The Judicial Branch


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The Judicial Branch

  1. 1. The Judicial Branch AP Government
  2. 2. Learning Goals  Explain the structure of the federal court system.  Evaluate factors important in appointing judicial nominees.  Compare and contrast arguments in favor and against judicial activism.  Describe the process of reaching a decision in the U.S. Supreme Court.  Assess the influences on U.S. Supreme Court decision making.  Compare and contrast the limits on judicial action.  Assess the role of the judiciary in a constitutional democracy.
  3. 3. Federal Court Structure
  4. 4. Structure Cont.…  Set up by the Constitution  All Federal Judges serve for life & are nominated by the President & confirmed by the Senate (they can be impeached)  Each of these courts have jurisdiction (the right to hear a case)  State courts also have jurisdiction, but state cases can enter the Federal system through state supreme courts  The case HAS to include a federal law or a US Constitutional issue (these are justiciable disputes)  Can hear civil or criminal cases  Criminal (punishment can be prison; attorney appointed; right to jury)  Civil (lawsuit; punishment is usually $$$; no attorney or jury rights)
  5. 5. District Courts & Appeals Courts  District Courts:  94 total; 678 judges  hear trials and decide cases (original jurisdiction)  Appeals Courts:  12 (one in DC)  Three judge panels (appellate jurisdiction)  Can only review cases decided by District Courts
  6. 6. Jurisdiction (a court’s right or authority to hear a case)  Original (trial court): Federal—US laws, the Constitution, 2 or more state governments, US government, citizens of different states or citizen and a different state, ambassadors or foreign officials  Concurrent (choice of courts): both Federal & state governments have jurisdiction  Appellate (hears an appeal): includes Supreme Court
  7. 7. The Supreme Court  Original jurisdiction: certain cases in which a state is a party; cases involving reps. of foreign governments  Appellate jurisdiction: almost all cases  They set precedents that lower courts must follow  Steps: 1. Grant certiorari/case on docket 2. Briefs accepted from both sides 3. Oral arguments (Solicitor General represents the USA—Donald Verrilli) 4. Judges conference 5. Decision issued/opinion read
  8. 8. Who Are The Judges (appointed by President, approved by Senate)?
  9. 9. First, what factors are considered when nominating someone to a judgeship?  No qualifications are required by the Constitution  Presidents almost always appoint ideological allies. Why?  Lower Court judges—Senators from those states recommend names to the President  The President submits names back to the Senators (senatorial courtesy)  Like everything in DC, this has become VERY politicized (Presidents are relying on recess appointments)  Senate hearing usually held (Judiciary Committee)—sometimes use a litmus test  Recent failure: Robert Bork (1987)  Race and Gender are factors too  Ideology is key: judicial activism v. judicial restraint
  10. 10. Reagan Appointees Antonin Scalia (C) Anthony Kennedy (M)
  11. 11. H.W. Bush Appointee Clarence Thomas (C)
  12. 12. Clinton Appointees Ruth Bader Ginsburg (L) Stephen Breyer (L)
  13. 13. W. Bush Appointees Chief Justice John Roberts (C) Samuel Alito (C)
  14. 14. Obama Appointees Justice Sonya Sotomayer (L) Justice Elena Kagan (L)
  15. 15. Oral Argument Planned Parenthood v. Ayotte
  16. 16. Decision  Most important ever: Marbury v. Madison
  17. 17. Major Supreme Court Cases Or, who do these judges think they are interpreting the constitution? SHS Social Studies
  18. 18. Marbury vs. Madison Judicial Review is established. SHS Social Studies
  19. 19. After the 1800 election, Adams appoints new judges… John Adams (Federalist) signs appointments on his last night in office. Thomas Jefferson (Democratic Republican) is to take over as President. What political party do you think the judges Adams appointed belonged to? Why did he did this?
  20. 20. “midnight judges”- what these new judges were referred to. William Marbury was one of these “midnight judges.”
  21. 21. Why is Madison involved? James Madison, TJs new Secretary of State, was supposed to officially present Marbury with his new position…But he didn’t! So… Marbury sued and appealed to the Supreme Court to get Madison to award him the position…
  22. 22. The Verdict. Supreme Court refuses to grant Marbury his position!! Why? A section of the Judiciary Act of 1789 (which set up the federal court system in the first place) was unconstitutional and void.
  23. 23. Lasting Impact This is the first time the Supreme Court overturns an act of Congress. Checks & balances in action! Judicial Review- Supreme Court’s ability to declare a law or act unconstitutional
  24. 24. McCulloch v. Maryland More major cases… A Federalism case.
  25. 25. Federalism and the Issue  Federalism: Coexistence of Federal, state, and local POWERS  Second Bank of the United States created  Maryland tried to impede operation of the BUS  imposed a tax on all notes of banks not chartered in Maryland  BUS was the only out-of-state bank in Maryland
  26. 26. Fundamental Issues  Does the Constitution grants Congress implied powers for implementing the Constitution's express powers?  Can a state’s action impede valid constitutional exercises of power by the Federal government?
