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Unit 6: The Judicial Branch
Transcript of Unit 6: The Judicial Branch
Federal Court System
Two Separate Court Systems
Created by Article III
Supreme Court Cases
Supreme Court Cases
The Judicial Branch
Federal: Run by national government
State: Run by state government
Two kinds of court cases
Civil: Cases between individuals (lawsuits)
Criminal: Cases of suspected crime (breaking laws)
Jurisdiction: The authority to hear a question or case in dispute
Original Jurisdiction: The court which has the initial authority to hear a case
Exclusive Jurisdiction: Jurisdiction belongs to only one group
Concurrent Jurisdiction: A case can be heard in one of several courts
When someone violates a person’s constitutional rights
Freedom of speech
Freedom of expression
When a person feels his or her constitutional rights have been violated, they can sue the person or group they feel is violating them.
1940s: Korematsu successfully sued the U.S. government, over the Japanese internment.
Said was a violation of his 14th Amendment rights of equal protection and due process.
Types of Violations
Crimes defined by Congress or mentioned in the Constitution
Laws broken on the high seas
Someone murdered on a cruise ship
Because they do not happen in a state, all violations of maritime laws, and all crimes that happen on the high seas, are handled through the federal court system.
Disputes Involving the US Government
Someone feels wronged by or does something against federal government
Not paying taxes
U.S. Postal truck runs into a car
Controversies between States
Cases in which two or more states are a party
Hoover Dam provides most of the electric power for Las Vegas, Nevada and most of Southern California.
If the two states began fighting for the exclusive rights to electricity from Hoover Dam, that case would go to the federal court system.
Georgia & Tennessee have been to court over the state border (water rights)
Disputes between citizens of different states
When citizens from two different states enter into a lawsuit
Disputes involving Different Governments
Cases involving U.S. Officials in Foreign Nations
Cases between foreign ambassadors and other high-ranking officials
Lowest level of Federal Courts
ALL federal cases MUST begin at this level
District courts have original jurisdiction
Each court rules over a district. At least one court per state
94 total district courts in the U.S.
District Courts complete about 90% of the Federal case load
Federal District Court
District Courts handle cases that fall under Federal jurisdiction
District Courts use a jury trial to decide guilt or innocence
Only level of court where witnesses testify
Decide the facts of the case
Judges are to interpret the law and determine punishments
*Most federal court cases stop here*
Judges are appointed by the President w/ Senate approval
Judges serve a life-time term
Serve until they quit or die
U.S. Attorneys represent the government in all cases
Appointed by the President
Prosecute those accused of breaking laws
Make arrests, collect fines, take people to prison, issue papers
Hear minor cases, decide whether cases should go to trial
Day-to-day work of the court; record-keeping
Appeals Courts serve as the second level in the system
Review decisions made in lower courts
They have only
appellate jurisdiction – authority to hear a case after it has been heard in a lower court
12 Courts of Appeal
in the U.S. which supervise a district
Cases are appealed to the Court because of unfairness or error
Judge applied the law incorrectly, used wrong procedures, new evidence
No juries are used
in Appeals Courts
No determination is made on guilt or innocence
Only decision is whether a fair trial was given
of the unfair ruling or trial error are prepared and
oral arguments are presented before the court by lawyers from both sides
Panels of 3 or more judges hear the cases and make decisions
Appeals Courts can make three decisions in a case
Decisions are final; some cases appealed to the Supreme Court
Confirm the previous court’s decision
Reverse the previous court’s decision
Send the case back down to a lower court for retrial
Majority Opinion--the written decision of the justices on the winning side
Concurrent Opinion-- the written opinion of a justice who agrees with the majority but may have slightly different reasons
Dissenting Opinion-- the written opinions of a justice who disagreed with the majority
Court at Work
All Decisions are FINAL
No more appeals after the Supreme Court
Usually Appellate Jurisdiction Only
Has original jurisdiction in:
Cases involving diplomats from other countries in the U.S.
