POLS 1336 Full Exam Study Guide
POLS 1336 Full Exam Study Guide POLS 1336
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This 41 page Study Guide was uploaded by Tiffany Yee on Friday December 11, 2015. The Study Guide belongs to POLS 1336 at University of Houston taught by Kenneth Abbott in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 440 views. For similar materials see US and Texas Constitution and Politics in Political Science at University of Houston.
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POLS 1336 U.S. and TX Constitution & Politics v Protestant Reformation o Before the PR, if individuals wanted to talk to God, they had to do so through a priest — there is a middle man between you and god; with the advent of the PR, there is no longer a need to have a priest. You as an individual can have a direct conversation with god through your prayers; you are taking a more active role in your relationship with G od. This basic concept is transferred over to politics and government ; people began to ask “why can’t we as individual citizens have a more active role in our government”? Over time, the PR evolves into the idea of a social contract. v Social Contracts o An agreement between the people of a country and their government where the people are consenting to the governed that they are giving up certain rights in order for the government to protect other rights for them ; they aren’t sitting back and being told what to do, they are playing an active role. o Thomas Hobbes § Hobbes felt that without government, ma nkind is going to kill each other; there is going to be utter chaos. The reason we agree to form governments and consent to the governed according to Hobbes is that we’re trying to protect life. o John Locke § He is not the pessimist Hobbes is. He thinks mank ind can survive without it, but he thinks that without government, we will do some unjust things to one another—stealing each other’s property. According to Locke, we need government to protect property and justice . Locke goes on to say that if the government breaks their social contract with the people (if they stop protecting certain rights), the people have a right to revolt, to form a new government with a new social contract that will be honored . The basic social idea is an inspiration for the American Revolution. § The key people who fought in the American Revolution read these pieces by Locke/Hobbes/etc., which had a lot of influence and inspiration on them. § The Declaration of Independence says “life, liberty, & pursuit of happiness” — similar to Locke’s theory of “life, liberty, and property”. The Constitution borrows ideas heavily from Locke, Hobbes, Russo, etc. v Direct Democracy o In reality, America today is not a true democracy. It is an indirect democracy. o With direct democracy, the people of a count ry come together periodically in a “town of all type (everyone in one room)” meeting, talk about the issues, discuss possible solutions, propose laws, and the vote on them. Everyone has a very direct say —you’re not electing people to represent you. o Direct democracy works well in smaller communities —for example, a small town of 500 people. When you scale it up to bigger communities, direct democracy becomes very impractical. For example, Houston has nearly 1.9 million people. Of the 1.9 million, 1 million people are the voting age population. v Indirect Democracy (Republic) o The citizens elect representatives to make decisions on their behalf . In an indirect democracy, if you feel that a given representative is misrepresenting you, then you can vote them out of office. It works in theory, but in practice, it does not happen so much. o America has poor voter t urnouts. Nearly 40-50% of the people do not vote during presidential elections. In odd year and general elections, voter turnout is 20%. In special elections, voter turnout is 5% or less. Very few people are voting —of the people who do vote, many of them make very uninformed d ecisions when they vote; it’s usually by name recognition and they don’t know a thing about the person who is running for office. Many people do not take the time and effort to research their candidates and see their views on key policies. Candidates normally cater and target to the groups of people who actually vote. Whites and Americans have the highest voter turnout rates. African Americans have less voter turnouts, but Hispanic has the lowest. Poor people and high school drop outs tend to not vote; peop le with higher income and college degrees tend to vote. o National defense, social security, Medicare, and Medicaid —most of the federal budget goes to these four things. v U.S. Demographics & how it affects Voting o U.S. Demographics 2000 vs U.S. Demographics 2010 o U.S. Demo (2000) o U.S. Demo (2010) o 69.1 % White o 65% White o 12.5% Hispanic o 16% Hispanic o 12.1% African Amer. o 13% African Amer. o 3.6% Asian o 4.5% Asian o About 90-95% of African Americans vote Democrat s; they rarely vote Republican . o Hispanics also generally support Democrats . o Blue state = democrats o Asians and Whites lean towards the Republicans. o Texas Demographics 2011 o 44.8% White o 38.1% Hispanic o 12.2% African American o 4% Asian o Today, if we had mandatory voting in Texas, Texas would not be a republican state. The voter turnout between republicans and democrats in Texas is relatively similar — however, Texas has a “winner takes all” policy. Therefore, if Republicans win by a small margin, they take it all. Many Hispanics in Texas do not vote even though they make up a big part of the population. If they voted, Texas may become a Democratic state. v Political Ideology o Government is about who gets what, when they get it, and how much they get. o Conservative § Tend to favor smaller or less government —less bureaucracy, less laws and regulations, and less taxing and spending. § Most conservatives would agree that you need some law enforcements and military to ensure basic safety. How much of it is debatable. § The Highway Interstate System has a huge impact on our economy and transport of goods. § Some spending, some taxing, some