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UA / Political Science / PLSC 2003 / What is substantive law?

What is substantive law?

What is substantive law?


American National Government Exam 2 Study Guide

What is substantive law?

Know how federal judges are elected and how long they serve ● Arkansas: All judges are selected by nonpartisan elections. Higher Court Judge terms are 8 years. Circuit Court Judges have 6 year terms. District Court Judges have 4 year terms. Judges are subject to reelection

● Federal: serve LIFE terms

○ Appointed/nominated by the President and confirmed by the majority of Senate

Roles and functions of Congress 

● Representation: the process of bringing the people’s voice(s) into government ○ Delegate: a legislator who sees him/herself as elected to represent the interests of the district; assumes that what’s good for each district is good for the whole nation- People’s Preference

○ Constituent: voters

○ Trustee: a legislator who sees him/herself as elected to pursue the best interest of the nation, even if counter to wishes of won district; assumes he/she has the most, best knowledge of how to act- People’s Interests

How many members in Congress?

○ Politico: somewhere in the middle; usually votes district’s wishes when district is sending a cohesive and clear message (rare), but ventures out on own in less publicized and/or more complex issues- Most Legislators do this

● Oversight: the process by which the legislature reviews the activities of the executive agencies responsible for implementing the policy/laws the legislature authorized

● Education: the process of informing and instructing the citizenry on the affairs of government

● Lawmaking: the process of debating and initiating the rules that govern society ● Bill: a proposed law, drafted in legal language

● Committees: Most important goal: they control the congressional agenda and guide legislation from its introduction to its senff of to the president

Bureaucratic forms of policy making and functions 

● Adjudication

Appointment of the Solicitor General.

○ All major U.S. departments maintain “administrative courts” within their organizational structures

○ They make decisions that have legal implications

● Discretionary Implementation

○ Decide when laws should be enforced when law is ambiguous

○ Ex: power of the police to decide whether to give you a speeding ticket or not We also discuss several other topics like ucsc chem

● Rule Making

○ When a bureaucratic agency is authorized to engage in broadly-defined activities such as “protect the public welfare,” the rules the administrators make to comply are policies in themselves

● Advisory Roles

○ Pertains to the expertise of bureaucrats and the fact that in an increasingly complex world, elected officials often consult them for their advice on particularly technical, complicated, or troubling issues

The types of Bureaucratic agents discussed 

● Executive Departments

○ Headed by a Cabinet member

○ Directly accountable to President

● Government Corporations

○ Cross between private business corporations and public agencies ○ Examples: Corp. for Public Broadcasting and the FDIC, the U.S. Post Office

● Independent Agencies

○ Not corporations and not part of any cabinet department; there are many different types with varying degrees of actual independence

○ Agency within government that operates externally

○ Ex: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

● Independent Regulatory Commission or Board

○ These agencies typically are charged with economic regulation of private businesses that directly affect the public welfare

○ Ex: Security and Exchange Commision (SEC), NLRB

● Bureaus

○ Usually more specialized, narrower function and entities than the main department or agency Don't forget about the age old question of which of the following theory links birth rates and death rates to a society’s level of industrialization? soc101

○ Ex: FBI, DEA, Bureau of Prisons (all part of Justice Department), Social Security Admissions (SSA) (part of the Department of Health and Human Services, DHHS)If you want to learn more check out math 340 sfu
Don't forget about the age old question of econ 102 exam 2

Different types of vetoes 

● Presidential Veto: when congress passes a law, the president can reject the law and send back to congress

● Pocket Veto: a special veto exercised by the president after a legislative body has adjourned

● Line item veto: the power of the President to veto individual lines or items within a piece of legislation without voting the entire bill. Unconstitutional ● Veto override: the reversal of a presidential veto by a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress Don't forget about the age old question of math 3070 class notes

How the Cabinet, EOP and White House Staff are chosen and confirmed ● Cabinet: the heads of executive departments and others designated who are appointed by the president and confirmed by the senate

○ Role: advise the president (lead their dept./ agency)

○ Original Cabinet: Secretaries of: State, Treasury, War, and the Attorney General

○ Kitchen Cabinet: small group of Cabinet members whom the President does ask for advice

● White House Staff: a group of people whom the President relies on to organize schedules and plot political, legislative, and international strategies ○ They do NOT need Senate approval

● Executive Office of the President: an intermediate layer between the president’s core staff (in the White House) and the rest of the federal bureaucracy in the cabinet departments. They help advance the president’s policy preferences

○ National Security Council: committee links military and foreign policy advisors We also discuss several other topics like com sci 32 class notes

○ Office of Management and Budget: prepare President’s budget ○ Council of Economic Advisers: help President make policy on things like inflation and unemployment

Levels of courts 

● Trial

○ Court of first appearance

● Appeals

○ Ask a court to reconsider

● Supreme

○ Ask a court to reconsider again

● Original Jurisdiction: the authority of a court to hear a case first

● Appellate Jurisdiction: the authority of a court to review decisions made by lower courts

● Appeal: a rehearing of a case because the losing party in the original trial argues that a point of law was not applied properly

Types of law we discussed and your book discusses 

● Criminal Law

○ Laws prohibiting behavior the government has determined to be harmful to society

○ Violation of a criminal law is called crime

● Civil Law

○ Law regulating interactions between individuals

○ Violation of a civil law is called a tort

○ Plaintiff v. Defendant

○ Domestic Relations (divorce, custody), wills and estate, tort, property, business, etc.

