Presentation on theme: "Questions What are three types of jurisdiction? What are two types of juries? When is each used? What is senatorial courtesy and when is it used? How many."— Presentation transcript:
Questions What are three types of jurisdiction? What are two types of juries? When is each used? What is senatorial courtesy and when is it used? How many federal district courts are there? How many Federal Courts of Appeals are there?
The Court’s Procedures The majority of referred Court cases concern appeals from lower courts. Most appeals concern cases in which a lower state or federal court has ruled laws unconstitutional. Cases the Court chooses not to hear are dismissed, and the ruling of the lower court becomes final. Most cases reach the Court by writ of certiorari (sur-she-uh-rar-ee), in which either side petitions that a lower court’s decision involved an error or it raises a serious constitutional issue. 2
and procedures… The solicitor general is appointed by the president and represents the federal government before the Supreme Court. The chief justice puts worthy certiorari cases on a list for discussion; two thirds of all certiorari cases never make the list. If four of the nine justices agree, a case is accepted. Per curiam opinion – brief, unsigned statement of the Court’s decision, no new info consulted 3
Steps in Deciding Major Cases Each side submits a brief detailing legal arguments, facts, and precedents. Parties not directly involved but with an interest in the case may submit amicus curiae (uh-me-kuhs- kyur-ee-eye) briefs or “friend of the court” briefs Claim to have useful info for the court During two-week sessions, justices hear lawyers for each side make oral arguments on cases. Justices may ask questions. 4
Justices’ written opinions interpret the law and help shape public policy. They then meet in secret to make decisions. The justices consider arguments in cases they have heard and petitions from plaintiffs, and then write opinions for cases they have decided. Steps in Deciding Major Cases 5
opinions The justices spend about 30 minutes debating each case. Each justice has one vote; a majority vote is needed to decide a case. The justices may issue four kinds of opinions: a unanimous opinion, a majority opinion, a concurring opinion, or a dissenting opinion. 6
Basing Decisions on the Law Justices must base their opinions on the law, not on personal opinions. The Court must interpret laws and relate their interpretations to the Constitution itself, relevant statutes, and legal precedents. The Court’s rulings become precedents on which to base other, similar decisions; however, since times change, the Court may overturn or reverse its earlier decisions. Some Supreme Court decisions have resulted in great social upheaval. Principle of lawmaking - Stare decisis translates to “let the decision stand.”. 7
Tools for Shaping Policy 1. using judicial review; 2. interpreting laws; 3. overruling or reversing its previous decisions. Using judicial review, the Court may examine laws and actions at all levels of government and cancel them if they violate the Constitution. The Court determines policy in three ways: 8
The Court and Society Although insulated from public opinion and political pressures, the Court needs public support; its authority depends in part on public acceptance. Justices are influenced by the values and beliefs of society; their decisions usually reflect important societal changes. 9
Balancing Court’s power (checks and balances) Presidential- appoints justices and judges Congressional re-enact a law in different form if Court has deemed it unconstitutional Senate confirmation by majority vote Constitutional amendment Determining justices raises, if any Determines number of justices The justices Voting blocs- coalition of justices on the Court who take consistent positions on issues Swing vote- justice whose vote is a deciding vote and often is not consistent with each bloc Relations- personal conflicts can divide the Court; harmony amongst justices likely to lead to common solutions to problems 10
Review Questions 1.Under what jurisdiction do most cases reach the Supreme Court? By what process do they get there? 2. What are the five opinions the Court can issue? 3.What is an amicus curiae brief? Who would likely write one?
“The Constitution I interpret is not living, but dead… Our first responsibility is to not make sense of the law – our first responsibility is to follow the text of the law.” – Antonin Scalia What is Justice Scalia saying in the above quote?