Public Administration

Public Administration



Public Administration

1. The constitution gives the three braches of the government powers to ensure that none of the braches overrides the other. The concept of separation of powers rests on the principle that the three branches are unique, and that they each perform specific functions. The court’s function seemed to have changed over the years, as it has become the main interpreter of the constitution. The judiciary decides whether the actions taken by the other branches are constitutional or unconstitutional, and its decision will affect the adoption of laws and the performance of the executive and the legislation.  It has decided cases that involve the separation of powers in the three branches, and this has sometimes affected the function of congress. Under the system of checks and balances, congress has limited power to check the courts authority and power. Congress has challenged the sole authority to interpret the constitution, through the Military Commissions Act, but the court overturned the decision by congress. The fact that the court can oppose congressional decision concerning judicial authority shows the level of power that the judiciary has (Scribner, 2009).

The judiciary changed its approach towards constitutional interpretation in the twentieth century. Before then, the court had admitted its limited nature of dealing with certain policy matters, and the executive and the legislature had the power of constitutional implementation, which they used when making decisions. By doing this, the judiciary was respecting the constitutional provision of separation of powers, as it recognized the role and function of the other two branches of the government. However, after 1930s, the court handled more individual rights cases, and this increased its confidence and power.

The many cases dealing with individual rights gave the judiciary much experience in interpreting the constitution, and this increased its powers and confidence in interpreting the law. The courts recognized the importance of individual rights, and it believed that it would use its authority to protect the people from the majority. Thus, individual rights took precedence over other requirements in the constitution. In addition, people wanted a change in the country and they fought for their civil rights. They wanted equality of the races and an end to segregation. Congress failed to make a decision concerning racial rights and left the decision for the court to interpret. The ruling on desegregation was one of the major decisions that led to the courts interpretation of the constitution (Scribner, 2009).

The courts decision in handling cases involving individual liberties led to a belief that it represented a fair system. The courts handled matters that affected people directly such as issues concerning race desegregation, discrimination of gender, and the right to have an abortion. The people felt that the courts considered their rights, and they were willing to take more cases to court. This has led to the courts involvement in different policy matters. Over time, this has led to the courts decision to overturn some of the laws made by congress and the executive. For instance, the court has declared the president’s affordable health care act in some states unconstitutional.

In the Boumediene case, the court failed to realize its limitations on military matters when making the ruling, as this was a political issue, which would have been addressed best by the executive and the legislature. Thus, although congress might pass the bill into law, the court can overturn this decision. This highlights the nature of federalism, which recognizes the federal and state authorities. Unless the other government branches use the constitutional weapons available to them in the form of constitutional amendments and jurisdiction control, the judiciary will continue to exercise its powers over the other branches. The judiciary no longer concentrates on checking the other arms of the government, but it has become the main interpreter of the constitution, and this has increased its powers (Harriger, 2011).

2. Interest groups aim at influencing the government through actions such as lobbying so that it can respond to the needs of the people they are representing. The country is heterogeneous and this means that there are many divergent views. People want organizations that will represent their interests, and lead to changes in laws for their own benefit. The number of interest groups has increased over the years, and institutions such as religious groups and learning institutions formed their own interest groups with their own agenda, which aimed at fulfilling their interests. Although interest groups have different objectives, they each seek to influences changes in public policy. Interest groups work with political parties, which they hope will represent their concerns in legislation. They specialize in a specific area of interest such as protection of the environment and different economic issues such as subsidies and tax reforms.

Public interest groups lobby for changes that will affect the general population. Individual members do not realize the immediate impact of these changes. The population benefits when interest groups that form to fight for a clean environment succeed. Private interest groups on the other hand seek benefits for their own members. The members of the specific group realize individual benefits once the interest groups succeed in its endeavors. Although most interest groups are voluntary, some groups require mandatory participation of the members. For instance, labor unions cannot survive without support from the members. They need members support so that they can advocate better working conditions and wages for them (Olson, 2002).

Interest groups use different methods to influence more people and to get support. The advancement in technological development and its wide acceptance and use have provided more channels for interest groups to lobby people and effect change. Groups use different technologically-based methods including social media, emails, and mobile phones, which enables them to attract more people. Interest groups use other methods such as writing letters, campaigns, and petitions. The level of participation in petitions and public demonstrations is important, as it shows the number of people who support a cause. Interest groups seek media support through different campaigns, which include coverage in different media.

