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Chapters 11 & 12

8th hour

Madison Cardenas

on 16 April 2014

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Transcript of Chapters 11 & 12

Chapters 11 & 12

11: 1 Powers of Federal Courts
Since the Supreme Court was created by the Constitution, it has become the most powerful court in the world. During the courts history, certain principles have been developed.
In response to to litigation, the court did not hesitate to give an opinion that greatly increased its own power.
John Marshall was a judge that made several key decisions that greatly impacted the Supreme Courts power in decision making.
After the civil war, the Supreme Court issued several rulings on the 13th, 14th, and the 15th amendments. The reconstruction was intended on helping the newly free African Americans. The due process clause was added which means that no state may deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without the due process of law.
11:2 Lower Federal Courts
Courts established by Congress under the provisions of Article III of the Constitution are constitutional courts. This includes the federal district courts, the federal courts of appeals and the United States Court of International Trade.. Congress created district courts in 1789 as trial courts. District courts have 2 types on juries; grand which has 16-23 people and they hear the original charges against the criminal, and the petit jury which has 6-12 people and is used as a trial jury.
Federal Court of Appeals is the court a person would attend if they lost in court and want to be tried again.
The Court of International Trade is the court that deals with cases that have jurisdiction over tariffs.
Congress has also created a series of courts known as legislative courts, there job is to help Congress exercise its power. The U.S. Claims Court, U.S. Tax Court, The Courts of Military Appeals, Territorial Courts, and Courts of the District of Columbia are all known as legislative courts.
11:2 Lower Federal Courts
In order for a judge to become a federal judge, several steps have to take place, the president, with consent of the senate, appoints all judges. The Constitution does not state any special qualifications for federal judges, but the profession does require a position on the federal bench as highly desirable post.
The president sometimes favors people in their same political party, but that is not always the case, sometime they appoint a person in the opposite party even though that doesn't happen very often.
Presidents often try to appoint judges who share their own point of view. They follow this practice because they want to have their own points of view put into effect in the courts.
All candidates also have to go through senatorial courtesy. In other words, all candidates have to get full Senate approval before being officially appointed to a federal judge.
11: 3 The Supreme Court
The Supreme Court stands at the top of the U.S. legal system. It is the court of last resort in all questions of federal law.
In the Supreme Court, both original and appellate jurisdiction come into play. Many original jurisdiction cases involved two states or a state and the federal government. The Supreme Court's original jurisdiction cases form a very small part of its yearly work load-- an average of fewer than five such cases a year.
Under the court's appellate jurisdiction, the court hears cases that are appealed from lower court appeals. The court may also hear cases that are appealed at a higher state court.
11:3 The Supreme Court
The Supreme Court is composed of 9 justices: the chief justice of the United States and 8 associate justices. Congress sets this number and has the power to change it.
In a recent year, the eight justices received salaries of $164,100 and the chief justice received a salary of $171,500. Congress sets their salaries and cannot lower them.
The Constitution does not describe the duties of the justices. Instead, the duties have developed from laws, through tradition, and as the needs of the circumstances of the nation have developed.
In 1882, the first law clerk was hired. A law clerks job is to assist the justices with many tasks and make their jobs easier. Each justice appoints a few law clerks from among the top graduate of the nations best law schools, a law clerk only works for one to two years
11:3 The Supreme Court
Justices reach the Court through appointment by the president with Senate approval.
As is the case with lower court judges, political consideration often affects a president's choice of a nominee to the Court. Often presidents choose someone in the same political party as them usually as a reward for faithful service to the party. Another reason for a president to choose someone from the same political party is so their political beliefs may be carried out in the court.
In identifying and selecting candidates for nomination, the president receives help from the attorney general and other Justice Department officials. Along with a few organizations that specialize in appointing justices, the president is not alone in this huge desicion.
11:1 Powers of the Federal Courts
In the United States, the judicial branch consists of federal and state courts. The federal court system gets their power from the Constitution and federal laws.
Federal courts hear cases that involve:
Ambassadors and other representatives of foreign governments
two or more state governments
the United States government or one of it's offices or agencies
citizens of different states
a state and a citizen of a different state
citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states
a state or it's citizens and a foreign country and its citizen

