Final Review

June 25, 2014

Complete a set of detailed notes for all items listed below…



  1. 1,2,3

3 1,2
4 1,2,3
5 1,2,3,4
6 1,2,3,
7 1,3
8 3
10 1,2,3
11 2,3,4
12 3,4
13 1,2,5
14 2,3,4
15 1,4
17 3
18 3

Government Final Review

  1. Unitary system
  2. Federal system
  3. Jurisdiction of federal court and Supreme Court
  4. Classification of government: oligarchy, autocracy, democracy
  5. Federalist vs. Antifederalist
  6. Preamble of the Constitution
  7. Capitalism, socialism, communism, and command economy
  8. Concurrent resolution and joint resolution
  9. How a bill becomes a law
  10. Adam Smith
  11. John Locke
  12. Karl Marx
  13. Electoral College: its flaws, proposed reforms
  14. Articles of Confederation and its weaknesses
  15. Structure of Congress
  16. Formal qualifications for representatives and senators, length of term and term limits
  17. Checks and Balances and examples
  18. Separation of Powers
  19. Politics
  20. Formal qualifications for presidency, term and limit
  21. Powers of Congress and President
  22. Direct democracy vs. Representative democracy
  23. Opinions of the Supreme Court: unanimous, concurring, dissenting, majority
  24. Cause and effect of the Intolerable Acts
  25. Magna Carta
  26. Amendment 1
  27. Amendment 2
  28. Amendment 3
  29. Amendment 4
  30. Amendment 5
  31. Amendment 6
  32. Amendment 7
  33. Amendment 8
  34. Amendment 9
  35. Amendment 10
  36. Amendment 14 and Due Process
  37. Slander vs. Libel
  38. Constituent
  39. Presidential succession
  40. Separate-but-equal doctrine
  41. Vice president and his duties
  42. Impeachment process
  43. Subpoena
  44. Political parties
  45. President’s judicial powers
  46. Line item veto
  47. Different forms of mass media
  48. Factors that influence political party selection
  49. Minor political parties
  50. Extradition
  51. Problems of the national government after the revolutionary war

Chapter 15, Section 1 & 4 Notes

June 25, 2014

Chapter 15: Gov’t at Work: The Bureaucracy
Section 1: The Federal Bureaucracy

A bureaucracy is a large, complex administrative structure that handles the everyday business of an organization.
Examples: Internal Revenue Service, FBI, Homeland Security.

Basically, bureaucracy is an efficient and an effective way to organize people to do work.

Three Features of a Bureaucracy
1. Hierarchical authority: a chain of command running from the top of the pyramid to the bottom.
The few officials and units at the top of the organization have authority over those officials and units at the larger middle level, who in turn direct the activities of the many at the bottom level.
Describe the hierarchical authority at this school.
Benefit: The hierarchy can speed action by reducing conflicts over who has the power to make decisions.
2. Job specialization. Each bureaucrat, or person who works for the organization, has certain defined duties and responsibilities. There is a precise division of labor within the organization.
Benefit: It promotes efficiency because each person in the organization is required to focus on one particular job.
3. Formalized rules. The bureaucracy does its work according to a set of established regulations and procedures.
Benefit: Workers can act with some speed and precision because decisions are based on a set of known standards, not on someone’s likes, dislikes, or inclinations.

Critical Thinking:
1. Why does a government need an administration?
The President and Congress need millions of men and women to put policies into action in Washington, D.C., and in offices all around the country.
2. What is the role of a staff agency?
They aid the chief executive and other administrators by offering advice and other assistance in the management of the organization. Their primary mission is to assist the President in the exercise of the executive power and in the overall management of the executive branch. They are not operating agencies. That is, they do not actually operate, or administer, public programs.
3. What is the role of a line agency?
Line agencies perform the tasks for which the organization exists. Congress and the President give the line agencies goals to meet.
4. Describe the system of naming of federal agencies.
The name department is reserved for agencies of Cabinet rank. Beyond the title of department, however, there is little standardized use of titles. Common titles used in the executive branch include agency, administration, commission, corporation, and authority.
The terms agency and administration are often used to refer to any governmental body. It is sometimes used to identify a major unit headed by a single administrator of near-cabinet status, such as the NASA and EPA.
The name commission is usually given to agencies charged with the regulation of business activities, such as the Federal Communications Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Either corporation or authority is the title most often given to those agencies that conduct business-like activities. Corporations and authorities are headed by a board and a manager. Examples include the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Chapter 15: Government at Work: The Bureaucracy
Section 3: The Executive Departments

