American Government and Politics Chapter 2-6,8 Notes
American Government and Politics Chapter 2-6,8 Notes PLS 102-04
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This 11 page Class Notes was uploaded by Nat Rantala on Saturday October 15, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PLS 102-04 at Grand Valley State University taught by Sheri. L. Rogers in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 13 views. For similar materials see American Government and Politics in Political Science at Grand Valley State University.
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Date Created: 10/15/16
Chapter 4 Civil Liberties Found in the Bill of Rights The fundamental rights of protection against the power of the government Designed to balance freedom and security o Civil Liberties Protect from abuses of power by the government th Found in Bill of Rights and 14 Promote freedom o Civil Rights Protect against discrimination by the government or individuals th Equal protection clause 14 amendment Promote equality Rights and Liberties o Preferredposition Doctrine: 1 Amendment o Freedom of Speech Clear and Present Danger Test: speech that will cause harm to other people. Yelling “Fire” in a crowded theater. ImminentLawlessAction Test, direct incitement test: it is not protected if it will cause imminent lawless action Actions symbolic speech: are protected speech o Freedom of Assembly Groups are allowed to assemble peacefully Restrictions are permitted but has to be content neutral o Freedom of Press Courts have limited the freedom of press more than speech. Shield law: protects journalists from revealing their sources Prior Restraint: cannot sensor information, cannot prevent the publication of information. o Freedom of Religion Free exercise clause: the government cannot make restrictions on exercise of religion Establishment clause: the government cannot establish a religion or promote one religion over another. o Lemon Test criteria for laws Secular purpose Neither advocate nor inhibit religion Avoid excessive entanglement Courts allowing more accommodation Due Process of Law Rights of the Accused o The Fourth through the Eighth Amendments Miranda Warnings Public Safety Exception Searches and Seizures The Exclusionary Rule: cannot use evidence that was illegally obtained in court The Good Faith Exception: illegal seized items can be used in court only if the cops had significant reason to suspect Selfincrimination Right Legal Council Cruel and unusual punishment Capital punishment o Courts have increasingly limited its use Arguments for Capital punishment Harshest punishment for worst crimes Deterrent for others Arguments against Capital punishment No effect on crime rate Expensive High profile cases of botched executions Questions of innocence Discrimination against minorities/ poor Right to Privacy o Not mentioned in the constitution o 9 amendment states that other rights are implied o Courts have established that the privacy should be protected. o Not absolute Right to Bear Arms o Courts have decided Allow individual ownership Permit regulation o Proposed by President Obama All sellers must conduct background checks (stores, gun shows, online) Background checks: mental health, immigration visa, felon, 200 new ATF agents to combat gun trafficking Increase mental health treatment and reporting to the backgrounds check system Promote gun safety technology o NRA response Instead of creating new laws, focus on enforcing the current laws None of those proposed actions would have stopped recent mass shootings There should be no additional restrictions on a constitutional right Armed guards at schools Civil Rights The rights citizens have to equality opportunities and equal protection under the law. Civil liberties protect against the power of the government. Means to address discrimination o Judicial decisions Dred Scott Decision (1857) He tried to petition for his freedom o He was living in a free state o His master allowed him to legally marry o He argued most of his children were born in free states and they should be free The Supreme Court threw out the case because they said that Dred Scott was not a citizen so he could not sue for his freedom, blacks were not considered citizens Civil War (18611865) 1315 Amendments are the reconstruction amendments th 13thAmendment 1865 abolished slavery in the United States 14 Amendment (1868) Three important clauses: o Citizenship: overturned the Dred Scott Decision o Due Process: States were required to provide due process to someone before taking their right of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. o Equal Protection Originally only protected citizens from the federal government, a loop hole was found and states created Jim Crow Laws th 15 Amendment 1870 Granted blacks the right to vote Why couldn’t most blacks still not vote? o Many stath officials in the south refused to enforce the 15 Amendment o Literacy Test was used to