Europe 1815-1840s - Spring Branch ISD

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Europe 1815-1840s - Spring Branch ISD
The Judicial Branch
2012 Supreme Court
Female SCOTUS Justices
Past & Present
The Judicial Court System
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Local & State Courts
Three levels in the
federal court system
US District Courts
District Court Houston
US Courts of Appeals
US Supreme Court (SCOTUS)
Supreme Court Building
The Judicial Branch
in the Constitution
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Article I
Chief Justice presides at the impeachment trial
of a president
Article II
President nominates SCOTUS justices & other
federal judges; Senate confirms
Justices/judges can be impeached
Pres. Obama has nominated & had confirmed 2
SCOTUS justices, 30 US Appeals court judges &
128 District court judges
The Judicial Branch
in the Constitution
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Article III
The only court specifically mentioned is the
Supreme Court
Congress creates lower courts
Judges’ salaries cannot be cut during their term
Term… life… “good behavior”
The Judicial Branch
in the Constitution
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Original Jurisdiction… hearing a court case for
the first time
SCOTUS has original jurisdiction
Cases involving ambassadors, other ministers or
consuls
Cases involving one or more states
Appellate Jurisdiction… ability to review and
revise a lower court’s decision
Most SCOTUS cases are appellate
The SCOTUS is the court of last resort
Vocabulary
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Attorney… translate policies to legal language
then enforce or challenge
Litigants… the two sides of a case; plaintiff &
defendant
Plaintiff… accuses
Defendant… tries to prove the accusation
wrong
Vocabulary
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Interest Groups… may submit amicus curiae
briefs; some are involved because of the court’s
ability to shape policy through their decisions
Examples… NAACP or ACLU
Amicus Curiae Brief… “friend of the court”
Vocabulary
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Standing to sue… litigants must have a serious
interest in the case
Elk Grove ISD v Newdow… are the words “under
God” in the pledge of allegiance unconstitutional?
The SCOTUS did not answer the question,
because they said Newdow did not have
“standing to sue”
http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2003/2003_02_1624
Local & State Courts
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In Texas, judges are elected
Hear approximately 98% of all criminal cases
Most civil cases are settled out of court
Highest state court is State Supreme Court
Criminal case… a law is broken
Civil case… disagreement between groups or
broken contract, no law is broken
Federal District Courts
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Created by 1789 Judiciary Act
Have original jurisdiction
Use juries
94 district courts…
one in Houston
1 US attorney
in each court
Federal District Courts
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Vacancies are filled through use of “senatorial
courtesy”
Great weight is given to the views of the state
senators in which the district is located when the
Senate votes to confirm a nomination
If one or both Senators
are against the nominee,
the nominee rarely will
be confirmed
Federal Appeals Courts
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Created 1891 by Congress to help clear backlog
of cases in the Supreme Court
Divided into 12 districts
90% of cases are appeals from district court or
State Supreme Courts
Review decisions of the federal administration
agencies
Federal Appeals Courts
Federal Appeals Courts
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An appeal is based on a claim that the district
court made an error in procedure or in
interpretation of the law
If a case goes against the government in a
district court, the Solicitor General decides
whether to appeal the case
The Solicitor General also decides whether the
government should submit an amicus curiae
brief in appellate court
Solicitor General is third highest person in the
Department of Justice
Federal Appeals Courts
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Uses a panel of three judges / no jury / no
attorneys
Most cases decided by reading briefs & looking at
the records
There is no additional evidence and no witnesses
If lawyers are asked to present their side, they
have a time limit, usually 15 minutes, & judges
can interrupt and ask questions
When a district court decision is reversed, the
case is REMANDED (sent back) and there can be
another trial
SCOTUS
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Has both original & appellate jurisdiction
1 Chief Justice and 8 Associate Justices
“Rule of Four” to accept a case
If the court wants to hear a case, they issue a
writ of certiorari which asks for the
information/documentation
Or the court can say they agree with the lower
court decision and will not hear the case… stare
decisis
SCOTUS
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Over 10,000 cases are submitted each year
The court reviews approx. 100 of those cases
Decisions are reached by discussion & voting
Has no enforcement power—relies on other
branches to enforce decisions
The court does not give advice to the president
or to anyone else
SCOTUS Vocabulary
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Precedent… principle or rule established in a
previous court case
Judicial Review… case of Marbury v. Madison
Chief Justice John Marshall began idea that cases
should be compared to the Constitution
SCOTUS Vocabulary
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Judicial Restraint… court’s power to change
policy is limited; deferring to precedent is
important; the job of the court is to uphold laws
unless those laws are clearly unconstitutional.
