A2 Edexcel Government & Politics Unit 4 examples and case studies


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A2 Edexcel Government & Politics Unit 4 examples and case studies

  1. 1. A2 Government & Politics Examples Unit 4 Topic Example Constitution  Checks & Balances o Checks on Executive  By Congress  Amend/ delay/ reject legislation Senate Rejected Obama Job Bill  Override Presidential Veto 2008 Congress overturned Bush’s veto of Medicare  Power of purse budget limitations and using the power of the purse to show the Congressional opposition to the Iraq War  Declare War Last format declaration was during WW2  Ratify treaties (Senate) Never signed or advised of the Treaty of Versailles  Confirm Appointments (Senate) Elena Kagan is the 112th SCJ nominated in 2010  Investigation Watergate Scandal under Nixon  Impeachment Bill Clinton was Impeached in 1998  By Judiciary  Judicial Review InYoungstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer SC struck down Truman’s Executive Order to nationalize steel mills as unconstitutional o Checks on Judiciary  By Congress  Impeachment, trial conviction and removal from office Samuel Chase was impeached in 1801 as he was letting his partisan learning’s affected his decisions  Propose Constitutional Amendments 27 Amendments, with most recent being 1971, where they lowered the voting age to 18.  By Executive  Appointment of Justices Obama has appointed Sotomayor and Kagan  Pardon o Checks on Legislature  By Executive  Recommend Legislation Obamacare  Veto Legislation Obama Vetoed H.J.Res. 64 in 2009, Making further continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2010  By Judiciary  Judicial Review Marbury vs. Madison 1803 was the first Supreme Court decision to strike down an act of Congress as unconstitutional  Federalism o Types  Dual Federalism – 1780 – 1920 – Clear divisions between the powers of the federal and state governments  Cooperative Federalism – 1920 – 1970 – after FDRs New Deal & LBJs Great Society saw an increase in the federal powers of the states  New Federalism – 1970 – Bush – Trying to reverse the role of the states’ rights and give power back to the states (states rights) o Obama  The Obama White House is clearly focused on domestic policy as a way of delivering his 'change' agenda.. Thus the following trends in federalism have so far been seen during the Obama presidency:  The ratio of state and local government employees to federal employees is the highest since before Roosevelt's New Deal in the 1930s  Federal government assistance to the states increased from 3.7% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2008 to 4.6% of GDP in 2009.  Money from the federal government accounted for 30% of state government spending in 2009 compared with 25% in 2008.  Of the $787billion of the Economic Stimulus Package 2009, one-third ($246billion) went to or through the state governments. (Under Bush's 2003 stimulus package, just $20billion went to the states).  In Policies like Obamacare he is provided money for states to pursue his policies, however they may accept or reject that money. As seen in Indiana when the Governor accepted money to extend healthcare.
  2. 2. Congress  Powers of Congress Nature of Powers House Senate Exclusive Powers Initiate Money Bills Impeachment Elect President if Electoral College Fails  Confirm Appointments  Ratify Treaties  Try cases of Impeachment  Elect VP if Electoral College Fails Concurrent Powers Pass Legislation Override Presidential Veto Initiate Constitutional Amendments Declare War Confrim a VP  Nominations o Senate laws changed in 2013 to prevent the use of the filibuster to all Presidential appointments, except for Supreme Court Justices.  Filibustering o The rules permit a senator, or a series of senators, to speak for as long as they wish and on any topic they choose, unless "three-fifths of the Senators duly chosen and sworn" (usually 60 out of 100 senators) brings debate to a close by invoking cloture under Senate Rule XXII. o 168 nominations have been filibustered. With 82 being under Obama. o On December 6, 2012, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Minority Leader, became the first senator to filibuster his own proposal. McConnell had attempted to force the opposition Democrats, who had a majority in the Senate, to refuse to pass what would have been a politically costly measure, but one that would nonetheless solve the current ongoing debt ceiling deadlock.  Members o Senate  53 Democrats, 2 Independents, 45 Republicans  Ted Kennedy, guy who died in 111th Congress losing 60-40 Democrat Majority o House  233, Republicans, 199 Democrats, 3 Vacancies o Hal Roger  Republican from Kentucky 5th  Chairman of House Appropriations Committee (responsible for setting specific expenditures of money by the government of the United States)  Never Spent more than $1.5m, less than average, as has had no real challeneger  Committees o Examples  House Homeland Security Committee which assesses the dangerous threats to the nation’s borders  Senate Judiciary Committee which investigates the rise of Super PACs  Elastic Clause “The Congress shall have Power ... To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.”  