Presentation on theme: "Case Closed: Processes and Decisions of the Supreme Court"— Presentation transcript:
1 Case Closed: Processes and Decisions of the Supreme Court What is the impact of judicial review on other federal branches?What is the difference between judicial activism and judicial restraint?What is the relationship between stare decisis and precedents?
2 “Never forget…it is a Constitution we are expounding.” Chief Justice John Marshall
3 Remember…?Main jobs of the Supreme Court as a result of the Marbury decision and the Constitution:carry out justiceto decide the constitutionality of law and its executionFinal interpreter of US ConstitutionJudicial review: the power of the courts to review acts of other branches of government and the states
4 Remember… How does the Supreme Court decide what cases will be heard? Writ of certiorari (Latin: “to be informed”): request for the Court to order up the records from a lower court to review the case“Rule of Four”: when considering a case, at least FOUR justices of the Court must vote to consider a case before it can be heard
5 What is the process of granting a writ? “Review on a writ of certiorari is not a matter of right, but of judicial discretion...granted only for compelling reasons.” --US Supreme CourtThe case must come from a U.S. court of appeals, a special three-judge district court, or a state court of last resortThe case MUST involve a federal question—questions of federal constitutional law or federal statute, action, or treaty.
6 100 million cases filed in U.S. state and federal trial courts Federal CourtsApplications for S.C. review by appeal or writ of certiorari filed by lawyersCert pool (clerks help justices select most important cases to discuss)State CourtsJustices decide in conference which cases out of their discussion to hear (RULE OF FOUR)
7 When did the Rule of Four REALLY matter? When cases are appealed to the Court, some cases become more important to review than others, especially in the examples below:Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (1954)United States v. Nixon (1974)Snyder v. Phelps (2011)
8 Deciding the case, pt. 1The Court sits for two consecutive weeks per month. At these sessions:From Monday to Wednesday, justices listen to oral arguments by lawyers on both sides of the caseOn Wednesday and Friday, justices meet in secret conferences to decide the casesEach justice in order of seniority asked their opinion by CJCJ’s vote equal weight as other justicesAt least 6 must be present to decide a case; if there is a tie, the lower court decision is left standingVOTE IS NOT FINAL YET!After the two weeks, the Court recesses and the justices work privately on paperwork, considering arguments they’ve heard and study petitions for other cases.
9 Reading questionsWhy does the Judiciary Committee put prospective justices through the “litmus test”?What role does a filibuster have in the selection of a new justice of the Court?Why would the Senate reject a nominee? How many have been rejected in total?Why might some people decide not to apply for a writ of cert? How can this be overcome?
10 Deciding the case, pt. 2They also work on their opinions—written statements on cases they have already decided (at least one written per case)As important as decision: set precedents, way to communicate with other branches and the peopleFour kinds of opinions:Unanimous—all justices vote the same wayMajority—expresses views of majority of justicesConcurring—expresses views of those that agree with majority, but for different reason(s)Dissenting—expresses opinions of justices of those disagreeing with majority (“losing side”)This could become the majority opinion later!
11 How are decisions made?precedent: a previous judicial decision that serves as a rule for settling subsequent (later) cases of a similar nature (become important cases for later reference)stare decisis: in Court rulings, a reliance on precedents or past decisions to make a decision in the current caseWhat is the relationship between precedents and stare decisis? Why do precedents matter?How would stare decisis influence decisions made by justices in a case?
12 Compare:judicial activism: a philosophy/idea of decision making that argues judges should use their power broadly to further justice (equality, personal liberties)judicial restraint: a philosophy/idea of decision making that argues courts should allow decisions of other branches of government to stand, even if they offend a judge’s own sense of principlesHow would the use of these ideas by a judge impact their decision?
13 Judicial Activism or Judicial Restraint? What details tellyou how thecartoonist feelsabout the court’sphilosophy?
14 Would an advocate of judicial activism or of judicial restraint “just call balls and strikes”?