basic regulations, and some bureaucracy is good. § Conservatives are typically associated with Republican s. o Liberal § Liberals favor more government —more laws, more regulations, more bureaucracy, more taxing, and more spending. § However, they don’t want insane taxing and insane spending. They favor more government because they want the government to be more active in protec ting the environment and minority groups (old people, low -income, etc.), and disadvantaged groups. They believe that having average citizens protecting these groups is not enough. § Liberals are typically associated with Democrats . o Liberals and Conservatives have very similar goals on most issues, but they have different ways of getting there. Liberals: Government takes an active role in collecting tax dollars to help those in need. Conservatives: People can choose to donate to the charity they choose, and business owners can target to hire a group of people that are in need. v The Constitution & the Articles of Confederation o The most important event that leads us down to the Constitution historically is the French and Indian War. After the war was over, people believed it was time to spread to the West and acquire new land. The British try to make the colonists pay for the war through a series of taxes—stamp act, quartering act, etc.; the colonists become angry and want to revolt and form a new government where they have a say in what is being done. o The Declaration of Independence is not what our Constitution comes from; they operate under a temporary government known as the Articles of Confederation , a reaction to the type of government found in Great Britain. Great Britain had a unitary system where the king had most/if not all the central power. America’s national government was weak and the state governments were strong. o The national government : o Legislative: strongest of the 3 branches under the AOC —even this branch was extremely weak. § No power to tax, congress usually had to go to the states and beg them for money § Rarely made quorum (the minimum number of people that you need present to vote on a piece of legislation ); the purpose of a quorum is to prevent a small number of people showing up during voting day and making dramatic changes. Needed representatives from at least 9 out of 13 states to officially pass or vote on any legislation . § No power to regulate commerce amongst the states § No power to ensure a unified monetary system; very few Americans at the time used the federal currency—instead, they used state currency. The values of this currency constantly fluctuated; currency exchange rates were bothersome to determine so there was very little trade between the states and begins to isolate them. States begin posting tariffs on other states. § States could make foreign treaties with other countries — “13 countries that are semi-unified” o Judicial: essentially nonexistent, no federal courts, most judicial issues went to the state courts o Executive: none/very weak executive branch; there were 13 “presidents” under the AOC—they served one year and had no power. John Hanson was the first “president” & was responsible for developing the presidential seal. o Agriculture accounted for 90% of the economy —eventually, there were severe weather problems and crops were not coming in. The farmers want solutions and they want the federal government to step up and help them, but th ey couldn’t. People across the country began to realize that while the AOC seemed like a good idea at first, they need a new constitution. Even the social elites begin to realize this is an issue. o Shay’s rebellion—in MA, under the AOC, they had passed laws that required all debt be paid in cash immediately; the farmers have no crops coming in and cannot afford to pay the debts. This puts a huge burden on them and they become outraged. A group of about 1,500 armed men led by Daniel Shays, a revolutionary war veteran, march onto the state capital to try to prevent the banks from foreclosing on their farms. The federal government makes an attempt to request that states send people to call up a militia to put down the rebellion; all but one state, ignores this request. A private army ends up putting down Shay’s rebellion. People decided that it was time for a revision in the AOC or a new constitution; Shay’s rebellion emphasizes the need for a constitution with stronger government. o The founding fathers were afraid of the masses —they believed they acted on impulse and sometimes acted irrationally. When the founding fathers talks about how we choose our president, they decide not to talk about popular vote; instead, they create the electoral college. There is a “winner takes all” policy —whoever wins most of the most popular votes receives all the electoral votes for the state. o How to set up the Constitution: § Virginia Plan: favors the large states, representation in the U.S. Congress would be based on a state’s population § New Jersey Plan: favors the small states, each state has the same representation in Congress no matter how large or how small your state population is § Connecticut Plan/Compromise , the “Great Compromise ”: takes key elements from each plan and proposes a bicameral legislature, meaning “two houses”. The upper house is the U.S. Senate —guarantees equal representation for all the states; each state has two U.S. senators. The lower house is the House of Representatives —the representation is based on state population. For quite some time, the total number of house reps across the country has been set at 435. Every state is guaranteed at least one house representative no matter how small your state is. Currently, TX has 36 House R eps; they have 38 electoral college votes. A key element of the Great Compromise is that every single piece of legislation that passes Congress and goes to the president to either sign/veto must go through both the House and the Senate before it becomes law. The GC benefits the small states more than it benefits the large states. The Senate has some considerable extra powers that the House does not have. For example, when the President