Discussion Board Post Examples (Government)

Response to Question #1

  • Understanding the manner in which cabinet appointees are selected and the role that they serve, do you believe that they should primarily support and advocate for the policy positions of the President, or do you think that they should have more independence in expressing their opinions and making decisions regarding their department?

The cabinet is the apex of the executive branch of power of the government that is responsible for programs as well as service delivery. However, the functionality of the cabinet should be within the constitutional regulations and confinement of the laws. In most of the cases, the cabinet secretary nominees are leaders who may have little or no experiences in politics at all. Such individuals represent the voice of the president in advocating and supporting the policy position of the head of the state. Moreover, these specialists are nominated by the president to help in implementing the policies of the government. Thus, they are responsible and answerable to the president. Cabinet secretaries also play a critical role in advising the president, and they execute numerous management roles in the government while implementing the policies, projects, and the programs of the government (Barbieri & Vercesi, 2013). According to Barbieri and Vercesi (2013), the primary role of the cabinet secretaries is to advocate and support the policy position of the head of the state. However, they have some independence in decision-making.

Although the cabinet secretaries have independence while executing their duties and overseeing the daily operations of the government, their power is within the policies of the president. The cabinet secretaries need to be made more powerful in executing their functions on behalf of the president; they should have some powers in making some decisions that are facing their departments. However, these decisions should not be deviating from the primary role they are appointed to perform and should not go against the policies. Instead of giving the cabinet more independence, the roles of people who work there need to be made more conspicuous. Such specialist ought to have more independence in expressing their opinions, but the latter should be envisioned in the vision of the president or the government. It would ensure that the president would maximally benefit from the wisdom of the secretaries even though the head of the state would not be tied or bound by this wisdom. Making the roles of the cabinet secretaries more prominent would increase their efficiency and effectiveness.

If the powers or independence of the cabinet secretaries can be increased in making decisions that affect their departments, there is a risk that they might emasculate the president. It is worth noting that regardless of making them more prudent or prominent, they should continue to work under the guidance of the president. Apart from that, the cabinet secretaries work for the same government, and hence, their visions of the various departments need to be coordinated and common. Thus, there is a need to create a stronger link between the cabinet secretaries and the Congress. By doing so, they would establish a strong unity of direction, which is important in the functioning of the government or for the efficiency of any institution.


Response to Question #2

  • Do you believe a Supreme Court nominee's political views should play a role in his/her approval by the Senate?

The political view of a nominee to the Supreme Court plays a role in the vetting and approval process by the Senate. It is the Senate that has the autonomous responsibility of fairly considering the nominees and giving them a fair hearing (Barbieri & Vercesi, 2013). The Senate is controlled by politics, and therefore, the political position of the nominee plays a role. The nomination process is initiated by the senators of a given state where there is a vacancy. In most cases, a nominee is selected from the same political party of the president. The latter follows the senator's recommendations. However, in most of the cases, the president would rarely approve or make appointments of judges from different political parties.

The Senate has the right to approve or reject a nomination to the Supreme Court. It does consider not only the qualifications of the candidate but does an interrogation of the nominee about their political ideologies. In addition to the constitutional requirements that have to be scrutinized, the Senate does a holistic vetting of any other factor that might influence the future performance of the nominee on the bench. The political ideologies of the nominees are very critical during the vetting, as they affect the outcome of the process. For example, the Senate controlled by the ruling party would likely oppose the nomination of a nominee from the opposing party.

I believe that the political ideologies of the nominees to Supreme Court should not play such crucial role during their approval by the Senate. The latter should consider and stick to the constitutional functions when doing the approval. The body should focus on the qualifications of a nominee rather than their political philosophies. The reason is that the nominees should be as neutral as possible when dispensing justice and executing their duties. If the nominees are approved by the Senate on the basis of their political ideologies and philosophies, it indicates that the bench would be politically influenced even when they are supposed to be politically neutral. In this way, it might affect their credibility and efficiency and might end up losing the public confidence.

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Response to Question #3

  • "Revolving door" laws prohibit public officials from lobbying activities for one year after they leave office. What do you view as some potential political pros or cons of public officials making this transition?

People have equally recognized and disapproved the "revolving door" laws. For example, there are those that are in support of the laws, but others are in objections of the same. The laws have some numerous benefits or pros and cons. People who support the laws argue that the bills are advantageous, as they help in creating a relationship between the private and public sectors with a large pool of knowledgeable people with vast experiences in policy and business matters. The relationship between the private and public sectors ensures that the government does not continue training newcomers in the legislature or any other regulatory body. Similarly, businesses take their time and prefer hiring people with the know-how of the law, as they might help in enforcing the law.

The "revolving door" laws have been criticized, as they may lead to regulatory capture. It is a scenario where there is overpopulation in the regulatory bodies established to protect the interest of the public. The overpopulation may also lead to an influence of the bodies, and this may result in a hurting of the oversight, thus to some extent, shifting in the policies that may favor or be detrimental to the public interest. Additionally, the government officials may use their powers when in office to establish connections that would enrich themselves even after they leave the offices. In most cases, they can also be misused by some business organization in altering policies that would favor their industry. It means that one side of the general public is left without enough representation by the "revolving door". Therefore, the "revolving door" laws lack democracy and do not promote it at all.

Another disadvantage of the "revolving door" laws is that it may raise the possibility of corruption in the broader sense. Various anti-corruption advocates have called for the imposition of even tougher restrictions on the government official before they join the private sectors. The argument is that they worked for the government that used to regulate the private sector, and now, they should not have an immediate chance of working for the sector they managed. The argument is that some government officials while working for the government may be planning to work for the private sector in the future, and hence, they could be making decision to favor the private sector or some parts of it. Moreover, the "revolving door" concept is a complex issue that is not very easy to implement.

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