Cases involving disputes between the states
Supreme Court Cases
Supreme Court Justices
Marbury v. Madison (1800): Power of judicial review.
This gives the Supreme Court a major check.
Constitution is the Highest Law
Supremacy Clause, Article 6
Constitution is the
when there is a conflict with other laws
Court is responsible for upholding the Constitution
-- Article III of Constitution
Judicial Review: Power of the Supreme Court to examine a law and determine its constitutionality
If laws go against the Constitution, the court can cancel the law
US Supreme Court
Highest Court in the Nation
about 150 of thousands
1: Chief Justice
8: Associate Justices
NO Official Requirements
All have been lawyers
Most have served as judges in lower courts before Supreme Court
Appointed by President with Senate approval
Usually have same ideas and political background as the President
Appointed to a life term
President’s opportunity to influence politics even after term is over
Very important appointment process
Limiting the Court’s Power
Selection of Judges
In session from October to June/July each year
1st 2 weeks- Court hears cases, Makes announcements, & Discusses current cases
2nd 2 Weeks- Justices are writing opinions, Deciding what cases to hear, and Researching cases
FYI: Supreme Court Salaries
Justices discuss and MUST agree on the merits of a case for it to be heard
4 out of 9 must agree to hear a case
Only hears certain kinds
Involving constitutional issues
Involving equal protection of the law (14th Amendment)
Involving civil liberties
Usually just hears appellate cases
Coming from lower courts
Apply for the Supreme Court to hear their case by gaining a petition for a writ of certiorari
Justices discuss cases with each other
6 Justices MUST be present to make a decision
Each decision is accompanied with a written opinion explaining the law about the case
Opinions made public to set precedent for future cases.
Court Ruling: EQUAL REPRESENTATION IN STATE GOVERNMENT—ONE MAN, ONE VOTE
Issue: Equal Representation in State Government
Reynolds v. Sims
Clarence Gideon was accused of breaking and entering into a Florida poolroom and stealing money. When Gideon’s case came to trial, he could not afford to hire a lawyer. He asked that the court supply him with one for free, and the judge refused. Gideon conducted his own defense, but he was found guilty. While in prison, Gideon handwrote his own writ to the Supreme Court, asking them to review his case. He claimed that by refusing to appoint a lawyer to help him, the Florida court violated his 6th Amendment right to an attorney.
By a 9-0 margin, the Court agreed with Gideon.
The Supreme Court had held in previous cases that defendants in federal court had to have a free lawyer if they wanted one. Many states had passed laws giving accused people the right to a free lawyer. In this decision, the Court held that,
because of the 14th Amendment, all states must make free lawyers available.
Court Ruling: ALL FELONY DEFENDANTS MUST BE PROVIDED AN ATTORNEY
Issue: Right to an Attorney
Gideon v. Wainwright
1950: The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) tried to bring an end to segregation in the public schools. The schools were supposed to be “separate but equal,” but the states were not ensuring that these separate facilities were actually equal.
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that segregation of the public schools was unconstitutional based on the 14th Amendment. Even if the schools were equally new and the teachers equally paid, segregation in schools caused harm to African Americans by marking them with a badge of inferiority. The Court concluded that “in the field of public education, the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place.” It also went on to say that “Separate facilities are inherently unequal.”
Court Ruling: SEGREGATION DECLARED ILLEGAL
Overturned Plessy v. Ferguson
Issue: Segregation and 14th Amendment
Brown v Board of Education
When WWII began:
About 112,000 Japanese-Americans lived on the West Coast
70,000 of them were American citizens.
1941: U.S. enters the war -- loyalty questioned.
1942: Military ordered most of the Japanese-Americans to move to internment camps
Fred Korematsu, a Japanese-American and an American citizen, did not go to the camps as ordered. Korematsu was arrested and sent to an internment camp in Utah. He sued, claiming the U.S. government acted illegally when it sent people of Japanese descent to camps.
The Supreme Court sided with the U.S. government, saying that the orders were constitutional because of the unusual demands of wartime security. Therefore, during wartime, citizens rights may be hindered or denied.