nominates someone to a position, it is the U.S. Senate that gets to confirm those nominations—it is the U.S. Senate that ratifies a foreign treaty. It is also the U.S. Senate who removes the President —the House is in charge of impeachment. o Basic Principles of the Constitution § Principle of Federalism —the federal or central government has some power and the states have some power & neither one is too strong; power is divided between the federal government and the states § Separation of Powers—each branch has a distinct power o Legislative—congress; makes the law o Judicial—courts; interprets the law o Executive—president; enforces the law § Checks and Balances —help to ensure that no one branch of government becomes too powerful; achieved by the various branch of governments having checks on the other branches of government. o Judicial branch has a check on the Legislative Branch when the U.S. Supreme Court declares an act of Congress unconstitutional o Legislative branch has a check on the Executive Branch when the U.S. Senate gets to either confirm or deny the nominations made by the president of the U.S. o Executive Branch has a check on the Legislative Branch when the President gets to either pass or veto laws passed by Congress o There are many more, but the point is to make sure no one branch becomes too powerful § Supremacy Clause—although federal and state power is somewhere close in power, the federal government is supreme. If federal law and state law conflict, the federal law wins out every time. § Full Faith and Credit —in theory, states have to honor the laws and preceding’s of other states (marriage licenses, driver’s license, etc. —Ex: If you were driving in Missouri and you got pulled over for speeding, they should not demand a Missouri license; your current license should suffice). § The constitution is by design, a relatively short and vague document that lends itself to interpretation. There are parts that lay out very clear and distinct powers, but there are also key passages in the constitution that are very vague—like the “necessary and proper clause”, regulating commerce, etc. o The constitution itself only has 27 amendments, and is relatively hard to amend; to actually ratify an amendment can take decades. The 26 amendment that gave 18 year olds the right to vote was proposed in 1952 but not ratified until 1971. The longest amendment to ratify was the Madison Amendment, which was first proposed with the initial Bill of Rights. There were 12 proposed amendments, 10 of them became the bill of rights. One was never ratified, and the last of the 12, the Madison Amendment, was ratif ied 200 years later in 1991. The Madison Amendment says that congress cannot have their wages adjusted during a current session of congress. § How we Amend the Constitution: o Formal: (supreme courts have to honor this amendment in the future so it’s better) & Informal methods (a supreme court decision can overturn the previous one and is less reliable) o Formal Method: Step 1: Requires 2/3rds of both houses of the U.S. Congress Step 2: Requires ratification in 3/4ths of all the state legislatures o Informal Method: mended informally through things like judicial decisions. v 3 Major Arguments for Federalism o Federalism is the federal/central/national government; it has some power and its regional units (states) have some power. For the most part, the federal government and the states are kind of equal in power —not exactly. o 1. The prevention of tyranny o 2. Increased participation in politics (encompasses more than just voting) § helping someone, running for office, contact candidates o 3. The States and localities can be used as testing grounds or laboratories for federal laws, federal programs, & federal policies § ex: if they see a law they like, they may pass it § ex: if they see a law that doesn’t bring any results, they will avoid having federal laws like that v Federal System v. Unitary System v. Confederation o Federalism: power shared between national & state government o Unitary: central government has all little power, possibly no power that is given to the regional units, ex: Great Britain o Confederation: extremely weak, nonexistent federal government and very strong regional units, ex: government under the Art icles of Confederation § United Nations—central government doesn’t have much power, but its regional units (the member countries) have significant power o In a federal system, state laws vary by state and locality —what might be legal in one state may not be illegal in another state § Ex: death penalty: MA doesn’t have the death penalty, but Florida & Texas do. Since 1976, Harris County is the #1 county in the nation that gives death penalty sentences for crimes. § Ex: speed limits vary state by state, gun rights, abortion rights v Powers: (a given power can fall in a category of powers) o Exclusive: powers exclusive to the federal government and in a very small number of cases, to the states o Shared (Concurrent) : powers shared by both the federal government and the stat es § ex: power to tax—there is both a federal and state tax § ex: power to create courts —federal & state courts § ex: power to make laws o Denied: powers denied to the states § Ex: in the constitution, it is very clearly stated that states are denied the power to coin money o Enumerated: powers that are spelled out very clearly in the constitution § Ex: power to coin money o Implied: powers not explicitly named in the constitution § Ex: necessary and proper clause § Ex: commerce clause v Article I, Section 8 : o Many of the enumerated powers are found here § amongst these are the power to declare war o Specific powers of Congress: power to tax, general welfare, commerce clause o Article 1: talks about structure, qualifications, and powers of Congress o Article 2: Powers of the execut ive, qualifications o Article 3: Structure of federal court system, qualifications, powers, (creates US supreme court but not the US appellate/district courts —leaves those to Congress—how many members, how many courts, where) th v 10 Amendment: o the majority of state powers come from