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Important Vocabulary 1

Caroline Palmer's AP Government Test Review, Lincoln High, Stockton, California.


undefined, object
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checks and balances
power of the legislature, executive, and judicial branches of govt. to block some acts by the other two branches
bicameral legislature
a law making body made out of two chambers or parts . The US congress is a _________ b/c it is made of both the senate and the house of representatives.
A legal document prepared by an attorney representing a party before a court. The document sets forth the facts of the case, summarizes the law, gives the argumentsfor its side, and discusses the revalent cases.
an alliance among different interest groups (factions) or parties to achivesome political goal. An example is the coalitionsometimes formed between Republicans and conservative Democrats.
A legislative grant of moneyto finance a government program.
Conditions of Aid
Federal rules attached to the grants that states receive. States must agree to abide by these rules in order to receive the grants
Discretionary authority
The extent to which appointed bureaucrats can choose courses of action and make policies that are not spelled out in advance by laws.
blanket primary
a primary election that permits all voters, regardless of party, to choose candidates. A democratic voters, for example, can vote for both a (R) and (D) for nomination.
clear/present danger test
interpretation by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes regarding limits on free speech if it presents clear and present danger to the public or leads to illegal actions (Fire!)
Civil rights
The rights of the citizens to vote, to recieve equal treatment before the law, and to share equally with other citizens the benifits of public facilities (such as schools).
discount rate
The interest deducted in advance in purchasing, selling, or lending a commercial paper.
bill of attainer
a law that declares a person guilty without a trail. The state legislatures and congress are forbidden to pass such laws under article I of the constitution.
categorical grants
Federal grants for specific purposes defined by the federal laaw; to build an airport, for example, or to make welfare payments to low income mothers. Such grants usually require that the state or locality put up money to 'match' some part of the federal grants, throughthe amount of matching funds can bequite small.
A large complex organization composed of appointed officials. The department and agencies of the US government make up the federal bureaucracy.
A division in society due to political or partisan allegiance.
Circular Structure
a method of organizing a persidents staff in which several presidential assistants report directly to the president.
the right to use power
cold war
refers to the nonmilitary struggle between the US (and its allies) and the former Soviet Union (and its alies) following WWII. (A ____ is distinguished from a 'hot' or 'shooting' war)
class action suit
A case brought into court by a person on behalf of not only him/herself but all other persons in the country under similar cicumstances.
the work of a social worker who deals with a number of individual clients (cases)
cloture rule
a rule used by the senate to end
The appointed officlas who operate government agencies from day to day.
block grants
grants of money from the federal government to states for programs in certain genera areas rather than for specific kinds of programs.
Changes in, or additions to the US Const. Amendments are proposed by a 2/3 vote of both houses of Congress or by a Convention called by Congress at the request of 2/3 of the state legislatures and ratified by the approval of 3/4s of the states.
Anti- federalists
Opponents of a strong central government who campaigned against the ratification of the Constiution in favor of a confederation
dissenting opinion
A Supreme Court opinion by one or more justices in the minority to explain the minorities disagreement witht hte Courts ruling.
caucus (congressional)
an asssociation of members of Congress createdto advocate a political ideology or a regional, thnic, or economic interest.
Affirmative Action
The requirement, imposed by law or administrative regulation, that an organization take positive steps to increase the proportions of women and minorities in its membership.
direct (particpatory) democracy
a political system in which all or most citizens participate directly by either holding office or making policy. The town meeting, in which citizens vote on major issues, is an example of ___________ democracy.
discharge petition
A device by which any member
By custom , the cabinet includes the heads of the 14 major executive departements/
Amicus curia brief
A latin term meaning a "friend of the court." Refers to interested groups or individuals, not directly involved in a suit, who may file legal briefs or make oral arguments in support of one side.
Art. of Confederation
It created a weak national government and could not collect or levy taxes or regulate commerce.In 1789 it was replaced by the current constitution to establish a stronger national government.
bill of rights
a list of individual rights and liberties such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press.
chairman (committee)
The presiding officer of an assembly, meeting, committee, or board.

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