Unit 4 (Complete)
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Essential Question How Have The Values And Principles Embodied
In The Constitution Shaped American Institutions And Practices?
Unit Overview Lesson 21: What is the Role of Congress in American Constitutional
Lesson 22: How Does Congress Perform Its Functions in the
American Constitutional System?
Lesson 23: What Is the Role of the President in the American
Lesson 24: How Are National Laws Administered in the American
Lesson 25: What Is the Role of the Supreme Court in the American
Lesson 26: How Dies American Federalism Work?
Unit 4 Purpose The Constitution is a general framework that describes
the organization of the national gov’t in terms of its powers and limits. The Framers knew many details would need to be added. The system of federalism was devised to reconcile tension between national and state gov’ts. In this unit you will learn
How the three branches of gov’t embody constitutional principles and how they operate. How federalism remains a dynamic characteristic of American gov’t.
Purpose Congress is often called America’s first branch
because of its lawmaking powers and control over the nation’s purse. Congress is also considered the “People’s Branch” since it is directly accountable to the electorate. This lesson examines Congress’s constitutional powers and how it represents both the people and the states.
Explain basic differences between Congress and the British Parliament and how Congress reflects America’s commitment to representative government and federalism. Identify several constitutional sources of power and some of the challenges members face in representing and serving constituents. Evaluate, take and defend positions on contemporary issues about congressional representation and organization.
Terms to Know delegate theory The idea that a legislative representative should exactly mirror his or her constituents' views in deciding on public policy. enforcement powers The power of Congress to enforce laws. enumerated powers
Those rights and responsibilities of the U.S. government specifically provided for and listed in the Constitution. federalism
A form of government in which power is divided and shared between a central government and state and local governments.
Terms to Know gerrymandering
Drawing the boundaries of an electoral district to favor a political party. implied powers Those powers authorized by a legal document that are not expressly stated but can be inferred from expressly stated powers. The power of Congress to do all things "necessary and proper" to carry out the powers delegated to it by Article I, Section 8, Clause 18 of the U.S. Constitution. The "necessary and proper" clause is also known as the "elastic clause," because it greatly expands the Constitution's enumeration of the powers of Congress. Implied powers can be distinguished from "inherent powers," those that are expressly provided for in the Constitution. inherent powers Those powers ingrained so deeply in an institution that they need not be stated. For example, what the "inherent powers of the presidency" might be is a hotly contested subject in American national politics. trustee theory of representation The idea that a legislative representative should use his or her best judgment in making decisions on public policy, regardless of constituent opinion.
Differences Between Congress and the British Parliament Although British Parliament served as a model for
our 2-house legislature, there are 4 major differences. 1) Representation
British Parliament Designed to represent specific order in society. House of Lords - traditionally an inherited seat. Today hold honorary lifetime appointments. (1200 members) House of Commons – elected, represent geographic regions
Congress House of Reps – represent viewpoints of district / frequent turnover (2 yr. terms) Senate – represent whole state / longer terms ( 6 yrs.)
Differences Between Congress and the British Parliament 2) Separation of Powers
British Parliament Leader of majority party appoints prime minister (chief executive and chief legislator) Members of Parliament hold Cabinet positions as well House of Commons is much more powerful house http://www.youtube.com/watch?v= TsAa9VmwOaI
Congress Article 1 Sec 6 prohibits mingling of executive and legislative powers House & Senate both powerful, frequently limit each others’ power
Differences Between Congress and the British Parliament 3) Term Lengths
No fixed election schedule, but at least every 5 yrs. depending on “confidence” in prime minister and party in power
Reps (2 yr terms) / Senate (6 yrs., staggered)
Local governments are primarily administrative units of central government. Most powers simply delegated from national level.
State legislatures wield considerable power, leading to dynamic system of federalism.
