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The United States Court System


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The United States Court System

  1. 1. The Courts<br />Chapter 14<br />By Jennifer Thomas, Kelly Quirk, Gabriella Callahan and Aaron Robison<br />
  2. 2. <ul><li>The power of the courts to shape public policy creates a difficult problem for democratic theory. 
  3. 3. 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.</li></ul>The United States Judicial System<br />
  4. 4. <ul><li>Judiciary Act of 1789, gave life to a system of federal (national) courts that would coexist with the courts in each state
  5. 5. 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.</li></ul>National Judicial Supremacy <br />
  6. 6. <ul><li>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.
  7. 7. 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.
  8. 8. The Judiciary would be a check on the Legislative and Executive branches, consistent with the principle of checks and balances embedded in the Constitution.
  9. 9. In more than two hundred years of practice, the Supreme Court has invalidated only about 160 provisions of national law.</li></ul>Judicial Review of Other Branches<br />
  10. 10. Judicial Review of State Government<br />The Exercise of Judicial Review<br /><ul><li>The power of the courts to declare national, state, and local laws invalid if they violate the Constitution
  11. 11. The supremacy of national laws or treaties when they conflict with state and local laws
  12. 12. The role of the Supreme Court as the final authority on the meaning of the Constitution
  13. 13. When acts of the national government conflict with the Constitution, the Supreme Court can declare those acts invalid.
  14. 14. The Court ruled that the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause (Article VI), which embraces national laws and treaties, nullified the state law.</li></li></ul><li><ul><li>Criminal and State cases are reviewed at the State level.
  15. 15. Criminal cases involve a crime or violation of public order.
  16. 16. Civil cases involve a private dispute arising from such matters as accidents, contractual obligations, and divorce.</li></ul>Organization Of Courts<br />
  17. 17. <ul><li>Plea-bargain:
  18. 18. negotiating the severity and number of charges to be brought against the defendant.
  19. 19. Often the parties settle (or resolve the dispute between themselves) because of the uncertainties in litigation.
  20. 20. Common (or judge-made) law: legal precedents derived from previous judicial decisions.
  21. 21. U.S. District Courts:
  22. 22. courts within the lowest tier of the three-tiered federal court system; courts where litigation begins.
  23. 23. U.S. Courts of Appeals:
  24. 24. courts within the second tier of the three-tiered federal court system, to which decisions of the district courts and federal agencies may be appealed for review.
  25. 25. Cases are neither settled nor abandoned, they end with adjudication, a court judgment resolving the parties’ claims and enforced by the government.</li></ul>Procedure and Policymaking<br />
  26. 26. <ul><li>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.
  27. 27. For those following along at home, we’re now on page 456</li></ul>The U.S. Courts of Appeals (cont’d)<br />
  28. 28. <ul><li>Appellate court proceedings are public with no jurors or witnesses or cross-examinations
  29. 29. 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
  30. 30. Ex: A lawsuit turning on the meaning of the Constitution produces a ruling, which then serves as a precedent.
  31. 31. Precedent: a judicial ruling that serves as the basis for the ruling in a subsequent case.
  32. 32. Stare-decisis: literally a ”let the decision stand” decision making according to precedent.
  33. 33. 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.
  34. 34. Laws may be interpreted differently in different courts of appeals.
  35. 35. The problem of conflicting decisions in the courts can be corrected by review in the </li></ul>The Us court of appeals continued <br />Each appeal court hears cases from a circuit<br />The United States is divided in twelve circuits<br /> <br />
  36. 36. <ul><li>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.
  37. 37. 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.</li></ul>The Supreme Court<br />
  38. 38. <ul><li>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.
  39. 39. Original jurisdiction:
  40. 40. the authority of a court to hear a case before any other court does.
  41. 41. Appellate jurisdiction:
  42. 42. the authority of a court to hear cases that have been tried, decided or reexamined in other courts.
  43. 43. Cases cannot go from State to Supreme Court and the case must raise a federal question.
  44. 44. Federal question:
  45. 45. an issue covered by the U.S. Constitution, national laws or U.S. Treaties. 
  46. 46. The Supreme Court only selects a handful of cases; they have control over their docket (agenda).
  47. 47. To have a case approved the justices must agree to the case warrants full consideration-there only has to be four votes to place a case on the docket.
  48. 48. This agreement is called rule of four.
  49. 49. Business cases represent a majority of the Court’s docket.</li></ul>Access to the Court<br />
  50. 50. <ul><li>Solicitor General:
  51. 51. the third highest official of the U.S. Department of justice, and the one who represents the national government before the Supreme Court.
  52. 52. The Solicitor General is appointed by the President
  53. 53. Cases that are heard by the Supreme Court are chose by decision making criteria such as issues dealing with economic or social costs, or those weighing the ultimate outcome.
  54. 54. Duties of the Solicitor General are:
  55. 55. Determining whether the government should appeal decisions, reviewing and modifying, deciding whether the government should file amicus curiae brief.
  56. 56. Solicitor General is an advocate for the president’s policy, and is an officer of the Court.</li></ul>The Solicitor General<br />
  57. 57. <ul><li>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.
  58. 58. 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.
  59. 59. 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. </li></ul>Decision Making<br />If you’re still following along at home, we’re now on page 465.<br />
  60. 60. <ul><li>If a case reaches the Supreme Court than it is most likely a big deal so these justices are used to stressful cases and decision-making.
  61. 61. As humans these justices are going to have values that will affect the way they decide or vote on issues. Depending on whether they are conservative or liberal plays a role also.
  62. 62. Each justice has a different background and that plays a role in decision-making too.</li></ul>Strategies of the Courts<br />
  63. 63. <ul><li>The Chief Justice's responsibilities are:
  64. 64. Forming the docket and directing the court's conferences.
  65. 65. He is the social leader within the group.
  66. 66. He is the policy leader.
  67. 67. He must maintain control within the group.
  68. 68. The Chief Justice rarely engages in a debate but instead just sends memos to the other justices as a form of communication.
  69. 69. Salaries range from $160,000 to $220,000 among members of the Supreme Court on the state level.
  70. 70. In most states the governor appoints the state judges. In other states, judges are elected by the people.
  71. 71. 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. </li></ul>Chief Justice& Justice Recruitment<br />
  72. 72. <ul><li>Judicial Restraint:
  73. 73. a judicial philosophy by which judges tend to defer to decision of the elected branches of government.
  74. 74. Judicial Activism:
  75. 75. a judicial philosophy by which judges tend not to defer to decisions of the elected branches of government, resulting in the invalidation or emasculation of those decisions.
  76. 76. Judgment:
  77. 77. the judicial decision in a court case. 
  78. 78. Argument:
  79. 79. the heart of a judicial opinion; it's logical content separated from facts, rhetoric, and procedure. 
  80. 80. Concurrence:
  81. 81. the agreement of a judge with the Supreme Court's majority decision, for a reason other than the majority reason.
  82. 82. Dissent:
  83. 83. the disagreement of a judge with a majority decision. 
  84. 84. Senatorial Courtesy:
  85. 85. a norm under which a nomination must be acceptable to the home state senator from the president's party.
  86. 86. Class Action:
  87. 87. a procedure by which similarly situated litigants may be heard in a single lawsuit.</li></ul>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.<br />
  88. 88. <ul><li>For Additional Information on the United States Judicial Branch, please look at these sources (as it is within your Constitutional Freedoms):
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  98. 98.</li></ul>Power Point also available on slideshare,com<br />