Constitutional Stuff
Presidential Powers
Checks and Balances
List one formal responsibility of the Vice President.
- President of the Senate - Succeeds president if necessary
How many electoral votes does Maryland have?
10 electoral votes
List 2 specific presidential powers found in the constitution.
Many answers exist...Some powers include: - Commander in Chief - Sign bills - Veto bills - Issuing pardons - Appoint ambassadors - Negotiate treaties
List 2 “political” checks on the president.
Many examples exist: - Public Opinion (polling) - Media Coverage - Scandals - Economic status of nation
What are the 2 specific jobs of a cabinet secretary?
1. Provide advice to the president. 2. Lead/manage their department.
Which amendment describes what happens if a president dies or becomes unable perform his/her presidential duties?
25th Amendment
Why does the president often have better public opinion ratings at the beginning of term than at the end of the presidency?
A honeymoon period often happens at the beginning of the term since people have not yet been disappointed and the president's record is clean
How does a treaty differ from an executive agreement?
Treaty = formal power, must be ratified by 2/3 of the US Senate Executive Agreement = informal power; does not need US Senate's approval; only lasts until the end of a president's term
Describe two ways that the Senate checks the president’s power.
1. A simple majority of the Senate must confirm presidential appointments. 2. 2/3 of the Senate must ratify treaties.
Describe the job of the president’s Chief of Staff.
The president's gatekeeper; trusted adviser both politically and on policy
List the 2 out of the 3 constitutional qualifications for becoming president.
1. Natural born citizen 2. At least 35 years old 3. Lived in the US for the last 14 years
List 2 ways a person can be president OTHER than winning via the electoral college.
1. Take over after an impeachment. 2. Take over after the president resigning. 3. Take over if the president dies or becomes disabled.
Why do president's often hesitate to use pardons during the beginning of their term in office?
Your answer should include something regarding the fear of making a political mistake--looking weak on crime; causing public opinion poll numbers to decrease; tarnishing the powers of the criminal justice system
How does a line-item veto work?
The executive is able to veto PARTS of a spending bill without having to veto the entire bill. The SCOTUS declared this power unconstitutional in the case Clinton v. New York City.
List two provisions of the War Powers Act (1973).
It is a big law, but the answer can include the following: - President can commit troops to another country, but must inform Congress within 48 hours - Forbids armed forces from remaining for more than 60 days, with a further 30 day withdrawal period, without an authorization of the use of military force or a declaration of war.
How does the 22nd Amendment limit the presidency?
- Limits the terms of the president to two
Why do presidential candidates spend much of their time campaigning for the general election in “swing states”?
These states are not solidly for one party, thus the candidates have a better chance of competing for a swing state's electoral votes--making it more important as the candidate tries to gain 270 electoral votes
What is an executive order?
It is a presidential command towards an executive agency or department. The command has the force of the law and does not require congressional approval, though EO's can be challenged in court.
Specifically describe the two steps in the presidential impeachment process.
1. The House must vote to impeach with a simple majority (more than 50%) 2. The Senate conducts the trial and can convict an official if more than 2/3 of the Senate agrees.
How do “mandatory spending” programs in the federal budget affect the budget-making process?
These programs must be funded based upon prior laws. Because these items are already funded, there is less money available to fund discretionary programs that are often popular for the general public.
Describe the logic of the founding fathers for trying to create a limited president.
- Answer should include at least some of this information: the goal of preventing another monarchy as the colonies experienced; avoid a tyrannical regime; spread out power via checks and balances and separation of powers
What happens if no presidential candidate wins a majority of the electoral votes?
The House of Representatives selects the president. Each state receives one vote. The candidate who receives a majority of votes becomes the president. The Senate decides who will be the next Vice President.
List 2 constitutional military/foreign policy powers of the president.
- Commander in Chief - Deploy troops - Negotiate treaties - Appoint ambassadors (with Senate consent) - Appoint cabinet members and other advisers (with Senate consent) - Receive ambassadors - Recognize other nations
What famous precedent came from the Supreme Court case United States v. Nixon?
The answer should include information identifying that a president does have the right to executive privilege, though this right is not absolute and cannot be used unless the information is imperative for the protection of the US
List 2 arguments in favor of the Electoral College. List 2 arguments against the Electoral College.
Many answers exist, thus here are a few possible answers: Favor: - Worked relatively well for 200+ years - Decentralizes power of choosing the president--preventing potential corruption - Educated people will choose the president - Promotes national stability; the 2-party system Against: - Can depress turnout if people feel like their vote does not count - Makes it hard for third parties to have an influence - Electors don't necessarily have to vote based upon the will of the people of their state
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