the 10 thamendment o “What it basically says”: § You make a comprehensive list of all the powers that the federal government has under the US Constitution. § You make a second list with all the powers that are denied to the states under the Constitution. • Whatever power is not in either list, becomes a power of the states or the people o There is a constant struggle between the federal and state government, over who has which power § During times of major arm conflicts, natural disasters, & t imes of crises: there are more federal regulations passed, more federal taxation, and more federal spending o States almost always cite the 10 thamendment that they are given a certain power o Guaranteed rights to the states: § Every state guaranteed exactly 2 US senators and at least 1 house rep § Article 4: guarantees the central government will protect its citizens against foreign and domestic rebellion—things like Shays rebellion § Article 1: guarantees that slavery will not be prohibited prior to 1808 v McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) : o Very early significant decisions that talks about the relationship between the national government and the states o In McCulloch v. Maryland, you have a national bank that is being taxed by a state. In this case, the Supreme Court said that a state cannot tax a federal entity; federal government is supreme to state governments; the supreme court also uses the necessary and proper clause to expand federal power. o A long list of following Supreme Court decisions begin to expand power through the necessary and proper clause & the commerce clause v Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) : o One state that grants one ship a monopoly to sail the Hudson river whereas the federal government grants a monopoly to another ship to sail the Hudson river. You are transporting passengers and cargo between states, being engaged in what is known as interstate commerce o First significant case dealing with the commerce clause o Since both ships were granted a monopoly, the Supreme court used the commerce clause; the Supreme court upheld the monopoly granted by the federal government and rejected the monopoly granted by the state government v 16thAmendment: (expands federal power) o Gives congress the authority to institute the federal income tax o Under the Constitution, Article 1, Congress had the power to lay and collect taxes. th o Needed a way to help fund World War 1, so the 16 amendment was created o Broad expansion of federal power o More tax dollars coming in à more tax dollars can be spent à more federal policies , bureaucrats and laws enforced o An argument on this amendment : When you amend the US Constitution, Congress must send out documents for states to read and de cide whether they should ratify the amendment; the copies must be identical. However, the copies are not identical —very small differences. v 17h Amendment: (expands federal power) o State legislatures picked the US Senators for each state. It was not the voters that would select the Senators. o As the constitution was originally written, the US Senate was very much a reflection of the states, as the House was a reflection of the people o At some point, a few states refuse to select US Senators to Washington. o The amendment takes away the power from the states to elect their US Senators and gives it to the people. v Types of Federalism o Layer Cake Federalism : § Federalism prior to the 1930s, Ne w Deal & FDR § Very distinct layers, and likewise, prior to 1930, federal, state, and local powers were very clear; each level of government had its own distinct layer o Marble-Cake Federalism: § Post 1930s, New Deal, FDR; lines become blurred when talking about federal/state/local powers due to Supreme Court decisions § Expands federal power under the commerce clause § Also called cooperative federalism § Goes on to the 60s & 70s o Reagan Revolution : Reagan was a conservative & republican. He is for limited federal government & stronger state governments. He tried to limit federal power and limited spending. He tried to restore some authority to the states. § Every action that any politician takes has other consequences —if you limit federal spending, that also means you limit the amount of federal revenue you give to states/localities. • When the states are trying to make up that missing revenue, they raise the state income tax or state sales tax. The local governments raise proper ty taxes. Limiting the federal government and restoring state powers just shifts the tax o Creative Federalism : § Federal Government wants to have power over something that is clearly a state power § South Dakota v. Dole • Minimum drinking age is obviously a state power • 18 amendment (prohibition of alcohol) —21 amendment along with federal laws, does not necessarily legalize drinking, but gives the states the authority to make that decision. Most states pass on the majority of their power regarding alcohol consumption to their counties • It is clear that is is a state power • South Dakota wanted the drinking age to be 19; the federal government wanted them to comply with a drinking age of 21 o Federal government — “if you do that, we’re going to withhold 5% of your federal highways funds” . o Supreme court says that what the federal government was doing against South Dakota was perfectly permissible. o Supreme Court: they were allowed to withhold 5% of the highway funds because it was not a coercive amount, but still gave the states the ability to say no. • Allows federal government to do what is known as “Creative Federalism” — withholding federal funding if the don’t do what they say. v Commerce Clause, Examples, Key Cases o Most powerful tool the federal government uses to expand their power o Article 1, Section 8: Lists the e numerated powers of Congress; amongst them is the commerce clause (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3). “Congress shall have the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, among the several states, and with Indian tribes.” o Key issue: states were acting like their own countries, coining their own