elastic clause: Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, which allows Congress to make all laws that are �necessary and proper� to carry out the powers of the Constitution.

elections: The procedure by which voters choose, usually among competing candidates, to determine who shall hold public office. See also deviating elections, maintaining elections, and realigning elections.

electoral college: The body composed of electors from the fifty states, who formally have the power to elect the President and Vice President of the United States. Each state has a number of electors equal to its number of senators and representatives in Congress.

elite theory: The political view that power in America is held by the few, not the masses of people.

enabling act: A congressional act that allows the people of a territory desiring statehood to frame a state constitution.

enumerated powers: Powers of government that are specifically granted to the three branches of the federal government under the Constitution.

equal protection clause: The provision of the Fourteenth Amendment that seeks to guarantee equal treatment for individuals.

Equal Rights Amendment (ERA): A proposed amendment to the Constitution, aimed at ending discrimination against women, that states: �Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.�

equal time provision: A provision of the Federal Communications Act that requires broadcasters to provide �equal time� to all legally qualified candidates.

equality: A concept that all people are of equal worth, even if not of equal ability,

equalization: A formula for federal matching requirements that takes into account the state�s or community�s ability to pay.

equity: A legal principle of fair dealing, which may provide preventive measures and legal remedies that are unavailable under ancient principles of common law.

exclusionary rule: A doctrine established by the Supreme Court that bars the federal government from using illegally seized evidence in court.

executive agencies: Units of government under the President, within the executive branch, that are not part of a cabinet department.

executive agreements: Agreements made by the President in the conduct of foreign affairs, that, unlike treaties, do not require Senate approval.

ex parte contacts: One-sided contacts, such as an approach to a regulatory agency by a lawyer representing one side in a case.

ex post facto laws: Laws that punish an act that was not illegal at the time it was committed.

extradition: A constitutional provision allowing a state to request another state to return fugitives.


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