Court Ruling: RIGHTS MAY BE DENIED DURING TIMES OF CRISIS – INTERNMENT camps were legal
Issue: Detainment of Japanese citizens during WW II
Korematsu v. US
This case began in 1890 with a new Louisiana law. It stated that all railway companies in the state should provide “separate but equal” accommodations for white and black passengers. Homer Plessy argued that the law was unconstitutional.
1/16 black, he purchased a ticket to ride on a luxury rail car that was all white. He boarded the car, and once asked to leave and go to the separate “black” car, he refused. Plessy was arrested and convicted. He appealed his case on the basis of the 14th Amendment, which states that “no state shall…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
The Supreme Court decided against Homer Plessy,
stating that as long as facilities were equal, that they could be separate. This “separate but equal” doctrine
legalized segregation for the next 60 years.
Court Ruling: SEPARATE BUT EQUAL SEGREGATION IS LEGAL
Issue: 14th Amendment and Segregation
Plessy v. Ferguson
Gibbons argued that the New York law went against federal control of interstate commerce in the Constitution.
The Supreme Court decided that Gibbons was right.
Court Ruling: NATIONAL GOVERNMENT CONTROLS ALL INTERSTATE TRADE
Not the states
Issue: Federal control over Interstate Commerce
Gibbons v. Ogden
Chief Justice John Marshall
agreed with Marbury BUT he could not force the appointment because that would violate the Constitution.
NEW IDEA: No laws can violate the Constitution, and that it was the Supreme Court’s job to make sure that did not happen.
Court Ruling: JUDICIAL REVIEW
Issue: Judiciary Act enforcement
Marbury v. Madison
The Abington case began when Edward Schempp filed suit against the Abington Township School District in the Federal District Court to prohibit the enforcement of a Pennsylvania state law that required his children to hear and sometimes read portions of the Bible as part of their public school education. That law required that "[a]t least ten verses from the Holy Bible [be] read, without comment, at the opening of each public school on each school day." Schempp specifically contended that the statute violated his and his family's rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Like four other states, Pennsylvania law included a statute compelling school districts to perform Bible readings in the mornings before class. Twenty-five states had laws allowing "optional" Bible reading, with the remainder having no laws supporting or rejecting Bible reading.
The Court sided with Schempp
Court Ruling: DAILY BIBLE READINGS VIOLATED THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE
No forced religion in schools
1st Amendment (Establishment Clause)
Issue: Religion in schools
Abington Schools v. Schempp
The case began when the police in Cleveland, Ohio, were looking for a fugitive suspected in a bombing case. They got a tip that he was hiding in Dollree Mapp’s house. She refused to let them in.
After surrounding the house, they broke down a door and began a search. They had a piece of paper they claimed was a search warrant, but they did not let her read it and did not produce it later. They did not find the fugitive, but in a trunk in the basement they found obscene material and jailed Mapp for that. She was convicted. She lost her appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court, though the court concluded that the search was “unlawful.” She then appealed to the Supreme Court.
The Court ruled in favor of Mapp
Court Ruling: SEARCHES DONE ILLEGALLY ARE EXCLUDED FROM EVIDENCE
Issue: Search Warrants
Mapp v. Ohio
Court Ruling: CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER DOCTRINE
Puts limits on free speech
Issue: 1st Amendment rights
Schenck v. US
1816: Congress set up the Bank of the United States. The states opposed it because their own state banks were losing business to it. Several states placed heavy taxes on branches of the national bank. These national bank branches refused to pay those taxes.
Court Ruling: IMPLIED POWERS AND NATIONAL SUPREMACY do exist and the states must follow national rules
Issue: Implied Powers of National Government and Supremacy Clause
McCulloch v. Maryland
African Americans could not sue in court because they were not citizens of the U.S.
Congress did not have the power to make any laws that banned people from owning slaves in any state. (Congress had no right to ban slavery anywhere in the United States.)
