Question:  I don't really understand the empirical vs. normative distinction.

Answer:  Empirical vs. normative statements. An empirical statement describe some aspect of the world as it actually is; a normative statement describes some aspect of the world as it ought to be, according to some political theory, philosophy, or doctrine. Note: neither term refers specifically to government, legitimacy, or political life.  Anarchy: the absence of government. Anarchism: the normative doctrine that there ought not to be any governments. A government is legitimate in the empirical sense if almost all members of the population that it claims to govern believe that it has a right to rule and that they have an obligation to obey it A government is legitimate in the normative sense if its existence, form, and actions can be justified by some normative theory, philosophy, or doctrine.
Question:  I really don't understand the social coordination problem and how its connects with John Nash's equilibrium idea.

Answer:  Kernell and Jacobson discuss the coordination problem on p. 9, but the simplest example is the one I referred to in class quite a few times: "which side or the road shall we drive on?"  It does not matter much what the answer is (Americans say "on the right," the British say "on the left") -- what matters in that everyone in a given society coordinate on the same answer (otherwise mayhem on the roads would be even worse than it already is).  And when everyone coordinates on (say) "drive on the right," we have a (Nash) equilibrium -- that is, an "agreement" to drive on the right does not really have to be enforced by law, the police, etc.  (If everyone else is driving on the right, only an idiot would drive on the left.)  This is different from an "agreement" (to solve a social dilemma) that we will all buy pollution control devices and put them on our cars, which is not a (Nash) equilibrium  -- because (perhaps selfish but non-idiotic) people can figure that they might cheat by not buying the device and saving money, while free riding on the anti-pollution efforts of others.

The coordination idea is important and will recur throughout the semester, so you should try to understand it.  However, the (Nash) equilibrium idea is more technical and most likely will not come up again.  I really introduced it this year [Fall 2002] only because I thought many people would have seen the A Beautiful Mind movie and therefore know a bit about John Nash. (Incidentally, there is no difference between an "equilibrium" [given the standard formal definition] and a "Nash equilibrium.")
Question:  What does consent theory refer to?

Answer:   Consent theory a normative theory of  governmental legitimacy espoused by British political philosophers Thomas Hobbes (Leviathan, 1651) and John Locke (Second Treatise of Government, 1690), among other.  Both philosophers imagine a state of nature (anarchy), which leads to a state of war (Hobbes) or at least to inconveniences (Locke), from which people seek to escape; they can do so by entering into a social contract by which they give up some (Locke) or all (Hobbes) of their natural freedom and consent to the establishment of an unlimited (Hobbes) or limited (Locke) government to rule over them. In Locke's theory, government's basic purpose is to secure the natural rights to life, liberty, and property that people possess according to the law of nature. Locke's notion of limited government has these implications:
    -- the government can (in fact - thought it ought not do so) abuse its power, since there are limits on what it can
                        legitimately do;
    -- thus we probably want "checks" on government to make such abuse less likely; and
    -- the people retain the right of revolution that they can try to exercise in the event that the government systematically
                        abuses its powers. Further,
    -- setting limits on government power involves unavoidable ambiguities and arguments about what the government can
                        and cannot legitimately do.
Question: Is the Declaration of Independence strictly anti-monarchical in its principles? (This question did not seem to be resolved in class.)

Answer: There really is not an absolutely clear-cut yes or no answer to this question (which is true of many political science questions). The philosophy of the Declaration of Independence is certainly "anti-divine-right-monarchy," because (according to the Declaration) a just (i.e., normatively legitimate government) must be based on the "consent of the governed," not the "consent of God." But it is possible that a particular monarchical regime might be genuinely based on popular consent and might effectively secure people's natural rights, in which case that regime would be consistent with the principles of the Declaration. Certainly Jefferson and most other signers of the Declaration believed that a popular or democratic government would be more likely to be just than a monarchical (or aristocratic) one. And equally clearly they recognized that a popular or democratic government might NOT be just, embodying for example "tyranny of the majority."
Question: What is the difference between a confederation (confederal system) and a federation (federal system)?

