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Week 6 notes

by: Kirsten Swikert

Week 6 notes Political Science 110

Kirsten Swikert
GPA 3.2

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Class notes from 3-22 and 3-24
American National Government
Jeffrey Budziak
Class Notes
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kirsten Swikert on Thursday March 24, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Political Science 110 at Western Kentucky University taught by Jeffrey Budziak in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 10 views. For similar materials see American National Government in Political Science at Western Kentucky University.

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Date Created: 03/24/16
The Responsibilities of Congress • Congress has divided responsibilities o Policy making: responsibility of Congress to create policies that govern the US o Representation: responsibility of Congress to represent their constituents § Constituency service: working for your constituents • Examples of constituency service o Policy goals: ensuring their districts get a share of federal projects and money (Pork Barrel Legislation) o Constituent assistance: constituents encountering difficulties with the federal government frequently turn to their Congressperson’s office for help Theories of Representation • How should our Congresspeople behave? o Trustee model of representation: trust our elected officials to make decisions they think are best o Delegate model of representation: elected officials act only as a mouthpiece for the wishes of their constituency Congressional Elections: Redistricting • Congresspersons are responsible for representing electoral districts o State legislatures have the power to draw electoral district maps (redistricting) o Use the census to determine how many congresspersons each state receives • Issues related to drawing electoral districts o Gerrymandering: states draw legislative district lines in a way to create some type of electoral advantage o Partisan gerrymandering: drawing lines to help a certain political party Electoral district in blue, created because those areas are heavily Latino populated, this allowed for a possible Latino candidate Motivations of Congresspersons • Mayhew’s The Electoral Connection Characteristics of Legal Systems • Civil law systems: legal system operates based on law enacted by a national legislature (statutory law) o Most European countries operate as civil law system • Religious law systems: religious doctrine is responsible for governing certain types of behavior o Frequently combined with civil law into a mixed legal system • Common law system: derived from English legal principles resulting from feudalism o Disputes were resolved locally o Monarchy, wishing to create more uniform authority, established judges who resolved disputes throughout the country… creating common law § Creation of parliament and statutory law had to be incorporated into existing common law o System operates in response to legislative acts, judicial decisions, and unwritten legal traditions • Adversarial system: resolve legal conflicts through clash of opposing sides, moderated by neutral party (judge) • Inquisitorial system: court or part of the court is actively involved in investigating the facts of the case o Judges question witnesses, interrogate suspects, order searches for other or further investigations, and finally declare the verdict and decide on the penalty § Role is not to prosecute the accused, but to gather facts to reach the correct verdict Concepts of Law • Subject matter o Civil law: laws regulating interactions between individuals § A plaintiff sues a defendant § Ex: product liability § Burden of proof: initially, but not always, on the plaintiff § Standard of proof: preponderance of the evidence § Constitutional rights: few; most of Bill of Rights does not directly apply to civil disputes § Remedy: monetary damages, injunction against behavior o Criminal law: laws prohibiting behavior the government as determined to be harmful to society § Burden of proof: always on the state (prosecution) § Standard of proof: beyond a reasonable doubt § Constitutional rights: all rights guaranteed by the Constitution at the federal level, all incorporated rights at the state level § Remedy: fines, community service, or imprisonment


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