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Structure of the Federal Courts Supreme Choice

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Presentation on theme: "Structure of the Federal Courts Supreme Choice"— Presentation transcript:

1 Structure of the Federal Courts Supreme Choice
Process & Politics of Presidential Nominations to the Supreme Court Chapter 16, Themes B & C

2 State Route Federal Route

3 The Federal Courts Federal District Courts:
Have original jurisdiction in most federal criminal & civil cases. 94 districts, at least one per state. Nearest courthouse is Elizabeth City. Are “work horses of the federal system.” Most cases heard here. Only federal court where a jury trial is held. All others have bench trials.

4 The Federal Courts US Court of Appeals:
12 regular circuits, including 1 in D.C. Judges sit in panels of 3. Hear only appeals. NC in Circuit 4, centered in Richmond, VA. The 13th circuit or “Federal Circuit” was created in 1982 in Washington, DC to hear civil appeals from several courts & the Patent Office.

5 US Judicial Circuits

6 The Federal Courts Legislative Courts: Help Congress exercise its power: US Claims Ct.: Hear money suits vs. US (Civil Court) US Tax Ct.: Hear civil disputes with IRS (Civil Court) Ct. of Military Appeals: Also called GI’s Supreme Court (Criminal Appeals) Ct. of Veteran Appeals: Hear disputes over benefits with the Dept. of VA (Civil Court) Territorial Courts: Run like state courts. Territories are US Virgin Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, N. Marianas Islands. (Criminal, Civil, Territorial Constitutional) DC Courts: Run like municipal courts in most large cities. (Civil & Criminal Courts)

7 Appointments to the Federal Bench
Review process. What is senatorial courtesy & when is it used? Counter to Constitution? When is this practice irrelevant? Why is appointing a Justice so scrutinized today?

8 Political Cartoon A Title: The Supreme Court Location
Mike Keefe, The Denver Post, Oct. 6, 2004

9 Political Cartoon B Title: Qualifications

10 Political Cartoon C Title: Supreme Court - 31 Flavors
Robert Ariail, The State, Aug. 10, 2005

11 Political Cartoon D Title: The Confirmation Process

12 Political Cartoon E Title: Go My Pretties!
Henry Payne, The Detroit News, Aug. 11, 2005

13 Political Cartoon F Title: Supreme Court Exam
Jimmy Margulies, New Jersey -- The Record, Aug. 11, 2005

14 Factors That Influence Supreme Court Nominations

15 Factors That Influence Supreme Court Nominations
Party affiliation (80% or higher) Judicial Philosophy “Litmus Test” - where nominees stand on controversial issues like abortion Background of nominee (education, experience, race, gender, ethnicity, etc.) Cultivating political support Political favors Interest group input American Bar Association certification Securing a “safe” nominee

16 The U.S. Constitution and the Appointment of Supreme Court Justices
Article II, Section 2 describes the appointment powers of the President: “He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate …to… nominate Judges of the Supreme Court….”

17 The U.S. Constitution and the Supreme Court
Article III describes the judicial power of the Supreme Court: “The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress May …establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior…”

18 U.S. Supreme Court Confirmation Process
Stage 1: Presidential Nomination WHITE HOUSE REVIEW FBI Investigation Certification Stage 2: Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing INTEREST GROUP Influence MEDIA Influence Stage 3: Full Senate Vote Stage 4: Oath of Office?

19 U.S. Supreme Court Confirmation Process
White House staff reviews candidates and submits a short list to president FBI background investigation Candidates submit financial disclosure forms ABA grades candidates Interest groups weigh in on candidates President selects nominee Stage 1 Presidential Nomination

20 U.S. Supreme Court Confirmation Process
Stage 2 Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings Senate Judiciary members and their staffs review candidate’s background (may conduct own investigation) Interest groups may conduct campaigns for or against nominee (including TV ads) Intense media attention to Senate hearings Senate Judiciary Committee questions candidate on judicial philosophy, stands on key issues, etc. Judiciary Committee votes up or down on nominee and sends recommendation to full Senate

21 U.S. Supreme Court Confirmation Process
Stage 3 Full Senate Vote Floor debate on nominee Confirmation vote by full Senate

22 U.S. Supreme Court Confirmation Process
Stage 4 Oath of Office If confirmed by the Senate, nominee sworn in, usually by Chief Justice Once on the Court, justices often make decisions on the bench very different from what the nominating President had anticipated independent judiciary

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