Presentation on theme: "Article III: The Judicial Branch"— Presentation transcript:
1 Article III: The Judicial Branch Here Comes the Judge!Article III: The Judicial Branch
2 Role of the Courts Make up the 3rd branch of the federal government Use the law to settle civil disputes (between people, companies or organizations)Applies the law to the facts presented to determine the guilt or innocence (Criminal)
3 Equal Justice Under the Law Means that all the laws are applied equally to every personConstitution guarantees trial by jury, presumption of innocence, right to council, right to appealWhy is equal justice hard to achieve?
4 Federal CourtsUnder the Articles of Confederation there were no federal courtsEach State had its own systemWhat does this mean for equal justice under the law?Supreme Court only court mentioned in the ConstitutionArticle III Gives Congress the power to establish “inferior courts”
5 Federal Court SystemDistrict or Circuit Courts- federal cases start hereAppeals Court-when either party questions the ruling of the lower court or (district court)Supreme Court- has final authority over legal matters
8 What type of cases go to a federal court? Constitutional issuesBreaking Federal laws (tax evasion, kidnapping)Disputes between states ex: water rightsDisputes between citizens of different stateFederal Government ex: when the Feds bring a case against someone or entity
9 What type of cases go to a federal court? Foreign governments and treaties ex: When any foreign government is involved in a dispute with a US citizen, company or governmentAdmiralty or Maritime Laws – crimes on the open seasUS Diplomats: Example Ambassadors breaking laws
10 Types of Jurisdiction Exclusive Jurisdiction: only feds hear the case Concurrent Jurisdiction: feds and state courts may hear case
11 US District CourtsWhere all federal trials and lawsuits begin-known as “original jurisdiction”Witnesses testify and juries hear casesHOW MANY DISTRICTS? WHAT DISTRICT IS NM IN?
12 US Court of Appeals Other names: Appellate Courts, Circuit Courts Reviews the decisions of the lower courts which is “appellate jurisdiction”No jury a panel of 3 judges reviews and makes a decision12 US courts of appeals has jurisdiction over a specific regionCourt of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has nationwide authority
13 Decisions of the Court of Appeals 3 Options Upholding the findings of a lower courtReversing the findings of a lower courtRemanding to send the case back to a lower court for a retrialRulings are only on whether any of the defendants rights have been violatedOpinion of the Court is an explanation of the rulingOpinion often based on Precedent-prior rulings
14 So You Want to be a JudgeThe President along with the advise and consent of the Senate appoints federal judgesIt’s a political thing/usually the same party and like philosophy of the PrezA job for life!
15 Other JobsMagistrates take care of the minor judicial duties (issue warrants, determine whether a case should go to trial, set bail)US Attorneys: Each district court has 1 US Attorney and several deputies-they prosecute people who are accused of breaking federal lawsUS Marshalls: Collect fines, make arrests, serve legal papers
16 Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court Can preside over disputes between states and cases involving foreign countriesOtherwise it hears cases on appeal from lower courtsGets to choose the cases it hearsRefusal to hear a case means the decisions of the lower court stand
17 About the Court 8 Associate and 1 Chief Justice Main duty is to decide on cases/ but also make policy indirectlyPresident nominates a justice and the individual must be confirmed by the SenateAppointed for lifeNo constitutional requirements to be a justice
18 Powers of the CourtExecutive and Legislative Branches must follow the decisions of the courtJudicial Review: The court can review any federal, state or local law or action to make sure it is constitutionalJudicial Review was established in the case of Marbury v. Madison in 1803 (page 260)
19 Limits to PowerCourt relies on the executive branch and local officials to carry out its decisions (think desegregation)Congress can change or tweek laws deemed unconstitutional
20 The Workings of the Court Meets from the first Monday in October- until the business of the court is complete usually late June/early July4 of the 9 Justices must agree to hear a case before it is placed on the court docketMany cases are appealed to the Supreme Court only a small fraction are heard and even a smaller percentage get full hearings
21 How do they decide what to hear? Major constitutional issuesCases must deal with real people and eventsLegal rather than political issuesWrit of Certiorari- “make more certain” directs a lower court to send its case records to the Supreme Court
22 The Process to Deciding a Case Written Arguments: Briefs explain each sides position in a caseLawyers present oral arguments (30 min) justices then ask questionsConferences in secret to discuss the merits of the case- 5 need a majority of justicesOpinionsAnnouncement of Opinions
23 Types of OpinionsMajority Opinion: written by one justice presents the view of the majority of justicesConcurrent Opinion: Justices may agree with the majority but have different legal reasons for doing soDissenting Opinion: Justices who oppose the majority opinionUnanimous Opinion: All Agree
24 Influences on the Justices’ Opinions The Law based on the concept of “stare decisis” let the decision standPrecedent mattersSocial and Political Conditions- while mostly immune from these pressures, court reinterprets laws based on social norms think Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of EducationDiffering Legal Views: Activist v. ConstitutionalistPersonal Beliefs