Unformatted text preview:

THE JUDICIAL BRANCHPOSC 1010Spring 2022Establishment (Review)■ Article III of Constitution– Only provides for Supreme Court– Lower (federal) courts left to Congress to form & organize– SCOTUS only given power as highest court of appeals“Court of Last Resort” (no mention of judicial review)Establishment (Review)■ Article III of Constitution– Federal courts given original jurisdiction in cases involving:■ Conflicts between states■ Where an ambassador or other public official is a party■ Federal laws are an issue (i.e., laws made pursuant to Constitution)■ Citizens of different states, or citizens of one state against another state■ U.S. citizens and foreign citizens or statesJudiciary, Intro■ Some terms:– Jurisdiction – literally “speak the law” – legal authority to enforce law, or (in case of judiciary) to hear cases■ Original jurisdiction – authority to initially hear a case■ Appellate jurisdiction – authority to hear appeals of a lower court’s decision– Prosecution (plaintiff) – the one lodging the complaint against another (can be the state (i.e., the gov’t) or individual(s))– Defendant (respondent) – the one against whom complaint is made (i.e., the one being tried)Judiciary, Intro■ “Court”– Originally referred to the king & his entourage – King decided on disputes between subjects■ Famous historic example: King Solomon (1 Kings 3:16-28)– Gradually developed into separate institution with judgesJudiciary, Intro■ “Court”– Framers based U.S. system on British Common Law■ Concept of stare decisis (Latin, “let the decision stand”)– Past decisions on specific matters form precedent for future decisions– Accumulation of precedent forms the common law & informs how laws are enforced (by executive branch) & judgedJudiciary, Intro■ “Court”– Role of court (judges & juries) is to apply law without bias■ Are to maintain detachment in decision as much as possible■ Including cases that involve the government– Rule of Law – people in government (should be) held to same legal standard as ordinary citizens ■ Judges should recuse selves where conflict of interestCases Decided by Courts■ Criminal – involving violation of a local, state, or federal statute– Misdemeanor – held to be a less serious offense, usually punishable by fine, occasionally brief jail time– Felony – a more serious offense, punishable by jail time, often loss of liberties, much larger fines, and/or capital punishmentCases Decided by Courts■ Civil – involving disputes between individuals that do not constitute violation of a statute– Contract law – failure of one party to fulfil their part of a legally binding agreement– Tort law – damage done due to negligence or malfeasance(ex., medical malpractice)Cases Decided by Courts■ Public Law– When a criminal or civil case leads to the questioning of the validity of a law or governmental action■ Constitutional law – branch of public law examining the constitutionality of laws or gov’t actions– Also a pretty fun (but tough) 4000-level POSC class■ Administrative law – adjudication of regulatory matters carried out by executive branch agencies; appealed to federal courtsCases Decided by Courts■ Public Law– Federal court decisions in public law can have wide-ranging implications – E.g., Roe v Wade, Brown v Bd. of Ed., etc.Levels of State & Federal CourtsU.S. District CourtsU.S. Court of AppealsState Trial CourtsState Appellate CourtsState Supreme CourtRequest for ReviewSCOTUSFederal Courts■ Lower Courts– Federal district courts located in every state■ 94 districts (some states subdivided)■ Have original jurisdiction for cases that have federal court standing■ Districts are assigned number of judges (magistrates) based on workload (e.g., district containing NYC will have more judges than district in SC)Federal Courts■ Lower Courts– Federal district courts located in every state■ Procedures:– Grand jury for indictments (required under BOR)– Single judge presides over a case– 12-member jury for trials (unanimity required for conviction)Source: www.flmd.uscourts.gov/you-are-hereFederal Courts■ Appellate Courts (est. 1891)– 12 circuits (where is #12 on map? Hint: not numbered as #12)– Appellate court in each circuit (covers all districts therein)– Handles ~10% of lower court decisions■ One of the parties must request an appeal■ Court decides which cases to reviewFederal Courts■ Appellate Courts (est. 1891)– Barring successful appeal to SCOTUS, appellate court decisions are final■ Therefore, there are safeguards:– Multiple-judge panels on each case, not a single judge– SCOTUS justice assigned to each circuit to review each decision■ Doesn’t necessarily mean full Court will take up review of decision– Typically, appellate courts don’t “retry” case, they make sure original trial was done fairly and that law was correctly appliedSupreme Court of the U.S. (SCOTUS)■ Chief justice (C.J.) and 8 associate justices– Current Court:■ C.J. John Roberts■ J. Clarence Thomas■ J. Samuel A. Alito, Jr.■ J. Sonia Sotomayor■ J. Elena Kagan■ J. Neil M. Gorsuch■ J. Brett M. Kavanaugh■ J. Amy Coney Barrett■ J. Ketanji BrownSCOTUS■ Justices (as are all fed. court judges) appointed by prez, approved by Senate– Senatorial courtesy – senators from potential nominee’s home state consulted prior to formal nomination of a fed. judge■ Note, currently 9 justices, but no constitutional requirement for that number– Number can be changed by Congress (originally 6; current number established in 1869)– Recall FDR’s threat to “stack the court” in 1937– Senate Democrats’ threat to add justices to get liberal majority (2020)SCOTUS■ Chief Justice presides over SCOTUS proceedings, but gets same vote & has no more power than other justices– Some CJ’s have exercised strong leadership over Court, others haven’t■ Judges serve indefinitely once appointed & confirmed– “During good behavior” (can be impeached)– Otherwise remain on the bench until they retire or expireSCOTUS■ Presidents (of course) appoint judges that will agree with their view of the Constitution– Doesn’t always work out… once on the bench, they often do their own thing ■ Recent examples:– J. Sandra Day O’Connor (ret.), appointed by Reagan, turned out to be somewhat liberal– J. David

View Full Document


Our administrator received your request to download this document. We will send you the file to your email shortly.
Loading Unlocking...

Join to view THE JUDICIAL BRANCH and access 3M+ class-specific study document.

We will never post anything without your permission.
Don't have an account?
Sign Up

Join to view THE JUDICIAL BRANCH 2 2 and access 3M+ class-specific study document.


By creating an account you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use

Already a member?