American Government Final Spring 2013
1. Advice and Consent: senate; approves or rejects federal appointments 2. Agenda Setting: they determine what news is worth reporting a. Example: John McCain portrayed by media as ‘too old’ 3. Appropriations: the act of setting apart something for its application to a particular usage, to the exclusion of all other uses; typically refers to the legislative designation of money for particular uses, in the context of a budget or spending bill b. Congress also has power over the president with its control of appropriations and (by the State) the right of approval of treaties c. Checks and balances
d. President can’t do anything without money therefore Congress has control over his power 4. City of Boerne v. Flores: dispute arose when Catholic Archbishop of San Antonio, Patrick Flores, applied for a building permit to enlarge his 1923 mission-style St. Peter’s Church in Boerne, Texas. The building was located in a historic district and considered a contributing property (). Local zoning authorizes denied the permit, citing an ordinance governing additions and new construction in a historic district. The Archbishop brought suit, challenging the ruling under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA). Flores argued that his congregation had outgrown the existing structure, rendering the ruling a substantial burden on the free exercise of religion without a compelling state interest. e. District Court: The City of Boerne was successful at the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas; the judge struck down the RFRA as unconstitutional. Flores appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which found the RFRA constitutional and reversed the District Court's decision. Boerne filed a certiorari petition to the Supreme Court. The National Trust for Historic Preservation, among other preservation organizations, filed briefs in support of Boerne. f. Supreme Court: ruled that Congress does not enforce a constitutional right by changing what the right is. It has been given the power "to enforce," not the power to determine what constitutes a constitutional violation. Were it not so, what Congress would be enforcing would no longer be, in any meaningful sense, the "provisions of [the Fourteenth Amendment].
g. Why is it important?
i. It introduced a completely new test for deciding whether Congress had exceeded its section-five powers: the "congruence and proportionality" test, a test that has proven to have great importance in the context of the Eleventh Amendment. Another reason was that it explicitly declared that the Court alone has the ability to state which rights are protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. Yet another was that it had First Amendment consequences too, in that it spelled the end for any legislative attempts to overturn Employment Division v. Smith. 5. Employment Division V. Smith: case that determined that the state could deny unemployment benefits to a person fired for violating a state prohibition on the use of peyote, even though the use of the drug was part of a religious ritual. Although, states have the power to accommodate otherwise illegal acts done in pursuit of religious beliefs, they are not required to do so. h. Alfred Smith and Galen Black were denied unemployment benefits b/c they were fired for using an illegal drug during a religious ritual 6. Closed Rule: additional amendments are not allowed or introduced, before bills can be considered they decide if its open or closed Benefit: if you allow amendments then you water down the bill and it can’t be passed 7. Conference Committee: temporary joint committees whose members are appointed by the Speaker of the House and the presiding officer of the Senate. These committees are charged with reaching a compromise on legislation that has been passed by the House and the...
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