money, and imposing tariffs on other states. o Interstate Commerce v. Intrastate Commerce § Interstate commerce: the buying and selling of goods or services between peoples of two or more states. • Under the commerce clause, it is very clear that the federal government has the power to regulate interstate commerce • Does not mean they HAVE to regulate interstate commerce, but they have the authority to § Intrastate commerce: the buying or selling of goods or services betwe en people within a single state • On the surface, it appears that the Federal government does not have the power to regulate intrastate commerce. However, there are supreme court decisions that suggest there are occasions when the federal government can also regulate intrastate commerce. o Wickard v. Filburn (1942) § This case results from the Great Depression § Federal law that regulates how much wheat farmers can produce § They are regulating this because the price of wheat both in the US & internationally is extremely low, due to a surplus worldwide . § If the price of wheat drops too low, farmers will have no incentive to produce wheat. Over time, the supply of wheat plummets and the prices goes up significantly if farmers decide not to farm wheat anymore. The federal government feels that wheat is one of the essential foods Americans eat § Federal government states that if there is a surplus of wheat, it should be destroyed § The farmer (of this case) produces the allowed amount to sell and a little extra for private family consumption § The federal government argues that asking farmers to destroy their surplus is constitutional under the commerce clause § When a farmer uses his own wheat for private consumption, it should have been an intrastate commerce activity § Federal government argues that an intrastate commerce activity could have a big impact on interstate commerce: “if every farmer used their wheat for private consumption, the supply would go up and prices would go down” § Most controversial of all the commerce clause cases o Examples § Up until the 1880s key supreme court decisions involving the commerce clause dealt with state laws the federal government felt were overstepping their boundaries, because the states in some form, were regulating interstate commerce. There were very few federal laws created under the power of the commerce clause (prior to 1880). § If you’re within 1-2 miles of an interstate highway, it is interstate commerce § Person A ran a business in State X. They buy everything from State X —materials, food, things needed to run business, etc.; all his customers are from State X as well. However, the nails holding his business together is bought from State Y — therefore, he is engaged in interstate commerce. Person A sold the entire business to Person B; the business from is still considered to be engaged in interstate commerce. • However, if the current owner got the current business for free (inherited, etc.), it would not be interstate commerce. § A gadget is entirely made in State X; all the systems and se rvices, and everything is in State X. They want to make this business intrastate. On their website, they have a disclaimer that says “we only sell our gadgets to people to live in our state.” The supreme court stated that the mere act of viewing a website by out of state people is not enough to make it interstate. • If they sold advertising space on their website to out of state people, it would be interstate • Person A (from out of state) asks their aunt in State X to help them purchase the gadget; Person A w ill pay her back for everything. The supreme court states that it is interstate commerce, since the money for the gadget is from State Y. • Business is 30 mi. from a state border, hired workers and bought supplies already, but business is not open yet à still interstate commerce o U.S. v. Lopez (1995) § Alfonso Lopez, a 12 thgrade high school student in San Antonio, Texas, brings a gun onto school campus. His intent was not to shoot anyone, and he did not shoot anyone. The very next day, the state of Texas charges him under state law; the day after that, state charges are dro pped, and they bring federal charges instead, under the Gun Free School Zone Act of 1990. • State charges are dropped because federal law is typically more severe. The federal government also has an extremely high conviction rate —90% of the cases are won. Texas (or any other state) also has less resources than the federal government. § Lopez’s attorneys argue that “the right to regulate guns in school is clearly a state power”. The federal government states that the “act of bringing a gun to school effects interstate commerce and therefore we have a right to bring these charges.” • When it gets to the U.S. Supreme Court, the federal government elaborates on why the act of bringing a gun to school affects interstate commerce. • When a gun is brought onto school cam pus, it is not long before fellow students find out about the incident. When students become aware of the situation, there are some students who are greatly impacted/traumatized by it. o The students who are impacted and distracted (the people who would have been 4.0s and gone to Harvard, would instead go to Rice and their GPA is slightly lower. The people who would have gone to Rice would get s lower GPA and go to UT, and the people who would have gone to those schools, they would go to Texas State—lower and lower). The federal government states that there is a minimal impact on their GPAs and in turn what kind of college they go to. o Theories state that the more education you get, and the higher quality of education, the more you will make in life. o Since these people make less money, they will have less money to spend on items from other states. Therefore, the act of bringing a gun to school impacts interstate commerce. § Under the commerce clause, it is very clear that the federal government has the power to regulate interstate commerce • U.S. v. Lopez was a victory for those who favored state rights. • However, it also provides a blueprint for the federal government on how to fix the law, so it could be a win for them too. § U.S. v Lopez cite s 3 categories of activity that congress may regulate under the commerce clause: • 1. Congress may regulate the channels —interstate highways, rivers, airways, etc.