Congress’s Constitutional Powers Limitations Art. 1 Sec. 8 - limits powers to those “herein granted” /
Art. 1 Sec. 9 – lists matters congress “shall not” legislate
18th power = “all laws… necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers” Tax state exports, grant titles of nobility…
Bill of Rights – list of rights Congress “shall not” infringe
First – “Congress shall make no law” abridging free press
Congress’s Constitutional Powers Enumerate Powers
Those powers listed in Constitution
Ex) “Regulate Commerce” Congress now regulates manufacturing, child labor, wages…
Some expressed powers imply additional powers
Ex) “Necessary and Proper” Clause Court Case: McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) • Decision = N & P clause and power to coin & borrow money implied power to create a national bank.
Congressional Oversight Implied power to create, and monitor, executive agencies designed to implement policy mandates.
Representing the People & The States No constitutional term limits Since 1842, all members of House elected from
single-member districts Many states redistrict after each 10-yr. census
Drawn by state legislatures or independent commissions Dissatisfied groups can challenge redistricting in court
Controversy Over Districting Court Case: Wesberry v. Sanders
Decision – adopted rule of “one person = one vote”
New requirements have not
ended debate over Gerrymandering Senate initially chosen by state legislatures, but 17th Amendment creates direct elections
Controversy Over Districting 1913 – Congress fixes size of House at 435 By 2004, average House district population over
Surpassed worldwide only by India
District size creates challenges addressing needs and
interests of such diverse constituencies
Theories of Representation Delegate Theory or Trustee Theory? Most representatives claim to practice both Our vast and diverse nation make it challenging to
both represent constituents while also finding common ground with legislators from other regions. Congressman Specter dealing with “unhappy” constituent http://www.youtu be.com/watch?v=j V1jmvMHsS0
Serving Constituents Communications Media appearances, websites, town hall meetings… Case Work Staffers help constituents solve problems involving national government.
Ex) Dealing with agencies (IRS, Social Security), asking for favors (tours, meetings w/ legislators)
Serving Constituents’ Interests and Concerns Introducing / sponsoring legislation that serves constituents interests. Working to have federal projects located in district (highways)
Purpose Congress is one of few national assemblies with the
power to initiate legislation, not simply vote on executive’s proposals. Congress also conducts investigations that lead to important changes in policy and removal of officials. Despite its rules and leadership structures, the 535 member Congress faces challenges representing their growing and diverse constituencies.
Describe the role of rules, committees, and political parties in Congress. Describe the lawmaking process. Identify the primary sources members rely upon. Explain the importance of Congress’ power to investigate. Explain why compromise is required in the deliberative process. Evaluate, take, and defend positions on how Congress functions and whether it should streamline its procedures.
Terms to Know bill A proposed law placed before a legislature for approval. cloture A rule of the U.S. Senate stipulating that debate on a legislative proposal be cut off and the proposal voted upon by the full Senate if sixty members agree. filibuster The practice of refusing to surrender the floor during a debate to prevent the Senate from voting on a proposal.
impeachment Charging a public official with a crime while in office and bringing him or her to trial. Convicted officials are removed from office. lobbying
The practice of attempting to affect legislation by influencing legislators.
Terms to Know pocket veto A presidential practice that allows a bill to die if not signed within ten days and Congress is adjourned. The president is conceived as keeping the bill in his pocket rather than taking it out and signing it. power to investigate
The power of Congress to undertake formal inquiries into matters of public business and public policy. resolution A formal statement of a decision or expression of opinion put before or adopted by an assembly such as the U.S. Congress. seniority Length of service. In the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate, certain powers and responsibilities of congressional members, such as committee chairmanships, are granted on the basis of their time in office.
The Role of Rules & Committees Rules and Committees not specified in Constitution,
but instead created by each chamber (Art. 1 Sec. 5) Committees
Standing (permanent) Committees have jurisdiction over particular subjects, appoint more specific subcommittees Ex) http://www.govtrack.us/congress/committee.xpd Hold hearings to hear public testimony or conduct gov’t oversight
Select Committees (task forces) exist for limit time for specific purpose
The Role of Rules & Committees Rules Examples House rules specify size and jurisdiction of committees / govern form and structure of debate Senate more informal, filibuster option remains open at all times. However, 60 votes (cloture) brings proposal to a vote
Party Organization Leaders encourage members to adhere to party platform Committee chairs appointed by seniority and party loyalty
Congressional Leadership House Leadership (3 models) Strong Institutional Speaker Speakers wield considerable power over organization and legislative agenda Powers: controls committee appointments, chairs Rules Committee, “traffic cop” deciding which bills come to the floor and rules of debate.
