American Branches of Government
Lead Author(s): Saylor Academy
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This question pack examines the separation of powers and functioning of the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of government.
This content is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
According to the Constitution, the structure of the federal court system is to be defined by which of the following?
The Supreme Court
The Attorney General
The Chief Justice
After both chambers of Congress pass the same version of a bill, the president may take all of the following actions EXCEPT:
Sign the bill into law.
Veto it, sending it back to Congress with a veto message explaining reasons for rejecting it.
Let it become law after ten working days by not doing anything.
Not sign it after Congress adjourns, exercising the pocket veto.
Send it directly to the Supreme Court for judicial review.
As compared to the House of Representatives, the Senate:
Has more rules.
Garners more media attention.
Has less time for debate.
Is less flexible.
Is less prestigious.
Choose the best answer to fill in the blank. When one political party controls Congress and a different party controls the White House, there exists ______________.
Checks and balances
Separation of powers
Fill in the blank. The committee in the House with the most influence in setting the agenda for debate on the floor is the ______________.
Ways and Means Committee
Fill in the blank. The courts generally practice ______________, or a general bias for precedents or existing decisions.
Historically, which of the following is true of the president’s approval rating?
The president’s approval rating remains constant throughout his entire tenure in office.
The president’s approval rating averages around 50% during his first two years in office, then tends to increase.
The president’s approval rating is highest during the first 100 days in office, the “honeymoon” period.
The president’s approval rating is lowest during times of war or national crisis.
The president’s approval rating is highest toward the end of his presidency.
In general, which of the following captures the policy of most recent presidents in regards to the bureaucracy?
Support for an increase in bureaucratic power to help implement complex federal programs.
Increasing budgets to help fund new bureaucratic programs
Reorganizing and decreasing the size of the bureaucratic workforce
Requesting the creation of new bureaucratic agencies and regulations
Ending the power of independent regulatory agencies
The existence of an iron triangle relationship results in which of the following?
Policies are made independently without any influence from Congress.
Policies being made often contradict with the preferences of Congressional committees.
Policies are often not made because of a hostile relationship between Congress and the bureaucracy.
Policies are made through a cooperative relationship between an interest group, a bureaucratic agency and Congress.
Policies are often implemented that solely reflect the wishes of the president.
What is the main purpose of congressional oversight committees?
To draft appropriation legislation
To review government operations, especially within the bureaucracy
To hold impeachment hearings
To write constitutional amendments
To regulate the actions of constituents
Which of the following cases set the precedent of judicial review?
Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857)
Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
Marbury v. Madison (1803)
McCullough v. Maryland (1819)
Fletcher v. Peck (1810)
Which of the following is a false statement about the United States Senate?
The 435 seats of the Senate are allocated based on a state’s reported population every ten years when the U.S. conducts the census.
Senators serve six-year terms.
One-third of the Senate is up for re-election every two years.
Representation in the Senate is equal for every state; each state has two senators.
In the Senate, leadership is less centralized than in the House and floor proceedings tend to respect “minority rights” more than “majority rule,” as in the House.
Which of the following is a true statement about how the judicial nomination process has changed during the end of the 20th century?
Personal qualities, such as race, ethnicity, and gender, have become important factors when considering a nominee for the Supreme Court.
Senatorial courtesy has dictated the fate of all potential nominees before they are officially considered.
Supreme Court nominees are much more likely to be loyal partisan supporters of the president than they were in the past.
Potential judges must have extensive litigation experience.
The media have played much less of a role in the nomination process than in the past.
Which of the following is a true statement about the Supreme Court?
I. The Supreme Court determines its own docket, based on the “rule of four.”
II. The Constitution states that the Supreme Court must have nine justices.
III. The vast majority of cases heard by the Supreme Court are cases of original jurisdiction.
IV. On average, the Supreme Court hears less then one hundred cases per year.
II and III only
I and IV only
I, II, and III only
I, II, III, and IV
Which of the following is a true statement regarding the media and the Supreme Court?
