1 / 15


Institutions. Unit IVD National Judiciary. American Legal System. Criminal Law Cases An individual violating a specific law based on regulating morality Misdemeanor Less serious crime; less than 1 year incarceration; fines Felony More serious crime; more than 1 year incarceration

Download Presentation


An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author. Content is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use only. Download presentation by click this link. While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server. During download, if you can't get a presentation, the file might be deleted by the publisher.


Presentation Transcript

  1. Institutions Unit IVD National Judiciary

  2. American Legal System • Criminal Law Cases • An individual violating a specific law based on regulating morality • Misdemeanor • Less serious crime; less than 1 year incarceration; fines • Felony • More serious crime; more than 1 year incarceration • Varying degrees of crimes based on intent • Civil Law Cases • Involving a perceived violation of civil rights or legal relationships • i.e. contracts • Lawsuits • Class action involves a one or a few representing many affected • Basic Structure of a Court • Litigants • Plaintiff – brings up charges, sues • Burden of proof • Defendant/respondent – answering charges • Lawyers • Prosecution – government lawyers accusing of criminal charges • Public defenders – government-paid lawyers for criminally-charged individuals • Jury • Trial by jury; one may request a bench trial or trial by jury • Judge • Presides over the case; rules on objections; final ruling; passes sentence • Public • Audience members, interest groups, relations to litigants

  3. Constitutional Structure • Article III establishes the judicial branch • United States Supreme Court • Congress establishes lower federal courts • Judiciary Act of 1789 • Also set number of SC justices, position of Chief justice • Constitutional Courts • District Courts (original jurisdiction) – 1789 • Each state has at least one district court • 94 district courts • Courts of Appeals (appellate jurisdiction) – 1891 • 13 Courts of Appeals separated by geographic circuits • Legislative Courts • Agency reviews (taxes, trade, bankruptcy) • Not subject to Article III parameters

  4. Court of Appeals

  5. Jurisdiction • Original Jurisdiction • Court is the first to hear the case • Appellate Jurisdiction • Reviewed by a higher/alternate court • Supreme Court’s Jurisdiction • Original jurisdiction involving cases with ambassadors, foreign ministers, consuls, state is a party • Appellate jurisdiction in all other cases • From federal district or appeals courts, or state supreme courts involving federal law or Constitution • Concurrent Jurisdiction • Cases may be tried in state or federal courts

  6. Dual Court System • Federal Court System • Federal-Question cases • Arising under the Constitution, the law of the U.S., and treaties • Diversity cases • Involving different states or citizens of different states • Dual Sovereignty • Either state or federal court can review case if both state and federal laws broken • State Court Systems • Circuit court system with original and appellate jurisdiction courts • State supreme court decisions final law in respective state • May be appealed to U.S. Court of Appeals and Supreme Court if a constitutional question

  7. Federal Judges • Serve “during good behavior” – Article III • Life terms • Appointment • Not elected hence not directly subject to political pressures • President appoints with advice and consent from the Senate • Senatorial courtesy

  8. Nominating a Supreme Court Justice • Presidential appointments politicized • Party Affiliation • Political Ideology • Litmus Test • Asking questions about stance on major issues, i.e. abortion • Race, Gender, Religion, Region • Judicial and Legal Experience and Record • Political Acceptability • Legal organizations • American Bar Association • Interest groups • U.S. Senate • Simple majority required • Other justices

  9. Checking and Balancing Judges • Adversarial System • Issue between two parties settled by an impartial judge or jury • Justiciable Dispute • Based on an actual situation and not a hypothetical test • Political Questions • Disputes between Congress and the President or a matter left to a branch of government • Appointments • President appoints with Senate approval • Impeachment • House of Representatives may impeach a federal judge and the Senate tries • Structure of the Courts • Congress may alter the number of district or appellate courts, number of SC justices • Amendments • Overrule a federal court decision by amending the Constitution or bounding the courts to the supreme law of the land

  10. The U.S. Supreme Court • Currently made of 9 justices, including a Chief Justice and 8 associate justices • Congress determines the number of justices • $217,400 salary for Chief Justice • $208,100 salary for Associate Justices

  11. The Supreme CourtAccepting Cases • Original Jurisdiction • Cases involving ambassadors, foreign ministers, consuls, or state a party • Very few cases are reviewed by the SC • Only a 100 out of 10,000 cases a year • Lower court decision stands if SC refuses to hear case • Justices may recuse themselves if conflict of interest • Rule of Four • Four of the nine justices must agree to hear/review a case • Writ of Certiorari • SC directs lower court to provide all records regarding a case when petitioned for review

  12. The Supreme CourtReviewing and Hearing a Case • Case Briefs • Written arguments provided to SC prior to oral arguments • Cites legal arguments, legal precedents, previous court decisions • Amicus curiae brief (friend of the court) • Used by interest groups with a vested interest in case providing an additional legal perspective • Oral Arguments • 30 minutes for each party counsel • Justices may ask questions during oral arguments • Solicitor General • Argues on behalf of the United States

  13. The Supreme CourtDeciding a Case • Conferences • Justices discuss the case on Wednesday afternoons and Fridays • Writing Opinions • Most opinions written by justice’s law clerks • Majority opinion • The official opinion of the court, the supreme ruling • Outlined by legal reasons • Dissenting opinion • Justices who disagree with the majority opinion write a dissent outlined by legal reasons • Concurring opinion • If a justice concurs with the majority but disagrees with the legal reasons

  14. Supreme Court History • Marshall Court (early 19th century) • Marbury v. Madison (1803) – judicial review; constitutionality of laws and policies • Pro-Federalist decisions – expansion of national government power and influence • Taney Court (mid 19th century) • Scott v. Sanford (Dred Scott decision) (1857) • Pro-Democratic decisions – states’ rights and limited government • Late 19th Century-Early 20th Century • Wake of 14th Amendment – incorporation • Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) • Pro-business, pro-laissez-faire decisions during Gilded Age-Progressive Era • New Deal (1930s) • FDR’s court-packing to save New Deal policies from conservative rulings • Warren Court (1950s-1960s) • Active in civil rights and civil liberties decisions; “most liberal court ever” • Brown v. Board of Education, Miranda v. Arizona • Burger Court (late 1960s- early 1980s) • More conservative regarding rights of defendants • Roe v. Wade, Regents of UC v. Bakke • Rehnquist and Roberts Courts (late 1980s-2010s) • Continues the conservative ideology • McDonald v. Chicago, Citizens United v. FEC

  15. The Supreme CourtPolicymaking and Philosophy • Judicial Restraint - Originalism • Limit the initiative on social and political questions • Passive on policymaking • Strict interpretation of the Constitution • “The Constitution is not an empty bottle…it is like a statue, and the meaning doesn’t change.” – Antonin Scalia • Judicial Activism – Living Constitution • Active role in society and politics • Judicial intervention • Loose interpretation of the Constitution • “We are under a Constitution, but the Constitution is what the judges say it is.” – Charles Evans Hughes

More Related