It is important to understand that the Supreme Court has total discretion over whether they will hear a case or not. There are three critical principles the Supreme Court views to decide if a case is valid enough to be reviewed. First the person who is involved must have a standing or vested interest in the particular case. ?The traditional requirement for standing has been to show injury to oneself; that injury can be personal, economic, or even aesthetic (Ginsberg 596).? Therefore, a person should have material interests that are directly involved with the outcome of the case.
Secondly the Supreme Court will only look at cases which reveal controversies involving conflicting decisions based on other cases or deal with important notions such as civil rights or civil liberties. Finally, the cases must have relevance or what the Supreme Court refers to as mootness. If a person dies before he appears in court then the case can be thrown out. Furthermore, if the facts have changed or the problem has been resolved over time then the case will be put to rest. If these three criterions are met than the Supreme Court will hear a case when four of the nine Supreme Court Justices agree to hear the case.
2. In the long run a policy that does not have support of the people will never survive and be brought to the political agenda. Therefore, lobbyists become the key influential policy makers for the public. They motivate and connect people and businesses toward their government. Individuals and businesses pay vast sums of money to lobbyists to try to convince the congress and president the favored policies among the public. Their primary function is to meet with members of congress and provide a framework for what the people want. The lobbyists look toward congressional sub-committees that express a particular interest in an issue. Lobbyists filter their ideas and thoughts about particular issues through these sub-committees.
Since public officials in the end, carry out public policy, lobbyists spend most of their time closely entwined with sub-committees. By doing this they gain the support of certain congressman. Furthermore, they provide support and money to congressional member?s campaigns. This in effect allows for legislation to be passed and gives the congressmen possible reelection. Therefore, congressman become passionate about certain political issues they are trying to pass as it may play a crucial role in their next election. The iron-triangle refers to the inside political game of lobbying. Furthermore, lobbyists put forth certain forces on the executive branch not only through the help of the congress but also because it is what the American people believe in. Certain branches of government will be involved in the issues being brought up.
3. The Executive Office of the President has begun to play an increasing role in government over the twentieth century. This office helps to coordinate the enormous size of the executive branch. They help to improve the efficiency of government and the effectiveness of government programs. Specific offices today are inclined to serve their own interest of how government should be run rather then conform to the president?s priorities. The president in effect imposes his own priorities of government offices by providing budgets. He cannot be involved in the day to day decisions of every office it is just too much of a burden. Therefore he expects that each head of an office carry there function out as best as they can.
These offices such as the National Security Council are tools that help the president in running government. What is most important about this office is it symbolically represents the country. The Executive office regulates and rebuilds everything. They are in charge of how the government is run. The White House staff assists the President in performing his daily work. They make schedules for him, plan trips, help write speeches, and help in communicating to the press. They are the institutional tools the President needs to run government. Therefore, yes the executive office is very important, the President having the help of aides has more time to care to the peoples needs and at the same time the public looks to him to solve problems.
4. Politics have always governed the appointment of Supreme Court Justices. One of the most important characteristics that a President looks for in a Supreme Court nominee is his membership to the President?s party. A President will look to someone that is well informed, respected, knowledgeable, and friendly. Usually this would be someone from a high status in the legal profession who is familiar with the particular issues he will face as a justice. Furthermore the President wants to appoint someone that is of a good age and still youthful. However, the President must also take into consideration that whoever he appoints must be approved by the Senate. It is important to understand that the party who is in control of the senate can play a large consideration in who is appointed as a justice.
5. When the Supreme Court engages in judicial review, it makes political decisions and affects public policy. One area that the Supreme Court has vested much of its time into is the area of civil rights. The Supreme Court became more involved with the civil rights issue in the late thirties. It became viewed as a sword where government is there to protect the people?s rights. Particular interests in civil rights began not in the outcome of a case but a mere footnote. In the U.S. v. Carolene Products Justice Stone made an argument in a footnote that the U.S. Supreme Court would become more concerned with the constitutionality of laws in the future. He believed that the Supreme Court should look at the practice of democracy in itself, discrimination against race or ethnicity and laws that contradict the bill of rights. This triggered a new attitude to laws that were apparently unconstitutional. It would help to redefine citizen and government relationship.
