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GOVT203 Notes Week of 2/22

by: user258

GOVT203 Notes Week of 2/22 GOVT 203


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About this Document

These notes cover Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of this week's classes
Introduction to Comparative Politics
Dr. Clay Clemens
Class Notes
Intro to Comparative Politics, Introduction to Comparative Politics, Government, Politics, Comparative Politics




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by user258 on Saturday February 27, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to GOVT 203 at College of William and Mary taught by Dr. Clay Clemens in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 63 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Comparative Politics in Political Science at College of William and Mary.


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Date Created: 02/27/16
Intro to Comparative Politics Class Notes Week of 2/22/16 Monday N/A; Exam today, no notes Wednesday Finishing Chapter 19 Quantitative Comparisons  Variables; Control what you look at vs. what changes o Look at the variables, these are the points that change to make the results occur o Independent variable: causes the dependent variable to change; probable cause (usually along the x-axis) o Dependent variable: changes as a result of the change of another variable  Cause and correlation o Correlation—they’re related o Cause—really, really hard to determine/prove o Outliers—don’t fit in with the pattern o Spurious correlations: Appears to be correlated, or a cause and affect, but really aren’t (ex: Nicholas Cage films and people drowned falling into pools)  One ‘cause’ altering several variables, causing confusion as to the actual affecting variable and the variables affected, and their relationship  Or they could just be random  Masses of data are generally more accurate than a case study, because there’s more information and case studies tend to be very specific. You have to be careful with that though, and look at the reasoning of the data in depth to avoid overlooking something Starting Chapter 13 Judiciary  Rule of Law: Everyone is subject to the laws o Can’t be arbitrary o Due process: processes of law are clear, well known, and apply to everyone o In liberal democracies, this focusses on individual rights o Common law and civil/code law: both work to preserve due process, etc.  Common Law: Judge’s verdict establishes precedent. Not just by word of the law, but interpreting the law with input from unwritten practices. Written law is a factor, precedent is a factor, constitutional principles are a factor. A ‘chain of precedent’ is called case law.  Civil Law: Judges are much more fixed to the written codes of law; act as investigators to determine on behalf of the state which laws apply and how they should be applied. Decisions based on preexisting laws and principles (Fun fact: Louisiana is the only state in the US to use this, because of French roots)  Common law could be considered non-democratic o Judges are unelected, setting precedents and affecting legislature and how the gov’t is run  Civil law could be considered not liberal o Court system operated on behalf of the state, not the people or as a neutral body  Systems sort of meld together as time goes on. Constitutions have helped with that, adding a second base of source material to draw judgment from. Also we have more and more laws to consider, so common law draws less from precedent, etc. Friday Finishing Chapter 13 Constitutions  There are two parts to constitutions: The power map, and a section on individual liberties/rights  Formatting: Codified (one document) or uncodified (more than one document of unwritten)  Flexible vs. Rigid o Rigid: needs a greater majority to make changes, overall difficult to alter  Reasoning: provides a solid, stable foundation for the government, helps keep the government from gaining too much power/getting too big, helps protect individual rights in that way o Flexible: easier to change  Reasoning: can be changed more easily if there are oversights, the laws can be updated to remain applicable as the world changes  Changing process: needs a pretty large majority in the House(s), size depends on rigidity, then a referendum or similar motion, varying depending on which constitution  The judiciary does have some bearing on adjusting the constitution  A new constitution might be written, or the existing one drastically reworked, after regime changes, post-war, or when a new country is first formed Judicial Review  Judicial review o A court nullifying something the legislature has done because it is unconstitutional  Reasoning: a majority vote can still give a result that’s bad for individual rights, and the legislature has to be held accountable for its decisions  Courts o Set up in layers o Supreme court: the one at the apex of said layers  Deals with state disagreements and appeal cases, works from constitutional issues  Appeal cases: cases which have already been tried in court, but the verdict was appealed so it went to the next level of the court. If it gets high enough the supreme court sees it o Concrete reviews: When it’s an existing law causing trouble for people, who brought it to court. Has real people who have been affected by the law in practice o Abstract reviews: When the law in question has not been brought to court, and may not have not actually affected anyone yet, negatively or otherwise. Can even be applied when the law hasn’t passed yet.  Usually brought forward by other parts of the government or sometimes ordinary citizens  Sometimes used to gum up the process of passing a law  Can result in tighter, better thought out bills o Authoritarian regimes circumvent reviews by setting up special courts and military courts, or just changing the courts around so it doesn’t go through  Courts in communist states are there to build up communism  These regimes also influence the court outcomes due to which officials are appointed and how neutrally the court is stationed


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