Cornell Notes Discussion Questions:

1. How were the executive department created?
The First Congress created three of these departments in 1789: the Departments of State, Treasury, and War. Later on, Congress has also created and later combined or abolished some departments to meet the workload of the government.
2. What is the role of the secretary of an executive department?
Each department head is the primary link between presidential policy and his or her own department. Just as importantly, each of them also strives to promote and protect his or her department with the White House, with Congress and its committees, with the rest of the federal bureaucracy, and with the media and the public.
3. What are the factors that the president must consider in the cabinet member selection process?
Party affiliation
Role played in the recent presidential campaign
Professional qualifications and practical experience
Geography factors are used to achieve regional balance to the Cabinet. For instance, the secretary of agriculture usually comes from one of the farm States in the Midwest.
Various interest groups care about Cabinet appointments, and they influence some of the choices.
Gender and race, management abilities and experience, and other personal characteristics.
4. Why did President John Kennedy found Cabinet meetings to be “a waste of time?”
He saw no need to mix Defense Department matters with his secretaries of labor and agriculture.

5. Interpret this statement…
“The Constitution…contains no suggestion of a meeting all department heads, in consultation over general government matters. The cabinet is a mere creation of the President’s will…. It exists only by custom. If the President desired to dispense with it, he could do so.”
It means that the President can meet with the heads of the executive departments as often as he likes or not at all. When advice is given to the President, he does not always have to follow it.

Bill of Rights Notes

June 25, 2014

The first 10 amendments to the U. S. Constitution

Who determines what the Bill of Rights mean?
The Supreme Court makes rulings on the meaning
The Supreme Court balances the rights of the individual with the needs of society

The first amendment—5 rights mentioned
Freedom of Speech
Freedom of Religion
Freedom of the Press
Freedom of Assembly
Right to petition the government

Freedom of Religion
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise there of”
Two clauses:
Establishment clause
Free Exercise clause

Freedom of Religion means the government can…
Pay for busing to parochial schools
Provide nonreligious textbooks to parochial schools
Pay parochial schools to administer and grade tests
Allow parents to deduct (private) education related expenses from state income tax
Allow religious instruction during the school day away from public schools
Allow public high school students to hold religious group meetings at the school
Allow public officials to pray during meetings
Restrict religious practice if it conflicts with criminal laws, or laws that protect the health, safety, or morals of the community

The government can’t…
Interfere with the free exercise of religion (implies separation between Church and State)
Make laws respecting an establishment of religion ( can’t promote a religion)
Provide financial aid for instructional material such as film, projector, and lab equipment for religious purposes
Help to pay for parochial schools to develop testing programs
Create a public school district to solely benefit a particular religious community
Use tax-supported public facilities for religious purposes
Allow prayer and bible reading at public schools
Make teachers observe a moment of silence for prayer
Ban the teaching of evolution in public schools
Create laws to require the teaching of creation vs. evolution

Freedom of speech
“Congress shall make no laws . . . abridging the freedom of speech”

Free speech– The individual can:
Say any political belief
Protest (without getting out of control)
Say things about someone that are true
Burn the flag
Say racist and hate slogans
Free speech means someone might say something you disagree with

Free speech—limits on the person
Threaten to blow up airplanes, schools or the president
Sexual harassment
Create too much social chaos
Extremely crude language in a public form
Disrespectful, vulgar language in schools
Hate crimes

Freedom of the press
Congress shall make no law . . . abridging . . . the freedom of the press.”

