PolySci_-_425_Notes - Chapter 1 The Role of Congress Our...

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Chapter 1 – The Role of Congress Our country’s founders saw Congress as the foremost, dominant branch. Why Congress Exists Not do deal with any specific problem on the national agenda but to act as a check on the power of a single leader in order to maintain freedom for the American people. Core Principle: Sovereignty of the People - What was truly revolutionary about the American Revolution was the notion it enshrined that in a legitimate government, the people are sovereign, the ultimate rulers. Under this concept, neither Congress nor the president is supreme, because the ultimate authority lies with the people. - The question the framers had to grapple with – How to ensure that the people’s views would be reflected in government. - Madison and his compatriots wanted to guard against the tyranny of the majority, to ensure that the passions of the moment could be cooled in deliberate debate, that the voice of the minority could be heard and its right protected. So they opted for representative democracy. - Oldest written constitution of a nation still in use Core Principle: Balancing Powers in Government - Our founder believed that the accumulation of power in any person or institution was dangerous and that balancing them off, one against the other, protect against tyranny. - Congress has the primary responsibility of passing laws - The president can sign or veto them - The Courts can review whatever Congress passes - President nominates Judges to the Supreme Court - But the Senate must approve them - President negotiates treaties - But up the Senate to ratify or reject them - Federal courts can declare laws passed by Congress and executive actions unconstitutional - Congress that creates and funds the federal courts, determines their jurisdiction, and has the power to remove them. Congress and the President - The relationship between Congress and president – former Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn “I served with, not under, either presidents,”. - 435 members that vote - Using the “bully pulpit,” the president can go over the heads of Congress and make his case directly to the American people. In this media-driven age, he speaks with one voice, rather than the 535 emanating from the halls of Congress, making it easier for him to command the attention of the cameras. Why Federalism Works
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PolySci_-_425_Notes - Chapter 1 The Role of Congress Our...

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