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  • CivilRegulates legal rights and obligations of citizens in regard to reach otherCriminalOffenses against society as a whole


  • 1. Judiciary
  • 2. The Constitution
    Vague in regards to the courts
    Only the Supreme Court is mentioned
    “The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.”
    How did we get federal courts?
  • 3. Basic Structure
    District Courts
    Appellate Courts
    Supreme Court
  • 4. Specialty Court
    “Legislative Courts”
    Highly specialized
    US Claims Court
    US Court of International Trade
    US Court of Military Appeals
  • 5. District Courts
    94 Total
    Only federal court with a jury
    Original jurisdiction
    Criminal and Civil Cases
    ~80% are civil cases
  • 6. Codes
    What is the difference?
  • 7. Civil Law
    Copyright 2006 Prentice Hall
  • 8. http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2010/924.html
  • 9. Criminal Law
  • 10. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/1147246.stm
  • 11. Circuit Court of Appeals
    Question of legality, not fact
    3-Judge panel receives briefs, hears oral arguments
    Decision usually binding
  • 12. Appellate Courts
    The 11 Numbered U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals
  • 13. Procedures
    Panel reviews evidence
    Decisions lead to precedent
    A judicial decision that serves as a rule for settling subsequent cases of a similar nature
  • 14. Stare Decisis
    “stand by decisions”
    The foundation of our legal system
    Allows citizens to know what is expected, without a law for every possible activity
  • 15. Supreme Court
  • 16. United States Supreme Court
    The Supreme Court is the final arbitrator for matters concerning federal laws and the U.S. Constitution
  • 17. Supreme Court
    Currently 9 Justices
    Set by Congress
    8 Associate Justices, 1 Chief Justice
  • 18. Jurisdiction
    Congress determines appellate jurisdiction
    Once forced by law to review all necessary cases
    27 million criminal and civil cases per year in US; Supreme Court hears ~80
  • 19. Writ of Certiorari
    “Certs” for short
    An order from the Court to lower courts demanding they send a case’s records
    The court has agreed to CONSIDER the case
    8000-9000 cert petitions per year
  • 20. Granting a Cert
    “Rule of Four”
    4 Justices must rule in favor of a cert
    If denied, the lower court’s ruling stands
    More likely to be granted if 2 lower courts have reached opposite conclusions
  • 21. After the Cert
    Legal briefs are invited and submitted
    Amicus Curiae
    “friends of the court”
    Plenary Session
    Open to the public
  • 22. Plenary Session
    All 9 Justices Present
    Oral arguments (30 min. each side)
    Justice William O. Douglas
    “This lawyer was done twenty minutes ago, but he didn’t know it.”
  • 23. Deliberation
    Justices discuss the case
    Closed doors
    Each side states position
    Position is not final until it is made public
  • 24. Written Opinion
    “Majority Opinion” or “Opinion of the Court”
    Gives legal reasoning for the decision
    Senior Member or Chief Justice assigns a member to write
  • 25. Concurring Opinion
    Provides an alternative legal reasoning, even if a Justice voted in the majority
    Sometimes all will write their own opinion
  • 26. Dissenting Opinion
    The Reasoning of the Minority
  • 27. Remanding
    Decision sent to the lower court
    The lower court carries out the decision
  • 28. Eligibility
    Nominated by the President
    Confirmed by the Senate
    Constitution is vague
    Hold office “during good behavior”
    Retirement, death, impeachment
  • 29. Politics
    Politics often influences nomination and confirmation
    Harriet Miers
  • 30. The Constitutional Court
    Article III
    Nothing on qualifications
    Vague on Powers
    Vague on Duties
    Judicial Review is implicit
  • 31. Judicial Review
    The power of the Court to rule on the constitutionality of state, federal, and executive actions
    THE role of the Court
    Was this intended???
  • 32. Judicial Review???
    Jefferson & Madison
    Congress and the President knew the intent of their laws; they should decide
    Judicial Review needed as a check
    Do not assume leaders will act constitutionally
    Judiciary free from political, popular pressures; know the document best
  • 33. Marbury v. Madison (1803)
  • 34. Background
    Adams loses to Jefferson in election of 1800
    Federalists also lose both Houses
    Federalists stacked the courts
    Appointments were never delivered
  • 35. Jefferson takes Over
    Finds appointments, refuses to deliver commissions
    William Marbury, a would-be appointee, sues
    Requested a Writ of Mandamus
  • 36. Writ of Mandamus
    A court order compelling a public official to act
  • 37. Marshall
    Was Secretary of State under President Adams
    Was now the Chief Justice under Jefferson
    James Madison was the current Secretary of State
  • 38. Marshall’s Dilemma
    The Court would surely favor Marbury
    What if Madison refused to comply?
    Court would have impotence precedent
    If it favored Madison, it would be disregarding the law
  • 39. Marshall’s Solution
    Sided with Jefferson/Madison
    Marbury was entitled to his commission
    Madison broke the law in not delivering
    How pro-Jefferson?
    The court ruled Writs of Mandamus violated the Constitution
    Had no power to compel Madison, and did not have jurisdiction on the case
  • 40. Reasoning
    Marbury was entitled to his commission
    Court did not have power to issue a Writ of Mandamus to the Secretary of State
  • 41. The Court Wins
    Court seen as benevolent
    Judicial Review is established
  • 42. Judicial Review
    Not used often
    ~100 times total
    Over 1000 local and states laws have been overturned
  • 43. Democratic?
    The Court is not accountable to the people, but can void the actions of those who are
    Acts as a check for minority rights
  • 44. Federal Judges’ Protected Tenure
    Federal judges can only be removed from office by impeachment by Congress if they commit a crime
    How does this lack of accountability shape their decisions?
  • 45. Judicial Selection in the States
    Partisan elections
    Nonpartisan elections
    Merit selection
    Gubernatorial or legislative appointment