● Constitutional Law

○ Law stated in the Constitution or in the body of judicial decisions about the meaning of the Constitution handed down in the courts

○ Issues revolving around a constitutional issue

● Administrative Law

○ Law established by the bureaucracy, on behalf of Congress

○ Bureaucratic courts within government agencies

● International Law

○ Treaties, customs, and norms

● Substantive Law

○ Laws whose content, or substance, defines what we can or cannot do ● Procedural Law

○ Laws the establish how laws are applied and enforced

○ How legal proceedings take place

○ Procedural Due Process: procedural laws that protect the rights of individuals who must deal with the legal system

● Statutory Law

○ Laws passed by a state or the federal legislature

How many members in Congress and what requirements there are to serve ● House

○ 435 members: based on proportional representation

○ 2 year terms: AR- Steve Womack (R)

○ Elected all at once

○ Have to be citizen for at least 7 years

○ Must be 25 years old

● Senate

○ 100 members: 2 for every State: AR- Boozman (R), Cotton (R)

○ 6 year terms

○ ⅓ elected every 2 years

○ Have to be citizen for at least 9 years

○ Must be 30 years old

Types of legislators (delegate, politico etc) 

● Delegate: Delegates see themselves as agents of those who elected them. They vote based on how they think the people in their home state or district would want them to vote. (delegates truly represent the will of the people)

● Partisan: A partisan feels they must always vote along party lines, thus supporting their political party. However the party plans to vote, they follow. (loyal party members)

● Trustee: A trustee believes that each question they face must be decided on its own merits. Independent judgment are their guides. They vote based on their own judgment and ideology.

● Politico: A politico is a combination of the delegate, partisan, and trustee. A politico tries to keep everyone happy and thus is a true politician.

Types of committees 

● Standing Committees: committees in each house of congress that handle bills in different policy areas

● Joint Committees: committees that draw their membership from both the Senate and House

● Conference Committees: committees that are formed when the Senate and House pass a particular bill in different forms. Members from each house come together and iron out differences and bring back a single bill

● Select Committees: committees appointed for a specific purpose, such as the Watergate investigation

● House Rules Committee: the committee that determines how and when debate on a bill will take place

● Select Committee: a committee appointed to deal with an issue or a problem not suited to a standing committee

Presidential interpretations of the constitution 

● Literalist Theory: only the powers in the document (constitution). If it’s not spelled out, don't do it

● Stewardship Theory: a little more expansive; you cannot do the things the Constitution tell you not to do, but can do the rest

● Prerogative Theory: I have a duty to the country, I’ll just do what’s best

Writ of certiorari 

● A type of writ, meant for rare use, by which an appellate court decides to review a case at its discretion. Means "to be more fully informed." A writ of certiorari orders a lower court to deliver its record in a case so that the higher court may review it. The U.S. Supreme Court uses certiorari to select most of the cases it hears. The writ of certiorari is a common law writ, which may be abrogated or controlled entirely by statute or court rules

● Rule of Four: the unwritten requirement the four Supreme Court Justices must agree to grant a case certiorari in order for the case to be heard

● Amicus Curiae Briefs: “friend of the court” documents filed by interested parties to encourage the Court to grant or deny certiorari or to urge it to decide a case in a particular way

President’s Executive, Legislative and Judicial powers 

● Executive Powers

○ Chief Administrator: responsible for agencies at the national level and the implementation of national policy- as chief administrator he appoints a cabinet, nominate top federal officials, including federal judges

○ Commander-In-Chief: this provides the president with military authority ○ Chief Foreign Policy Maker: this allows him to negotiate treaties and meet with foreign ambassadors

○ Executive Agreements

● Legislative Powers

○ Give Congress information of the state of the union

○ Convene Congress and when there is a dispute disband and adjourn it ○ Presidential Veto

○ Pocket Veto

○ Line item veto

○ Signing Statements

○ Executive Orders: executive orders are clarifications of Congressional policy issued by the president and having full force of the law

● Judicial Powers

○ Appointing Judges

○ Appointment of the Solicitor General (basically the lawyer for America) ○ Pardoning Power: exempt person, convicted or not, from punishment of a crime

Executive agreement 

● An executive agreement is a legal contract with a foreign country that requires only a presidential signature (no need for congress)


● Incumbent: someone currently holding office

○ Advertising

○ Credit Claiming: Servicing the constituency

■ Casework: Activities of members of congress that help constituents as individuals, particularly by cutting through bureaucratic red tape to get people what they think they have a right to get

