Log in to StudySoup
Get Full Access to UH - POLS 1337 - Study Guide
Join StudySoup for FREE
Get Full Access to UH - POLS 1337 - Study Guide

Already have an account? Login here
Reset your password




School: University of Houston
Department: Political Science
Course: US Govt Congress, Pres and Crts
Professor: Sharon davis
Term: Spring 2015
Tags: political science
Cost: 50
Name: Pols 1337 Final Study Guide
Description: These notes will cover Tx. Courts, Domestic and Economic Policy, as well as Trump's appointees (Extra Credit)
Uploaded: 12/08/2016
12 Pages 4 Views 9 Unlocks

POLS 1337  

What is the Differences between civil and criminal cases?

Fall 2016

Final Exam Study Guide

The Court System in Texas (Chapter 4) 

 ∙      Know which courts have original jurisdiction and which ones  have appellate jurisdiction: 

Original Jurisdiction: District Courts/ Constitutional County Courts  (These courts usually have appellate jurisdiction in cases appealed  from justice of the peace and municipal courts, except in counties  where county courts at law have been established)/ Statutory Probate  Courts/ Justice Courts/ Municipal Courts  

o Differences between civil and criminal cases: 

Civil- Plaintiff: private citizen or business, seek to determine whether a person was harmed, Payment or cease and desist order as remedies,  Burden of proof: preponderance of the evidence, Defendant may be  forced to testify.  

Criminal- Plaintiff: the government, seek to determine whether a law  was broken, Punishment as a remedy, Burden of proof: beyond a  reasonable doubt, Defendant (accused person) not obligated to testify. o Caseloads of state and federal courts: 

What is the Caseloads of state and federal courts?

Federal District courts nationwide handle significantly fewer cases than Texas state District courts alone. Over time both federal and state  caseloads increase gradually with population growth. But relative to  population the differences in caseloads are far more dramatic than raw totals alone suggest.

 o Selection of judges in Texas as compared to other states and  the federal government:  

 o Judicial appointments (recall the federal approach)- The  president nominates someone to the position, then sent to be  confirmed by the senate. Lifetime

 o Merit system- Promoting/hiring gov’t employees based on their ability to perform a job, rather than on their political  Don't forget about the age old question of venn disgram


 o Partisan and nonpartisan elections

Partisan: each party get a spot on the ballot for that party and  get to choose who runs as the candidate for the party (whether  through primaries or a party committee). The candidate is  identified as the candidate of the party.

What is Merit system?

Non-Partisan: candidates file for office and run without  

partisan identification. Political parties might endorse candidates


(just like other groups could) but the candidates don't run as  Democrats, Republicans, or any other political persuasion. (there are rules for both partisan and non-partisan  

elections in Texas that are different from the rules in New York or the rules in the United Kingdom).  

 o Filing a lawsuit (Know what each of these terms means): o Complaint- a document that describes what the plaintiff wants  & why they believe they are entitled to that relief. It also  identifies the defendant.

o Answer- a written pleading filed by a defendant to respond to a  complaint in a lawsuit filed and served upon that defendant. An  answer generally responds to each allegation in the complaint  by denying or admitting it, or admitting in part and denying in  part. The answer may also com-prise "affirmative defenses"  including allegations which contradict the complaint or contain  legal theories If you want to learn more check out math 122 university of south carolina

o Discovery- a pre-trial procedure in a lawsuit in which each  party, through the law of civil procedure, can obtain evidence  from the other party or parties by means of discovery devices  such as a request for answers to interrogatories, request for  production of documents, request for admissions and  


 o Deposition- part of permitted pre-trial discovery (investigation), set up by an attorney for one of the parties to a lawsuit  

demanding the sworn testimony of the opposing party  

(defendant or plaintiff), a witness to an event, or an expert  intended to be called at trial by the opposition.

 o Resolving a lawsuit (how do these two approaches work?):  o Binding arbitration- a means of resolving a dispute that is  private, less formal, less costly, and less time-consuming than  traditional litigation. The parties agree to submit their dispute to  an impartial arbitrator authorized to resolve the controversy by  rendering a final and binding award.

