Can you write me a 500-600 word paper based on the readings? I will provide the readings after I hire you.

Can you write me a 500-600 word paper based on the readings? I will provide the readings after I hire you.
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Can you write me a 500-600 word paper based on the readings? I will provide the readings after I hire you.
9 legislatures contents ? Legislatures: an overview ? The role of legislatures ? One chamber or two? ? Representatives and their work ? Legislatures in authoritarian states PREVIEW Legislatures lie at the foundation of democratic politics, the words used to name them refl ecting their original purpose: assemblies gather, congresses congregate, diets meet, dumas deliberate, legislatures pass laws, and parliaments talk. Even if they do not always attract as much public attention as executives, they are the institutions of government that are closest to the citizens, since they are t ypically directly elected and are usually responsible for representing individual districts, rather than – as is the case with executives – the entire countr y. They also carr y out multiple tasks that are essential to government, including the approval of legislation, the authorization of expenditure, the making of governments, deliberating over matters of public importance, and oversight of the executive. This chapter begins with a review of these multiple roles, opinion on the dynamics of which is often divided. The chapter goes on to look at the structure of legislatures, including the diff erences between those with one chamber and those with two chambers. It then considers the members of legislatures, including the diversity of roles that they can and might play. It then discusses the problem of declining public trust in legislatures, made worse by the phenomenon of the career politician, and encouraging more voters to think about the pros and cons of imposing term limits on legislators. Finally, it looks at the role of legislatures in authoritarian states, pointing out that while they may appear weak, they have a number of uses for leaders and ruling elites. KEY ARGUMENTS ? ? Legislatures are usually thought of as the focus of popular representation and law-making, but these are not their only functions. ? ? The extent to which legislatures are involved in making law depends on their relationship with executives and the balance of political parties. ? ? For most countries, a single-chamber legislature is enough. For others, a second chamber off ers important benefi ts to the quality of representation. ? ? Not all representatives are equal, and several models have been developed – including the delegate, the trustee, and the partisan – to explain their work. ? ? Legislatures are often accused of being homes to career politicians, who collectively constitute a political class with a background and interests removed from the people it represents. ? ? Legislatures are found in most authoritarian regimes, where co-option lies at the heart of understanding their political role. Source: John McCormick 142 chapter 9 legislatures: an overview Legislatures are not governing bodies, they do not take major decisions and they do not even normally initiate proposals for laws. Instead, their political signifi cance arises from their representative role; as the English political theorist John Locke (1690) obser ved: LegislatureA multi-member representative body which considers public issues and either accepts, amends, or rejects proposals for new laws and policies. It is in their legislative, that the members of a commonwealth are united, and combined together into one coherent living body. This is the soul that gives form, life, and unit y, to the commonwealth: from hence the several members have their mutual infl uence, sympathy, and connexion: and, therefore, when the legislative is broken, or dissolved, dissolution and death fol lows. The earliest popular assemblies in the Western tradition were the Ecclesia of Athens, open to all male citizens with two years of military service. Later, in the ancient royal courts of Europe, monarchs would judge important legal cases and meet with nobles of the realm. Gradually these assemblies became more settled and structured, coming to represent the various estates – the clergy, the nobility, and the towns – into which society was then divided. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, kings began to consult estate leaders more consistently on issues of war, administration, commerce, and taxation. These early European assemblies were seen as having a right to be consulted long before they became modern legislatures with the sovereign authority to pass laws. Today, democratic legislatures contribute to the process of governance as well as to expressions of the popular will: they can improve the quality of legislation, keep an eye on the actions of the executive, and hold infl uential hearings on matters of public concern. They come in many diff erent forms, the key diff erence revolving around their relationship with the executive: whether they are led by the government or whether they help shape government. This means that they can be looked at through the lens of institutional theory, but rational choice can also be