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					Ch. 8 – The Judicial Branch



Focus Questions:
• How is the federal court system structured?
• How are federal judges selected?
• How does the Supreme Court deal with a case?
• How have landmark cases impacted our society?
• How are procedures in a civil and criminal case
     different?
                Judicial Terms
Jurisdiction
 Authority to hear and decide a case

Original Jurisdiction
 First court that has authority to act

Appellate Jurisdiction
 Authority to act on a case previously decided

Concurrent Jurisdiction
 Two or more courts have the authority to act

Precedent
 Case that is a guide for future decisions

Writ of Certiorari
 Directs a lower court to send records on a case to the
  Supreme Court
        History of the Judicial Branch
   U.S. Constitution  Article III
       National Supreme Court
       Congress – power to establish lower federal courts
   Judiciary Act of 1789
       Created federal district courts and set up structure
        of Supreme Court
   Marbury v. Madison (1803)
       Supreme Court – power of judicial review
       Power to declare a law unconstitutional
   Congress created U.S. Court of Appeals (1891)
           Types of Court Cases
   Criminal  cases in which juries decide
    whether people have committed crimes
    (Government v. Person)

   Civil  cases in which two sides disagree
    over an issue (Person v. Person)
     Contract  agreement between two people
     Tort  Not a contract; someone harmed
      you w/o breaking the law
      U.S. Federal Court Jurisdiction
   Case concerning the U.S. Constitution
   Case involving federal law
   Admiralty and maritime laws  on the water
   Dispute involving the U.S. government
   Controversies between states
   Controversies between citizens of different states
   Disputes involving foreign governments
   U.S. diplomats in foreign countries
U.S. Federal Court System Structure
Highest Level to Lowest Level
 U.S. Supreme Court

            ↓
 U.S. Court of Appeals

            ↓
 U.S. District Courts
              U.S. District Courts
   Only original jurisdiction
   94 district courts  at least one per state
   ≈ 90% of federal court case load
   Criminal and civil cases
   Most cases a judge and jury
   3 judge panel will hear a case if it involves the
    constitutionality of a law
District Courts
            U.S. District Court Judges
   At least 2 judges per district court
   Appointed by President/Approved by Senate
   Appointed for life or “during good behavior”
       Unless guilty of serious crime
   Independent judiciary – no political influence
   Responsibilities
       Decide on/Preside over the case procedures
       Explain law involved
       Decide punishment if jury finds defendant guilty
    Other U.S. District
     Court Officials

   Magistrate  issues court orders, hears preliminary
    evidence, may hear minor cases
   U.S. Attorney  Government’s lawyer – prosecute
    federal cases & represent the U.S. in civil cases
   U.S. Marshal  Arrests suspects, delivers defendants to
    court, serves court papers (subpoenas, summons,
    warrants)
       Subpoena  court order requiring someone appear in court
   All Appointed by President/Approved by Senate
       United States Courts of Appeals
   Only appellate jurisdiction  cases come on appeal
    from lower district courts
   13 circuit courts of appeals
   6 to 27 judges in each circuit
   Most cases heard by a 3 judge panel…never a jury
      Rule whether the defendant received a fair trial

      Rulings:
        Uphold lower court decision
        Overturn lower court decision

        Remand case back to a lower court for new trial
           Special Federal Courts
   U.S. Tax Court  Tax cases
   U.S. Court of Claims  Money claims against
    the U.S. government
   U.S. Military Courts  Military cases
   U.S. Court of International Trade  Disputes
    involving tariff and trade laws
     The United States Supreme Court
   Highest court in U.S.
       Decisions are final (unless revisited in future S.C. case)

   Original and appellate jurisdiction (over 99% of cases under
    appellate jurisdiction)
      Original  1) State v. State 2) State v. U.S. 3) Foreign
       representative v. State or U.S.
   6,000 cases a year  only hear about 100
      Cases of great public interest or significant legal/constitutional
       questions
   Power of Judicial Review
      Review any state or federal law to see if it is in agreement w/
       the Constitution  Marbury v. Madison
      Check on power of President and Congress
        U.S. Supreme Court Justices
   9 Justices  1 Chief Justice + 8 Associate
    Justices
   Appointed by President/Approved by Senate
   Appointed for life or “during good behavior”


