Final version of the exam. Not for posting until Tuesday noon. Thanks for your comments and suggestions.
How well would you or your kids do?
Exam No. 1 (January 20th)
This is a CLOSED BOOK exam. You have 45 minutes to complete the exam. There are two parts: multiple choice (80%) and short answer (20%). No points are deducted for wrong answers.
Part I should consume only about 25 minutes, leaving plenty of time for part II and review of your answers. But you may allocate your time however you like.
Part I: Multiple Choice (each question counts for 2 points)
1. The following are agencies in the federal Executive Branch EXCEPT:
(a) Department of Justice
(b) Department of Health and Human Services
(c) Department of Motor Vehicles
(d) Department of the Interior
2. The following are federal requirements of interstate relations EXCEPT:
(b) treaty power
(c) full faith and credit clause
(d) privileges and immunities clause
3. The Federalist Papers were important because they:
(a) established the Federalist Party
(b) advocated passage of the Constitution by explaining its meaning
(c) helped Alexander Hamilton run for president
(d) established our independence from the King
4. One reason why congressmen are reelected more often than presidents is:
(b) they tend to be Republican
(c) they avoid the media
(d) they do not work as hard
5. The following is true about a "filibuster" EXCEPT:
(a) it allows one senator to delay a vote by the entire Senate on a bill
(b) it can be stopped if 60 senators vote for "cloture"
(c) it does not exist in the House of Representatives
(d) it was repealed by Bush after the Republicans won control of the Senate in 2002
6. The following rights were considered so important that they were in the original Constitution, EXCEPT:
(a) right to trial by jury in criminal cases
(b) right to free speech
(c) privilege of the writ of habeas corpus
(d) prohibition against ex post facto laws
7. The constitutional ban against nobility applied:
(a) to both the federal government and the states
(b) to prevent George Washington's children from becoming president
(c) at the insistence of Anglophiles like John Adams
(d) to prevent any citizen from accepting a title from any foreign King or Prince
8. The first federal departments were:
(a) State, Treasury and War
(b) State, War, Treasury and Environmental Protection
(c) State, Defense, Treasury and Education
(d) State and War
9. The Council of Economic Advisors is part of:
(b) Department of Treasury
(c) Executive Office of the President
(d) Office of Management and Budget
10. How many committees in all of Congress must typically modify and approve a controversial bill before it becomes law (not including subcommittees)?
11. "New federalism" was instituted by ________ to _________:
(a) President Lyndon Johnson, consolidate power.
(b) President Richard Nixon, give states greater control over spending.
(c) President Jimmy Carter, help farmers
(d) President George Bush (the first), limit the growth of federal spending.
12. All of the following have repeatedly lost power through checks and balances (including use of the 14th Amendment) EXCEPT:
(b) Supreme Court
13. The best arguments for and against requiring the election of federal judges are:
(a) pro: elections give smarter candidates an advantage; con: negative campaigns
(b) pro: increases accountability; con: dilutes principled application of Rule of Law
(c) pro: increases integrity of judges; con: limits process to wealthier judges
(d) pro: will force most people to vote for judges; con: no one will want to run
14. The Senior Executive Service (SES) has this characteristic:
(a) the President cannot fire these government employees
(b) the President can fire many of these government employees
(c) these are not government employees at all
(d) these employees work for Congress
15. Overrides of presidential vetoes of legislation include all of the following EXCEPT:
(a) the War Powers Act (1973)
(b) the Freedom of Information Act (1966), when amended in 1974
(c) the ban on partial birth abortions (2002)
(d) the Taft-Hartley Act (1947)
16. The Constitution may be amended by a Constitutional Convention. What vote is required to ratify an amendment once passed by a convention has passed, and has this method ever been used?