 o Mediation- the attempt to settle a legal dispute through active  participation of a third party (mediator) who works to find points  of agreement and make those in conflict agree on a fair result,  mediation does not always result in a settlement.  If you want to learn more check out petrosal bulla

 o Economic (“compensatory”) and noneconomic damages (know  examples of each): 

Economic damages- further categorized into special damages, which are economic losses such as loss of earnings, property damage and  medical expenses

Non-Economic damages- pain and suffering and emotional distress.  o Tort reform in Texas:  

 o Caps on noneconomic damages


1. Caps on Punitive Damages: In Texas, punitive damages may not exceed more than two times the amount of  

economic damages plus the amount equal to non

economic damages not to exceed $750,000 or $200,000,  whichever is greater.

2. Medical Malpractices Cases: Texas passed The Medical Malpractice and Tort Reform Act of 2003 that limited the  maximum money amount a person can receive for non

economic damages. Currently a person can sue for the  

total amount of economic damages, but the caps come in  when calculating non-economic damages. A person can  sue a doctor or healthcare practitioner for no more than  $250,000 and each healthcare facility involved for  

$250,000 not to exceed $500,000 among all facilities  

involved in the incident. In medical malpractice for  

wrongful death cases, the cap for total recovery  We also discuss several other topics like producer s guide to neutron 2 uploaded

(combined economic and non-economic damages) is  

$500,000 (adjusted for inflation since 1977:  

approximately $1,650,000)

3. Personal Injury Cases Filed Against Gov’t Entities: Government entities have immunity from liability in  

personal injury cases and, when they do have liability,  

caps on how much they can be sued for. When someone’s suffers injury due to negligence by a government entity  such as the state, a municipality, or an emergency service organization (police, the EMS, etc.) the cap for each  We also discuss several other topics like gvsu speech pathology

person involved is $250,000 but cannot exceed more than $500,000 total for a single occurrence.

o Effects? - Realistically, many lawyers say, the cap is thus held  at $250,000. The legislation includes several other restrictions,  such as requiring plaintiffs to file an experts’ report after taking  only two depositions in a case. Class action certification is  subject to interlocutory appeal, and cases can be moved to  administrative remedy with state agencies when applicable. No  more contingency fees are allowed; instead, fees are based on  time worked and expenses.

 o Lawsuit abuse: 

o Torts and tort reform- proposed changes in the civil justice  system that aim to reduce the ability of victims to bring tort  litigation or to reduce damages they can receive. Tort actions are civil common law claims first created in the English  

commonwealth system as a non-legislative means for  

compensating wrongs and harm done by one party to another  person, property, or other protected interests


 o Medical malpractice insurance and lawsuits- the increases  in medical costs in so many ways. Preventive medicine as  practiced by most physicians is increasing the cost of health  care. Malpractice insurance is skyrocketing owing almost  

exclusively to inordinately high settlements. And a diminishing  number of capable people are going into specialties where risk  for lawsuits is high. When doctors become targets, everyone  suffers in health care delivery.

o 60 Minutes and Hot Coffee clips- Liebeck v. McDonald's  Restaurants, [1] also known as the McDonald's coffee case and  the hot coffee lawsuit, was a 1994 product liability lawsuit. A  New Mexico civil jury awarded $2.86 million to plaintiff Stella  Liebeck, a 79-year-old woman who suffered third-degree burns  in her pelvic region when she accidentally spilled hot coffee in  her lap after purchasing it from a McDonald's restaurant. Liebeck was hospitalized for eight days while she underwent skin  If you want to learn more check out isen 320

grafting, followed by two years of medical treatment. The jury  damages included $160,000[3] to cover medical expenses and  compensatory damages and $2.7 million in punitive damages.  The trial judge reduced the final verdict to $640,000, and the  parties settled for a confidential amount before an appeal was  decided. Some said the case to be an example of frivolous  litigation

 o Caps on damage awards and punitive damages- damages  intended to reform or deter the defendant and others from  engaging in conduct like that which formed the basis of the  lawsuit. Although the purpose of punitive damages is not to  compensate the plaintiff, the plaintiff will receive all or some of  the punitive damages award. Punitive damages are often  

awarded if compensatory damages are deemed an inadequate  remedy. Because they are usually paid more than the plaintiff's  provable injuries, punitive damages are awarded only in special  

cases, usually under tort law, if the defendant's conduct was  egregiously insidious. Punitive damages cannot generally be  awarded in contract disputes.

