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The Supreme Court

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  1. The Supreme Court

  2. Judicial Review • Judicial Review is one of the most important powers of the Supreme Court • It is the power to overturn any law that the Court decides is in conflict with the Constitution. • Marbury v. Madison established the precedent that gave the court Judicial Review.

  3. Marbury v. Madison (1803) John Marshall, the Supreme Court Justice, argued that the Court had the responsibility to declare any law unconstitutional that violated the Constitution.

  4. The Justices • No qualifications • The President chooses the Justice • from most respected judges, lawyers and legal scholars. • The Senate must approve the President’s appointment. President Bush with Justice Samuel Alito

  5. Justices There are 9 Supreme Court Justices 1 Chief Justice 8 Associate Justices Current Chief Justice: John Roberts

  6. All but 4 Supreme Court Justices have been white men Sandra Day O’Connor Thurgood Marshall Ruth Bader Ginsburg Clarence Thomas

  7. Sandra Day O’Connor1981 - 2006 • 1st Woman on Supreme Court • Appointed by President Ronald ReaganServed for over 24 years. • Often the “Swing Vote” – Centrist Views Currently The Only Retired Associate Justiceof the Supreme Court.

  8. Thurgood Marshall1967-1991 1st African American on Supreme Court Appointed by President Lyndon Johnson Served over 24 years Liberal Record – Strong Individual Rights NAACP Chief Counsel Won the Brown v. Board of Education

  9. WORK of the Supreme CourtHi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s off to work we go………. • Selecting Cases • Appeals involving federalgovernmentorfederal laws • Cases involving representatives from foreign governments and disputes between states • More than 8,000 appeals from lower courts • They hear arguments from only 100 of these a year

  10. WORK of the Supreme CourtHi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s off to work we go………. • Hearing Arguments • Each side submits briefs or written arguments. • The justices study the briefs and other records • Attorneys present an oral argument. They have about ½ an hour.

  11. WORK of the Supreme CourtHi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s off to work we go………. • Making a Decision • After hearing the arguments, the Court meets to discuss the case and vote on it. • The Chief Justice leads the discussion. Each justice has the opportunity to comment. • The Chief Justice calls for a vote. • A simple majority decides the case.

  12. WORK of the Supreme CourtHi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s off to work we go………. • Writing an Opinion • Decisions are accompanied by an Opinion. • An opinion is a written statement explaining reasons for the decision. • The Court’s opinion (the Majority Opinion) is written by one of the justices in the majority. • Those in agreement but for different reasons can write a concurring opinion. Those who disagree with the majority’s decision can write a dissenting opinion. • After all opinion’s have been written and finalized, the Justices announce their final decision. Copies are distributed to news reporters.

  13. Influences on Judicial Decision Making • Justices feel the laws and the Constitution reflect the will of the people. Therefore, they • Carefully review the laws. • Consider all related precedents. • Examine intentions of lawmakers Still, they are only HUMAN!!!

  14. Still, the are only HUMAN!! President’s try to appoint people who share their political views Presidential appointments can influence the Court’s decisions for many years.

  15. What Causes a Changing Court? • Shifts in public opinion • Justices own personal beliefs • Court Personalities: • Warren Court (1950-1969) • Burger Court (1969 -1986) • Rehnquist Court (1986 – 2006)

  16. The Warren Court Landmark Case Chief Justice Earl Warren Characterized by: Judicial Activism – An effort by judges to take an active role in policymaking by overturning laws relatively often.

  17. Landmark CaseRoe v. Wade Burger Court Characterized by: Judicial Restraint -an effort to avoid overturning laws and to leave policymaking up to the other branches of government. Chief JusticeWarren E. Burger

  18. The Court and Other Branches ……..checks and balances • President’s Power • Can appoint justices – if one dies or retires • Power of Congress • Refusing to confirm an appointment • Focus of political battle • Constitutional Amendment • Can cancel out a Supreme Court Decision Nominee 2005 - Harriet Miers

  19. Checks and Balances • Citizen’s Participation • Can turn to Amendment Process • Elect President’s who appoints Justices whose ideas you like PARTICIPATE IN GOVERNMENT!