Answer: In a confederal system (such as the U.S. Articles of Confederation, or the present United Nations), individuals have no connection with the central government: they do not vote for representatives to the central legislature, are not subject to the direct authority of the central government, and do not pay taxes to the central government. Rather the governments of the member states appoint representatives (like ambassadors) to the central government (and often each state has equal representation), and the central government has authority only over the member states, which pay assessments to finance the central government. (In practice, it is difficult for the central government to exercise this authority or collect these assessments.)
In a federal system (such as the present U.S. Constitution), individuals in each member state are directly connected with the central government, in that they vote for representatives to the central legislature (with bigger states typically getting more representatives), are subject to laws passed by the central legislature (enforced through a central court system), and pay taxes directly to the central government.  I try to represent these distinctions in class by drawing a three-level (central govt., state govts., people) diagram on the board and putting arrows connecting the people with the central government in the diagram to represent a federal system and removing these arrows to represent a confederal system. Thus The U.S. has a dual court system (parallel federal and state court systems), indicating that we have a federal system. (A confederal system would have state courts only).
Question: In talking about the Articles of Confederation, what do you mean by "government of the states and the government by the states"?

Answer: Government of the states: under the Articles of Confederation, Congress had no authority to pass laws (or impose taxes) that directly affected individuals; Congress could only (try to) pass resolutions asking the state governments to do this or that (or asking them to pay assessments to the U.S. Treasury); that is, it was an attempt to "govern the states," not the people. Government by the states: likewise, the people did not elect representatives to Congress, state legislatures elected the representatives; that is, it was "government by the states," not by the people. Thus, under the Articles of Confederation (and in confederations generally) there was no direct connection between the people and the central government. The federal constitution changed this.
Question:  In Federalist 16, it seems as if Hamilton is saying that, under the articles of Confederation, too few powers were delegated to the central government.  Yet you say this isn't his main point.  How so?

Answer:  (Delegated) "powers" refer to "the power to conduct foreign relations," "the power to raise revenue," "the power to regulate commerce," etc.  While Hamilton certainly believed more "powers" should be delegated to the central government (and made this point in other Federalist papers), the central -- indeed only argument -- in Federalist 16 was that, whatever "powers" were delegated to it, the central government should be (but under the A of C was not) able to exercise these powers directly, with "all the means, and have a right to resort to all the methods, of executing the powers with which it is entrusted, that are possessed and exercised by the government of the particular states," and not rely on states to carry out its decisions. "It must carry its agency to the persons of the citizens.  It must stand in need of no intermediate legislations."
Question: What exactly were the representation, commerce, executive, and federal compromises at the federal convention?

Answer: The representation compromise (also called the Connecticut compromise) provided states would be represented according to population in the House and equally in the Senate, thereby combining elements of both the Virginia and New Jersey plans regarding congressional representation. The commerce compromise provided that Congress would have the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, that it would exercise this power by simple majority vote in each house (southern delegations had demanded 2/3 majorities to pass so-called navigation acts), but that Congress could not use this power to prohibit the importation of slaves for twenty years [until 1808]. The executive compromise was the last major decision made by the convention, defining the office of president, its powers, and mode of appointment - especially 4-year term, eligibility for re-election, and election through the "electoral college" system. 4. The federal compromise refers simply to the fact that, in trying to strengthen the Articles of Confederation without actually abolishing the state governments, the framers invented a new form of union (since copied in many other constitutions), namely a federal system, as opposed to either a confederal system or a unitary system. The distinguishing mark of a federal system is that all individuals are subject to two parallel systems of law enacted by two different legislatures elected in two different election systems and enforced through two different executive and court systems (i.e., federal and state).
Question: What does Madison mean by "popular government" and by the "democratic" vs. "republican" forms of popular government?

Answer: Madison (and other framers) often used the term "popular government" to encompass both the "democratic" and "republican" forms of government. In Federalist 10, Madison argues that the republican form, but not the democratic, can "control the effects of factions" (through separation of powers/checks and balance and by encompassing an extensive and diverse population). But in (direct) democracies, a there is a single governmental institution (the assembly of all the people), so there is no opportunity to create a "separation of powers/checks and balances" system (moreover, such "town-meeting" democracy can encompass only a small local community), so factional tyranny becomes more likely.
Question: What is the difference between classical tyranny and factional tyranny?