refuse their votes, the test asked them to explain a section of the constitution and they answer questions on government issues o Poll tax, had to pay to vote o White Primaries: o Voucher system: have someone who could vote to vouch for them o Grandfather clause: if your grandfather, you could vote o Violence and Intimidation Plessy v Ferguson 1896 A man boarded a train and entered the white only section then was arthsted for doing so then sued for discrimination He was 1/8 black The Supreme Court established “separate but equal” doctrine Brown v. Board of Education 1954 People tried to encourage families to enroll their children into a white school but they were denied access to the school The Supreme Court overturned Plessy v. Ferguson because separation does not make it equal Forced schools to integrate th 24 Amendment 1964 Outlawed polled taxes o Legislation Civil Rights Act of 1964: tied up the loop holes’ states used to refuse blacks to vote Prohibited discrimination in public place Prohibited discrimination by employers Prohibited different voting registration standards for whites and blacks Gave the attorney general the authority to enforce this law Voting Rights Act of 1965 Outlawed literacy tests Sent federal examiners to areas with low voter participation among blacks to register them to vote Outlawed terror and intimidation tactics Federal government most approve changes in districts that had a history of discrimination It was only to supposed to last 5 years but it was renewed in 1970 and in 2006 Making this fluid they could change it and address new issues Supreme Court struck down key provisions in 2013, federal government no longer had to approve different locations of polls in areas that had a history of discrimination Voter ID? o Constitutional Amendments o Executive Orders o Ongoing Racial Problems De Jure segregation De facto segregation 19 Amendment 1920 gave the women the right to vote, some states allowed women to vote at the state and/or local level Equal Rights Amendment Never ratified equality of rights cannot be denied due to sex. 2013 Supreme Court required the federal government to recognize samesex marriage 2015 Supreme Court struck down state bans of samesex marriage Immigration o In your opinion, in what ways are illegal immigrants important/ helpful to the U.S.? o In your opinion, in what ways are illegal immigrants impacting the U.S. in a negative way? Immigration Reform o Parents of citizens or permanent residents can avoid deportation and apply for temporary legal status o Those brought here as children can apply for legal status o What are common objections to immigration reform Public Opinion and Media Public: The attitude of people express about the government and its policies. Government officials tries to manipulate public opinion Why is it important? o Actions driven by opinions o Helps explain behavior and government official decisions Why do people form the opinions they do? o Political socialization is the process through which political ideas and values are acquired. o Agents: Family Media Peers School Religious Leaders Opinion Leaders LifeCycle Effects Generational Effects Events Group Identities Ethnicity Gender Economic class Religion Geography Considerations: factors used to make decisions Latent opinions: formed in the moment without a solid foundation How are opinions measured? o Elections o Contacting officials o Participation in interest groups o Polls Polls o Check a polls reliability o Whether it’s a real poll o Internet polls o Biased sources o Phone sources o Only questioned a few hundred people that are diversified o Margin of error!!!!!!!!!! o Wording of questions and how they are asked Potential problems with public opinion o Lack of information Latent opinion o Social Desirability Bias People who are asked questions say what they think the other person wants to hear o Framing effect The information given to you influences your response or opinion Push polls The question wording o Sample Size The bigger the sample size, the smaller the margin of error. o Non Random samples What has an impact on presidential approval ratings? o The longer a president spends in office, approval ratings tend to go down o Rally around the flag effect International crisis will raise approval ratings o Economy If the economy is doing poorly, approval ratings go down o Chronic problems Scandal War Should public opinion influence government officials? o Delegate: should take public opinion into consideration o Policy Mood: a large public push on a certain issue o Trustee: Americans aren’t very well informed o Politico: they act like a delegate on domestic policies or issues that people care about and as a trustee on foreign policy issues or issues that the people do not know much about. Reflection Question/ Assignment o Find a poll and answer the following: Who conducted it? When was it conducted? If possible, find the question wording. Was it objective? What was the