2131863-Various Discussion Boards
Accountability and responsiveness are seen as crucial components of good governance. Efforts to empower citizens have to be accompanied by state mechanisms to make sure that there is accountability and responsiveness. One of the mechanisms of promoting accountability and responsiveness in government is through a formal top-down process such as elections. Through elections there is promotion of participation whereby citizens paly a role in choosing their leaders and telling them what to do. This means that through elections citizens are bale to provide input when it comes to how they are governed. Accountability involves elected leaders explaining or justifying what they have been able to do or what they have failed to do. Before elections, citizens make known their preferences to whoever wants to vie for a particular position. The citizens then elect them based on their preferences, however there is no guarantee that leaders act on the preferences of citizens unless they feel a sort of accountability to the citizens. Therefore elections are a common and powerful form of accountability and responsiveness in government (Litvack, 2009).
Prospective voting refers to a person voting with the future in mind whereby one votes for a party or individual they think will do a good job in future. On the other hand retrospective voting is whereby a person votes based on how the country has done in the past under the leadership of a particular party or individual. One vote on the basis of how well or poorly an individual or party faired in their last term. My opinion is that retrospective voting promotes more accountability and responsiveness. This is because, when voting retrospectively you consider what a candidate or party done in their last term. This ensures that one gauges whether they fulfilled what they promised or they did not do anything. Retrospective voting ensures that candidates and parties work hard to fulfil their promises to citizens since this is what the citizens will use to decide whether to vote for them or not. This therefore promotes accountability and responsiveness (Litvack, 2009).
The Defense of Marriage Act is a law that bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage that has been legalized by the state. DOMA was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996 and it prevented the same-sex marriages that were recognized by their home state from getting benefits that were available to other married couples under the federal law. The Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act as being unconstitutional by a 5-4 vote. In striking down a key part of the DOMA, the supreme court declared that gay couples that were married in states where these marriages are legal are entitled to same federal health, social security, tax and other benefits that the heterosexual couples receive (TheHuffingPost.com, Inc ,2013).
The DOMA was introduced in the House of Representatives in 1996 and it was intended by the congress for reflecting and honoring a collective moral judgement as well as displaying moral disapproval of homosexuality. This bill was meant to amend the U.S code to put out there what the federal law has understood for many years that marriage is a legal union between a man and a woman as husband and wife; the spouse should be a husband or wife but of opposite sex. The DOMA law was enacted purposely for conferring a higher status on heterosexual people. This was so as to prevent children growing up to the realization that they should be heterosexual (TheHuffingPost.com, Inc ,2013).
I agree with the Supreme Court’s decision that the DOMA law was unconstitutional. This is because it is humiliating to many children that are currently being raised by same-sex parents. It also makes it quite difficult for children to understand the closeness and integrity of their families as well as its concord with other families they interact with in the community and their daily lives. This has resulted to a high rate of depression and suicide among gay people as well as outright rejection in some instances in order to promote heterosexuality. Therefore this is one of the main reasons why I think the DOMA had to be repealed .DB6
Bureaucracy is an administrative organization which handles the day-to-day of the government within a society. The bureaucracy I have had to interact with recently is the police. I interacted with the police through a community policing campaign that has been set up in our area due to an increase in crime in the area. This bureaucracy affects my life and the lives of those living within the community in various ways; it maintains law and order within the community. It also helps in preventing and detecting crime within the community. With the increased crime within the community the police assist in ensuring that they deter any more criminal activities within the community. This means that with the help of this bureaucracy crime within the community will reduce and hence we will live with no fear. It also provides the required check against ambivalence of the human nature. Therefore, police officers play an important role in ensuring that justice is administered. Therefore, we can term this bureaucracy as a savior of the community that I live in.
This bureaucracy is quite efficient since they help in combating crime and ensuring that people live in order. It is also effective because their work in the community has led to a decrease in the number of crimes within the community. This means that they have made our communities a safer place to be. In order to make this bureaucracy more efficient and effective, there is need to involve the public in their activities. There should be a lot of collaboration between the police and the public in order to help in dealing with crimes in the community more. Ordinary citizens can have an influence over the decisions of a bureaucracy through offering them information they can use in carrying out their day to day activities.
Institutional arrangements like the design of legislature and laws that regulate interest group activities are what shape the capabilities of interest groups within a particular state. Interest groups in Texas are powerful actors when it comes to political processes as compared to groups in other states. There are various features within the Texas that make influence of interest groups particularly important in the state. A common technique used in Texas for exerting political influence has been bribery. In recent decades, Texas experienced high profile cases that involved bribery of state officials. Another feature is the long history of political violence and sabotage within Texas. The representative state government system in Texas is designed in such a way that representation of competing interest sis encouraged while at the same time moderating conflict that accompanies group competition. Interest groups play an important role in democratic government. Interest groups are a group of individuals that are organized to seek public policy influence but not exclusively through making attempts to influence the government actors (Hays, 2010).
