• Blog 15.

    Posted by JOANNA BLUME on 4/19/2020

    This week as we continue our study of this executive branch I would like to continue exploring the powers of the POTUS. As our nation continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic many people in our country are  looking to President Trump to guide our nation through this crisis. In dealing with this situation, the President has signed an emergency declaration, which will allow him to exercise additional powers. This has left many people with questions concerning the nature of these powers and also the legitimacy of these powers. This week for our blog I would like for us to explore what this actually looks like and consider the Constitutionality of exercising such powers. 


     “Locke argued that occasions may arise when the executive must exert a broad discretion in meeting special exigencies or “emergencies” for which the legislative power provided no relief or existing law granted no necessary remedy. He did not regard this prerogative as limited to wartime or even to situations of great urgency. It was sufficient if the “public good” might be advanced by its exercise”


    William Howard taft opposed this view, writing “that the President can exercise no power which cannot be fairly and reasonably traced to some specific grant of power or justly implied and included within such express grant as proper and necessary to its exercise. In his view, such a specific grant must be either in the Federal Constitution or in an act of Congress”


    Q1.  Whose view of presidential power do you support? Do support Locke’s view that advocates broad discretion in dealing with perceived emergencies, or Taft’s view that advocates a more limited approach supporting only actions that are specifically listed or implied? Explain.


    Q2.  Summarise the actions taken so far by President Trump to address the coronavirus pandemic.  Where possible, identify the law or section of the Constitution that allows him to do so. 


    Q3.  Give a historical example of a president exercising emergency powers.  What power(s) did he exercise and under what specific circumstances did he do so?  Was he justified in doing so?


    National Emergency Powers ( Stop reading at “Law and Practice”)


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  • Blog # 14

    Posted by JOANNA BLUME on 3/25/2020

    This week we will continue our study of the three branches of government and pick up with the executive branch.  As you know the executive branch is headed by the President and the Vice President with their primary role being to enforce laws passed by the U.S. Congress.  In order to do this the president is afforded many powers, some formal some informal. One such informal power is the power of bargaining and persuasion.  This particular informal power enables the president to secure congressional action. With the outbreak of COVID-19, President Trump has exercised this power to help secure the passage of an economic stimulus package. 

    Given that we have a divided government, it should be of no surprise that it wasn't plain sailing for the president to use his powers of bargaining and persuasion to help broker this deal. To help further our understanding of this stimulus deal I would like for you to read the articles below and respond to the questions.

    Q1.  The first two articles were published prior to an agreement being reached. Not surprisingly the rejection of the deal was split along party lines, with each side blaming the other. Read both articles and summarize the reasons cited for the initial rejection of the deal.

    Q2.  Read the third article and the economic policy link.  From your reading determine whether this stimulus package fits in line with Keynesian economic policy or laissez-faire economic policy. Explain your answer. 

    Q3.  Do you support or oppose the President’s decision to influence the passage of this stimulus package?  Explain your answer and in doing so site specific pros and cons associated with it. 


    Article 1


    Article 2


    Article 3


    Economic Policy

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  • Blog # 13.

    Posted by JOANNA BLUME on 3/8/2020

    For this week’s blog I would like for us to reflect on the lawmaking process and also the article that we read in class concerning the use of the filibuster. Use the questions below to guide your reflection and further your understanding of the lawmaking process.


    Q1.  How do the different chamber sizes in the House and the Senate influence the formality of debate?

    Q2.  What is one power unique to the House of Representatives, and why is the House responsible for carrying out that power?

    Q3.  What is one power unique to the Senate, and why is the Senate responsible for carrying out that power?

    Q4.  Consider the purpose of the filibuster and recommend whether or not it should be eliminated. 

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  • Blog # 12

    Posted by JOANNA BLUME on 2/23/2020

    For this week’s blog we are going to explore the diversity of Congress and the impact individual members have on laws and policy. Clearly members of Congress exercise a great deal of influence over laws and policy.  Therefore one might argue that it is fair to say the beliefs and interests of each individual member are of great significance. But who are these members? Who makes up the 116th U.S. Congress? And what factors influence the decisions that they make? 

    Q1.  What factors do you think contributed to the changing demographics of the 116th U.S. Congress?

    Q2.  How and why is diversity good for our political system?

    Q3.  What approach do you think will best guarantee reelection for these freshman members, the delegate model approach or the trustee model approach? Explain your answer


    116th Congress by Party, Race, Gender, and Religion


    Congress's Incoming Class

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  • Blog # 11.

    Posted by JOANNA BLUME on 2/9/2020

    Recently we have spent some time in class discussing political parties and the election process. For this week's blog I would like for us to explore and discuss the media's influence and evolving role in this process. Please read the articles below and respond to the following questions: 

    1.  Explain how increasingly diverse choices of media and communication outlets influence candidates and voting behavior

    2.  Evidently Bernie Sanders has claimed "that corporate media's values and principles are profit driven instead of being an unbiased observer of the political process in the United States." Evaluate the extent to which you believe this statement to be true or false.

    3. What steps should we take as individuals to check the credibility of news sources and information?



    Six Ways the Media Influences Elections


    Influencing the Outcome of an Election

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  • Blog # 10.