—of interstate commerce • 2. Congress may regulate the instrumentalities —airplanes, cars and truc ks that transport goods across states, trains, laptops, tablets, etc. —of interstate commerce. • 3. Congress may regulate those activities having a substantial relation to interstate commerce. o Creates a loophole where the federal government could abuse in the future o One provision of the “Violence Against Women Act” made it that a woman could sue the person who assaulted her in a civil court, where the family of the victim could settle for money or sue them to prevent future actions. § Did not have a substant ial relation to interstate commerce • The commerce clause is used many times by the federal government to get involved in state issues they shouldn’t be involved in. o Many times, they use this clause for good. o Ex: Laws that stated businesses and motels must not discriminate against race. However, one motel refused to accept African American customers; the supreme court decided it had a significant impact on interstate commerce. § Discourages travel for people, so they can’t spend their money § Supreme court stated that the motel had to accept customers of all races o Commerce clause helped further civil rights o U.S. v. Morrison (2000) § Uh…? v Civil Liberties o Typically found in the first 10 amendments to the constitution (Bill of Rights). o The civil liberties are limitations on the power of government to restrain or dictate how individuals act. o They were initially only meant to limit the powers of the federal government. In theory, if a given state wanted to infringe upon the people’s freedom of speech, they could, while the Federal government couldn’t. The intent of the founding fathers was not to let states trample over the people’s civil liberties. § It wasn’t until the 14hamendment that we see start to see the civil liberties bein g applied to the States. The 14 thamendment is used to incorporate the bill of rights into the states (incorporation doctrine). o Freedom of Religion § “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise there of.” § Establishment clause : government cannot endorse religion. Government entities like court houses, congress, post offices, etc. should not do anything that suggests the government is endorsing a particular religion. • One key part is the word “an” —an establishment. When the founding fathers wrote the first amendment, they meant that government could not endorse a single religion. • Lee v. Weisman (1992): Supreme Court held that prayer at a middle school graduation was not permissible. They also said that prayer at a high school graduation is permissible. o The Supreme Court says that graduating high school often signify the end of many people’s educational careers. They are willing to carve out an exception and allow praye r. This shows that the Supreme Court is run by humans and sometimes their emotions and individual beliefs also influence their decisions. § Free exercise clause : government cannot interfere with your practice of religion. • Not absolute. The Supreme Court ha s carved out examples, exceptions, where religious practices are not protected under the free exercise clause. o Snake handling; even though it is part of their religious practice, is not protected under the free exercise. It is a public safety issue. It poses a harm to themselves and potentially to others as well. o Use of Illegal Drugs; public safety issue. Many people could abuse the system and anyone could say they are a part of the religion as an excuse for using illegal drugs. o Polygamy; a high alarming number of polygamists have under - aged wives. Once again, in the interest of public safety to protect under-aged girls, polygamy is not permissible. o Freedom of Speech and Expression § Must balance free speech and expression with other values such as national security, the right to a fair trail, public order, etc. If the Supreme Court feels that you are interfering with national safety, your civil rights will go out the window. • Justice Holmes gave a classic example of not being able to falsely sho ut “fire” in a crowded theater. • It much often depends on the situation. You can do it if you’re with adults, but if there are kids in the theater, no. Kids may believe you but adults are smart enough to not. § Libel and Slander o Libel: § 1 Req.: Something you see with yours eyes. Written word on a piece of paper, text message, sculpture, painting, hand gesture, etc. nd § 2 Req.: Must be defamatory statements. Must hurt your standing or reputation in a community. Not simple trash - talking. Defamatory statements must be false statements; if you write something that is true, it is not defamatory. rd § 3 Req.: The defamatory statement must be witnessed by a third party. o Slander: § 1 Req.: Spoken word directly to you. So mething you hear in a song, recorded message, certain sounds, etc. § 2dReq.: Must be defamatory statements. Must hurt your standing or reputation in a community. Not simple trash - talking. Defamatory statements must be false statements; if you say something that is true, it is not defamatory. § 3 Req.: The defamatory statement must be witnessed by a third party. • The U.S. Supreme Court believes that public officials (all federal officials) and public figures (athletes, movie stars, people in the news, etc.) should be treated differently when they are involved in libel and slander cases. The Supreme Court feels those individuals can easily contact the media and tell the public their side of the story. There must be actual malice to win the case. o Ex: Roger Clemmons—professional basketball player. Like many other players, he was accused of taking sports -enhancing drugs. His trainer said he injected drugs into Clemmons, testifying under oath in Congress. Clemmons sued him, because he was protecting his reputation. Even if the trainer was lying, he wouldn’t admit it because there are severe consequences, as