In responding to the following questions, be sure to include material from the Slan text (Chapters 5-8). Also, feel free to supplement your answers with independent research (e.g., library or Internet research).
1. The United States and United Kingdom constitute two of the healthiest and most enduring democracies in the world. In both countries, the will of the people is captured effectively by their respective governments and leaders. Yet the approach to democracy is quite different in the USA and UK. Each of the following questions attempts to capture the differences in the two systems.
a. The US is led by a President, while the UK is led by a Prime Minister. How is the US President selected? How is the UK Prime Minister selected? (Half page response, single spaced)
b. The role of political parties is dramatically different in the USA and the UK. What is the role of political parties in the USA? What is their role in the parliamentary system? (One-half to one full-page response, single spaced)
c. How are cabinet members selected in the USA? How are Ministers selected in the UK? (One-half page response, single spaced)
d. In any democracy, the process of holding elections is important. What is the basis of holding national elections in the USA? What is the basis of holding national elections in the UK? (In answering these questions, take into account such things as the timing and frequency of elections, and what triggers the holding of elections) (One-half to one full-page response, single spaced)
2. One of the most important events that helped shape the role of the US Supreme Court in the early days of the republic was the practice of judicial review, whereby the Court could look at laws passed by legislative bodies to determine their constitutionality. The introduction of judicial review into the US is most closely associated with Justice John Marshall in respect to the Marbury vs. Madison case (1803).
a. Explain what judicial review entails. What makes it unique (e.g., the UK does not practice judicial review)? (One-half page response, single spaced)
b. How does the practice of judicial review strengthen the maintenance of separation of powers and checks and balances that are important traits of the US government system? (One-half to one full-page response, single spaced)
c. The judicial review process can lead to the charge that it enables the Courts to write law (which is supposed to be the function of Congress). Explain the rationale of such an argument. How can this work against the separation of powers? (One-half to one full-page response, single spaced)
d. How are Supreme Court justices selected in the USA? Contrast this with the way they are selected in Germany. (One-half to one full-page response, single spaced)
MGT 270. Principles of Public Sector Management
Thomas Dye offers a simple definition of public policy: “Whatever governments choose to do or not to do.” Thus public policy reflects actions governments undertake in order to achieve their goals.
This definition of public policy offers no judgment on whether the policy is fashioned carefully or whimsically. It simply states that governments take action to achieve results and this constitutes their public policy.
Clearly, effective governments desire to carry out policies in a deliberative, non-haphazard fashion. Before they take action, they need to understand the underlying facts. They need to grasp fully environmental forces that will color the actions they take, as well as environmental players that will be affected by the actions. Finally, they need to enumerate alternative courses of action available to them and to single out those that would best serve their interests.
Public policy decisions can be contentious, because they may create winners and losers, or they may go against the cherished values of a portion of the population. One of the most controversial public policy decisions of the 2010s was Obama’s November 2014 decision to hold back deporting millions of illegal immigrants in the USA. The announcement of this policy caused praise in some quarters, and bitter outrage in others.