American Government Midterm Reviewer

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American Government Midterm Reviewer Topic: Federalism 1. Name and differentiate the three ways of ordering relations between the central and local units. Ans: There are three ways of ordering relations between the central or national government and the local or state governments. First is a Unitary system, this system allows the ultimate authority of government to lie in the hands of the national or central government alone. Second is the Confederate system, this is a league of independent state where the central government handles only the problems common to everyone and delegated to it by its members, unlike a unitary system, the central government has no ability to make laws directly applicable to individuals unless member states support such laws and third is the Federal system, a system which power is divide, by a constitution between the central government and the regional or local governments. Each is considered powerful in their own sphere of influence. 2. Discuss the reason why a federal system was chosen by the framers of the constitution? Ans: The federal system was a result of a compromise between the federalists, who wanted a very strong national government and the anti-federalist who wanted a very strong local government. 3. Why is the term federalism in the constitution undefined? Ans: The term was undefined in the constitution because the framers understood that if they had defined it then they would inevitably be setting a limitation to the constitution. Even if undefined, the framers were adamant in creating a strong central government to remedy the failures of the Articles of Confederation. 4. Enumerate and describe the type of powers of the government. Ans: Enumerated/ Expressed powers - are those specifically granted to the national government by the constitution Example: Setting standards for weights and measures, making uniform naturalization laws, admitting new states, establishing post offices, declaring war and regulation of commerce. Implied Powers – are those not expressly stated by the constitution but reasonably implied Reserved Powers - are those powers held by states, not given to the national government and not denied to state government.


Exclusive Powers – are those powers that only the national government can exercise Concurrent Powers – are those powers that both the national government and states exercise. 5. What is the Necessary and Proper clause (Elastic clause)? Ans: The clause that gives congress all powers that can be reasonably inferred but not expressly stated in the constitution. 6. What is the Supremacy clause? Ans: This clause maintains the supremacy of the national constitutional over local or state laws and actions. The Supremacy clause is embedded in Article VI Paragraph 2 7. Give the important constitutional clauses that are required by horizontal federalism. Ans: Full faith and credit clause – give credit to every other state’s public acts, records and judicial proceedings (In international law this is called ―Act of State Doctrine‖) Privileges and immunities – Article VI Section 2 provides that a Resident of one state cannot be treated like an alien in another states, he or she may not be denied such privileges and immunities as granted to the state’s residents. Extradition- states must surrender accused or convicted criminals to the authorities of the state from which he or she has fled. 8. Briefly describe the following types of federalism (1) Dual Federalism, (2) Cooperative Federalism, (3) Creative Federalism, (4) New Federalism, (5) Bush Federalism and (6) Progressive Federalism. Ans: 1. Dual Federalism- belief of having SEPARATE but EQUALLY POWERFUL branches and levels of government, balanced is carried out through concurrent powers layer cake federalism a. Cooperative Federalism- believes that all levels of the government should be working together cooperatively to solve common problems, marble cake federalism 2. Creative Federalism- shifted more power towards the national government by bypassing the state governments, known as picket-fence federalism it was rampant during the time of Lyndon B. Johnson


3. New Federalism- evolved with Ronald Reagan, more power was returned to the states in an effort to even out the strength of the national government, example was block grants 4. Bush Federalism- under GWB the national government gained an extreme amount of power because of drastic events like the 9/11 5. Progressive Federalism- employed by the Obama administration, this type of federalism allows states to have greater control over issues normally reserved for national government 8. Discuss briefly the steps for admitting new states. Ans: Step 1: Area desiring statehood petitions congress for admission. Step 2: Congress passes and ENABLING ACT (directs framing of a proposed state constitution Step 3: Convention prepares a constitution and the constitution is put to popular vote in the proposed state. Step 4: If the voters approve, then it is submitted to Congress for consideration. Step 5: If after reviewing the document congress still agrees it passes an ACT OF ADMISSION Step 6: President signs the act and a new State enters the union Topic: Executive branch

1. Who can run for president? Ans: According to Article II Section I Clause 5 the president must be a natural born citizen, at least 35 years of age and must have resided in the United States for at least 14 years. 2. What is the president’s term of office? Ans: According to the 22nd amendment of the Constitution no president can serve more than twice. Therefore the maximum term of a president is 8 years but if a VP succeeds a president mid-term then he may serve a total of ten years, 2 years of the remaining term of the person he succeeded and 8 years of his own term. But no President may now serve more than 10 years.


