Law, politics, and the creation of public policy: How the two can come together and create better public policy

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Fink, Jefferson
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Dave Peterson
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Political Science
The Department of Political Science has been a separate department in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (formerly the College of Sciences and Humanities) since 1969 and offers an undergraduate degree (B.A.) in political science, a graduate degree (M.A.) in political science, a joint J.D./M.A. degree with Drake University, an interdisciplinary degree in cyber security, and a graduate Certificate of Public Management (CPM). In addition, it provides an array of service courses for students in other majors and other colleges to satisfy general education requirements in the area of the social sciences.
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Political Science

Public policy is so much more than just the passage of laws and legislation; public policy is the government. The creation of public policy is a very long and complicated process. Public policies that start in the Legislature have to go through a complex process of which many lawyers do not understand how the legislative process works. The Executive takes the law and refines it through executive agencies which then create rules and regulations of the public policy. The Executive agencies’ process of creating public policies has led to a complex web of relevant rules and regulations that are necessary to create public policy. The law is fully formed under the Judicial Branch. As a result, courts wield significant power in determining how policy affects the public.

Political science studies public policy to see how the policies are created, and how different variables will influence the policies, and have developed elaborate theories on how public policy is made. Often these theories and the discussion that they raise are frequently detached from the real world implications of public policy. While a primary objective of legal education is to learn the fundamental nature of law; it seeks to identify the core elements of law and legal doctrines. This leaves lawyers in a position to be able to interpret the courts’ decisions. The legal field can also give political science a different methodical approach on how policies and laws affect people.

There must be more cross-disciplinary communication so that there is an understanding of both areas to help the fields of study further evolve. It is inherent that law and politics are related. Unfortunately, the separation between the law and political science has prevented communication between the two fields. Both law and politics create and influence public policy; they must work together so that there can be better public policies that affect the people.

Fri Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2016