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Judicial Decision Making PSCI 2481. Determinants of Judicial Decision Making I I.Law (Substantive) II.Law (Procedural) III.Facts IV.Personality V.Attitudes.

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Presentation on theme: "Judicial Decision Making PSCI 2481. Determinants of Judicial Decision Making I I.Law (Substantive) II.Law (Procedural) III.Facts IV.Personality V.Attitudes."— Presentation transcript:

1 Judicial Decision Making PSCI 2481

2 Determinants of Judicial Decision Making I I.Law (Substantive) II.Law (Procedural) III.Facts IV.Personality V.Attitudes VI.Policy Goals

3 A Forgery Case: What Punishment Should Be Assigned? The Convicted Defendant: 28 Year old Mexican American $145 bad check Working class Family Father died at age 6 Prior record (Auto theft as juvenile, DWI, Burglary) 9th Grade Education Spotty work record Married with baby, drinking problem, large bills

4 The Judges Respond Time served plus probation 3% Jail with no Probation 7% Jail and Probation65% Prison25%

5 Determinants of Judicial Decision Making II VII.Social Background –Family –Education –Experience –Religion –Age –Gender –Race –Income

6 Walker v. Birmingham The Setting: 1963 Birmingham, Alabama Still a segregated community (Schools/Motels/Restaurants, etc.) The Key Players: Southern Christian Leadership Conference Rev. Martin Luther King Rev. Wyatt Walker, Rev. Ralph Abernathy Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth Birmingham City Public Safety Commissioner Bull Conner

7 Walker v. Birmingham April 3 rd - Lola Hendricks & Ambrose Hill apply for a parade permit. April 5 th - Rev. Shuttlesworth requests a permit on behalf of the ACMHR The parade requests are denied. April 7 th - Palm Sunday demonstrations occur. (as do others throughout the week – as the photos show).

8 Walker v. Birmingham April 10, 1963 – Injunction Hearing (Judge William Jenkins) –TRO is issued ex parte at the request of the city of Birmingham ordering that parades may not be held on Good Friday (4/12) and Easter Sunday (4/14). Parades/Marches happen: –Good Friday – led by Rev. Martin Luther King and Rev. Ralph Abernathy –Easter Sunday – led by Rev. Wyatt Walker and Rev. Daniel King Arrests all around!

9 (Why is this an important incident?) Martin Luther King pens his famous Letter from the Birmingham Jail during the following week. He is responding to his critics who wonder if he, the SCLC and the ACMHR have adopted the right strategy for winning civil rights for blacks in the South. (If youve never read this letter, you should do so.)

10 Walker v. Birmingham The Trial - April 22, 1963 (Judge William Jenkins!!!) Legal Issues Raised by Defendants: 1.Injunction (issued ex parte) was invalid. 2.Case should be in Federal Court on 1st Amendment grounds. 3.Demonstrations were walks not parades. 4.Conduct was protected by 1st & 14th Amendments. 5.City parade ordinance was administered in an arbitrary and capacious manner.

11 Walker v. Birmingham The Trial Court Decision (Announced April 26, 1963) The demonstrators lost. Ordinance was not invalid on its face, was not administered a&c, and the temporary injunction was a valid exercise of the courts authority. Penalty: $50 & 5 days in jail

12 Walker v. Birmingham State Supreme Court Cert granted May 15, 1963 Appeal filed August 22, 1963 Decision announced December 9, 1965 (279 Ala. 53; 181 So. 2d 493) (Justice Coleman was known to have pen paralysis aka writers block, esp. when it came to civil rights issues.) The conviction of the civil rights demonstrators was affirmed.

13 Walker v. Birmingham US Supreme Court Cert granted, October 10, 1966 Oral Arguments, March 13, 1967 Decision Announced, June 12, US 307 (1967)

14 Walker v. Birmingham The civil rights demonstrators lost again! (5-4) MajorityMinority BlackWarren StewartDouglas ClarkBrennan HarlanFortas White

15 Why? (There is a point to this story)

16 Judicial Backgrounds Chief Justice Earl Warren (Appointed 1953/DDE) University of California, Berkeley (Boalt Hall) Republican (w/ a Democratic ideology?) California Attorney General ( ) –Freed fathers murderer California Governor ( ), VP Nominee (1948) –Supported internment of Japanese during WWII IN THE MINORITY in Walker v. Birmingham

17 Judicial Backgrounds Justice Hugo L. Black (Appointed 1937/FDR) Democrat/Southerner (Alabama) University of Alabama Law School Judge of the Birmingham Police Court Senator from Alabama KKK Member/American Legion Opposed federal anti-lynching laws IN THE MAJORITY in Walker v. Birmingham

18 Judicial Backgrounds Justice William O. Douglas (Appointed 1939/FDR) Wall Street Lawyer Columbia Law School Yale Professor New Deal Supporter (SEC) Law should be an instrument of social change (a liberal) IN THE MINORITY in Walker v. Birmingham

19 Congratulations!!! CU Womens Soccer gains berth in Big 12 tournament with 1-0 win over Okie State

20 Judicial Backgrounds Justice Tom C. Clark (Appointed 1949/HHT) Democrat/WASP University of Texas Law School US Attorney General Enlarged Civil Rights Division but supported Japanese-American relocation during WWII. Criticized by NAACP. (Anyone remember what Truman said about him?) IN THE MAJORITY in Walker v. Birmingham

21 Judicial Backgrounds Justice John M. Harlan II (appointed 1952) Republican/WASP Economic Conservative New York University Midwesterner Grandson of Justice John Harlan IN THE MAJORITY in Walker v. Birmingham

22 Judicial Backgrounds Justice William J. Brennan, jr. (appointed 1956/DDE) Democrat/Catholic Harvard Law School Labor Law expert (on management side!) NJ Supreme Court (appted by Republican Governor) One of Eisenhowers 2 mistakes IN THE MINORITY in Walker v. Birmingham

23 Judicial Backgrounds Justice Potter Stewart (appointed 1959/DDE) Midwesterner Yale Law School Neither liberal nor conservative Satisfactory to Democrats in Eisenhower lame duck period Belief in narrow opinions IN THE MAJORITY in Walker v. Birmingham

24 Judicial Backgrounds Justice Byron Whizzer White (appointed 1962/JFK) Former CU and professional football player Yale Law School Deputy US Attorney General Prosecuted Freedom Rider case in Alabama (to protect civil rights demonstrators he used ex parte injunctions to stop state actions). IN THE MAJORITY in Walker v. Birmingham

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26 Judicial Backgrounds Justice Abe Fortas (appointed 1964/LBJ) Democrat/Jewish Yale Law School Former student of William O. Douglas Wall St. Attorney Close advisor to LBJ IN THE MINORITY in Walker v. Birmingham

27 Walker v. Birmingham To Repeat: MajorityMinority BlackWarren (D) Stewart (CO)Douglas (D) ClarkBrennan (D) HarlanFortas White

28 Social Backgrounds affect other areas of law.

29 Determinants of Judicial Decision Making III VIII.Interpersonal Factors a.Persuasion b.Friendship c.Leadership

30 Warren Burger & Harry Blackmun

31 Determinants of Judicial Decision Making IV IX.Institutional Defense e.g., The Watergate Tapes Case X.Pressure from Other Actors e.g., President & Congress

32 Determinants of Judicial Decision Making V XI.Public Opinion i.Reactions to Public Preferences ii.Public Preferences influence the Checks & Balancesamong the 3 branches of government: A Stitch in Time that Saved Nine

33 FDR & his 1937 attempt to pack the Court


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