Local Governments in Texas (Chapter 5) 

∙ Responsibilities of local governments, (i.e. what government  functions do they alone handle)? Major responsibilities include  building and maintaining roads, recreational facilities and, in some  cases, county airports; constructing and operating jails; operating the  judicial system; maintaining public records; collecting property taxes;  issuing vehicle registration and transfers; and registering voters.  Counties also provide law enforcement, conduct elections, and provide  


health and social services to many poor county residents. Increasingly,  county governments are playing a vital role in the economic  development of their local areas.

 ∙      Scope of power for local governments 

 o General purpose governments (city and county  governments) 

1. Counties: Organized local governments established to  provide general government services; includes those  

governments designed as counties, parishes in Louisiana,  and boroughs in Alaska.

2. Municipalities: Organized sub county local governments  established to provide general government services for a  specific concentration of population in a defined area;  

includes those governments designated as cities, villages, boroughs (except in Alaska), and towns (except in the six  New England states, Minnesota, New York, and Wisconsin)

 o Limited purpose governments (HCTRA, HISD, etc.): provides a narrow range of services not provided by general purpose local governments such as cities or counties. A  

government that has very limited authority or control over its  finances and is governed by a set structure. Performs ONLY ONE  FUNCTION. HISD performs educational functions!

 ∙      County commissions- a group of elected officials charged with  administering the county government in some states of the United  States. County commissions are usually made up of three or more  individuals. The commission acts as the executive of the local  government, levies local taxes, administers county governmental  services such as prisons, courts, public health oversight, property  registration, building code enforcement, and public works such as road  maintenance.

 ∙      Power arrangements in city governments 

 o Mayor-council governments: ½ of the predominant forms of local gov’t 

 Weak executive- has no formal authority outside of the  council; the mayor cannot appoint or remove officials, and lacks veto power over council votes. As such, the mayor's  influence is solely based on personality to accomplish  

desired goals. The weak-mayor form of government may  be found in small towns in the United States

 Strong executive (Houston does this)- usually  

consists of an executive branch, a mayor elected by  

voters, and a unicameral council as the legislative branch. In the strong-mayor form the elected mayor is given  

almost total administrative authority and a clear, wide  

range of political independence, with the power to appoint


and dismiss department heads without council approval  and little or no public input. In this system, the strong

mayor prepares and administers the city budget, although

that budget often must be approved by the council.

 o Council-manager governments- 2/2 of the predominant  forms of local gov’t 

 The elected governing body (commonly called a city  

council, city commission, board of aldermen or board of  

selectmen) is responsible for the legislative function of  

the municipality such as establishing policy, passing local  

ordinances, voting appropriations, and developing an  

overall vision. The city manager position in this form of  

municipal government is like that of corporate chief  

executive officer (CEO)

o City Commissions- In a city commission government, voters  elect a small commission, typically, from five to seven members, on a plurality-at-large voting basis. These commissioners  

constitute the legislative body of the city and, as a group, are  responsible for taxation, appropriations, ordinances, and other  general functions. Individual commissioners are also assigned  executive responsibility for a specific aspect of municipal affairs, such as public works, finance, or public safety. As such, this form of government blends legislative and executive branch functions in the same body.

Public Policy Overview (see the slides for this topic) 

 ∙      Steps in the policymaking process (note that these are  cyclical): 

 o Agenda setting: Used to help the gov’t decide which issues to  address and which to ignore. There’s only so much time, money, etc. available to address myriad matter of public policy.  

Sometimes the goal is to keep something off this agenda.

o Policy deliberation & enactment: Debating over what to do  about a policy; Many different actors involved: Lawmakers,  Interest groups, Think tanks, News media, and Citizens.  