3. Who is the ONLY president who served for more than 10 years? Ans: Theodore Roosevelt 4. When do voters cast their ballots for the president? Ans: Every four years on Tuesday after the first Monday in November. 5. Who elects the president? Ans: The Electoral College 6. Describe the Electoral College. Ans: The Electoral College comprises of a number determined by the total number of the House of Representatives and House of Senate plus 3 representatives from the District of Columbia (538 electors). States have as many electors as they have representatives in congress. The College is winners take all system and although the candidates’ names appear on the ballot the people are actually choosing their electors. 7. How is the President of the United States elected? Ans: The candidates of each party are selected through primaries and caucuses. These candidates (President and Vice-President) must come from the same political party (republicans or democrats). Party members get to vote for their standard bearers. Party candidates are finalized during the national convention. Then the general election begins. At this stage, it is not the actual candidates being voted for but a group of people known as electors. These electors pledge their votes to a certain ticket and it tis the Electoral College that elects the president. The president that gets majority of the Electoral College (270) wins. 8. What are the grounds for succession? Ans: Death, Disability,Removed from office by impeachment and Resignation (Code: D2 R2 ) 9. What are the first 7 order of Succession? Ans: i. VP ii. Speaker of the House


iii. President Pro Tempore of the Senate iv. Secretary of States v. Secretary of the Treasury vi. Secretary of Defense vii. Attorney General 10. What are the two formal roles of the VP? Ans: Preside over Senate and Help decide questions of presidential disability (beyond these duties the VP is literally a president in waiting) 11. Name some of the President’s role. Ans: (Code: Chief7 Commander1) Chief – of state Executive Administrator Diplomat Of Party Citizen

Commander- in Chief

Topic: Legislative Branch 1. What is the major function of Congress? Ans: The major function Congress is to make law. 2. Explain Bicameralism. Ans: Bicameralism is a reflection of the compromise between the Virginia and New Jersey plan, each of the State is equally represented in the Senate and in terms of its population in the House. 3. Describe the term of Congress. Ans: Each term of Congress lasts for two years, and each term is numbered consecutively. The first one began on March 4, 1789, and ended on March 4, 1791. The start of each new term was changed by the 20th Amendment in 1933, now ―noon on the 3rd day of January‖ of every odd-number year. There are two sessions to each term of


Congress – one each year. Section 2 of the 2oth Amendment provides that ―The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3rd day of January...‖ 4. How are members of the Congress elected? Ans: Congressional elections are held on the same day in every State. Since 1872 Congress has required that those elections be held on the Tuesday following the first Monday in November of each even-numbered year. 5. Who are qualified for House Members? Ans: A member of the House must be at least 25 years of age, must have been a citizen for at least seven years, and must be an inhabitant of the State from which he or she is chosen. Longstanding custom, not the Constitution, also requires that a representative must live in the district he or she represents. 6. Is there a term limit for representatives? Ans: No. 7. What are some responsibilities of the House of Representatives? Ans: The House ―the judge of the elections, returns, and qualifications of its members.‖ Thus, when the right of a member-elect to be seated is challenged, the House has the power to decide the matter. The House may refuse to seat a member-elect by majority vote. It may also ―punish its own members for disorderly behaviour‖ by majority vote, and ―with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.‖ 8. Briefly but comprehensively discuss the composition, election and term of office of the Senate. Ans: The Senate ―shall be composed of two senators from each State. Each senator is elected from the State at-large. Each State has two senators. Each serves for six years and has one vote. The 17th amendment provided for popular election. after they shall be assembled in consequences of the first election, they shall be divided, as equally as may be, into three classes. The seats of the Senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the second year; of the second class, at the expiration of the fourth year; and of the third class, at the expiration of the sixth; so that one third may be chosen every second year. Because of this classification the senate is said to be a ―continuous body‖


9. What are the qualifications of Senators?

Ans: A senator must be at least 30 years old, a citizen for at least nine years, and a resident of the State from which elected. 10. Difference between each house Ans; Qualifications Senators



At least 30 years of age

At least 25 years of age


Inhabitant of the State from which elected, when elected Citizen of the United States for at least 9 years 6 years

