A legislature divided into two houses; the US Congress and the state legislatures are bicameral except Nebraska, which is unicameral.
The process of allotting congressional seats to each state following the decennial census according to their proportion of the population
The redrawing of congressional districts to reflect increases or decreases in seats allotted to the states, as well as population shifts within a state
A proposed law
The power delegated to the House of Representatives in the Constitution to charge the president, vice president, or other "civil officers," including federal judges, with "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." This is the first step in the constitutional process of removing such government officials from office.
The political party in each house of Congress with the most members
The political party in each house of Congress with the second most members.
Speaker of the House
The only officer of the House of Representatives specifically mentioned in the Constitution; elected at the beginning of each new Congress by the entire House; traditionally a member of the majority party.
Party Caucus or Conference
A formal gathering of all party members.
The elected leader of the party controlling the most seats in the House of Representatives or the Senate; is second in authority to the Speaker of the House and in the Senate is regarded as its most powerful member.
The elected leader of the party with the second highest number of elected representatives in the House of Representatives or the Senate.
Key member who keeps close contact with all members of his or her party and takes nose counts on key votes, prepares summaries of bills, and in general acts as communications link within a party.
President pro tempore
The official chair of the Senate; usually the most senior member of the majority party.
Committee to which proposed bills are referred; continues from one Congress to the next.
Committee that includes members from both houses of Congress to conduct investigations or special studies.
Special joint committee created to iron out differences between Senate and House versions of a specific piece of legislation.
Select (or special) Committee
Temporary committee appointed for specific purpose, such as conducting a special investigation or study.
Petition that gives a majority of the House of Representatives the authority to bring an issue to the floor in the face of committee inaction.
Legislation that allows representatives to bring home the bacon to their districts in the form of public works programs, military bases, or other programs designed to benefit their districts directly.
Funds in appropriations bill that provide dollars for particular purposes within a state or congressional district.
Time of continuous service on a committee.
The fact that being in office helps a person stay in office because of a variety of benefits that go with the position.
Role played by elected representatives who listen to constituents' opinions and then use their best judgment to make final decisions.
Role played by elected representatives who vote the way their constituents would want them to, regardless of their own opinions.
Role played by elected representatives who act as trustees or as delegates, depending on the issue.
The political condition in which different political parties control the White House and Congress.
Vote trading; voting to support a colleague's bill in return for a promise of future support.
A process in which committee members offer changes to a bill before it goes to the floor in either house for a vote.
A tactic by which a senator asks to be informed before a particular bill is brought to the floor. This allows the senator to stop the bill from coming to the floor until the hold is removed.
A formal way of halting action on a bill by means of long speeches or unlimited debate in the Senate.
Mechanism requiring sixty senators to vote to cut off debate.
Formal constitutional authority of the president to reject bills passed by both houses of the legislative body, thus preventing the bill from becoming law without further congressional activity.
If Congress adjourns during the ten days the president has to consider a bill passed by both houses of Congress, the bill is considered vetoed without the president's signature.
Congressional review of the activities of an agency, department, or office.
A process whereby Congress can nullify agency regulations by a joint resolution of legislative disapproval.
War Powers Act
Passed by Congress in 1973; the president is limited in the deployment of troops overseas to a sixty-day period in peacetime (which can be extended for an extra thirty days to permit withdrawal) unless Congress explicitly gives its approval for a longer period.
A process by which presidents, when selecting district court judges, defer to the senator in whose state the vacancy occurs.
Adopted in 1951, prevents a president from from serving more than two terms, or more than ten years if he came to office via the death or impeachment of his predecessor.
An implied presidential power that allows the president to refuse to disclose information regarding confidential conversations or national security to Congress or the judiciary.
U.S. v. Nixon (1974)
Key Supreme Court ruling on power of the president, finding that there is no absolute constitutional executive privilege to allow a president to refuse to comply with a court order to produce information needed in a criminal trial.
Adopted in 1967 to establish procedures for filling vacancies in the office of president and vice president as well as providing for procedures to deal with the disability of a president.
The formal body of presidential advisers who head the fifteen executive departments. Presidents often add others to this body of formal advisers.
Formal government agreement entered into by the president that does not require the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate.
The formal, constitutional authority of the president to reject bills passed by both houses of Congress, thus preventing them from becoming law without further congressional action.
The authority of a chief executive to delete part of a bill passed by the legislature that involves taxing or spending. Ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.
An executive grant providing restoration of all rights and privileges of citizenship to a specific individual charged or convicted of a crime.
Powers that belong to the national government simply because it is a sovereign body.
The name given to the program of "Relief, Recovery, Reform" begun by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933 to bring the United States out of the Great Depression.
Executive Office of the President (EOP)
Created in 1939 to help the president oversee the executive branch bureaucracy.
Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
The office that prepares the president's annual budget proposal, reviews the budget and programs of the executive departments, supplies economic forecasts, and conducts detailed analyses of proposed bills and agency rules.
A rule or regulation issued by the president that has the effort of law. All executive orders must be published in the Federal Register.