Enactment: Passage of laws or bureaucratic regulations, verdicts in court cases.

 o Policy implementation: Frequently involves all three branches of government, though now the bureaucracy is the main actor  (think about traffic safety) Examples: Law enforcement of rules  and regulations, Government programs established, Research  dollars spent and allocated, e.g. National Science Foundation,  and Public service announcements.

 o Evaluation: standardized test


 o Change or termination: Very often it becomes necessary to  tweak certain policies (or abandon them altogether) The cycle  never ends: New problems arise; sometimes, problems are not  solved adequately; perhaps one problem creates another, etc./  Think about Obamacare; this is applicable regardless of the  outcome of last week’s election/ Think about highway safety: It  Can Wait, Houston  

 ∙      Components of public policy (more than just laws, e.g. Click-it or-Ticket as public policy): 

 1. Legislation: establish guidelines to be followed by members of  the society.

 2. Administrative acts: things gov’t does to put a law into  practice. These are often more important than the laws  

themselves; mailing social security checks, or giving tickets for  illegal parking’s.

 3. Judicial decisions: takes place when courts apply the law to a  specific situation. They may have the effect of both  

administrative and legislative acts.

∙ How elections and public opinion affect public policy- elections  determine the official who can produce a government's public policy.  Inversely, it is ultimately the public's happiness with the policy of  elected officials that determines whether they will elect this official to  make policy again. If an official is responsible for unpopular policy, the  public will (hopefully) not elect him/her again. Public opinion is  everything, it has been claimed to can change the course of history. A  consequence of ignoring public opinion is the public's long memory,  which can hold their leaders to account for their decisions long after  leaving office

Domestic Policy (Chapter 14) 

 ∙      Differences between entitlements and contributory programs  ∙      For each of the programs listed below, know who benefits, how they are funded and about current challenges associated with  this funding 

 ∙      Programs to help the elderly 

o Social Security: OASDI Stands for Old Age, Survivors, and  Disability Insurance (AKA Social Security) Began in 1935 as part  of the New Deal. At that time poverty was quite common among senior citizens. Several factors determine how much money you  will receive: How much did you contribute? At what age, do you  retire? AND What about inflation? (Cost of living adjustment AKA “COLA”)

o Medicare: Created by the Lyndon Johnson administration in  1965. This program provides health insurance for Americans  


aged 65+. Not to be confused with Medicaid (provides care for  poor people)

Funding: Comes from Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax: 12.4 percent of your income for social security, 2.9 percent for  Medicare (you pay half, and your employer pays half; also for social  security). Currently stops at $113,700 (adjusted for inflation), which  makes it a regressive tax. That money goes into trusts so that it can  be used to pay current beneficiaries. But both programs, particularly Medicare, are becoming increasingly expensive and must be  restructured in some manner so that they will be there for future  generations

Crisis: Growing costs w/ more baby boomers retiring, there will be  many more beneficiaries. People now live about 19 years after they  retire. Shrinking Revenues w/ less children from baby boomers, so  there are now fewer contributors.  

 ∙      Recent proposals to reform both programs  

 o Why are they in financial trouble going forward? - 2018- 2023: Starting then, Social Security funded solely by surpluses  from previous years, i.e. nothing else goes into the trust fund.  2030s: Social Security goes bankrupt because the trust fund will  have been used up by this time. These dates depend on many  different data sources, so they vary somewhat

 o What have Democrats and Republicans proposed doing  to them? 

Social Security: In 2005 George W. Bush offered these solutions to this coming challenge: No tax increase of any kind, People would  receive the option to invest some of their Social Security benefits in  the stock market, Those nearing retirement (and those already  retired) would not experience any changes to the program, and  Benefits to be based on “progressive indexing” consisting of a  sliding scale that indexes them such that poorer people receive  more money while wealthier people receive less

Yet these reforms never had much support, even among  

Republicans; meanwhile, Democrats accused him of wanting to  ‘privatize’ Social Security

 Medicare: President Obama- Wealthier and newer beneficiaries  would pay higher premiums, Payments to hospitals and for  prescription drugs would be lower, especially for providers thought  to be less effective, and NO vouchers. Ryan Plan- “Premium  


support” Beneficiaries receive a payment with which to purchase  private insurance of their choosing; critics say it’s a “voucher” and  NO new taxes

