The Judicial Branch by F3rZmq


									The Judicial Branch
Intro Questions
• What does the Supreme Court do?

• How does it relate in to the other two
  branches that we have already talked

• How does the Supreme Court affect
  your lives?

• List: Everything you know about the
  court systems
In The Beginning
• Weakest when the constitution was
• No enumerated or implied powers
• Limited in size
• No judicial review
The Marshall Court
• Chief Justice John Marshall (1801)
  considered the most important chief
  justice to ever serve
•    Marbury v. Madison – Judicial Review
    – Checks and balances
    – Power to declare national, state and local laws
•      McCollough v. Maryland –
    – Strengthened the court and the federal
American Legal System
• Dual court System –
  – Federal
  – 50 states
• Three Tiers
  – District Courts in each state
  – Circuit Courts – Appeals
  – Supreme Court
• Jurisdiction – Who has the power to
  hear the case?
State Jurisdiction
• Original – Where a case is first heard
• Appellate – Hears the appeal from the
  party that lost at the first level. This
  court is not concerned with the facts
  of the case. An appellate court
  decides if the trial was fair.
• State Supreme Court – Final word in
  the state system.
  – Affirm the lower court’s ruling
  – Reverse the lower court’s ruling –
    grant a new trial.
Federal Jurisdiction
• Cases involving federal laws, treaties
  or the US Constitution
• Diversity – suits between citizens of
  different states, foreign countries
• All Federal judges are nominated by
  the president, confirmed by the
  Senate and serve for life.
District Courts (94)
• 90% of all federal cases end here
• Each state has at least one
• Federal government is named as a
  plaintiff or defendant
• There is a federal question to decide
  (treaty, federal statute, and violation
  of federal criminal or civil law)
• Civil suit of citizens from different
  states that is more than $50,000.
Courts of Appeals (13) Circuit Courts
• Created in 1891to relieve the
  workload of SC
• Only have appellate jurisdiction –
  criminal or civil
• Decide if trial was fair and the judge
  was correct in his ruling.
• Never hear new evidence
• Never have juries
The Supreme Court
• Decisions are binding on the whole country
  and can not be appealed.
• Can be reversed by congress in the form of
  an amendment.
• Court decisions are called precedents –
  guidelines for future cases.
• The court has no jurisdiction over state
  constitution or laws, unless there is a
  dispute involving a federal question, the
  constitution or a dispute between 2 or more
• 94% of the time cases involve appellate
• Hear less than 100 cases a year
The Supreme Court con’t
• Involve an important federal question
  which will have wider constitutional
  implications beyond the two parties
  – Different state courts have given
    conflicting ruling on the same subject
  – There is a circuit split – different rulings
    on the same subject.
The Supreme Court con’t
• Rule of Four
  – Discuss list
  – Four justices must agree to hear the
• Original Jurisdiction
  – Cases involving two or more states
  – US and a state
  – Foreign ambassadors or other
  – A state and the citizen of that state
Deciding the Case
• Term first Monday in October – July
• How the Court Operates
  – Hear from lawyers from cases that they agree to
  – Court will hear from interested parties who write
    amicus curiae (friend of the court) briefs. Lobby
    the court.
     • Oral argument is delivered
     • Two week period, Monday-Thursday
• Justices privately discuss the case – most
  senior member of the court speaks first.
  – Two week period
• Straw vote
  – Opinions – must provide reason for positions
     • Majority opinion – written by one member
     • Concurring opinion – one who agrees
     • Dissenting opinion – written by one member who
Judicial Philosophy
• Judicial Restraint – strict
  interpretation – literal meaning of the
     constitution or the original intent.
• Judicial Activism - loose
  interpretation - make relevant to
  current issues.
• Judicial legislation – Making policy
  instead of interpreting the law. Struck
  down 150 congressional laws and 900
  state laws.
Nomination Process
• Nominated by the President
• Investigation – FBI and ABA
• Investigation by Senate Judiciary
• Lobby by interest groups (generally
• Senate Committee Hearings
• Senate vote
Terms and Pay of Judges
• Life
  – Resign, Retire or Die
  – Can be impeached

• Congress sets the salaries of all federal
  judges and has provided a generous
  – Retire at 70, and if they have served for at
    least 10 years, receive full salary for the
    rest of their life
  – Retire at 65, after at least 15 years of
• The Chief Justice can call any retired
  judge back to temporary duty in lower
  federal courts at any time

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