   1967  1st African American –
    Thurgood Marshall
   1981  1st woman – Sandra Day
    O’Connor
Current U.S. Supreme Court Justices
 Chief Justice John Roberts (2005)
Associate Justices:
 John Paul Stevens (1975)

 Antonin Scalia (1986)

 Anthony Kennedy (1988)

 Clarence Thomas (1991)

 Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1993)

 Stephen Breyer (1994)

 Samuel Alito (2006)

 Sonia Sotomayor (2009)
       U.S. Supreme Court at Work
   Term  1st Monday of October until end of June
     1st two weeks of a month  “sitting”

        Hear arguments  ≈ 30 minutes for each
         side
        Discuss and vote on current cases &
         announce decisions
     2 week recess  Most work is done

        Decide which cases to hear, research
         upcoming cases, write opinions
        U.S. Supreme Court Procedure
Deciding to accept a case
   Rule of 4  At least 4 of 9 justices must agree
    to hear a case
   If turned down  lower ruling stands


   Step 1  Oral Arguments
       Each side gets ≈ 30 minutes
   Step 2  Conferences
       Justices discuss and vote on cases
U.S. Supreme Court Procedure (cont.)
   Step 3  Written Opinions
      Majority Opinion – Opinion of the side who won the
       case
      Minority (Dissenting) Opinion – Opinion of the side
       who lost the case
      Concurring Opinion – Agree with the majority but for
       different reasons
   Step 4  Announce Decisions
      Usually Monday of each week (usually month to year
       after arguments)
      Majority vote of justices determines outcome (6
       needed to vote to decide a case)
         Supreme Court Decisions

   Judicial Activism  Court interprets the
    Constitution loosely in order to deal with
    important issues

   Judicial Restraint  Court must use only
    what the Constitution says or the intent of
    the Framers to make a decision
     Landmark Supreme Court Cases
   Marbury v. Madison (1803)
     Established the Supreme Court’s power of judicial
      review

   Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857)
     Ruled enslaved African Americans are property, not
      citizens
     Overturned by the 14th Amendment


   Plessy v. Ferguson (1896)
      Segregation was legal as long as facilities were equal

      “Separate but Equal” Doctrine
     Landmark Supreme Court Cases
                (cont.)
   Schenck v. United States (1919)
      Held that free speech could be limited if there was a
       “clear and present danger” that illegal action might
       result from the speech

   Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954)
      “Separate but equal” was unconstitutional

      Overturned Plessy v. Ferguson


   Gideon v. Wainwright (1963)
     Right to attorney even if you can’t afford one
     Landmark Supreme Court Cases
                (cont.)
   Miranda v. Arizona (1966)
     Ruled that police must read suspects their rights at time
      of arrest

   Roe v. Wade (1973)
      Ruled abortion is legal in U.S. under certain
       circumstances

   Bush v. Gore (2000)
      Ruled that Florida could not recount ballots which
       decided the election in George W. Bush’s favor
         Procedure in Criminal Case
1)     Crime is committed
2)     Arrest
        Warrant needed if not witnessed by
         police
3)     Preliminary Hearing
        Appear before judge – dismiss or indict
         and send to trial
4)     Arraignment
        Advised of charges/Pleads/Court
         date/Bail set
     Procedure in Criminal Case (cont.)
5)     Plea Bargaining
         Accused may plead guilty to reduce sentence
          and avoid trial
6)     Trial
         Jury Selection
         Prosecution presents/Defense presents
         Verdict  Unanimous decision to convict/acquit
7)     Sentencing
         Based on:
            Severity of crime
            Past record
                Procedure in Civil Case
1)       Plaintiff files complaint
2)       Defendant files pleadings
          Informed of suit/Defendant
           files response
3)       Settle out of court
          Agreement made before trial
4)     Trial
         Jury Selection
         Plaintiff presents/Defendant presents
         Verdict or Judgment
         Unanimous vote to decide which side is more
          right
5)     Damages Set

				
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