 ∙      Programs to help the impoverished 

o TANF (“welfare”) and the 1996 reforms: Clinton/GOP  

reforms in 1996: Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) -> Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF)/ TANF administered  as block grants to the states who now administer it. Key  

requirements: 5-year lifetime limit, Maximum of 2 consecutive  years, must be employed if child(Ren) over 5 years’ old

 o SNAP (food stamps): offers nutrition assistance to millions of  eligible, low-income individuals and families and provides  

economic benefits to communities. SNAP is the largest program  in the domestic hunger safety net. The Food and Nutrition  Service works with State agencies, nutrition educators, and  neighborhood and faith-based organizations to ensure that those eligible for nutrition assistance can make informed decisions  about applying for the program and can access benefits.

 o Medicaid: help you cover medical expenses for children and  people with disabilities who meet income requirements.

o SCHIP: The State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)  is a partnership between the Federal and state governments  that provides health coverage to uninsured children whose  families earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but too little to  afford private coverage. All states provide immunizations and  well-baby/well-child care at no cost.

Economic Policy (Chapter 13) 

∙ American Dream- the ideal that every US citizen should have an  equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard  work, determination, and initiative.

∙ Definition of the word “economy”- the wealth and resources of a  country or region, especially in terms of the production and  consumption of goods and services.

 ∙      Government approaches to regulating the economy:  o Laissez-faire- a policy or attitude of letting things take their  own course, without interfering of the government; free market. o Pure capitalist economy- production is determined by market  demand, without government interference. Producers produce  whatever consumers are willing and able to buy. The laws of  supply and demand determine prices.


o Regulated capitalist economy (mixed economy)- that the  operation maintenance and development of the global political  economy increasingly depends on administrative rules outside  the legislatures and the courts.

 ∙      Characteristics of a strong economy and government  measurements of them 

o High productivity – Gross Domestic Product (GDP)- Business is booming and expanding.  

 o Low unemployment – Unemployment rate and Current  Population Survey- Everyone who wants a job CAN find one  o Low inflation – Consumer Pricing Index (CPI)- People are  spending money and buying what they want/need.  

 ∙      Types of economic policies: 

o Monetary policy and inflation- Concerns the availability of  money, which is the responsibility of the federal reserve. 7  members with presidents appointing them to 14-year terms.  JANET YELLEN IS THE CHAIRMAN. The goals include the need of  having just the right amount of money available: Too little –  growth slows as investment/expansion are less feasible--- Too  much – inflation rises; spending declines  

 o Fiscal policy (includes discussion between Pres. Obama  and Joe the Plumber & which presidents have followed  these approaches) 

 Keynesian economics- During a recession, gov’t should  lower taxes and spend more (G. W. Bush & Obama) In  

better times, government should spend less while taxing  more (Clinton)

  Supply side economics- Lower taxes and fewer  

regulations. (Popular w/ Reagan and George H.W. Bush &  later George W. Bush).  

 o Problems with fiscal policy: 

1. The budgetary process: LOTS of red tape & President  makes recommendations to Congress, which has its own  procedures for passing a budget

2. Politics: Everyone hates taxes, so politicians try to  

accommodate their interests, therefore, we have LOTS of  tax loopholes. Reforming the tax code is one of President Elect Trump's top priorities  

3. Globalization: You can create excellent plans, but then  something happens in another country, and your plans  

won’t work; Ex. Brexit. President-Elect Trump also wants  to renegotiate and/or pull out of trade deals like NAFTA  

and TPP  

 o Regulatory policy (can recognize examples) 


 Business regulations- often trying to maintain healthy  competition, preventing monopolies, etc.

  Social regulations- insuring worker safety,  

environmental protection, etc.

Extra Credit (Trump’s Appointees): 


Vice President 

Mike Pence 

State Treasur



Mnuchin J. Mattis 


Gen. Interior Agriculture

J. Sessions — —

Commerce Labor Health

W. Ross — T. Price 

Housing Transpo

rt Energy

B. Carson E. Chao —

Education Veteran




E. DeVos — J. Kelly 

Except for Pence, all appointees

Cabinet-level positions




nt Trade 

N. Haley S. Pruitt —

Budget Economy Small 


— —L. 


Executive Office of the President

White House Chief of Staff 

Reince Priebus 






Nat. Sec. 

Bannon M. Flynn K. 






c Policy Economy 








e Mail 


Counsel Drug Control Science 


& Tech.



Page Expired
It looks like your free minutes have expired! Lucky for you we have all the content you need, just sign up here