PS1010 Columbia Southern Bureaucracy American Government Reflection Paper


Columbia Southern University

Question Description

Unit VII Reflection Paper

For the following assignment, you are asked to reflect on the concepts you have learned in this unit. At the beginning of the

unit, you learned about the bureaucracy, its structure, and how it works or does not work. Following that, you learned about

the judiciary, its structure, and how it works. In addition, you learned about the power that the judiciary can wield within the

federal bureaucracy. After reviewing these concepts, compose a paper which discusses the following topics:

In one of your required readings, you read that some people feel that the bureaucracy is more than just a system

executing the wishes of government officials. According to some people, the bureaucracy is the real government. Do you

agree with this statement? Why, or why not?

Outline the structure, functions, and nature of the federal bureaucracy and the judicial system.

Discuss how the judiciary can serve to curb some of the power of the bureaucracy as well as other branches of the


Explain the concept of the iron triangle and offer an example of how it can influence policymaking.

Identify how the knowledge you gained in this unit has affected the way you view the inner workings of government.

Your paper must be at least three pages, double-spaced, and in 12-point Times New Roman font.

Information about accessing the grading rubric for this assignment is provided below.

Unformatted Attachment Preview

UNIT VII STUDY GUIDE Governing Institutions: The Federal Bureaucracy and Judiciary Course Learning Outcomes for Unit VII Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to: 3. Describe the three branches of government. 3.1 Explain the structure of the federal bureaucracy. 3.2 Describe the structure of the judicial system. 4. Explain how the U.S. government functions at the federal, state, and local levels. 4.1 Describe the judiciary’s roles and controls in the government. 4.2 Explain the concept of the iron triangle. Course/Unit Learning Outcomes Learning Activity Unit VII Lesson Required Reading: 3.1 The Bureaucracy: The Real Government The Organization of the Bureaucracy Reforming the Bureaucracy Who Are the Bureaucrats? Unit VII Reflection Paper Unit VII Lesson Required Reading: 3.2 4.1 4.2 The Judicial Branch Federal Courts & the Public The Structure of the Federal Courts Unit VII Reflection Paper Unit VII Lesson Required Reading: The Judicial Branch Federal Courts & the Public Unit VII Reflection Paper Unit VII Lesson Required Reading: The Bureaucracy: The Real Government Unit VII Reflection Paper Reading Assignment In order to access the following readings, click the link below. Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. (2016). Federal courts & the public: Retrieved from Independence Hall Association. (n.d.). 8. The bureaucracy: The real government. Retrieved from Independence Hall Association. (n.d.). 8b. The organization of the bureaucracy. Retrieved from PS 1010, American Government 1 Independence Hall Association. (n.d.). 8d. Reforming the bureaucracy. Retrieved from UNIT x STUDY GUIDE Title Independence Hall Association. (n.d.). 9b. The structure of the federal courts. Retrieved from Independence Hall Association. (n.d.). 8c. Who are the bureaucrats? Retrieved from The White House. (2016). The judicial branch. Retrieved from Unit Lesson The term bureaucracy refers to the hierarchical system of government and its administration. Most of us associate a bureaucracy with inefficiency, inaction, and piles of paperwork, often referred to as red tape. Interestingly, the term red tape was derived from the actual red tape used in Great Britain and the colonies to bundle legal and official documents. Today, the proverbial red tape represents to most Americans the challenges associated with navigating governmental procedures and processes. Memorial wall in the lobby of the CIA Original Headquarters Building, Langley, Virginia (Central Intelligence Agency, n. d.) In the United States, the bureaucracy is comprised of three major administrative agencies, the Executive Office of the President, the 15 Cabinet departments, and the independent agencies. As discussed previously, the executive office and Cabinet bear the brunt of the responsibility for governing the country. Indeed, the main purpose of the federal bureaucracy is to execute the policy decisions of the president and Congress. The independent agencies operate beyond the powers and scope of the Cabinet and include regulatory commissions such as the Federal Communications Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission and government corporations such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and independent executive agencies (Farshtey, n.d.-b). Among the more noteworthy of the independent agencies are the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Most of us do all we can to avoid any interaction or encounters with the federal government. Ironically, most government agencies prefer to remain off the public’s radar and only gain attention when something goes horribly wrong. One example was the situation involving Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 2005. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the devastation along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and Louisiana led to an extreme example of the type of media coverage federal agencies wish to avoid. FEMA should have stepped in to guide the federal response and provide assistance to those areas affected by the storm because of the declared state of emergency. FEMA, however, failed to do so for several days, leaving thousands of people stranded with no resources. Kathleen Blanco, governor of Louisiana at the time, said that an effective emergency response was blocked by government bureaucracy and too much red tape (Shoup, 2005). A review of the response, or the lack thereof, revealed that FEMA had possibly placed too much emphasis on training and response to PS 1010, American Government FEMA is an independent agency. (Winer, 2005) 2 terrorism, and that caused a breakdown in communication and lack of leadership (Shoup, 2005). Ultimately, UNIT