In 1896 the Supreme Courts decision in Plessy v. Ferguson gave segregation the legitimacy of constitutional law. This decision of ?separate but equal? endured for nearly sixty years. Yet as Justice Stone had perceived a different future this legal justification would be over turned. In the decision of Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 the Plessy ruling was reversed and declared that segregation of schools was unconstitutional and inherently unequal. The Supreme Court would now begin to take a role of leadership that other sections of government were unwilling to exercise.
Other cases such as Baker v. Carr would reapportion districts lines so there would be less variation and more equal districts. This would further there devotion to the rights of citizens. In Gideon v. Wainwright indigent offenders were given the right to court appointed attorneys giving all citizens equal protection and due process of law. Moreover the decision in Miranda v. Arizona gave the rights to citizens to be informed of their rights when arrested. All of these decisions helped to protect the rights of citizens. These decisions and more in the future were the result of the Supreme Court looking deeper into the freedom and equality of citizens.
Though the House and Senate operate under the same branch they both play different roles. The House is much larger than the Senate which makes it harder for a collective group to come to an agreement. The key component to the House lies in the very nature of the committee. The real driving force of the House stems from the committee level. Most committees deal with particular areas of policy and create a focused debate. Whatever legislation is trying to be passed never is modified on the floor of the House because there are too many members. However, the Senate is much smaller and allows for more decisions to be made on the floor and therefore commitees are not as important.
The House is very different because of its size and therefore congressmen become more specialized. As a Congressman you must sit on committees. Depending where a Congressman is from might depend on what committees he would like to sit on. There are those committees that are always intrinsically important. For example: the ways and means committee which decides taxes. There are also committees that may or may not pertain to a Congressmen and his district. Then there are those committees who no one wants to sit on. Committees are even broken down further into sub-committees which are even more specialized and debate issues that will be sent to the committees.
The Senate Standing Committee is among one of the most important committees because it is permanent. This committee primarily carries out legislation such as Finance, Foreign Relations and Appropriations. The committee on Foreign Relations is very important because of the Senate?s power to ratify treaties. Unlike the House, the Senate has no standing committee that sets rules governing the conduct of debate, which sometimes means that Senators can talk about a bill forever. The House Standing Committee also is very important yet carries out different functions. The most important House Committees are the Way and Means Committee, which has the power over taxation, and the Appropriations Committee, which controls all federal spending. All bill that are introduced to the house are referred to one of the standing committees.
After the bills are reported out of the Standing Committee, they must be sent to the Rules Committee. The Rules Committees main function is to decide what bills must be debated, amended, and considered by the House. The Select Committees are temporary committees created for special purposes yet have no power. In the House members are selected by the Speaker. In the Senate the president of the Senate has the duty of making appointments. Select Committees are often formed to investigate specific situations. Joint Committees are composed of members of both houses. They are organized to promote cooperation between the House and the Senate on broad aspects of public policy. Finally, there is the Coference Committee. After a bill is passed in both houses, this committee made up of members of both bodies are formed to reconcile differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.
By custom and tradition the longest serving committee member of the majority party most often becomes chairperson of that committee. The chairperson and the ranking minority member of a committee or sub-committee usually become the most influential members of the committee or sub-committee. Each member of a committee or sub-committee moves up in ranking as those above him resign, are defeated in relection, or even retire.
At the beginning of each new session of congress, the members of each party meet in a conference to decide who will be their new leaders. In the House of Representatives, the majority party chooses the speaker of the House, a majority floor leader, and a majority whip. The minority party in the House appoints a minority floor leader and a minority whip. In the Senate the majority party chooses the president, a majority leader, and a majority whip. The Senate minority elects a minority leader and a minority whip.
Party leaders are elected who have a good standing with many party members, who are respected, have an ability to command, and most importantly have the power to persuade. Majority leaders serve in congress to enact the majority parties agenda Minority leaders have generally the same idea however they aim to resist the agenda submitted by the majority. Whips ultimately inform members when important bills are to be voted on and exert pressure to secure party members to stay within their party. House and Senate leaders are head of the parties and closely schedule debates.
However, the most important job is the Speaker of the House. The speaker is the most important member of the House of Representatives. One fundamental key to the appointing of the Speaker is the majority party appoints him. Therefore, the Speaker of the House is not only in charge of the whole House but leader of the Majority party. He is the one that directs all business on the floor. He can influence legislation being passed in the house, assign bills to different committees, and can appoint members to different committees.