f. Background of justices: Not representative of the general population in social class, age, race or educational background. • 3. Appointing Justices • a. Appointed by Pres. w/ advice and consent of Senate (maj vote)
1. 110 have served, over 150 appointed, 30 rejected. Most recently Robert Bork, of Reagan. • a. lame-duck status of the President • b. Poor relations w/ the Senate • c. Senate and President had different philosophies. • d. Nominee judged to be unqualified.
2.Factors influence the President’s choice: • a.Political Considerations: Someone from his own party. • b.Judicial Philosophy: Same ideas, not always fool proof (Eisenhower) • c. Past relations w/ President. • d. Balance the Court’s geo, racial, religious, gender composition. • e. ABA • f. Special Interest Groups • g. S.C. Members.
4. Term of Office: Life “during good behavior” • a. Advantages: • 1. Experienced • 2. Not biased or dependent on politics or public opinion. • 3. Allows for continuity and stability • 4. Shorter terms allow a President to stack the ct. • 5. For most part judges are competent.
b. Disadvantages to life tenure: • 1. Less removed and less responsive to public will. • 2. No accountability, can’t review performance. • 3. Impeachment only for legal reasons, not incompetence. • 4. Bias to old values, lags behind the times. • 5. CURRENT SUPREME Court
Sec1.: Supreme Court at Work • A. The Supreme Court’s Term • 1. SC meets 9 months each year. Term starts First Monday in Oct and runs through July. • 2. Two weeks each month for oral arguments. Take place Mon to Wed, open to public. On Wednesday and Friday meet in secret conferences to decide cases.
3. Other two weeks per month are devoted to research and writing opinions. • 4. Nearly 10,000 cases appealed each year. About 100 receive full hearings and written opinions.
B. Cases reach the Court in one of two ways: • 1. On appeal: About 10% arrive on appeal, involve constitutionality of law. • 2. Writ of Certiorari: Order from the Ct. to a lower ct. to send up the records on a case for review, both sides may petition for cert. If individual is too poor, court costs for petition is waived (In forma pauperis) • 3. Approx. 5 cases per term go directly to the Court as part of its original jurisdiction.
C. Steps in Deciding Major Cases • 1. Petition for writ of certiorari • 2. law clerks read petitions and write summaries for justices to read. • 3. One justice must agree to place the case on the Discuss List to be reviewed. • 4. In conference, the case’s merits are discussed, at least 4 must vote to place on the Court’s docket (Rule of 4). If ct. does not accept, lower court’s ruling stands. Will issue a brief per curiam opinion, an unsigned statement of the court’s decision.