Freedom of the press-the press
Print any political position
Make fun of people, especially politicians
Expose wrongs by the government
Say things you might not agree with


Libel– intentionally injuring a person’s reputation by false facts (in print)
Slander – Verbally say something about a person that is not true.
Disclose defense-security secrets
Detail how to make a certain weapons

Freedom of Assembly
Congress shall make no law . . . Abridging . . . The people to peaceably assemble”
Freedom of Assembly–Individual

Parade (with a permit)
Parade chanting hate slogans
Gang members can congregate in public

Protest by throwing rocks and breaking windows
Hang out on private land against owners will—loitering
Teen curfew

Petition the Government
“Congress shall make no law . . . Abridging . . . the people. . . to petition the government for a redress of grievances”
Petition the government
You may sue the government for wrongs
You cannot be punished for exposing wrongs by the government
The courts decide the wrongs

2nd Amendment—Right to bear arms
“A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed.”

What is the debate with the right to bear arms?
How much can the government keep guns from criminals and youth?
In order to keep guns away from criminals, does that limit the right of law abiding citizens?
Gun debate continued
Thousands of people die every year because of guns
Thousands of crimes are prevented because of guns

Third Amendment
The Government cannot force you to shelter soldiers in your home without your consent in time of war or peace.

Rights of the Accused Amendments #4-8
Important to preserve freedom

Fourth Amendment
What does a policeman need in order to search your home?
A warrant given to him by a judge
Probable cause is also needed

Fifth Amendment
You cannot be tried for the same crime twice—called “Double Jeopardy”
You do not have to testify against your self. “I plead the fifth”
You must have due process of law before you are convicted
The government cannot take your land unless it pays.

Sixth Amendment
Right to speedy trial by impartial jury—meaning not favoring either side
Sixth Amendment continued
You must be told of charges
You must be provided a lawyer if you cannot afford one

Seventh Amendment
Citizens have the right to demand a jury trial to settle disputes over things of value.

Eighth Amendment
No excessive bail
No cruel and unusual punishment
Bail and fines that are set by a court must be reasonable. Punishments for crimes cannot be cruel or unusual. Capital crime is punishable by death while infamous crime is punishable by jail term.

Ninth Amendment Rights Retained by the People
The government must respect all the rights of Americans, including rights that are not listed in the Constitution.
The government must respect all the rights of Americans, including rights that are not listed in the Constitution. So, even if the 4th Amendment didn’t enumerate an individual citizen’s right to privacy, or the 2nd Amendment didn’t protect the individual citizen’s right to keep and bear arms, THE NINTH AMENDMENT DOES.

Tenth Amendment , States’ Rights
The states, and the people, keep any powers that the Constitution does not specifically give to the federal government.

06/24/14 Homework and Notes

June 24, 2014

Copy and answer the following questions to review Chapter 12-14…
Page 348: Questions 17-23
Page 386: Questions 10-15, 21-22
Page 410: Questions 14-27

Chapter 13: The Presidency

Section 5: The Election

If you were 40 years old in the year of 2012, how many times could you have possibly voted directly for the president and vice president?

The answer is zero because individual voters can never vote directly vote for the president or vice president. Only the electoral college can do that.

Origins of the Electoral College

The Constitutional Convention considered several possible methods of selecting a president.

One idea was to have the Congress choose the president.
But such an arrangement would upset the balance of power between the legislative and executive branches of the federal government.

A second idea was to have the State legislatures select the president.
This idea could erode federal authority and thus undermine federalism.

A third idea was to have the president elected by a direct popular vote.
But the Framers feared that without sufficient information about candidates from outside their State, people would naturally vote for a “favorite son” from their own State or region.
At best, the most populous States would always decide the choice of president with little regard for the smaller ones.

The Presidential Election Process
1. Each political party chooses nominee for presidency during late summer conventions.
2. Voter cast ballot for president every four years on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. In reality, the voters are actually voting to decide how the electors in their state (Electoral College) will vote.
3. The party whose candidate receives the most popular votes in any state wins all electoral votes of that state even if the margin of victory is only one popular vote.
4. The presidential candidate must have at least 270 out of 538 electoral votes (the number of representatives and senators plus 3 for D.C.)
5. In December, the electors from the Electoral College cast their official vote for president and vice president. This occurs on Monday following the second Wednesday in December.
6. On January 6, both houses meet in the House of Representatives to open and count the ballots. Congress will officially declare the winner of the election.

