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Unit Four Lesson 25 What is the role of the Supreme Court in the American Constitutional System?

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1 Unit Four Lesson 25 What is the role of the Supreme Court in the American Constitutional System?

2 The Constitutional Powers of the Supreme Court  Article III creates the Supreme Court and gives Congress power to create other courts inferior to the Supreme Court  Supreme Court Justices had live tenure & other federal judges have year terms  Federal Courts have specific JURISDICTION – those involving national laws and/or involving citizens from more than one state  Article III also guarantees a trial by jury in all criminal cases except impeachment  Supreme Court (implied) has JUDICIAL REVIEW

3 Supreme Court JURISDICTION  ORIGINAL JURISDICTION – the power to pass judgment on the facts of the case and by law  S.C. rarely had original jurisdiction (first hearing)  If a case involves one of the following  Foreign Diplomats  Disputed between states  APPELLATE JURISDICTION – the power to review and revise the decision of an inferior court  Appeal – to ask for a new hearing from a high court in hopes it will overturn or modify the ruling  Judiciary Act of 1789 created a 3 tier system

4 Judicial Review  Marbury v. Madison established the practice of Judicial Review  Judicial Review is the power of the Supreme Court to rule acts of government unconstitutional  US the only country that gives its independent judiciary this power  Judicial Review  POWERFUL check and balance to the powers of government over the citizens  PROTECTS individual rights from the powers of gov’t  INSULATES your rights from the whims of politics

5 How a case gets to the Supreme Court  Litigant – parties involved in the lawsuit who makes the appeal to a high court  A request for the S.C. to hear that case  RULE of FOUR – upon review, if 4 (out of 9) S.C. justices believe the case has merit, they issue a WRIT of CERTIORARI which requires the lower courts to send records of the case to the S.C.  Each year, more than 10,000 requests are made to the S.C. They usually hear less than 100/year

6 Supreme Court Decisions  MAJORITY Opinion – the Chief Justice chooses a justice from the winning side to write the MAJORITY DECISION which gives legal reasons for the decision  DISSENTING OPINION – Any justice on the losing side can write a DISSENTING OPINION which states their reasons for disagreeing using legal precedent  The Supreme Court attempts to come to as decisive a decision as possible  9-0 means there is little/no legal way to challenge  5-4 means there are 4 justices who disagree and there is much legal angles to challenge the ruling in the future

7 Methods of Constitutional Interpretation Strict Construction Considering the actual words of the Constitution Keeps Justices from imposing their values Original intent Trying to understand the INTENT of the Framers Applied the concepts of the time to today Fundamental Principles Natural Rights, Republican Government or Limited Government Used to apply principles to today Modernism Constitution should be adapted to fit the changing times and contemporary needs This would not hold back social progress by sticking to outdated interpretations of the Constitution

8 Checks on the powers of the Supreme Court  Self Imposed Limits  The S.C. refuses to hear “political questions”  Won’t hear issues other branches should deal with  Won’t offer “ADVISORY OPINIONS”  Presidential Appointments  Who sits on the Supreme Court impacts the rulings  Presidential Appointments can sway or block opinions  Executive Enforcement  The President/Exec. Branch can refuse to enforce rulings  Congressional Powers  Congress controls the budget of the courts  Congress can alter the size of the Supreme Court  Constitutional Amendments  Federalism  States responsible for enforcing Supreme Court rulings  States may be lax (intentionally or not) in doing so (ie-desegregation)

9 UNIT FOUR ESSAYS 1) Although the Constitution does not explicitly mention the power of judicial review, it has exercised this power for two hundred years. How has the Supreme Court’s power of judicial review expanded the role of the Court? ** Is the practice of judicial review consistent with democratic practices? Why or why not? **Does the Supreme Court have too much power? Why or why not? 2) In the Constitution, why are the power of and limits on Congress addressed first and in greater detail than those of other branches? **In addition to the power granted to Congress in Article 1, what other provisions in the Constitution address legislative powers? Why? **How have the “enforcement” provisions of amendments adapted since the Civil War increased congressional power? 3) How and why has presidential power expanded since the ratification of the Constitution? **How have wars, emergencies, and the media contributed to the expansion of presidential powers? **How have the other branches of government responded to the expansion of presidential power? Do you think they have done so adequately? Explain


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