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Chapter Fourteen The Courts. Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 14-2 National Judicial Supremacy: The Role of the Courts in American.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter Fourteen The Courts. Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 14-2 National Judicial Supremacy: The Role of the Courts in American."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter Fourteen The Courts

2 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved National Judicial Supremacy: The Role of the Courts in American Government American courts shape policies that form the heart of American democracy. The courts can undo the work of representative institutions. This thwarts democratic theory, which argues that the majority should rule.

3 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved Conferral of Power Decision on the Federal Courts The Constitution established “one Supreme Court” but left it to Congress to structure the federal judiciary. Judicial review led to the ascendancy of the Supreme Court. Components of judicial review are: The power of the courts to declare national, state, and local law invalid if they violate the Constitution

4 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved Components of Judicial Review The power of the courts to declare national, state, and local law invalid if they violate the Constitution The supremacy of national laws or treaties when they conflict with state and local laws The role of the Supreme Court as the final authority on the meaning of the Constitution.

5 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved Conferral of Power Decision on the Federal Courts (Cont’d) Hamilton anticipated the power of judicial review and discussed it in Federalist No. 78.

6 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved Organization The state courts: Each state (and the District of Columbia) has its own court system. No two are alike. Co-exist with the federal court system. Individuals fall under the jurisdiction of both. Handle and resolve vast majority of legal disputes.

7 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved Organization (Cont’d) Court fundamentals Criminal cases involve a crime or a violation of a public order. Civil cases involve a private dispute arising from such matters as accidents, contractual obligations, and divorce. Common or Judge-Made laws involve legal precedents derived from previous judicial decisions.

8 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved Organization (Cont’d) The federal courts The federal courts are like a pyramid: the Supreme Court is at the apex, the U.S. Courts of Appeals occupy the middle, and the U.S. District Courts serve as the base. There are ninety-four federal district courts and nearly 650 full-time district judges.

9 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved Figure 14.1: The Federal and State Court Systems,

10 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved The Apex: The Supreme Court The mottos inscribed on the Supreme Court building capture the Court’s difficult task: providing equal justice under law while making justice the guardian of liberty. The work of the Court is determined by access.

11 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved Figure 14.2: Access to and Decision Making in the U.S. Supreme Court

12 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved The Apex: The Supreme Court (Cont’d) Original jurisdiction is the authority of a court to hear a case before any other court does. Appellate jurisdiction is the authority of a court to hear cases that have been tried, decided, or reexamined in other courts.

13 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved The Apex: The Supreme Court (Cont’d) The Rule of Four is an unwritten rule that requires at least four justices to agree that a case warrants consideration before it is reviewed by the Supreme Court. Once the Court grants review, attorneys submit written arguments (briefs).

14 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved The Apex: The Supreme Court (Cont’d) Justices decide how to vote on a case by one of two approaches: judicial activism or judicial restraint. Justices issue a written document explaining their reasoning in a case, known as a majority opinion, or by issuing one of two types of other opinions: a concurrence or a dissent.

15 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved Judicial Recruitment Neither the Constitution nor national law imposes formal requirements for appointment to the federal courts. The President appoints judges to the federal courts, and all nominees must be confirmed by majority vote in the Senate.

16 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved Judicial Recruitment (Cont’d) Senatorial courtesy is a practice whereby the Senate will not confirm for a lower federal court judgeship a nominee who is opposed by the senior senator in the president’s party in the nominee’s state.

17 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved The Consequences of Judicial Decisions Most criminal cases are resolved by the use of a plea bargain. Implementation of judicial decisions relies on others to translate policy into action. Evidence supports the view that the Supreme Court reflects public opinion at least as often as other elected institutions, reflecting majority sentiment.

18 Copyright © Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved The Courts and Models of Democracy Supporters of the majoritarian model argue that courts should adhere to the letter of the law and judges refrain must refrain from injecting their own values into their decisions. Supporters of the pluralist model maintain that the courts are a policy-making branch of government, supported by the filing of class action lawsuits.


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