Week 5_ Legislative Institutions (2).pptx - Legislative Institutions Week 5 Reading Chapter 6 Fenno Home Style Dr Jenn M Jackson PSC 121 Introduction to

Week 5_ Legislative Institutions (2).pptx - Legislative...

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Legislative Institutions Week 5 Reading: Chapter 6, Fenno Home Style Dr. Jenn M. Jackson PSC 121: Introduction to American National Government
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Congress and the Constitution* The Framers created a bicameral legislature with distinct features of each chamber being designed to resolve the conflict. A House of Representatives, with seats allocated by population and members elected by the citizenry (435). A Senate composed of two members from each state chosen by the state legislature (100). This structure resolved the conflict of large versus small states and the debate over the appropriate degree of popular influence on government. 2
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Powers of Congress Article I, Section 8, sets out the enumerated powers of Congress and includes the necessary and proper clause. Congress was given significant authority in foreign affairs. Congress does not have exclusive authority over legislation. 3
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Congress and Elections Two choices made by the Framers have profoundly affected the electoral politics of Congress: Members of Congress and presidents are elected separately. Members of Congress are elected from states and congressional districts by plurality vote. Almost all nominees are now chosen by voters in primary elections. 4
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Congressional Districts In 1911, the membership was set a 435 for the House. If one party controls the legislature and the governorship, it may attempt to draw lines to favor its own candidates. This is called gerrymandering. The constitutionality of this practice has been challenged in court, but without great success. 5
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Racial Gerrymandering* 6 In Thornburg v. Gingles (1986), the Court ruled that district lines may not dilute minority representation, but neither may they be drawn with race as the predominant consideration. The decision was interpreted at directing mapmakers to design districts in which racial and ethnic minorities constituted a majority voters wherever residence patterns made this feasible. The Court decided in 1993 that such irregular districts went too far, and in 1995 that districts could not be drawn solely to benefit one race.
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Racial Gerrymandering* 7
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Unequal Representation in Senate The 50 Senate constituencies may not change boundaries with each census, though they vary greatly in size of population. The average U.S. House member represents 750,000 people. The nine largest states are home to 51% of total U.S. population. 8
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Unequal Representation in Senate The modern Congress is organized to serve the goals of its members. The primary goal is to keep their jobs. Thus, a career in Congress depends on getting elected and re-elected again and again. Electoral imperatives shape all important aspects of congressional life. 9
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Candidate-Centered vs. Party-Centered* Party-centered electoral politics used to dominate until party ties weakened.
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