Does the Supreme Court of the United States hear new cases or appeals?
The SCOTUS hears both new and appeals cases. It is nicknamed the court of last resort because it is the last possible place that an appeal can be made after exhausting appeals in both federal and state judicial systems. The court usually chooses cases that raise constitutional questions, meaning an interpretation of the constitution or its amendments. They also try to avoid political questions, hot button politically charged issues that rest more on personal judgement than constitutional interpretation. The SCOTUS also has original jurisdiction, or hears brand new cases, in a select few cases outlined in Article 3 Section 2 of the constitution.
What is the difference between Descriptive and Substantive representation? What would be an example of increasing each?
Descriptive representation focuses on having elected representatives who have similar experiences and identities to the communities they represent. A way to increase descriptive representation is to have quotas requiring the election of a certain amount of individuals matching certain identities, such as gender quotas to ensure that there are more female legislators elected. Substantive representation focuses on electing representatives who have similar views on policy. A way to increase substantive representation is to use an electoral system such as Proportional Representation that can support multiple political parties, where the more parties you have the more views represented, and the better represented an individuals political ideology is likely to be.
What caused the United States Civil War?
The United States Civil War was first and foremost about the issue of slavery. Southern states were fearful that the election of Abraham Lincoln, of the new Republican Party, would threaten their way of life and limit the expansion and existence of chattel slavery. Other popular responses to this question are states rights and regional differences, however, these are also based around slavery. Southern states wanted to ensure a states absolute and guaranteed right to have slavery, which was threatened by federal policy aimed at balancing the admittance of territories between free and slave states. Economic differences between a more industrial North and agrarian South are also based around the issue of slavery and its use on large cash crop plantations in the deep South. While only a small portion of Southerners were plantation owners with significant slave ownership, these men were the political and social elites of their communities.