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Robert J. McKeever

This chapter provides an understanding of the way the U.S. Supreme Court deals with cases which is governed by certain judicial and legal criteria and procedures that shape the ultimate decisions it makes. It looks at some examples in detail, in which one can see the process by which the personal, the judicial and the political are interwoven in some of the Court's most important cases. The chapter examines the formal powers and procedures of the Court, in order to gain an understanding of how this unique institution operates. It illustrates the American court system and also lists the various categories of appellate jurisdiction. The chapter also provides information on other important concepts, namely, case procedures, amicus briefs, case conference, the Court's Opinion and Multiple Opinions, and the Court's Decision.

in The United States Supreme Court
Geoffrey K. Roberts

The political system of the Federal Republic is sometimes described as 'chancellor democracy', because of the dominant role occupied by the chancellor in that political system. This chapter surveys the way in which the Basic Law provides the political instruments that permit the chancellor to play such a dominant role. It examines the constraints on the chancellor's political authority, such as those associated with the necessity to form governing coalitions, and discusses the roles of the cabinet and civil service, and other agencies within government. Compared to the chancellor, and in contrast to the situation in the Weimar Republic, the status of the federal president is very limited. The chapter presents a review of the office of federal president as a prelude to closer examination of that of federal chancellor. A detailed consideration of the process of forming coalition governments is also provided.

in German politics today (third edition)
Abstract only
Routes away from crisis
Tom Gallagher

Germany has risen to assume the leadership of the EU. Although it enjoys immunity from the pain of much of the rest of the eurozone, the future of the single currency and perhaps of the wider Union itself seems largely to be in its hands. For much of the crisis, Germany has wished to direct Europe's financial affairs through a form of eurozone governance that primarily benefits Germany irrespective of the damage done to a mounting list of eurozone countries unable to insulate themselves from it. Europhile leaders may have pioneered a European unification concept in the 1950s which gave the EU momentum until the end of the Cold War. But financial crises from that of the Balkans in the early 1990s to the extended financial one have revealed how deep its limitations are in carrying out its own projects or resolving difficulties arising from chronic design faults.

in Europe’s path to crisis
Geoffrey K. Roberts

This chapter describes the events of the fateful years 1989 and 1990, which led to reunification, in three phases: the downfall of the old regime in the GDR; the period of adjustment and transition to a democratic regime in Germany; and the process and consequences of reunification itself. The Basic Law contained its final provision Article 146, which would have involved the termination of both German states when a reunified Germany was created, under some new constitution. The employment of Article 23 avoided the need to create a totally new constitution for reunited Germany. The reunification of Germany is important to an understanding of the German political system for two reasons. It has changed the size of the Federal Republic of Germany and affected its political institutions. It has also affected the political agenda, so that new problems have arisen since 1990.

in German politics today (third edition)
Robert J. McKeever

The United States Supreme Court is an important, exciting and controversial institution. The Court's agenda inevitably tracks the nation's political agenda since political losers on major issues will often seek a constitutional ruling in their favour. This chapter examines the Supreme Court's contemporary agenda: after a brief overview of the Court's past agendas, it identifies the major questions of public policy coming before the Court today. The earlier agendas were set in the Founding era, the Slavery era, the era of economic regulation, the Civil Rights era, and in the liberal twentieth century period. The contemporary period of the Supreme Court is characterised above all by a conservative crusade to reverse almost one hundred years of liberal predominance. The chapter discusses major issues taken by the Court during this period such as abortion rights, health care and congressional powers, affirmation action and racial discrimination, and gay rights.

in The United States Supreme Court
The triumph of ideology over good sense
Tom Gallagher

Among some of its most fervent advocates, European Monetary Union was meant to bring about the final merging of European destinies into a common political entity. This chapter explores the long term preparations that were made to create a single currency encompassing a large part of the European Union. It shows how the impetus was essentially political, to erode the power of the nation-state and speed up the installation of a supra-national alternative through hurtling towards monetary union. For most of the existence of the European Union, the push towards integration has involved political leaders trying to achieve common ground around a uniform monetary policy for Europe. The euro was exposed as top-down political project in the hands of politicians, functionaries and lobbyists who had lost touch with some essential aspects of political reality. From 2009 onwards, the limitations of the euro were exposed by a deepening financial crisis.

in Europe’s path to crisis
Geoffrey K. Roberts

The historical background to the creation of the Federal Republic of Germany can be divided into five phases, which are discussed in this chapter. The unification of Germany as the Second Empire in 1871 is the first phase. The consolidation of the new German state and its involvement in the First World War is the second phase. The third phase is the foundation, development and downfall of the Weimar Republic. The fourth phase is the period of Nazi rule and the Second World War, and the fifth phase is the four-power occupation regime put in place following Germany's unconditional surrender in 1945. Even before the unconditional surrender of Germany in May 1945, the Soviet Union sent a group of German communists (who had spent the war in exile in Russia) into areas of eastern Germany to set up local administration and to prepare the way for the Soviet occupation regime.

in German politics today (third edition)
Tom Gallagher

This chapter offers a portrait of a European Union in 2013 wracked by mutual suspicions. Elites in that year dropped the pretence that further integration efforts could produce common benefits. The EU had devised such defective processes for managing high-level responsibilities that it remained paralysed when these low-grade forms of management spun large areas of the eurozone into crisis. Southern European political elites shrank from embracing bold remedies for the economic crisis. Most were seen as involving an abandonment of the euro or else a temporary suspension for some members, or a breaking up of the currency union into several workable parts. The EU will become an entity of secondary importance unless it can redesign itself as a force concerned to identify and defend a European common good. This involves burying the Cold War with national states who view a supra-national Europe as both threatening and unworkable.

in Europe’s path to crisis
Geoffrey K. Roberts

This chapter describes the most important factors that have influenced the development of the political system of the Federal Republic of Germany. The factors are the Basic Law itself and the Federal Constitutional Court that is charged with the task of interpreting that Basic Law. The chapter considers the economy, the division of Germany and the 'cold war' and the political culture of the Federal Republic, as these played a role in countering any tendencies which might have led to a resurgence of extremism. Many of the decisions made by the Court have had direct significance for the institutions and processes of the political system. Political stability and the development of a democratic political system are held to depend upon a foundation of a prosperous economy. The political culture of the Federal Republic has of course influenced the development of the political system.

in German politics today (third edition)
Geoffrey K. Roberts

This chapter discusses the principles of the German electoral system, summarises the most important defining features of the German electoral system, and describes how this electoral system came into existence. The electoral system affects the type of government of the Federal Republic of Germany. The chapter discusses the effects of the electoral system on the party system and on government. The functions of the electoral system usually have been more concerned with adjusting the balances among the strengths of the parties than with changes of government. The chapter describes the two periods (1956 and 1966) when significant reform of the electoral system seemed likely to occur. It also examines the processes of electoral politics, including candidate selection and election campaigning, as well as German voting behaviour. The electoral system seems to have contributed to the stability and flexibility of democratic politics in Germany.

in German politics today (third edition)