Electoral College Issues
Winner takes all
It allows a candidate who loses the popular vote to win the electoral vote because a candidate can still get more electoral votes even after getting less popular votes.
Third-party candidates
A strong third-party candidate could win enough electoral votes to prevent either major-party candidate from receiving a majority of the votes unless his party bargains to release electoral votes to either major-party candidates.

Election by the House
Candidate needs 26 out of 50 states votes to win presidential election, all state has same weight. If representatives cannot agree on a candidate, the state loses its vote, if House favors the third-party, it would be hard to win.
The District Plan
One idea is to choose electors from congressional districts where each state will have two electoral votes and one vote for each congressional district candidate. Whoever won the most district votes would get the two electoral votes.
The Proportional Plan
Another plan is the presidential candidates would win the same share of a state’s electoral vote as the popular vote. It can cure the winner-take-all problem but it would make the election process more complicated.
Direct Popular Election
If the people directly elected the president and vice president, it would undermine federalism because the states would lose their role in choice of a president, and candidates would concentrate their efforts in large cities.
National Bonus Plan
Keep Electoral College System intact, but award 102 electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote.

538 + 102 = 640

321 Electoral Votes is needed to win the election.

Chapter 14: The Presidency in Action
Section 2: The President’s Executive Powers

Powers of the Executive Branch

A. Figure out whether each power is implied or expressed.
B. Describe what the President can do with each power.
C. Give an example of how the executive power works.

1. Executing the Law
A. Expressed
B. Uphold and carry out all federal laws, with some discretion in interpreting and enforcing them.
C. For example, immigration laws require that all immigrants seeking permanent admission to this country must be able to “read and understand some dialect or language.” But U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security enforce the law.

2. The Ordinance Power
A. Implied
B. Direct the administration of the executive branch; issue orders and delegates responsibility within the bureaucracy.
C. 2.7 million men and women who staff the executive agencies are subject to the President’s control and direction.

3. The Appointment Power
A. Expressed
B. Appoint some officials on his own authority and appoint other officials with Senate’s approval.
C. With Senate consent, the President names most of the top-ranking officers of the Federal Government. Among them are:
Ambassadors and other diplomats;
Cabinet members and their top aides;
Heads of such independent agencies as the EPA
All federal judges, U.S. marshals, and attorneys;
All officers in the armed forces.

4. The Removal Power
A. Implied
B. Remove any person that he has appointed except for federal judges; Congress may set limit on the President’s power to remove the heads of independent agencies that are not purely executive agencies.
C. Even with the opposition of Congress, President Andrew Johnson removed Edwin M. Stanton as the Secretary of War in 1867.

Chapter 14: The Presidency in Action
Section 3: Diplomatic and Military Powers

Treaty Power
A treaty is negotiated by the President through the secretary of state.
The Senate must give its approval, by a two-thirds vote of the members present.
The Senate does not ratify treaties. Instead, the President ratifies it by the exchange of formal notifications with the other party or parties to the agreement.
An existing law may be repealed by the terms of a treaty.
Executive Agreement
An executive agreement is a pact between the President and the head of a foreign state.
It does not require Senate’s consent.
Most come from of legislation already passed by Congress or out of treaties to which the Senate has agreed.
The President can make them without any congressional action.

Critical Thinking

1. Provide examples of this statement: The President’s power of recognition can be used positively or negatively.
Positively: President Truman’s recognition of Israel, within hours of its creation in 1948, helped that new state to survive among its hostile Arab neighbors.
Negatively: The President may show American displeasure with the conduct of another country by asking for the recall of that nation’s ambassador or other diplomatic representatives in this country.
2. Why does the U.S. need to recognize China diplomatically even though it has abused human rights?
Because China is our country’s biggest trading partner and it has a great impact on our economy.
3. Under what circumstances might the President declare a country’s diplomat to be persona non grata?
The withdrawal of recognition is the sharpest diplomatic reprimand or disapproval one government may give to another and has often been a step on the way to war.
4. Which of the President’s powers is almost unlimited? Why?
As commander-in-chief, the president’s power is almost unlimited because he has control over the military without needing any congressional approval.
5. How has the Congress limited the president’s military powers?
Congress passed the War Powers Resolution of 1973.
The resolution’s central provisions require that:
(1) Within 48 hours after committing American forces to combat abroad, the President must report to Congress, detailing the circumstances and the scope of his actions.
(2) A commitment of American forces to combat must end within 60 days, unless Congress agrees to a longer period. That 60-day deadline may be extended for up to 30 days, however, to allow for the safe withdrawal of the American forces involved.
(3) Congress may end the combat commitment at any time, by passing a concurrent resolution to that effect.
6. Interpret the following statement: “The purse and the sword must never be in the same hands.”
If the president controlled the budget (purse), his power would be hard to check if combined with his power over the military (sword). Congress can limit his executive power by controlling the military budget.

