Presentation on theme: "The Judicial Branch Chapter 14 Daily Dilemma: Should justices exercise judicial restraint or judicial activism?"— Presentation transcript:
The Judicial Branch Chapter 14 Daily Dilemma: Should justices exercise judicial restraint or judicial activism?
Judicial Restraint or Judicial Activism? Judicial Restraint– judges tend to defer to decisions of the elected branches of government Judicial Activism– judges tend not to defer to decisions of the elected branches of government, resulting in the invalidation of those decisions
National Judicial Supremacy Section 1 of Article III of the Constitution created “one supreme court.” The Judiciary Act of 1789 created the federal system of courts that would coexist with state courts while maintaining independence
Judicial Review and Other Branches Marbury v. Madison (1803) John Adams appointed Marbury as a justice of the peace in Washington, D.C. right before leaving office, but the appointments were never completed. Marbury declared an act of Congress to obtain the papers and the act authorized the Supreme Court to issue orders against government officials. Marbury wanted such an order in the Supreme Court against Madison (the secretary of state).
The issue: Must the Court follow the law or the Constitution? Ruling– When an act of the legislature conflicts with the Constitution, the act is invalid. Take-away– The decision in Marbury v. Madison established the Supreme Court’s power of judicial review– the power to declare congressional acts invalid if they violate the Constitution
Checks & Balances The judiciary became a check on the legislative and executive branches In more than 200 years, the Supreme Court has only invalidated about 160 national provisions
Judicial Review The power of the court to declare national, state and local laws 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
Weakest Branch The judiciary was meant to be the weakest branch because it had neither the power of the “sword” or the “purse”
The Organization of Courts Each state runs its own court system and no two states’ courts are identical CRIMINAL CASES: The government prosecutes criminal cases because they’re a violation of the public order CIVIL CASES: come from disputed claims to something of value
District Courts Each state has at least one district court (there are 94 district courts) Sources of litigation Federal criminal cases Federal criminal cases Civil cases alleging violation of national law Civil cases alleging violation of national law Civil cases brought against the national government Civil cases brought against the national government Civil cases between citizens of different states where the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000 Civil cases between citizens of different states where the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000
U.S. Court of Appeals 12 regional U.S. courts of appeals Usually convene in panes of three judges Precedent is considered (the way similar decisions have been rendered in the past)
The Court is tasked with the goal of “achieving a just balance among the values of freedom, order and equality. The Court hears cases of which they have original jurisdiction and appellate jurisdiction
To be on the docket… Most cases are appellate cases– cases in which the Supreme Court is that of the last resort. To be chosen… the case must 1. Have reached the end of the line in the state court system 2. Must raise a federal question– an issue covered by the Constitution, federal laws, or national treaties Fewer than 100 cases make it on the docket!
Solicitor General Represents the national government before the Supreme Court and defends the interests of the national government Appointed by the president Determines whether the government should appeal lower court decisions and decides whether the government should file an amicus curiae brief (friend of the court)– concerns by an individual or group that is not a party to a legal action but has an interest in it
Decision making 101 Justices don’t talk about cases with each other before oral argument Oral argument is limited to 30 minutes on each side From October-June justices spend 2-3 hours a day, 5-6 days a month hearing arguments Justices don’t address each other directly while hearing arguments Only the justices attend the decision making sessions. “It’s much more a statement of the views of each of the nine Justices” than a discussion
Decision making 101, continued After voting (the judgment), the justices of the majority must draft their decision or argument. Other justices can issue dissenting and concurring opinions. Votes are only tentative until the arguments are submitted– each party must “ok” the argument.
The Opinion After the conference, the chief justice or most senior justice in the majority (in terms of years of service on the Court) decides which justice will write the majority opinion Opinion writing is the justices’ most critical function
Appointments Judicial appointments must be OK’ed by either the home state senator or the entire Senate (for the Supreme Court)
Making Public Policy The Supreme Court makes decisions that must be implemented by others