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Freedom of religion (establishment & free
exercise clauses), speech, press, assembly, and
2. 2nd
Right to arm bears. Supported by National Rifle
Association interest group & Republican Party.
3. 4th
No "unreasonable" searches and seizures.
Exclusionary rule (Weeks v. US, Mapp v. Ohio)
4. 5th
(1) No Self-Incrimination (Miranda)
(2) No Double Jeopardy (defendant cannot be
tried again on the same, or similar charges)
(3) No deprivation of life liberty or property
without "due process of law" (fair treatment)
5. 6th
The right to counsel in criminal trials. Gideon
v. Wainwright held that states must provide
indigent defendants with a free lawyer ("public
defender"). Right to jury in criminal trials.
6. 7th
Right to jury in civil trials.
7. 8th
Government cannot inflict cruel and unusual
punishment. Meaning of "cruel" based on
"evolving standards of decency that mark the
progress of a maturing society." Categorical
bans on death penalty: juveniles, retarded,
non-murder crimes...
8. 9th
Unenumerated Rights Amendment. Citizens
have unenumerated rights in addition to those
stated in the Constitution. Not been developed
by Supreme Court (too open ended)
9. 10th
Powers not expressly given to federal
government by the Constitution are reserved to
states or the people. Also known as "reserved
powers amendment" or "states' rights
10. 13th
Abolished slavery. First of three
"Reconstruction Amendments" passed after
Civil War (1865-70)
11. 14th
(1) All persons born in the U.S. are citizens; (2)
no person can be deprived of life, liberty or
property without DUE PROCESS OF LAW; (3)
no state can deprive a person of EQUAL
PROTECTION of the laws. Second of three
"Reconstruction Amendments" passed after
Civil War.
12. 15th
States cannot deny any person the right to vote
because of race. Third of three "Reconstruction
Amendments" passed after Civil War. First
Voting Rights Amendment (with 19, 24 & 26)
13. 16th
Power of Congress to tax income
14. 17th
Established the direct election of senators
(instead of being chosen by state legislatures)
15. 19th
States cannot deny the right to vote based
on gender
16. 22nd
Limits the president to two terms.
17. 23rd
Gives Washington DC electoral college
votes as if it were a state (DC still has no
representation in Congress)
18. 24th
Abolishes poll taxes
19. 26th
States cannot deny the right to vote based
on age (18+)
20. 527
An independent organization set up to
influence the outcome of an election; can
receive unlimited "soft money" donations
but cannot directly advocate for a particular
candidate or have any connection to a
candidate. Rendered obsolete by Citizens
21. 1968 DNC Democratic party leaders (superdelegates)
secure nomination of VP Hubert Humphrey
even though he did not compete in any state
primaries. Controversy led to the Fraser-
McGovern Commission and related
22. Administrative
The ability of an agency to determine how it
will execute (carry out) laws. Major source
of independent power for agencies. (Ex. The
FDA decides how to determine safety of
food & drugs, the U.S. Attorneys decide
whether or not to prosecute suspects)
23. Affirmative
Government or business policies favoring a
historically disadvantaged minority group
(university admissions, hiring decisions);
raises 14th Amendment equal protection
problems (reverse discrimination); limited
by Bakke v. University of California (race
can be "plus factor" in admissions but no
racial quota system)
24. Agents of
Family (most important); TV/media
(growing in importance); friends/peers;
school (formal socialization). How we
develop (absorb) opinions & beliefs.
25. American
Party System
2 main parties (because of electoral rules)
with other smaller and less powerful third
parties (spoiler, splinter, extremist)
26. American
A set of basic, foundational values and
beliefs about government that is shared by
most citizens. Key elements: democracy,
equality before the law, limited government,
capitalism & private property
Study online at quizlet.com/_6uls9
27. Americans
Disabilities Act
Major anti-discrimination law for
disabled; requires access (ramps, braille,
etc.); unfunded mandate
28. Amicus Curiae
Literally, a "friend of the court" brief, filed
by an individual or interest group to
present arguments / points of view in
addition to those presented by the
immediate parties to a case (lobbying).
Solicitor General files Amicus Briefs for
U.S. government.
29. Anarchism Belief in the abolition of all government
(maybe through violent means)
30. Anti-
A group who opposed the ratification of the
Constitution in 1787. They opposed a
strong central government (tyranny) and
supported states' rights. "I smell a rat!"
31. Appellant The losing party in a court case who
appeals the case to an appellate court.
32. Appellate
The jurisdiction of courts to hear appeals
from lower trial or appellate courts.
Appellate courts determine whether cases
were decided correctly by the court below.
Circuit courts have mandatory AJ (they
have to hear appeals from District Courts).
Supreme Court has discretionary AK (they
can choose to hear appeals from Circuit
Courts and State Supreme Courts).
33. Appellee The party opposing an appeal from a lower
court to an appellate court.
34. Appointment
The power of the President & Senate to
appoint important government officers
(federal judges, agency directors, etc.).
President nominates candidate, which
then must by confirmed by simple majority
in the Senate (check on President's power).
Subject to senatorial courtesy rule for local
appointments (district judges)
35. Appropriations
Decide how to spend money allocated to
each spending category by Budget
Resolution; 12 subcommittees for major
areas of budget (ex. defense, energy,
agriculture); major source of earmarking
36. Articles of
Set up the 1st independent American
government (1783-88). Nonbinding
"league of friendship" among sovereign
states with weak central government to
help with common defense & cooperation
(like the European Union). Replaced by our
current constitution in 1788.
37. Attack Ad Negative ad attacking opposing candidate
(ex., swift boat veterans, willie horton);
proliferating with independent SuperPAC
spending (you ain't seen nothin' yet!)
38. Attorney
Head of the Justice Department and the chief
law enforcement officer of the United States
39. Baker v.
Equal protection clause requires "one man, one
vote" principle for redistricting (legislative
districts must be roughly equal in population)
40. Bandwagon
"Copy-cat" behavior. People often do things just
because other people do them. In primary
elections, it is when people support the
candidate everyone else seems to be supporting
(poll leaders). Leads to Primary Frontloading
(states want to have the most impact in the
primary process)
41. Bill of
Laws that punish individuals or groups without
a trial. These laws are always unconstitutional.
42. Bill of
First ten amendments to the Constitution;
major source of civil liberties; applies to states
via selective incorporation doctrine; promised to
Anti-Federalists to secure ratification of
43. Bipartisan
Reform Act
Banned soft money donations to political
parties (loophole from FECA); also imposed
restrictions on 527 independent expenditures
(issue ads only, not direct advocacy for a
candidate). Declared unconstitutional by
Citizens United case. Also known as McCain-
Feingold Act.
44. Blanket
Anyone can vote in any party primaries (like
open primary) but voters not limited to one party
(can vote for example in Democratic
presidential primary and Republican senate
primary). Least amount of party control over
process.Declared unconstitutional (violates
party's freedom to associate)
45. Block
Grants ($) given to the states by the federal
government for a general purpose (like
education or road-building). Unlike categorical
grants, states have discretion to decide how to
spend the money. Example = Temporary
Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) (States
develop and implement welfare programs using
federal money).
46. Brown v.
Board of
Overrules Plessy v. Ferguson (no stare decisis).
Racial segregation violates 14th Amendment
Equal Protection Clause ("separate is inherently
47. Buckley v
1974 campaign finance case declared some
federal limits on campaign contributions in
FECA violated First Amendment (ex. maximum
spending limit and limits on candidates'
spending their own money).
