balance of power within the US government

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Paper instructions:

Over the course of this semester we have analyzed the balance of power within the US government. In particular we have been concerned with the balance of power between the Executive (President), the Legislature (Congress), and the Judiciary (Courts) as well as between the Federal government and the states’ governments. Forbes magazine’s 2015 list of the “most powerful people in the world (Links to an external site.)” puts the President of the United States of America in the number three spot, right behind the autocratic president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, and Angela Merkel of Germany. Yet, as we have often seen, the US presidents’ domestic policy agendas are frequently unfulfilled, even when they win resounding electoral mandates, their political party wins control of both houses of Congress, and they enjoy significant popular support.

A clear example of a president failing to push his agenda into law was seen after the Sandy Hook middle school massacre  (Links to an external site.)in 2012 when President Obama’s proposal for mandatory background checks for gun buyers died in the U.S. Senate. This failure happened in spite of the support of more than 80 percent of Americans (Links to an external site.) and, perhaps more importantly, support of a clear majority in the Senate (54 out of 100) who voted in favor of the bill. (For additional valuable information on public opinion on gun control, looking at partisan and demographic differences, view the 2015 Pew Poll on gun control (Links to an external site.).)

In your essay you should craft a clearly-written, well-cited, 850-word (+/-10%), proof-read essay that demonstrates your understanding of the complexity of the U.S. law-making process specifically addressing the different aspects in American politics that limit the president’s law-making powers. You MUST use the Gun Show Background Check Act of 2013 (Links to an external site.) as an example and reference point in your essay (click here (Links to an external site.) for some background information on the Act). For a quick overview of jurisprudence concerning gun control, view this brief article (Links to an external site.).

Your essay should consider the following five concepts:

The US president’s actual legislative powers
The special procedural rules used in the Senate
Interest groups’ impact on legislative process
The link (or lack thereof) between popular opinion and Senators’ votes
Judicial arguments relying on the Second Amendment
Remember, I am not interested in your personal and normative opinion on the relative merits of the gun show background checks legislation; instead, you need to demonstrate your understanding of how the U.S. political system actually functions and how the president’s ability to pursue and implement his legislative agenda can be diminished, blocked, or undermined, even when the legislation enjoys overwhelming popular support and his party controls the Senate.



Notes:

Be sure to use APA or MLA citation style and include in-text citations (author name, date: page numbers) of any information used that is not common knowledge. Include a properly formatted works cited list at the end of the essay (this is not part of the word limit). This is an open book exam and you can use any and all respectable sources you might find in the library, online, and/or linked on this page, just make sure that you reference them in your essay's bibliography. You must use at least three different, reliable sources to support your paper’s claims – these can include the one listed on this assignment as well as other, additional sources.

 

597 Words  2 Pages

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