Chapter 14: The Presidency in Action
Section 4: Legislative and Judicial Power

Critical Thinking

1. What are the president’s two major legislative powers?
Message power-The president may recommend legislation through his speeches and annual Economic Report.
Veto Power-The president may also veto a specific bill, which Congress can override with a two-thirds majority of the number of members present in both the Senate and the House when the override vote is taken.
2. What are the three messages that the president sends to the Congress annually?
State of the Union message, a speech he almost always delivers in person to a joint session of Congress.
Budget message and the annual Economic Report.
The President often sends the lawmakers a number of other messages that calls on Congress to enact those laws he thinks to be necessary to the welfare of the country.
3. What is a line-item veto? Why has the Supreme Court ruled against it?
It is the power reserved for the president to cancel specific dollar amounts (line items) in spending bills enacted by Congress.
The Court ruled that Congress lacked the authority to give the President a line-item veto by statute and that power can only be given to the president by an amendment to the Constitution.
4. Why do some people support line-item veto?
They claim that it is a potent weapon against wasteful and unnecessary federal spending.
5. Why is threat of a veto often enough to prompt changes in a bill?
Because Congress has rarely been able to achieve the two-thirds majority needed to overturn a presidential veto in the past.
6. List and explain the judicial powers of the president.
Reprieve-a postponement of the execution of a sentence imposed by a court.
Clemency-the lessening of the penalty of the crime without forgiving the crime itself. The act of clemency is also a form of reprieve.
Amnesty-the forgiveness of a group of law violators.
Commutation-to reduce the length of a sentence or fine imposed by a court.
Pardon-the forgiveness of a crime and the penalty associated with it.

06/23/14 Homework and Notes

June 23, 2014

Copy and answer questions 1-14 and 18-27 on page 316 to review Chapter 11.

Chapter 12: Congress in Action
Section 4: The Bill in the Senate

Bills must be introduced in the Senate by senators. It gets assigned a number and a short title, read twice and then finally referred to a committee.

The Senate’s debate uses a style where all the Senators can argue for an unrestrained amount of time.
This style opens the debate to a filibuster, which is a stalling method to delay and prevent senate action.

The Senate has grown tired of these intentional prolonging of debates that they created a rule, which limits the time that the person can talk in a debate, called the cloture rule.

The cloture rule is enacted when it has received three-fifths of the Senators approval.

Whenever the bill is passed through Senate and also the House, the bill will be passed on to the Conference Committee.

This committee is basically a group of people who takes both versions from the house and the senate. It irons out the differences so that the bill is an agreeable copy for both.

Finally, the President may…
The President signs the bill, it becomes law.
Veto, which is to override the decision by refusing to put his signature on the bill.
Congress, however, may choose to override “that” veto with a two-thirds vote from both houses (This is how the Congress can defeat the President’s veto).
If the president does not act on the bill, it becomes a law after 10 days.
There is another type of veto which is called the pocket veto. This happens if the President ignores the bill that has been submitted within ten days before the adjournment of Congress, the measure dies.

Chapter 13: The Presidency

Section 1: The President’s Job Description

Official duties of the President
Commander in Chief of the military
Chief of State – acts as the ceremonial leader of the government.
Chief Executive – appoints heads of executive department, federal court judges, and other officials.
Chief Diplomat – makes treaties with the advice of the Senate and meets with head of states and host foreign officials.
Chief Administrator – executes and enforces the laws
Chief Legislator – proposes new policies
Chief of (own) Political Party
Chief Citizen – represents public interests against various competing private interests.