Decentralized Committee Leadership
Some historical periods witnessed committee chairs rebelling against speaker
Party Control Strong speaker who represents majority party Committee chairs appointed based upon party loyalty
Congressional Leadership Senate Leadership VP is president of Senate, but only power is to cast tie-breaking vote. Majority and Minority Leaders chosen by each party to guide operations.
Majority Rule and Compromise in Congressional Deliberation Bill vs. Resolution Simple resolutions address rules or express sentiments of Congress Joint Resolutions device for proposing Amendments or other matters. If signed (or over-ride), has force of law Most proposals take form of a bill Bills introduced in either House (except revenue bills= H) Numbers with prefix S or H The process is as follows…
Majority Rule and Compromise in Congressional Deliberation Committee Assignments Bills assigned to at least 1 committee / usually referred to subcommittees for rigorous scrutiny and amendments Hearings Representatives of government agencies, interest groups or outside experts present testimony Deliberations At “Mark Up” sessions, members can review, modify, approve final version, and recommend to full House or Senate Report If bill wins favorable committee vote, reported to full chamber Committee report justifies its actions
Majority Rule and Compromise in Congressional Deliberation Floor Vote
Places on calendar for consideration and a vote
Referral to the Other Chamber
If passed, sent to other chamber where process begins again
When versions of bill differ (most do), conference committee (members of both house) try to reach compromise. If agreement reached, conference report submitted for vote (cannot be amended, can be filibustered)
Referral to President
If president signs, becomes law If vetoed, 2/3 vote needed in each chamber to over-ride If not signed, but Congress adjourns within 10 days, bill is dead (pocket veto)
Majority Rule and Compromise in Congressional Deliberation Bill must win majority support at each phase Sponsors of bill must be persistent and willing to
compromise Lawmaking process demonstrates American system of representative gov’t, limited gov’t and checks and balances at work. LawCraft
Ideas for Legislation & Deciding Which Bills to Support Campaign Promises Responses to Crisis Legislation Introduced by Others Library of Congress and Congressional Budget Office
provide research, analysis, and projected costs. Executive Branch
President outlines legislative agenda at State of the Union
Party members sponsor president’s legislation
Legislation also introduces by Executive departments / agencies
Ideas for Legislation & Deciding Which Bills to Support Constituents
Constituents recommend enactment or repeal of laws through various forms of communication (letters, opinion polls, blogs)
Organizations, industries, and interest groups employ lobbyists to help influence legislation Reflects right to free speech, assembly, and petition Effective Lobbyists are well-informed on issue, knowledgeable of process, wellorganized, and cooperative.
The Power to Investigate Purpose Finding facts on which to base legislation Discover or influence public opinion Oversee administrative agencies Probe activities of public officials Secure partisan political gain Power to investigate also used to impeach federal
Initiated in House. If vote on impeachement, sent to Senate Conviction in Senate requires 2/3 majority
Purpose The president is among the most powerful political
figures in the world. Internatioanlly, the president speaks for the country and is the symbol of America. Domestically, the president suggests policies to Congress and is the leader of their political party. Americans look to the president for leadership, while also fearing concentration of executive power. This lesson examines sources of presidential power and ways that checks and balances limit presidential power.
Explain the president’s responsibilities and how the office has evolved. Identify various constitutional and political checks on the president’s power. Explain fundamental differences between the parliamentary prime minister and the American presidency. Evaluate, take, and defend positions on issues involving the exercise of presidential power and the relationship between the president and other branches of gov’t.