Inhabitant of the State from which elected, when elected Citizen of the United States for at least 7 years 2 years

50 senators (2 from each State)


Citizenship Tenure of Office Composition

Exclusive Powers

Special Powers of the House of Representatives 1. To originate revenue bills (Article I, Section 7 2. To elect a President from among the top three candidates when no candidates has received a majority of votes in the electoral college (Article II, Section 1) 3. To bring charges of impeachment (Article I, Section 2

Special Powers of the Senate 1.To approve or reject major appointments made by the President (Article II, Section 2) 2.To ratify treaties (Article II, Section 2)

3.To elect a Vice President from among the top candidates if there is a tie in the votes of the electoral college (Article II, Section 1) 4. To try cases of impeachment (Article I, Section 3)


11. What are the powers of Congress? Enumerate and briefly describe each. Ans: Under the expressed power Congress has the The Power to Tax( Article I, Section 8, Clause 1) -To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States The Power to Borrow Money -―to borrow money on the credit of the United States‖ The Commerce Power- (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3) the power of Congress to regulate interstate and foreign trade – is as vital to the welfare of the nation as the taxing power The Currency Power- (Hepburn v. Griswold, 1870 and Juliard v. Greenman, 1884) ―to coin money [and] regulate the value thereof. The States are forbidden that power Bankruptcy-―to establish ... uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies, throughout the United States‖ (Bankruptcy is the legal proceeding in which the bankrupt’s assets are distributed among those to whom a debt is owed. That proceeding frees the bankrupt from legal responsibility for debts acquired before bankruptcy.) Foreign Relations Power- Congress has the inherent power to act on matters affecting the security of the nation. War Powers- Only Congress may declare war. It has the power to raise and support armies, to provide and maintain a navy, and to make rules pertaining to governing the land and naval forces, ―calling forth the militia,‖ and for the organizing, arming, and disciplining of it. And Congress has the power to grant letters of marquee and reprisal and make rules concerning captures on land and water

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Naturalization- Article I, Section 8, Clause 4 gives Congress the exclusive power ―to establish a uniform rule of naturalization Requisites for naturalization: Have entered the United States legally, lived for at least five years and in some State for at least three months, and be at least 18 years old File a petition for naturalization with the clerk of a federal district court or of a state court of record. Be literate in English language Be ―of good moral character,‖ ―attached to the principles of the Constitution,‖ and ―well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States.‖


 Have ―a knowledge and understanding of the fundamentals of the history, and the principles and form of government, of the united States.‖  Take an oath or affirmation in which he or she absolutely renounces any allegiance to any foreign power and promises to ―support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.‖ The Postal Power- power ―to establish post offices and post roads‖ Copyright and Patents- To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing, for limited times, to authors and inventors, the exclusive right to their respective writings and the discoveries.‖ Weights and Measures- the power to ―fix the standards of weights and measures‖ throughout the United States Power Over Territories and other Areas- power to acquire, manage, and dispose of various federal areas and that power relates to the District of Columbia and to several federal territories, including Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands Judicial Powers- Congress has several judicial powers. These include the expressed power to create all of the federal courts in the federal judiciary below the Supreme Court and to provide for the organization and composition of the federal judiciary. Under the Implied and Non-Legislative powers The Amendment Power- It may propose an amendment to the Constitution by a twothirds vote in each house. Congress may also call a national convention to propose an amendment, but it may do so only if that step has been requested by at least two-thirds of the State legislatures.

Electoral Duties- only used if the regular electoral practices fail to produce clear results. Most famously, the House of Representatives get to choose the president anytime no candidate is able to win a majority in the Electoral College. Similarly, the Senate must choose a Vice President when no candidate wins a majority of the electoral votes for that office. Impeachment Power- The Constitution gives the House the sole power to impeach—that is, to bring charges against government officials - and the Senate the sole power to judge – sit as a court - in impeachment cases. The House may impeach by a majority vote. Two-thirds vote of the Senators present is needed for conviction. The penalty for conviction is removal from office.


