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GOVT 2302 Retrospective and Conclusion


Presidents have generally provided only symbolic leadership with respect to ... in an effort to avoid alienating moderate voters while simultaneously not ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: GOVT 2302 Retrospective and Conclusion

GOVT 2302 Retrospective and Conclusion
The Courts
  • The courts are primary policy-making institutions
    on these issues because the courts, particularly
    the federal courts, historically have seen
    themselves as the protectors of individual
    liberties against the popular will of legislative
  • The activism of the federal courts on these
    issues has allowed policy to be changed through
    litigation which is outside of the normal
    political process. 

The Presidency
  • Presidents have generally provided only symbolic
    leadership with respect to these moral
    controversies and have exercised very limited
    decision-making authority in these areas. 
  • Republican presidents have exploited these moral
    controversies in an attempt to mobilize their
    base of political support among conservative
    voters, while Democratic presidents have largely
    tried to evade these issues in an effort to avoid
    alienating moderate voters while simultaneously
    not abandoning their base of support among

The Congress and State Legislatures
  • As elected bodies, legislative assemblies
    generally pass laws that reflect the will of
    popular majorities. This has pitted them against
    against the courts in the battles over these
    moral controversies.
  • Electoral pressures encourage politically
    conservative legislators to take leadership roles
    in legislating traditional values, while
    providing incentives for many liberal legislators
    to take low profile roles in the debates over
    proposed legislation. 

  • As a general rule, federal agencies have limited
    jurisdiction over policies involving moral
  • The oversight functions of the political
    institutions of American government constrain the
    ability of federal agencies to implement changes
    in these areas. 

  • Most of the regulatory activities of government
    related to these moral controversies arise under
    the police powers of the states.
  • Enforcement of social regulatory policies often
    depends on the willingness of state or local
    officials to comply with federal laws, mandates,
    or court orders. 

Public Opinion
  • Public opinion can accurately be described as
    conservative or moderately.  In limited examples,
    it might be possible to characterize public
    opinion as liberal.  In either case, the opinions
    held by the general public are always less
    intense than those of the advocacy groups who are
    supporting social change. 
  • Social regulatory policy decisions that will
    result in major revisions to community standards
    or norms will undoubtedly be met with resistance
    by the general public. 

Interest Groups
  • Unlike economic regulatory policy issues, the
    debate over social regulatory policy issues is
    most often dominated by single-issue groups which
    are most responsible for increasing public
    awareness and the political significance of these
    moral controversies.
  • Because single-issue interest groups usually
    articulate their arguments as absolute moral
    imperatives, they tend to polarize the political
    debate on social regulatory policy issues.
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