3 Overriding QuestionsWhat is the process that the Supreme Court uses to add cases to its docket?How are the justices politically insulated and how are they tied to public opinion?What guides the Court when granting a writ?How does the Judicial Branch make policy?How has that role changed over time?
4 Creation of a National Judiciary The Framers created the national judiciary in Article III of the Constitution.There are two court systems in the United States: the national judiciary that spans the country, and the courts run by each of the 50 States.The Constitution created the Supreme Court and left Congress to establish the inferior courts—the lower federal courts. There are two types of federal courts: (1) constitutional courts and (2) special courts.
5 Evolution of the Courts Traditional:Fed 78- “Least dangerous branch to political rights.”Hamilton-decide when law is contrary to the ConstitutionProactive:Judges find AND MAKE the lawIncrease over time
6 Nation Building 1787-1865 (1st Era) Answer nation-state questionsChief Justice John Marshall (Nat'l law was supreme)Judicial ReviewStare decisis (precedent)Dred Scott 1857-slaves did not have the same rightsTension between Federalists and Jeffersonian Republicans (state’s rights)
7 Government and the Economy 1865-1937- (2nd Era) Question of propertyCourt protects private property14th Amendment-due process (narrowly construed to still allow for selective rights-segregation)Gov’t regulations on business1st 75 years only 2 laws overturned(1200)
8 Government and Political Liberty 1938-Present (3rd Era) Personal Liberty vs. Social EquitySwitch from restricting state or federal power to restricting gov’t laws that violate libertyStill questioning federal and state power
10 Federal Court Jurisdiction Jurisdiction is defined as the authority of a court to hear (to try and to decide) a case.Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution provides that the federal courts may hear a case because either:(1) the subject matter or(2) the parties involved in the case.
11 Two types of Federal Jurisdiction Federal Question Cases-Constitution, US law, or treatyDiversity Cases-involving citizen of different statesDual Sovereignty Doctrine-state and federal authorities can prosecute the same person for the same conduct
12 Appointment of JudgesThe power to appoint judges to federal courts falls on the President.Most federal judges are drawn from the ranks of leading attorneys, legal scholars and law school professors, former members of Congress, and State courts. Supreme Court Justices are usually former federal judges.
13 Appointing Federal Justices Senatorial Courtesy-normally senior senator will recommend someone from his/her districtLitmus test-for ideological purityTrends-27 SC rejections of 140Filibustering an appointment
14 Terms and Pay of JudgesJudges appointed to the constitutional courts, including the Supreme Court, are appointed for life.Judges of constitutional courts may only be removed by their own will or through impeachment.Judges who sit in the special courts are appointed for terms varying from 4 to 15 years.Congress determines salaries for federal judges.
15 Civil vs. Criminal Cases The district courts hear a wide range of criminal cases and civil cases.A criminal case, in the federal courts, is one in which a defendant is tried for committing some action that Congress declared by law to be a federal crime. A federal civil case is one which involves noncriminal matters.
17 How Cases Reach the Supreme Court For a case to be heard by the Court, four of nine judges must agree that it should be placed on the Court’s docket.Cases can reach the Court by certificate when a lower court asks for the Court to certify the answer to a specific question in the matter or when two lower courts have decided the same issue in different ways.Most cases reach the Court via writ of certiorari, an order to a lower court to send a record in a given case for its review.
18 How many do they hear? 1 to 3 % of cases (90-200 a year) Brief presented by lawyer in ½ hourAmicus briefs-allow justices to know where interest groups stand on the issueDecisionsPer curiam-brief and unsignedFormal opinion (if SC chief justice in majority they write, otherwise most senior member)Class Action Suit-others benefit from the decisionStanding-the right to be brought and heard
20 How the Supreme Court Operates BriefsBriefs are written documents filed with the Court before oral arguments begin.The Court in ConferenceThe Chief Justice presides over a closed-door conference in which justices present their views on the case at hand.
21 Opinions of the CourtOnce the Court finishes its conference, it reaches a decision and its opinion is written.
22 Checks on Judicial Power No police or armySenate confirmation of judicial appointments by 51 percent voteImpeachment of judgesCongress can increase judgesCongress can Amend or create new legislationCongress determines jurisdiction for all courtsPublic Opinion