Answer: : Classical tyranny: government oppresses the population generally, e.g., an oppressive king, emperor, dictator, oligarchy, etc. Factional tyranny: a faction (probably a majority faction) that gets control of a popular government and uses that control to oppress another part of the population.
Question: In Federalist 78, what does Hamilton mean by a "free government"?

Answer: A "free government" is government suitable for a "free people" - that is, popular non-tyrannical government. In the context of Federalist 78, Hamilton means particularly a limited popular government that stays with the limits prescribed by the constitution.
Question: [Note: this question was asked and the answer written on March 30, 2001.] In Federalist 78, what is Hamilton talking about when he says the following:

This independence of the judges is equally requisite to guard the constitution and the right of individuals, from the effects of those ill-humors which the arts of designing men, or the influence of particular conjuctures, sometimes disseminate among the people themselves, and which, though they speedily give place to better information, and more deliberate reflection, have a tendency, in the meantime, to occasion dangerous innovations in the government, and serious oppression of the minor party in the community....
Answer: Suppose there were a number of terrorist bombings in the U.S., and that various members of Congress, talk-show hosts, columnists, etc., blamed the bombings on (for example) Muslims in the U.S.  In the short run, this could stir up public passions and produce demands that Muslims should rounded up and put into prison camps, deported from the U.S., etc. But in the longer run, people would (probably) realize that the bombings should not be blamed on Muslims generally (if at all), that the immediate public reaction was unjust and, if carried into effect, would have deprived many Muslims of basic rights, etc.

So here is what Hamilton is saying about such a situation:

Judges, whose tenure in office ("independence") means they can make decisions independent of public opinion (and also independent of Congress and the Executive), can help preserve basic rights when "the influence of particular conjunctures" (events, e.g., bombings, coming together), reinforced by "the arts of designing men" (the members of Congress, talk-show hosts, columnists, etc.) trying to stir up trouble, produce "ill humours" that "disseminate among the people themselves" (intemperate demands to "lock them up," etc.). With "better information" and "more deliberate reflection," public opinion will quickly calm down [maybe Hamilton is a bit over-optimistic here] but "in the meantime" (and in the absence of independent judges) there might be "dangerous innovations in the government" (e.g., putting people in prison without trial) and "serious oppression of the minor party in the community" (minority groups, e.g., Muslims).
Question: What is a "litmus test" (as applied to judicial [or other] appointment)?

Answer: Literally, a litmus test is used in chemistry, where you add some chemical to a substance and, if it turns a particular color (say), that indicates that a chemical reaction has taken place revealing the presence of some other chemical in the tested substance. This has been applied figuratively to politics and to judicial appointments in particular, where the president will nominate, and/or the senate will confirm, a judge only if the is a clear advance indication that the nominee would vote a particular way on a certain issue that comes before the court (e.g., abortion).
Question: In connection with the 14th Amendment, what is substantive due process?

Answer: In the late 19th century (in its "laissez-faire" era), the Supreme Court said that (business) corporations were "persons" within the meaning of the "due process" clause of the 14th Amendment ("nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law") and said that many state laws setting maximum working hours, maximum prices, minimum wages, etc., deprived corporations of property without due process of law and thus were unconstitutional. Thus the Supreme Court interpreted the due process clause as putting substantive limits on the power of states to regulate business. This is referred to as "substantive due process."
Question:  I don't really understand John Stuart Mill's argument in Chapter 2 of On Liberty.

