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POL101 (Part 2): The Institutions of Government

This Prezi will cover chapters 6 through 9.

Ray Block

on 29 March 2017

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Transcript of POL101 (Part 2): The Institutions of Government

Key Congressional Leadership Positions
Speaker of the House of Representatives
Majority leaders (House and Senate)
Minority leaders (House and Senate)
Whips (House and Senate)
President Pro Temp (Senate)
Vice-President (President of Senate)
Part 2: Institutions of Government
Chapter 6: Congress
The people's branch?
Chapter 7: The Presidency
Chapter 8: The Bureaucracy
Chapter 9:
The Federal Judiciary
In this chapter, we will cover:
the structure/function of Congress
congressional elections
issues of "political representation"
Congressional Elections
The Framers intended:
To avoid concentration of power w/in a single institution
To balance large and small states: “bicameralism”
To make Congress the dominant institution
Structure of Congress
The Job of a legislator
The function of a legislator:
Representation (will explain later)
Consensus building (working across the aisle and chambers)
Oversight authority (evaluate effectiveness of programs and police misconduct)
Policy clarification (being a legislation specialist)
Confirmation powers (in the Senate): approve Presidential nominations [Article II, Section 2]
The benefits of incumbency
Name recognition (e.g., Eddie Murphy in "Distinguished Gentleman")
Franking privileges (members can send official mail using his/her signature instead of a stamp)
Media exposure (access to the media is usually easier for incumbents)
Greater ability to raise campaign funds (incumbents have better "war chests", and more fund-raising experience)
Experience (being a seasoned veteran of Congress can make a huge difference)
Staff support (incumbents have others to help with time-consuming tasks [i.e. clerical work, book keeping, etc.])
The ability to direct money to the districts (the politics of "pork")
Greater access to information
The Politics of Drawing House District Lines:
Reapportionment = Based on Census
Redistricting = Based on seats in Congress
Gerrymandering = Based on representatives
Supreme Court Rulings:
Congress and state legislatures must be apportioned on the basis of population
Purposeful gerrymandering to dilute minority strength is illegal
Redrawing to enhance minority representation is illegal
Different "types"
substantive representation (SR) = policy congruence
descriptive representation (DR) = demographic similarity
"symbolic" representation = more superficial than DR, but still important
Different "philosophies" (Sir Edmund Burke)
delegate model = always listen to the public
trustee model = never listen to the public
politico model = do a little of both
The American Presidency:
The Constitutional power of the President
Historical Presidency
Modern Presidency and the expansion of presidential power
Institutional Presidency & strategic context
Optional: Cheney's Law (Documentary by "Frontline")
Presidential Power
Historical Presidency
Modern Presidency
Institutional Presidency & Strategic Context
Source of power: Article II of the U.S. Constitution
“Commander in chief”
Commission officers
Grant reprieves & pardons
Convene Congress (in "special sessions", if necessary)
Receive ambassadors
Appoint officials to lesser offices
Take care that the laws be faithfully executed
Wield executive power (“The executive power shall be vested in a President")
Powers shared with
Makes treaties (agreements between countries)
Appoint ambassadors, judges, and high officials
Powers shared with
Approve (or veto) legislation
Presidency in a "separated system"
Separate institutions

no actor (including President) can move too far on her own
unitary (or imperial) presidency: pres should be able to:
remove all subordinates in the executive branch
direct subordinates to take a particular action
veto any objectionable actions (including those mandated by Congress)
Ex.) Cheney's Law documentary
Ex.) Justice Scalia's dissenting opinion re: Morrison v. Olson (1988)
Several ways presidential power has expanded
based on idea that some powers may be
by Constitution
represents a broad definition of power
Ex) George W. Bush supports the creation of military commissions, detaining "enemy combatants" in the name of national security
delegation of power
Congress willingly delegates power to the Executive Branch
E.g., Great Depression: Congress gave FDR wide latitude to solve economic problems
Policy making
it is common for presidents to formulate their own legislative program (and try to advance it)
Ex) Former President Obama working to implement the The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, or "Obamacare")
Changes in organization structure
i.e., the creation of more agencies and departments
Ex.) GW Bush's "Office of Homeland Security"
Going public
contemporary presidents communicate (almost exclusively) through TV and the Internet
Ex) President Trump's use of social media (particularly Twitter) to inspire support for his policy goals -- and, when necessary, to attack/retaliate against his opponents
signing statements
used to celebrate, re-interpret, undermine, or politicize the intent of a proposed law
The Evolution of the American Presidency
20th Century and beyond
19th Century
The Presidency was "Weak" by Design
What the Framers intended:
President given enough resources to respond to emergencies
but president has insufficient authority to usurp the Constitution
Article II = withholds broad and easily invoked emergency powers to the executive

