The Strengths And Weaknesses Of The American Political System

.. ced the reapportionment revolution in guaranteeing equal voting rights in 1962, he extended the exclusionary rule to the states in 1961, and in 1966, he sharply police interrogations of criminal suspects (O’Brien). These rulings gave him a mark in history as one of the great chief justices (O’Brien. Another Chief Justice included in this article is Burger who on the other hand proved to be a considerable disappointment for conservatives (O’Brien). Although he was a devoted Republican he, often times, voted on the liberal side. He was a friend of Warren who had an intrigue for court management. But his personality and prevented him from being decisive, and he was incapable of compromising which is a key to one’s success in leading the Court (O’Brien).

There were a few important ruling during his appointment like the Roe v. Wade case, which lead to the right for a woman to obtain an abortion (O’Brien). There were few judges like Justice Brennan and Marshall who voted against this. They were called this because of their independent and strong judgments (O’Brien). There are exemplary judges and those who do not necessarily qualify.

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Chief Justice Warren was an exemplary judge but his crony Burger was under qualified for the job. But the job itself is hard and involves compassion, knowledge, and sternness some of which Robert H. Hork, author of Our Judicial Oligarchy, says are lost and much of the time is not apparent. Hork says that the most important moral political, and cultural, decisions affecting our lives are steadily being removed from democratic control. Only justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas attempt to give the Constitution the meaning it had for those who adopted it.

This is quite a strong statement that he makes. It introduces a whole new aspect on the previously unknown weaknesses of the Supreme Court. Hork states that most members of the Court seem to be gnostics firmly believing they have access to wisdom denied the rest of us. Justices may be out of tune with reality and the truth of the law. They rule, as if they know best, but shouldn’t they? Isn’t that the job that they should fulfill, to know what is best? They should know what is best for the country but not by their own will or opinion but by the application of the constitution.

Justices have become more liberal and rule on decisions that may not involve them. They even so far as to overriding present desires when they declare a statute unconstitutional (Hork). Hork accuses them of sometimes making up what is not there. He provides five examples of which the Court has demeaned itself and weakened the constitutions purpose and has ultimately empowered themselves as the sovereign authority. Using two of the cases will help to expand on his accusations. Virginia Military Institute had been an all-male school and it was protected from not admitting women by an equal protection clause for 128 years. The Court ordered this institution to admit women under the guise equal rights and anti-discrimination laws.

But it is the law that was used the equal protection clause that protected the Institution for 128 years (Hork). In another case a hauler had been an outspoken against the Board of County Commissioners which is not an unfamiliar practice. But the Court elevated patronage to the level of a First Amendment violation. This is an evident misapplication of the First Amendment. These cases are examples of the weakness and frivolity of the Court.

Many Justices are arrogantly self ordained, impervious to arguments about its proper behavior, and unrestrained in its loose interpretation of the constitution which all can lead to a disastrous in for the reliability of the Supreme Court and its duty to reinforce democracy. These are distinct weaknesses for the judicial branch but the legislative and executive branch suffers from certain weaknesses. Congress and the Presidents have always mingled. The job of congress is to legislate. It ultimately shares this duty with the President and the Supreme Court, but remains at the center of making legislation.

Congress introduces its own legislation and does the bidding of the people (lecture 11/17/99). It had much strength and now has many weaknesses. In chapter 10 section one of Cigler and Loomis’ book entitled American Politics, we learn about the changing textbook congress. The strength of Congress resided in its party unity and loyalty, coordination, reciprocity in the 1940’s and the 1950’s (C&L 350). Congress was known for its hard working members who knew each other’s name and were familiar with each other.

Party members were loyal to what their respective party represented. There was organization and a give and take relationship between members of congress. This all changed. The weaknesses of congress are more apparent because of several factors. The increase of staff members complicated the liability of the congressman and the many committees undermined the power of the legislative system (C 341). Committee chairmen exercise their power by making policies and thus decentralizing the process of legislation (lecture 11/29/99). Rubbing elbows is replaced by liaisons between legislative corporate enterprises in the 1960’s (C&G 341).

Also during the 1960′ and 1970’s there were economic and demographic changes that required reapportionment of districts (C&G 343-344). Districts were no longer rural or urban and this introduced a diversification of matters. This in the long run has affected the president’s role. The presidents role, according to the article entitled If You Sincerely Want to Be a United States, was to be an embodiment to external threats, be commander-in-chief if the armed forces, and conclude treaties and appoint ambassadors. He was to be the instrument of a unified foreign policy. These are the strengths of the president.

His ability to represent the country to the world effectively and prominently. This is not the case now. The President has be tied down because of a superman identity (lecture 12/6/99). America has made the president the head of his party. This disillusions the people because they have great expectations of him.

Theodore J. Lowi says that ‘ the people continue to vacillate between excessive expectations and unwarranted indignation in his article, Presidential Power: Restoring the Balance. This superman identity arose from the Nixon presidency. He was brought upon the imperial presidency, which allowed him to assume a few falsities. The President was above the law, the president and the state are the same, the president should assume certain powers, and barriers set against the President’s actions were acts equivalent to treason (Lowi).

However, some Presidents did not act in this manner and did not assume these uncasing privileges. Andrew Jackson, James Monroe, James Madison and are all former Presidents who felt that it was unconstitutional and contrary to the forefathers wishes for the president to obtain the powers that Nixon assumed (C 11:2 384,386). These may seem like strengths of the executive branch but they are weaknesses for it and congress. Congress looses its ability to check and balance the President’s actions because of his superman identity. The president is overwhelmed with unprecedented responsibilities and congress is left with little to or frustrated on what to do.

Many attempts have been initiated to curb the presidents power and restore balance through the Wars Power Resolution and the Congressional and Impoundment Control Act (Lowi). Theodore J. Lowi introduces a few resolutions; a single six-year term, stronger political parties, or a three party system (Lowi, lecture 9/29/99) Viewing the weakness and strengths of the constitutional systems and its components, I would not say that we are doomed for distaste but institutional reform is a must and obligation for present and future politicians and political scholars. The only way this would happen is if the president or the next would be willing to admit to the unbalance between the executive and legislative branch. He would also have to disappoint the American people by denouncing the superman identity. The Supreme Court would have to be regulated by the President or Congress.

Its life long tenure would probably be the first to go. Once you have something for good you can do anything with it but understanding the possibility that it can be removed may shape up one’s position and action. Political Issues Essays.


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