American Government Final Exam 2010
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1. The influence of the President is perhaps the greatest in:
(a) improving your education.
(b) making your town safer.
(c) affecting foreign nations by war or economic policies.
(d) bringing people to Christ.
2. On November 2nd, the people of Illinois overwhelmingly approved a referendum allowing them to recall their governor under certain circumstances. But about two weeks later the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that recall of U.S. Senators is unconstitutional. Does this ruling directly affect what happened in Illinois?
I. Yes, because we are all part of the same United States.
II. No, because NJ state court decisions do not apply directly to Illinois.
III. No, because the NJ court decision blocked the recall of federal officials, not state officials.
(d) II and III.
3. Richard Holbrooke passed away this week, from a heart attack. He had a long career as a diplomat for Democratic Administrations, and was known for being an aggressive negotiator nicknamed “The Bulldozer” and the “Raging Bull.” Based on this information, for which branch of government did he work?
4. The election by Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate in January 2010 as the 41st Republican (filling the seat previously held for nearly 50 years by the late Ted Kennedy) was particularly significant because:
(a) 41 votes is a majority of the U.S. Senate.
(b) 41 votes is just enough to block the ratification of treaties.
(c) 41 votes is just enough to block “cloture” with respect to bills being delayed by filibusters.
(d) There’s nothing special about having 41 votes; it takes 51 votes to be a majority in the U.S. Senate.
5. Yesterday (Wednesday, December 15), the Senate voted in favor of a major new bill. What must happen next in order for it to become law?
(a) It must be passed by the House of Representatives and then signed by the President.
(b) The President can sign it, and then it can be returned to the House for final passage.
(c) If the House passes it, then the President need not sign it.
(d) It must be passed by 2/3rds of the House and Senate before it can become law.
6. The case called “Citizens United” did which of the following?
(a) It allowed illegal aliens to become President.
(b) It allowed individuals to donate unlimited amounts to candidates running to be elected to federal offices, such as those seeking to become congressmen.
(c) It allowed corporations to spend unlimited amounts for or against candidates running for office.
(d) It allowed unlimited anonymous donations to political campaigns.
7. The Equal Access Act (1984) requires which of the following?
(a) Equal access by homeschoolers to public school sports teams.
(b) Equal access by churches to televised programs.
(c) Equal access by public school students to the Bible in classrooms.
(d) Equal access by Christian and other groups to form public school clubs.
8. Which political office has a term of 2 years, which has a term of 4 years, and which has a term of 6 years?
(a) U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and President.
(b) President, U.S. House, and U.S. Senate.
(c) U.S. Senate, President, and U.S. House.
(d) U.S. House, President, and U.S. Senate.
9. Someone who is opposed to classroom prayer in public schools is also likely to have which of the following political views:
(a) support Christmas displays on public property.
(b) support posting the Ten Commandments in public schools.
(c) support taxpayer-funded abortion.
(d) support teaching criticisms of evolution in public schools.
10. Suppose the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upholds the constitutionality of “ObamaCare” (the Democratic health care bill signed into law in March 2010), but then the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit holds the same law to be unconstitutional. What would be the overall affect?
I. Under the “first come, first serve” rule, the Sixth Circuit ruling would govern.
II. The Fourth Circuit ruling would trump the Sixth Circuit ruling
III. The Sixth Circuit ruling would be law for some states, while the Fourth Circuit ruling would be law for some other states.
IV. The U.S. Supreme Court would likely hear the case to resolve the conflict.
(a) I only.
(b) II only.
(c) IV only.
(d) III and IV only.
11. Exit polls were more precise and significant before the recent increase in:
(b) early voting.
(d) push polling.
12. When the Chairman of the New Jersey Republican Party heard that hundreds of Tea Party activists were planning to attend its meeting on Monday, December 13th, he abruptly cancelled the meeting. What is the best the Tea Party activists can do about this?
(a) Join the Republican Party and try to make it more Tea Party-friendly.
(b) Sue the Republican Party to force it be more friendly to the Tea Party.
(c) Complain to the Democratic Party about this.
(d) Write a letter to the White House to ask the President to prevent this from happening again.
13. Tax cuts typically result in overall economic growth and increased revenue to the government. But a reason why some people oppose tax cuts is:
(a) they prefer more control by government, and the higher the taxes, the greater this control.
(b) increasing taxes always results in increased revenue to the government, and that means a better public school education for Americans.
(c) the government spends money in better ways than families do.
(d) the federal government will need to completely shut down if it does not bring in more taxes.
14. An important example of what would likely be found in the platform of a national political party today is:
(a) its views about teenage study habits.
(b) its views on abortion.