employed to better understand the actions of legislators, and structural approaches used to examine their relationship with executives, courts, and voters. As representative bodies, they are closer to the citizens than the more distant political executive, and yet – ironically – they are not always popular. Polls in many countries fi nd that elected representatives are not well regarded as a group (see later in this chapter), and legislatures are criticized for the slowness and the often partisan nature of their decision-making. In authoritarian states, meanwhile, opinions are mixed about the place of legislatures. They can be useful in pro- viding a fi g leaf of legitimacy, in incorporating moderate opponents, in helping integrate centre and periphery, in recruiting for the elite, and in containing demands for change. At the same time, recent research has suggested that there are many nuances to the role of legislatures in authoritarian systems; the extent to which they can be used to exert control depends on a complex three-way relationship between the executive, the legislature, and political parties, and the extent to which legislatures can be used to co-opt opponents of the ruling regime. the role of legislatures Democratic legislatures have six major functions, ranging from representation to oversight (see Figure 9.1), the balance var ying from one legislature to another. They all ‘represent’ in one form or another, for example, but they will have diff erent roles in the budgetar y process, and parliamentar y legislatures are more critical to the making of governments than those in presidential executives. Representation This is the role that most immediately comes to mind when most people think about legislatures, and we might think that the meaning of representation is obvious. Ironically, though, political science has been unable to develop a defi nition with which ever yone can agree, much of the debate instead revolving around the four diff erent ways of understanding representation outlined in 1967 by Hanna Pitkin: ? ? Formalistic : This is concerned with the rules and arrangements for representation, asking how representatives come to offi ce, how they enforce their decisions, how they respond to their constituents, and how they are held accountable by voters. ? ? Descriptive : This is concerned with the extent to which representatives resemble their constituents, asking whether they have common interests and shared experiences. Theoretically, a legislature should be societ y in miniature, with the same number of men and women, rich and poor, black and white, and so on. But how many diff erent segments of societ y should, or realistically could, be represented? legislatures 143 ??Symbolic : This is concerned with how representatives are viewed by their constituents. For example, are they regarded as competent and concerned with the broad interests of their district, or are they seen to be too partisan, captured by special interests, or unapproachable? ?? Substantive : This is concerned with the extent to which representatives respond to and ser ve the best interests of their voters. In turn, it depends on the extent to which voters have well-developed political needs, or understand all the options available to them. A fifth option is collective representation , which suggests that members of a legislature should collectively represent the interests of all voters, not just those in their home districts. Consider the point made in 1774 by the politician Edmund Burke just after his election to Parliament from the English constituency of Bristol. He admitted that he knew nothing about his constituency and had played little part in the campaign, but, he continued: Parliament is not a congress of ambassadors from different and hostile interests, which interest each must maintain, as an agent and advocate, against other agents and advocates; but Parliament is a deliberative assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole; where, not local purposes, not local prejudices, ought to guide, but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole. You choose a member indeed; but when you have chosen him, he is not a member for Bristol, but he is a member of Parliament. ( Burke, 1774) In spite of these competing analyses, representation in practice usually operates in a somewhat prosaic way: through political parties. For the most part, victorious candidates owe their election to their party and they vote in the legis- lature largely according to its commands and expectations. This is particularly true of parliamentary systems, where representatives are expected to toe the party line; in India, since the passage of an ‘anti-defection’ law in 1985, members of parliament can even lose their seat if they vote against their party, the theory being that they are deceiving the voters if they switch parties after their election. Representatives are also assessed by voters in terms of party affiliation; a voter will look on a representative as more approachable, responsive, and trustworthy if they both identify with the same party, and less so if they are not. Legislation The origins of the term legislature lie in the Latin legis lator (for ‘proposer of laws’), a reflection of one of their key functions: