The United States Supreme Court receives many appeals, but it hears and rules on a small percentage of cases each year. Numerous factors influence the actions of the Court, both in deciding to hear a case and in the decisions it hands down. a. Define judicial review. Judicial review is a power held in the Supreme Court to declare legislation, laws, bills, acts, and executive orders unconstitutional. b. Explain how judicial review empowers the Supreme Court within the system of checks and balances. Judicial review gives the Supreme Court power over the legislative and executive branch because the Court can declare something that either branch wants to do unconstitutional. c. Describe the process through which the Court grants a writ of certiorari. The court will order a lower court to send up a certain case for review. To decide if a certain case should come to the Supreme Court, 4 judges have to vote to send it up. This is the rule of four. d. Explain how each of the following influences decisions made by individual justices deciding cases heard by the Court a. Stare Decisis. Stare Decisis can influence judge’s decisions because they will defer to prior Supreme Court decisions and apply the precedent to their current cases and rule based on the past decisions. b. Judicial Activism. Judicial Activism influences the judges decisions because they are influenced by the needs and future of the nation so they are more likely to strike down laws and policies as unconstitutional if it affects the nation.
Public opinion polls are a way to link the public with elected officials. Members of Congress often use polls to understand the views of their constituents, but they must also pay attention to other political considerations. a. Identify two characteristics of a valid, scientific, public opinion poll. There are multiple factors that you can observe to see if a poll is more likely to valid. Good polls are random samples, have a large sample size and low margin of error, unbiased wording in the questions, and a representative sample (multiple demographics) b. Explain why each of the following enhances the influence of public opinion on the voting decisions of members of Congress. 1. Strong public opinion as expressed in polling results. The Congress men and women want to get reelected so they will try to please the public as much as they want. This can also affect the way members of congress vote because they have an obligation to represent their constituents and please them. 2. Competitive re-elections. Competitive re-elections can definitely affect an incumbent because they have a very strong desire to get reelected so they will try very hard to win public support. c. Explain why each of the following limits the influence of public opinion on the voting decisions of members of Congress. 3. Legislators’ voting records. The members of congress do not want to be perceived as indecisive by voters and supporters so they care about what their voting records are and try to make them follow party lines as much as possible. 4. Party leadership. Congressmen will not want to loose or risk loosing party support so they want to stay the majority party in congress.
Nominees for the presidency of the two major parties are chosen by delegates at national conventions. How these delegates are chosen varies across states and between the political parties. a. Define each of the following methods used by states to choose delegates to party conventions. 1. Open primary. An open primary is a primary in which any voter can cast a ballot for any party. 2. Caucus. A caucus is a meeting of people from a political party where they all discuss and then decide on a...