48. Budget
House & Senate standing committees that
begins budget process in Congress by setting
overall budget size and amounts that will be
spent on different topics (ex. defense,
49. Bully Pulpit The Presidency is a "bully pulpit" - a good
position from which to inspire Congress & the
nation, with the help of the media, to follow
his political agenda. Example = FDR's fireside
chats, Obama's televised State of the Union
50. Bush v. Gore 5-4 Supreme Court declared that Florida vote
recount violated equal protection clause (some
votes would be examined more closely than
others); ended Gore's challenge to 2000
election results. Power of judicial review
(effectively decided 2000 election).
51. The Cabinet Group of important advisors to the President
(Heads of Department agencies, VP and other
VIPs chosen by president). Created by
Washington, example of an informal
amendment to the Constitution based on
custom / tradition.
52. Cabinet
The fifteen largest and most influential
agencies of the federal bureaucracy (e.g.,
Department of State, Treasury, Justice...)
Headed by Secretary or Attorney General
(Department of Justice)
53. Campaign
Mobilize party base (ideologues)
Focus on key interest groups (group benefit
Focus on candidate's personality / experience
(image voters)
Spin the last four years (retrospective / nature-
of-the-times voters)
54. Case or
Rule of judicial self restraint to limit power of
judicial review; the Court will only consider
real controversies including real, adverse
parties (no advisory opinions)
55. Casework Assistance given to individual constituents by
congressional members, like helping an
elderly person figure out how to get Medicare
benefits. Major incumbency advantage.
56. Categorical
A grant ($) given to the states by the federal
government for a specific purpose or program.
The federal government tells the states exactly
how to spend the money (no state discretion
unlike block grants). Example = Medicaid.
Most common type of federal grant because it
gives Congress the most control over the
57. Chaplinsky v
1942 case establishing "fighting words"
category of unprotected speech.
58. Checks and
A major principle of the American system of
government. Helps maintain separation of
powers so that no one branch gets too
powerful. Explained in Federalist 51.
Examples: President vetos laws; Senate
confirms appointments & treaties; Congress
impeaches president & judges...
59. Chief Justice
Earl Warren
Chief Justice from 1953-1969; led activist
liberal court; known for cases expanding
rights of criminal defendants (Mapp v Ohio,
Gideon v Wainwright, Miranda v Arizona)
60. Chief Justice
In office from 1801-1835 (longest serving CJ).
Supported increased power of federal
government. Decided McCulloch v. Maryland,
Gibbons v. Ogden, and Marbury v. Madison.
61. Chief Justice
John Robers
Current Chief Justice (appointed by Bush in
2005); moved court in conservative direction;
known for pro-corporation cases (Citizens
62. Circuit
Intermediate federal appellate courts. Cover 13
"circuits" across America. Hear appeals from
District Courts in their jurisdiction.
63. Citizens
United v FEC
A 2010 decision by the United States Supreme
Court holding that independent expenditures
are free speech protected by the 1st
Amendment and so cannot be limited by
federal law. Leads to creation of SuperPACs &
massive rise in amount of third party
electioneering (Citizens for a Better
Tomorrow, Tomorrow)
64. Civil
Intentional breaking of a law to protest
against the law. Thoreau vs. Mexican-
American War, Rosa Parks & MLK vs. Jim
Crow segregation.
65. Civil Law Laws dealing with private rights of
individuals (defamation, breach of contract,
negligence). Violation results in damages or
66. Civil Rights
Act of 1964
Prohibits discrimination based on race or
gender in employment or public
accommodations (restaurants, hotels).
Created EEOC to enforce. Based on Congress's
interstate commerce clause power
(discrimination impacts interstate
commerce). The most important federal civil
rights law.
67. Civil Service Government bureaucracy; non-elected agents
("worker bees") that work for executive
agencies to execute the law; hierarchical
organization, job specialization, detailed
rules & procedures, administrative discretion.
Massive growth since New Deal & WWII
(2.5m people = nation's largest employer)
68. Class Action
Allows an entire class of people who have
been hurt in a similar manner by the same
person or corporation to join together in one
legal suit. (Example: AT&T overcharging 10
million customers 1 cent a month for a year).
69. Clear &
Danger Test
Used in Schenck v. US (1919) to determine
whether speech is unprotected "incitement"
to illegal activity. Replaced by stricter
"imminent lawless action" test in
Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969)
70. Closed
Only registered party members can vote in
the party primaries. Maximum party control
over process, used in most state primaries.
71. Closed Rule Rule in the House of Representatives that
prohibits any amendments to bills or says
that only members of the committee
reporting the bill may offer amendments
72. Cloture A procedure used in the senate to limit debate
on a bill (end a filibuster); requires 60 votes.
73. Commander-
Constitutional power of the president -
"supreme commander" of the nation's armed
forces. Important to keep military under
civilian control, leads to conflict with
Congress over war power (War Powers Act)
74. Commerce
Art. 1, Sec. 8 of the Constitution (enumerated
power). Congress has the power to regulate
commerce with foreign nations, among the
several states ["Interstate Commerce
Clause"], and with the Indians. Interpreted
by the Supreme Court very broadly (Gibbons
v. Ogden) until Lopez & Morrison.
75. Committee
Leader of a congressional committee.
Usually the longest serving member of the
majority party on that committee (seniority
rule). A very powerful position - Controls the
committee calendar, agenda, and hearings.
Can pigeonhole (table) a bill by refusing to
schedule debate on it.
76. Concurrent
Powers that are given to both federal and
state governments. Ex., the power to tax and
create courts. Exclusive powers are given
only to one level of government (ex., the
power to declare war)
77. Condition of
A technique of fiscal federalism used by
Congress to control states. Requires states to
do something in order to get the money (ex.
South Dakota v. Dole, raise drinking age 21
to get highway money).
78. Confederation Nonbinding union of sovereign states
(example = European Union, America under
Articles of Confederation).
79. Confederation
Central government set up by Articles of
Confederation (1781-89). No executive or
judicial branches. Unicameral legislature
with no power to tax or regulate interstate
commerce (intentionally weak to prevent
tyranny). One state one vote, supermajority
(9/13) to pass important laws, unanimous
vote to amend (our constitution is
80. Conference
A joint committee appointed to resolve
differences in the senate and house versions
of the same bill
81. Congress'
Power to tax, borrow & coin money, regulate
foreign & interstate commerce, establish
army, declare war, make all laws necessary
& proper for carrying out the enumerated
powers (elastic clause)
82. Congressional
Budget Office
Non-partisan legislative support agency
(economists) to analyze President's Budget
Proposal & how much programs and budget
items will cost. Goal is to aid the
Congressional budget process.
83. Congressional
Association of members created to support a
political ideology or regional economic
interest (black caucus, women's caucus, blue
dog democrats...)
84. Congressional
Evolved as a way for Congress to handle
large and complex work-load; divides up
law-making into major subject areas; major
responsibility for debating & marking up
bills + oversight of execution of laws (the
85. Congressional
Rich highly educated white male protestant
lawyers & businessmen! Women VERY
underrepresented! (<17%)
86. Congressional
Minority state system for allocating electoral
college votes (used in ME & NE). The winner
of each congressional district is awarded
that district's electoral vote, and the winner
of the state-wide vote is awarded the state's
remaining two electoral votes. More
accurately reflects voter will, but reduces
states' influence in electoral process.
87. Congressional
Incumbent= current office-holder running
for re-election. Incumbent reelection rates
VERY high (90+%); higher in House than
Senate b/c Senate has stronger challengers.
Incumbents lose because of scandal, general
anti-incumbent anger...
