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AP US Gov & Politics

ap us gov and politics notes from kaplan glossary

QuestionAnswer
527 group A tax-exempt organization, named after a section of the U.S. tax code, that can engage in election activities on behalf of causes or issues. Many have been formed by interest groups. Not to be confused with PACs.
advice and consent The power of Congress to confirm or deny presidential nominations for executive and judicial posts and approve of international treaties.
affirmative action A policy helping those previously discriminated against to get extra advantages & opportunities, like economic, educational, & political positions. Some say it discriminates against majority groups.1st presidential = 1965 in Lyndon Johnson's admin.
Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) The main form of individual welfare payments until the mid-1990s. More recent programs come in the form of grants to states, where the state distributes the family assistace as needed.
American Bar Association (ABA) The organization that ranks judiciall nominees as well qualified, qualified, or not qualified. These rankings are used to assess nominees prior to their hearings in the Senate.
amicus curiae brief Summary case arguments given by interested parties who may be affected by the outcome of a case. This "friend of the court" summary is supposed to give judges more information about the arguments and the possible outcomes.
Anit-Federalists Members of the opposition to the new Constitution; they lost the vote but forced the promise that a set of rghts would be added as amendments by the new government. This became the Bill of Rights.
apportionment Legislation that concerns the raising of revenues by the government.
appropriation bill A bill that provides funding for a program that has been authorized, usually for one year at a time.
approval rating A measurement of how popular, or unpopular, a leader or program is among the public.
back-bencher A nickname given to newer members of Congress who have few important positions or those more senior members who tend to avoid positions of power or controversy.
balanced budget The goal of the federal government to spend only the amount of money collected from tax revenues. Previous efforts to legislate such spending limits or to create an amendment for this goal have failed.
ballot initiative A form of direct democracy letting citizens petition for issues decided via direct ballot (not legislative branch). Popular in CA (for reducing/reorganizing taxes) it has caused issues when opposing initiatives are passed or prevent agencies from working.
beltway ("inside the beltway") References the highway loop that enfolds the greater D.C. area & seems to isolate U.S. leaders. If leaders focus only on lobby groups & the hallways of power (unconcerned with the interests of the U.S. at large) they’re said to be thinking in the beltway.
bicameral The "two chambers" of Congress: the House of Representatives and the Senate.
bilateral agreement The resulting agreement when two nations create a joint policy.
bill A proposed law being debated in Congress.
bipartisan A label given if support for something comes from members of both parties.
bloc A voting group that tends to include those with common interests and views.
block grants Monies given to communities and states for general programs, such as social services and development projects.
blog A media outlet that presents rumors, opinions, & some news. Blogs tend to be very partisan. Blogs have the power to investigate where mainstream media outlets hesitate. Criticisms = lack of filtering & editing & their lack of responsibility toward facts.
blue states The label given to states where the Democratic Party wins the electoral votes.
Boll Weevils Southern Democratic members of Congress who openly voted for conservative issues and with the Republican Party in the 1980s. Many have now officially switched over to the GOP.
brief A summary of case arguments given to the judges and justices before a hearing to outline the parameters of the case.
budget resolution A congressional resolution binding the legislature to a specific total budget amount for the fiscal year.
bully pulpit The idea, named for Teddy’s use of the term bully, that presidents can gain national public support more easily than the many Congressmen. Polls say that with at min 60% of public support, Congress is politically pressured to follow a prez’s priorities.
capitation A head count for tax purposes as part of a census.
categorical grants Grants given to communities and states for very specific programs that require certain conditions or rules to be applied by the agencies spending the federal monies. If the federal rules are not followed, the monies can be withdrawn.
caucus The arena in which some states select delegates as party candidate representatives through meetings where only parth members are allowed to participate.
caucuses Informal meetings in the Congress of groups with similar interests or constituencies.
charter school programs A conservative reform where struggling public schools are replaced by more privately run academies with the hopes that these charter campuses will be more efficient and hold higher standards than publicly run systems.
checks and balances The policy allowing each of the three branches of government to "check" the power of the other two and limit that power, if necessary, to maintain balance.
civil liberties The limits of governmental powers over citizens, or the level of freedom citizens have from government.
class action suits A lawsuit involving numerous defendants afflicted by the same law or action who are represented as a group.
clear and present danger test The policy limiting the rights of free speech if the government deems certain forms of speech as a clear and present danger to the public. These limits were first defined in the case Schenk vs. U.S., 1919.
client politics Policies developed to help specific, smaller groups, where the costs of the actions will be borned by the nation as a whole.
closed primary system The regulation that voters must preregister with a party to cast ballots on primary day, or the system where voters can only vote in one party's primary.
closed rule A procedure used by the House of Representatives to prohibit amendments from being offered in order to speed consideration of the bill.
cloture Procedure made in the Senate to end filibuster via votes. The rules for cloture are based on approval of 60 senators. If cloture passes against a filibuster, those delaying must end their actions within a set amount of time & allow business to progress.
coattail A concept allowing congressional and other candidates to ride the popularity of a leader, such as the president, especially at election time.
Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) A series of volumes comprising a list of rules for the various departments and bureaucracies.
commerce clause Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 gives Congress the power to "regulate Commerce with Foreign Nations, and among the several States...."
commercial speech A form of speech regulated and redistricted to uphold "truth in advertising." Deception for the sake of money gains is not legal. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is in charge of such regulations.
community standards The ability of communities to ban certain language, art, or actions based on what they deem obscene or appropriate for their citizens.
comparable worth A guide for decisions concerning the pay scales of employees of different sexes.
concurrent opinion A document drafted by court justices who voted with the majority to explain how they differ in their beliefs about the meaning of the majority vote.
"consent of the government" Describes a government that derives its power from the governed and does not force its power on the citizens.
constant campaign The manner in which presidential candidates and members of the House, who must face re-election every other year, continually campaign to the public to uphold their positions.
constituent Voters from the district or state that elected that leader. House members' constituents are from their districts. Senators' constituents are from the entire state.
containment The effort to control the spread of opposing groups or influences, as in attempts to limit the spread of communism.
continuing resolution An action allowing the government to continue to be funded temporarily if Congress is unable to complete the new federal budget by the October 1 deadline.
continuous body The senate is a continuous body in that only one-third of the Senate is up for re-election at a time. All of the House is up for re-election every other year and all seats could be changed. Therefore the House is not "continuous."
"Contract with America" A list/book used during the congressional elections of 1994 by conservatives led by Gingrich. It defined the goals of a new Republican majority if they gained control of the HOR, like pushing for a balanced budget amendment, limited welfare programs, etc.
convention A summer gathering where the parties elect their nominees, establish the party issue platforms, and approve the vice-presidential nominees.
cooperative federalism The act of federal and state governmental uunits working together to shape, fund, and enforce policy.
cost-benefit analysis A financial guide used by many agencies to compare the cost of a project with the potential benefits.
C-SPAN The development of cable television in the late 20th century created several news-only television outlets. This network shows congressional activities and debates on various stations and has been used by members to gain fast "face time" with the public.
de-alignment The trend for fewer citizens to claim they loyally support of the major parties.
debt/public debt The combined deficits of the federal gov owed in the form of bonds sold to U.S. citizens, foreign investors, nations, & parts of gov. The largest part of today’s debt is held by governmental agencies. In mid-2009, the total debt came to ~$11.4 trillion.
Created by: catalyst?