Midterm Exam

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American Government 101
Midterm Exam - Closed Book.
30 minutes for 35 questions; no points deducted for wrong answers.
25% of the homeschooled class scored 30 points or higher.

1. Each of the following is a branch of government EXCEPT
(a) Congress
(b) the Executive
(c) the Judiciary
(d) the Legislature
(e) the media

2. Which of the following actions would most violate the separation of powers?
(a) the President vetoing legislation.
(b) Congress overriding a presidential veto.
(c) The Supreme Court refusing to enforce an unconstitutional law.
(d) the President changing legislation passed by Congress before signing it.
(e) Congress impeaching the President.

3. Which of the following is the best example of checks and balances?
(a) Congress holds a hearing investigating another branch of government.
(b) The President sends troops to Iraq without a declaration of war.
(c) The Supreme Court hears fewer and fewer cases each year.
(d) The President asks for more money each year for the Department of Justice, and Congress complies with his request each year.
(e) The Supreme Court defers to the President on military issues.

4. Congress has all of the following powers EXCEPT:
(a) to regulate interstate commerce.
(b) to establish a post office.
(c) to coin money.
(d) to grant marriage licenses.
(e) to declare war.

5. How many votes in Congress are needed to override a presidential veto?
(a) 1/2
(b) 60%
(c) 2/3
(d) 3/4
(e) unanimous

6. The simplest explanation for why the media are so powerful is:
(a) everyone wants to work for the media
(b) the media are conservative
(c) many politicians fear, and try to avoid, mockery or ridicule by the media
(d) the media have more money than everyone else
(e) the media are smarter than everyone else

7. Which of the following is the MOST LEGITIMATE reason why the U.S. Supreme Court will “grant cert.” and consider a case appealed to it?
(a) The case concerns an important issue of state law.
(b) The case involves a personal matter of one of the Justices.
(c) The Circuit Courts reached different outcomes and have a conflict on a basic legal issue that needs to be resolved.
(d) The President asked the Chief Justice to consider accepting a case.
(e) A jury awarded a large sum of money to a plaintiff.

8. In a case in federal court, how many levels or layers of appeal are there? In other words, what is the maximum possible number of appeals to a higher court from a federal district court?
(a) 0
(b) 1
(c) 2
(d) 3
(e) 4

9. The following are qualifications for the office of president EXCEPT:
(a) the president must be at least 35 years of age.
(b) the president must be a natural citizen.
(c) a resident of the United States for at least fourteen years
(d) a resident of a state different from the Vice President
(e) if born outside the United States to non-citizens, then he must obtain status as a legal immigrant.

10. Which of the following is the BEST reason why a poll may be inaccurate on an emotional issue:
(a) because a poll cannot ask everyone.
(b) because some people may vote differently in a secret ballot than in the poll
(c) because a poll cannot present the same question as on a ballot
(d) because the people running polls can never be trusted
(e) because most people lie in responding to polls

11. The Bill of Rights includes which of the following protections:
(a) freedom of speech.
(b) prohibition on the death penalty.
(c) habeas corpus.
(d) republican form of government.
(e) prohibition on slavery.

12. The “Necessary and Proper Clause” is used to:
(a) give the President the power he needs.
(b) allow the Supreme Court to enforce its rulings.
(c) leave with the states power not granted to the federal government.
(d) expand the power and scope of Congress’s enumerated powers.
(e) justify the income tax.

13. “Cloture” means what?
(a) ending debate to proceed to a vote in the Senate; requires 60%
(b) ending debate to proceed to a vote in the Senate; requires 2/3.
(c) ending debate to proceed to a vote in the House; requires 2/3.
(d) signature of a bill by the President.
(e) consideration of an issue by the Supreme Court.

14. A Bill of Attainder is
(a) allowed by the Constitution, it helps people attain their goals.
(b) allowed by the Constitution, it allows Congress to fine someone.
(c) prohibited by the Constitution, it confers nobility on someone.
(d) prohibited by the Constitution, it allows Congress to take property.
(e) prohibited by the Constitution, it declares someone guilty without a trial.

15. The term “federal” means what?
(a) efficient, as in “Federal Express”
(b) local government
(c) state government
(d) the national government
(e) the global government run by the United Nations

16. The “pocket veto” is advantageous to a President for which reason:
(a) It enables him to veto a bill by doing nothing
(b) It enables him to veto a bill by carrying it in his pocket before signing it
(c) It enables him to veto a bill by using a rubber veto stamp from his pocket
(d) It is not advantageous because it makes it harder for the President to veto a bill
(e) It is not advantageous because the Vice President can sign the bill.

17. On Tuesday of this week, the U.S. Supreme Court was expected to announce whether it would accept the most important case on gun control in 70 years. What is the procedure for “granting cert.” by the U.S. Supreme Court (taking a case)?
(a) the Chief Justice can decide to hear the case.
(b) any two Justices can decide to hear the case.
(c) it takes the vote of 4 out of 9 Justices to hear a case.
(d) it takes the vote of 5 out of 9 Justices to hear a case.
(e) it takes the unanimous vote of all 9 Justices to hear a case.