Answer:  Mill's essential argument is that society as a whole is better off if it allows free expression of opinion (freedom of speech and press), since true opinions will tend to displace false opinions in the resulting debates, making it more likely that society will act on the the basis of true opinions. While many people would say that political opinions cannot in general be classified as (more or less) "true" or "false" (after all "everyone is entitled to theor own opinion"), but most eveyone probably would accepted that the opinions of Jury members concerning the guilt of the accused can (in principle) be so classified. In class I suggested that a particularly good illustration of Mill's argument is that we probably expect that a jury is more likely to make a correct decision if it deliberates before voting (as juries normally do).
Question:  I'm still unclear about the "de jure" vs. "de facto" distinction and how it relates to racial segregation.

Answer:   In the "Jim Crow" South, there were officially separate "white" and "colored" [black or African-American] schools (and other facilities). Such (school) segregation was "de jure," i.e., a matter of law.   No such "de jure segregation" existed outside of the South (with a few exceptions) nor does any exist anywhere in the U.S. today.  But of course, in many place (certainly in Baltimore City), many schools are identifiably (mostly or entirely) "black" and others "white,"  because students attend neighborhood schools and many neighborhoods are identifiably "black" or "white."  This is sometime called "de facto" segregation, because it is a matter of fact, not of law.  In the "Jim Crow" South, there was also extensive disenfranchisement of blacks, but this was "de facto," because "de jure" disenfranchisement (laws directly saying that blacks could not vote) would have blatantly violated the 15th Amendment to the Constitution.

Question:  What is the difference between single-member districts (SMDs) and multi-member districts (MMDs)?

Answer:  Under an SMD system, just one representative is elected from each (relatively small) district; under a MMD system two or more (maybe many more) representatives are elected from each (relatively large) district.  Thus the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives are elected from 435 different single-member Congressional Districts; likewise the 650 members of the British House of Commons are elected from 650 single-member parliamentary districts.  At the opposite extreme, all 120 members of the Israeli Knesset (parliament) are elected from a single nation-wide MMD.  MMD system are usually employed with a proportional representation (PR) electoral system that allocates representation among parties in rough proportion to their voting support (rather than with a majoritarian system that would allocates all representation to party that gets the most votes).  Of course, in an SMD system, only one party can win representation (in each district), because only one representative is elected.  An SMD system generally leads to a two-party system, whereas a MMD system with PR generally leads to a multi-party system.  (We will take this up further in Topic #40.)
Question:  What is a a plurality election and what is runoff election?

Answer:  Given an SMD, in a plurality election each voter votes for exactly one candidate and whoever gets the most votes is elected?  But sometimes a runoff is usedin the event the leading candidate in a plurality election gets less than 50% of votes (which can happen if there are more than two candidates); the runoff election is between the candidate with the most votes and the candidate with the second most votes in the first election  (A few U.S. states [notably Louisiana] and jurisdictions use runoff elections but most do not.)
Question:   What are the different varieties of gerrymandering?

Answer:  Gerrymandering refers generally to drawing the boundaries of election districts (especially SMDs) in a way that advances some political interests at the expense of others.  Often this entails creating districts that are very oddly shaped.  (See K&J, p. 166 for the origin of the term.)  Partisan gerrymandering is likely to occur when one party controls the districting process and uses it to draw district boundaries so as to maximize the number the seats that it can expect to win (at the expense of the other party). Bipartisan gerrymandering is likely to occur when neither party controls the districting process (because of divided government) and they agree on a districting plan that divides up the districts so as to make some safe for one party and others safe for the other party. Nonpartisan gerrymandering is likely to occur when party loyalties are weak and districts are drawn in a way that helpful to particular prospective candidates, and particularly to facilitate the re-election of incumbents (of both parties). Racial/ethnic gerrymandering occurs when district boundaries are drawn to impede or facilitate the election of African-American, Hispanic, etc. representatives.  In the 1980s, the Supreme Court interpreted the Voting Rights Act as requiring that "majority-minority" districts (i.e., districts in which a minority group constitutes a majority within the district) be created in so far as it was reasonably possible to do so.  One result was the North Carolina Congressional Districts shown in the first map on p. 168 of K&J.  In the case of Shaw v. Reno, the Supreme Court backed away from its earlier decisions; when they looked at the North Carolina map, they said in effect "we don't like it."   But it is fair to say that the Supreme Court has not successfully clarified what kind of racial gerrymandering is prohibited (by the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment), or permitted, or required (by the Voting Rights Act).
Question: . What is the seniority system (or "seniority rule")?