88. Congressional
The power of Congress to oversee how laws
are carried out ("watchdog function" to
prevent fraud & waste). Carried out through
committee hearings & investigations,
approprations process (how much are we
spending on that program again?), GAO..
89. Connecticut
Solves big state-little state debate over
representation in federal legislature at Philly
Convention. Created bicameral legislature
with equal representation for states in Senate
and proportional representation in House
(seats based on population).
90. Constituent
Services a congressperson provides for
his/her constituents (ex., helping with
government claims like social security &
veterans benefits)
91. Constitution A nation's basic law, creates political
institutions, assigns or divides power in
government and often provides certain
guarantees to citizens. Can be written or
92. Continuing
A emergency budget extension measure that
Congress passes when a full budget law has
not been completed by the beginning of the
new fiscal year (October 1). Avoids
government shutdown.
93. Cooperative
System of federalism where federal & state
governments help each other perform
governmental duties. Also known as marble-
cake federalism. E.g., After hurricanes
federal and state agencies work together to
provide relief. Can cause confusion and/or
conflict among among different levels of
government. Best explanation of how
federalism works today (instead of dual
94. Council of
Three economic experts to help president
understand and develop economic policy;
must be confirmed by senate
95. Council of
EOP agency; three economists who advise
president about general economic date,
issues and policy proposals. Must be
confirmed by senate.
96. Counter-
The argument that judicial review is
problematic because it allows unelected
judges to overrule the decisions of elected
representatives, thus undermining the will of
the majority.
97. Criminal Law Laws dealing with offenses against society
(murder, rape, arson). Prosecuted by the
government, violation results in fines or
prison sentences
98. Critical
Election in which existing patterns of party
loyalty shift. Ex. Northern Democrats
switch parties in 1860 to vote for
Republican Party (Lincoln).
99. Cruzan v.
1990 case declining to extend the
constitutional right to privacy to include the
right to die (assisted suicide). Three states
currently allow assisted suicide. It is a
serious crime everywhere else.
100. Damages A sum of money paid in compensation for
loss or injury in a civil case
101. Declaration of
Thomas Jefferson's statement of political
liberalism (limited government to protect
life liberty and pursuit of happiness; right to
102. Defamation False and malicious (mean) writings
("libel") or speech ("slander") about a living
person. Not protected speech under 1st
Amendment but check out NY Times v.
Sullivan (very difficult for "public figures" to
prove defamation)
103. Defendant An individual or group being sued by a
plaintiff or charged with a crime by a
104. Defense of
Marriage Act
Federal law defining marriage as man-
woman & declaring that no state is forced to
recognize same-sex marriage
(unconstitutional exception to full faith &
credit clause?)
105. Democratic
Demographics: Racial minorities, Jews,
Women (gender gap), Labor Unions, Poor
Ideology: Center-left coalition... support
liberal economic & social policies
(government aid, gay marriage, no death
penalty, tax on wealthy). (liberalism is a
dirty word in America)
106. Democratic
Major supporters of Democratic Party =
African-Americans, Jews, Women, Labor
Union members, poor people
107. Department
of Defense
Cabinet-level agency in charge of the armed
forces and military policy. HQ = The
Pentagon. (Secretary Panetta)
108. Department
of Justice
Federal department responsible for
enforcing federal laws (includes FBI, Civil
Rights Division, Antitrust Division, Drug
Enforcement Administration...)
109. Department
of State
Cabinet-level agency in charge of foreign
policy & international affairs. (Secretary
110. Department
Head of one of the 15 cabinet-level
agencies ("Secretary" of Justice is called
Attorney General). Divided loyalty between
President and agency they command. Must
be confirmed by Senate.
111. Deregulation The lifting of government rules &
restrictions on business, industry, and
professional activities; major goal of
112. Descriptive
The idea that politicians can only
represent people like them (ex. only
women can represent women, blacks
represent blacks, etc.)
113. Devolution
The effort to reduce the size & power of the
federal government by returning
(devolving) power to the states. Associated
with economic conservatives, President
Reagan & the Tea Party.
114. District Courts Federal trial courts. Limited jurisdiction
(primarily to hear cases involving
constitution and/or federal law). Must
follow Supreme Court & their Circuit Court
precedents (stare decisis). Federal
government represented by U.S. Attorney's
115. Divided
When policymaking institutions of
government (President, Senate, House) are
divided among the parties (e.g.,
Democratic President, Republican
Congress). Requires more compromise;
can lead to gridlock.
116. Docket The list of cases that the Supreme Court
has agreed to hear (granted certiorari to)
in a term (usually 70-100 cases)
117. Doctrine of
Established by CJ Marshall in McCulloch
v. Maryland. Congress has the power to
make all laws that are "necessary and
proper" for carrying out its enumerated
powers. So it can create a National Bank to
carry out its power to coin money. Major
cause of growth of federal power.
118. Don't Ask Don't
Compromise gay policy in military from
1993; finally ended by Obama in 2011.
119. Dual
System of federalism that strictly separates
federal power (ex. foreign relations) and
state power (ex. protect against crime).
Each level of government is dominant
within its own sphere. Probably how the
Founders thought America would work
(enumerated federal powers + reserved
state powers). Also known as "layer-cake
120. Earmarking Practice of congressmen of securing
("appropriating") federal money ("pork") for
projects that will benefit their constituents.
Major incumbent advantage & source of
budget increases
121. Economic
Belief in limited government intervention in
the free market. Supports tax and spending
cuts, deregulation & privatization.
Reaganomics or "trickle down economics."
122. Economic
Belief in strong government intervention in
the economy to promote stability &
prosperity (example, Keynesian fiscal
123. Election
Phase 1: Invisible Primary (year prior to
election year) - exploratory committees,
straw polls, media exposure...
Phase 2: Front-Loaded Primaries, including
Super Tuesday (Jan-Feb of election year)
Phase 3: Remaining primaries & caucuses
(March-June of election year)
Phase 4: Nominating Convention
Phase 5: The General Election Campaign
(from Labor Day)
Phase 6: Election Day (November)
124. Electioneering Activity that seeks to influence the outcome
of an election. Independent electioneering
(SuperPacs & 527s) is protected free speech
and so cannot be limited by government.
125. Electoral
Constitutional system for electing president
and vice president. Each state has electors =
to number of senators + representatives (DC
also has 3 because of 23rd Amendment).
Citizens of state vote for candidate. Winner
gets all electoral college votes (except Maine
& Nebraska which uses proportional
system). Winner of majority of electoral
college votes becomes president. If no
majority then President picked by House
from top 3 candidates.
126. Electoral
Constitutional Amendment (won't happen)
Proportional allocation of electors (reduces
importance of state)
Tell electors to vote for winner of national
popular vote?
127. Electoral
A lessening of the importance of party
loyalties in voting decision (more
independent voters, more split ticket voting,
more divided government). Perhaps
occurring now?
128. Electoral
Changes in the two party system (either a
new party replaces old party or coalitions
that make up the two main political parties
change over time). "Hard realignment"
occurs in one critical election (ex.,
Republicans replace the Whigs in 1860),
"soft realignment" occurs or over time (ex.,
African Americans switch from Republican
Party to Democratic Party during Civil
Rights Era)
129. Elite Theory Belief that American democracy is a sham;
we really live in a plutocracy. The
Constitution was written by rich white men
for rich white men.
130. Engle v. Vitale
Mandatory nondenominational school
prayer violates Establishment Clause (see
also Santa Fe School District v. Doe striking
down student-led prayer at school football
131. Equal Rights
Proposed constitutional amendment
requiring full equal treatment for men and
women (ex. allow women special forces).