Under the Executive powers Appointments- All major appointments made by the President must be confirmed by the Senate by majority vote. Each nomination is referred to the appropriate standing committee of the Senate. The Ratification Power- Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution gives the Senate the exclusive power to ratify treaties between the United States and other nations. The President makes treaties ―by and with the advice and consent of the Senate‖ 2/3 of Senators present must concur Investigatory Powers- Congress has the power to investigate any matter that falls within the scope of its legislative powers. Congress may choose to conduct investigations for several reasons such as: (1) gather information useful to Congress in the making of some legislation;(2) oversee the operations of various executive branch agencies; (3) focus public attention on a particular subject; (4) expose the questionable activities of public officials or private persons; and/or (5) promote the particular interests of some members of Congress. 12. Who can introduce bills? Ans: Most bills introduced in either House do not originate with members of Congress themselves. Instead, most bills – the important as well as the routine – are born somewhere in the executive branch. Business, labor, agriculture, and other pressure groups often draft measures as well. Some bills, or at least the ideas for them, come from private citizens who ―think ought to be a law ...‖ And many are born in the standing committees of congress. 13. What bills can be introduced EXCLUSIVELY by the House of Representatives? Ans: ―All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills.‖ 14. How does a bill become a law? Step 1: Introduction Only a member of Congress (House or Senate) can introduce the bill for consideration. The Representative or Senator who introduces the bill becomes its "sponsor." Other legislators who support the bill or work on its preparation can ask to be listed as "cosponsors." Important bills usually have several co-sponsors.


Four basic types of legislation are considered by Congress: Bills, Simple Resolutions, Joint Resolutions, and Concurrent Resolutions. A bill or resolution has officially been introduced when it has been assigned a number (H.R. # for House Bills or S. # for Senate Bills), and printed in the Congressional Record by the Government Printing Office. Step 2: Committee Consideration All bills and resolutions are "referred" to one or more House or Senate committees according their specific rules. Step 3: Committee Action The committee considers the bill in detail. If the committee approves the bill, it moves on in the legislative process. Committees reject bills by simply not acting on them. Bills that fail to get committee action are said to have "died in committee," as many do. Step 4: Subcommittee Review The committee sends some bills to a subcommittee for further study and public hearings. Just about anyone can present testimony at these hearings. Government officials, industry experts, the public, anyone with an interest in the bill can give testimony either in person or in writing. Notice of these hearings, as well as instructions for presenting testimony is officially published in the Federal Register. Step 5: Mark Up If the subcommittee decides to report (recommend) a bill back to the full committee for approval, they may first make changes and amendments to it. This process is called "Mark Up." If the subcommittee votes not to report a bill to the full committee, the bill dies right there. Step 6: Committee Action -- Reporting a Bill The full committee now reviews the deliberations and recommendations of the subcommittee. The committee may now conduct further review, hold more public hearings, or simply vote on the report from the subcommittee. If the bill is to go forward, the full committee prepares and votes on its final recommendations to the House or Senate. Once a bill has successfully passed this stage it is said to have been "ordered reported" or simply "reported." Step 7: Publication of Committee Report Once a bill has been reported (See Step 6:) a report about the bill is written and published. The report will include the purpose of the bill, its impact on existing laws, budgetary considerations, and any new taxes or tax increases that will be required by the bill. The report also typically contains transcripts from public hearings on the bill, as well as the opinions of the committee for and against the proposed bill.


Step 8: Floor Action -- Legislative Calendar The bill will now be placed on the legislative calendar of the House or Senate and scheduled (in chronological order) for "floor action" or debate before the full membership. The House has several legislative calendars. The Speaker of the House and House Majority Leader decide the order in which reported bills will be debated. The Senate, having only 100 members and considering fewer bills, has only one legislative calendar. Step 9: Debate Debate for and against the bill proceeds before the full House and Senate according to strict rules of consideration and debate. Step 10: Voting Once debate has ended and any amendments to the bill have been approved, the full membership will vote for or against the bill. Methods of voting allow for a voice vote or a roll-call vote. Step 11: Bill Referred to Other Chamber Bills approved by one chamber of Congress (House or Senate) are now sent to the other chamber where they will follow pretty much the same track of committee to debate to vote. The other chamber may approve, reject, ignore, or amend the bill.