he would be committing perjury. The average person believes that when a public figure loses a defamation case, they did something wrong —this is not the case. § Obscene Speech • The Supreme Court is sure that obscene speech is not protected speech. Obscenity especially depends on the context of the situation. They are clear that children are protected from obscene speech. o Ex: Male genitals drawn on a car’s windshie ld vs. genitals on a anatomy book. o Ex: Painting with sexual activity in an art gallery vs. in a school. • Three Pronged Test for Obscenity: In order to meet the definition of obscenity, three conditions must be met. o Would the average person applying contem porary standards find that the work taken as a whole appeal to unwholesome interest or desire? o Would the works depict or describe in a patently offensive way sexual conduct specifically defying by the applicable state laws? o Whether the work taken as a whole lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value. § Examples of Protected Expression/Speech: • Wearing arms bands to protest the Vietnam War • Burning the American flag th v 4 Amendment o Its general purpose is to deny the government the authority to make general searches. th However, the U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted the 4 amendment to allow the police to search the following: the person arrested, things that are in plain view of the accu sed, places or things the person could touch or reach or which are otherwise in the arrestee’s immediate control. o Exclusionary Rule: Evidence illegally seized can not be used to obtain a criminal conviction. However, illegally obtained evidence may be use d in civil tries if the law enforcement officers were at the time believing that their action was constitutional. v 6h Amendment o Right to a counsel: defendant could hire an attorney if they wanted to. However, poor people cannot afford to hire one. § Gideon vs. Wainwright (1963): • Supreme Court established that the right to counsel was a basic right that even poor people could have. It was a necessity for anyone involved in a criminal felony case. The court will appoint you an attorney if you can’t afford to hire one. • The councils appointed are not the best. Studies suggest that public defenders are insanely overworked. The average public defender handles nearly 900 cases per year and spends 8 minutes per case. ~Random Extra Stuff: (1) The U.S. Supreme Court case of Marbury v. Madison (1803) established judicial review. Before judicial review, the U.S. Supreme Court could only interpret the law and the Constitution. However, judicial review allows the Supreme Court to find acts of congress and acts o f state legislatures unconstitutional...which is a significant power. (2) Regarding the 4th Amendment searches and seizures, law enforcement has the authority to search through the things that one throws away (such as trash) without a search warrant. Thus, if you leave your trash on the curb to be picked up by the garbage man, law enforcement officers have a right to search through it without a warrant. Political Science Exam 2 Info • Interest Groups Ø In America today, the largest interest group (in terms of number) is the AARP. Many people are retiring, so there are lots of old people. Ø James Madison, in Federalist Number 10 , argued for a proliferation of interest groups, so that no one interest group would become too powerful. § Wanted as many interest groups as possible Ø White males are still over -represented in terms of the elected representatives in America — governors, mayors, judges, etc. § Minorities such as women, middle & lower class, younger people, etc. are under - represented § Interest groups give a voice to people who don’t normally have a voice —by allowing interest groups to form, they are trying to grant equal access to everyone Ø Some interest groups are very powerful and some have very minimal impact. § Powerful Interest Groups • AARP: lots of potential voters and a huge sway on elected officials, especially the U.S. Congress when it comes time to talk about balancing the b udget. o Older people want their social security, so they form interest groups such as the AARP; it puts huge pressure on elected people to do what they want. • NRA: There is no significant limitation on gun rights even after all these high profile shootings • AMA: Every 5-10 years, there is a significant representative that talks about universal healthcare; the AMA puts pressure on officials to refuse universal healthcare • Interest groups representing big Oil/Gas companies o Could avoid a lot of these oil spills if there was 1) there was more regulation on drilling/regulations and 2) enforcing the regulations in place Ø Interest groups can impact policy and legislation at any level of government —whether it be federal, state, or local. They can impact policy making, decision making, courts (esp. state & local), or any branch of government. It just depends on the type of policy/area your group is trying to impact. § If you were trying to impact education, you may see the teacher’s unions put more energy at the state legislature rather than the U.S. Congress. Ø Techniques of Interest Groups § Direct techniques • 1) private unions; may represent a lot of potential voters —the voters could push the representatives to make legislation they like • 2) testifying before Congress or state legislatures o Ex: those who put their cellphones on vibrate in their pant pocket. You take the cellphone out of your pocket and later that day you f eel your leg twitching. Some argue that if your cellphone is doing that to your leg muscles, what is it when you put it up to your head. There are arguments that it may cause brain cancer. Cell phone companies may argue that cell phone usage has nothing to do with cancer, and that’s why. The judges listen and make a decision. They might propose legislation to address the issue or they may ignore it. • 3) Drafting legislation; only members of the U.S. Congress & state legislatures can officially propose a bill , but any single person can write a piece of legislation, submit it to a