UB PSC 101 - The Courts (25 pages)

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The Courts



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The Courts

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Pages:
25
School:
University at Buffalo, The State University of New York
Course:
Psc 101 - Intro American Politics
Intro American Politics Documents
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The Bureaucracy Concluded October 13 2014 Take Aways from the Guest Speaker Incentives in the private sector are different from those at work in the public sector Interesting argument for a spoils system lots of jobs where you don t need experts Organizational culture appropriators have a bias against spending money Notice and comment procedure is too open Iron Triangles Cost benefit analysis difficult to measure benefits side of the calculation Congressional Oversight of the Bureaucracy Fire alarms vs police patrols Frequent criticism is that Congress often abdicates its responsibility to exercise oversight of the bureaucracy Don t so much abdicate as prefer a different type of oversight The Courts October 13 2014 The Judiciary The U S in comparative perspective Common law countries vs civil law U S as a former British colony is mostly a common law nation except for LA Sources of Law Constitution Statute Regulation Executive orders Precedent Explanations for Judicial Behavior Explaining court processes and outcomes How judges decide Legal perspectives Personal attitudinal perspectives Assumes judges have policy preferences Environmental explanations Separation of powers model Article III Courts wield neither the purse nor the sword Least dangerous branch Also given the least attention in the Constitution Marbury vs Madison Overturned the Judiciary Act of 1789 Original jurisdiction The Supreme Court as Trial Court Typically has appellate jurisdiction Cases originate in the SC when An ambassador is involved When two or more states are the parties in a case A case brought by a state against the citizen of another state A case between the U S and a state Functions of the Courts Dispute resolution Behavior modification Allocation of gains and losses Policymaking The Impact of the Courts Large numbers of decisions in individual cases chiefly in trial courts Set legal rules appellate courts Republican little r schoolmaster Roe and crime rates Baker v Carr and apportionment Miranda Mapp and others on police procedure The Hollow Hope Limitations on the Impact of the Courts Decisions must be interpreted and applied by lower courts Administered by the executive and in particular street level bureaucrats e g police Some policy areas e g foreign policy rarely fall under the purview of the courts Can t go looking for cases One of many actors in the public arena Factors Fostering Compliance with the Courts 1 Acceptance of court authority the courts are the most revered and respected and well liked for that matter branch of government 2 Courts particularly at the appellate level can often employ sanctions on lower courts but these sanctions are fairly weak 3 Can reverse decisions of the lower courts think that lower courts want to avoid being overturned as it may affect their legitimacy 4 Takes money to bring suit however and many may be unwilling to do so e g religious observance in schools 5 For some administrative agencies that depend on the courts for approval support from the courts is necessary 6 Can officially rebuke noncompliant individuals embarrassing them in public Checks on the Courts Congress creates lower federal courts No set size Judges can be removed although it is rare Can always amend the Constitution Can overrule the Court or at least attempt to through ordinary legislation ex RFRA The Courts Concluded October 15 2014 Federal Courts Federal courts have jurisdiction in the following instances Federal question Federal party Diversity jurisdiction Forum shopping Erie doctrine The Structure of Federal Courts District courts federal trial courts Circuit courts intermediate federal appellate courts Supreme Court Specialized courts e g Tax Court Three judge district courts Meant to expedite certain types of cases Appeals go directly to the SCOTUS Circuit courts sit en banc for important cases Deciding to Decide on the U S Supreme Court Petition for certiorari Discuss list Rule of four Writ of certiorari DIG What kinds of cases Broad legal and practical significance ripeness Mootness Conflict or uncertainty in the law e g a split in the circuits An impression that the lower court has made an error Cue Theory The Court has to wade through a lot of potential cases Fewer than one percent of appeals are actually heard by the Court Delegate some grunt work to clerks Cert pool Also make use of cues Solicitor General s involvement Amicus briefs Options Available to the Court Deny cert GVR Hand down an opinion Majority dissent or concurrence Per curiam Published vs unpublished decisions Ratio decidendi vs dicta Back to models of SC decision making Stare Decisis How would you figure out whether the Court stood on precedent The Politics of Judicial Selection President nominates with the advice and consent of the Senate Senatorial courtesy and blue slips Criteria for nomination to the SC Qualifications Policy preferences Reward Pursuit of political support State Courts Lots of variety Some crazy states have separate supreme courts for civil and criminal cases Texas Some crazy states call trial courts supreme courts New York Selection methods vary greatly Elections partisan and non partisan Appointment Missouri Plan


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