Proposed by Congress in 1972 but never
132. Equal Time
FCC rule requiring media stations to offer
advertising time to all candidates if they
offer it to one candidate.
133. Establishment
1st Amendment clause: Congress cannot
"establish" a religion. Accomodationists
(establishment = government-funded
religion) vs. Separationists (establishment
= ANY involvement with religion); Lemon
134. Ethics in
Requires financial disclosure for elected
public officials and placed 1 year restriction
on former government officials' lobbying
activities (the revolving door problem)
135. Ex Post Facto
Laws that punish conduct that was not
illegal when it was performed. These laws
are always unconstitutional. Also known as
a retroactive law.
136. Exclusionary
Evidence obtained in violation of 4th
Amendment is not admissible in criminal
trial. (Weeks v. U.S., Mapp v. Ohio)
137. Executive
Non-treaty agreement between the U.S.
president and other nations that does not
require Senate ratification (but is not
binding on future presidents). Since 1939,
executive agreements have comprised more
than 90% of the international agreements
(because senate ratification is a real drag!)
138. Executive
Commander-in-chief of armed forces;
pardon power (except for impeachment);
treaty power; appointment power; veto
139. Executive Office
of the President
Ten organizations that advise the
President. Includes the Office of
Management and Budget, the Council of
Economic Advisors, and National
Security Council. Top positions must be
confirmed by Senate.
140. Executive Orders Regulations & orders from the President
to an agency about how to execute a law.
They are one of the ways presidents can
try to control the bureaucracy.
141. Executive
The President's self-declared power to
keep executive communications
confidential, especially if they relate to
national security. Informal amendment
to Constitution (by tradition). Can lead
to conflict with other branches
142. Exit Poll A poll of voters exiting the polls (voting
locations) to attempt to predict the
outcome of the election. May create a
bandwagon effect.
143. Fairness
Old FCC rule requiring media stations to
provide different viewpoints for any
controversial political issue
144. Faithless Elector Elector who does not vote for the
candidate they promised to vote for.
These have never determined outcome of
presidential election but is a major
problem with electoral college system
145. Faithless Elector Electors that don't vote for the person
they promised to vote for;
Occurred 156 times (never affected
outcome of election)
Major problem with Electoral College
146. Federal
Federal agency that regulates the radio,
television, wire, satellite and cable
147. Federal Election
Campaign Act
First major federal law (1971) to regulate
federal elections. Created Federal
Election Commission (FEC). Required
disclosure of sources of campaign funds
(transparency), set limits on
contributions to candidates (individuals
= $1000, PACs = $5000), spending
limits for candidates, limits on
independent expenditures.
148. Federalism A system of government in which power is
divided between one central government and
several regional governments (dual or
cooperative). Used in USA and a few other
countries. Most countries have unitary
149. Federalist
Topic = factions (interest groups); minority
factions controlled by majority; majority
faction controlled by greater size of USA +
virtuous leaders
150. Federalist
Separation of powers & checks & balances
protects against tyranny
151. Federalist
Written in 1788 by Madison, Hamilton, and
Jay to support ratification of the Constitution.
Fed 10 (factions) & Fed 51 (separation of
powers, checks & balances)
152. Federalists Supporters of the new constitution in 1787.
Supported a strong central government.
Hamilton, Washington, Marshall. Became
first political party (vs. Jefferson's
153. Fighting
One major category of unprotected speech
(basically verbal assault); Exception created
in Chaplinsky v. NH (1942)
154. Filibuster Use of unlimited time for debate in the Senate
to kill bills by making (or threatening to
make) long speeches. No filibuster in House
(House Rules Committee places time limits on
all debates). Broken by cloture motion (60
155. Fiscal
Federal government using money (grants) to
influence & control states.
156. Formal
Article V; the (very difficult) process of adding
or deleting words to the constitution (27 times
since 1788); propose by 2/3 vote of Congress
or Constitutional Convention (never used);
ratify by 3/4 vote of state legislators or state
convention (only used once)
157. Franking
The right of congresspeople to send job-
related mail to their constituents without
paying postage. Incumbency advantage.
158. Fraser-
A Democratic Party commission after 1968
that made changes to delegate selection
process for National Convention to make the
nomination process more democratic (by
using primaries & ending superdelegates) and
introduced affirmative action policy in
delegate selection (more women &
159. Free Exercise
1st Amendment clause; Government
cannot make a law prohibiting the free
exercise of religion. Beliefs are 100%
protected but religious practices are not
exempt from neutral laws that affect
everyone (ex., polygamy & illegal drugs)
160. Free Press
1st Amendment Clause: Congress shall
make no law abridging freedom of the
press. No prior restraints unless major
national security threat (Pentagon
Papers Case). Major protection against
libel (NY Times v. Sullivan).
161. Free Speech
1st Amendment clause; Congress can
make no law abridging freedom of
speech (including symbolic speech);
Gitlow v. NY incorporates clause into
14th Amendment.
162. Freedom of
Information Act
Gives all citizens the right to inspect all
records of federal agencies except those
containing military, intelligence, or trade
secrets; increases accountability of
163. Full Faith &
Credit Clause
States must recognize laws & judicial
decisions of other states (ex., marriage,
child support payments); public policy
exception for gay marriage?
164. Gender Gap Belief / observation that women are more
likely to support Democratic / liberal
candidates & issues than men. Women
are more likely to support spending on
welfare & education, and to oppose
higher levels of military spending.
165. General Election Election in which the winner becomes an
elected government official.
166. Gerrymandering The drawing of district boundaries by the
state legislature to benefit a party, group,
or incumbents. Major types are political
& racial.
167. Gibbons v Ogden Commerce clause case (1824). Decision
greatly enlarged Congress' interstate
commerce clause power by broadly
defining the meaning of "commerce" to
include virtually all types of economic
activity. Pair with Lopez & Morrison
cases (limiting commerce power).
168. Government
A federal legislative agency that audits
(investigates) other agencies of the
federal government and reports it's
findings to Congress (makes sure they
are not spending more money than the
government has appropriated for them).
169. Government
Corporation set up and run by the
government; provides a service to the
public (ex. US Postal Service)
170. Government
A government organization that, like regular
corporations, provides a service to the public
and typically charges for its services. The
U.S. Postal Service is an example.
Privatization would abolish GCs.
171. Grandfather
Jim Crow era state laws that discouraged
African Americans from voting by saying
that if your grandpa couldn't vote, then
neither can you. The newly-freed slaves
grandpas couldn't vote, so neither could they.
Declared unconstitutional in 1915.
172. Grassroots
Electioneering and issue advocacy by
ordinary & unpaid citizens (the roots of
American political system). Examples
include Tea Party, youth activism in Obama
2008. Compare with "Astroturf Activism" -
fake grassroots efforts (paid for by political
173. Grassroots
Political action on the local level by ordinary
citizens (the roots): fundraising,
volunteering, get-out-the-vote activities
(knocking on doors); important function of
local party organization
174. Habeas
The right to challenge the legality of your
detention by government (to have a judge
determine whether or not the government
can detain you). This right can be
temporarily suspended by Congress in times
of rebellion or unrest.
175. Honeymoon
The short period (days or months) following
an election when a president's popularity
and ability to influence Congress is at its
176. Horse-Race
Media tends to cover elections like a sporting
event because it generates excitement (who is
ahead, who is behind) & it is easy to do (poll
data). HRJ is bad because it reduces time
spent on analysis of issues & it can create a
bandwagon effect in coverage of elections
("Romney looks like he will win this one...")