Media coverage of the court’s activities is limited.
Most of the court’s decisions receive widespread media coverage.
Coverage of the court is often oversimplified.
A and C
Cameras are allowed in the Supreme Court during public sessions.
Which of the following is considered a delegated constitutional power of the president?
Commander and chief of the armed forces
Head of state
Making appointments of ambassadors
Signing treaties with foreign countries
All of the above
Which of the following is false about bureaucratic reform in the United States?
The bureaucracy has been reformed relatively little throughout history.
A general trend in recent reforms has been to create a smaller bureaucracy.
The Clinton administration attempted to reform the bureaucracy in the 1990s by implementing the National Performance Review.
When reforming the bureaucracy, the government has found it is much easier to add new bureaucratic programs than end them.
Many recent bureaucratic reforms have included privatization of formerly public duties and the deregulation of industry.
Which of the following is NOT a formal or informal source of presidential power?
Precedents set from past presidents
Presidential access to the media
Which of the following is NOT a power granted to Congress in the Constitution?
To make federal judicial appointments
To collect taxes
To declare war
To regulate interstate commerce
To create inferior courts
Which of the following is NOT a requirement stated in the Constitution for being president?
Being at least 35 years old
Being a member of a political party
Obtaining a majority of the electoral votes in the Electoral College
Being a natural born citizen
Having resided in the United States for at least 14 years
Which of the following presides over the House of Representatives?
The Speaker of the House
House Minority Leader
The House Majority Whip
The Chairman of the Committee of the Whole
The House Pro Temp
Which of the following statements below is true of the legislative process?
Revenue bills must originate in the Senate.
Oversight committees resolve differences between legislation passed in the House and Senate.
Filibusters in the Senate are used to stop bills from coming to a floor vote.
Each chamber has the same exact standing committees that mark-up legislation.
All of the above
Which of the following statements is true about the presidents’ cabinet?
Members of the cabinet are the secretaries of fifteen executive departments.
The cabinet is a creation of modern presidents.
The existence of a cabinet is mandated in Article II of the Constitution.
The Vice President is the leader of the Cabinet.
None of the above
Which of the following states a major difference between House and Senate procedural operations?
The House allows unlimited debate on legislation, whereas the Senate has strict time limitations.
The Senate permits more amendments to bills than does the House.
In the House, the minority party can filibuster a bill and permit it from floor consideration —a procedural option that is not allowed in the Senate.
Senate committees always have an equal number of members from both parties, regardless of minority or majority status.
There are no major procedural differences between the two chambers.
Choose the best answer to fill in the blank. ______________ refers to the power of government to take private property for public use.
Appropriations Committees do which of the following?
Decide whether to authorize a federal program
Decide whether to fund federal programs
Hold hearings on the appropriateness of members’ actions on the House floor
Decide whether to accept the president’s budget proposal
All of the above
Choose the best answer to fill in the blank. The President relies on the ______________ to establish the budgets of federal agencies.
Secretary of the Treasury
Office of Personnel Management
Office of Management and Budget
Independent Regulatory Commission
National Economic Council
Fill in the blank. An agreement between the president and a leader of a foreign country that does not have to be ratified by the Senate is known as a(n) ______________.
Foreign policy agreement
What area of the budget has shown the greatest increase in spending over the past 20 years?
The defense budget
Federal student loan program
Which of the following governmental entities is responsible for regulating and maintaining the U.S. financial system to attain economic stability and promote growth?
Federal Trade Commission
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Securities Exchange Commission
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Federal Reserve Board
Which statement is true about the War Powers Resolution?
It has been used a number of times to limit the power of the president.
It gave Congress the power to declare war.
It was an attempt of Congress to limit the power of the president to sustain undeclared wars.
It established the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
It provided Congress with the ability to control the amount of American military presence in United Nation peacekeeping missions.
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Course Designer: Nicole Bartels