The power of the courts to shape public policy creates a difficult problem for democratic theory.
When judges undo the work of elected majorities (which was surely the case with government-sponsored racial separation), they risk depriving the people of the right to make the laws or to govern themselves.
Judiciary Act of 1789, gave life to a system of federal (national) courts that would coexist with the courts in each state
In the beginning, Supreme Court Justices spent much of their time as individual traveling judges (‘‘riding circuit’’); disease and poor transportation were everyday hazards. The Justices met as the Supreme Court only for a few weeks in February and August.
The decision in Marbury v. Madison established the Supreme Court’s power of judicial review —the power to declare congressional acts invalid if they violate the Constitution. Subsequent cases extended the power to cover presidential acts as well.
Marshallexpanded the potential power of the Supreme Court to equal or exceed the power of the other branches of government. Should a Congressional act (or, by implication, a Presidential act) conflict with the Constitution, the Supreme Court claimed the power to declare the act void.
The Judiciary would be a check on the Legislative and Executive branches, consistent with the principle of checks and balances embedded in the Constitution.
In more than two hundred years of practice, the Supreme Court has invalidated only about 160 provisions of national law.
Judicial Review of Other Branches
Judicial Review of State Government The Exercise of Judicial Review
The power of the courts to declare national, state, and local laws invalid if they violate the Constitution
The supremacy of national laws or treaties when they conflict with state and local laws
The role of the Supreme Court as the final authority on the meaning of the Constitution
When acts of the national government conflict with the Constitution, the Supreme Court can declare those acts invalid.
The Court ruled that the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause (Article VI), which embraces national laws and treaties, nullified the state law.
Criminal and State cases are reviewed at the State level.
Criminal cases involve a crime or violation of public order.
Civil cases involve a private dispute arising from such matters as accidents, contractual obligations, and divorce.
To recap thus far: The Supreme Court had a breath of life from the Judiciary Act of 1789, but wasn’t a true force in our government until Marbury v. Madison, which established judicial review and checks and balances. Certain trials are heard by the State, then work their way up to the Supreme Court based on verdict. There are different courts for different scenarios.
For those following along at home, we’re now on page 456
Appellate court proceedings are public with no jurors or witnesses or cross-examinations
The Courts of Appeals are regional courts: they usually convene in panels of three judges. After the review of briefs the three judge panel meet to reach a judgment. When a decision is made its influence can reach well beyond the immediate
Ex: A lawsuit turning on the meaning of the Constitution produces a ruling, which then serves as a precedent.
Precedent: a judicial ruling that serves as the basis for the ruling in a subsequent case.
Stare-decisis: literally a ”let the decision stand” decision making according to precedent.
Judges on the courts of appeals direct their energies to correcting errors in district court proceedings. Decisions by the courts of appeals ensure a measure of uniformity in the application of national law.
Laws may be interpreted differently in different courts of appeals.
The problem of conflicting decisions in the courts can be corrected by review in the
The Us court of appeals continued Each appeal court hears cases from a circuit The United States is divided in twelve circuits
Equal Justice Under Law, and Justice, The Guardian Of Liberty are inscribed on the Supreme Court Building. These mottos reflect the Court’s difficult task: achieving a just balance among the values of freedom, order, and equality.
Ex: burning of the flag during political protests, school desegregation –Brown v. Board of Education (1954) the Supreme Court carried the banner of racial equality by banning down against segregation in public schools.
There are rules that must be followed to bring a case to the Supreme Court. There are two sources how Supreme Court cases arrive: the first is the Court’s original jurisdiction, the second is appellate jurisdiction.
Once the Court grants a review an attorney submits written briefs. Arguments are heard from the attorneys by justices. During the arguments the justices are not allowed to speak to each other. Once the arguments are heard the justices go into conference.
While in conference there is a Chief Justice that begins the presentation, they then present their vote, which then the justices present their votes. Once the totals are made of the justices cases are assigned.
To recap: Appellate Courts are held with no jury, witnesses or cross-examinations.. The Court of Appeals may interpret laws directly. In the Supreme Court, the main purpose is to insure freedom, order and equality. To bring a case before the Supreme Court there must be original jurisdiction and appellate jurisdiction. These cases must also come with a federal question and must also be selected by the Supreme Court; they control their docket. The Solicitor General is appointed by the President to determine whether the government to appeal these decisions.
Decision Making If you’re still following along at home, we’re now on page 465.
The Chief Justice rarely engages in a debate but instead just sends memos to the other justices as a form of communication.
Salaries range from $160,000 to $220,000 among members of the Supreme Court on the state level.
In most states the governor appoints the state judges. In other states, judges are elected by the people.
Vacancies arrive when a judge resigns, retires, or dies. Sometimes a vacancy will arise if the caseload is too heavy for the current judges and they need help. The President must nominate someone and the Senate must then confirm him or her.
a procedure by which similarly situated litigants may be heard in a single lawsuit.
For recap’s sake: Only the biggest cases reach the Supreme Court. These decisions are crucial and often heard through the judge’s perspective, be it liberal or conservative. The Chief Justice has several responsibilities, among them setting the agenda, serving as both social and policy leader and maintaining order. He does not communicate with the judges during a trial, but rather sends memos. Salaries range among members of the Supreme Court, as does methods of election. Vacancies only open when a judge chooses to retire or the Courts become so flooded extra help is needed.