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Chapter 14: The Judicial Branch.  Article III of the Constitution established the judicial branch of government with the creation of the Supreme Court.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 14: The Judicial Branch.  Article III of the Constitution established the judicial branch of government with the creation of the Supreme Court."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 14: The Judicial Branch

2  Article III of the Constitution established the judicial branch of government with the creation of the Supreme Court.  This court is the highest court in the country and vested with the judicial powers of the government.  There are lower Federal courts but they were not enumerated in the Constitution. Congress deemed them necessary and established them using power granted from the Constitution. Judicial Branch

3  Courts decide arguments about the meaning of laws, how they are applied, and whether they violate the Constitution (aka judicial review)  Judicial Review is this process that the judiciary uses to provide checks and balances on the legislative and executive branches. Judicial Review

4  Judicial review is not an enumerated power given to the courts but it is an implied power.  In Marbury v. Madison (1803), the courts' power of judicial review was clearly articulated. Judicial Review

5  The judicial branch hears cases that challenge or require interpretation of the legislation passed by Congress and signed by the President.  Consists of the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts.  Appointees to the federal bench serve for life or until they voluntarily resign or retire. Basic Characteristics

6  The Supreme Court is the most visible of all the federal courts.  The number of Justices is determined by Congress rather than the Constitution, and since 1869, the Court has been composed of one Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices. Justices are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Basics

7  John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice  John Paul Stevens  Antonin Scalia  Anthony Kennedy  David Souter  Clarence Thomas  Ruth Bader Ginsberg  Stephen Breyer  Samuel Alito Jr. Current Supreme Court

8  Primary function of courts in general and Supreme Court in particular  Mechanical jurisprudence—the view of judging Laws often ambiguous Interpreting the Law

9  Judges base decisions on precedents, laws  Explain interpretations by invoking generally accepted legal standards or yardsticks  Can sometimes explain decisions by the literal meaning of the words of text in question Legal Interpretation

10  May refer to intent of the framers  Previous court cases/precedents  May base decisions on social or political needs **All enhance the credibility of decisions Legal Interpretation

11  Dual Court System -There are 50 state court systems -One federal court system  Each state has a state supreme court, though some do not actually use the term "supreme court."state supreme court Structure & Jurisdiction

12  Lower courts include municipal courts, police courts, justices of the peace, and/or district magistrates.  The lowest courts in the state judicial hierarchy have limited jurisdiction in both civil & criminal cases. State Courts

13  Trial courts with general jurisdiction  Most cases of a relatively serious nature start here State Courts

14  Intermediate appellate courts  Trial court decisions can be appealed here State Courts

15  Sate Supreme Court or Court of Appeals --This court occupies the top position in the state judiciary State Courts

16  Three-level Pyramid Federal Courts

17 1.The United States district courts are at the bottom of the triangle. 2.The United States court of Appeals are the middle. 3.The United States Supreme Court is at the top Federal Courts

18 1.A case that is heard on original jurisdiction originates or starts in that court. It has not previously been heard in a lower court. 2.A case heard on appellate jurisdiction has already been heard elsewhere, and it is now being heard on appeal. Court Jurisdiction

19  Federal courts have jurisdiction over cases involving federal parties (example: ambassadors, leaders, etc) or federal questions (examples: federal laws or treaties, interpretation of constitutional law) Jurisdiction

20 1)Constitutional Courts—judges enjoy lifetime tenure; Article III 2)Legislative courts---Article I, Provide advisory opinions and perform other functions assigned to them by Congress US Constitution

21  Only court explicitly outlined in Constitution  Membership fixed by Congress  Since 1869 the Court has had 9 members, including a chief justice and eight associate justices  6 members are needed for quorum Supreme Court

22  President nominates  Lifetime appointment Supreme Court

23 1.Chooses cases—no independent data, relies on briefs 2.Oral arguments heard over seven 2-week sessions 3.Conference Days—Private meetings/deliberation Supreme Court Process

24 4)At meeting, they speak in descending order of seniority. 5)Take tentative vote in ascending order of seniority 6)Assign opinion writing—drafted and circulated to fellow justices for comment Supreme Court Process

25 1.Per Curiam: Unsigned decisions of the Court that states the facts of the case and the ruling 2.Majority Opinion: written opinion of the majority stating reasoning for the decision Supreme Court Opinions

26 3. Concurring Opinion: Can be authored by a justice who agrees with the outcome of a case but for different reasons; may go on record with own opinion; can influence future opinions; can lessen impact of majority opinion Supreme Court Opinions

27 4.Dissenting Opinion: minority opinions; written by justices who dissent; may influence future decisions; can undermine majority opinion 5.Plurality opinion: in the absence of a majority opinion presents the reasoning of most of the justices who side with the winning party Supreme Court Opinions

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