(c) its views on when local streets should be cleaned in your town.
(d) who it thinks should be president in 2016.
15. What is special about the U.S. Constitution?
(a) It has checks and balances to prevent any branch of government from becoming too powerful.
(b) It has a separation of powers to keep one branch from taking over another.
(c) It safeguards against tyranny by ensuring that laws will govern, rather than the whims of men.
(d) All of the above.
16. Why have U.S. Supreme Court Justices been pondering video games?
(a) Because video games are a valuable educational aid, and the more the Justices can play these games, the better they will be able to do their work.
(b) Because video games – particularly the most violent kind – help put life into proper perspective, and that is good for those responsible for making policy decisions about our nation.
(c) Because they will be ruling this spring on whether a California law against selling violent video games to children is constitutional under the Fourth Amendment.
(d) Because they will be ruling this spring on whether a California law against selling violent video games to children is constitutional under the First Amendment.
17. If the House passes a bill, and then the Senate passes a different version of the same bill, what happens next?
(a) The President can sign the last version into law.
(b) A conference committee comprised of members from the House and Senate combine and revise the bills, and the combined version must pass both the House and Senate before it can be signed into law.
(c) The House bill is attached to the Senate bill, and the President can sign both in order to make both the law.
(d) Both the House and Senate must start over from the beginning.
18. Congressional District No. 4 in Illinois consists of two strange shapes connected by a thin strip of land that is merely a median in the middle of highway, where no one lives. It is considered the most ____________ congressional district in the nation.
19. Under ordinary circumstances, how many votes on the U.S. Supreme Court is required for it to agree to hear a case, and how many votes are then required for one side to win it?
(a) 5 and 5
(b) 4 and 4
(c) 1 and 5
(d) 4 and 5
20. The U.S. Senate has all of the following powers EXCEPT:
(a) The power to confirm nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court.
(b) The power to ratify treaties.
(c) The power to impeach a President.
(d) The power to vote on new legislation.
21. An advocate of term limits for U.S. Supreme Court Justices might complain most about which of the following?
(a) judicial activism
(b) judicial restraint
(c) the difficulties of confirming Supreme Court Justices
(d) government expense
22. Recently the former President Bill Clinton came to New York City to hold a special fundraiser for his wife Hillary Clinton to raise money to pay off a debt of $479,000 to her political pollster, which is still remaining from her 2008 campaign for the Democratic nomination for president. Why did Hillary Clinton pay so much to have her own pollster, when there are so many independent pollsters who publish their results?
(a) It’s nuts: she paid for something that was freely available, but that is something that Democrats are used to doing when they run government, so it’s not a big surprise.
(b) Because candidates themselves want to control and manipulate the polling questions and announcement of results, to make it look like they have more support.
(c) Because there was no publicly available polling for the contest to win the Democratic nomination for president, due to a lack of interest in that election process.
(d) Because even though polling is freely available to the public, it would have been wrong for Hillary Clinton to use that publicly available information.
23. There is never any classroom prayer in public schools anymore:
(a) because the U.S. Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional in Roe v. Wade.
(b) because the U.S. Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional in Engel v. Vitale.
(c) because no public school students want to pray.
(d) because public school students do not need the benefits of prayer.
24. All of the following are examples of what a “think tank” might do EXCEPT:
(a) research the likely effects of expanding immigration.
(b) research the likely effects of cutting taxes.
(c) study and compare the benefits of free enterprise to the harms of socialism.
(d) try to be elected to public office.
25. Which federal agency has the most independence from the President?
(a) the Department of Commerce.
(b) the Department of Defense.
(c) the Environmental Protection Agency.
(d) the Federal Reserve.
26. In early December, representatives from many nations met in Cancun, Mexico to discuss imposing government controls to limit the production of energy, which liberals claim is causing global warming. One commentator wrote about this meeting, “It had little to do with any science about climate change, and everything to do with trying to get the United States and other industrialized nations to redistribute their wealth to the poorer nations under the supervision of eager United Nations bureaucrats.” Why is the political distortion of science predictable?
(a) Because scientific truth is inherently liberal.
(b) Because all issues – even scientific ones – become political issues.
(c) Because scientific truth cannot be separated from issues of wealth.
(d) Because global warming cannot be doubted.
27. One example of successful deregulation is:
(a) the Bipartisanship Deregulation Act.
(b) the Airline Deregulation Act.
(c) the Campaign Finance Deregulation Act.
(d) the Video Game Deregulation Act.
28. One reason the “sound bite” is becoming shorter is:
(a) fast food keeps becoming more popular.
(b) politicians are increasingly intelligent and better educated.
(c) attention spans of the public seem to be decreasing.