they are often alone in having the right to make laws, the painstaking process of introducing and shaping new laws or amendments to existing laws. This role should not be taken too literally, though, because while the shaping of new laws is mainly in the hands of legislators, the ideas for those laws may originate elsewhere; for example, in the work of lobbyists and interest groups. The procedure is explicitly deliberative, involving several readings (debates) as the bill moves from the floor to committee and back again (see Figure 9.2). In bicameral legislatures, differences in the versions of the bill passed by each chamber must be reconciled. Members represent and promote the interests of those who elected them, usually under a party label. Function Features Representation Whatever the source of bills, legislatures are responsible for reviewing, amending, and approving new laws. Legislation Legislatures approve or reject the annual budget prepared by the government. Authorizing expenditure Legislatures debate and provide a public airing for matters of public importance. In most parliamentary systems, the government emerges from the legislature and must retain its confdence. Making governments Legislatures are responsible for overseeing or scrutinizing the executive, keeping it accountable. Oversight Deliberation Figure 9.1 The functions of democratic legislatures 144 chapter 9 Passing laws, though, is rarely the function in which ‘legislatures’ exert the greatest influence, because effective con- trol over legislation in most liberal democracies rests with the government; bills (proposals for new laws) pass through the legislature without being designed, or even transformed, there. In Britain, the governing party has historically dominated law-making. As Moran (2015) points out: The House of Commons is misunderstood if viewed as a legislator. Virtually all legislative proposals originate from, and are shaped by, the executive, which means the government of the day, advised by the civil ser vice. Nor are the Commons’ extensive debates on either the principles or details of legislative proposals of great significance in shaping the law: secure government majorities (which up to now have been the usual state of affairs) mean that legislative proposals are hardly ever overturned wholesale, and detailed amendments are usually the result of concessions by ministers. In the party-dominated parliaments of Australia, Britain, and New Zealand, the legislati ve function is reactive in the sense that it is reduced to quality control: patching up mistakes in bills prepared in haste by ministers and bureaucrats. (Before New Zealand adopted proportional representation in 1996, one prime minister boasted that if an idea came to him while shaving, he could have it on the statute book by the evening.) By contrast, committee-based legislatures (see section on deliberation) in continental Europe play a more positive role in law-making, with a combination of coalition governments, influential committees, and an elite commitment to delivering laws acceptable to all sides. In presidential systems such as the United States, Brazil and Mexico, leg- islatures have the most autonomy in law-making. Only members of Con- gress can formally introduce bills, although executives can work around this by finding a friendly representative to initiate a bill on its behalf. The separation of powers and personnel inherent in a presidential regime limits executive influence over the legislature, an institutional separation that is often reinforced by divided government (the president may come from a different party than the one that dominates one or both chambers of the legislature), further reducing the legislature’s willingness to convert the ad- ministration’s proposals into laws. Bicameral legislatures face an additional hurdle in making law, which arises when one chamber amends a bill passed by the other. In some coun- tries, such as Britain and Spain, the lower house is more powerful and can decide whether to accept or reject amendments from the upper house. In others, including Australia, Brazil, and India, there will be a joint vote of both chambers, the larger lower chamber having the most numerical weight. In yet others, including France, Germany, and the United States, a special conference committee, made up of an equal number of members from each chamber, will meet to work out an agreed bill. Italy takes a dif- ferent approach, allowing amended versions of bills to shuttle indefinitely between chambers until agreement is reached (if ever). The effect is illus- trated by a bill on rape that was introduced in 1977 and did not become law in Italy until 1995. Authorizing expenditure This is one of the oldest functions of legislatures, and of the lower house in particular. Its origins stem from the original purpose of European assemblies, which was to review requests for funds from monarchs. But it has since – in many parliamentar y democracies – become nominal. What usually happens is that the executive prepares the budget, which is then reported to the legislature but rarely modified there. For the legislature to possess the power of the purse, suggests Wehner (2006), it must have the ability to amend the budget (as opposed to