(a) 50%; no
(b) 2/3; no
(c) 3/4; no
(d) 3/4; yes
17. The term "logrolling" means:
(a) defeating the "tree huggers"
(b) presidential control over Congress
(c) redistricting a region in the shape of a log to protecting an incumbent
(d) when one congressman votes for a bill to win the votes by others on a different bill
18. A reason to prefer "divided government" is:
(a) it maximizes the "checks and balances"
(b) it makes it easier to conduct wars
(c) it makes it easier to confirm Supreme Court Justices
(d) it is fairer
19. The Declaration of Independence used these ideas of John Locke:
(a) taxation without representation is illegal
(b) individuals have natural rights and government is bound by its social compact
(c) King George III was abusing his power
(d) "Live Free or Die"
20. Which department currently oversees the Patent and Trademark Office?
(a) Department of Labor
(b) Department of State
(c) Department of the Interior
(d) Department of Commerce
21. The term used to describe a bill having many riders is:
(a) pork barrel legislation
(b) special interest legislation
(d) Christmas tree
22. The Congressional Budge Office does the following:
(a) finds congressmen good jobs when they are defeated
(b) acts as liaison between Congress and the lobbyists
(c) evaluates the budgetary impact of federal programs
(d) promotes racial harmony
23. Who has more power and why: the Speaker of the House or the President of the Senate?
(a) the Speaker of the House because he assigns bills to committees.
(b) the President of the Senate because he assigns bills and controls debate.
(c) the Speaker of the House because he ranks higher in succession to the presidency.
(d) the Speaker of the House because he can block presidential appointments.
24. Incorporation Doctrine consists of:
(a) how companies can incorporate themselves
(b) how the Establishment Clause applies against the federal government
(c) how every single clause of the Bill of Rights applies against the states
(d) how nearly all aspects of the Bill of Rights apply against the states
25. Dual federalism consisted of:
(a) separate spheres of power for the federal and state governments
(b) power jointly exercised by the federal and state governments
(c) the system under the Articles of Confederation
(d) the method by which the King managed the colonies
26. The most democratic aspect of the original Constitution was:
(a) the procedure for confirming Supreme Court justices
(b) the procedure for electing the president
(c) the procedure for electing senators
(d) the procedure for electing congressmen
27. Opponents of the Second Amendment claim that the right to own guns is:
(a) a collective right, not an individual right
(b) an individual right, not a collective right
(c) protected by the First Amendment
(d) universally accepted
28. The following are examples of federalism EXCEPT:
(a) Congress overrides a presidential veto
(b) Towns refuse to enforce immigration laws
(c) Towns refuse to enforce the Patriot Act
(d) a new state law forces homeschoolers to take annual tests
29. When a presidential candidate fails to win a majority of the popular vote, then
(a) it makes no difference unless he also fails to win a majority of the electoral college
(b) he cannot be elected
(c) the House of Representatives picks the president
(d) the Senate picks the president
30. Suppose someone is being held in jail without trial. What principle would you cite to help him?
(a) checks and balances
(c) due process
(d) Double Jeopardy Clause
31. If asked to defend Alexander Hamilton's claim that the judiciary is the "least dangerous" branch, you should argue:
I. The Court lacks its own enforcement power, so improper decisions can be ignored by the other branches.
II. Congress can limit the scope of judicial power.
III. Even juries have the power to reject how judges apply the law to the facts of a case.
(a) I and III.
(b) I and II.
(c) I, II and III
(d) II and III
32. What is objectionable about "unfunded mandates"?
(a) Congressmen do not support them.
(b) They allow people to do what they want.
(c) They impose obligations on states without providing money to pay for them.
(d) The Supreme Court always overrules them.