x STUDY GUIDE the head of FEMA resigned only weeks after Katrina (CNN, 2005). Title The red tape of a bureaucracy may serve as the focal point for criticism, but a country as large as the United States needs a bureaucracy to effectively manage its issues even if the bureaucracy itself creates problems. In the beginning, the federal government was small and in touch with the needs of the people because those involved with the government split time between taking care of home and taking care of government. By the end of the 1800s, politicians began to spend more and more time away from home, taking care of the business of the government, and the federal bureaucracy began to grow. The first agency created was the Department of Agriculture in 1889 that focused on research and commodity production and prices (, 2003). From there, agencies grew slowly until the 1930s and Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal programs. The government saw another growth in the 1960s with Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society (Independence Hall Association, n.d.-a). Although it seems that the bureaucracy grows more and more each year, it has, in fact, remained about the same size since the 1960s (Boundless, n.d.). All agencies live or die by their budgets. Without money, no agency program can exist, and only Congress has the mandate to tax and spend. As a result, the budget process is a long, arduous task involving multiple departments, agencies, and entities. The entire process takes one and a half years. The budget process both begins and ends in February when the president submits a detailed budget request for the fiscal year beginning October 1 (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2016). The image below depicts the process involved in creating the annual budget. Fiscal budget flowchart (Wyant, 2014) Though the budget is submitted in January or February for Congress to begin deliberations, discussions actually begin the prior spring when the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the president consult on agency needs. Each agency is given a spending ceiling that it cannot exceed (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2016). Agencies work through the summer and submit their budget requests to the OMB for review and finalizing in September. The president submits the budget proposal to Congress in January, and it gets divided and sent to committee. By April 15, Congress should have adopted a budget resolution and by September should have completed work on appropriations bills in time for the president to sign or veto it for the fiscal year beginning October. If all does not go well, and a budget is not passed, as has been the case in recent years, Congress must pass temporary funding measures in order to maintain government operations (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2016). While bureaucracy is constrained by the budget, it gains power from the broad discretion it is afforded in decisions regarding the implementation of policy. Members gain power for their agencies and, in turn, play politics to protect their programs and power. Clientele groups, groups who benefit directly from an agency’s PS 1010, American Government 3 programs, are more than willing to lobby on behalf of the agency during program or xfunding reviews. UNIT STUDY GUIDEThe budget process is far from simple and by its very nature demands oversight. The president, Congress, and Title the court system assume most accountability for bureaucratic agencies. The judiciary, or the federal court system, wields considerable power within the bureaucracy of the federal government with a primary role of ruling on the laws passed by Congress. Judicial review—the ability of the court to review acts of other branches of government and the states—is considered to be one of the judiciary’s greatest powers. In Marbury v. Madison, the Supreme Court first declared that a court can state that an act of Congress is unconstitutional (A&E Television Networks, 2009). This landmark decision established that the Supreme Court has the ability to ensure that other branches of the government adhere to the Constitution of the United States (Legal Information Institute, n.d.). The federal judicial system consists of constitutional and legislative courts. The constitutional courts are the federal courts created by Congress under Article III of the Constitution (Farshtey, n.d.-a). When issuing rulings, the judiciary has considerable discretion and is a political as well as legal institution. While the Constitution provides for the Supreme Court, it gives Congress the power to create all lower federal courts. The president nominates and appoints all federal judges, but they must be confirmed by the Senate. There are no formal qualifications, and they serve “during good behavior.” This essentially means that the justices serve until death or until they voluntarily retire (Farshtey, n.d.-a). In extreme cases, they can be removed through impeachment. Federal court structure (Independence Hall Association, n.d.-b) The court system structure consists of the Supreme Court with 94 subordinate district courts and 13 courts of appeals. Each state decides the structure of its own courts and how judges will be selected; 95% of all legal cases are decided in state and local courts (Justice at Stake, 2017). The Supreme Court is the highest court in the United States. Congress sets the number of justices on the court at one chief justice and eight associate justices. The chief justice’s vote on a case carries the same legal weight as the vote of each associate judge. The Supreme Court can hear a case through original jurisdiction, that is, it is able to be the first court to hear a case, or appellate jurisdiction, which means that it reviews cases that have been tried in lower courts. In the judicial system, there are two guiding philosophies, judicial activism and judicial restraint. …Judicial activism, also known as judicial intervention, holds that the court should interpret the text of the Constitution and assume the role of national policymaker. Judicial restraint holds that the court should limit its power by not striking down laws unless they are obviously unconstitutional. (Farshtey, n.d.