Terms to Know commander in chief Highest ranked person of the military forces. According to the U.S. Constitution, the president is commander in chief of the nation's armed forces.
executive orders Directives issued by the president, including Presidential Directives, National Security Directives, and Homeland Security Presidential Directives. Presidents have issued such orders since 1789. Such orders are open to the public, except for National Security Directives. executive power
The authority to carry out and enforce the law.
The President’s Responsibilities Executive Power not specifically defined in
Constitution, but following powers are listed (Art. II)
Commander in Chief of army and navy Heads executive department Granting reprieves and pardons Making treaties (subject to Senate’s consent) Nominating ambassadors, consuls, judges Recommend legislation Veto bills Receive ambassadors (chief diplomat)
The Framers’ Vision of the Presidency Official above partisan politics Electoral College would identify
people with character “preeminent for ability and virtue” No expectation of campaigns Wanted “energetic” president as opposed to legislature’s “deliberative” nature Hamilton: “Bad execution… must be… a bad government.”
The Presidency Evolves Andrew Jackson Unprecedented use of veto (national bank) Abraham Lincoln Expansion of wartime powers (suspension of habeas corpus) Teddy Roosevelt “Bully Pulpit” – used visibility and influence of presidency to advocate his political agenda
The Presidency Evolves FDR
Took control of policy process through New Deal programs.
Social Security, employment programs, executive agency reform
Exerted unprecedented military power during WWII Employed “fireside chats” to establish trust and confidence
Effective presidents have used FDR’s strategies to bolster power Reagan – “The Great Communicator” JFK & Clinton – Used charisma to win political allies and persuade public to support policy proposals
Foreign Policy Congress’s role (declare war, fund armed forces…)
largely reactionary to president The President foreign relations powers…
Commanding Armed Forces Military power used to defend nation and as a threat to persuade Each president since FDR has sent troops abroad w/o declaration of war.
Sole authority to negotiate on behalf of US, pending Senate approval
Foreign Policy Appointing Ambassadors & Public Ministers President decides who represents US abroad. Ambassadors help shape US image and advise on foreign policy Receiving Ambassadors and Other Public Ministers President sole channel of international communications Assumes right not to recognize them
Expansion of War Powers During wars and emergencies, presidents often
exercise power not granted in Constitution
Grover Cleveland – sent unauthorized troops to put down Pullman train car strike FDR – sent war ships to Britain before entered WWII
Attempts at restraint 1952 – Supreme Court rules against Truman (seizing steel mills during Korean War) 2006 – Bush’s “special military commissions” violated US law and Geneva Convention However, Congress & Court tend to defer to president
Expansion of Presidential Power Over time, power has flowed from one branch to the
19th C. – Congress dominated 20th C. – As role of US in world grew, so did Executive power
Why growth of presidential power? Over past century, polls show public demand for strong president
However, polls also show public distrust of strong executives
Broad constitutional powers Role in recommending legislation Increasingly active role in development of federal regulations
Regulations elaborate on general laws passed by Congress
Expansion of Presidential Power Executive Orders Rule or regulation issued by the president. Must be published in Federal Register Assumption of new
Issues involving education, health care, transportation, product safety, etc. have shifted from purely state / local control to national as well.
Limitations on Power Congress Rejecting or modifying president’s legislative agenda Asserting its constitutional authority (war powers) Refusing to ratify treaties Refusing to confirm nominees Refusing to fund programs Removing president from office
Limitations on Power Supreme Court Humphrey’s Executor v. US (1935)
US v. Nixon (1974)
Congress must approve president’s removal of official from independent regulatory agencies President not entitled to automatic immunity from legal process
Train v. City of NY (1975)
President cannot refuse to spend money appropriated by Congress
Differences Between American Presidency & British Prime Minister Prime Minister Chief Executive Appointed by majority party or coalition Must have served in Parliament Passage of legislation more efficient, but PM can be quickly replaced once they lose confidence of Parliament
Differences Between American Presidency & British Prime Minister Presidency Not appointed, elected. No experience required. Fixed 4-yr term, regardless of public opinion Many more checks on power than in Parliamentary system Power depends on ability to persuade President’s standing in eyes of world can enhance or detract from international reputation of nation.
