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The Judicial Branch Article III of the Constitution.

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Presentation on theme: "The Judicial Branch Article III of the Constitution."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Judicial Branch Article III of the Constitution

2 Creation of the National Judiciary  Established by Article III of the US Constitution Only sets up the Supreme Court Allows Congress to create additional courts if needed  The US has a Dual Court System, meaning there are two separate court systems National (or Federal) and State

3 Jurisdiction – the authority to hear a court case

4 Court Judges  Appointed by the President but must be approved by the Senate Supreme Court judges and all other federal judges follow this process  Constitutional Court judges are appointed for LIFE! Constitution: “[Judges] shall hold their Offices during good Behavior…” Can only be removed through impeachment. Historically only 13 judges have been impeached, 7 removed by Senate  Note: Not all federal judges serve life terms. For example, special court judges are not appointed to life terms but for 8 year terms

5 Court Judges – Salary and Retirement  Congress sets the salaries of all federal judges Currently set at $169,300 Associate SC Justices: $208,100 Chief Justice: $217,400  Plus, they can earn an additional $21,000 for teaching or speaking  Retirement: there is no mandatory retirement age. With 15 years of service @65/yrs. old. With 10 years of service @70/yrs. old.

6 Dual Court System

7 Additional Information  US District Courts 80% of federal caseload (94 total courts – at least 1 court per state, also DC, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam, and Mariana Islands) Hear criminal cases (for committing some action that Congress has declared by law to be a crime) and civil cases (non-criminal matter, such as contract disputes or patent infringement)  US Appellate Courts 12 Courts in the US – they hear appeals from lower federal courts  Approximately 55,000 cases/year  Decisions are final unless SC chooses to hear appeal and overturns the decision

8 Anthony Kennedy 1988 Anthony Kennedy 1988 Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr. 2006 Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr. 2006 Sonia Sotomayor 2009 Sonia Sotomayor 2009 Elena Kagan 2010 Elena Kagan 2010 Stephen Breyer 1994 Stephen Breyer 1994 Clarence Thomas 1991 Clarence Thomas 1991 John G. Roberts, Jr. Chief Justice 2005 John G. Roberts, Jr. Chief Justice 2005 Antonin Scalia 1986 Antonin Scalia 1986 Ruth Bader Ginsburg 1993 Ruth Bader Ginsburg 1993 Meet the Justices of the Supreme Court There are 9 Supreme Court Justices

9 Judicial Review  Supreme Court has the power to decide the constitutionality of an act of government – legislative, executive, or judicial **The SC is the FINAL authority on the meaning of the Constitution  Marbury vs Madison (1803) – Chief Justice Marshall wrote 3 key opinions: 1.Constitution is the supreme law of the land 2.All govt actions are inferior to the supreme law and cannot conflict with it 3.Judges are sworn to protect the Constitution and must refuse to enforce govt action that conflicts with it

10 How cases reach the Court  Approximately 8,000 cases are appealed to the SC every year – they only choose to hear about 100  Most reach by Writ of Certiorari – an order by the SC directing a lower court to send up the record in a given case for its review Very few are chosen, usually ones dealing with some type of Constitutional question…not deciding the guilt or innocence of someone  Others reach by a Certificate – a lower court asks the SC to clarify a procedure or rule of law that they are unclear about

11 How the Court operates  4 out of 9 justices must vote in favor of hearing a case before it appears on the courts docket Docket – a list of cases to be heard  When the court accepts a case, each side (prosecution and defense) sends the court a brief – a detailed written report supporting its side of the case  Working periods – justices consider/listen to cases from Oct to May (2 weeks on; 2 weeks “off”)

12 How the Court operates: Ruling on a Case  The Courts ruling on a case is called the majority opinion or the Opinion of the Court—It announces the Court’s decision and reasoning A simple majority or 5 out of 9 justices must vote in favor of a side to render a decision  The rest of the Justices who voted with the majority can write a concurring opinion—in which they can add or emphasize a point that was not made in the majority opinion

13 How the Court operates: Ruling on a Case  One or more dissenting opinions are written by the justices who did not agree with the Court’s majority opinion Important: the minority opinion of today may become the majority opinion of tomorrow  All of the Court’s written opinions (majority, concurring, and dissenting) are very valuable and stand as a precedent  Precedent - example to be followed in a similar case

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