Presentation on theme: "Unit 10: The Judiciary Objectives:"— Presentation transcript:
1 Unit 10: The Judiciary Objectives: 1) Examine the origins of the U.S. Judiciary,2) Consider the basis of U.S. law,3) Evaluate the structure of the legal system, and4) Explain the nominations and appointments process forjudges.
2 The Origins of the U.S. Judiciary The Constitution and the Judiciary Act of 1789: Established the Supreme Court and the Federal District CourtsThe Judiciary Act of 1891: Expanding the Federal Courts
3 The Nature of the Judicial System Two types of cases:Criminal Law: The government charges an individual with violating one or more specific laws.Civil (Tort) Law: The court resolves a dispute between two parties and defines the relationship between them.Most cases are tried and resolved in state courts, not federal courts.
4 Participants in the Judicial System Plaintiff—the party bringing the chargeDefendant—the party being chargedJury—the people (normally 12) who often decide the outcome of a caseStanding to sue: plaintiffs have a serious interest in the case; have sustained or likely to sustain a direct injury from the governmentJusticiable disputes: a case must be capable of being settled as a matter of law.
5 Participants in the Judicial System GroupsUse the courts to try to change policiesAmicus Curiae briefs used to influence the courts“friend of the court” briefs used to raise additional points of view and information not contained in briefs of formal partiesAttorneys800,000 lawyers in United States todayLegal Services Corporation: lawyers to assist the poorAccess to quality lawyers is not equal.
6 District Courts (94)Original Jurisdiction: courts that hear the case first and determine the facts - the trial courtDeals with the following types of cases:Federal crimesCivil suits under federal law and across state linesSupervise bankruptcy and naturalizationReview some federal agenciesAdmiralty and maritime law casesSupervision of naturalization of aliens
7 Courts of AppealAppellate Jurisdiction: reviews the legal issues in cases brought from lower courts.Hold no trials and hear no testimony.12 circuit courtsU.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit – specialized casesFocus on errors of procedure & law
8 The Supreme CourtEnsures uniformity in interpreting national laws, resolves conflicts among states and maintains national supremacy in law9 justices – 1 Chief Justice, 8 Associate JusticesSupreme Court decides which cases it will hear—controls its own agendaSome original jurisdiction, but mostly appellate jurisdictionMost cases come from the federal courtsMost are civil cases
10 The Lower CourtsPresidents appoint members of the federal courts with “advice and consent” of the Senate.Appointments handled through Senatorial Courtesy:Unwritten tradition where a judge is not confirmed if a senator of the president’s party from the state where the nominee will serve opposes the nominationHas the effect of the president approving the Senate’s choicePresident has more influence on appellate level
11 The Supreme CourtFewer constraints on president to nominate persons to Supreme CourtPresident relies on attorney general and DOJ to screen candidates1 out of 5 nominees will not make itPresidents with minority party support in the Senate will have more difficulty.Chief Justice can be chosen from a sitting justice, or as a new member to the Court
12 Backgrounds of Judges and Justices Characteristics:Generally white malesLawyers with judicial and often political experienceOther Factors:Generally of the same party as the appointing presidentJudges and justices may disappoint the appointing president
13 Accepting Cases Use the “rule of four” to choose cases. Issues a writ of certiorari to call up the case.Very few cases are actually accepted each year.
14 Accepting CasesSolicitor General: a presidential appointee and third-ranking office in the Department of Justiceis in charge of appellate court litigation of the federal governmentFour key functions:Decide whether to appeal cases the government lostReview and modify briefs presented in appealsRepresent the government before the Supreme CourtSubmit a brief on behalf of a litigant in a case in which the government is not directly involved
15 Making Decisions Oral arguments may be made in a case. Justices discuss the case.One justice will write the majority opinion (statement of legal reasoning behind a judicial decision) on the case.
16 Making DecisionsDissenting opinions are written by justices who oppose the majority.Concurring opinions are written in support of the majority but stress a different legal basis.Stare decisis: let previous decision stand unchangedPrecedent: how similar past cases were decided; may be overruledOriginal Intent: the idea that the Constitution should be viewed according to the original intent of the framers
17 Implementing Court Decisions How and whether court decisions are translated into actual policy, thereby affecting the behavior of othersMust rely on others to carry out decisionsInterpreting population: understand the decisionImplementing population: the people who need to carry out the decision–may be disagreementConsumer population: the people who are affected (or could be) by the decision
18 A Historical Review John Marshall and the Growth of Judicial Review Marbury v. Madison (1803) established judicial review— courts determine constitutionality of acts of CongressThe “Nine Old Men”- the Court that struck down a good number of FDR’s latter alphabet agenciesThe Warren Court - between 1953 and 1969, when a liberal majority used judicial power to the consternation of conservative opponents (expanded civil rights, civil liberties, judicial power, and the federal power in dramatic ways)
19 A Historical ReviewThe Burger Court - started in 1969, had a reputation for “law and order,” and strict constructionism. Conservatives also hoped that the Burger Court would chip away at some of the liberal precedent set by the Warren Court.The Rehnquist Court - known as the most conservative of the justices, even with three other Republican appointments on the bench.Fought numerous battles over the Fourteenth Amendment, arguing for a narrow point of view, not the "spirit" of the law, as he championed states` rights over congressional edicts.
20 The Courts and Democracy Courts are not very democraticNot electedDifficult to removeThe courts do reflect popular majoritiesGroups are likely to use the courts when other methods fail – promoting pluralismThere are still conflicting rulings leading to deadlock and inconsistency
21 The Scope of Judicial Power Judicial restraint: judges should play a minimal policymaking role - leave the policies to the legislative branch.Judicial activism: judges should make bold policy decisions and even charting new constitutional ground.Political questions: means of the federal courts to avoid deciding some cases.Statutory construction: the judicial interpretation of an act of Congress.