■ Pork Barrel: setting aside money for your state

○ Position Taking

● Incumbency Advantage: the electoral edge afforded to those already in office


● Bill: a proposed law, drafted in legal language

● How a bill becomes of law (short version)

○ Bill is introduced

○ Committee and Subcommittee consider bill

○ House and Senate consider bill and vote

○ Conference Committee resolves any differences

○ Bill passes both houses

○ President signs or vetoes bill

Types of Judges 

● U.S District Court Judge

● U.S. Supreme Court Judge

● Court of Appeals Judge

● Superior Court Judge

● Magistrates

Senatorial courtesy 

● A custom whereby presidential appointments are confirmed only if there is no objection to them by the senators from the appointee's state, especially from the senior senator of the president's party from that state. 

● Seniority System: the accumulation of power and authority in conjunction with the length of time spent in office 

Staff organization models 

● Congressional Staff

○ Person Staff

■ The average representative has 17 assistants, the average senator has 40

○ Committee Staff

○ Staff Agencies

● Staff Organization

○ Strong Chief-of-Staff: the chief of staff is given a lot of power over who generally controls access to the president

○ Spokes of a wheel: the president is the hub and the advisors are the spokes spread out from the hub. Each advisor has open access to the president

Types of crimes 

● Prosecutor (the government) v. Defendant

● Petty Offenses: not very serious (as in no or not much harm done to other persons or their property); normally punished by fines; traffic violations ● Misdemeanors: somewhat more serious but still not considered very harmful; normally punished by larger fines or relatively short jail sentences

● Felonies: very serious crime (a lot of damage done); these are punished by time in prison

Congressional Leadership 

● House of Representatives:

○ Speaker of the House: current is (Paul Ryan)

○ Majority Party Leader: (Kevin McCarthy)

○ Minority Party Leader: (Nancy Pelosi)

○ Whips: (Steve Scalise (R), Steny Hoyer (D))

● Senate

○ Presiding Officer (technically VP, the only thing he can do is tie breaker, Mike Pence)

○ President Pro Tempore (symbolic): (Orrin Hatch), whoever is in senate the longest

○ Majority Party Leader: (Mitch McConnell)

○ Minority Party Leader: (Chuck Schumer)

○ Whips: (Dick Durbin (D), John Cornyn (R))

Good Vocab to Know 

● Head of State: the apolitical, unifying role of the president as symbolic representative of the whole country

● Head of Government: the political role of the president as leader of a political party and chief arbiter of who get what resources

● Impeachment: a formal charge by the House that the president (or another member of the executive branch) has committed acts of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors, which may or may not result in removal from office

● State of the Union address: a speech given annually by the president to a joint session of Congress and to the nation announcing the president’s agenda ● Executive orders: clarifications of congressional policy issued by the president and having the full force of law

● Divided government: political rule split between two parties, in which one controls the White House and the other controls one or both houses of Congress ● Bureaucracy: an organization characterized by hierarchical structure, worker specialization, explicit rules, and advancement by merit

● Patronage: system in which a successful candidate rewards friends, contributors, and party loyalists for their support with jobs, contracts, and favors ● Federal Register: publication containing all federal regulations and notifications of regulatory agency hearings

● Congressional Oversight: efforts by Congress, especially through committees, to monitor agency rulemaking, enforcement, and implementation of congressional policies

● Judicial Review: the power of the courts to determine the constitutionality of laws

● Marbury v. Madison: the landmark case the established the U.S. Supreme Court’s power of judicial review

● Precedent: a previous decision or ruling that, in common-law tradition, is binding on subsequent decisions

State Court System 

● State Trial Courts: 50 states; 100 million filings per year

● Intermediate Appellate Courts: 39 courts; 300,000 per year

● State Supreme Court: 52 Courts; 95,000 per year

Federal Court System 

● U.S. District Courts: 94 courts; 350,000 per year

● U.S. Court of Appeals: 13 courts; 60,000 per year

● U.S. Supreme Court: 1 court; 75-90 per term

● Has to be federal question or diversity parties from different states and greater than $75k in controversy

Supreme Court 

● 9 Justices

○ Chief Justice: John Roberts

○ Neil Gorsuch

○ Brett Kavanaugh

○ Clarence Thomas

○ Ruth Bader Ginsburg

○ Stephen Breyer

○ Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr.

○ Sonia Sotomayor

○ Elena Kagan

● Hold of Court= Opinion of Court

○ Majority: When at least 5 agree, will always be the opinion of the court. The opinion is the written decision of the Court that states the judgement of the majority.

○ Concurring: documents written by justices expressing agreement with the majority ruling but describing different or additional reason for the ruling. Justices agree with majority but want to add something

○ Dissenting: documents written by justices expressing disagreement with the majority ruling. When they Justices does not agree. Holds no legal power

● Solicitor General: Justice Department officer who argues the government’s cases before the Supreme Court

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