POL326Y1- Lecture 4- Oct. 2, 2012
Congress was created as an inefficiency in the constitution, purposely because of the distrust of
presidents and politics. Congress is meant to force a reliance on institutions, an inefficient system
therefore there are many checks and the rights of minorities are not violated. Those who control the
legislature do not control the judiciary as well.
In order for a particular proposal to become law it must be introduced in both houses of congress, it is
generally not introduced by the president but he can make it clear which he prefers. Once it goes
through the house it is assigned to a committee than and subcommittee, this subcommittee usually
consists of those who have a direct stake in it or if it concerns their constituents. The house can easily
kill a bill by assigning it to a subcommittee that is hostile to it (ex: dairy bill assigned to tobacco
When the bill is given to the subcommittee it already has amendments. From their it goes to other
committees where it is amended according to incentives, it is amended various times and goes to senate
where again it is amended through the various houses of the senate.
After which the bill is much different from the original and there is a committee formed of senators and
house of representatives who try to iron out of the differences, if this does not happen it goes back to
the house in its original form and if it is not passed by both houses it is dead.
Foreign policy is in the executive branch because FP cannot go through the level of inefficiency as the
process. The Supreme Court (following Marbury v. Madison) has the power to declare acts of the
executive void. If a law becomes law over the power presidential veto it becomes law of the land and
can only be challenged in the supreme court.
Ex: 1980s burning of flag case during Reagan Admin
The Courts are an important component in the system of checks and balances, protecting constitutional
Export Company vs. US: Supreme Court supported the President in his seizure of private
property (machine guns sold to Paraguay in the middle of an embargo)…Supreme Court argued
for a broad interpretation of exec privilege in foreign policy… ‘Reformulation of the Articles of
Confederation, transferred more power previously held by the states to the federal
government…issues of sovereignty, since the states never individually possessed sovereignty the
federal government got it through signing an agreement with the British before revolution’
Legality not derived from the constitution but from the law of states therefore the constitution
does not apply
o When it comes to foreign policy the president can do whatever it takes to protect the
state…this requires a number of things which are contrary to the republican…Secrecy
(against the values of the republic and constitution)