A set of complex hierarchical departments, agencies, commissions, and their staffs that exist to help a chief executive officer carry out his or her duties. Bureaucracies may be private organizations or governmental units.
The firing of public-office holders of a defeated political party in order to replace them with loyalists of the newly elected party.
Jobs, grants, or other special favors that are given as rewards to friends and political allies for their support.
Reform measure that created the Civil Service Commission to administer a partial merit system. The act classified the federal service by grades, to which appointments were made based on the results of a competitive examination. It made it illegal for federal political appointees to be required to contribute to a particular political party.
Civil Service System
The legal system by which many federal bureaucrats are selected.
The system by which federal civil service jobs are classified into grades or levels, and appointments are made on the basis of performance on competitive examinations.
Independent Regulatory Commission
An agency created by Congress that is generally concerned with a specific aspect of the economy.
Major administrative unit with responsibility for a broad area of government operations. Departmental status usually indicates a permanent national interest in a particular governmental function, such as defense, commerce, or agriculture.
Businesses established by Congress to perform functions that can be provided by private businesses.
Independent Executive Agencies
Governmental units that closely resemble a Cabinet department but have narrower areas of responsibility (such as the Central Intelligence Agency) and are not part of any Cabinet department.
The 1939 act to prohibit civil servants from taking activist roles in partisan campaigns. This act prohibited federal employees from making political contributions, working for a particular party, or campaigning for a particular candidate.
Federal Employees Political Activities Act
The 1993 liberalization of the Hatch Act. Federal employees are now allowed to run for office in nonpartisan elections and to contribute money to campaigns in partisan elections.
The process by which a law or policy is put into operation by the bureaucracy.
The relatively stable relationships and patterns of interaction that occur among agencies, interest groups, and congressional committees or subcommittees.
The loose and informal relationships that exist among a large number of actors who work in a broad policy areas.
Working groups created to facilitate coordination of policy making and implementation across a host of governmental agencies.
Power of the courts to review acts of other branches of government and the states
Judiciary Act of 1789
Established the basic three-tiered structure of the federal court system.
Marbury v. Madison (1803)
Case in which the Supreme Court first asserted the power of judicial review by finding that the congressional statute extending the court's original jurisdiction was unconstitutional.
Court of original jurisdiction where cases begin
Court that generally reviews only findings of law made by lower courts.
Authority vested in a particular court to hear and decide the issues in any particular case.
The jurisdiction of courts that hear a case first, usually in a trial. These courts determine the facts of a case.
The power vested in particular courts to review and/or revise the decision of a lower court.
Codes of behavior related to the protection of property and individual safety.
Codes of behavior related to business and contractual relationships between groups and individuals.
Federal courts specifically created by the U.S. Constitution or by Congress pursuant to its authority in Article III.
Courts established by Congress for specialized purposes, such as the Court of Military Appeals.
A document containing the legal written arguments in a case filed with a court by a party prior to a hearing or trial.
A prior judicial decision that serves as a rule for settling subsequent cases of a similar nature.
In court rulings, a reliance on past decisions or precedents to formulate decisions in new cases.
Process by which presidents generally defer selection of district court judges to the choice of senators of their own party who represent the state where the vacancy occurs.
Writ of Certiorari
A request for the Court to order up the records from a lower court to review the case.
Rule of Four
At least four justices of the Supreme Court must vote to consider a case before it can be heard.
The fourth-ranking member of the Department of Justice; responsible for handling all appeals on behalf of the U.S. government to the Supreme Court.
"Friend of the court"; amici may file briefs or even appear to argue their interests orally before the court.
A philosophy of judicial decision making that argues courts should allow the decisions of other branches of government to stand, even when they offend a judge's own sense of principles.
A philosophy of judicial decision making that argues judges should use their power broadly to further justice, especially in the areas of equality and personal liberty.
An approach to constitutional interpretation that emphasizes the Framers' original intentions.
How and whether judicial decisions are translated into actual public policies affecting more than the immediate parties to a lawsuit.
Steps of Bill becoming a law
1) Introduction of Bill
2) Committee Stage
3) Floor Debate
4) Reconcile Differences between bills of House and Senate
5) President's Desk
Introduction of a Bill Stage
Bill is put in Hopper and given a number.
Two Kind of Bills
1) Public Bills - 99% of bills
2) Private Bills - Single person. Usually citizenship
Goes to committee and assigned to subcommittee. This is place where most bills are killed.
Floor Debate Stage
Bills are put on calendar. Uses rules created by rule committee.
Rules of Floor Debate
1) Closed Rule - time limits and prohibits amendments
2) Open Rule - Permits amendments (RARE)
3) Restriction Rule - Allows some Amendments.
Determines Rules of floor Debate stage
Reconcile Differences Between Bills of House and Senate Stage
Stage where the changes of the House and Senate come together.
President's Desk Stage
If signs -> Becomes law
If does not do anything -> Bill becomes law in ten days
If Vetoes -> Sent back to House and Senate and needs 2/3 vote to override president.
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