177. House and
Deputy leadership position. Connects leaders
with "rank and file" members, and tries to
encourage party unity & discipline
178. House Rules
Powerful House standing committee that
reviews all bills coming from other House
committees before they go to the full House
(gatekeeper function); sets time limit for
debate decides whether amendments can be
added (open or closed rule).
179. House Ways
and Means
Important House standing committee
responsible for initiating all taxation bills.
180. Hyperpluralist
Pluralism gone wrong; belief that
government is paralyzed by too many
interest groups demanding things too
many things from government
181. Idealism
Use American power to promote democracy
and peace around the world. Associated
with Woodrow Wilson & Jimmy Carter.
(Compare with realism)
182. Impeachment
Constitutional process for removing
executive officers & judges for "treason,
high crimes & misdemeanors" (whatever
Congress thinks is impeachable). Two
stages: (1) House decides to impeach
(accuse) target (simple majority); (2)
Senate holds trial to convict (2/3 majority).
Andy Johnson and Bill Clinton were
impeached but not convicted. Nixon
resigned as Articles of Impeachment were
being drafted!
183. Incumbent
Name recognition, campaign
contributions, credit-claiming (pork &
184. Independent
Federal agencies that aren't large or
important enough to get department status.
Directors appointed by President w/ advice
& consent of Senate. Ex. NASA, CIA, EPA
185. Independent
Electioneering by third parties (527s or
SuperPacs) to help a candidate get elected
(without coordinating with candidates).
Protected by Supreme Court in Citizens
United as free speech and so cannot be
limited by federal law.
186. Independent
Independent agencies created by Congress
to regulate important aspects of the
nation's economy. Commissioners
appointed by President but not removable
except "for cause" (to protect
independence). Most independent and
least accountable part of the federal
187. Informal
Changing the meaning of the Constitution
without changing the actual words (which
requires a formal amendment through
Article V process). Examples = Supreme
Court opinions, laws, traditions.
188. Initiative Some states allow citizens to come up with
their own ideas for laws to put on an
election ballot. If the proposition passes it
becomes a law. Requires many voter
signatures to get on the ballot. Most direct
form of democracy (citizen law-making)
189. Injunction A judicial order to a party to do or stop
doing something (example: a restraining
order to stay away from a specific person).
190. Invisible
Informal raising of support (and money)
before first primaries
191. Iron Triangle Creation of powerful (iron) relationship of
mutual benefit & support among
congressional committee, government
agency and regulated interest group(s). Can
lead to corruption and "agency capture"
(where the agency is controlled by the target
of regulation). Problem exacerbated by
revolving door.
192. Isolationism Old as Washington, a belief that America
should not seek to become engaged in foreign
193. Jacksonian
The first major opening up of American
suffrage (voting rights) by Jackson's new
Democratic Party in 1830s. Franchise
extended to all white men (not just rich white
men). Achieved by state legislation not
constitutional amendment.
194. Jim Crow
Era in the South after Civil War (1865) until
1950s. African Americans were freed from
slavery and could legally vote (Amendments
13, 14, 15) but were still subjected to
discriminatory state laws enforcing
segregation and kept from voting by laws (ex.
poll taxes, literacy tests) and by violence
195. John Locke Father of political liberalism (limited
government to protect life liberty & property;
right to revolt if government becomes a
tyranny); he greatly influenced Jefferson &
the Declaration of Independence.
196. Joint Chiefs
of Staff
One General from each of the 4 armed service
branches (army, navy, air force, marines)
and, since 1/2012, the National Guard. The
JCS are key military advisors to the
197. Joint
Congressional committees to discuss &
supervise certain topics, with membership
drawn from both houses. (ex., Committee on
Library, Taxation)
198. Judicial
A philosophy of judicial decision-making
whereby judges allow their personal views
about public policy (liberal or conservative)
to guide their decisions. Activist judges are
comfortable declaring laws unconstitutional.
199. Judicial
Political ideology (litmus test); acceptability
to Senate (not too radical); judicial
experience; diversity
200. Judicial
A philosophy of judicial decision-making
whereby judges give significant deference to
the decisions made by elected
representatives in the legislative and
executive branches. Restrained judges are
uncomfortable declaring laws
201. Judicial
The power of the Supreme Court to declare
laws and actions of local, state, or national
governments unconstitutional. Established
in Marbury v. Madison (informal
amendment to Constitution)
202. Jurisdiction The right & power to make decisions in a
particular area. Federal courts are courts of
limited jurisdiction. Before a federal court
can hear a case it must establish that it has
the power to hear this type of case (primary
jurisdiction is to hear cases involving the
federal constitution and/or federal law).
203. Keynesianism Belief in aggressive government
intervention to combat recession & promote
economic growth, especially by massive
federal spending ("stimulus")
204. Korematsu v.
United States
Internment of Japanese-Americans during
WWII does not violate 14th Amendment
Equal Protection Clause (gets strict scrutiny
but national security is a good enough
reason to justify the racial discrimination).
205. Lame Duck Person holding office after his or her
replacement has been elected to the office,
but before the current term has ended. Lame
Duck Presidents may find it hard to
influence Congress (why work with a guy
who is about to leave?)
206. Lawrence v.
Texas (2003)
State laws making sodomy (gay sex) a crime
violate equal protection clause (fails
rational basis test because only possible
reason for law is homophobia)
207. Legislative
Congress making sure the Executive Branch
and the Bureaucracy is correctly executing
(carrying out) laws.
208. Legislative
Power of Congress to veto executive
decisions & actions; declared
unconstitutional in INS v. Chadha (1983)
(violates separation of powers)
209. Lemon v.
Lemon Test for Establishment Clause
(1) Primary purpose and effect of law must
be secular; (2) Law cannot create "excessive
entanglement" of government with religion
(subjective standard)
210. Libertarianism Belief in as much freedom and as little
government as possible (tolerates some
government to provide stability & security).
Supports free market economy, no
government regulation of morality, low
211. Line Item Veto Law giving president power to veto
portions of budget bill; purpose = reduce
size of national deficit; declared
unconstitutional (violates separation of
212. Line-Item Veto Allows president to veto bad parts of a bill
but keep the rest. Like a scalpel. Especially
useful for cutting out pork from spending
bills. Declared unconstitutional
(impermissibly changed the detailed law-
making process established in Article I)
213. Literacy Test A method to deny blacks right to vote
during the Jim Crow Era by requiring
reading or civics test in order to vote. Could
be selectively applied. Rationale: only the
educated should vote. Prohibited by the
Voting Rights Act of 1965.
214. Lobbying The act of trying to influence a politician
or bureaucrat. Usually lobbyists are highly
paid insiders with access to people in
power (revolving door). Major weapon of
corporate interest groups.
215. Local Party
Get-out-the vote activities (grassroots
organization). Can be very unorganized.
The initial point of entry for those seeking
involvement in politics (volunteers,
organizers, or candidates)
216. Logrolling You support my bill, I'll support yours.
Trading favors by legislators to help pass
their bills.
217. Mapp v Ohio 1961 case incorporating 4th Amendment
(and exclusionary rule) into 14th
Amendment DPC, binding on states.
218. Marbury vs.
Chief Justice John Marshall famously
announces the existence of the power of
judicial review: the power of the Supreme
Court to declare laws and actions of local,
state, or national governments
219. Marking Up The process by which a congressional
committee debates, amends, and/or
rewrites bills.
220. McCulloch v.
(1) CJ Marshall establishes doctrine of
implied powers (Congress can create a
national bank because it is necessary &
proper to carrying out the enumerated
power to coin money); (2) Supremacy
clause prevents state (Maryland) from
taxing the National Bank. Very important
case enlarging power of federal
221. Measurement
An error in collecting polling data.