Term Limit
A president can serve 2 terms maximum with 4 years in each term. But the maximum amount of time is 10 years because if a VP takes over the presidency, he can serve 2 years or less plus additional two terms.

Benefits and salary of the President

The president’s salary is $400,000 per year plus…
$50000 for expenses
$100000 for travel allowances
Lifetime pension of $148,000 per year
Free office space and $96,000 per year for office help.
Reside in the White House with tennis court, jogging track, gym, bowling alley, and a movie theater.
Use of air Force One for travel.
The medical insurance and other fringe benefits.

Constitutional Requirements
Natural born citizen
At least 35 years old
Lived in the U.S. for at least 14 years.

Additional Unwritten but Necessary Requirements
Previous experience in government. Many presidents served as senator or governor prior to entering the White House.
Have money for campaign purposes.
College educated
Have the support of a major political party

Some people have called for the repeal of the 22nd Amendment because…
They argue that the two-term rule is undemocratic because it places an arbitrary limit on the right of the people to decide who should be President.
Some critics also say that the amendment undercuts the authority of a two-term President, especially in the latter part of his second term.

06/19/14 Homework and Notes

June 19, 2014

Copy and answer questions 1-20 from page 286 to review Chapter 10.

Chapter 11: The Powers of Congress
Section 2: The Expressed Powers of Money and Commerce

1. What are the purposes of taxes?
A tax is a charge levied by government on persons or property to raise money to meet public needs.
Congress does sometimes impose taxes for other purposes as well. The protective tariff is perhaps the oldest example of this point. Although it does bring in some revenue every year, its real goal is to “protect” domestic industry against foreign competition by increasing the cost of foreign goods.
Taxes are also sometimes levied to protect the public health and safety. The Federal Government’s regulation of narcotics is a case in point. Only those who have a proper federal license can legally manufacture, sell, or deal in those drugs—and licensing is a form of taxation.

2. Summarize the limitations that the Constitution has placed on the taxation power of Congress.

(1) Congress may tax only for public purposes, not for private benefit. Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 says that taxes may be levied only “to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States….”
(2) Congress may not tax exports. Article I, Section 9, Clause 5 declares “[n]o Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State.” Thus, customs duties (tariffs), which are taxes, can be levied only on goods brought into the country (imports), not on those sent abroad (exports).
(3) Direct taxes must be apportioned among the States, according to their populations:
(4) Article I, Section 8, Clause 1 provides that “all Duties, Imposts and Excises, shall be uniform throughout the United States.” That is, all indirect taxes levied by the Federal Government must be levied at the same rate in every part of the country. These include the federal taxes on gasoline, alcoholic beverages and tobacco products.

3. Give examples for direct tax and indirect tax.
A direct tax is one that must be paid directly to the government by the person on whom it is imposed—for example, a tax on the ownership of land or buildings, or a capitation (head or poll) tax.
An income tax is a direct tax, but it may be laid without regard to population.

As a general rule an indirect tax is one first paid by one person but then passed on to another. It is indirectly paid by that second person. Take, for example, the federal tax on cigarettes. It is paid to the Treasury by the tobacco company, but is then passed on through the wholesaler and retailer to the person who finally buys the cigarettes.

4. How is public debt related to deficit spending?
For decades, the Federal Government has practiced deficit financing. That is, it regularly spends more than it takes in each year—and borrows to make up the difference.

As a result, the public debt rose year to year—to more than $5.5 trillion at the beginning of fiscal year 1999. The public debt is all of the money borrowed by the government over the years and not yet repaid, plus the accumulated interest on that money. The federal debt now (2005) exceeds $7.5 trillion.

5. What are the three major factors that are contributing for the increasing budget deficit since 2001?
(1) a sharp downturn in the nation’s economy that began in late 2000,
(2) major tax cuts pushed by President Bush and enacted by Congress in 2001, 2002, and 2003,
(3) the onset of the global war on terrorism in 2001 and the ongoing conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. The shortfall topped a record $413 billion in 2004 and it will certainly exceed that stupendous sum in 2005.

