Matt Vasilogambros writes at National Journal:
On a recent Friday afternoon, as she was leaving the Hill for the weekend, a congressional aide suddenly remembered that her parking pass would expire before she came to work the next Monday. She had procrastinated about asking her boss to sign for a new one, and now he’d flown home for the weekend. So, after only a moment’s hesitation, she signed his name to the form herself. Or tried to.
”It ended up looking like absolute crap,” she says. “I used the wrong-colored pen. I used a red pen; we’re supposed to use a blue pen. So I had to do the whole thing over.”
You might think this would raise suspicions -- not only forging a member’s signature on a federal document but also botching the job so badly that you have to try again. But nobody on Capitol Hill bats an eye at staffers signing for their bosses; it’s part of the daily routine, and, according to the House and Senate Ethics committees, there are no rules prohibiting it. Which comes in handy, for staffers and members alike, because the elected officials’ signatures are required on everything from “Dear Colleague” letters to tech-equipment requests. (The idea is that members are held accountable for every action taken by their aides.) And with lawmakers dashing from caucus meetings to committee hearings to floor votes to fundraising call rooms, they’d be hard-pressed to affix their John Hancocks to every document that hits their desks -- or their staffers’ desks.
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A second look at Federalist 51:
But it is not possible to give to each department an equal power of self-defense. In republican government, the legislative authority necessarily predominates. The remedy for this inconveniency is to divide the legislature into different branches; and to render them, by different modes of election and different principles of action, as little connected with each other as the nature of their common functions and their common dependence on the society will admit. It may even be necessary to guard against dangerous encroachments by still further precautions.
The average size of a congressional district based on the 2010 Census apportionment population will be 710,767, more than triple the average district size of 210,328 based on the 1910 Census apportionment, and 63,815 more than the average size based on Census 2000 (646,952). Based on the 2010 Census apportionment, the state with the largest average district size will be Montana (994,416), and the state with the smallest average district size will be Rhode Island (527,624).
Four Strategic Postures Since 2000 (House, by election year)
Pres Party Dems 08 GOP 06
GOP 00, 02, 04 Dem 10,12,14
Out Party GOP 10,12,14 GOP 08
Dem 06 Dem 00, 02,04