Judicial Activism… allowing beliefs and
philosophy about public policy to influence
judicial decisions
SCOTUS Vocabulary
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The Supreme Court issues their decisions in
opinions
Majority Opinion… court decision with reasons
Concurring Opinion… supports the court
decision for different reasons
Minority or Dissenting Opinion… explains
reasons for disagreeing with the majority
opinion
SCOTUS Trivia
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Justices serve a life term… “good behavior”
The longest serving
Chief Justice served 34 years…
Chief Justice John Marshall
The longest serving
Associate Justice served
36 years…
William O. Douglas
SCOTUS Trivia
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The oldest Justice at retirement was 90 years
old when he retired; he had been on the
Supreme Court 30 years… Oliver Wendell
Holmes, Jr.
SCOTUS
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Court term begins each year on the first Monday
in October
Conference Handshake began in late 19th
century… before starting the day hearing cases
or discussing the cases in conference, each
justice shakes hands with all the other justices
Symbolizes that in spite of differences of
opinion, they are united in their purpose
SCOTUS
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Like federal appeals courts, there is no jury or
witnesses
No new evidence is submitted
Lawyers have 30 minutes to present their side
Justices can interrupt and ask questions during
the presentations
During conference, no one is with the justices…
no clerks, secretaries, media
The youngest serving justice is the door guard
SCOTUS
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Solicitor General supervises and represents the
government in cases before the Supreme Court
Approx. 2/3 of cases before the SCOTUS involve
the government
SCOTUS
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Court recesses in June, but justices spend the
summer reading and deciding which cases to
accept for the next term
Court decisions can be changed either by
passing a constitutional amendment or by a
future court decision
Example… Dred Scott case
Plessy v. Ferguson
Brown v. Board of Ed. of Topeka, KS
SCOTUS-Selecting a Justice
Criteria for selecting a person…
 Partisanship… same party as president
 Ideology… justices support president’s views
 Background… having law experience important
today
 Gender & race… have gained importance
 Geography… not as important as in the past
SCOTUS-Selecting a Justice
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When nominations run into trouble…
President’s party is minority in the Senate
President makes nomination at the end of their
term
Questionable competence or ethics
SCOTUS-Selecting a Justice
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Example… Harriet Miers and Robert Bork (1987)
Bork’s nomination was rejected because of his
judicial views
Bork was a conservative replacing a “swing voter”
Miers nomination was rejected for several
reasons… she was seen as too close to Pres.
Bush as White House counsel, documents the
Senate wanted were not released, seen as
conservatively unreliable, not qualified because
she had never been a judge
SCOTUS-Selecting a Justice
Announcement withdrawing Harriet Mier’s nomination
More Vocabulary
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Civil Liberties… protection from government
action; what the government cannot do, because
you possess these liberties
Found in the Bill of Rights
More Vocabulary
Not specifically in the Bill of Rights…
 Right to privacy… implied because of other
civil liberties, such as 4th Amendment
protection against unreasonable search &
seizure
 Equality… along with Due Process is in 14th
Amendment referring to “equal protection of the
laws”
More Vocabulary
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Incorporation Doctrine… the Bill of Rights
originally was considered to apply only to the
federal government.
