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Courts

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Courts

  1. 1. What is the Judiciary??? • Primary role: Adjudication –Civil law –Criminal law –Arbitration
  2. 2. • Most political systems have specialized structures of the judiciary – Most judicial structures are hierarchical – Countries without judicial structures – Islamic countries that adhere to sharia law (Ex. Saudi Arabia)
  3. 3. 3 • The English legal tradition of common law. • Common law – judge-made law based initially on the prevailing custom and eventually on legal precedent. • Stare Decisis, which means to “stand on decided cases.”
  4. 4. 4 Sources of American Law • Constitutions • Statutes and Administrative Regulations • Case Law
  5. 5. 5 Development of the Court’s Role in Government • Judicial Review • Marbury v. Madison • National Supremacy
  6. 6. 6 The Warren Court (1953–1969) • Outlawed official racial segregation in public schools. • Set strict national standards to protect the rights of criminal defendants. • Required the equal apportionment of state legislatures and the House of Representatives. • Ruled that prayers and Bible reading in public schools were unconstitutional.
  7. 7. 7 The Burger Court (1969–1986) • Narrowed the reach of the Fourth Amendment’s protections against unreasonable search and seizure. • Restored the death penalty. • Many decisions still protected individual liberties and minority groups.
  8. 8. 8 The Rehnquist Court (1986–2005) • By 1988, the Court shifted in a conservative direction, giving public school officials the right to censor school newspapers and plays, for example. • More difficult for workers to sue employers for discrimination.
  9. 9. 9 Types of Federal Courts • U.S. District Courts • U.S. Courts of Appeals • The United States Supreme Court • Specialized Federal Courts and the War on Terrorism – FISA Court – Alien “Removal Courts”
  10. 10. 10 The Federal Court System • Basic Judicial Requirements – The case involves a federal question – The case involves diversity of citizenship • Standing to Sue
  11. 11. 11 Parties and Procedures • Plaintiff • Defendant • Litigate
  12. 12. 12 Parties and Procedures • Amicus Curiae brief • Procedural Rules – Civil contempt • is failing to comply with a court’s order for the benefit of another party – Criminal contempt – • obstructing the administration of justice or bringing the court into disrespect.
  13. 13. 13 Which Cases Reach the Supreme Court? • When two lower courts are in disagreement • When a lower court’s ruling conflicts with an existing Supreme Court ruling • When a case has broad significance – ex. desegregation or abortion decisions • When a state court has decided a substantial federal question • When the highest state court holds a federal law invalid, or upholds a state law that has been challenged as violating a federal law • When a federal court holds an act of Congress unconstitutional
  14. 14. 14 Cases Before the Court • Granting Petitions for Review. – Writ of Certiorari • Minimum of four justices must agree that the case should be heard by the Supreme Court (the “rule of four”).
  15. 15. 15 Deciding Cases 1. submit legal briefs and (usually) make oral arguments. 2. Unanimous ruling • one justice writes the opinion of the Court. 1. If divided • majority opinion and dissenting opinions.
  16. 16. 16 The Selection of Federal Judges • Judicial Appointments – Federal District Court Judgeship Nominations – Federal Courts of Appeals Appointments – Supreme Court Appointments • Senate has to approve
  17. 17. 17 Ideology and the Courts • The ideology of the justices determines the kinds of policy that the courts will make.

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