Example = response bias or confusing
222. Miranda v.
Arizona (1966)
5th Amendment self-incrimination clause
requires government agents to warn
suspects of their right to remain silent
and/or contact an attorney before
questioning them when they are in custody.
Statements made without Miranda
Warning are inadmissible in court (like the
exclusionary rule for evidence)
223. Monetarism Belief in limited government intervention to
combat recession & promote economic
growth. Major tool = increasing or
decreasing money supply to avoid inflation
& maintain price stability.
224. Motor Voter
Act (1993)
Tried to increase voter turnout by allowing
voter registration at same time as getting or
renewing driver's license. Increased the
registration rate, but not the voter turnout
rate (people still apathetic or not motivated
to vote)
225. Narrowcasting The modern media trend for TV and radio
shows to target very narrow ideological
audiences (ex. conservatives watch Glenn
Beck and Bill O'Reilly); results in greater
political polarization
226. National
Person responsible for the day-to-day
activities of the party, usually hand-picked
by the presidential nominee.
227. National
National party organization that, with
Congressional leaders and President, runs
party affairs between national conventions,
(DNC and RNC, each is headed by a
228. National
The meeting of party delegates every four
years to choose a presidential ticket and
write the party's platform. Brokered
Convention occurs if no candidate has won
a majority of delegates in state primaries &
229. National
Party members that vote at the National
Convention to select the party candidate for
president. Pledged delegates follow the
wishes of voters in primaries and caucuses.
Unpledged "superdelegates" vote for whoever
they want.
230. National
Headed by President and/or National
Chairperson. Main function (limited) is to
hold the national convention to select the
presidential candidate & write the party
231. National
Consults with the president on matters of
defense and foreign policy.
232. NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Cold
War military alliance (USA + Western
Europe vs. USSR).
233. Necessary
and Proper
Gives congress the power to do anything that
is necessary and proper to carry out an
enumerated power. Also known as the
"elastic clause." Leads to implied powers
doctrine (McCulloch v. Maryland)
234. The New
Series of liberal (Keynesian) economic laws
enacted by FDR to combat Great Depression.
Includes Social Security System & federal
minimum wage law. Birth of Democratic
Party as liberal party (soft electoral
235. New Jersey
Plan at Philadelphia Convention for equal
representation in new Congress (1 state 1
vote). Also known as "small state plan."
Opposite of the Virginia "big state" Plan.
Becomes basis of representation in the
236. Nomination
The process by which a political party
nominates ("selects") a candidate to run in a
general election.
237. North
Free Trade
Free trade agreement among USA, Canada &
Mexico. Goal = promote economic prosperity
& cooperation. Easier perhaps to achieve at
regional level than global level (World Trade
238. Office of
and Budget
EOP agency that helps the President prepare
annual budget proposal and evaluates budget
priorities and effectiveness of federal
agencies (oversight)
239. Open
Anyone can vote in any party primaries (but
can only vote in the primaries of one party).
Less party control over process. May cause
raider effect.
240. Open Rule An order from the House Rules Committee
that permits a bill to be amended on the floor
(allows "death by amendment")
241. Oral
The stage in Supreme Court proceedings in
which attorneys for both sides appear before
the Court to present their positions and
answer questions posed by the justices. Good
theater (for law nerds).
242. Original
The jurisdiction of courts to hear a case for
the first time (trial). Trial courts (District
Courts in federal system) assess the facts in a
case and the issue the first decision (guilt,
innocence). Supreme Court has OJ over
disputes between 2 states.
243. Pardon
Power of the president to forgive a federal
offense without penalty or grant release from
a penalty already imposed. Based on kingly
power to intervene in judicial process in
exceptional cases.
244. Party
A meeting of important party members to
select party candidates. Attacked as corrupt
and anti-democratic so not used anymore.
245. Party
One way for a state party to select delegates to
send to the National Convention. Consists of
a series of meetings (local, county, state)
among party members (no "open caucuses").
246. Party
A political party's statement of its goals and
policies for the next four years, created at
National Convention. Lofty rhetoric and
specific legislative goals. Can cause
splintering (example: southern whites
abandoned Democratic Party in 1948 when it
adopted a pro-civil rights plank.
247. Patriot Act
Law responding to 9/11. Expands anti-
terrorist powers (wiretapping, surveillance);
4th Amendment concern for civil liberties.
248. Patronage
AKA Spoils System. Filling government
bureaucracy based on connections & political
favors not merit (cronyism); ended by
Pendleton Act (1883)
249. Pendleton
Civil Service
Reform Act
1883 reform law that replaced the
patronage/spoils system in the federal
bureaucracy with a merit-based professional
system. "Important" leadership positions in
bureaucracy (Secretaries, Commissioners,
Directors) & federal judges still appointed by
250. Philadelphia
12 states send delegates to revise the Articles
of Confederation; Delegates soon agree to
draft completely new Constitution with
stronger federal government. Elite
251. Pigeonholing Occurs when a committee ignores a bill and
doesn't report it out. Also known as "tabling"
or "death by committee." Major cause of bill
252. Plaintiff One who brings a court action against
another (the complainer)
253. Planned
v. Casey
1992 abortion case that applied new flexible
test (instead of rigid trimester framework of
Roe v Wade): Does state regulation of
abortion place "undue burden" on women's
right to an abortion? Court used test to
uphold some regulations like waiting periods
and parental notification for minors.
254. Plum Book A list of good-paying (sweet) jobs that the
new president can fill by appointment
(agency directors and other VIPs)
255. Pluralist
Belief that American political system
basically works; competing interest groups
all get heard at different times and places in
government. Federalism helps (more layers
of government).
256. Pocket Veto If a bill is proposed within 10 days of
congress adjourning and the president does
not sign it , it will die (un-overrideable veto).
257. Police
The power of a government to make laws
protecting the health, safety and welfare of
citizens (example: traffic laws, criminal
laws). In America, police powers are
reserved to the states by the 10th
258. Policy
An election in which voters vote on a
particular policy question (ban gay marriage,
legalize marijuana). Often used to resolve a
controversial issue. Only used (so far) at the
state level. Three types of policy election are:
recall, initiative, referendum.
259. Political
A committee set up by a corporation or
interest group to raise and funnels money to
political candidates. Donation amounts to
PACs are limited by FECA rules (hard
260. Political
A more or less consistent set of beliefs about
what policies government should pursue.
261. Political
Main form = voting. Also joining political
party, volunteering on political campaign,
campaign contributions, running for office,
262. Political
A group of individuals with broad common
interests who organize to nominate
candidates for office, develop a party
platform (policy goals), win elections, and
run government
263. Political
The process by which individuals acquire
(absorb) a sense of political identity (beliefs
& behaviors). Key agents of socialization
include family, media, peers.
Process can be informal (family) or formal
264. Poll Tax Tax on voting. Used to discourage African
Americans from voting during the Jim Crow
era. Also used to exclude poor whites.
Declared unconstitutional by 24th
265. Precedent A decision in a previous court case that is
used as the basis for a decision in a similar
266. President as
Party Leader
POTUS is the symbolic leader of his party.
Acts as party's chief spokesperson to the
public & sets party's legislative agenda (bully
267. President's
Detailed budget outline prepared by President
& OMB. Sets priorities in discretionary
spending & proposes changes to entitlement
programs. Start of annual budget process.
268. Presidential
Qualified presidential candidates can receive
matching federal funds in primary and set
amount to spend on general elections (but
cannot raise & spend additional money).