11:1 Powers of the Federal Courts
Jurisdiction is the authority to hear certain cases, and the federal court uses jurisdiction over cases involving federal laws. Sometimes the state and federal court jurisdiction overlap. In the United States, jurisdiction is used in cases that involve U.S. laws, treaties with foreign nations, or interpretations of the Constitution.
Concurrent Jurisdiction is a situation where both state and federal laws have jurisdiction. For Example, if 2 people from different states are in a dispute of at least $50,000, the case could be tried in either state or federal court.
Original Jurisdiction is jurisdiction tried in a trial court.
If a person loses in a trial court, then they can take their case to court again, and that is where appellate jurisdiction is used.
Inside the Supreme Court
12:1 The Supreme Court at Work
The Supreme Court meets for about nine months each year
Each term begins the first Monday in October and runs as long as the business before the Court requires, usually until the end of June
During the term the Court sits for two consecutive weeks each month
After a two-week sitting, the Court recesses and the justices work privately on paperwork
They also work on opinions--written statements on cases they have already decided
Nearly 8,000 cases were appealed to the Supreme Court in a recent year
The main route to the Supreme Court is by a writ of certiorari--an order from the Court to a lower court to send up the records on a case for review
Whether or not the petition involves the constitutionality of a law, the Court is free to choose which cases it will consider
More than 90 percent of the requests for certiorari are rejected
Most of the cases that reach the Court on appeal are cases in which a lower federal court or the highest state court has ruled a law unconstitutional
Almost two-thirds of all petitions for certiorari never make the discuss list
The Supreme Court follows a set procedure in hearing important cases
After the Court accepts a case, the lawers on each side submit a brief.
A brief is a written statement setting forth the legal arguments, relevant facts, and precedents supporting on side of a case
Parties not directly involved in the case, but who have an interest in its outcome, may also submit written briefs.
Amicus curiae--or "friend of the court"--briefs are a subtle way of lobbying, or trying to influence, the Court
After briefs are filed, a lawyer for each side is asked to present an oral argument before the Court
on Fridays the justices meet in conference to discuss the cases they have heard
12:2 Shaping Public Policy
The Supreme Court is both a political and a legal institution
Congress makes policy by passing laws and the president shapes policy by carrying out laws and by drawing the national budget
As Supreme Court decides cases, it determines policy in three ways...
1) Using judicial review
2) Interpreting the meaning of laws
3) Overruling or reversing its previous decisions
The Supreme Court's power to examine the laws and actions of local, state, and national governments and to cancel them if they violate the Constitution is called judicial review
One of the basic principles of law in making judicial decisions is stare decisis--a Latin term that means "let the decision stand"
12:2 Shaping Public Policy
The Court does not give equal attention to all areas of national policy
Civil liberties cases, which tend to involve constitutional questions, comprise the largest block of the Court's cases
The Supreme Court has developed many rules and customs over the years
1) The Court will consider only cases where its decision will make a difference
2) The plaintiff--the person or group bringing the case--must have suffered real harm
3) The Court accepts only cases that invilve a substantial federal question
4) The court has traditionally refused to deal with political questions
12:3 Influencing Court Decisions
Five forces shape the decisions the Court makes
1) Existing laws
2) Personal views of the justices
3) The justices' interactions with one another
4) Social forces and public attitudes
5) Congress and the president
Law is the foundation for deciding cases that come before the Supreme Court
In interpreting the law, justices mist relate their interpretations logically to the Constitution itself, to statues that are relevant to the case, and to legal precedents
12:3 Influencing Court Decisions
Supreme Court justices are people with active interests in important issues
When justices retire and new appointees take their places, the size and power of each bloc--coalitions of justices--may change
If the Court id badly split over and issue, a justice whose views are not consistent with either bloc may represent a swing vote, or the deciding vote
Today the justices work almost the entire year and live with their families in or near Washington, D.C
The Court relies on the cooperation and goodwill of others to enforce its decisions
The values and beliefs or society influence Supreme Court justices
12:3 Influencing Court Decisions
The judicial branch, like the other two branches of government, operates within the system of separation of powers and checks and balances.
A president's most important influence over the Court is the power to appoint justices, with Senate consent. Every full-term president except Jimmy Carter has made at least one Court appointment. They may also exercise influence with the Court in less formal ways such as, enforcing court decisions.
The system of checks and balances can also be used to try to shape the Court's decisions. For example, after the Court has rejected a law, Congress may reenact it in a different form, in hope that the justices will change their minds. Congress also may purpose a constitutional amendment to overturn a Court ruling, this strategy has been used successfully in many different cases.
The Senate also has ways of exercising its power in Court. When the president sends in the name of an appointee, the Senate has the power to either approve or disapprove depending on how they feel about that person.
The Federal Court System
Supreme Court Decision Making
12:1 The Supreme Court at Work
12:1 The Supreme Court at Work
Madison Cardenas
Kamaya Johnson-Trice
Full transcript