simply FIRST READING No debate or Vote SECOND READING Floor debate, no amendments Vote To committee COMMITTEE Detailed review with amendments Vote To foor REPORT Only amendments discussed THIRD READING No amendments or vote To second chamber SECOND CHAMBER Repeats above process Vote To frst chamber (with changes) ROYAL ASSENT Signed into law by monarch Figure 9.2 Sta ges in the making of a law in the British Parliament Source: UK Parliament (2018). legislatures 145 being authorized to make cuts), an eff ective committee system, enough time to consider the budget in detail, and access to background information underlying the budget. Few countries meet all these conditions, and legislative approval is generally given after the fact, serving to confi rm compromises worked out between government departments. In many democracies, the budget is a done deal once it reaches legislators, and if they were to unpick any part of a complicated package, it would fall apart.The United States is the clearest exception to the thesis of executive control of the purse. Congress remains central to budget-making, since all money spent by executive departments must be allocated under specifi c headings approved by Congress. The result is that the annual federal budget debate sometimes becomes an elaborate stand-off : the presi- dent and Congress each hopes that the other side will accede to its own proposals before the money runs out. When it does, as has happened several times since the passage of a new law on budgetary procedure in 1976, most government departments must temporarily close down or furlough their staff . Making governments Legislatures are a key part of government, not just in the sense that they take care of government business but also that the abilities of executives to govern depend in large part on the political make-up of legislatures. In presidential systems such as Brazil, Mexico, or the United States, the president – being separately elected – does not rely on sympathetic part y members in the legislature to stay in offi ce. Even so, those members play a critical role in determining the capacit y of the executive to lead; a supportive or sympathetic legislature provides a clearer path to eff ective leadership, while one dominated by opposition parties will provide obstacles and road blocks. In parliamentary systems, by contrast, the government is entirely dependent upon the party make-up of the legislature; for Laver (2006), the most important role of a legislature in a parliamentary system is not legislating, but ‘making and breaking governments’. A party can neither take offi ce, nor continue in power, without a supporting majority (or, at least, a work- able minority) in the legislature. Furthermore, the strength of the ruling party or coalition in the legislature infl uences the government’s stability. As we saw in Chapter 8, a government based on a single party with a legislative majority is likely to prove more stable than a minority government. One of the more extreme illustrations of this function can be found in Italy, which has long suff ered from an excess of parties in its legislature. In part because of a desire to avoid the kind of centralization of power that allowed the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini, and in part because of ongoing regional and economic divisions within Italy, building stable coalitions is diffi cult, governments regularly fall, and prime ministers routinely serve only short terms in offi ce. Between 1946 and 2016 there were 65 governments, lasting an average of less than a year. Only one – the government of Silvio Berlusconi between 2001 and 2006 – saw out its full parliamentary term, but even he had to resign four years into his administration and form a new government. Amintore Fanfani, meanwhile, had the shortest term in offi ce – just 21 days in January–February 1954 (although he had fi ve more terms in offi ce between then and 1987). Deliberation Many legislatures ser ve as a deliberative body, considering public matters of national importance. In the case of a debating legislature , deliberation takes the form of general discussion in the chamber, in what is sometimes known as a plenary session . In the British House of Commons, for example, key issues eventually make their way to the fl oor of the House of Commons where they are discussed with passion, partisanship, and sometimes fl air. Floor debate becomes the arena for national political discussion, forming part of a continuous election campaign. The mood of the House, as revealed in debate, is often more signifi cant than the vote which follows. (For more on the British Parliament, see Spotlight United Kingdom.) In the case of a committee-based legislature, by contrast (such as the US Congress and the Scandinavian parliaments) deliberation is less theatrical, taking the form of policy discussion in committees. A legislative committee is a small working group of legislators, created to cope with the volume and detail of legislative business, particularly in larger and busier lower chambers. Committees are the workhorses of eff ective legislatures, off ering detailed examination of matters Debating legislature One where fl oor debate is the central activity, through which major issues are