-a) The Supreme Court only accepts about 100 cases a year and is in session from the first Monday in October until June or July. It uses its cases to set precedent for all lower courts to follow. Four of the justices must agree to hear a case before a writ of certiorari, a demand to the lower court to deliver its records on the case, is requested. During the hearing, both sides present oral arguments lasting no more than 30 minutes each, and each side submits a written brief containing the full argument. Once this is completed, the justices gather to discuss the case and vote. Once a case is decided, an opinion is written. The vote on the case is not considered final until the opinion explaining the legal basis for the decision is written. The three main sources of law are the Constitution, legislative statutes, and legal precedents. The court system cannot issue a decision except in response to a case presented to it, and it must stay within the facts of the case. While the courts are powerful in their ability to knock down laws passed by legislation, they, too, are bound by the law and must rule within it. With all of these moving parts, it is easy to see how bureaucracy and red tape have become synonymous. Do these entities work independently? Are they impartial? Compounding these concerns is the concept of the iron triangle. The iron triangle refers to the theory that three primary entities influence and dictate what happens in government: interest groups, members of Congressional subcommittees, and agency PS 1010, American Government 4 bureaucrats. These groups rely on one another to provide the other’s needs. This dependency UNITmutual x STUDY GUIDE results from one or more of the others within the triangle providing instrumental services, Titleinformation, or policy that is necessary to the others. Ultimately, this speculation reinforces the fact that there are multiple factors at play with multiple players doing all they can to try and ensure their programs or issues wind their ways successfully though the system. References A&E Television Networks. (2009). Marbury v. Madison. Retrieved from: Boundless. (n.d.). Size of the federal bureaucracy. Retrieved from I_reference.pdf Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. (2015). Policy basics: Introduction to the federal budget process. Retrieved from Central Intelligence Agency. (n.d.). CIA OHB Lobby Memorial Wall [Image]. Retrieved from CNN. (2005, September). FEMA director Brown resigns. Retrieved from (2003). Department of Agriculture. Retrieved from Farshtey, K. (n.d.-a). The bureaucracy and the judiciary. Retrieved from Farshtey, K. (n.d.-b). Chapter 15: The bureaucracy; Section 1: The federal bureaucracy. Retrieved from Independence Hall Association. (n.d.-a). 56e. Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society.” Retrieved from Independence Hall Association. (n.d.-c). The Federal Court Structure [Image]. Retrieved from Justice at Stake. (2017). America’s courts: A primer. Retrieved from Legal Information Institute. (n.d.). Judicial review. Retrieved from Shoup, A. (2005). FEMA faces intense scrutiny. Retrieved from Winer. D. (2005). FEMA help desk [Image]. Retrieved from Wyant. J. (2014, September). Federal budget part 1 z001 [Image]. Retrieved from PS 1010, American Government 5 Suggested Reading UNIT x STUDY GUIDE Title To learn more details about how the bureaucracy functions and how it can be influenced by outside sources, please view the link below. Farshtey, K. (n.d.). The bureaucracy and the judiciary. Retrieved from Read Chapter 4: Judicial Appointments and the Prospective Accountability of Judicial Nominees to the U.S. Senate, pp. 209-222 in the eBook listed below, to gain insight on the judicial nomination process. Geyh, C. G., & O’Connor, S. D. (2009). When courts and Congress collide: The struggle for control of America's judicial system. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press. Retrieved from View the link below to get an inside look at the federal debt. National Debt Awareness Center. (n.d.). The U.S. national debt is $19.8 trillion!. Retrieved from The link below provides insight in the function and organization of the Office of Management and Budget. The White House. (n. d.). Office of Management and Budget. Retrieved from Learning Activities (Nongraded) Nongraded Learning Activities are provided to aid students in their course of study. You do not have to submit them. If you have questions, contact your instructor for further guidance and information. Please click the link below to view flashcards that cover information from this unit. Quizlet. (2017). The Federal Bureaucracy and the Judicial Branch [Flashcards]. Retrieved from PS 1010, American Government 6 ...
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Final Answer


Running head: BUREAUCRACY


Institution Affiliation



Government officials mostly rely on the work of the employees under them to deliver
their set mandate. Bureaucrats do the bulk job to ensure the boss’s deadlines are met. In any
modern government, there are set systems which have rules and regulations to guide the
bureaucrats on their expected works. This is no surprise that the elected politicians often take all
the credit for achievements in their dockets which they put little inputs. Bureaucracy can be the
real representation of the government and its performances.
‘Bureaucracy Is the Real Government’ Statement
I concur with the statement which refers to the bureaucracy as the real government.
People working in administrative positions in the government do the majority of the works for
their superiors. According to Max Weber (2008), bureaucrats represent the government but only
in a small capacity. The staff does the donkey works only for the politicians to get the full credit
for the achievements. The head of the bureaucracy who in most instances is the politician judge
the staff on how much work they have managed to do (American Government, n.d). The Iron
Triangle in the United States of America shows how the bureaucracy works and who does the
work for the government. Members of the Iron Triangle work hand in hand with the...

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