33. The legacy of Chief Justice Rehnquist is:
(b) revival of federalism
(c) bright-line principles
(d) free speech
34. Federalist No. 10 advocated passage of the Constitution as a safeguard against
35. President Ronald Reagan was unusual in that he:
(a) increased the size of government
(b) decreased the size of government
(c) slowed the increase in size of government
(d) slowed the decrease in size of government
36. A good reason to demand reinstatement of the full spousal privilege in criminal cases is:
(a) prosecutors should not be limited in their search for truth
(b) no one has a right to withhold information from the federal government
(c) protecting marriage is more important than compelling testimony
(d) federal agencies can obtain testimony without prosecutors
37. The Bill of Rights can be best summarized by which of the following:
(a) slavery is evil
(b) protecting citizens against tyranny is worth allowing a few criminals to escape justice
(c) government cannot fund religious schools
(d) free speech is absolute
38. The Constitution imposes which of these requirements in connection with the admission of new states?
I. It must have a republican form of government.
II. No new state can be created from within an existing state.
III. Each state must guarantee equal rights on the basis of sex.
(a) I, II and III.
(b) I and III.
(c) I and II.
(d) II and III.
39. Congress has attempted to delegate its powers to the Executive Branch in which of the following areas:
II. Line-Item Veto
III. Procedures for enacting legislation
(a) I, II and III.
(b) I and II.
(c) I and III.
(d) II and III.
40. The main reasons why the Democratic Party favored states' rights in the 1800s and the Republican Party favors states rights now are:
(a) slavery and abortion
(b) agriculture and education
(c) slavery and education
(d) tariffs and abortion
Part II: Short Answer (each question counts for 4 points). Up to two points extra credit apiece is given for answers that provide additional insight beyond the minimum necessary to answer the question.
A. Identify at least four important weaknesses to the Articles of Confederation that were fixed by the Constitution.
B. Identify the four most important clauses in the Constitution for expanding federal power.
C. Identify at least four rights of criminal defendants protected in the Bill of Rights.
D. Identify at least four powers that the federal government does NOT have.
E. Pick a branch of the federal government and then give at least four reasons why it is NOT as powerful as it may appear.
THE END. CONGRATULATIONS!
John wrote, "There are two kinds of conventions: a national convention to propose amendments (which has never been used), and state conventions to ratify
Yes, but my question asked about "Constitutional Conventions." I now realize that the term is ambiguous. Prohibition was repealed through conventions called by states to change the Constitution.
John (and Roger) argued, "On what basis do you claim that the Republican party today favors states rights on abortion? That is definitely not what the national platform says. The platform supports pro-life in the U.S. Constitution, binding on all states."
The big push by the Republican Party over the past 30 years for greater states rights was driven largely by the abortion issue. Pro-lifers would jump at the chance to reverse Roe v. Wade and return the issue to the states, as was done in repealing Prohibition. Sure, amending the Constitution would be better still.
Depriving the Courts of jurisdiction over abortion, which pro-lifers also support, is another way of supporting states rights on the issue.
Here is my draft exam for the second half of the course, not for posting until Tuesday. Comments and answers are welcome.
Part I: Multiple Choice (each question counts for 2 points)
1. The fastest growing age group in America is:
(a) Under 18.
(d) Over 65.
2. An "exit poll" is:
(a) asking people what would cause them to leave the country.
(b) taking a survey on the internet as you sign off of your account.
(c) a series of questions asking people how they will vote in a future election.
(d) asking people how they just voted on Election Day.
3. A "leak" in government is:
(a) an unauthorized release of information to the press.
(b) a loss of support of a candidate.
(c) water seeping through an old roof in a government building.
(d) information given to a foreign country by a spy.
4. For the last 25 years, the most popular stepping stone to the presidency has been:
(a) serving as vice president
(b) serving in the U.S. Senate
(c) serving as a governor
(d) acting in Hollywood
5. "Soft money" is money that:
(a) crinkles in your pocket
(b) is political money donated to candidates
(c) is political money that cannot be used directly by candidates
(d) is political money that can only be given to national parties
6. All of the following are part of the Miranda warning EXCEPT:
(a) you have the right to remain silent
(b) anything you say can and will be used against you.
(c) you have the right to make one phone call to anyone you choose..
(d) you have the right to have an attorney present during questioning.