Court Ruling: BLACKS ARE NOT CITIZENS, MISSOURI COMPROMISE DECLARED UNCONSTITUTIONAL
States cannot ban slavery
Issue: Federal attempts to control slavery
Scott v. Sanford
1800: Thomas Jefferson wins Presidency
John Adams (current President) lost
Adams appointed 42 supporters as justices of the peace for DC -- justices needed a signed commission & not all were delivered
James Madison (secretary of State) ordered NOT to deliver them
William Marbury did not receive his commission.
Marbury asked the Supreme Court to force Madison to deliver the commission.
In Maryland, the branch of the national bank refused to pay Maryland state taxes.
Maryland state government sued the bank’s cashier, James McCulloch.
1819: The case reached the Supreme Court.
Every Justice on the Supreme Court agreed that the Constitution did allow Congress to establish a National Bank. They also agreed that it did not allow Maryland (a state) to tax the bank.
So . . . Congress DID have implied powers, and as a FEDERAL institution, the states could not tax it, which gave supremacy to the NATIONAL government.
1824: New York Law -- No one could operate a steamboat on any of the state's waterways without first getting a state license.
Aaron Ogden -- Had a license
Sued to stop Gibbons from operating in New York waters
Thomas Gibbons -- Did not
BUT he had a federal "coasting" license
New York State Court: Agrees with Ogden
Gibbons appealed to Supreme Court
This established national supremacy for the federal government.
1833: John Emerson bought Dred Scott (slave)
Takes Scott to Wisconsin Territory (free)
Scott believed that since he lived on free soil for years, he should be free.
1852: State Supreme Court ruled against Scott (after 6 years)
1856: Appealed to Supreme Court
1890: New Louisiana Law -- ALL railway companies should provide "separate but equal" accommodations for white & black passengers.
During World War I, Schenck mailed circulars to draftees. The circulars suggested that the draft was a monstrous wrong motivated by the capitalist system.
Circulars urged "Do not submit to intimidation" but advised only peaceful action such as petitioning to repeal the Conscription Act.
Schenck was charged with conspiracy to violate the Espionage Act by attempting to cause insubordination in the military and to obstruct recruitment.
In most states, the state legislatures were based like Congress -- House was based on population and the Senate based on being equal per county. People in the most populated areas felt this system to be unfair because a rural county got as many votes as a county with a major city in the state senate.
They sued saying that this gave some citizens more voting power than others.
Court Ruling: FORCED BUSING OF STUDENTS TO DESEGREGATE SCHOOLS HELD AS CONSTITUTIONAL
Issue: Forced Busing of Students
Swann v. Charlotte Mecklenburg
Court Ruling: MANDATORY DAILY MOMENT OF SILENCE HELD AS UNCONSTITUTIONAL
No forced religion in schools
1st Amendment, Establishment Clause
Issue: Religion in schools
Wallace v. Jaffree
Court Ruling: EVEN PRESIDENTS CANNOT WITHHOLD EVIDENCE OF A CRIME AS EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE
Issue: Powers of the President and Executive Privilege
US v. Nixon
Court Ruling: FLAG BURNING HELD AS A FORM OF CONSTITUTIONAL FREE SPEECH
Freedom of Expression
Issue: Free Speech and Flag Burning
Texas v. Johnson
Court Ruling: RIGHT OF SCHOOLS TO LIMIT FREE SPEECH WITHIN A SCHOOL PAPER
1st Amendment Freedom of the Press does not extend to schools
Issue: Free Speech of Students
Hazelwood Schools v. Kuhlmeier
Court Ruling: RIGHT OF SCHOOLS TO SEARCH STUDENTS WITHOUT WARRANTS
4th Amendment limited
Issue: Students and Searches
New Jersey v. TLO
Court Ruling: DEATH PENALTY DECLARED UNCONSTITUTIONAL BASED UPON DISCRIMINATORY APPLICATION
Issue: Legality of the Death Penalty
Furman v. Georgia
Court Ruling: RIGHT TO A LIMITED ABORTION PERIOD
Legalized abortion within the first trimester
9th Amendment, right to privacy
Issue: Right to have an abortion
Roe v. Wade
Court Ruling: STUDENTS DO HAVE LIMITED FREE SPEECH AT SCHOOL
1st Amendment, Freedom of Expression
Issue: Students and Free Speech
Tinker v. Des Moines Schools
Court Ruling: JUVENILES HAVE THE SAME FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AS ADULTS
Must notify parents and keep names/details private
Issue: Rights of Juveniles
In re Gault
Court Ruling: SUSPECTS MUST BE READ THEIR RIGHTS UPON ARREST
Issue: Rights of Suspected Criminals
Miranda v. Arizona
Court Ruling: USE OF RACIAL QUOTAS IS HELD TO BE UNCONSTITUTIONAL
Cannot set aside a number of spots for different races
Issue: Legality of Affirmative Action
California v. Bakke
Miranda was arrested for kidnapping a woman.