Attempt to limit campaign spending &
corruption but rejected by Obama in 2008
(too easy to raise more money by
269. Presidential
Nomination process is too long and too
expensive. One reform idea is to have a single
national primary on one day (but this would
require runoff election and would hurt less
well known candidates who need time to
establish their candidacy)
270. Primary
Election to select party's candidate for each
office. It is now the main way of selecting
party candidates. Most democratic method
and simpler than caucus. Greatly weakens
the power of party leaders and increases
power of ordinary voters.
271. Primary
One way for a state party to select delegates to
send to the National Convention. Can be
closed, open or blanket. Now used by most
states instead of caucus (cheaper, quicker,
more democratic).
272. Primary
The tendency of states to move their
primaries & caucuses earlier in the calendar
in order to maximize their impact on
nomination process (bandwagon effect).
273. Prior
Government censorship of written material
(preventing publication). Almost impossible
due to 1st Amendment (only when major
threat to national security). See Pentagon
Papers Case (NY Times v. US)
274. Privatization Process of ending government services and
allowing the free market (private firms) to
provide the service. Purpose = reduce
government spending & provide more
efficient services. Example = abolishing the
postal service. Supported by Republicans.
275. Procedural
Due Process
Literal meaning of 5th & 14th Due Process
Clauses: Government cannot deprive you of
life, liberty or property without holding
certain procedures (trial, lawyer, right to
question witnesses). Many elements of PDP
are specifically protected by 5th, 6th, 7th &
8th Amendments.
276. Proposition
1996 California initiative that banned all
affirmative action programs.
277. Prosecutor The state or federal government attorney in a
criminal case.
278. Push Poll A type of poll that attempts to influence
opinions secretly using a poll (would you vote
for McCain if you knew that he had a black,
illegitimate child?)
279. Rally Effect Short-term patriotic increase in president's
popularity and power during times of serious
international crisis or war (e.g. Bush after
280. Random
Digit Dialing
A common method of randomizing poll
sample to maximize accuracy.
281. Realism Major foreign policy ideology. Act in the
world only to protect and benefit yourself.
(Contrast with idealism)
282. Redistricting
When a state legislature or independent
commission draws new House district lines
(if gain/loss of seats after reapportionment
process based on census every ten years)
283. Referendum A state level method of direct democracy that
gives voters a chance to approve or
disapprove proposed legislative action or a
proposed amendment. Occurs when a state
wants the voter's opinion on a controversial
284. Removal
The President may remove any appointed
federal officer whenever he wants for any
reason. However, the Supreme Court has
upheld Congressional limits on removal
power for Independent Commissioners (can
only be removed "for cause").
285. Reporting Out When a committee finishes the mark-up of
a bill and sends it to the senate or house for
debate, consideration, and final passage.
286. Republic Representative democracy. Sovereignty rests
with the people, as opposed to a king or
287. Republican
Demographics: White, Protestants,
Corporations, Rich
Ideology: Conservative (cut taxes, cut
spending, emd welfare, support traditional
marriage...). Center-right coalition (more
conservative than Democratic Party is
liberal, especially with rise of Tea Party
faction since 2008)
288. Republican
One of the two major modern American
political parties. It emerged in the 1850s as
an antislavery party and consisted of former
northern Whigs and antislavery Democrats.
Now the party is conservative (pro-life, anti-
affirmative action, anti-too much
government intervention, anti-taxing on the
rich, pro-death penalty)
289. Republican
Major supporters of Republican Party =
WASPs, business people, the rich
290. Roe v. Wade
Establishes a woman's constitutional right
to an abortion (in limited circumstances).
Court held that abortion is part of the right
to privacy, which itself is part of the concept
of liberty in the 14th Amendment
("substantive due process"). Major goal for
conservatives to overturn Roe.
291. Rule of 4 How the Supreme Court decides whether to
hear a case. Requires four or more justices
to "grant certiorari" (agree to hear an
appeal). Supreme Court agrees to hear <1%
of cases.
292. Sampling
The % margin of error of a survey.
Randomized polls accurate to 3%.
293. Select
Temporary congressional committees
appointed for a specific purpose, such as
impeachment investigations or the "Super
Committee" on the Budget
294. Selective
Judicial doctrine that applies the Bill of
Rights (one right at a time) to state and
local governments by incorporating them
into the concept of liberty in the 14th
Amendment's Due Process Clause (which is
binding on the states)
295. Senate
The heads of the minority and majority
parties in the Senate. Less powerful than the
Speaker, they set legislative agenda for their
party and help set the daily Senate agenda.
296. Senatorial
Senate will not confirm a presidential
nomination for a position within a state
(ex., District Court Judge) without the
consent of the senior senator of the
President's party from that state. Informal
amendment to appointment process (by
297. Seniority
A congressional custom that gives the chair
of a committee or subcommittee to the
member of the majority party with the
longest continuous service on the committee.
298. Separation of
The principle of dividing governmental
powers among different branches of
government to protect against tyranny
(Federalist 51).
299. Shays'
Failed rebellion in 1786 by poor farmers in
MA against state government & banks that
were taking their farms. Showed how weak
the central confederation government was
vs. threats to private property and order.
Major factor in creation of Constitutional
Convention in 1787 (Elite theory)
300. Single-
Electoral district with only one
representative (single member). The
representative is whoever wins a plurality of
the votes in a general election (no run-off
elections). Senate and House districts are
SMPDs. Discourages third parties, leads to
two-party system.
301. Social
Government should protect "traditional"
(Christian) views on marriage, gender roles,
& social issues. Oppose gay marriage,
legalization of drugs, abortion.
302. Social
Belief in government assistance to improve
society, especially for the poor and
minorities. Socially liberal policies include
universal health care, public education,
affirmative action, welfare programs
303. Socialism A policial ideology that opposes capitalism
and supports government control of major
aspects of the economy (ex. electricity,
health care).
304. Soft Money Money that is not subject to campaign finance
limits and regulation by the FEC. All money
before FECA was soft money. FECA shut down
unlimited contributions to candidates so soft
money flowed to political parties. McCain-
Feingold shut down soft money contributions
to political parties so now unlimited
contributions flow to 527s and Super-Pacs.
305. Solicitor
Senior Justice Department attorney. Decides
what cases the government will appeal to the
Supreme Court, files amicus briefs with the
Supreme Court in cases the government is
interested in, and represents the United States
before the Supreme Court.
306. Sound
Quote or "snippet" from politician's speech
used by media to represent whole speech. Used
by candidates to spread message (slogan);
Used by media to avoid serious (boring)
discussion of issues.
307. South
Dakota v.
Dole (1987)
Congress is allowed to attach "strings"
(conditions of aid) to money given to states
(raise drinking age to 21 to get highway
funds). Major tool of fiscal federalism.
308. Speaker of
the House
The leader of the majority party and presiding
officer of the House of Representatives. Key
role in assigning bills to committee and
members to committees & setting party's
legislative agenda
309. Spin The attempt of politicians to cast their words &
actions in the most flattering light
(propaganda, distortion)
310. Spoiler
When a 3rd party candidate takes enough votes
away from one of the main party candidates to
make him/her lose the election. Ex., Ralph
Nader & Green Party may have caused Al Gore
to lose 2000 election to George Bush.
311. Standing
Permanent committees in House and Senate
that handle bills dealing with a particular
subject area. Examples: Defense, Budget,
312. Stare
"Let the decision stand"; the principle that
cases should be decided in ways consistent
with similar prior cases. Promotes consistency
& fairness.
313. Stare
"The decision stands". A rule in deciding cases
where judges follow precedent (how similar
cases were decided in the past). Helps promote
consistency and fairness in the legal process.