6. What is the significance of the Gibbons v. Ogden case?
The Court’s ruling was widely popular at the time because it dealt a death blow to steamboat monopolies. It rejected Ogden’s argument that “commerce” should be defined narrowly, as simply “traffic” or the mere buying and selling of goods. Instead, it read the Commerce Clause in very broad terms:
“Commerce undoubtedly is traffic, but it is something more—it is intercourse. It describes the commercial intercourse between nations, and parts of nations, in all its branches, and is regulated by prescribing rules for carrying on that intercourse.”
—Chief Justice John Marshall

7. Give three examples of how Congress uses its Commerce Power.
Regulating commerce with foreign powers and between states.
Establish the federal minimum wage.
Preventing monopolies from forming.
Prohibit discrimination to public places.

8. What are the limits of congressional commerce power?
In more specific terms, the Constitution places four explicit limits on the use of the commerce power. Congress
(1) cannot tax exports, Article I, Section 9, Clause 5;
(2) cannot favor the ports of one State over those of any other in the regulation of trade, Article I, Section 9, Clause 6;
(3) cannot require that “Vessels bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear or pay Duties in another,” Article I, Section 9, Clause 6; and, finally,
(4) could not interfere with the slave trade, at least not until the year 1808, Article I, Section 9, Clause 1. This last limitation, part of the curious slave-trade compromise at the Constitutional Convention, has been a dead letter for nearly two centuries now.

9. Why did the nation need a uniform system of “hard money” that can be used a legal tender?
So it can provide the nation with a uniform, stable monetary system that will be universally accepted by everyone in the country.

10. What is the purpose of a bankruptcy filing? Who has the power to regulate bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is the legal proceeding in which the bankrupt’s assets—however much or little they may be—are distributed among those to whom a debt is owed. That proceeding frees the bankrupt from legal responsibility for debts acquired before bankruptcy.

The States and the National Government have concurrent power to regulate bankruptcy. Today federal bankruptcy law is so broad that it all but excludes the States from the field. Nearly all bankruptcy cases are heard now in federal district courts.

Chapter 10 Notes

June 19, 2014

Chapter 10: Congress

Section 1: The National Legislature

The U.S. Congress is a bicameral legislature (two chambers).
The upper chamber: Senate
The lower chamber: The House of Representatives.

1. Historical-The British Parliament had consisted of two houses since the 1300s.
2. Practical-The Framers had to create a two-chambered body to settle the conflict between the Virginia and the New Jersey Plans at Philadelphia in 1787.
3. Theoretical – The Framers favored a bicameral Congress in order that one house might act as a check on the other.

Term of the Congress
Starts on January 3rd of odd numbered years and lasts for 2 years.
Each term is divided into two sessions.
The duration of each session is one year, usually from January to November or December.
The constitution had originally specified that for every 30,000 persons, there would be one representative in the House.
But with the limit of 435 representatives by the Reapportionment Act, now each representative represents about 588,000 people.

There are seven states that only have one Representative in the House (Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, Vermont, South Dakota, Alaska, andWyoming). California has 53, making about 12% of the House from California.
What is a “Constituent”?
You are a constituent. Who represents you in the House and the Senate is determined by where you live. The people that a Congressman/woman or a Senator are elected to represent are called their constituents, or their “constituency.”
How much do Representatives and Senators get paid?
The current salary is $155,100. The only exceptions are the Speaker, who makes over $194,000 and the Majority and Minority Leaders who make approximately $167,000.
The average annual salary in the Washington, D.C. area is $49,420 (2002). The average salary of a CEO in Washington, D.C. is $98,030 (2002).

Critical Thinking:

1. What is most important function that is performed by Congress?
Initiate and approve new laws.
2. What is the relationship between congressional terms and sessions?
There are two years in one term, but each term is divided into two sessions.
For 2006, Congress is in its 109th term, 2nd session.
For 2009, Congress is in its 111th term, 1st session.
3. Why would some describe the Senate as undemocratic?
Because the Senate is the only legislative body in the United States that is not built on the principle of representation according to population.
Most senators represent constituencies that are more white, rural, and conservative than would be the case if seats were allocated by general population.
Many of the chamber’s most powerful members regularly come from the smaller States.
4. What special powers does the president have regarding the sessions in Congress?
Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution does give the President the power to prorogue—end, discontinue—a session, but only when the two houses cannot agree on a date for adjournment. No President has ever had to use that power.
The President may call Congress into special session—a meeting to deal with some emergency situation.

