POL 104

POL 104-A Mid-Term Study Guide

 Know the three primary functions and general characteristics of the U.S. Congress.

 Know how the powers of the President gives him/her a policymaking advantage over the Congress for leadership on broad national issues.

 Know the U.S. Cabinet, and understand its importance to the President.

 Know that incumbency usually plays the largest role in the reelection of members of Congress.

 Know the most important leadership positions in the U.S. House and Senate.

 Know the political implication of the resurgence of congressional partisanship in the last 40 years on voting behavior in Congress.

 Know the primary executive responsibilities of the President of the United States.

 Know that when one party controls the Presidency and another controls one or both chambers of Congress it is divided government.

 Know what presidential tool is deemed by Kernell in The Logic of American Politics as “the president’s most formidable tool in dealing with a Congress controlled by the opposition political party”?

 Understand that key Presidential appointees who are responsible for coordinating the activities of the executive branch are located in the Executive Office of the President.

 Know the role of strong Presidents, and key actions taken by strong Presidents such as Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

 Know that civil service reform included the concept of merit hiring. Know the advantages of merit hiring.

 Know the primary function of America’s federal bureaucracy is policy implementation, not lawmaking or policy development.

 Know the periods when the US bureaucracy grew most rapidly.

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 Know that alliances between agency staff, members of Congress and special interest groups, that seek control policy in their domains, are known as Iron Triangles.

 Understand the responsibilities of the federal district courts.

 Understand how most of the cases reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

 Understand the concept of appellate jurisdiction.

 Know which constitutional power Congress has in relation to the Supreme Court.

 Know that the procedural doctrine that directs lowers courts, as well as the Supreme Court itself, to follow established precedents in deciding current court cases is known as stare decisis (Latin for “let the decision stand.”

 Understand the composition of the federal judiciary system.

 Know how U.S. Supreme Court decisions are formulated and characterized (majority, dissenting, etc.).

 Understand that a review of federal district judges’ decisions in The Logic of American Politics underscored that their ideological stances were similar to those of the President who appointed them.

 Know how the racial and ethnic complexion of the U.S. Congress has changed, and how that translates between the two major parties.

 Know that the Speaker of the House is the only office of the House of Representatives provided for in the Constitution.

 Understand the role of party control in enabling the passage of the President’s proposed legislative initiatives.

 Know the several ways in which Congress holds the bureaucracy accountable.

 Know the Committee system in the U.S. Congress. Understand the role of Standing Committees, Select Committees, Joint Committees and Conference Committees.

 Know the lawmaking process.

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