The Structure and Principles of American Government
As one ages and forms into an adult, one learns that it is crucial to know who their politicians are as they are the individuals who ultimately have authority over our governments. There are a number of politicians in all three governments (Local, State, and Federal). The local government pertains to cities or towns. This government has control over police departments, libraries etc.. (U.S. Courts). The state government has control over anything that the federal government does not. For example, California recently legalized marijuana, making it legal at the state level but not national. Another example includes the legalization of abortion in Texas.
At the Federal level is the central government which divides the power between the other governments (state and local). Included in the Federal government are three bodies that makeup the central government, also known as the three branches (Legislative, Executive, and Judicial). Furthermore, at the federal level, the government has the power to “declare war, collects taxes, and regulate commerce etc.”(Study.com). There are many other components that are intertwined in the government such as politicians, the court system, parties etc. that will be discussed later.
At the local level there is a different form of government with less officials compared to the other governments. Atb the local level we have the mayor, Lee Brand and the city council. In my district, district 16, Jim Costa is my representative. Costa has worked as a representative for a number of years and associates himself with the Democratic party. He was born and raised as a farmer in Fresno, California and received his degree in Political Science.(Politicis1.com) Costa is only one of the members of the city council;l there are many others cuh as, Esmeralda Soria, district 1, Miguel Arias, Council Vice President, District 3, Paul Caprioglio district 4 etc. (City Council, City of Fresno). Together they make sure the many districts of fresno county are in good standing.
As for the state level, there are more positions that are implemented as briefly stated earlier. Some of those positions include governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer, etc. California’s state governor is Gavin Newsom. Newsom is known to have solved several, major issues in the state of California such as marijuana, health care, and gun safety. Gavin also promotes other major issues that have been at stake for years now such as the status of the economy, immigration issues, education etc. Gavin seems to be a well-rounded governor as he focuses on major issues not only in California but nationally as well.
Next is the lieutenant governor, Eleni Kounalakis. Interestingly enough, Kounalakis was the first female lieutenant governor of California. She has quite a political history as she was sworn by Obama as the ambassador of Hungary and also served as chair of the California Advisory Council for International Trade and Investment. (Politics1.com) Secretary of state, Alex Padilla also had numerous honorable acts as one of California’s politicians. Padilla promotes stronger voter registration and participation as a voter as well as improving and reinforcing voting rights. There are many other public officials worth mentioning but I have mentioned only a small portion of them as there is a variety of officials who serve the state government.
The same positions are available at the federal level with some additional positions, such as the Speaker of the House, cabinet members, and many others. In total, there are 435 members of congress in the House of Reps. and 100 in the Senate. Donald Trump is standing President of the United States. He’s conservative and the 45th president of the United States. Before he was president of the U.S., he did not have much experience in politics but during the 2016 election against Hillary Clinton, he won the electoral votes and was therefore nominated and sworn as President.
Nancy Pelosi is acting Speaker of the House. As speaker of the house, she is in charge of calling meetings, making decisions on matters such as supporting or dismissing bills and whether to vote on them. Pelosi also has the role of nominating people to the House. (Thought Co. 2) Most importantly, Pelosi is second in the line of succession after the Vice President, Mike Pence. “Pence is the 48th Vice President of the U.S. and was elected on November 8th 2016.” (Ballotpedia). Pence has long been a Republcian. Furthermore, Pence has served as the 50th Governor of Indiana. Pence’s background has helped him with his position as Vice president today. There are several other politicians representing the citizens of the United States such as William Bar as attorney general, Wilbur L. Ross secretary of commerce, Secretary of the treasury, Steven N. Mnuchin, and many others. Each official plays a vital role in creating and keeping an efficient and structured government.
Many people confuse an executive order with the law because they are very similar. An executive order acts as a law in terms of it being enforced but it is not passed as a bill, a law would be. An executive order is an order made by the president that the government is obligated to follow. The executive order is signed by the president. It is then sent to the White house. Lastly, the office of the Federal Register needs with their executive order. Some executive orders that Trump has issued as president was an adjustment to pay rates, sanctions imposed on Iran etc. (Federal Register).
As a judge, one has the obligation to make lawful court decisions based on the constitution and provide justice for citizens. Power is divided between the supreme court which explains why there are different courts such as Federal and State. Federal judges are nominated and appointed by the president but they can only be appointed with the consent of the Senate and are appointed for life. The Supreme Court includes the Chief Justice and his/her associate justices. Those individuals include John G. Roberts Jr., Clarence Thomas, Ruth Ginsberg, Stephen Breye and many others.(Supreme Court of the United States, 1). The Federal Court deals with things such as bankruptcy and anything that is unconstitutional while the state will deal with anything from estates to adoption and of course most criminal cases (uscourts.gov). Both state and federal courts have a court of appeals. At the state level, there is also a Chief justice and his or her associates. The State Chief Justice is appointed by the governor as opposed to the President as seen in federal court. In California Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye is Chief Justice along with her associates Ming W. Chin, Carol A. Corrigan Joshua P. Groban.
