawyers Submit Briefs ● Lawyers Submit Oral Arguments ● Justices Meet in Conference ● Court Issues Decision ○ All federal judges are to be appointed by the president with the “advice and consent” of the Senate ■ Judges have lifetime appointment so most vacancies on the federal bench occur only when judges retire, resign, or die ■ Stipulates that judges may hold office during good behavior ○ Presidents may use judicial nominations to demonstrate a commitment to diversity as they consider qualities such as gender, religious affiliation, and ethnic background ○ Presidents must consider the likelihood of Senate confirmation of potential nominees ○ Presidential nominations also depend on feedback from both the Department of Justice and the Senate ■ Department of Justice is responsible for evaluating the professional qualification of potential nominees ○ Once a candidate for federal judicial office has been formally nominated by the president, he or she must then be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee ■ Once reviewed by the Judiciary Committee, the nomination is then put to a vote by the full Senate ■ If approved by a majority vote, the nominee is confirmed as a federal judge ○ Supreme Court Justices (3 women, 6 men) ■ Chief Justice: John G. Roberts, Jr. ■ Associate Justice: Antonin Scalia (passed away recently → Merrick Garland) ■ Associate Justice: Anthony M. Kennedy ■ Associate Justice: Clarence Thomas ■ Associate Justice: Ruth Bader Ginsburg ■ Associate Justice: Stephen G. Breyer ■ Associate Justice: Samuel A. Alito, Jr. ■ Associate Justice: Sonia Sotomayor ■ Associate Justice: Elena Kagan ● Five Steps to Filling a Supreme Court Vacancy: ○ A vacancy opens on Supreme Court due to death or retirement ■ President responsible for nomination ■ Constitution does not specify judicial qualifications ○ The President submits his nomination to Senate for advice and confirmation ■ Thorough investigation of nominee’s background ○ The Senate Judiciary Committee holds hearings ■ Nominee testifies before the committee ○ The Senate Judiciary Committees votes on the nomination ■ Committee then reports nomination to full Senate with favorable recommendation, unfavorable recommendation, or without recommendation ○ The Senate votes on the nomination ■ 60% vote majority is required to block a filibuster of a nomination ■ Senate has explicitly blocked 12 nominations All ● Other Courts: ○ Federal vs. State ■ Each state has its own court system that addresses state criminal and civil laws ● Structure of each of the state court systems is outlined by each state constitution, so the organization of the state courts varies from state to state ● Most states have three- tiered structure that mirrors the federal court system and include trial court, intermediate and appellate courts that hear appeals to decisions made in trial courts, and a high court that hears appeals to decisions made in the appellate courts ■ State courts handle more cases each year than the federal government does ● Very few cases are appealed all the way to the Supreme Court and fewer cases are actually argued before the Supreme Court ● One of the powers of the Supreme Court is to select only those cases it chooses to hear from the pool of cases filed with the Court ○ US Court of Appeals ○ Federal district courts ● Opinions: ○ Majority ■ A written opinion that establishes the decision of the Court, offers a legal rationale for that decision, and sets a precedent for future-related cases ○ Concurring ■ An opinion that agrees with the conclusion but not the reasoning, of the majority opinion of the Court ○ Dissenting ■ An opinion that disagrees with the conclusion of the majority opinion of the Court ● Judicial Review: ○ Judicial Review ■ The Supreme Court’s ability to interpret the constitutionality of any act of Congress, the executive branch, or the states ■ Gave the judicial branch a more equal share of institutional power by allowing it more control over the other two branches ■ Essentially provides the Court with the power to “veto” actions that it deems unconstitutional ○ Marbury v. Madison ■ Established the Court’s power of judicial review ■ Case involved President John Adams’ appointment of William Marbury as a federal district judge ● Appointment was made at the very end of President Adams’ term, the paperwork for Marbury’s appointment was not delivered on time and he never received his commission ● When President Jefferson took office, his secretary of state, James Madison, refused to deliver the paperwork for several of the preceding president’s appointment including Marbury’s because of the strong partisan differences between the two administrations ■ Marbury requested that the Court issue a WRIT OF MANDAMUS ● An order issued by the Supreme Court requiring a government agent to carry out a legal duty ○ McCulloch v. Maryland ■ Chief Justice Marshall struck down a state tax on the federal bank suggesting that “the power to tax involves the