Posts tagged POL343

One of my favorite things about POL 343 this semester has been discussing how different campaigns are in other countries. This is a great visual example.
From publicradiointernational:

fotojournalismus:

A sea of election posters from the 174 candidates for Seoul’s constituencies in the 11 April general elections are strung over the Cheonggye Stream in Seoul, South Korea, April 3, 2012. 
[Credit : Ahn Young-joon/AP]

Imagine something like this in the U.S. …

One of my favorite things about POL 343 this semester has been discussing how different campaigns are in other countries. This is a great visual example.

From publicradiointernational:

fotojournalismus:

A sea of election posters from the 174 candidates for Seoul’s constituencies in the 11 April general elections are strung over the Cheonggye Stream in Seoul, South Korea, April 3, 2012. 

[Credit : Ahn Young-joon/AP]

Imagine something like this in the U.S. …

In Comparative Democratic Institutions (POL 343) one of the things we covered was the difference in types of judicial review available in different democracies. The US is one of the few countries that allows courts to place considerable constraints on what elected legislatures can do. 
One of the ironies of this case, of course, is that many of the same people who rail against “activist courts” are now hoping the Supreme Court does exactly that: Independently strike down a law that was passed by a popularly elected legislature and signed into law by a popularly elected president.
Of course, other countries do have judicial review, but it works in a more direct fashion: Legislators can submit laws before the court to have them “checked” for conformity to the existing constitution (think of it like “proofreading” a law). But legislatures in those countries can also easily change their constitutions without judicial interference. 
The concept of judicial review—and the “checks and balances” system more generally—is foreign to many people outside the US. At least in the way we understand it in the US. It’s party why our courts are today so politicized—and why we denounced “activist” judges (except when their activism suits us, of course).
From newyorker:

Comment: More than Health Insurance

In weighing how the contemporary Supreme Court behaves, there’s a relevant precedent here. In the Citizens United case, the Supreme Court not only rejected a major piece of legislation but created a constitutional standard that makes any meaningful campaign-finance legislation next to impossible to pass.
The question is whether they will do the same with health-care reform. It’s true that the individual mandate is the only issue technically before the Justices Tuesday. But it’s really more than that. It’s the principle that Congress has the right to engage in activist government—to take bold steps to address national problems. A negative ruling on ACA will not just cripple this one law, but impair the national government for a generation. So there’s a lot riding on the outcome of this case.

- In today’s Daily Comment, Jeff Toobin writes about “the case of the century”:http://nyr.kr/H7yIuN

In Comparative Democratic Institutions (POL 343) one of the things we covered was the difference in types of judicial review available in different democracies. The US is one of the few countries that allows courts to place considerable constraints on what elected legislatures can do. 

One of the ironies of this case, of course, is that many of the same people who rail against “activist courts” are now hoping the Supreme Court does exactly that: Independently strike down a law that was passed by a popularly elected legislature and signed into law by a popularly elected president.

Of course, other countries do have judicial review, but it works in a more direct fashion: Legislators can submit laws before the court to have them “checked” for conformity to the existing constitution (think of it like “proofreading” a law). But legislatures in those countries can also easily change their constitutions without judicial interference. 

The concept of judicial review—and the “checks and balances” system more generally—is foreign to many people outside the US. At least in the way we understand it in the US. It’s party why our courts are today so politicized—and why we denounced “activist” judges (except when their activism suits us, of course).

From newyorker:

Comment: More than Health Insurance

In weighing how the contemporary Supreme Court behaves, there’s a relevant precedent here. In the Citizens United case, the Supreme Court not only rejected a major piece of legislation but created a constitutional standard that makes any meaningful campaign-finance legislation next to impossible to pass.

The question is whether they will do the same with health-care reform. It’s true that the individual mandate is the only issue technically before the Justices Tuesday. But it’s really more than that. It’s the principle that Congress has the right to engage in activist government—to take bold steps to address national problems. A negative ruling on ACA will not just cripple this one law, but impair the national government for a generation. So there’s a lot riding on the outcome of this case.

