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Agregateur_Poietique.gifUSI.21 has further information on how the courts and legislature function in a democracy

rotating gif.gifSee Special Topic Page on The FBI in American Politics

The Courts
Justice Sonia Sotomayor and President Obama
Justice Sonia Sotomayor and President Obama

  • Not directly involved in forming policy
  • Can decide whether policy stays implemented or not
  • Executive and Legislative branches will create policies that the Supreme Court will uphold
  • Example: Roe v. Wade
    • Abortion rights and policies varied by state before decision
    • The Supreme Court decided that women have the right to an abortion
    • Referred to "legislating from the bench"
      • Courts can decide if policies are Constitutional
  • Click here to learn more about the courts and Constitutionality
  • Click here to read the paper "Going Public: The Supreme Court's Ability to Influence Public Policy Over Time" by Vanessa Baird

Agregateur_Poietique.gif
  • USG.3.4 has information on how the courts work, judicial review, and judicial interpretation in MA and the US
    • USG.5.7 has information on the Supreme Court and landmark cases

The Executive Branch

  • The President has a lot of control over public policy
    President Obama Appaulds after the Affordable Care Act is passed by Congress
    President Obama Appaulds after the Affordable Care Act is passed by Congress
  • The President wants to stay in office and have a high public approval rating
    • For this to happen, the President pays a lot of attention to issues the public is passionate about
    • The President proposes legislation attempting to fix the issue
  • Example: Affordable Healthcare
    • Affordable healthcare is an issue many citizens support
    • Many health care interest groups call for reform
    • The issue is put on the agenda
    • The issue is discussed and a bill is created
    • Congress approves the bill
    • Obama signs the Affordable Care Act into law on March 23, 2010
  • Click here to read about Obama's agenda
Multimedia.pngClick here for a youtube video explaining the relationship between the President and Public Policy

Agregateur_Poietique.gifUSG.4.3 for information on the President's powers in foreign affairs

The Legislative Branch
The President and Vice President of Bethlehem Steel Corp at a Congressional Hearing in 1955
The President and Vice President of Bethlehem Steel Corp at a Congressional Hearing in 1955

  • Congress also has a lot of control over public policy
  • Members of Congress need to have the people's support to stay in office
    • Topics are supported by many citizens
    • Popular issues get on the agenda
    • Members of Congress discuss how to fix the issue
    • Bills are proposed to make the "solutions" permanent
    • The proposed bills undergo discussion in Congress
    • Once approved, the President can sign the bill into law
lessonplan.jpgClick here for a lesson plan on how to write Bills

game_icon.svg.pngGo to GovTrack to monitor the legislative activities of Congress.


The Bureaucracy

  • Considered part of the Executive Branch
  • Bureaucracies are supposed to enforce the policies that are created
  • There are theories that claim bureaucracies have an effect on policy making through iron triangles and issue networks
  • Iron Triangle
    irontriangle.PNG
    The Iron Triangle
    • Alliance of people from a congressional subcommittee, executive agency that enforces laws on the issue concerned, and private interest groups
    • These three groups of people often know each other and can move within the groups
    • They make policies that serve their own interests
  • Issue Networks
    • Group of people who support a particular issue
    • An iron triangle can be part of an issue network
    • The networks can also include media, experts, or generally anyone who has influence and a passion for an issue
    • When all the members of an issue network come together, they can shape policy
  • Click here for more information
  • Click here for more information
lessonplan.jpgClick here for a lesson plan on iron triangles and issue networks
Agregateur_Poietique.gifAP Gov V.A has information on policy making in the federal system