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  • Edexcel: Component 3.4: Interpretations of the US presidency 

  • AQA: Component The executive branch of government: President 

Click to read the articles below and then answer the questions:

Brown-Jackson’s confirmation offers much-needed ray of light for Biden

Background: what you need to know

The article highlights a rare success for Joe Biden’s embattled presidency — the successful nomination of Ketanji Brown-Jackson to the Supreme Court. After three conservative appointments under Donald Trump, the arrival of the Court’s first female black judge at least ensures that the liberal minority does not lose any more ground in the near future. Ratification in the Senate was made possible with the support of three Republicans who broke ranks with the majority of their party — an example of the partisanship which affects all aspects of US politics.

Nonetheless, the article suggests that the Democrats are still likely to lose control of Congress in the November midterm elections, as other policy areas remain problematic. Which domestic policies does the writer identify as areas of weakness for Biden?

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 2

  • Explain and analyse three ways in which US presidents can use their constitutional powers to strengthen their political position. [9 marks]

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 3A

  • Evaluate the view that the US presidency today is ‘imperilled’ rather than ‘imperial’ in character.

    You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. [30 marks]

    TIP: The terms ‘imperilled’ and ‘imperial’ relate to differing interpretations of the power of the US presidency and its capacity to control events. Make sure that you define these terms clearly before beginning your answer. In the essay, you should refer not just to the Biden presidency but to the administrations of his recent predecessors, Barack Obama and Donald Trump, for comparison

Graham Goodlad, St John’s College

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