Purpose Departments, agencies, and bureaus that administer
laws (bureaucracy) touch every aspect of American life. This lesson examines the role of administrative departments and agencies in America’s national government.
Explain why Congress create administrative units, the circumstances that contribute to their creation, and the range of governmental functions that administrative perform. Identify some of the checks on the exercise of administrative power. Evaluate, take and defend positions on public administration in the United States.
Terms to Know bureaucracy Governmental departments and agencies and their staffs, principally civil service members and political appointees. cabinet The group of advisors to the president composed of the heads of the departments of the executive branch and certain other officials. Cabinet advice to U.S. presidents is not binding, as opposed to parliamentary systems, where the consensus of cabinets is said to bind prime ministers. civil service
Employment in federal, state or provincial, and local governmental agencies. The civil service was formed in an effort to reduce political patronage and promote professionalism in government. independent agencies Administrative organizations located outside the structure of executive departments.
Kinds of Administrative Units Executive Departments Congress directs each to administer certain laws / President appoints each secretary, or “head” (Cabinet) Currently 15 departments, each head in line of succession Executive Office of the President (EOP) Created in 1939 to help with budgeting, personell management, and natural resources planning. Includes: White House Office, Office of Management & Budget, Council of Economic Advisors, National Security Council
Kinds of Administrative Units Independent Agencies
Located outside structure of Executive Departments Granted quasi-legislative regulatory powers
Ex) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Peace Corps
Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA)
US Postal Service
Was independent agency, now part of Dept. of Homeland Security Government corporation
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
Designed to enforce regulations of the industry
Administrative Organizations Quasi-legislative powers delegated to
implement broad congressional mandates.
Rules published in Federal Register
Some units granted quasi-judicial powers Hearings held to resolve disputes Example: IRS Makes & Enforces rules about tax collections. Also holds hearings for those accused of violations. Administrative Procedure Act (1946) Established rules to implement laws, requires public notice / hearings, permits judicial review of administrative decisions
Contributing Factors Growth in response to demands placed on gov’t Ex) Industrial Revolution lead to Dept. of Commerce and Labor, Interstate Commerce Commission, and Federal Trade Commission Great Depression / New Deal FDR creates significant growth in federal bureaucracy in response to national crises Cold War Dept. of Defense, National Security Council, CIA…
Contributing Factors Reduction Starting in 1970s, many commissions and boards abolished
Ex) Interstate Commerce Commission
9/11 Terrorist attacks result in creation of Department of Homeland Security
Staffing Administrative Agencies Civil Service 1883 – Patronage substituted for merit-based system / administrative class insulated from politics Congress sill establishes office requirements, performance standards, wages, benefits, & “whistle-blower” protections Hatch Act (1939)
Parties prohibited from pressuring workers to contribute or work for candidates in exchange for job security
President makes appointments to key leadership positions Helps ensure bureaucracy enacts his policy agenda With new administration’s usually complete change in leadership
Checks & Balances The President Appointment power rewards loyalists / advances agenda Executive Orders – directs agencies to take certain actions Congress Creates, consolidates, or eliminates agencies Senate confirms high-level appointees Statutes direct agency actions Appropriates funding Congressional Oversight
Ex) review budgets, investigate actions
Checks & Balances Courts Decide whether agencies violate 14th Amendment due process & equal protection requirements Requires Congress to clearly define agency standards Federalism If state and national policies differ, states sometimes resist or refuse to comply with standards (ex. Education reform) Citizens, Interest Groups, Media Those directly affected by public policy ca monitor actions, report complaints, or investigate issues regarding problems and injustice in the bureaucracy
Purpose As opposed to English tradition, the Constitution
provides for an independent judiciary. Hamilton considered it “least dangerous branch” because it depends on other branches to enforce its decisions. This lesson examines how the Supreme Court has become a coequal branch of the national government and describes some of the institutional checks on its power.