Lower courts must follow precedent set by
higher courts. Supreme Court can reject
precedent if absolutely necessary (Example:
Brown rejects precedent of Plessy).
314. State of the
Union Address
A yearly report by the president to
Congress required by Constitution
describing the nation's condition and
recommending programs and policies
(bully pulpit to set legislative agenda )
315. State Party
Links local level to national level. State
committee (still mostly volunteer but might
have an office, some paid positions).
Major jobs are (1) to hold primary
elections to select candidates; (2) to
support state level candidates in general
elections; and (3) to influence platform of
National Party.
316. Subcommittees A group within a standing committee that
specializes in a subcategory of the
standing committee's responsibility. (Ex.
House Committee on Foreign Affairs has
subcommittees on Asia, Europe, Africa,
317. Substantive
Due Process
Creative/activist interpretation of 5th and
14th Due Process Clauses. "Liberty"
protected by the DPC includes substantive
"fundamental rights" like rights protected
by Bill of Rights (leads to incorporation
doctrine) and other rights like the right to
318. Substantive
Theory of representation that says that
anyone can represent any group (ex. a rich
white guy can represent the interests of
poor black people). Compare to Descriptive
319. Sunshine Laws Law requiring agency meetings and
decision-making process to be open to the
public. One way of making agencies more
accountable to Congress and the public.
320. Super-PAC Organization set up after Citizens United
to engage in independent electioneering.
Can receive unlimited donations but
cannot coordinate with a candidate.
Causing amount of money spent on
elections to skyrocket (SuperPacs have
spent $85 million so far in Election 2012)
321. Superdelegates "Unpledged Delegates" (usually important
party members) at national party
convention (about 20% of total delegates)
who, unlike "pledged delegates" selected in
primaries or caucuses, are not committed
to a particular candidate. Used by party
leaders to retain some control over
candidate selection. Can be important in
close races (like Obama vs. Hillary Clinton
in 2008)
322. Supremacy
The Federal constitution, laws, and treaties are
the supreme law of the land. States cannot
interfere with federal power (ex. McCulloch v.
323. Supreme
Final federal appellate court ("court of last
resort"). Hears appeals from Circuit Courts
(certiorari petition / rule of 4). Only hears
"important" constitutional cases.
324. Swing
A state that could go either way in a
presidential elections (unlike "safe states").
Target of a lot of attention in elections. Also
known as "battleground states" or "purple
states" (Ohio, Florida in 2008)
325. Temporary
to Needy
Federal block grant to provide cash assistance
for poor families ("welfare program"). Each
state can design its own program. Replaces Aid
to Families With Dependent Children (AFDC)
which was a categorical grant.
326. Term
A legal restriction that limits the number of
terms a person may serve in a particular elected
office. President limited by 22nd Amendment to
2 terms. No term limits on congressmen.
327. Third
Any political party that appears as an
alternative to the two main parties of the
Democrats and the Republicans. Often
extremist, single-issue or candidate-centered.
Not major feature of US political system
because of winner-take-all electoral system.
Can have spoiler effect (Nader in 2000) or are
absorbed into major party (Tea Party in 2008).
328. Ticket
Voting for one party for one office and for
another party for other offices. Frequent among
independent voters; leads to divided
329. Title IX Major anti-gender discrimination law that
applies to universities and schools that accept
federal funding. Controversial because many
universities cut male sports programs so as not
to violate Title IX.
330. Treaty
The ability of a president to negotiate treaties
with foreign nations (requires ratification by
2/3 senate vote). Overshadowed by Executive
331. U.S.
Government lawyer that represents the US
government at the district court level (trials).
332. U.S. v.
Supreme Court intervenes in battle between
President Nixon and Congress (impeachment
process). President cannot use executive
privilege as an excuse to withhold evidence in
impeachment process. Leads to Nixon's
333. Unfunded
Federal laws that require the states to do
things without providing the money to do so.
Examples: ADA (wheelchair ramps), NCLB
(AIMs testing)
334. Unitary
A state ruled by one central government. This
is the system used by most countries. Compare
with federal state.
335. United
Replaced the League of Nations after WWII.
Global organization to maintain peace and
facilitate diplomacy.
336. US
"The supreme law of the land." Written in
1787 at Philadelphia Convention to replace
Articles of Confederation and create stronger
central government. Outlines structure &
power of 3 branches of national government.
Oldest written constitution still in use (but
amended 27 times plus myriad informal
337. US Term
Limits v
Prohibited state legislatures from imposing
term limits of their Representatives and
Senators (Court held that the Constitution's
Qualifications Clause is the only limit on
congressional service)
338. US v. Lopez
Supreme Court declared Gun Free School
Zones Act exceeded Congress's Interstate
Commerce Clause power and was therefore
unconstitutional. First federal law declared to
exceed commerce clause since the 1930s
(Devolution Revolution?)
339. US v.
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
unconstitutional because it exceeded
Congress' commerce clause power. With
Lopez v. United States, two recent cases
checking commerce clause growth of federal
power (unchecked since New Deal). Next up:
340. Veto
President may veto any bill by returning it to
Congress with explanation. Congress can
override with 2/3 vote in both houses (very
hard to do)
341. Vice
Back-up president. Only constitutional role =
President of Senate & casts tie-breaker vote in
Senate. Typically selected to increase odds in
election (Biden experience & foreign policy;
Palin youth & Tea Party)
342. Virginia
Also known as the Big State Plan. Wanted
proportional representation in Congress
(based on population).
343. Voter
Low in America compared to other western
democracies (50-60% for presidential
elections; 40-50% for midterms)
344. Voter
About 50-60% of eligible voters in
Presidential elections; much less in midyear
elections (30-40%)
345. Voting
Rights Act
Federal law protecting against racial
discrimination in voting. Major
accomplishment of civil rights movement vs.
Jim Crow. Bans all discriminatory voting
procedures. Requires ballots to be printed in
minority languages. Section 5 = federal
policing of states with history of
discrimination (still necessary?)
346. War Powers
A law passed in 1973 after Vietnam fiasco
requiring (1) president to notify Congress
within 48 hours of sending troops into
combat and (2) begin to remove troops after
60 days unless Congress approves of the
action. Limited effort to reverse erosion of
Congress' war powers since World War II
(last formal declaration of war).
347. Watergate
Nixon's "friends" broke into Democratic
National Committee HQ during 1972
election, then Nixon tried to cover up White
House involvement. Example of media
muckraking (Woodward & Bernstein). Led to
resignation of Richard Nixon.
348. White House
Chief of Staff
Closest presidential advisor ("Jafar").
PowerfulgGatekeeper in pyramidal system;
does not require senate confirmation
349. White House
Pyramidal (with Chief of Staff) or Spokes and
Hub style (less reliance on Chief of Staff)
350. White House
EOP group that includes the President's most
trusted personal advisors (led by White
House Chief of Staff); members do not need
senate confirmation
351. White House
Member of White House staff that controls
flow of information from president, holds
daily press briefings, tries to spin/control
352. White
A form of restricting African American's 15th
Amendment rights during the Jim Crow Era
by only allowing whites to vote in the
primary elections; giving African Americans
only the opportunity to vote for white racist A
or white racist B.
353. Winner-
Most common state system for allocating
electoral college votes (candidate with the
most votes wins all of the electoral votes of
that state). Used in all but 2 states.
Maximizes states' influence in electoral
process but completely ignores votes for
losing candidates (undemocratic).
354. World Trade
Economic organization to promote global
355. Writ of
An order by the Supreme Court saying that it will hear a certain case (rule of 4). Granted in cases that raise important
constitutional questions or where circuit courts have reached different opinions on a particular issue.