7. The prohibition against "cruel and unusual punishment" prevents
(a) executing anyone on death row.
(b) executing a mentally retarded criminal on death row.
(c) imprisoning someone for the rest of their life after conviction for shoplifting.
(d) imprisoning someone who is actually innocent.
8. The Establishment Clause required removal of the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Supreme Court because:
(a) the First Amendment says it applies against the states.
(b) Incorporation doctrine applied the First Amendment against the states.
(c) Fewer people believe in the Ten Commandments anymore.
(d) Public schools teach the Ten Commandments, so they are not needed in court.
9. The decision that ended segregation in the schools was:
(a) Plessy v. Ferguson
(b) Engle v. Vitale
(c) Brown v. Board of Education
(d) Roe v. Wade
10. Which of the following books has had the least impact on American history and policy:
(a) The Bible.
(b) Upton Sinclair's The Jungle.
(c) Whittaker Chambers' Witness (exposing Alger Hiss as a Communist spy).
(d) Presidential candidate Al Gore's Earth in Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit
11. The "sound bite" is shortening for all of the following possible reasons EXCEPT:
(a) There is less to say, because political disputes are disappearing.
(b) The media competes for viewers by dumbing down its content.
(c) The public is becoming dumber, with a shortening attention span.
(d) Politicians become better at avoiding full explanations to the American public
12. We still feel the effects of President Nixon's "Southern Strategy" in which way:
(a) The South still strongly supports foreign wars.
(b) The South still wants to secede from the Union.
(c) The South continues to shift to the Republican Party.
(d) The South dislikes Abraham Lincoln even more today.
13. Which legal rule might protect you if your home was searched without a warrant?
(a) the prohibition against excessive fines.
(b) the Miranda warning.
(c) eminent domain.
(d) the exclusionary rule.
14. The best reason to spend more time working for an interest group than a political party is:
(a) political parties have no power anymore.
(b) real political change requires attracting support across party lines.
(c) political parties have no money.
(d) it is too difficult to join a political party.
15. The best reason to spend more time working for a political party than an interest group is:
(a) political parties have the greatest influence over politics.
(b) interest groups are insignificant.
(c) interest groups have no money.
(d) only parties can have PACs.
16. "Control and conceal the information and you can fool the public." What might that apply to?
(a) President Reagan when he admitted we accidentally shot down a civilian Iranian airplane.
(b) the abortion industry concealing that abortion causes breast cancer.
(c) Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., protesting segregation in the South.
(d) campaign disclosure laws that require publication of the identities of donors.
17. "Comparable worth" means_______. Has Congress enacted it?
(a) equal pay for men and women who do the same job and same work. Part II: yes.
(b) equal pay for all races who do the same job and same work. Part II: yes.
(c) equal pay for men and women who do work deemed comparable in value. Part II: no.
(d) no one should have to do a worthless job. Part II: no.
18. President Clinton's pledge to "end welfare as we know it" was largely
(a) a failure, because few moved off welfare.
(b) a failure, because he was impeached.
(c) a success, based on the Aid to Families with Dependent Children
(d) a success, because of block grants that allowed states to place restrictions on welfare
19. Supporters of deregulation would argue which of the following as evidence of their success:
(a) it is easier to obtain visas now than ten years ago.
(b) plane fairs, minus taxes, are much cheaper now than when the industry was regulated.
(c) power blackouts are more frequent in states where the power industry was deregulated.
(d) prisons are much more popular now that they have been deregulated.
20. The best and the worst aspects of the press could be summed up by:
(a) Best: helps correct some types of injustice; worst: favors pro-abortion candidates.
(b) Best: reports the news in an unbiased manner; worst: allows advertising.
(c) Best: supports and defends morality; worst: publicizes Mel Gibson's new film.
(d) Best: filters out senseless news; worst: sometimes gives both sides of an issue.