A Lot of the time in a case we see judicial activism, restrain etc. being performed by judges. Judicial activism refers to rulings by judges that are based on opinion instead of the constitution or law. This type of ruling usually relies on emotion. Although, the Roe v. Wade was justifoed as as constitutional under the rt. to privacy, the case was indeed ruled based on judicial actovism as it deals with using ones won moral to to deicdde whether abortion is correct or not. Any case involving some form of emotion constitutes theft of judicial activism. Furthermore people argue that medical decisions such as aborting for the mother’s safety, or despite the fact that the state has the right to abort or allow the mother to keep her child in the third trimester etc is judicial activism.(Schubert, 1-2). Judicial restraint relies on judicial review in that laws are followed based on the constitution. One example is the Board v. Education of Topeka v. Brown case. This case was ruled based on the 14th amendment from the constitution note opinion and was therefore based on judicial; restraint. (Ballotpedia, 9).
During his presidency, Barack Obama had mandated DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ) to be an executive order. According to the Attorney General, President Obama was not authorized to do so nor was the executive order issued with a closing date. This was unconstitutional on his part and did not allow for the Program to proceed. In result, DACA was declared unconstitutional and was rejected multiple times by Congress. It was up to Obama to shut down the program, if he did not comply with this order congress or a court would do so. As such, the secretary of homeland security issued a memorandum to close DACA. (Homeland Security, 3) Republicans have said that such acts constitute that of a Monarch. Various Republicans also stated that DACA does not constitute how a democratic country should be run and even suggested punishment for the president and how the consequences of DACA as an executive order could result in anarchy by the country. (Timm, 537). In contrast, the Democrats beliefs on this matter, stand by Obama and justified his acts stating that he was only trying to deal with the situation legally and insist on some type of reform for immigration. (Timm, 537)
The Patriot Act signed by President Bush, was enacted to secure the safety of American citizens from terrorism and improve homeland security. Under this act, surveillance, wiretapping, unwarranted searches and seizures, obtaining records,etc. and excluding individuals known to terrorize in the U.S. etc. were lawful but due to the controversy the Patriot Act brought, arguing that it violated the right to privacy, the 4th amendment and other violations, the act was deemed unconstitutional (History.com editors, 2-3). In result of the controversial issues regarding the Patriot Act, the USA Freedom Act was created. It intended to keep a more strengthened homeland security w/o infringing on the civil liberties of Americans (History.com editors, 3). The act kept similar or modernized powers from the Patriot Act but removed the portion allowing for surveillance, wiretapping, unwarranted searches, and seizures etc. to be lawful.The Patriot Act and the Freedom Act today, remain highly controversial. According to conservatives, the Patriot Act ensured the safety and security of U.S. citizens. They even claimed that it prevented at least 50 attacks to Americans or American soil and has helped the FBI with leads to terrorism (History.com editors, 3). In contrast, Democrats argue that the act is unconstitutional as it violates civil liberties such as the right to privacy and the 4th amendment as mentioned earlier.
Recently in Los Angeles California, there has been debate about cleaning out voter registrants who have either passed away, moved to different households or cities, states, etc. or simply no longer qualify or are eligible to vote. According to Real Politics, Los Angeles has removed more than 1.5 million voters. This would happen on terms with the Judicial Watch. In the court case regarding the judicial watch, it was deemed mandatory to clean voting rolls under the NVRA under the condition that voters did not respond to this mailing or do not participate in the last two federal elections (Dinan, 1-2). As a result, Los Angeles complied with the law and has purged more than a million of their residents on the voting roll. They did so by mailing voters asking to verify death, relocation of living, etc. The judicial watch themselves are of the conservative party and argue that it was mandatory to purge inactive voters a it is their “duty.”(Dinan, 1). Conservatives call it a win but liberals see this as a loss as they would use this tactic to expand their party.
After completing this assignment I’ve learned who my local, state, and national politicians are, what they believe in and stand for, as well as their political parties and accomplishments. I’ve also learned who is on the Supreme Court Justice and their functions as judges. Furthermore, completing this paper has given me a firm understanding between judicial activism vs. restraint. I also feel that my knowledge has expanded on executive orders and actions. In addition, I learned that there is physical evidence proving that the government has or can to some extent infringe on the rights of its citizens a seen in the Patriot Act/USA Freedom Act. Lastly, it was interesting to know just how far the two major parties (Republicans and Democrats) will go to gain voters.
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