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58 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Two-year period of time during which Congress meets
Period of time,during which, each year, Congress assembles and conducts business
Suspend, as in a session of Congress.
Adjourn, as in a legislative session
special session
An extraordinary session of a legislative body, called to deal with an emergency situation
Distribute, as in seats in a legislative body
Redistribute, as in seats in a legislative body
off-year election
Congressional election that occurs between presidential election years; synonym for MIDTERM ELECTION
single-member district
Electoral district from which one person is chosen by the voters for each elected office
at-large election
Election of an office holder by the voters of an entire governmental unit (e.g a state or country) rather than by the voters of a district or subdivision
The drawing of electoral district lines to the advantage of a party or group
continuous body
Governing unit (e.g. the United States Senate) whose seats are never all up for election at the same time
The people and interests that an elected official represents
Lawmaker who votes based on his or her conscience and judgment, not the views of his or her constituents
Lawmaker who is willing to suppress his or her own ideas, ignore those of his or her party's leader, and turn a deaf ear to the arguments of colleagues; delegates focus solely on the wants of their "folks back home" (constituents)
Lawmaker who owes his/her first allegiance to his/her political party and votes according to the party line
Lawmaker who attempts to balance the elements of the trustee, delegate, and partisan roles
oversight function
Review by the legislative committees of the policies and programs of the executive branch; usually done by committee hearing
franking privelege
Benefit allowing members of Congress to mail letters and other materials postage-free
"permanent" size of the House of Representatives, set by the Reapportionment Act of 1929
midterm election
Congressional election that occurs between presidential election years;synonym for OFF-YEAR ELECTION
party out of power
Party (not the President's) which usually wins MIDTERM (off-year) ELECTIONS
party in power
The president's party; usually loses MIDTERM (off-year) ELECTIONS
Type of GERRYMANDER: slang term for concentrating the opposition's voters in one or a few districts, thus leaving other districts "safe" for the dominant party
Type of GERRYMANDER: slang term for spreading the opposition's voters as thinly as possible over several districts so that they win no or only a few seats, thus leaving other districts comfortably "safe" for the dominant party
Type of GERRYMANDER: slang term for redrawing district lines so that an incumbent is forced to run in a district which excludes all or most of his regular constituency
Wesberry v. Sanders
1964 Supreme Court case which said congressional districts must contain equal numbers of people so that one person's vote is equal to another's
"One Person, One Vote"
basis for equality rule in reapportionment; principle which holds that one person's vote must be equal to another's
1) compact, 2) contiguous, and 3) as equal in population as possible
Rules which SCOTUS has set for redistricting
All parts of a district must touch each other geographically
Although SCOTUS has ruled that this cannot be the controlling factor in drawing district lines, states which use this as a basis for redistricting don't get in trouble if they observe the Court's three cardinal rules
minimum age for member of the House of Representatives
7 years
citizenship requirement for member of the House of Representatives
state residency
requirement for membership in both House and Senate
the House itself
Who judges the qualifications of members of the House?
Powell v McCormack (1969)
Supreme Court ruling which says the House cannot exclude a member who meets the age, citizenship, and residency requirements
censure or reprimand
how the House now punishes errant members, usually upon recommendation of the Ethics Committee
ultimate punishment which the House has applied to only five members in the course of history and to none since SCOTUS's Powell ruling
Ethics Committee
Committee which reviews members' behavior and recommends censure or reprimand
number of senators from each state
size of senate membership
17th Amendment
(1913) established direct election of senators
portion of the Senate's one hundred seats which come up for election every two years because senators' elections are staggered
six years
length of senator's term
two years
length of representative's term
minimum age for senator
9 years
citizenship requirement for senators
a representative cross-section of the population
what the members of congress are NOT (typical Americans)
most common profession of members of the House and the Senate
Millionaire's' Club
nickname for the Senate because over half of its members are millionaires
1) law-maker, 2) representative, 3) committee member, 4) caseworker, and 5) politician
roles of members of Congress
service done (usually by a congressional staffer) on behalf of an individual constituent rather than the public at large
committee hearing
held to perform oversight or investigate problems
27th Amendment
says that Congress can vote itself a pay raise, but that raise must not go into effect until after the next election
$158,000 a year
congressional salary
nonsalary compensation
"fringe benefits" like special tax deductions for maintaining two residences, generous travel allowances, excellent health and life insurance at low cost, a generous pension plan, and the free postage for mailings to constituents
legislative immunity
the Speech and Debate Clause (Art. 1, Sec. 6, Cl. 1) guarantees that members of congress cannot be sued for slander for anything arising out of their official conduct; goal = protect freedom of legislative debate

preclearance and monitoring

two things that the Justice Department does to check up on states which are under court order not to discriminate based on the Voting Rights Act of 1965