See Barron v. Baltimore (1833)… Chief Justice
John Marshall stated Bill of Rights applied to the
federal government only
After passage of the 14th Amendment, SCOTUS
decided to apply various rights to the states on a
case by case basis, i.e. selective incorporation
Incorporation Doctrine
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Used for the first time in Gitlow v. New York
(1925)
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The question was whether the 1st Amendment
applied to states. The answer was yes, but Gitlow
still did not win his specific case based on the
content of his publication
Amendments that have been
incorporated
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All of the First, Fourth, and Sixth Amendments,
and all of the Fifth, except the right to
indictment by grand jury.
The Second, Third, Seventh, and Tenth
Amendments were not incorporated
The restrictions on excessive fines and bail from
the Eighth have not been incorporated
The Ninth Amendment has not been
incorporated
More Vocabulary
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Civil Rights… the government extends basic
rights to groups who have lacked rights in the
past
Based on 14th Amendment “no state shall…
deny to any person within its jurisdiction the
equal protection of the laws”
Rights can be extended through laws passed by
Congress
If Congress does not respond to a group’s
request for protection of rights, groups can use
court cases to gain rights
Civil Rights
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Civil Rights Act (1964)
Voting Rights Act (1965)
Americans with Disabilities Act (1990)
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Reed v. Reed (1971) established that decisions
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cannot be based solely on gender. In this case,
the parents were separated. Their son died and
the father was named executor of his estate,
because males were preferred over females.
The mother contested and won in SCOTUS
SCOTUS-Level of scrutiny or
When is discrimination permitted?
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Inherently suspect or strict scrutiny… a
classification that needs to be carefully explained
in detail, because in most cases the classification
would not be allowed.
Example is race or ethnicity or
content-specific speech
Race/ethnicity CAN be used as one of a variety
of criteria for college admissions, as long as it is
not the only criteria and is redressing past
discrimination
When is discrimination
permitted?
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Korematsu v. US (1944)… even though the law
was based on ethnicity, the court allowed the
law to stand, allowing people of Japanese
descent to be put in concentration camps during
WW II.
When is discrimination
permitted?
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Intermediate standard/scrutiny… if the
classification is a major component to meet a
government goal, it might be allowed
Example is gender
This classification was established in Craig v.
Boren (1976) when Oklahoma passed a law
establishing a drinking age of 21 for males and
18 for females. SCOTUS said this was not
allowed in this case, because statistics did not
prove that males were more likely than females
to have traffic accidents after drinking alcohol.
When is discrimination
permitted?
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Reasonableness or rational basis review…
the classification relates to a rational reason for
the discrimination.
Example… age
Setting an age limit to get a driver’s license
Child labor laws… setting an age limit to work at
a paying job (working for family is separate)
Chief Justices
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Earl Warren (1953-1969)… activist court with a
focus on protecting civil liberties & civil rights;
believed it was the job of the court to protect
rights
Warren Burger (1969-1986)… narrower
interpretation of rights, but not all
cases could be classified as judicial
restraint; i.e. Roe v. Wade (1973)
Chief Justices
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William Rehnquist (1986-2005)…
judicial restraint and importance
of the balance between the federal
government and the states (federalism)
John Roberts (2005-present)… “if the decision
is wrong, it should be overruled.
That’s not activism. That’s
applying the law correctly.”
Sources
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http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts.aspx
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_Court_of_Appeals_and_District_Court_map.svg
http://www.mcnabbassociates.com/uploads/2/0/5/4/2054289/8713417_orig.gif
http://www.ramosfamilylaw.com/Images/Harris_County_Family_Law_Center2.jpg
http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/art/artifact/Ga_Cartoon/Ga_cartoon_38_00652.htm
http://www.supremecourt.gov
http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2003/2003_02_1624
http://www.justice.gov/osg/
http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/UnderstandingtheFederalCourts/CourtofAppeals.aspx
http://history1800s.about.com/od/americanoriginals/a/jmarshallbio.htm
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL31171.pdf
http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/epcscrutiny.htm
http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/07US-Govt-and-4081FC.pdf
http://www.conservapedia.com/William_Rehnquist

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