You will be able to describe the tensions between local representation and national lawmaking after you've read this chapter.
The executive and judicial branches have checks and balances.
How congressional districts are defined and who runs for Congress are influenced by politics.
The parties play a central role in Congress.
What's at stake.
Politics always surrounds the appointment of a new Supreme Court justice, as was demonstrated in the hearings for the new justice.
"Advice and Consent" is intended to keep control of the presidency in the hands of the president.
The new Supreme Court seat was more political than others.
Scalia was the larger than life, outspoken justice who defined the conservative end of the Court, which often broke five-to-four on significant cultural and political issues.
If President Barack Obama replaced him with someone more in line with his values, the balance of the court would swing in his favor.
Republicans had been making it a point of pride to stop Obama wherever they could.
His chance to leave a lasting legacy on the Court was blocked.
The Washington Post Writers Group and the Cartoonist Group granted permission for the use of Clay Bennett's editorial cartoon.
All rights belong to the person.
The gloves came off quickly with the stakes so high.
McConnell said that the American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice.
Until a new president is elected, this should not be filled.
He said that the Senate wouldn't hold hearings or a vote on the president's nominee for the Court, but that they wouldn't refuse to confirm him.
2016 was an election year, which brings out crazy politics in the best of times, and nothing about it was the best.
Supreme Court justices have been nominated and confirmed many times before.
The president has no power to make nominations to the Court through the first three years of a term.
I plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities by nominating a successor.
The Senate has a responsibility to give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote, and there will be plenty of time for me to do that.
Everyone should take these responsibilities seriously.
They are larger than any party.
They are about democracy.
They're about the institution to which Justice Scalia dedicated his life, and making sure it continues to function as the beacon of justice that our forefathers envisioned.
There was a power struggle to decide the future of the Court and the battle over how to understand "advice and consent" was a proxy.
After considering various candidates, conducting interviews, and talking to advisors in the White House, Obama nominated a well-liked and respected judge.
The Circuit Court had rulings that were left of center but not as liberal as Scalia.
The strategy didn't work.
According to the Republican narrative, presidents in their last year in office should not impose their choices on the people about to vote for their replacement, which meant the job of advising and giving consent meant ignoring the nomination entirely.
Only two senators thought Judge Garland should be given the usual hearings.
The Democrats said that the Senate was within its rights to deny Garland confirmation, but that "advice and consent" meant they had to give him a hearing.
Most of the American people were buying the Democratic version of the story, though that did not move McConnell, who risked alienating the Republican base if he went back on his decision.
McConnell wanted to keep the Senate majority in his party's hands, but Republicans in close races began to see their polls tighten, putting pressure on him.
The nomination was in a standoff through the fall.
Congress is the most powerful democratic legislature in the world.
If politics is about who gets what, and how, then Congress is the center of American national politics.
Congress has the power to alter many of the rules that determine who wins and who loses in American political life, as well as the narratives that define the conflicts.
Social media has made it easier for representatives to reach out to their followers, communicate with them, inform them of actions taken in Congress, and solicit funds.
The power of the representative's narrative is strengthened but so is the power of the constituent to break out of that narrative and represent their own views.
The Capitol building in Washington, D.C., home to both the House of Representatives and the Senate, has become as much a symbol of America's democracy as the Stars and Stripes or the White House.
We might expect Americans to be proud of their national legislature, which has a long tradition of serving democratic government.
America has a love-hate relationship with Congress.
The first is that the behaviors that help a member of Congress keep his or her job don't always make the institution more popular.
On the other hand, voters want their representatives in Washington to take care of their local interests and to ensure that their home districts get a fair share of national resources.
Parties want their members to be loyal to the party and not to go rogue, for instance, voting with the other party or being seen as independent.
On the other hand, citizens want Congress to take care of the nation's business, and to look like a mature, deliberative, and collegial body, a goal not necessarily furthered by individual legislators' efforts to keep their jobs.