congressman, and ask them to propo se the bill on their behalf o most legislation originates in the executive branch, but a lot of legislation also originates with interest groups • 4) going to social occasions, providing political information o Ex: a close vote on a controversial bill; a couple of dozen House Reps on the fence of yes or no, might only vote for the bill if they’re confident that it will pass. An interest group invested in tha t bill passing or failing, may go to those House members and tell them what people voted and what they’re leaning to. This information may sway their ultimate decision. • 5) Supplying nomination suggestions to both the President and to governors o the President gets to nominate the members of their Presidential cabinet, federal judges, military officials, councils, ambassadors, etc. On the high ranking nominations, they probably go with someone they personally know. They may listen to suggestions from other par ty members and interest groups. o When it comes to the lower ranking positions, the President is going to rely on their party and interest group for suggestions. Many times, the President will go ahead and say yes. § Indirect techniques • 1) Using public pressure, using the constituent to get what they want o Ex: an elected official has a firm stance on what a particular interest group wants. They try to put out advertisements with their information. They use public pressure to sway the opinions of the official. • 2) Interest groups tend, when they are smaller, to build alliances with other alliance groups. o Now, they have more money and resources; an official may actually listen to them Ø What Makes Interest Groups Successful ? § 1) Leadership; who are the leaders, the vocal spokespersons? • Ex: NRA. For years, they have had Charleston Hesston speak on their behalf; he is a very effective leader. § 2) Money • The more money you have = the more money on the internet, TV, campaigns, etc.; more ability to have potential. • If you have money, you can support both sides. • If you’re a group with no money, you have to pick a side, potentially picking a side with little chance of winning. • Soft money acts; contributing money to a campaign without explicitly making a deal with a candidate. Candidate denies it, but knows the pack is supporting them and the reason they got into office —they have obligations to repay the pack back. • Some say, next year around the time of general elections, every commercial is going to be a campaign act because so much money is being dumped into this. § 3) Membership • the more people you represent = the more potential voters —how many actually vote? o However, the people you represent doesn’t always mean more potential voters; if you’re an 18-24-year-old, it may be different since they vote the least. o If you were an older person, you’d be more likely to vote • Political Parties Ø It is clear that today, there are two parties. Third parties and independents have had little to no success. Ø Third party and independent candidates are usually not potential presidential candidates § However, they can have a significant impact on who may become President. § Ex: Senior George H. Bush had a decisive war over Iraq. He enjoyed the highest approval ratings right after the war. It became a given that he would win a second term for President. • The American voter (public), has a short term memory. Unfortunately, the victory was early in his first term. The Average American voter began to focus on the economy; while it was on a downturn, was nothing like a recession. The economy became a focal point in presidential candidates. • Running against him, was Bill Clinton , who was relatively unknown. • There was also a strong third part y independent candidate, Ross Perot. Ross Perot brought up 30-minute ad slots during prime time television; he gave details, charts and graphs, and lay out his plan on what he wanted to do. • Ross Perot was popular by popular vote; however, he gained no electoral votes. However, he had a large impact on who won. The majority of people who voted for Ross Perot would have voted for Bush. He was taking votes away from Bush and helping Clinton. Had he not ran, it would have been unlikely that Clinton would have won the election. § In 2000, Bush v. Al Gore • Ralph Nader à Tea Party o Most people who voted for Ralph Nader said they would vote for Al Gore. Had he not ran, Al Gore would have gotten more votes. Ø Although third party candidates, for decades, have had little to no chance of winning presidential elections, they do have an impact on them. § What makes them more viable nowadays is improvement of technology as a whole. § The Tea Party is typically associated with the far right conservatives. § They do enjoy some success on the more minor roles; for example, you may find a Governor who is an independent. § Candidates on the Republican party do not mind being associated with the Green Tea Party for votes. However, at the general election, they cut ties and don’t want to be seen as far right conservative or liberal because they want to appeal to the more moderate voters. • Public Opinion Ø Factors that influence Public Opinion § 1) the Family; the family tends to have a huge impact on your opinion formation. Your parents or whomever raised you has a huge impact. • If your parents were hardcore Conservatives, you may very likely be one too. Not always, but often. § 2) the Mass Media • Ex: if you’re someone to watches T.V. news, most T.V. news programs tend to be liberal (an exception being Fox News ; when recording the news, it is supposed to be unbiased; when talking heads come on, they are very conservative). However, not everyone at CNN is a liberal, b ut the vast majority are. o If you’re someone who routinely listens to T.V. news, you are probably liberal. o Newspaper, political magazines, and print media tend to be liberal. Printed versions are more fact driven. o The Online newspapers tend to be more opinionated. o The political talk shows (Savage, Levine, etc.) on AM radio, are extremely conservative. If you’re someone
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