addressed and parties gain or lose ground. Plenary session A meeting of the entire legislature, as distinct from committee meetings. Committee- based legislature One where most work takes place in committees, where members transform bills into laws, conducting hearings, and scrutinizing the executive. CommitteeA group of legislators assigned to look in detail at proposals for new laws. Brief profi le One of the world’s oldest states, and birthplace of the parliamentary system, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and its four constituent parts (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) has undergone many changes since 1945 that have left troubling questions hanging over its future. The creation and now the decay of a welfare state, the end of empire, and the country’s declining economic and military weight have forced a redefi nition of the role of government, and of Britain’s place in the world. A failed independence referendum in Scotland in 2014 has not ended the debate over the future of the union, and the shock decision by voters in a 2016 referendum to leave the European Union raised even more questions as the Conservative government of Theresa May struggled during 2017–18 to decide the best terms of the exit against a background of deep divisions in public opinion. Form of governmentUnitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy. Date of state formation arguably 1066; no codifi ed constitution. Executive Parliamentary. The head of government is the prime minister, who is head of the largest party or coalition, and governs in conjunction with a cabinet. The head of state is the monarch. Legislature Bicameral Parliament: lower House of Commons (650 members) elected for renewable fi ve-year terms, and upper House of Lords (about 790 members) consisting of a mix of hereditary and life peers, and senior members of the Church of England. Judiciary Based on the common law tradition. The creation in 2009 of a 12-member Supreme Court, albeit without the authority to veto legislation, strengthened the autonomy of the judiciary. Judges appointed for life, with mandatory retirement at 70 or 75, depending on date of appointment. Electoral system The House of Commons is elected using single-member plurality. A range of systems is used for elections to other bodies such as regional assemblies in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Parties Multi-party, although traditionally dominated by Conservatives on the right and Labour on the left. Smaller parties and regional parties also signifi cant. SPOTLIGHT UNITED KINGDOM Population Full Democracy Flawed Democracy Hybrid Regime Authoritarian Not Rated Free Partly Free Not Free Not Rated Very High High Medium Low Not Rated Gross Domestic Product Per capita GDPDemocracy Index rating F reedom House rating Human Development Index rating 65.6m $2.6tn $39,720 The British Parliament The British Parliament is often known as the Mother of Parliaments, being the model upon which legislatures in parliamentary systems are based. Traditionally, it mixed omnipotence and impotence in a seemingly impossible combination; it was considered omnipotent because parliamentary sovereignty, allied to an uncodifi ed constitution, meant there was no higher authority in the land, but it was considered impotent because the governing party exercised tight control over its Members of Parliament (MPs), turning Parliament into an instrument, rather than a wielder, of power. Parliament’s position is today less certain. It has lost powers to the regions thanks to the work of the Northern Irish, Scottish, and Welsh parliaments, and its loss of powers to the European Parliament was one of the complaints lodged by pro-Brexit campaigners in favour of the UK leaving the EU. Ironically, in the debate over Brexit, Parliament found itself in a fi ght with the administration of Theresa May that resulted in a greater assertion of parliamentary power. MPs themselves have become more committed, they are increasingly drawn from professional and business backgrounds, they devote more time to an increasing amount of constituency casework, and the number of late sittings has been cut. The long- held view that Parliament was out of touch and old-fashioned has changed in recent years and it has become more assertive and effective, and more of a constraint on the government (Russell, 2016). At the same time, it has suffered from the same declining trust in government as many other legislatures, a problem pre-dating the current rise of anti- politics (Clarke et al., 2018). The upper House of Lords occupies an uncertain position. Its nearly 800 members consist mainly of appointed life peers, but reform (if and when it is fi nally agreed) is likely to involve a substantial measure of election. Such a development may well make the Lords more assertive in challenging the executive. Yet, even as Britain’s Parliament updates its skills, it will continue to do what it has always done best: acting as an arena for debating issues of signifi cance to the nation, its government, and its leaders. The British Parliament on the banks of the Thames in London. The parliamentary system was born in Britain, as a result of which most comparative studies of parliaments refer back to British