Punchline: During first century, presidents assumed a small role as a governmental actor (president as “chief clerk”)
The era of
"Cabinet Government"
Why are they so important?
Nineteenth century Congress worked through department secretaries.
President consulted with cabinet regularly and on important matters.
Cabinet members are often powerful politicians in their own right
What are cabinets?
composed of the most senior appointed officers of the executive branch
generally the heads of the federal executive departments
& Elections
Modern Presidency: Commander in Chief
Twentieth century (and beyond) politics dominated by political parties
presidential elections were the focal point for the national parties’ efforts
party that captured the office won control of federal patronage
The rise of Political Parties
Presidential candidates became important to the party
pulled the party trains
had a very specialized role—to win the office
only dominated the news during the election
valued for their widespread popularity and willingness to distribute patronage rather than their policy positions
At this point, the President:
is Commander in Chief (leader of armed forces)
has "first mover" advantage (can set legislative agenda; War Power's Act trumps Congress' authority to declare war)
is Head of State (represents nation re: foreign affairs)
is Chief Executive (Article II: "...the executive power shall be vested in a president of the United States of America")
has Executive Privilege (can withhold info. from Congress & the Supreme Court)
can give Executive Orders (formal instructions to manage bureaucracies)
The Modern Presidency
Today's president in action
“The members of the federal legislature will likely attach themselves too much to
local objects
…Measures will too often be decided according to their probable effect, not on the national prosperity and happiness, but on the prejudices, interests, and pursuits of the…people of the
individual states
.”--James Madison, Federalist 46
Design encourages (forces) compromise
The Judicial Branch:
What is it?/Who are the justices?
Sources of American Law
How does the judicial branch work?
Court policy making
What is the Judicial Branch
and Who are the Judges?
Sources of
American Law
The Structure/Function of
the Federal Court System
Policy Making
What Is It?
Judicial branch has the authority to:
pronounce judgment and carry it into effect between parties
note: this happens when parties are engaged in a real and substantial controversy or a legal question
interpret laws
Did you know?
Supreme Court is the only court mentioned in Article III of the Constitution
(all other courts created by Congress)
The irony
Supreme Court = least democratic branch:
independent of other branches
independent of voters

However, the Judicial branch is the branch citizens have the most faith in
Huddle up: Why so much love for such an undemocratic institution?
Who Are They?
Selecting Judges:
Judges appointed by President, with consent of Senate
Senatorial courtesy = allows a senator of president’s political party to exercise control over the federal judge vacancies in his or her state, although not for Appeals or Supreme Courts
The "logic" of judge selection:
Ideology = Important for selecting federal judges
Litmus test: a person’s stand on a key issue that determines whether he or she will be appointed to public office or supported in electoral campaigns
Who is selected (some FAQs):
No requirement for law degree, but all have had them
Majority of justices have attended schools like Harvard, Yale, Stanford
Half have been federal or state court judges
Most have been in their 50s when nominated
Race and gender: only four women and two African-Americans have ever served on the Court
Scarcely any political question arises in the United States that is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question
Common law
Legal documents
Administrative law
Case law
Common Law = Judge-made law
Originated in England
Two main components:
Precedent = a [previous] court ruling that influences subsequent legal decisions in similar cases
"Stare decisis" (Latin for: "the decision stands")= judges are obliged to respect the precedent established by prior decisions
Legal Documents = Federal & state constitutions
Set forth general organization, powers, and limits of government
ensures that judicial power in the US resides in the hands of the courts
Jurisdiction = authorization to hear certain types of cases
Federal court jurisdiction:
those cases concerning “federal questions”
those cases involving citizens of different states
Supreme Court’s delegation includes:
district courts
courts of appeal