Chapter 10: Congress
Section 2: The House of Representatives

Topic Summaries
Topic: Size and Term/Reapportionment
The House of Representatives has 435 members; each member serves a two year term. The number of seats of the House of Representatives is distributed, apportioned, depending on the population of the state. Each state has to have one representative. There is no Constitutional limit to how many terms a member can serve. According to Article I of the Constitution, Congress is to reapportion, or redistribute, the seats of the House every ten years. After the 1910 census, the seats in the House of Representatives hit the number of 435. In order to clarify the reapportion process, Congress passed the Reapportionment Act of 1929, which states the permanent size of the House is 435 seats, census bureau is to determine how many seats is to have, the President send the Bureau’s plan to Congress, and if the House does not reject the plan within 60 days, it becomes effective.

Topic: Congressional Elections / Date / Off-Year Elections / Districts

Congressional elections are held on the same day in every state. Since 1872 Congress has required that those elections be held on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November. Off- year elections are congressional elections that occur in the nonpresidential years. There are 428 congressional districts within the other 43 states. Most States quickly set up single- member districts. Several States used the general tickets system, however. Under that arrangement, all of the States seats were filled at- large- that is, elected from the State as a whole, rather than from a particular district. In 1842 law made each State legislature responsible for drawing any congressional districts within its own State. It also required that each congressional district be made up of “contiguous territory,” meaning that it must be all one piece. In 1901 it further directed that all the districts be of “compact territory”- a comparatively small area.

Topic: Gerrymandering / Wesberry v. Sanders, 1964
Gerrymandering is basically shaping the district lines for the advantage of one group. It is widespread throughout the nation today in two forms. First, it is to relocate a group of opposition into a few districts. This would make the opposition have no control over the other districts and allowing the dominant party to be safe in those districts. Secondly, gerrymandering occurs when the opposition is distributed throughout all the districts so the opposition is weak. The case of Wesberry v. Sanders is about Georgia gerrymandering so much that it became unconstitutional. This decision reinforced the ideology of “one man one vote”. Gerrymandering based on race is in violation of the 15th Amendment. The decision of Bush v Vera in 1996 ruled these “majority and minority” districts to be unconstitutional and that race cannot be used to draw district lines in order to send more African Americans or Latinos to Congress.

Topic: Qualifications for House members; Formal/Informal Qualifications
There are two types of qualifications for house members. They are formal and informal qualifications. For a formal qualification, the constitution says that a member of the house must be at least 25 years of age, must have been a citizen of the united states for at least seven years, and must be a inhabitant of the state from which he or she is elected. The house may refuse to seat a member elect by majority vote. it may also punish its members for disorderly behavior by majority vote, and with the concurrence of two thirds, expel a member. Only a few members have resigned to avoid certain expulsion.
The other type of qualification is informal qualification. They include the candidate’s vote-getting abilities, which are such factors as party identification, name familiarity, gender, ethnicity, and political experience.

Chapter 10: Congress

Section 3: The Senate

1. How many Senators are in the Senate?
2. What is the length of a term in the Senate?
6 Years
3. What is the effect of the 17th Amendment on the Senate?
It allowed the voters to pick their Senators.
4. What is the limit on the number of terms that a Senator may serve?
There is no limit.
5. Why is the Senate called a “continuous body”?
It is because that all the seats in the Senate are never up for election at the same time.
6. Why did the framers of the Constitution give senators six-year terms?
They hoped the longer terms would make senators less reactive to popular sentiment. Many of the framers thought that the House, with shorter terms, would be too often swayed by the immediate impact of events.
7. What senator was elected to the most terms?
Strom Thurmond of South Carolina. He was elected nine times.
8. According to the Constitution, what two requirements are different for a senator than for a member of the House?
A senator must be 30, not 25. A senator must have been a U.S. citizen for nine years, not seven.
9. What is the effect of the difference in constituencies between senators and House members?

Senators focus on the “big picture” nationally. They are less interested in the concerns of a small locality and more focused on the national picture.

10. The Constitution said that __________ would choose senators.
State legislatures


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