2The Court YesterdayThe Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States as of Top row (left to right): Stephen G. Breyer, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Samuel A. Alito. Bottom row (left to right): Anthony M. Kennedy, John Paul Stevens, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Antonin G. Scalia, and David H. Souter.
3The Court TodayFront row (L-R): Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Associate Justice Elena Kagan, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, and Associate Justice Clarence Thomas. Back Row (L-R), Associate Justice Samuel Alito Jr., Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, and Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
4The Constitution and the Creation of the Federal Judiciary Framers devoted little time to the creation of the judiciary.Believed it posed little of the threat of tyranny they feared from the other two branches.Anti-federalists did see the judiciary as a threat.Framers left it to Congress to design the federal judiciary.
5Article III Did not settle the question of judicial review Not explicitly stated in the ConstitutionAllows the judiciary to review the constitutionality of acts of the other branches of government and the statesJudicial review settled with Marbury v. Madison (1803) for national government’s acts and Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee (1816) regarding state law
6The Judicial Power of the United States Supreme Court The following are the types of cases the Supreme Court was given the jurisdiction to hear as initially specified in the Constitution:All cases arising under the Constitution and laws or treaties of the United StatesAll cases of admiralty or maritime jurisdictionCases in which the United States is a partyControversies between a state and citizens of another stateControversies between two or more statesControversies between citizens of different statesControversies between citizens of the same states claiming lands under grants in different statesControversies between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states or citizens thereofAll cases affecting ambassadors or other public ministers
7Article IIISection I gave Congress the authority to establish other courts as it saw fit.Section II specifies the judicial power of the Supreme Court and discusses the Court’s original and appellate jurisdiction.Also specifies that all federal crimes, except those involving impeachment, shall be tried by jury in the state in which the crime was committed.Section III defines treason, and mandates that at least two witnesses appear in such cases.
8Article IIIFramers gave federal judges tenure for life “with good behavior.”Did not want judges to be subject to the whims of politics, the public, or politiciansHamilton argued in Federalist 78 that the “independence of judges” was needed “to guard the Constitution and the rights of individuals.”Some checks on judiciary included:Congress has the authority to alter the Court’s jurisdiction.Congress can propose constitutional amendments that, if ratified, can effectively reverse judicial decisions.Congress can impeach and remove federal judges.President (with advise and consent of Senate) appoints federal judges.
9The Judiciary Act of 1789 and the Creation of the Federal Judicial System Established the basic three-tiered structure of the federal court systemDistrict courts: at least one in each state, each staffed by a federal judge.Circuit Court: avenue for appeal.Each circuit court initially composed of one district court judge and two itinerant Supreme Court Justices who met as a circuit court twice a yearSupreme Court size set in the Act – chief justice and five associatesNumber of justices set to 9 in 1869.
11The Early CourtFirst decade, Court not co-equal but it did assert itself.Declined to give President Washington advice on the legality of some of his actionsAttempted to establish the Court as an independent, nonpolitical branchTried to advance principles of nationalism and to maintain the national government’s supremacy over the statesBegan to pave the way for announcement of the doctrine of judicial review
12The Marshall Court: Marbury v. Madison (1803) and Judicial Review Supreme Court first asserted the power of judicial review (define) in finding that the congressional statute extending the Court’s original jurisdiction was unconstitutional.Marshall claimed this sweeping authority for the Court by asserting that the right of judicial review was a power that could be implied from the Constitution’s supremacy clause (define).The immediate effect was to deny power to the Court. The long term effect was to establish the power of judicial review.
13The American Legal System Trial courtsCourts of original jurisdiction where a case beginsAppellate courtsCourts that generally review only findings of law made by lower courtsJurisdictionAuthority vested in a particular court to hear and decide the issues in any particular caseOriginal jurisdiction: The jurisdiction of courts that hears a case first, usually in a trial. Courts determine the facts of a case under their original jurisdiction.Appellate jurisdiction: The power vested in an appellate court to review and/or revise the decision of a lower court.