    Posted by JOANNA BLUME on 1/26/2020

    This week through our blog we will further our discussion on political parties and the role they play in our democracy. We already know the framers of our Constitution were wary of political parties and their influence.  Indeed in his farewell address, George Washington specifically warned against them. However, clearly his warnings have been ignored, and today in our democracy we have a strong two-party system. For this week’s blog I would like us to further our understanding of the two party system by reading the attached article and answering the questions below.

    “Voters now vote the party, not the candidate. Candidates depend on the party brand. Everything is team loyalty. The stakes are too high for it to be otherwise.”


    Q1.  In our reading last week it was suggested that party ID is declining especially with the emergence of more people identifying as independents.  The above statement somewhat contradicts this. Evaluate the extent to which you think party ID is in decline.


    “Multiparty democracy is not perfect. But it is far superior in supporting the diversity, bargaining, and compromise that the Framers, and especially Madison, designed America’s institutions around, and which they saw as essential to the fragile experiment of self-government.”

    Q2. Here the author is making his case for a multi-party system as opposed to the current two party system. However, given the way our system currently works it is pretty difficult for third party candidates to be successful. Identify structural barriers to third-party and independent candidate success and offer solutions to each of them.

    John Adams worried that “a division of the republic into two great parties … is to be dreaded as the great political evil.” And that’s exactly what has come to pass.

    Q3.  Do you think the author’s assessment is correct? Support your answer with relevant examples.


    America Is Now the Divided Republic the Framers Feared

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  • Blog # 9.

    Posted by JOANNA BLUME on 12/15/2019

    Recently in class we been studying American political ideologies and beliefs. We have learned that American political beliefs are shaped by founding ideals, core values, linkage institutions, and the changing demographics of citizens.  As we give this further consideration I would like you to read the article and answer the questions below.


    1. How are American political beliefs formed and how do they evolve over time?
    2. The article offers different perspectives regarding the influence of family in reference to our political beliefs. How influential would you say family is when it comes to the development of such beliefs?
    3. How do political ideology and core values influence government policy making?



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  • Blog # 8.

    Posted by JOANNA BLUME on 12/2/2019

    This week we will begin our Unit on American Political Ideologies and Beliefs. We will learn that as a nation we share some key views regarding our political system.  We will also learn that regardless of these shared views we are still often divided on a host of issues We debate many issues including abortion, morality, religion, and Immigration.economic inequality. However, according to last night’s reading we have learned that economic inequality is something that most Americans are more willing to tolerate.  This is contrary to the beliefs of Democratic Party presidential hopeful, Bernie Sanders, who is running a campaign championing economic equality. For this week's blog I would like you to read the article below and answer the following questions. 


    1. Do you agree or disagree with the book’s assertion that Americans are more willing to tolerate economic inequality than political inequality? 
    2. How is it possible to make people economically equal?
    3. In your opinion is economic equality something that should be pursued? Explain

    Bernie Sanders

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  • Blog # 7.

    Posted by JOANNA BLUME on 11/18/2019

    This week we will conclude our study of civil liberties and civil rights. We have learned that civil liberties are basic human rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights and beyond.  We have also learned that civil rights is the entitlement to equality and fairness to all people regardless of their race, gender, age etc. Many groups historically and currently have engaged in a series of struggles to embrace and protect their rights. Constitutional amendments, executive orders, and countless laws and policies have been passed to help guarantee equality for all.  One such policy example would be affirmative action programs established by government to redress discrimination in the work place. Affirmative action programs were initially introduced by President Kennedy in 1961, but have since dwindled due to the fact that many consider such programs to be an example of reverse discrimination. For this weeks blog I would like for us to learn more about affirmative action programs and consider whether or not such programs are an effective way to prevent discrimination on the work palce. Click on each of the links below and read about affirmative action programs and then respond to the following questions:


    1. What are affirmative action programs?
    2. Is affirmative action best administered according to the degree of inequity? If so, which groups should come first?
    3. Many argue these programs are a form of reverse discrimination, how would you respond to this assretion?
    4. After reading both Court cases, summarize the Court’s position regarding affirmative action in relation to the college admissions process. Explain whether or not you agree or disagree with their position.



    Affirmative Action



    Let People Vote


    Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978)


    University of Michigan Law School in Grutter v. Bollinger (2003)

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  • Blog # 6

    Posted by JOANNA BLUME on 11/3/2019

    Civil rights protect individuals from discrimination based on characteristics such as race, national origin, religion, and sex; these rights are guaranteed to all citizens under the due process and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution, as well as acts of Congress.  When groups or individuals feel that their civil rights are being violated or ignored they can challenge it via the judicial system, and of course government can and has responded to these challenges via court rulings and/ or policies. One such current example of this concerns a dispute about LGBTQ workplace rights.  Currently the SCOTUS is considering the meaning of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to determine weather or not it extends employment protections to indiviuals who identify as being transgender.  


    For this week’s blog I would like you to read the article below and visit the Equal opportunity Commission’s website to explore the text of  Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. After reading please answer the discussion questions below:

    1.  Summerize your understanding of the two cases recently agrued before the SCOTUS.

    2.  In your opinion, does Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 extend protections to people who are gay, bisexual, and also those who identify as transgender? Explain.

    3. Speculate as how you think the Court will rule.  What will be the implications of such a ruling? 



    LGBTQ Workplace Rights Dispute


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Last Modified on April 29, 2020