Difference between revisions of "American Government Key Terms"

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Revision as of 20:18, 11 December 2010

Term Explanation
trial balloon leaking a proposed decision (such as a nomination by the president of someone to the U.S. Supreme Court) to the media so it can be publicized in order to see how the public reacts before the decision is finally made and officially announced. This enables changing the decision without embarrassment if the public reaction to the trial balloon is negative.
lame duck An elected official (or officials) who has not been reelected but still holds the official position until replaced by someone who was newly elected. Example: Congress in December 2010 is a "lame duck Congress" because the new representatives who were elected on Nov. 2 are not sworn into office until early January 2011.
interest group
Citizens United v. FEC (Jan. 2010) The U.S. Supreme Court decision that allowed corporations (like Wal-Mart) to spend directly for or against political candidates.
divided government When the House of Representatives, Senate and President are not controlled by the same political party; one or more is controlled by one party, while at least one is controlled by the other major party. (This is unique to the United States).
midterm elections
early voting
judicial elections
initiative
granting cert.
federal
Bill of Rights
The Equal Access Act (1984)
impeachment
think tank
political party
Middle East
Second Amendment
Tenth Amendment
judicial activism
U.S. Circuit Courts
incumbent
anti-Federalist
federalism
polling
the Cabinet