Supreme Court = court of final appeal (has two jurisdictions)
A court’s power to serve as the "place" where a given case is initially argued and decided
A [higher] court’s power to "review" a decision or action of a lower court
Administrative law = Rules and regulations set forth by government agencies
Ex.) Renter's law; copyright law
"Writ of Mandamus" = Latin for "a command to do an administrative action" (or not to take a particular action)
Given from "higher courts" to "subordinate courts" (see Marbury V. Madison example later)
Case law = Rules and principles announced in court decisions, usually appeals courts
Ex.) Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978)
The Federal Court System
Dual system:
1) Federal courts
District courts: trial courts, each state has at least one
13 U.S. courts of appeals or circuit courts
U.S. Supreme Court: only Court in U.S. Constitution
2) State Courts
Created by State Constitutions
How the Supreme Court works:
Term is from October to June each year
When the Court decides to hear a case, the decision is called a "Writ of Certiorari"
In order for a case to be heard, judges follow the “Rule of 4” (4 judges must agree to hear it)
Judges ask themselves...
Have separate lower courts ruled differently on the issue?
Has the solicitor general pressured the court to rule on the case?
Note: Solicitor general represents the government before the Court
How does the Court decide which cases to hear?
How does the Court
decide a case after they hear it?
The judges:
Hear oral arguments by the attorneys representing the two parties
Meet in private conference to discuss arguments
The decision can be:
: all justices agree, which is rare
Majority decision
: at least five justices agree
Concurring opinion
: majority justice(s) who seek to emphasize certain parts of case
Dissenting opinion
: disagreement with majority, can form the basis for creation of new majority or precedent in the future
Legislating from the Bench
Constraints on policy making
Judicial Review
Not mentioned (explicitly) in the Constitution!!!

Established in Marbury v. Madison (1803)
Supreme Court has power to invalidate laws of Congress or the states that conflict with the U.S. Constitution
makes Court a powerful weapon:
Court strikes down more state laws than federal laws
Court validates only about 150 of 60,000 laws passed by Congress
Supreme Court dominates policy making in these areas:
Civil rights and the treatment of women and minorities The procedural rights of criminal defendants Freedom of speech, press and religion
Checks and Balances
Executive branch carries out judicial rulings. The court has no enforcement powers
Congress must authorize funding to implement court decisions and can pass new laws in response to court decisions
Public opinion
Limits the power of the court, because its authority is linked to its stature in the eyes of the public
Traditions of the court:
Refusing to hear political questions because they should be decided by the elected branches
How judges influence policy (or not):
Judicial activism:
Judicial restraint:
Original Intent:
The Court should defer to the decisions made by the institutions elected by the people
Takes the values of the Founders in expressed in the Constitution and applies them to current conditions
The Court should take an active role in using its powers to check the other institutions of government when they exceed their authority
Paul Ryan (R, Wisconsin)
Kevin McCarthy (R, California)
Nancy Pelosi (D, CA)
Chuck Schumer (D, NY)
Steny Hoyer (D, CA)
John Cornyn (R, TX)
Orrin Hatch (R, UT)
Head of Minority Party in House
Head of Minority party in Senate
Enforcer to Minority Party Leader
Enforcer to Majority Party Leader
Presides over Senate when VP is Absent
Presides over Senate
US Federal Bureaucracy
Understanding bureaucracy
Executive departments and the independent agencies
The logic of bureaucratic relations (issue networks and iron triangles)
Understanding Bureaucracy
Departments and Agencies
The "Logic" of Bureaucracy
Issue networks:
fluid, loose alliances of people, and organizations (gov't and non gov't.)
seek to influence
interests (by mobilizing support for a policy)
Ex) Environmental Policy network
Iron Triangles:
relationships between interest groups, politicians (especially members of congress), and federal agencies
A..K.A.: "sub-governments"
Seek to promote
interests (that benefit actors involved)
Ex) Carlysle Group
What is bureaucracy?
Civil servants (GS workers)
Major elements
The "name game"
Staff and line
Presides over the House of Representatives
Head of Majority Party in House
Enforcer to Majority Party Leader
Steve Scalise (R, LA)
Enforcer to Minority Party Leader
Richard Durbin (D, IL)
Head of Majority Party in Senate
Mitch McConnell (R, KY)
Mike Pence (R, IN)
Full transcript