21. Who is most likely to use a "cost-benefit" analysis?
(b) political candidates
22. Jury nullification is
(c) important to preserve the power of judges
(d) important to guard against tyranny
23. Which two trials laid the foundation for the First Amendment?
(a) Sacco and Vanzetti
(b) Jefferson and Madison
(c) Penn and Zenger
(d) Scopes and Clinton
24. The last northern state to abolish slavery was _______ in ________:
(a) Massachusetts, 1808
(b) Rhode Island, 1812
(c) Pennsylvania, 1815
(d) New York, 1827
25. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 did all of the following EXCEPT:
(a) withheld federal funds from state programs that discriminated based on race
(b) authorized the Justice Department to take legal action to desegregate public schools
(c) prohibited discrimination in private schools
(d) prohibited discrimination in employment based on race, color, religion or sex.
26. A "shield law" does which of the following:
(a) requires you to keep your windshield clear enough to see through it.
(b) allows journalists to keep the identities of their sources secret.
(c) is the law of the land protecting journalists in nearly every state.
(d) is meaningless because prosecutors can always throw journalists in jail anyway.
27. Which of the following is the best predictor of how people will vote?
(a) how much money they make.
(b) whether they are male or female.
(c) how often they worship God.
(d) what their race is.
28. Someone defending charitable immunity would best argue that:
(a) the donors who contributed their money did not do anything wrong.
(b) charities cannot hurt anyone.
(c) plaintiffs should not have a right to trial by jury anyway.
(d) insurance money should cover these lawsuits.
29. Early polling data predicting Dean would win the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries were inaccurate because:
(a) Polls are generally useless.
(b) Polls cannot accurately predict future opinion.
(c) Most people lie to pollsters.
(d) It is impossible estimate the opinion in an entire state through a poll.
30. Which was the only colony that banned gambling?
(b) New Jersey
(c) New York
31. If James Madison and Woodrow Wilson were alive today, what would they likely say about special interest groups and lobbyists?
(a) "We the People" type of democracy at work.
(b) Political associations get things done best.
(c) Keep them out of power as best you can.
(d) Congressmen need a place to work for after they leave office.
32. "And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marveled at him." Who might best cite this?
(a) A student seeking the right to pray in public school.
(b) An atheist objecting to prayer by a fellow student.
(c) A federal judge telling Alabama Justice Roy Moore to remove the Ten Commandments.
(d) Michael Newdow trying to stop voluntary recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in school.
33. Perhaps the only thing more powerful than the media in influencing elections are:
(a) endorsements by famous people.
(b) political parties.
(d) reasoned arguments.
34. What might the Republican Party cite to stop a disliked candidate from running as a Republican?
(a) freedom of association
(b) freedom of press
(c) freedom of assembly
(d) freedom of religion
35. What abolished the power of states to charge a tax on people when they vote in federal elections?
(a) the Civil Rights Act of 1964
(a) the Civil Rights Act of 1968
(b) the Twenty-Fourth Amendment
(c) the Fourteenth Amendment
36. The main defect in the Lemon Test is that:
(a) it infringes on commercial speech
(b) it is so broad that it can be easily manipulated against religion
(c) it is too favorable to religion
(d) it is now powerful enough
37. One of the most reliable political polls is the approval rating of the President. Why?
(a) it is simple and unbiased
(b) people usually approve of their president by a wide margin
(c) everyone knows who the president is
(d) everyone likes to be asked
38. What speech did the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002 prohibit?
(a) negative ads.
(b) debates in schools.
(c) ads by interest groups within 60 days of a general election and 30 days of a primary.
(d) third party ads within 60 days of a general election.
39. 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 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.
(a) I, II and III.
(b) I and II.
(c) I and III.
(d) II and III.
40. Who merged two political parties to lay the foundation for the Democratic Party that rose to enormous power years later?
(a) Woodrow Wilson
(b) Harry S Truman
(c) William Jennings Bryan
(d) Franklin Delano Roosevelt