Political parties and interest groups in many occasions run their campaigns independently. The interactions between political parties and interest groups influence state politics in that they assist voters when it comes to making decisions on who to vote for. They also provide room for competitive elections and at the same time is a representation of diversity when it comes to perspective. The interaction between these two organizations is therefore seen as a way of promoting free choice.
The major consequences of interest groups are that they promote corruption due to the gifts and perk’s they offer. Most of these interest groups are run undemocratically-y and hence they are official. The influence of interest groups in Texas promotes democracy. This is because these groups help in keeping the Texas government in check hence the government is always run democratically. They also function as an oversight to the government through keeping tabs on the government.
The processes of electing and appointing judges have their pros and cons. With election of judges, there is a political bias that is created that weakens the impartibility of the judicial system. For instance judges are not recusing themselves as it should be when one of their campaign donors is involved in a case before the judge. However, even if judges remain impartial the elections usually create an appearance of impropriety which damages how the public perceives the judiciary. Therefore, even though states are not able to eliminate politic from the process of selecting judges, the appointing of judges involves less bias and is a better way of mitigating any form of political influence (Chambers, 2012).
On the other hand we can see that elections provide a way through which people can be bale to hold judges accountable. In order to make sure that courts are fair and impartial is through educating the public. However with appointment of judges there is no room for such accountability. Even though retention elections are meant to provide a check when it comes to appointing judges but 99% of the judges are in most occasions reelected, it means that electing judges is not an appropriate tool for accountability. Appointments are also quite hard to regulate, monitor and bring any meaningful change since the judges who have been appointed are not able to make full disclosures (Chambers, 2012)
Judges should be accountable to the general public and not voters, governors or campaign donors. This is because their offices are public officers and they are in place to serve the public without any influence from anyone. The accountability of judges can change the judges’ rule or interpret laws since they will feel indebted to whoever they believe put them into their positions. This means that there will be a bias in their judgement and interpretation of the law.my view is that judges should be appointed. In theory the process of electing judges might seem fair since candidates are presented and voters decide who they will choose. However, in reality this is a broken system for instance it can be quite difficult to understand why a judge from a particular party holds a different view from that one from another party when it comes to a civil or criminal law suit. Judges can also accept contributions from judges that can appear before their courts which is a serious conflict of interest (Chambers, 2012)
The president has a veto power to refuse to sign a congressional legislation. This gives the president the power to reject or accept an act that has been passed by the congress. The president can also influence and shape the legislation through the threat of a veto. By threatening a veto, the president is able to persuade the legislators to change the content of the bill in order for it to be more acceptable to him/her. The influence of the president is different when the majority of the congress is from the same party as the president as opposed to when members of the congress are in opposition party. When the congress members are from same party as the president the amendment of the content is easier since the party members share the same views with the president which is not the case when they are from different parties (Center for Legislative archives, 2010).
The move to stop enforcing the DOMA is viewed by some as a valuable tool used by the executive branch to check the power of Congress while Others believed it went too far and the president was violating the principle of separation of powers. The executive branch of the government which the president is part of charged with the duty of executing and enforcing laws and policies. It is in place to check on the power of the congress through executing and enforcing the laws set. Through putting the congress in check, the executive has an obligation to make sure that the laws passed by the congress are constitutional and in the case of the DOMA it was not unconstitutional. On the other hand we can say the president went too far and he violated the principles of separation of powers. By stopping the enforcement of the DOMA, the president was going beyond his jurisdiction and interfering with the work of the congress in creation of laws. I think this is the right way because the president was only exercising the function of the executive branch of the government of enforcing laws (TheHuffingPost.com, Inc ,2013).
Elected officials control bureaucratic agencies through various mechanisms. This can be through passing of legislations that are supposed to be implemented by the bureaucratic. For instance, city council elected officials can pass a rent control ordinance. The local bureaucrats implement this through the individual landlords within that city. Bureaucratic agencies should be responsive to the general public. This is because, they are in place to serve the public and hence they should put the interest of the public first before anything else.
TheHuffingPost.com, Inc. (2013). Supreme court DOMA decision rules federal same –sex marriage ban unconstitutional retrieved September 30, 2014 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/26/supreme-court-doma-decision_n_3454811.htmlHays, A. (2010). The role of Interest Groups. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from http://www.ait.org.tw/infousa/zhtw/DOCS/Demopaper/dmpaper9.html
Chambers, T. (2012). Should judges be elected? Retrieved September 30, 2014 from http://tomchambers.com/should-judges-be-elected/Litvack, J. (2009). Accountability, Transparency and corruption in Decentralized Governance. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from http://www.ciesin.org/decentralization/English/Issues/Accountability.htmlCenter for Legislative archives. (2010). The presidential Veto and congressional veto override the process. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CB8QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.archives.gov%2Flegislative%2Fresources%2Feducation%2Fveto%2Fbackground.pdf&ei=JZkqVPHsIML5PP7CgcAF&usg=AFQjCNHpnUqmw9b4TNTvmVNYW8MzmGBwOA&sig2=Omr2luxYBlt6dIZSnADBcA
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