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POL101W Week 8-12 Lecture Notes.docx

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Political Science
POL 101W
Andy Heard

The Judiciary 10/30/2012 11:50:00 AM Roles of the Judiciary  To interpret the law  To enforce the law by o Determining guilt or innocence o Setting penalties for the guilty  To settle civil disputes  To conduct judicial review of government actors Alternative Methods of Selecting Judges  Appointment by the executive  Nomination by the executive and confirmation by the legislature  Selection by the judiciary, subject to formal approval by the head of states  Election by national legislatures  Election by citizens Judicial Independence  An institutional relationship between judiciary and other branches of government: o Politicians must not pressure judges o Judges must not get political o Security of tenure o Financial security o Administrative freedom Judicial Impartiality  A state of mind in which judges remain neutral towards both the parties or issues involved in a case before them  Both judicial impartiality and independence must have limits in practice Bureaucracy and Legislature 10/30/2012 11:50:00 AM Key Concepts of Bureaucracy  Neutrality o Choices that benefit both and different political matters  Professionalism  Patronage  Nepotism o Job acquiry are based on family relations o Sometimes unqualified people are hired, or people who are suitable for the job aren’t hired.  Corruption o Fraud, bribes Unicameral Legislature – only one chamber, and all members of the legislature belong to and participate in that chapter Bicameral Legislature – two separate chambers and members of the legislature belong only to one of those chambers and have a right to participate in only their chamber’s proceedings  Upper house: Senate. 105 appointed members  Lower house: House of Commons. 305 elected members Potential Roles of Legislature  to legislate  to represent  to debate  to educated  to institutionalize opposition  to investigate issues and events  to suggest/ initiate new policies  to scrutinize the executive  to ratify/ veto exec decisions  to refine policies suggested by the exec  to decide who hold s exec offices  to provide alternative govts/ political leaders  to provide an ombudsman service for citizens  to adjudicate in a judicial/ quasi-judicial role Factors Limiting the Effectiveness of Legislature  Exec dominance  Party discipline  Size of the assembly  Frequency of meetings  Amount and complexity of legislation  Legislators’ pay  Informal rewards and penalties  Number, size and membership of committees  Research and support staff  Procedural rules  Electoral system  Media attention o Politics use media to let us know what is going on in the govt  Political culture Models of Representation in Legislature Delegate model – where someone in the parliament express and act on the views of constituents Trustee model – where MPs use their own independent judgment Mirror (microcosm) model  Of social groups  Of political parties Types of Parliamentary Government Majority – is one where one party has a majority of members in the legislature and is able to fill all the positions in the cabinet Minority – arises where there is one party that fills all the cabinet positions but more than one party needed to form the majority in the legislature to support the government Coalition government – is formed when more than one party is in the cabinet. Coalitions may have either a majority or minority of seats. Functions of Upper Houses  Gives sober second thought  Provide an additional check and balance in legislative process o Absolute veto o Suspensive veto  Provide special representation for populations and interests under-represented in the lower house  Conduct special policy inquiries Reform of Legislature  Greater use of free votes  Expanding the autonomy and responsibility of legislative committees  Increasing the scope for private members’ bills  Strengthening the powers of the upper house  Redressing the under representation of women and minorities Political Parties: Imperfect but Essential Civil Society: Interest Groups and Social Movements in Politics 10/30/2012 11:50:00 AM Functions of Political Parties  Aggregation and articulation of interests  Communication  Recruitment of new political office holders  Proposal of new public policies  Political participation and socialization  Simplification of choices for electorate  And in authoritarian regimes o Administrative support for government o Surveillance and intelligence Importance of the Party Leader  The public face of the party  Has the last word on party policy  In parliamentary systems, directs and leads the daily legislative battle  Has ultimate responsibility for ensuring the party’s organization is prepared to fight an election Interest Groups  Articulate specific interests  Provide responsiveness in the political system  Influence the policies of governments, international organizations and corporations  Influence views held in society  Provide government with specific info  Augment government services Are Interest Groups Too Powerful? Yes No - superior financial resources of - interest groups essential to business groups can give them healthy functi
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