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American Government 101
Final Exam - Closed Book.
50 questions; no points deducted for wrong answers.

To avoid traps on difficult questions, eliminate wrong answers before picking the correct one.

1. The number and types of the branches of the federal government are:
(c) 3, legislative, executive and judiciary

2. Which of the following must be true about every President of the United States?
(a) He is at least 35 years old.
This is the closest answer, but still incorrect. The use of the gendered article "he" implies that the President must be male, but this is not the case. Please do not read my note as endorsement of Hillary as pres; I think we all know that's not the case :-).

3. When government hurts you by violating your rights under the U.S. Constitution, what is usually your strongest response?
(d) sue in federal court.

4. Which entity has the most influence over the rules concerning homeschooling?
(b) the U.S. Supreme Court.
(e) state government.
It depends on what you mean by "influence." The states have more day-to-day control, but of course they're subject to the Supreme Court. I'll still go with "states" (e); since lawsuits take so much time, and money, I think the states have the most day-by-day influence.

5. “Federalism” refers to:
(d) a system of co-sovereigns that allows for a strong state government

6. Which is the fastest growing age group in America?
(e) Over 65.

The over 65s arent growing. They tend to shrink! :)

7. The “Supremacy Clause” is:
(a) a clause in the Constitution that says federal law is supreme over local laws.

8. An “exit poll” means:
(e) asking people how they just voted on Election Day.

9. A “leak” in government is:
(a) an unauthorized release of information to the press.
I think (d) could be correct, too...

10. All of the following are examples of “checks and balances” EXCEPT:
(e) the President can order that the atomic bomb be dropped on a foreign country.

11. In the 2008 presidential elections, the primaries accomplish which purpose?
(c) selecting the nominees for president for political parties.

12. Who is a “lobbyist”?
(e) an unelected person whose job is to try to persuade elected officials how to vote.

13. “Affirmative action” consists of:
(a) giving special preferences to someone because of their race or gender.

14. The phrase the “separation of church and state” can be found where?
(e) in none of the above, but in arguments by people seeking to censor Christianity.

15. Rank the following in terms of how open they are to public participation, from least open to most open:

I. closed primary
II. open primary
III. caucus (a) I, II, III

16. The Miranda warning is given to whom?
(c) criminal suspects

17. The vote of how many Justices in your favor is necessary to ensure victory in the U.S. Supreme Court (choose the minimum amount necessary):
(c) 5.

18. The decision that had the effect of ending prayer in school was:
(b) Engel v. Vitale (1962).

19. From year to year, the “sound bite” is becoming:
(d) shorter.

20. If someone comes to your door and asks if he can search your house, what would your attorney most likely tell you to do?
(b) ask to see a search warrant first and not allow him in without a warrant.

21. One good reason to spend more time working for an interest group than a political party is:
(b) sometimes political change requires attracting support from both major parties.

22. The broadest support for a food regulation is for:
(c) requiring disclosure of the contents of the food.

23. On Tuesday, John McCain won the Republican primary in New Hampshire, and Hillary Clinton won the Democratic primary there. What did they really win?
(b) They won some delegates to their political parties’ national conventions, and status as frontrunners for future primaries in other states.

24. The President has almost complete control over:
(e) dealings and negotiations with foreign nations: foreign policy

25. Why is it important to get involved in a major political party?
(b) because politics is like a team sport, and elections are usually won by major political parties

26. All of the following are interest groups EXCEPT:
(d) Congress

27. A journalist "shield law" does which of the following:
(b) allows journalists to keep the identities of their sources secret.

28. Which of the following is the best predictor of how people will vote?
(c) how often they worship God.

29. Early polling data are often unreliable because:
(b) The views of voters change as Election Day approaches.

30. Which of the following is a fundamental right protected by the Constitution?
(a) right to trial by jury.
Note that this is for criminal trials only!

31. If you wanted to run for President, you would want to do all of the following things EXCEPT:
(e) always speak the truth, even if it offends many voters.
It's so sad that this is true.

32. One of the most reliable political polls is the approval rating of the President. Why?
(c) everyone knows who the president is

33. What might the Republican Party cite to stop a disliked candidate from running as a Republican?
(a) freedom of association

34. Which of the following are true about federal courts?

I. The Supreme Court usually won't hear a case unless four Justices want to.
II. Except for big lawsuits between citizens of different states, a plaintiff must usually cite violation of a federal law to gain access to federal court.
III. The Chief Justice of the United States always decides who writes the opinion for the Court.
(b) I and II.

Questions 35 and 36 are based on Lopez v. United States (1995), in which the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990. That law had made it a federal offense "for any individual knowingly to possess a firearm at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone."

35. Suppose you were the attorney for the United States arguing in favor of the constitutionality of the federal law. What clause in the Constitution would help you most?
(b) Commerce Clause.

36. Suppose you were the attorney for Mr. Lopez. What principle or doctrine would help you most in arguing that the federal law is invalid?
(a) federalism.

37. The longest-serving Supreme Court Justice in history, William O. Douglas, once said, "I don't follow precedents, I make ’em." What is that an example of?
(e) judicial activism.

Questions 38 and 39 are based on how a new federal law is enacted:

38. A new statute is typically prepared and revised by whom?
(d) a committee in Congress.

39. When the President vetoes new legislation, what options are left for trying to pass it?
(b) try to override the veto with 2/3rds vote in both houses of Congress.

40. Each of the following are departments in the Executive Branch EXCEPT:
(e) Department of Homeschooling.

41. How many votes are required for a successful filibuster in the U.S. Senate?
(b) 40.

42. What job is performed by the Attorney General of the United States?
(b) He enforces the laws by managing the Department of Justice.

43. How might you best phrase a preliminary question in a poll about the death penalty to (falsely) increase the number of people opposed to it?
(c) “Do you think an innocent man should receive the death penalty?”

44. The Constitution gives the power to declare war to which branch of government?
(b) executive.
Although this is recently a subject of debate.

45. The minimum age for drinking alcohol is 21 in all 50 states because of political efforts of _____________:
(b) an interest group, Mothers Against Drunk Driving
This is a confusing question! I think the answer should be "Congress," because wasn't it the result of a tied grant, whereby states wouldn't get highway funding unless they upped the drinking age? But I know that MADD was VERY influential.

46. The “peace dividend” was expected as the result of which of the following?
(d) the end of the Cold War.

47. The Equal Rights Amendment:
(d) was defeated because many Americans (i) oppose treating men and women identically in the military, (ii) oppose same-sex marriage, and (iii) oppose taxpayer-funded abortion.

48. The main defect in the Lemon Test is that:
(b) it is so broad that it can be easily manipulated against religion.

49. “Incorporation doctrine” means which of the following:
(d) The Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Bill of Rights to apply against the states.

50. The “legislative veto” gave Congress the power to veto or invalidate an action taken by the President, such as a decision to deport an illegal alien. The legislative veto was in nearly 200 federal statutes until it was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in INS v. Chadha (1983). What doctrine do you think the U.S. Supreme Court used to invalidate it?
(c) separation of powers.


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