Objectives Explain the difference between the Supreme Court’s
original and appellate jurisdiction. Explain the four methods of constitutional interpretation. Explain how America’s system of checks and balances limits the power of the Supreme Court. Evaluate, take, and defend positions on issues relating to the role of the Supreme Court in the constitutional system.
Terms to Know advisory opinion In some judicial systems, a formal opinion on a point of law given by a judge or court when requested by a legislature or government official. appeal The bringing of a court case from a lower court to a higher court in an attempt to have the lower court's decision reversed. Grounds for appeal include errors of law, fact, or procedure. appellate jurisdiction The legal authority of a court to hear appeals from a lower court.
jurisdiction The power or authority to hear cases and make decisions. landmark decision A legal decision that constitutes a turning point or stage. Brown v. Board of Education (1954) is an example of a landmark decision.
Terms to Know litigant A party involved in a lawsuit. methods of constitutional interpretation
Interpretive methods employed by U.S. Supreme Court justices when considering constitutional issues of some cases. See strict construction, original intent, fundamental principles, and instrumentalism original jurisdiction
In some cases, such as those in which a state is a party, the Supreme Court has the right to consider the facts and the law in a case without it having first been passed on by a lower court. writ of certiorari A type of writ seeking judicial review of a legal decision.
Constitutional Powers of the Supreme Court Article III Created Supreme Court, Congress has power to create inferior courts. Life tenure for all Federal Judges Jurisdiction over cases arising under national law and involving citizens from more than one state. Trial by jury in all criminal cases except impeachment Power of judicial review, deciding whether acts of Congress, executive, state laws, or state constitutions violate US Constitution
Constitutional Powers of the Supreme Court Original Jurisdiction Power of a court to pass judgment on both the facts of a case and the law. Original Jurisdiction over
“cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls,… [and] … Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party.”
Original Jurisdiction - Supreme Court only one to hear case
Very few cases arise from original jurisdiction
Constitutional Powers of the Supreme Court Appellate Jurisdiction Power of higher court to review and revise decision of inferior court Supreme Court has appellate jurisdiction in all cases not in original jurisdiction unless restricted by Congress. Congress Created 3 – Tiered system Trial Courts (Federal District Courts) in each state 13 Courts of Appeal (Federal Circuit Courts) Supreme Court
Constitutional Powers of the Supreme Court
Litigants who lose in lower federal court (or highest state court) can ask Supreme Court to review the case. Supreme Court not require to issue writ of certiorari Four justices need to approve Of thousands of yearly petitions, number of cases decided by court on decline 1980 – 232 cases 2006 – 72 cases
Methods of Constitutional Interpretation Written Opinions Courts issue majority, concurring, and dissenting opinions Hold Supreme Court accountable by publicizing its rationale Establishes a record that serves as precedent for future cases
Methods of Interpretation Textualism, Literalism, or Strict Construction Looking at literal / ordinary meaning of each word or phrase “keeps Court neutral and helps justices avoid imposing their own values on the Constitution”
Methods of Constitutional Interpretation
Original Intent or Original History Seek to understand what Founders originally meant “helps maintain stability and neutrality in the law”
Fundamental Principles Looks to principles – natural rights, republican gov’t – to interpret meaning of words, phrases, or clauses “identifying fundamental principles is useful in determining what meaning of words actually are”
Modernism or Instrumentalism Premise that Constitutional interpretation should adapt to changing circumstances and contemporary needs. Argue that justices should not “hold back social progress by adhering to outmoded understandings of the Constitution”
Checks on Supreme Court Power Self-Imposed Limits Attempt to avoid partisan politics by refusing “political questions” Does not issue advisory opinions, only decides specific cases Presidential Appointments Nominees can change approaches to constitutional interpretation and attitude about role of the court Executive Enforcement President may threaten to refuse enforcement.