14The American Legal System Criminal lawCodes of behavior related to the protection of property and individual safetyCivil lawCodes of behavior related to business and contractual relationships between groups and individuals
15The Nature of the Judicial System Participants in the Judicial SystemLitigantsPlaintiff - the party bringing the chargeDefendant - the party being chargedJury - the people (normally 12) who often decide the outcome of a caseStanding to sue - plaintiffs have a serious interest in the case.Justiciable disputes – A case must be capable of being settled as a matter of law.Plea Bargains – most common result
16The Structure of the Federal Judicial System Figure 16.1
17The Federal Court System Constitutional courtsFederal courts specifically created by the U.S. Constitution or Congress pursuant to its authority in Article IIILegislative courtsCourts established by Congress for specialized purposes, such as the Court of Military Appeals
18The Federal Court System District Courts94 federal district courts staffed by 646 active judges, assisted by more than 300 retired judgesNo district courts cross state lines.Every state has at least one federal district court.The most populous states have four (CA, TX, and NY). Georgia has three.
19Original Jurisdiction of Federal District Courts Involve the federal government as a partyPresent a federal question based on a claim under the U.S. Constitution, a treaty with another nation, or a federal statuteInvolve civil suits in which citizens are from different states, and the amount of money at issue is more than $75,000
20District Courts Each federal judicial district has a U.S. attorney. This individual is nominated by the president and confirmed by the senate.The attorney is that district’s chief law enforcement officer.They have a considerable amount of discretion as to whether they pursue criminal or civil investigations or file charges against individuals or corporations.
21The Federal Courts of Appeals The losing party in a case heard and decided in a federal district court can appeal the decision to the appropriate court of appeals.11 numbered circuit courtsTwelfth, D.C. Court of AppealsHandles most appeals involving federal regulatory commissions and agenciesThirteenth, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal CircuitDeals with patents and contract and financial claims against the federal governmentHave no original jurisdictionTry to correct errors of law and procedure that have occurred in the lower courts or administrative agenciesHear no new testimony.
22The Structure of the Federal Judicial System The Federal Judicial Circuits (Figure 16.2)
23The Structure of the Federal Judicial System The Supreme Court9 justices – 1 Chief Justice, 8 Associate JusticesSupreme Court decides which cases it will hearSome original jurisdiction, but mostly appellate jurisdiction.Most cases come from the federal courtsMost cases are civil cases
24The Supreme CourtDecisions of the court of appeals are binding on only the district courts within the geographic confines of the circuit.Decisions of the Supreme Court are binding throughout the nation and establish national precedents.Reliance on past decisions or precedents to formulate decisions in new cases is called “stare decisis.”Allows for continuity and predictability
25How Federal Court Judges Are Selected Often a very political processJudges nominated by president and confirmed by SenateCan reflect the ideological stamp of the president – WHY?Senatorial CourtesyA process by which presidents, when selecting district court judges, defer to the senator in whose state the vacancy occurs.
26Who Are Federal Judges?Typically they have held other political offices.State court judge or prosecutorMost have been involved in politicsWhite males tend to dominate
27Appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court Nomination CriteriaCompetenceIdeology or Policy PreferenceStrict constructionist: an approach to constitutional interpretation that emphasizes the Framer’s original intentions.Who is/ are the strict constructionists on the Court today?Pursuit of Political Support from Various GroupsLitmus Test
28The Supreme Court Confirmation Process InvestigationLobbying by Interest GroupsSenate Committee HearingsSenate Vote
29The Politics of Judicial Selection The Supreme CourtPresident relies on attorney general and DOJ to screen candidates.1 out of 5 nominees will not make it.Presidents with minority party support in the Senate will have more trouble.Chief Justice can be chosen from a sitting justice, or a new member.
