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Old Chapter 16: The Judiciary

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Laura Wilson

on 5 January 2018

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Transcript of Old Chapter 16: The Judiciary

Chapter 16:
The Judiciary

Then and Now:
the Supreme Court
perceived importance of the courts

Judicial Review
: the power of courts to declare laws unconstitutional
serves as a "check"
But how should judges
come to their decisions?
Judicial Review
: decisions strictly based on the language in the laws and Constitution
: decisions based on the general principles underlying laws or the Constitution and applied to modern circumstances
restraint/activism = conservative/liberal
The Development
of the Federal Courts
The founders did not expect courts to make policy...
...instead, they believed the courts would be and .
national law - dominant
National Supremacy
and Slavery
power of federal gov't to regulate commerce among states was established
Dred Scott (1857)
Chief Justice Jay Marshall
Government and
the Economy
decisions about economic regulations
protection of private property...
Government and Political Liberty
focus on personal political liberties
& "the switch in time that saved nine"
Chief Justice Earl Warren
The Revival of State Sovereignty
since 1992, more power state resistance
National Federation of Independent Business v. Seblius (2012)
The Structure of
the Federal Courts
The Supreme Court
District Courts
Court of Appeals
Constitutional Courts
Legislative Courts
the lowest of the federal courts, federal trials can be held ONLY here
federal appellate courts or circuit courts (13)
Selecting Judges
party identification CAN influence personal ideology
federal judges also tend
to be...
promoted from lower-ranking judgeship
Senatorial Courtesy & Litmus Test
an examination of the political ideology of the judge
important BUT difficult to determine
Rejecting SC nominees by:
poor record as lower-court judge
The Jurisdiction of Federal Courts
The Supreme Court
State Supreme Courts
US Courts of Appeals
US District Courts
US Regulatory Commissions
Claims Court
Tax Court
Court of International Trade
Court of Military Appeals
The Jurisdiction of Federal Courts
each level of gov't has the right to enact laws serving its own purposes
dual court system
writ of certiorari
: the Supreme Court order that directs a case to be sent up for review from a lower court
when 1) federal circuit courts of appeals decide the same issue in different ways
Getting to Court
very costly
: a legal rule stating who is authorized to start a lawsuit
So who has
To have

in the court
1. an
controversy must exist
2. you must show you have been harmed
* simply being a "taxpayer" is not sufficient
The Supreme Court in Action
SC meets October - June
: written statement that summarizes a case & the laws/rulings that support it
amicus curiae
brief submitted
Supreme Court decides whether to hear the case
Justices discuss the case in order of seniority
Justices vote in reverse order of seniority
Opinions of the Court
: a signed opinion of a majority of the SC
: a signed opinion in which members agree with the majority but for different reasons
: a signed opinion in which one or more justices disagree with a majority view
of SC decisions are unanimous
Sonia Sotomayor
Ruth Bader Ginsberg
Elena Kagan
Stephen Brayer
Clarence Thomas
Antonin Scalia
Samuel Alito
Anthony Kennedy
John Roberts (CJ)
The Power of the Court
The Power to Make Policy
The courts make policy when...
1) they reinterpret the law or the Constitution
2) they extend the reach of existing laws to cover new matters
3) they design remedies for problems in legislative ways
: a judicial order enforcing a right or redressing a wrong
Judicial Activism
argue that judges lack expertise outside law and and courts lack legislative authority
argue that the judicial system has an obligation to correct injustices, especially if other branches do not
Checks on Judicial Power
Congress and the Courts
Congress can:
alter the composition of the court by approving/declining nominees
decide the entire jurisdiction of the lower courts and the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court
Public Opinion and the Courts
Judges are sensitive to public opinion (especially elite opinion)
length of time served
political identity of justices
judicial review
judicial restraint
judicial activism
(state vs. federal)
but NOT "unreasonable" regulation
FDR's court packing
litmus test
Senate opposition to political philosophy
questionable moral/financial dealings
opinion of the court
concurring opinion
dissenting opinion
2) state SC or state law violates the Constitution
Of 7,000+ petitions...
...The SC accepts 100
time intensive
interest groups
Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (2014)
Citizens United v. FEC (2002)
Court Case
Obergefell v. Hodges (2015)
Full transcript