Interest groups are concerned with politics, and they will participate in political campaigns by supporting the candidates who represent their interest best. They contribute money to assist in the campaign process and they provide voters with important information concerning their area of concern and why they should vote for candidates who will represent them. Political parties are essential, as they assist in establishing policy, thus the level of interest group participation with the parties. In addition, they provide an opposition for the government, which is crucial in ensuring that the government serves people’s interest. Each political party has different candidates seeking elective posts, and this contributes to democracy, as it gives the citizens more choice in determining the candidates. However, the American bipartisan system has reduced people’s choices in the candidates they would want represent them. People are not obliged to join and support any political parties although many of them remain members of the party they choose in their lifetime (Edwards et al., 2005).

Interest groups and political parties ensure that the interest of the minority and majority are well represented. They advocate for equal rights and they oppose any means of exploitation. For instance, economic interest groups ensure that the government does not exploit or take advantage of the wealthy corporations and individuals, by advocating different economic measures such as tax reforms that focus specifically on them. Interest groups focusing on the rights of the farmers will ensure that the government continues giving subsidies. Interest groups will also ensure that the laws and legislations do not discriminate on people based on their gender or sex.

3. Features of the modern day presidency differ with the traditional form of presidency in different ways. Political parties have become weaker and there are more fiscal and institutional limits. Modern presidents are in favor of public relations, instead of using the traditional method of negotiating with congress. The decision to hold primaries to nominate leaders has contributed to weakening of the political parties. The president no longer has ties with the constituent groups, and he concentrates on campaigning and fundraising. They concentrate on acquiring skills on campaigning instead of gaining knowledge on politics. Advancement in technology has led to several changes in the political scene, as members now prefer to go public than they previously did.

Presidents have become more interested in polls and surveys showing their level of popularity in the country. The development of scientific method in developing polls has contributed to a greater accuracy and the president understands that they can reflect the power that he has on the people. Increased popularity shows that the president has the support on the people. It shows that the people approve of the steps that he is taking and the way that he is governing (Kernell, 1997). The presidents’ decision to go public is a way of appealing to the voters directly in an attempt to influence decision by congress. Presidents have chosen to use this method over negotiation, which has declined with the reduced bargaining power of the president, and subsequent failure in the negotiation process. Presidents do not only consider bargaining as the only tool they have to influence policy as was previously the case (Jones, 2001)

Modern day presidents have various roles, which include being the chief economist, chief executive, chief legislature, chief diplomat, commander in chief, chief of state, and chief of party. As a chief economist, the president writes the federal budget and he sets the policies on tax. The president has the authority and capacity to issue orders in his role as the chief executive. The president chooses the people to work in the executive as cabinet members. Working as the chief legislature enables the president to propose laws, and to convince congress to support them, and he signs the bills into laws. The president can also veto bills under this capacity. As the chief diplomat, the president tasks involve overseeing the country’s foreign policy as well as negotiating treaties. He entertains foreign diplomats to the state house and holds discussions with them. He travels to different countries on official business and holds meetings with the leaders (Gitelson, et al., 2010).

As the commander in chief, the president is responsible for the nation’s security and for the operations of the military. He decides where the military should be stationed and the weapons to use during war. For instance, President Truman gave the order to use the nuclear weapons in Japan during the Second World War. However, the president does not decide whether the country should go to war, as congress makes the decision. As the chief of state, the president represents the country in official functions, at home and abroad. The president can reward those who are loyal to the party by appointing them in different positions in the federal government and he participates in fundraising for political campaigns in his capacity as the chief of party (Gitelson, et al., 2010).


Edwards, C. G., Wattenberg, P. M., & Lineberry, L. R. (2005). Government in America: People, politics, and policy. Pearson

Gitelson, A, R., Dudley, R. L., & Dubnick M. J. (2010). Cengage advantage books: American government. New York, NY: Cengage Learning

Harriger, J. K. (2011). Judicial Supremacy or Judicial Defense? The Supreme Court and the Separation of Powers. Political Science Quarterly, 126 (2)201-221

Jones, O. C. (2001). Professional reputation and the Neustadt formulation. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 31 (2), 281-295

Kernel, S. (1997). Going public: New strategies in presidential leadership. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Press

Olson, M. (2002). The logic of collective action: public goods and the theory of groups. Harvard University Press

Scribner, H. P. (2009). A fundamental misconception of separation of powers: boumediene v. bush. Texas Review of Law & Politics, 14 (1) 90-163  

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