American Government

0% Complete
0 out of 72 Lessons
0% Complete
0 out of 4 Exams
Previous Lessons
Open Chapter Ch. 1: The Democratic Republic
Lesson #1 Politics and Government
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 1
Lesson #2 Democracy and Other Forms of Government
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 2
Lesson #3 What Kind of Democracy Do We Have?
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 3
Lesson #4 Fundamental Values
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 4
Lesson #5 Political Ideologies
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 5
Open Chapter Ch. 2: Forging a New Government: The Constitution
Lesson #6 The Colonial Background
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 6
Lesson #7 An Independent Confederation
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 7
Lesson #8 The Constitutional Convention
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 8
Lesson #9 The Difficult Road to Ratification
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 9
Lesson #10 Altering the Constitution
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 10
Open Chapter Ch. 3: Federalism
Lesson #11 Federalism and Its Alternatives
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 11
Lesson #12 The Constitutional Basis for American Federalism
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 12
Lesson #13 Defining Constitutional Powers -- The Early Years
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 13
Lesson #14 The Continuing Dispute over the Division of Power
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 14
Lesson #15 Federalism and Today’s Supreme Court
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 15
Exam Exam 1
Open Chapter Ch. 4: Civil Liberties
Lesson #16 The Constitutional Bases of Our Liberties
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 16
Lesson #17 Freedom of Religion
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 17
Lesson #18 Freedom of Expression
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 18
Lesson #19 The Right to Privacy
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 19
Lesson #20 The Great Balancing Act: The Rights of the Accused versus the Rights of Society
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 20
Open Chapter Ch. 5: Civil Rights
Lesson #21 The African American Experience and the Civil Rights Movement
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 21
Lesson #22 Civil Rights and the Courts
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 22
Lesson #23 Experiences of Other Minority Groups
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 23
Lesson #24 Women’s Struggle for Equal Rights
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 24
Lesson #25 The Rights and Status of Gay Males and Lesbians
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 25
Open Chapter Ch. 6: Public Opinion, Political Socialization, and the Media
Lesson #26 Public Opinion and Political Socialization
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 26
Lesson #27 The Influence of Demographic Factors
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 27
Lesson #28 Measuring Public Opinion
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 28
Lesson #29 Public Opinion and the Political Process
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 29
Lesson #30 The Media in the United States
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 30
Lesson #31 The Media and Political Campaigns
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 31
Open Chapter Ch. 7: Interest Groups and Political Parties
Lesson #32 A Nation of Joiners
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 32
Lesson #33 Types of Interest Groups
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 33
Lesson #34 Interest Group Strategies
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 34
Lesson #35 Political Parties in the United States
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 35
Lesson #36 A History of Political Parties in the United States
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 36
Lesson #37 Why Has the Two-Party System Endured?
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 37
Exam Midterm Exam
Open Chapter Ch. 8: Campaigns and Elections
Lesson #38 The Twenty-First-Century Campaign
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 38
Lesson #39 Financing the Campaign
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 39
Lesson #40 Running for President: The Longest Campaign
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 40
Lesson #41 How Are Elections Conducted?
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 41
Lesson #42 How Do Voters Decide?
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 42
Open Chapter Ch. 9: The Congress
Lesson #43 The Nature and Functions of Congress
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 43
Lesson #44 House-Senate Differences and Congressional Perks
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 44
Lesson #45 Congressional Elections and Apportionment
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 45
Lesson #46 How Congress Is Organized
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 46
Lesson #47 Law Making and Budgeting
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 47
Open Chapter Ch. 10: The Presidency
Lesson #48 Who Can Become President?
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 48
Lesson #49 The Many Roles of the President
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 49
Lesson #50 Presidential Powers
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 50
Lesson #51 The Executive Organization
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 51
Lesson #52 The Vice Presidency
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 52
Exam Exam 3
Open Chapter Ch. 11: The Bureaucracy
Lesson #53 The Nature and Scope of the Federal Bureaucracy
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 53
Lesson #54 The Organization of the Federal Bureaucracy
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 54
Lesson #55 Staffing the Bureaucracy
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 55
Lesson #56 Modern Attempts at Bureaucratic Reform
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 56
Lesson #57 Bureaucrats as Politicians and Policymakers
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 57
Open Chapter Ch. 12: The Judiciary
Lesson #58 Sources of American Law
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 58
Lesson #59 The Federal Court System
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 59
Lesson #60 The Supreme Court at Work
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 60
Lesson #61 The Selection of Federal Judges
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 61
Lesson #62 Policymaking and the Courts
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 62
Open Chapter Ch. 13: Domestic and Economic Policy
Lesson #63 The Policymaking Process: Health Care as an Example
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 63
Lesson #64 Immigration
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 64
Lesson #65 Energy and the Environment
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 65
Lesson #66 The Politics of Economic Decision Making
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 66
Lesson #67 The Politics of Taxation
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 67
Open Chapter Ch. 14: Foreign Policy
Lesson #68 Facing the World: Foreign and Defense Policies
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 68
Lesson #69 Terrorism and Warfare
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 69
Lesson #70 U.S. Diplomatic Efforts
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 70
Lesson #71 Who Makes Foreign Policy?
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 71
Lesson #72 The Major Foreign Policy Themes
Incomplete Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 72
Exam Final Exam

Assignments:

Unfinished Assignment Study Questions for Lesson 61

Lesson Objectives:

- Judicial appointments and nominations
- Partisanship
- The Senate’s role



There are 874 total federal judge positions and they are all to be appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate. At any given time, there are vacancies. Judges are appointed for life and are only removed by resignation, retirement, death, or the rare occasion of impeachment.

The president takes suggestions from multiple sources including the Department of Justice, senators, other judges, and people who themselves are interested, just to name a few. The president then submits a nomination to the Senate who either confirms or rejects it.



At one time, there was a tradition where a senator from the president's party nominated federal district judges for their state. President Carter changed that tradition to an independent commission starting the nomination process. When President Reagan stepped into office, he changed that again and took control of the entire nomination process.

Today, there is still a role for the Senate in appointing federal judges and that is Senatorial Courtesy, a tradition allowing a senator to veto a district court judicial appointment in his or her state.



It may seem needless to say, but most nominations come from the president's political party. It is one way a president can have a huge political effect on the country long after his term in office. The pattern can shift greatly and it has throughout history. During the terms of Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush, they ended up appointing around three-fourths of all federal court judge positions. Under President Clinton, he appointed 371 federal judges and that created another huge shift.

When President George W. Bush stepped into office, he appointed 322 federal judges, bringing the balance back in favor of the Republicans. He also filled two Supreme Court vacancies. This was particularly pivotal because those two justices shifted the Supreme Court ideologically towards the right.

President Obama also had the opportunity to appoint two Supreme Court justices, but he was replacing justices that were reliably from the left so there was little overall effect on the ideological balance of the Court.



It gets political in the Senate arena as well. They do not have to confirm a nominee and in fact, almost 20% of presidential nominations to the Supreme Court have either been rejected or the Senate refused to act on the nomination.

One reason they may refuse to act is when an election is coming up and the Senate feels strongly that it is best to allow the new president a chance to make their own nomination.

The Senate holds confirmation hearings that can be brutal toward the nominee. If the president is in their party, it can run smoothly, but if the opposition party is in charge of the Senate, the president will have a tough time getting a nomination through.

The battles can escalate into other political areas as well. If the opposition party controls Congress, they can try to block every other action taken by the president, filibusters can be threatened, and the entire filibuster process itself can come under attack in what is known as the "nuclear option."