outcome? What was the sample size? What was the margin of error? Media and Democracy o The press serves 3 functions: Relays information to the public Serves as an outlet for politicians to communicate Attempts to hold the government accountable o Free Press Shield Laws: protects reporters from revealing their sources Freedom of Information Act: you can request to have information and the government would be compelled to release it. o Media Limits Prior restraint: the government cannot censor something, gag order is to protect an impartial jury o FCC License individual stations and regulate coverage Equal time: The FCC requires broadcast networks to provide equal air time to candidates. Not applied to cable, news programs, satellite Media in the 21 Century o New media: blogs, you tube, social media, cable o Narrowcasting: targets a small segment of the population o Influence of the internet More information Still requires effort Lowered barrier for publication Less reliable information Greater citizen input Events publicized instantaneously Media’s impact on public opinion o Filtering stories chosen by journalists and editors. o Selection bias o Slant favorable coverage for one side of story or policy o Priming presenting new arguments or concerns o Framing how is a story is presented Criteria for judging media o Sensationalism o Selection of guests o Use of language o Use of camera o Use of headlines o Fairness in editorial essays and letters o Balance of reporting on issue Media Bias Media ownership o Consolidation of media ownership E.g. Disney, Comcast, CBS o Emphasis on selling consumer goods o Less emphasis on producing good citizens Interest Groups Groups that form around an idea for the purpose of influencing government policy The difference between political parties and interest groups is that interest groups do not have candidates. Interest Groups o Influence officials o Policy specialists o Very organized Political Parties o Run for office o Policy generalists o Decentralized Lobbying: Direct Lobbying v. Indirect Lobbying o Direct (Inside Lobbying) Drafting legislation or regulations Providing research Expert testimony Litigation Working together o Indirect (Outside) Lobbying Grassroots lobbying Letter writing campaigns Protests Influencing public opinion Electioneering Rating system Using the media Initiatives and referenda Peak organizations consist of companies Types of Interest Groups: Objective: What does the interest group want to achieve o Economic Represents the economy, Labor unions, educational groups, environmental groups, professional Powerful o Citizen (Public Interest) Single issue NRA, right to life Identity Shared identity o AARP Institutional groups Military, public universities, red cross Community Action groups Usually temporary Arise to address one issue o Types of interest groups: Tax codes Political action groups PACs Political arm of groups Channel money to elected officials or candidates Strict limits 527 groups Receive and spend unlimited money Donations must be reported Cannot explicitly support a candidate Super PACs Can receive and spend unlimited amounts of money Donations do not need to be reported Can explicitly support a candidate Cannot donate to a campaigns Cannot coordinate efforts with a campaign, they have to work independently Super PACs Free speech or corruption? Citizens United case 2010 1 amendment prevents restrictions on political expenditures by corporation and unions. Arguments o Restricting donations from corporations unfairly limits free speech enjoyed by individuals o Citizens working collectively are more effective than individuals o Freedom of speech is not the same as equality of speech Criticism o Allows wealthy to unduly influence elections o Potential for “buying influence” Resources used by interest groups use to influence People Money Expertise Are interest groups an effective way of representing the public? Not everyone is involved in an interest group Businesses and the wealthy benefit disproportionately Larger groups are more difficult to organize o Latent However, groups influence policy on issues ignored by political parties o Logic of Collective Action The idea of the government should be responsible for providing common goods and benefits Collective: provided to a group of people and can’t be denied to those people National defense, parks, roads, public television Free rider problem Purposive benefits refer to the satisfaction of influencing policy Solidarity benefits Material incentives Coercion How much influence do interest groups have? o Not much o Lobby supporters o Complainers are often losers o Claim responsibility even when it’s not o Groups lobby on both sides o Little evidence money is linked to policy outcomes What determines success? o Do Americans care about the issue? It is harder if more Americans care about that issue o Is there much opposition to the issue?
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