30The Backgrounds of Judges and Justices Characteristics:Generally white malesLawyers with judicial and often political experienceOther Factors:Generally of the same party as the appointing presidentLitmus Test – What is it today?Judges and justices may disappoint the appointing president
31The Supreme Court Today: Deciding to Hear a Case 9,000 cases were filed at the Supreme Court in its term.Not always the norm1940s fewer than 1000 cases filed annuallyDuring the term, 90 cases were argued and 73 signed petitions were issued.Modern period, many of the cases have involved Bill of Rights issues
32How Does a Case Survive the Process? Characteristics of the cases the Court accepts:The federal government is the party asking for review.Solicitor General – What does he do?The case involves conflict among circuit courts.The case presents a civil rights or civil liberties question.The case involves ideological and/or policy preferences of the justices.The case has significant social or political interest, as evidenced by the presence of interest group amicus curiae briefs.
33Supreme Court Today Court has two types of jurisdiction Rule of Four OriginalAppellateRule of FourCourt controls its caseload through the certiorari process.All petitions for certiorari must meet two criteria:The case must come either from a U.S. court of appeals, a special three-judge district court, or a state court of last resort.Case must involve a federal question. This means that the case must present questions of interpretation of federal constitutional law or involve a federal statute, action or treaty.Cert poolDiscuss listCert granted when at least four justices vote to hear a case
34Hearing and Deciding a Case Oral argumentsThe conference and the voteThe opinion
35The Courts as Policymakers Accepting CasesUse the “rule of four” to choose cases. What is the rule of four?Issues a writ of certiorari to call up the case.Very few cases are actually accepted each year.Figure 16.4
36The Courts as Policymakers Making DecisionsOral arguments may be made in a case.Justices discuss the case.One justice will write the majority opinion (statement of legal reasoning behind a judicial decision) on the case.Figure 16.5
37The Courts as Policymakers Making Decisions, continuedDissenting opinions are written by justices who oppose the majority.Concurring opinions are written in support of the majority but stress a different legal basis.Stare decisis: to let the previous decision stand unchanged.Precedents: How similar past cases were decided.Original Intent: The idea that the Constitution should be viewed according to the original intent of the framers.
38The Courts as Policymakers Implementing Court DecisionsMust rely on others to carry out decisionsInterpreting population: understand the decisionImplementing population: the people who need to carry out the decision – may be disagreementConsumer population: the people who are affected (or could be) by the decision
39The Courts and the Policy Agenda A Historical ReviewJohn Marshall ( ) and the Growth of Judicial ReviewMarbury v. MadisonJudicial review: courts determine constitutionality of acts of CongressThe “Nine Old Men” – switch in time and the New DealThe Warren Court – Liberal Activist –The Burger Court –The Rehnquist Court –The Roberts Court??? – 2005-
41Judicial Policy Making and Implementation More than one hundred federal laws have been declared unconstitutional.Ability to overrule itselfJudicial Implementation:Refers to how and whether judicial decisions are translated into actual public policies affecting more than the immediate parties to a lawsuit.
42Understanding the Courts The Courts and DemocracyCourts are not very democraticNot electedDifficult to removeThe courts do reflect popular majoritiesGroups are likely to use the courts when other methods fail – promoting pluralismThere are still conflicting rulings leading to deadlock and inconsistencyPublic opinion and the Supreme Court
43Understanding the Courts What Courts Should Do: The Scope of Judicial PowerJudicial restraint: judges should play a minimal policymaking role - leave the policies to the legislative branch. Which party supports this? WHY?Judicial activism: judges should make bold policy decisions and even charting new constitutional ground. Which party/group supports this? WHY?Political questions: means of the federal courts to avoid deciding some cases.Statutory construction: the judicial interpretation of an act of Congress.
44Judicial Philosophy and Decision Making Judicial restraint:A philosophy of judicial decision making that argues courts should allow the decisions of other branches of government to stand, even when they offend a judge’s own sense of principles.Judicial activism:A philosophy of judicial decision making that argues judges should use their power broadly to further justice, especially in the areas of equality and personal liberty.
45SELECTIVE INCORPORATION * Barron v. Baltimore 1833* 14th Amendment* This is the process of the Supreme Court adhering the Bill of Rights to the states through the 14th Amendment ( Due Process, equal protection)