Answer: Specifically, the seniority rule (usually but not absolutely always followed) determines who becomes chairman of a Congressional committee (a very important position) - namely, the member of the majority party (that holds the most seats) on the committee who has served on the committee for the longest consecutive period of time. This rule encourages members to get on a committee and then stay on it, rather than seeking to move from committee to committee. (See K&J, p. 180.)
Question:  Are a pocket veto and item veto the same thing?

Answer: No. The President exercises a pocket veto when, ten working days after Congress has presented the bill to the President, he fails to sign the bill and in the meantime Congress has adjourned (is no longer in session). Under these circumstances, the President's inaction stops the bill from becoming a law. (See K&J, p. 204.) The President does not have an item veto, although some people want to amend the Constitution to give the President such a power. An item veto would allow the President to veto part (an item) of a bill without vetoing the entire bill.
Question:  What is the distinction between the "power" vs. "powers" of the President, as made by Richard Neustadt in his book on Presidential Power was discussed in class? And what is the connection between Neustadt's book and Machiavelli's The Prince.

Answer:  This is the distinction. The powers of the president are the powers of the office, which are the same for all presidents. The power of the president is the actual ability of a particular president to accomplish his goals, which varies a great deal from president to president. (We like to say that some are "strong presidents" while others are "weak presidents"). Neustadt was in effect giving advice to presidents as to how to be a successful and "powerful" political leaders. Niccolo Machiavelli did the same over 400 years ago in his book The Prince.
Question: Please "translate Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution - it is confusing.

The person having the greatest number of votes shall be the president, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such majority, and have an equal number of votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by ballot one of them for president; and if no person have a majority, then from the five highest on the list the said house shall in like manner chuse the president. But in chusing the president, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote.
Answer: Here's the best "translation" I can give. The candidate receiving the most electoral votes is elected President, provided that this candidate has been supported by a majority of electors. If two (or more) candidates are tied with the most votes, both (or all) being supported by a majority of electors*, the House of Representatives shall choose between the tied candidates. If no candidate is supported by a majority of electors, the House shall choose among the top five candidates (ordered by the number of electoral votes they won). In either event, each state delegation (regardless of size) in the House casts one vote (and the members each delegation must agree among themselves on how to cast this single vote), and the House shall vote repeatedly until one candidate is supported by a majority of state delegations.

*Remember that each elector casts two votes (not just one) for President. This is why it may be that several candidates are supported by a majority of electors. {This "two-vote" system was abolished by the 12th Amendment.)
Question:  Where did the presidential executive order originate? Is it true that an executive order, whether constitutional
or not, becomes law simply by its publication in the Federal Register? So in effect the congress has been usurped (or by-passed). If this is true, how frightening!

Answer:  I'm no expert on this, but I think the following is reasonably accurate. The President issues executive orders to govern the organization and operations of the executive branch.  They must be based on the constitutional and/or statutory powers of the President (though of course there may be dispute about the scope of those powers).  While most executive orders are pretty routine but some are very sweeping and important; for example President Truman in 1948 desegregated the armed forces by executive order.  But if Congress had previously mandated segregation by statute, the President could not have countermanded that law by executive order, and also Congress could have overridden the executive order by passing a
segregation law.  (Of course, the Supreme Court would have declared such a law unconstitutional in due course.)  If an executive order produce law cases, courts may scrutinize the order for constitutionality.  I don't know when the formal term "executive order" came into existence but surely Presidents going back to Washington have, in effect if not in name, been issuing them.   So they probably should be especially frightening.

Possibly more frightening are executive agreements, which are agreements made between the President and the heads of other governments.  The FDR-Churchill "[US] destroyers for [UK] bases" deal prior to U.S. entry into WWII was an executive agreement.  The Supreme court has said such agreements have pretty much the same forces as treaties, even though they are not subject to Senate ratification.  And treaties are part of the "supreme law of the land" (see the Supremacy Clause).