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Presentation on theme: "CH. 18-3 THE SUPREME COURT AMERICAN GOVERNMENT."— Presentation transcript:


2 JUDICIAL REVIEW “equal justice for all”
the lofty goal above the main entrance into the United States Supreme Court building The Supreme Court of the United States is the only court specifically created by the Constitution (Article III, Section 1) Most courts, federal and state, may exercise the critically important power of judicial review JUDICIAL REVIEW—deciding the constitutionality of an act of government

3 The Supreme Court is the final authority on the meaning of the Constitution
The Constitution doesn’t specifically provide for the power of judicial review There is little doubt that the Framers intended that the federal courts—and, in particular, the Supreme Court should have this power

4 MARBURY V. MADISON The first assertion of power came in 1803 Thomas Jefferson was elected President in 1800 and the Democratic-Republicans took control of both houses The Federalists tried to pack judgeships with federalists before they left office Congress created several new judgeships in the early weeks of 1801

5 Defeated President Adams quickly filled them with federalists
William Marbury had been appointed a justice of the peace in DC The Senate confirmed him and late on the night of March 3, 1801, President Adams signed the commissions of office for Marbury and a number of other judges

6 The next day Jefferson became President and noticed that several commissions had not been delivered
Jefferson was angered by the Federalists’ attempted court-packing He ordered Secretary of State James Madison not to deliver the commissions to the “midnight justices”. William Marbury went to the Supreme Court

7 He was seeking a WRIT OF MANDAMUS (see note p. 518)
Marbury based his suit on the Judiciary Act of 1789 which created the judiciary The US Supreme Court ruled unanimously against Marbury because they found the part of the law used as a basis for the suit to be in conflict with the Constitution

8 Chief Justice John Marshall based his opinion on three points:
1) the Constitution is the supreme law of the land 2) all legislative acts and other actions of government are subordinate to the supreme law and cannot conflict with it 3) judges are sworn to enforce the provisions of the Constitution

9 THE EFFECTS OF MARBURY Chief Justice Marshall claimed that the Supreme Court had the power to declare acts of Congress unconstitutional The Supreme Court also hears cases where constitutionality is not the issue

The Supreme Court has both original and appellate jurisdiction Two types of original jurisdiction: 1) those to which a state is a party 2) those affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls

Nearly 8,000 cases are appealed to the court annually Of these the court only accepts a few hundred Court selects cases based on “the rule of four”—at least four justices must agree to put the case on the docket More than half of the cases are disposed of in brief orders

12 Ex.—The court many remand (return) a case to a lower court for reconsideration
Most cases reach the Court by WRIT OF CERTIORARI (latin—”to be made more certain) This writ is an order by the Court directing a lower court to send up the record in a given case for review Either party can ask the Court to issue a writ

13 When certiorari is denied, the ruling of the lower court stands
A few cases reach the Court by CERTIFICATE This process is used when a lower court is not clear about procedure or the rule of law that should apply in a given case

14 HOW THE COURT OPERATES Term: First Monday in October to sometime the following June or July ORAL ARGUMENTS The Court hears oral arguments in two-week cycles. They hear arguments in several cases for 2 weeks and then spend 2 weeks considering those cases and handling other business

15 The Court convenes at 10:00 am Monday-Thursday for oral arguments
Each party is given 30 minutes to present their side during oral arguments BRIEFS Briefs are written documents filed with the Court before oral arguments begin

16 These documents support a particular side of the case and usually state relevant facts and previous cases that are similar These documents could have hundreds of pages The Court may also receive AMICUS CURIAE (friend of the court) briefs These briefs are filed by people who are not parties in the case but have substantial interest in the outcome

17 The Solicitor General, an officer in the Department of Justice, is often called the Federal Government’s chief lawyer The S.G. represents the USA in all case to which they are a party in the Court The S.G. also decided which cases the government should ask the Court to review and what position the USA should take in those cases

On Wednesdays and Fridays during the term the justices meet in conference In almost complete secrecy the justices discuss cases in which they have heard oral arguments The Chief Justice presides and speaks first on each case The other justices speak in order of seniority

19 About 1/3 of all cases are unanimous decisions
Other decisions are decided by split votes People have criticized the Court for split decisions but most cases are very difficult issues Most cases are controversial. The easy cases don’t get to the Court

20 OPINIONS If the Chief Justice is in the majority, he assigns an associate justice to write the opinion If the Chief Justice is not in the majority, the senior associate justice assigns someone to write the opinion The Court’s opinion is often called the MAJORITY OPINION

21 This document sets out the final decision of the Court and the reasons behind the decision
The majority opinions stand as PRECEDENTS (examples to be followed in similar cases) Justices that agree with the decision might issue a CONCURRING OPINION (to add or emphasize a point)

22 Justices that don’t agree with the majority might submit a DISSENTING OPINION


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