He was questioned for hours by the police and finally made a confession. He was convicted at a trial.
He appealed saying that he did not know that he did not have to incriminate himself, or that he could have gotten a lawyer right away. He said that this was unfair because he did not know the rights that he had.
Gerald Gault (15) was making prank phone calls. He was taken by police into custody and his parents were not notified.
His accuser never showed at his hearings. Judge sentenced him to a juvenile center until age 21.
Adult could have gotten no more than 60 days or $50. He had no right to an appeal as a juvenile.
U.S. was involved in Vietnam. The Tinkers were students at a Des Moines high school who didn't like the war.
They planned to wear black armbands as a form of protest. The school told them not to wear them or they would be suspended.
The Tinkers wore the armbands, were suspended, and sued saying that they were a part of the 1st Amendment.
The school said it was a disruption to the school environment and distracted from learning.
Many states had passed laws making abortion illegal.
Jane Roe (a fake name) sued saying that Texas had no right to tell her what to do with her body. That it was a matter of privacy (4th).
Is abortion an act of privacy and control over one's own body? Is a fetus a person? Or when does it become a person?
Furman was burglarizing a private home when a family member discovered him. He attempted to flee, and in doing so tripped and fell. The gun that he was carrying went off and killed a resident of the home.
He was convicted of murder and sentenced to death.
President Nixon always tape recorded things in his office. Congress found out about the tapes and asked for them.
Nixon refused saying those were a privilege of the President and contained things of National Security that he didn't have to give them. Congress took the case to the Supreme Court asking for the tapes.
Several states had passed moment of silence laws for students at school each day.
Jaffree sued saying this violated the 1st Amendment.
An Alabama law authorized teachers to conduct regular religious prayer services and activities in school classrooms during the school day. Three of Jaffree's children attended public schools in Mobile.
High school student was caught smoking at school. Asst. Principal searched her purse and found drugs.
Police were called and she was arrested. She sued saying that the search was illegal, and there was no search warrant.
Allan Bakke, a thirty-five-year-old white man, had twice applied for admission to the University of California Medical School at Davis. He was rejected both times. The school reserved sixteen places in each entering class of one hundred for "qualified" minorities, as part of the university's affirmative action program, in an effort to redress longstanding, unfair minority exclusions from the medical profession.
Bakke's qualifications exceeded those of any of the minority students admitted in the two years Bakke's applications were rejected. Bakke contended, first in the California courts, then in the Supreme Court, that he was excluded from admission solely on the basis of race.
Principal ordered parts of the student newspaper not to be printed.
Editors sued saying it was a school assignment and it was free speech. Can school regulate content?
States passed laws making it illegal to burn the U.S. flag in protest.
Violation of 1st Amendment?
After the Supreme Court's decision in 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education, little progress had been made in desegregating public schools. One example was the Charlotte-Mecklenburg, North Carolina, system in which approximately 14,000 black students attended schools that were either totally black or more than 99 percent black. Lower courts had experimented with a number of possible solutions when the case reached the Supreme Court.