Step12: Conference Committee If the second chamber to consider a bill changes it significantly, a "conference committee" made up of members of both chambers will be formed. The conference committee works to reconcile differences between the Senate and House versions of the bill. If the committee cannot agree, the bill simply dies. If the committee does agree on a compromise version of the bill, they prepare a report detailing the changes they have proposed. Both the House and Senate must approve the report of the conference committee or the bill will be sent back to them for further work. Step 13: Final Action – Enrollment Once both the House and Senate have approved the bill in identical form, it becomes "Enrolled" and sent to the President of the United States. The President may sign the bill into law. The President can also take no action on the bill for ten days while Congress is in session and the bill will automatically become law. If the President is opposed to the bill, he can "veto" it. If he takes no action on the bill for ten days after Congress has adjourned their second session, the bill dies. This action is called a "pocket veto." Step 14: Overriding the Veto Congress can attempt to "override" a presidential veto of a bill and force it into law, but doing so requires a 2/3 vote by a quorum of members in both the House and Senate.


Topic: Judiciary 1. What type of court system does the United States have? Discuss. Ans: There are two separate court systems in the United States. On one hand, the national judiciary spans the country, with its more than 100 courts. On the other hand, each of the 50 States has its own system of courts. 2. How many types of court does America have? What are their nature and jurisdiction? Ans: Two distinct types of federal courts created by Congress: 1. The Constitutional Courts - the federal courts that Congress has formed under Article III to exercise ―the judicial power of the United States.‖ Together with the Supreme Court, they now include the courts of appeals, the district courts, and the Court of International Trade. The constitutional courts are sometimes called the regular courts. 2. The Special Courts- The special courts do not exercise the broad ―judicial power of the United States.‖ Rather, they have been created by Congress to hear cases arising out of some of the expressed powers given to Congress in Article I. The special courts hear a much narrower range of cases than those that may come before the constitutional courts. These special courts are sometime called the legislative courts. They include the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the court of Veterans Appeals, the Claims Court, the Tax Court, the various territorial courts, and the Courts of the District of Columbia. The Constitution gives the federal courts jurisdiction over certain cases. Article III, Section 2 provides that the federal courts may hear a case either because of (1) the subject matter or (2) the parties involved in the case 3. What cases may be heard by the federal court in terms of subject matter? Ans: Cases involving the interpretation and application of a provision in the Constitution or in any federal statute or treaty; or question of admiralty are heard by the federal court in terms of subject matter. 4. Who are the parties that come into the jurisdiction of the federal courts? Ans: Federal courts hear cases if the parties are any of the following:  the United States or one of its officers or agencies; an ambassador, consul, or other official representative of a foreign government;


a State suing another State, or a citizen of another State, or a foreign government or one of its subjects; a citizen of one State suing a citizen of another State; an American citizen suing a foreign government or one of its subjects; a citizen of one State suing a citizen of that same State where both claim land under grants from different States. 5. Differentiate original from appellate jurisdiction. Ans: If a case is first hear in a court, the said court has original jurisdiction. But a court that hears a case on appeal from a lower court has appellate jurisdiction over that case. The higher court – the appellate court – may uphold, overrule, or in some way modify the decision appealed from the lower court. 6. How are judges appointed? Ans: The President has the power to appoint judges by the advice and consent of Senate. 7. What is the term of office for judges? Ans: Judges of both the Supreme and inferior courts shall hold their offices during ―good behavior‖. Judges of constitutional courts are appointed for life. Federal judges may retire at the age of 70 and they shall receive their full salaries if they have served for at least 10 years. They may retire at age 65 and receive full salary if they have served at least 15 years of service. 8. Describe the Supreme Court, its jurisdiction and how cases may reach it. Ans: The Supreme Court of the United States is the only court specifically created in the Constitution and is made up of the Chief Justice and eight associate justices it is on an equal plane with the President and Congress. It has has both original and appellate jurisdiction. But most of its cases come on appeal – from the lower federal courts and from the highest State courts. Cases involving the State, ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls may be heard by the Supreme Court in its original jurisdiction. • Cases are selected according to ―the rule of four‖ : at least four of its nine justices must agree that a case should be put on the Court’s docket. • writ of certiorari (from the Latin, ―to be made more certain‖) a writ is an order by the Court directing a lower court to send up the record in a given case for its review • , by certificate- is used when a lower court is not clear about the procedure or the rule of law that should apply in a case, lower court asks the Supreme Court to certify the answer to a specific question in the matter.

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