(d) most political problems have been solved and are well-understood.
29. “Phone banking” is a technique for doing which of the following:
(a) saving money.
(b) improving technology.
(c) helping elect people to office.
(d) finding the best candidates to run for office.
30. “You cannot completely learn politics from a textbook. You need be a volunteer who participates in it to fully understand it.” Why might someone say that?
(a) Because politics is about the future, and textbooks cannot keep up with the changes quickly enough.
(b) Because there are many tricks in politics that are difficult to fully understand merely by reading a textbook.
(c) Because there are some similarities between politics and sports, and it is almost impossible to master a sport merely by reading a textbook.
(d) All of the above.
31. Which of the following is the best reason to support divided government?
(a) It passes more laws.
(b) It has more checks and balances.
(c) It promotes smoother government.
(d) It avoids conflicts.
32. One difference between people who are 60 years old compared with people who are 20 years old is:
(a) The 60-year-old is typically healthier.
(b) The 20-year-old is typically richer.
(c) The 60-year-old is typically more liberal than when he was younger.
(d) The 60-year-old is more likely to vote.
33. Rand Paul, a recently elected conservative U.S. Senator from Kentucky, was criticized this fall for implying that complex laws prohibiting racial discrimination by places of public accommodation (such as hotels) are not necessarily desirable. How might Rand Paul respond?
(a) He is a “strict constructionist” who supports all the views of the Confederacy.
(b) He believes in an “evolving” Constitution that should be interpreted to prohibit all forms of discrimination without the need for Congress or states to pass any laws on the topic.
(c) He wants the full support of the hotel industry in Kentucky, which seeks to limit their customers to particular ethnic groups.
(d) He supports powerful and efficient free market forces against discrimination, because in a competitive market bankruptcy would result for hotels that discriminate.
34. Hundreds of thousands of people travel to D.C. in the third week of January to make a strong statement in favor of what?
(a) More taxes.
35. Who is prevented from voting in a “closed primary”?
(d) Elected officials
36. Suppose your neighbor across the street goes frequently to church, while your closest neighbor on your side of the road never goes to church. Although there are always some individual exceptions to voting patterns, which way are these neighbors more likely to vote based solely on this information?
(a) Republican, and Democratic.
(b) Democratic, and Republican.
(c) Independent, and Republican.
(d) There is no correlation between church attendance and voting patterns.
37. The “pocket veto” can be used by _______ under what circumstances?
(a) Congress, when the President or 50% of the Congress is traveling outside the country.
(b) the President, when Congress is not in session.
(c) the Supreme Court, when there is divided government.
(d) the Speaker of the House, when the “pockets” or legislative pouches are full.
38. Which of the following political tricks might you best use to avoid conflicts in your family?
(a) Filibustering your mom when she tries to teach you an important lesson.
(b) Moving to “table” an issue when your dad demands an explanation for something.
(c) Adopting the rules of a closed primary when arranging for family get-togethers.
(d) Floating a trial balloon before doing something that your parents might not like.
39. The best criticism of “straight-ticket voting” is:
(a) people should not need to buy tickets in order to vote.
(b) political parties should be prohibited by Congress, or at least strictly regulated.
(c) politics is not straightforward.
(d) it can make it more difficult for the best candidate to win.
40. A committee of Congress has all of the following powers EXCEPT:
(a) the power to draft legislation.
(b) the power to recommend legislation.
(c) the power nominate judges.
(d) the power to investigate matters by calling witnesses before it.
TWO EXTRA CREDIT QUESTIONS FOR EACH STUDENT:
(First everyone should answer this one)
All of the following are differences between the U.S. Constitution and the Articles of Confederation EXCEPT:
(a) Establishing an office of President.
(b) Establishing a Supreme Court.
(c) Establishing a Congress.
(d) Establishing a ratification process that does not require approval by all states or colonies.
(Then answer only one question below, as specified)
(For girls only)
You have successfully finished this course, and now you’re planning ahead for your first run to be elected to public office. To which office will you first be qualified to be elected and then hold office?
(a) U.S. Senator
(b) U.S. House of Representatives
(For boys only)
Your public school refuses to allow you to try out for its sports team, even though your family pays as much in taxes (or even more) for that public school than other people who are allowed to participate. How might you best challenge that rule?
(a) Write a letter to the President of the United States.
(b) File legal papers with the U.S. Supreme Court.
(c) Travel to D.C. to meet with your Democratic U.S. Senators.
(d) Lobby Governor Chris Christie to instruct the New Jersey Department of Education to adopt rules to prohibit this discrimination.
CONGRATULATIONS AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Post your answers on Talk:American Government Final Exam 2010.