- In today’s Daily Comment, Jeff Toobin writes about “the case of the century”:http://nyr.kr/H7yIuN
This would make a great challenge for students in my POL 102 course—or even my POL 343 (Comparative Democratic Institutions) course. Are there any institutions that you like from other countries that you would like to see considered in the US?
From theatlantic:

This is the first article in a new series The Atlantic is publishing in partnership with Common Good, a nonpartisan government reform organization, devoted to remaking government within budget and without suffocating the American spirit. Each month, America the Fixable will identify a different challenge facing the United States — regulation, school bureaucracy, healthcare, civil service, campaign finance reform — and, drawing together a range of expert voices on the topic, offer potential solutions in articles, online discussions, and video reports. This month, the series tackles the scourge of obsolete laws.

Congress treats most laws as if they were the Ten Commandments — except they’re more like the 10 million commandments. Most legislative programs do not codify timeless principles of right and wrong. They are tools of social management. These laws allocate social resources — almost 70 percent of federal revenue in 2010 was consumed by three entitlement programs enacted a half century or more ago. Congress almost never goes back to rationalize these programs. Running government today is like trying to run a business using every idea every manager ever had.
At this point, Democracy is basically run by dead people. We elect new representatives, but society is run by policy ideas and political deals from decades ago. Congress has a tragic misconception of its responsibility — it sees itself as a body that makes new law, not one that makes sense of old laws. […]
“The difficulty lies not in the new ideas,” John Maynard Keynes observed, “but in escaping from the old ones.” American government is trapped in structures of its own making. The essential first step in rescuing America is a spring cleaning. It’s hard to fix things until we can make fresh choices.

If you could eliminate one obsolete law, which would you choose and why? Submit a post and let us know.

This would make a great challenge for students in my POL 102 course—or even my POL 343 (Comparative Democratic Institutions) course. Are there any institutions that you like from other countries that you would like to see considered in the US?

From theatlantic:

This is the first article in a new series The Atlantic is publishing in partnership with Common Good, a nonpartisan government reform organization, devoted to remaking government within budget and without suffocating the American spirit. Each month, America the Fixable will identify a different challenge facing the United States — regulation, school bureaucracy, healthcare, civil service, campaign finance reform — and, drawing together a range of expert voices on the topic, offer potential solutions in articles, online discussions, and video reports. This month, the series tackles the scourge of obsolete laws.

Congress treats most laws as if they were the Ten Commandments — except they’re more like the 10 million commandments. Most legislative programs do not codify timeless principles of right and wrong. They are tools of social management. These laws allocate social resources — almost 70 percent of federal revenue in 2010 was consumed by three entitlement programs enacted a half century or more ago. Congress almost never goes back to rationalize these programs. Running government today is like trying to run a business using every idea every manager ever had.

At this point, Democracy is basically run by dead people. We elect new representatives, but society is run by policy ideas and political deals from decades ago. Congress has a tragic misconception of its responsibility — it sees itself as a body that makes new law, not one that makes sense of old laws. […]

“The difficulty lies not in the new ideas,” John Maynard Keynes observed, “but in escaping from the old ones.” American government is trapped in structures of its own making. The essential first step in rescuing America is a spring cleaning. It’s hard to fix things until we can make fresh choices.

If you could eliminate one obsolete law, which would you choose and why? Submit a post and let us know.

POL 343: Comparative Democratic Institutions

If you’re interested in taking an upper-level seminar in comparative politics next semester (Spring 2012) at the University of Mississippi:

Course Description:

This is a broad survey of democratic politics around the world. The course focuses equally on institutions & processes and public opinion & participation across a range of new and established democracies.

Course Goals:

The course familiarizes students with the range of democratic politics around the world. 

Course Text:

Lawrence LeDuc, Richard G. Niemi, and Pippa Norris. Comparing Democracies 3. Los Angeles: Sage, 2010.

The Daily Show explains some key differences between presidentialism & parliamentarism, based on the May 2010 British election.