  27. 27. The Verdict  On the first question, Marshall argued that the necessary and proper clause of the Constitution implied that Congress could charter a national bank  Congress was exercising of its explicit power to regulate interstate commerce and coin and regulate money.  On the second question, Marshall wrote that "the power to tax is the power to destroy”  Allowing the state to tax the national bank violated the supremacy clause (Article VI) of the Constitution.  The Bank therefore is legal
  28. 28. U. S. Constitution  Article I: “The Congress shall have power . . . to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes.”  Article VI: “This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof . . . shall be the supreme law of the land.”
  29. 29. Gibbons v. Ogden Steamboat ferries impacted the constitution? Really? The commerce clause…
  30. 30. Ogden’s Steamboat Monopoly Under a New York law adopted in 1798, Robert Livingston obtained a monopoly, or exclusive right, for steamboat navigation within the state of New York. Any boats that competed with this monopoly would be forfeited by the owner.
  31. 31. More facts… In 1815, after the deaths of Livingston and Fulton, Aaron Ogden obtained a right under the monopoly and began to run a steamboat between New Jersey and New York City. In 1818 Thomas Gibbons, one of Ogden’s former partners, began a competing operation between Elizabethtown, New Jersey, and New York City. Ogden sued Gibbons for violation of his monopoly and in 1820 New York's highest court found in Ogden’s favor.
  32. 32. In the US Supreme Court  The Supreme Court unanimously concluded that the New York law granting the monopoly was invalid. Chief Justice John Marshall wrote the Court’s opinion.  Marshall: “Commerce, undoubtedly, is traffic, but it is something more…” Marshall concluded that commerce included all navigation that is “in any manner connected with commerce.”
  33. 33. Intra- versus Inter-State Commerce  Marshall stated that the power of Congress to regulate commerce did not include commerce that was “completely internal” and that did not “extend to or affect other States.” The states had the power to regulate such completely internal commerce. However, the issue before the Court concerned commerce between two states and therefore involved federal authority over commerce.
  34. 34. Plessy v. Ferguson & Brown v. Board of Education Quick review—I know that you know these cases 14th Amendment Landmark Cases
  35. 35. Miranda v. Arizona How much power can the police exercise on a suspect? Warren Court decision
  36. 36. Background Ernesto Miranda Arrested for kidnapping and rape Poor, uneducated, English may not have been his native language Intensively questioned for 2 to 3 hours
  37. 37. The Interrogation Miranda was not told that he had a right to remain silent. He was not told that he had a right to an attorney. After about 3 hours, police obtained a signed, written confession.
  38. 38. What Amendments Apply? 5th: Self- Incrimination 6th: Right to an attorney 14th: Equal protection of the laws
  39. 39. Ruling  Miranda should have been told of these rights  Therefore, police must explain these to anyone who is a suspect or arrested (once a suspect is in custody)  Police must ask “Do you understand these rights?”  A suspect can decide at any time to exercise these rights  Or, they can voluntarily waive them
  40. 40. Exclusionary Rule  Illegally obtained evidence cannot be used to convict a person of a crime.  Statements made by any suspects was not informed of his/her Miranda rights may be excluded from trial.  Statements made by any suspects who did not understand his/her Miranda Warning may be excluded from trial.
  41. 41. US v. Nixon Executive privilege
  42. 42. First…Nixon and Watergate He was a bad, bad boy.
  43. 43. Origins: Pentagon Papers  Daniel Ellsberg, an employee of the Defense Department , leaked a classified assessment (negative) of the Vietnam War in 1971 (Pentagon Papers)  Senior government officials had serious misgivings about the war.  New York Times and Washington Post began to publish the Pentagon Papers, the Nixon Administration sued (prior restraint)  Supreme Court ruled the papers could continue to publish the documents
  44. 44. White House Plumbers  After the release of the Pentagon Papers, the White House created a unit to ensure internal security (stop leaks)  1971: burglarized the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist, seeking material to discredit him.  Nixon’s domestic advisor John Ehrlichman knew of and approved the plan Howard Hunt G. Gordon Liddy James McCord Chuck Colson
  45. 45. The Watergate Break-in  1972: Plumbers turned their activities to political espionage (re-elect Nixon)  June 17, 1972, 5 men were arrested while attempting to bug the headquarters of the Democratic Party inside the Watergate building in Washington D.C.  One of the men arrested, James McCord, was the head of security for the Republican Party.
  46. 46. The Election of 1972
  47. 47. Investigations  Original investigation: White House. Guess what they concluded?  Watergate came to be investigated by a Special Prosecutor, a Senate committee, and by the judge in the original break-in case  John Dean: testified about a cover-up  Alexander Butterfield: taping system in the Oval Office  Saturday Night Massacre
  48. 48. The Tapes Sirica: tapes are evidence; Nixon: Executive Privilege US v. Nixon: Supreme Court ruled tapes must ne turned over Reasoning: the separation of powers, nor the generalized need for confidentiality of high-level communications, ca n sustain an absolute, unqualified, presidential privilege
  49. 49. The Tapes  Tapes showed the cover-up:  authorizing the payment of hush money  attempting to use the CIA to interfere with the FBI investigation.  18 ½ minute gap  Nixon’s secretary Rosemary Woods “accidently” stepped on the mute button  Audio experts: it was erased at least 5 times  After “The smoking gun tapes,” were released in August 1974, the House Judiciary Committee approved Articles of Impeachment against Nixon  Nixon resigns later that month