Law Making o 112th Congress 10,417 bills introduced, yet only 238(2.3%) laws passed o In 2013 only 57 Bills were enacted o 113th Congress 13 bills were to repeal Obamacare  Mann Ornstein – The Broken Branch o The Broken Branch details how dysfunctional congress is. They highlight the dramatic shift in Congress from a highly decentralized, committee-based institution into a much more regimented one in which party increasingly trumps committee. The resultant changes in the policy process--the demise of regular order, the decline of deliberation, and the weakening of our system of checks and balances--have all compromised the role of Congress in the American Constitutional system. From tax cuts to the war against Saddam Hussein to a Medicare prescription drug benefit, the Legislative process has been bent to serve immediate presidential interests and have often resulted in poorly crafted and stealthily passed laws. Strong majority leadership in Congress, the authors conclude, led not to a vigorous exertion of congressional authority but to a general passivity in the face of executive power
  3. 3. President  Presidential Powers o Propose Legislation President Obama used his 2010 State of the Union Address to promote help for small businesses, financial reform and his healthcare reform. o Submit Annual Budget The budget is drawn up by the OMB and then the president submits it to Congress. Between 2011 – 13 no federal budget passed, however was passed in 2014 after government shutdown o Sign Legislation The president has the power to sign bills into law, however if not signed after 14 days will be passed automatically. George W Bush used signing statements on areas of a bill he agreed and other parts he didn’t. George W. Bush's 130 signing statements contain at least 1,100 challenges o Veto Legislation Obama has used 2 vetoes. Bill Clinton had the Line-Item veto for 2 years until it was declared unconstitutional. He used it 82 times on the federal budget o Chief Executive “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America” Article 2 US constitution o Nominate Executive Branch Officials the President gets to appoint his heads of the 15 executive departments. John Kerry as Secretary of State in 2012 o Nominate all Federal Justices Obama has nominated 2 SCJs but he also has to nominate other federal justices. o Act as Commander in Chief “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States” Article 2 Section 2, o Negotiate Treaties The Senate has rejected 7 treaties, Pardon Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon after the Watergate Scandal, Head of State  Imperial Presidency o Arthur J. Schlesinger wrote the Imperial Presidency out of two concerns; first that the U.S. Presidency was out of control and second that the Presidency had exceeded the Constitutional limits. A presidency becomes imperial when it relies on powers beyond those allowed by the Constitution. The Constitution established three separate branches of government not for efficiency but to avoid the arbitrary exercise of power. Supreme Court Constructionism o Loose  Loose construction is a legal term. This means a broader or loose interpretation of a legal document or a constitution. For instance, with a loose construction, government could do things which are not strictly mentioned in the constitution but are extension of the existing liberties. o Strict  Strict construction requires a judge to apply the text only as it is spoken. Once the court has a clear meaning of the text, no further investigation is required. Judges - in this view - should avoid drawing inferences from a statute or constitution and focus only on the text itself Activism/Restraint o Activism  A philosophy of judicial decision-making whereby judges allow their personal views about public policy, among other factors, to guide their decisions This was seen in Brown, Roe, Citizens United & the Warren & Roberts Courts. o Restraint  It is a legal term that describes a type of judicial interpretation that emphasizes the limited nature of the court's power. Judicial restraint asks judges to base their judicial decisions solely on the concept of stare decisis, which refers to an obligation of the court to honor previous decisions. This was seen in Dred Scott & the Rehnquist & Burger courts. Justices o John Roberts (Chief Justice), Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy SWING, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan Rejection o John Bork 1987 with many thinking him too conservative o Harriet Miers 2005 withdrew her nomination after senate saying they would reject her as she had no experience o Debo P. Adegbile 2014 nomination rejected to be Assistant Attorney General due to his previous work as a civil rights lawyer getting a police murderer off death row. Checks on power o No power of initiation, all cases must be brought before it as it is an appellate court o Does not have enforcement powers. As seen with Brown until Little Rock o Overturn Previous rulings SC court Cases - 23% of Roberts court Cases are 5-4 decisions