Ex) US v. Nixon
Checks on Supreme Court Power Congressional Power Congress determines appellate jurisdiction and controls budget If statute declared unconstitutional, may pass it in another form Can alter size of the court Can propose amendments in response to unpopular decisions
Ex) 16th Amendment – Income Tax
Federalism State enforcement may be lax. Some states still evade entirely desegregating schools
Purpose The powers of and the boundaries between the
national and state governments never have been clear. This lesson examines constitutional provisions affecting the states in their relationship to the national government. It also explains how state governments are organized, including their creation of units of local government. Finally, it describes the role of states as “laboratories of democracy.”
Objectives Explain how American federalism involves divided
sovereignty and an ongoing effort to balance power. Explain the function of three basic kinds of local government – counties, municipalities, and special districts. Give examples of governmental innovations at the state and local levels. Evaluate, take, and defend positions on continuing issues related to America’s unique system of federalism.
Terms to Know initiative
A proposed law placed on the ballots of some states for voter decision. Initiatives that pass immediately become law. local government Government of a specific local area, such as state subdivisions authorized by states or governments of cities, counties, and towns. Also includes special government units, such as water districts. police powers The inherent authority of a government to impose restrictions on private rights for the sake of public welfare, order, and security within the boundaries of constitutional law. recall
A process of using special or general elections for removing elected officials from office. referendum Placing a measure approved by a legislature on a ballot for popular approval. reserved powers Those powers referred to in the 9th and 10th Amendments that are reserved to the states or to the people.
Constitutional Status of State Governments States’ Role in National Government 9 of 13 states were needed to ratify Constitution (Art. VII) Determine Voting Qualifications for House Members (Art. I) Equal Representation in Senate Vital Role in Electoral College System Governing Power Left to the States Art. I Sect 8 – 9 powers states do not have (no titles of nobility) Prior list, enumerated powers for Congress, and 10th Amendment established that powers not granted to national government are reserved to state governments.
Constitutional Status of State Governments Reserved (Police) Powers State gov’ts power to enact legislation that protects the health, safety, welfare, and morals of those within this district
Ex) Schools, making / executing criminal and civil laws, zoning
Historic Tension Disputes often arise over Supremacy Clause and ambiguities regarding which level of gov’t has which power
Common Features of State Government Organization Bill of Rights Most include same rights as US Constitution. Many also add rights such as right to work or right to education. Legislative Branch Most legislatures (assemblies) meet annually, are bicameral, with districts for both houses based upon population. Executive Branch Governor is chief executive, most serve 2 or 4 year terms. Lt. Governor role similar to “vp.” 2003: US gov’t employees = 3 million, State / Local gov’t employees = 15 million
Common Features of State Government Organization Judicial Systems Trial and appellate courts. Judges elected in some states, appointed in others. Municipal courts deal with local matters such as traffic offenses. State Supreme Court has final say about meaning of state constitution. Creation of Local Governments State grants charters to carry out certain gov’t responsibilities. Local laws typically called ordinances. Categories of local government includes: counties, municipalities (cities & townships), and special districts that provide specific services (school districts).
Changing State Constitutions Since 1776, 144 New State Constitutions, Thousands
Only 18 states have original constitution Ballots usually contain proposals for constitutional amendments Current policy debates in the states: same-sex marriage, gambling, marijuana decriminalization / legalization
Federalism In Practice Regulation of Commerce States retain power to regulate commerce within its borders. However, courts have asserted Congress’s power to regulate local activities if they “have a substantial effect on interstate commerce.”
Ex) Medical marijuana use laws. Gonzalez v. Raich
Grant-in-aid Programs In return for money from national gov’t, states must comply with congressional policies Ex) Federal highway funds require compliance with “national” speed limit. Ex) Race to the Top education funds
“Laboratories of Democracy” Initiative, Referendum, Recall Methods allow citizens to participate in direct democracy in their states. Environmental Protection Several states set emission standards set by Kyoto Accords, despite national governments choice not to. Health Care Several state-wide reforms have been tried in the states and served as a model for national legislation.