September 21, 2010
Context for the Constitutional Convention
Continental Congress - Articles of Confederation
Articles created a national unicameral legislature with
Court Nominations: Process and Outcomes
Requirements: the Constitution does not say anything about
the requirements for serving on the federal courts, unlike the
detailed stipulations for Congress and the president.
Presidential influence: given the lack
How to elect our leaders?
Seems simple enough: select the candidate preferred by the
Easy enough with two candidates: one wins, one loses, and
there are only two ways to order preferences.
Gets messy with three or more candidates:
Approaches to studying parties in Congress
Responsible party government
policy commitments to the electorate: candidates run
on a unified national platform.
willingness and ability to implement promises (unified
government is implied).
strong opposition p
The 2011 budget.
Expand domestic spending on education, environment, infrastructure,
and health care.
$650 billion down payment on health care plan.
Cap and trade system to cut carbon emissions.
Rescind Bush tax cuts for upper income people
Future prospects for Congress
Congress is not in good shape: expansion in the role of
government and expansion of presidential power; the capacity
for legislative action (mixed) and the reduction in congressional
autonomy; the increase in plebiscitary pol