18. All of the following reasons explain why the media is so liberal EXCEPT:
(a) most American voters are liberal.
(b) distorting the truth sells more newspapers than speaking the truth.
(c) the profession of reporting attracts liberals more than conservatives.
(d) people who buy newspapers and magazines tend to be more liberal.
(e) liberals are less supportive of balanced reporting than conservatives are.

19. A political party that wants to prevent members of other political parties from voting in its primary and influencing its choice of a nominee should hold which type of primary?
(a) open
(b) closed
(c) blanket
(d) mail-order
(e) voluntary

20. Whom should you call if no one picked up the garbage you put on the street?
(a) the President
(b) Congress
(c) the Supreme Court
(d) the Governor
(e) the Mayor

21. A “trial balloon” is:
(a) a balloon that floats above jury trials.
(b) a response by a public official to public criticism of a decision.
(c) a leak of a possible decision to the press to solicit public response before making the decision.
(d) a preliminary balloon used until a more permanent balloon is available.
(e) a jury trial where the parties present their sides of the case, and then the trial “balloons” such that the jury deliberates for many days before rendering its decision.

22. Federalism means:
(a) the system of dual sovereignty of the federal and state governments.
(b) the national government.
(c) the state government.
(d) members of the Federalist Party between 1800 and 1816.
(e) the employment by the national government of the Supreme Court Justices

23. The Chief Justice of the United States has which special power?
(a) he can declare war.
(b) he can hire people to enforce his decisions.
(c) he can select which Justice writes the opinion on his side of the case.
(d) he decides which cases are heard by the Supreme Court.
(e) unlike other judges, he is elected.

24. Each of the following departments has a representative in the President’s Cabinet EXCEPT:
(a) Department of Justice
(b) Department of Defense
(c) Department of State
(d) Department of the Treasury
(e) the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms

25. “Patronage” in politics or government may be best defined as:
(a) elected officials favoring political supporters by hiring them into government positions or awarding them with government contracts.
(b) elected officials favoring political enemies by hiring them into government positions or awarding them with government contracts, in the hope of winning them over.
(c) elected officials serving as “patrons” or “mentors” for young people in the community in the hope they will grow up and support the elected officials.
(d) candidates supporting the President in the hope of obtaining his endorsement of their campaigns.
(e) candidates supporting businesses during the campaign in the hope that they will return the favor on election day.

26. Articles I, II and III of the United States Constitution describe the powers of government in which order?
(a) states, legislature, judiciary
(b) legislature, executive, judiciary
(c) judiciary, executive, legislature
(d) executive, states, judiciary
(e) None of the above

27. The “Appointments Clause” grants special powers to whom?
(a) the House of Representatives
(b) the Senate
(c) the President
(d) the Chief Justice
(e) the military

28. The Conference Committee is:
(a) a committee chosen to resolve differences between House and Senate versions of a bill
(b) a member of the Cabinet that advises the President
(c) a committee of clerks who decide which cases are reviewed by the Supreme Court
(d) a committee in the House only
(e) a committee in the Senate only

29. A characteristic of a straw poll is which of the following:
(a) participants in the poll are carefully selected in a scientific manner.
(b) it occurs as voters exit the polling booths.
(c) it asks people for their opinion on farming issues only.
(d) it is an unscientific poll affected by who chooses to participate.
(e) it is illegal.

30. If a police officer knocks on your church or home and there is no emergency, and he asks to look around inside, what is an appropriate response?
(a) “Do you have a search warrant?” based on the Fourth Amendment.
(b) “Do you have a search warrant?” based on the First Amendment.
(c) It does not matter if he has a search warrant or not: he should not enter.
(d) It does not matter if he has a search warrant or not: he can enter.
(e) It does not matter what you say if you do not own the property.

31. The National Security Council is:
(a) a council in each town created due to 9/11 terrorism.
(b) a council in each state that calls up the state militia as needed.
(c) a council that includes the President and which discusses national security and foreign policy.
(d) a council of congressmen that advises the House of Representatives.
(e) a private group of citizens concerned about illegal immigration.

32. The New Jersey Plan:
(a) was a secret plan for New Jersey to secede from the Union rather than ratify the Bill of Rights.
(b) was adopted unchanged to establish Congress.
(c) was presented during the Constitutional Convention and favored a bicameral legislature based on population.
(d) was presented during the Constitutional Convention and favored a unicameral legislature with one vote per state.
(e) was presented during the Constitutional Convention and favored a unicameral legislature based on population.

33. One of the primary purposes of a national political party is to:
(a) nominate and support candidates for elected office.
(b) have celebrations or parties regardless of who wins.
(c) declare war and send troops to fight them.
(d) merge with other political parties and nominate candidates together.
(e) approve ballot initiatives

34. So-called “hate speech” includes which of the following?
(a) speech that is illegal under the U.S. Constitution.
(b) speech that no one agrees with.
(c) speech that the speaker hates to speak.
(d) speech that leads to hatred of the speaker.
(e) free speech that liberals seek to censor, such as criticism of homosexuality.

35. The decision in Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) had which of the following effects:
(a) established the important principle of the “separation of church and state”
(b) shifted power from the states to the federal government over commerce.
(c) declared an Act of Congress to be unconstitutional
(d) returned power to the states
(e) held in favor of the Secretary of State Gibbons


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