precedent. Source: Getty Images/Victor Cardoner. Further reading Griffi ths, Simon, and Robert Leach (2018) British Politics , 3rd edn (Red Globe Press). Heffernan, Richard, Colin Hay, Meg Russell, and Philip Cowley (eds) (2 016) Developments in British Politics 10 (Red Globe Press). Leston-Bandeira, Cristina, and Louise Thompson (2018) Exploring Parliament (Oxford University Press). ENGLAND SCO TLAND W ALES NOR THERN IRELAND IRELAND NOR WAY FRANCE Edinburgh Car diff LONDON Belfast North Atlantic Ocean 148 chapter 9 of national interest, including executive and legislative proposals. Their practical task is to assess the government’s pro- posals, while also providing measured oversight of its actions. This deliberative style is less dramatic than a set-piece debate but often more constructive. Oversight The fi nal function of legislatures is oversight (or scrutiny) of the executive. The signifi cance of this role in presidential systems depends on the balance of part y numbers, on whether or not the legislature is dominated by the same part y as the executive, and on whether or not the executive has a positive and constructive relationship with the legislature. In parliamentar y systems, by contrast, legislatures are usually more actively driven by the executive, but they have several ways of monitoring the executive: ? ? Questions can be posed to leaders and ministers, whether oral or written. In Britain, for example, members of the House of Commons ask numerous questions of bureaucrats and ministers, while one of the more colourful events in Parliament is the weekly Prime Minister’s Question Time, a theatrical joust between the prime minister and the leader of the opposition. In other legislatures, however, questions are less important, with French ministers often failing to answer them at all. ? ? Interpellations are an alternative form of interrogation in some European legislatures, including Finland, France, and Germany. A form of confi dence motion, an interpellation is a substantial question demanding a prompt response which is followed by a short debate and usually a vote on whether the government’s answer is considered acceptable. ? ? Emergency debates are a higher-profi le means of calling executives to account. Typically, a minimum number of members, together with the Presiding Offi cer (Speaker), must approve a proposal for an emergency debate. The discussion usually ends with a government win; the signifi cance lies in the debate itself and the fact of its having been called. An emergency debate creates publicit y and demands a considered response from the government’s spokesperson. Without question, the most important means by which legislatures can hold executives accountable is through a vote of confi dence or a censure motion. The former is a vote that – if it goes against the government – leads to compulsor y resignation, while the latter indicates disapproval of a specifi c minister for a stated reason. Confi dence votes are not so much a form of detailed oversight as a decision on whether the government can continue in offi ce at all. Such votes are rare, but they can decide the fate of an executive, with the potential to lead to a change of leadership and even new elections. A recent successful example was the 2011 vote of confi dence in the minorit y Conser vative government of Stephen Harper in Canada, charged with failing to disclose the full fi nancial details of proposed new laws on crime and on corporate tax cuts. The loss of the vote triggered a new election, resulting in gains for the Conser vatives and a majorit y government for Harper. In France and Sweden, a majority of all members (not only those voting) is required to confi rm a legislature’s loss of confi dence. In other countries, a confi dence motion is not specifi cally designated but is simply any vote on which the government would feel obliged to resign if defeated. Defeat on a motion to approve the budget would be a typical example. In some countries, again including Sweden, votes of confi dence can be directed against individual ministers as well as the government as a whole. one chamber or two? For most countries, a single-chambered (or unicameral ) legislature is enough to represent the interests of the population and to manage its responsibilities; hence just under 60 per cent of the world’s legislatures have one chamber (Inter-Parliamentar y Union, 2018). For reasons of histor y, politics, or practical need, the rest have bicameral (double-chambered) legislatures. South Africa even went so far between 1984 and 1994 as to have a tricameral legislature, with each chamber representing a diff erent race, but this was highly unusual. Unicameral and bicameral Terms referring to the number of chambers in a legislature. Vote of confi dence A vote in a legislature on the question of its confi dence in the government to lead. If lost, it normally requires the resignation of the government. legislatures 149 In the case of bicameral legislatures, one is usually known as the fi rst (or lower) chamber and the other as the sec- ond (or upper) chamber. Perhaps counter-intuitively, the lower chamber (see Figure 9.3 for examples) is usually the bigger and the more powerfu

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