power to destroy” ● Other important terms: ○ Jurisdiction ■ The authority to decide a legal issue or case ■ It allows Congress some authority over the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court ○ Original vs. Appellate Jurisdiction ■ Original Jurisdiction ● The power to hear a case for the first time ● Supreme Court has both original and appellate jurisdiction ○ When a federal case involves two or more states, the Supreme Court is the only appropriate venue for holding the trial ● Applies to cases between the federal government and one of the 50 states, cases involving foreign ambassadors, and cases brought by citizens of one state against citizens of another state ■ Appellate Jurisdiction ● The power to review cases originally heard in a lower court ● The Supreme Court has both original and appellate jurisdiction ○ Most cases heard by the Supreme Court fall under its appellate jurisdiction ○ Judiciary Act of 1789 ■ Granted the Supreme Court the power to hear appeals to decisions that involve a federal question made in the highest courts in each of the states ○ Equal Protection Clause ■ Portion of the 14th amendment that states to treat citizens equally under the law ■ Basis for the incorporation doctrine ○ Writ of certiorari ■ A request from a high court to a lower court for records of a case to be sent for review ○ Rule of Four ■ The Supreme Court’s longstanding tradition of agreeing to hear a case if at least four justices favor its review ■ Longstanding custom designed to protect the the rights of the minority ○ Amicus Curiae ■ A type of brief filed by the “friend of the court” or someone who is not directly involved in the case at hand ■ Interest groups often file this type of brief (voluntarily or at attorney’s request) to provide information to the Court to assist in its decision-making process ■ The solicitor general often submits amicus curiae briefs in cases where the federal government is not directly involved but has an interest ○ Judicial activism ■ A judicial philosophy that calls for judges to protect the jurisdiction and interests of the Court in a government of separated powers and to invalidate federal and state law when necessary ■ Those who adhere to judicial activism often interpret the Constitution within a contemporary political context ■ Proponents argue that a more flexible interpretation of the Constitution addresses social and political change and helps to protect the rights of the minority ○ Judicial restraint ■ A judicial philosophy that calls for judges to respect the roles of the other branches of federal and state government, to refrain from invalidating federal and state law whenever possible, and to respect state decisis (the principle of deferring to precedent) ■ Those who adhere to judicial restraint often limit their interpretation of the Constitution to literal text or the original intent of the Founders ■ Benefit of simplicity, maintaining a stable reading of the text of the Constitution, and adhering to the democratic processes designed by the Founders ○ Majority Opinion ■ A written opinion that establishes the decision of the Court, offers a legal rationale for that decision, and sets a precedent for future-related cases ○ Concurring Opinion ■ An opinion that agrees with the conclusion but not the reasoning, of the majority opinion of the Court ○ Dissenting Opinion ■ An opinion that disagrees with the conclusion of the majority opinion of the Court ○ Precedent ■ Rulings in previous cases (used by Supreme Court Justices when hearing court cases) ○ Stare decisis ■ The principle of deferring to precedent ○ Solicitor general ■ Third in command at the Justice Department below the attorney general ■ Can also influence which cases reach the Supreme Court ■ Top government lawyer in nearly all cases in which the government is a party ■ Supreme Court justices rely on the solicitor general to screen out cases that do not deserve consideration ○ Statutory interpretation ■ Statutory interpretation is the process by which courts interpret and apply legislation. Some amount of interpretation is often necessary when a case involves a statute. ■ Sometimes the words of a statute have a plain and straightforward meaning. ○ Senatorial courtesy ■ Informal practice of the president consulting with the senators of his party who represent the state in which the vacancy will be filled ■ Grants the Senate a good amount of power in the judicial nomination process ○ Judicial Branch ■ Article III grants the judiciary the power to interpret federal laws, but many of the Founders wondered if it should also have the power to strike down federal laws or actions that it deemed constitutional PRACTICE QUESTIONS WITH ANSWERS 1. What is the minimum number of Supreme Court justices that have served at any one time? a. Six 2. The Judiciary Act did which of the following? a. Created a three-tiered federal court structure 3. Which of the f


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