BRITISH & AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY
REVIEW OF PART THREE: QUESTIONS & EXERCISES
Describe fully the role and authority of the Monarch in the contemporary British system of government. Identify important ceremonial functions that are performed by the Monarch. In performing these functions, what conventions of the British Constitution must the Monarch strictly observe?
Describe the weekly meetings between the British Monarch and the British Prime Minister. What are the rights of the Crown during these meetings? As regards the views presented by the Crown during one of the meetings, how great an impact are they likely to have on the course of governmental decisionmaking and action? Explain.
What is the British House of Lords? Describe its composition and legislative authority. Prior to the twentieth century, what vital role did the House of Lords play in the legislative decisionmaking process in Great Britain? Under the Parliament Acts of 1911 and 1949, how has the legislative power of the House of Lords been reduced? How does the theory of the "mandate" limit the Lords' legislative power?
Where in the British system does the real governing power lie? Explain.
Other than Great Britain, what political societies in the world today have governmental systems that are constitutional monarchies?
What is a constitutional republic? How does it differ from a constitutional monarchy? What makes a republic constitutional in character? What makes it a representative democracy? What makes it republican in character?
Describe the office of chief of state in a constitutional republic. How is a republican chief of state chosen?
Do hereditary titles of nobility have any place in a modern republic? Explain.
What features of government in the U.S.A. make it a constitutional republic? Which provisions of the United States Constitution enhance the republican character of American government?
Cite other examples of present-day constitutional republics.
Compare and contrast the British parliamentary system with the American presidential system. Explain how the two systems differ, as regards each of the following political variables: (a) constitutional fusion or separation--concentration or partitioning--of the legislative and executive powers of government, (b) the nature and method of selection of the top executive authority, (c) the executive, institutionally, part of or separate from the legislature, (d) the top executive office or organ constitutionally responsible to or independent of the legislature, (e) the executive the agent of the legislature, or a coordinate organ of government, (f) the relationship between the positions of chief of state and head of government, (g) the possibility of divided party control of government, and (h) the nature of the lines of political authority and responsibility.
Compare and contrast British majoritarian democracy with American consensus democracy. Explain constitutional bias as the basic difference between majoritarian democracy and consensus democracy. Identify and describe the features of the British governmental system that facilitate rapid decisionmaking and action by a popular majority and by a majority of the voters' elected representatives in the government. How does the constitutional structure of American national government ensure consensus democracy in the U.S.A.? How does America's electoral system ensure consensus democracy?
What would be required to make majoritarian party government work in the U.S.A. at the national level? How does the American constitutional system make such a political development virtually impossible?
From what danger was the American constitutional system designed to protect individual liberties and the general welfare of the U.S.A.?
What is judicial review? When does a court's refusal to enforce or otherwise legitimize government action constitute judicial review? What does a court do when it exercises the power of judicial review? What is the nature and significance of judicial review of legislative statutes?
Describe the nature and importance of the role of judicial review in the American constitutional system. Exercise of the power of judicial review by the courts of law is strongly supported by American political culture. Explain fully. Identify and describe the basic political belief, or perception, that sustains judicial review in the U.S.A. Which American courts exercise the power of judicial review? When or under what circumstances do they exercise this power? Does the U.S. Supreme Court exercise the power of judicial review? Explain. What authority does the U.S. Supreme Court have over the rulings of state and lower federal courts on federal constitutional questions? What is the significance of this? American courts, especially the U.S. Supreme Court, are guardians of the Federal Constitution. Explain.
Explain how and why judicial review has no place in the British constitutional system. What is meant by "legislative supremacy," or "parliamentary supremacy"? Explain fully. Why can the British Constitution be amended more easily than can the United States Constitution? Explain fully. In Great Britain, what three factors mitigate the danger of legislative dictatorship or majoritarian tyranny inherent in parliamentary supremacy? When or under what circumstances does court review of governmental actions occur in the United Kingdom? What legal questions are considered and resolved in such cases and controversies? What is the doctrine of ultra vires? What does a court do when it invokes this doctrine? Does a court's invocation of the doctrine of ultra vires constitute exercise of the power of judicial review? Explain fully. The British Constitution has never been conducive to development and legitimization of judicial review. Explain fully. Parliament is guardian of the British Constitution. Explain.