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S&E Politics and Law Website: usagovinfo.about.


Friday, period 4&5, 13/09/13

The US Supreme Court Established in Article III of the US Constitution County courts, district courts, state courts Supreme Court of New York, Montana, etc. one for each State In Australia, there is only one High Court If you want to appeal a judgement, it generally goes up to the next level of court Statute Law (Congress), Common Law (Courts) Any Common Law is binding through all courts Roe vs. Wade, precedent case on abortion When it comes to a constitutional dispute, Supreme Court of the United States (the main Supreme Court is in Washington D.C.) acts as the sole interpreter for the US Constitution There are several territories in the US, however they dont have any representation Judiciary Act in 1789, which divided the country into 13 judiciary districts (the first bill introduced in the US Senate) Out of 44 referendums, only 8 have been passed in Australia Highest court of appeal 9 justices (Supreme Judges) Federalism Federalism: As practiced in the US, federalism is a system of government dividing power and responsibility between a centralized national government (the US federal government) and the state government. Confederation (much looser), ex. The European Confederation. Ratified in 1781, the Articles of Confederation served as the first constitution of the 13 states and officially created the United States of America. Articles specified that the states would retain their sovereignty, freedom and independence. Denied the US congress the power to collect taxes, regulate interstate commerce and enforce laws. The US constitution, ratified in 1788, replaced the Articles of Confederation by creating strong central government made up of three separate branches: legislate, executive and judicial. Under the 10 Amendment, powers not specifically listed in the constitution, like requiring drivers licenses and collecting property taxes, are among the many powers reserved to the states. For example, under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, grants the US Congress certain powers such as coining money, regulating interstate trade and commerce, declaring war, raising an army and navy and to establish laws of immigration. Line between powers of the US government and those of the states is clear. Whenever a state governments exercise of power might be in conflict with the Constitution, we end up with a battle of the states rights which must often be settled by the Supreme Court. Precedents can be overruled by the same court, e.g. a precedent made by the Supreme Court in 1897 can be overruled by the Supreme Court in a decision made later.

Federalism: National vs. State Government

Exclusive Powers of the National Government Under the constitution, powers reserved to the national government include: print money, declare war, establish army navy, enter into treaties with foreign governments. Exclusive Powers of State Governments Establish local governments, issue licenses, conduct elections Powers Shared by National and State Government Setting up courts, creating and collecting taxes, building highways, making and enforcing laws, borrowing money

US Politics Quiz 1. What is the capital of the USA? Washington D.C. (District Columbia) Border of Virginia and Pennsylvania 2. What do they call their legislature? The Congress 3. Who is currently in charge of the executive arm of the government? Barack Obama 4. What is the highest law of the land in the United States? Constitution 5. What event led to the creation of the United States? The American Revolution 6. Who was the United States first president? George Washington 7. How many senators are there in the US congress? 100 8. What is the name of the lower house of the federal legislature? House of Representatives 9. What is the highest court in the United States? The Supreme Court of the United States 10. The US has a federal system; what does this mean? The powers divided by the national and state government 11. What type of voting system is used in the United States? First past the post 12. How often are presidential elections held? 4 years 13. Who is the current vice president of the United States? Joe Biden 14. Who is the current secretary of state? John Kerry (it was Hillary Clinton in Barack Obamas first term, however then she resigned) 15. What are two ways in which the sitting president can be removed from his office (legal mechanisms)? Impeachment, dismissed by popular vote 16. What is the name for powers shared between Federal and State government? Concurrent, talk about: the exclusive powers, and the residual powers of the states 17. How long is a senators term of office? Six years 18. If there is a dispute between federal and state, over jurisdiction, how is the issue resolved? Through the Supreme Court 19. What is the name of the system that elects the US president? Electoral college 20. Prior to the current president, what are the surnames of the three presidents before? Obama, Bush Jr., Reagan, Bush Snr.