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  • 1. Courts, Judges, and the Law
    • Day 13
    • TCI ch15
    • July 10, 2008
  • 2. Notes - Day 13
    • (last day of notes!!)
    • (TCI ch15)
    • Essential Question: How is the US judicial system organized to ensure justice?
  • 3. Resolving Society’s Conflicts
    • criminal law - to protect the welfare of society and provide punishments for those who fail to comply
      • proven beyond a reasonable doubt
    • civil law - conflicts between private parties (or occasionally private party vs. gov’t)
    • burden of proof is less - preponderance of evidence
  • 4. Players in a Court of Law
    • defendant - accused (criminal or civil)
    • prosecution - gov’t lawyer, represents the people
    • plaintiff - accuser in civil trial
  • 5. Role of Citizens
    • witnesses - testify in court
    • jurors - usually 12 people who make decisions in court
  • 6. US Dual Court System
    • two court systems - state and federal
    • usually independent but can overlap
  • 7. Jurisdiction
    • original jurisdiction - authority to hear case for the first time
    • appellate jurisdiction - (appeals) - review decisions by lower courts
  • 8. State Courts
    • most cases are heard in state courts
  • 9. Choosing State Judges
    • judicial election - pro: public input, debate - con: interferes with impartiality ($$ to run)
    • judicial appointment - governor or state legislature appoints judges - pro: avoid poorly informed voters - con: may appoint supporters
    • merit selection - committee nominates judges
  • 10. Federal Judges
    • Article III of Constitution gives their power
      • cases of federal law or state vs. state
    • 1. US District Courts 2. US Appellate Courts 3. Supreme Court (last appellate court)
  • 11. Supreme Court
    • President nominates and Senate approves
    • only hears 100-150 cases each year
      • writ of certiorari - Courts requests a case
  • 12. Supreme Court Decisions
    • uphold or overrule decision of lower court
    • majority opinion - explain position of majority
    • dissenting opinion - explains position of minority
    • concurring opinion - agree with majority but for different reasons