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APAG Ch. 15 The Judiciary Assignment 2 Pages 457-477 1. How many Courts of Appeals are in the U.S.? Where do their cases come from? There are 13 U.S. Courts of Appeals. Most of their cases come from the federal district courts.

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APAG Ch. 15 The Judiciary


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apag ch 15 the judiciary

APAG Ch. 15 The Judiciary

Assignment 2

Pages 457-477

slide3
There are 13 U.S. Courts of Appeals. Most of their cases come from the federal district courts.
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The appellate court does not conduct another trial. It does not look at questions of fact, but rather questions of law (such as whether there is a violation under the Constitution). A panel of three or more judges will hear the case.
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Most cases end with the Court of Appeals because the Supreme Court will only hear a fraction of the cases filed.
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The three tiers are the Federal District Courts, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is the highest tier.
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The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction in cases that affect foreign diplomats and those in which a state is a party.
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A federal question must be involved (it has to do with either federal law or the Constitution).
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Interest groups litigate—bring to trial—or assist in litigating most cases of racial or gender-based discrimination, virtually all civil liberties cases, and more than one-third of the cases involving business matters.
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Amicus Curiae is a brief filed by a third party (friend of the court) who is not directly involved in the litigation but who has an interest in the outcome of the case.

A class-action suit is a lawsuit filed by an individual seeking damages for “all persons similarly situated.”

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9. When is the annual term of the Supreme Court? What percentage of federal cases are reviewed by the Supreme Court?
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The Supreme Court, by law, begins its regular annual term on the first Monday in October and usually adjourns in late June or early July of the next year.

Less than one-half of one percent of all cases reach the Supreme Court.

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Because the Supreme Court exercises a great deal of discretion over the types of cases it hears, it can influence the nation’s policies by issuing decisions in some types of cases and refusing to hear appeals in others, thereby allowing lower court decisions to stand.
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The Supreme Court justices decide themselves which cases will be heard. The rule of four is used. Four justices have to agree to hear a case.
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12. Factors that bear on the decision include:

1) Whether a legal question has been decided differently by various lower courts and needs resolution by the highest court.

2) Whether a lower court’s decision conflicts with an existing Supreme Court ruling.

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3) Whether the issue could have significance beyond the parties to the dispute.

4) Whether the solicitor general is pressuring the Court to take a case.

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13. What does the Supreme Court issue in order to hear a case? What is required for this issue?
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The Supreme Court’s consideration of a case is based on the abstracts, the record, and the briefs.
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All federal judges are appointed by the president with the consent of the Senate.

Once appointed, they keep the job for life.

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This is a Senate tradition allowing a senator of the president’s political party to veto a judicial appointment in his or her state simply by indicating that the appointment is personally not acceptable.
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Characteristics include a legal background, protestant, age 51-60, college graduate, male, and caucasian.
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20. Ideology plays an important role in the president’s choices for judicial appointments, especially the Supreme Court. Presidents want to institutionalize their political views long after they leave office. In recent history, we have seen the liberal court of Earl Warren shift to the conservative court of William Rehnquist and today John Roberts.
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During the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, partisan bickering increase between the Office of the President and the Senate. The result has been a backlog of federal judge appointments because of ideology.
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22. The power of judicial review was established in the Supreme Court’s decision in Marbury v. Madison. Under the direction of Chief Justice John Marshall, judicial review (the power to declare a law or action of the other two branches of government unconstitutional) was established. The case concerned whether the federal gov’t. had the power to establish a bank and if so, whether a state could tax the federal bank.
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23. Judicial Activism is a doctrine holding that the Supreme Court should take an active role in using its powers to check the activities of Congress, state legislatures, and administrative agencies when those government bodies exceed their authority. Judicial Restraint is the doctrine holding that the Supreme Court should defer to the decisions made by the elected representatives of the people in the legislative and executive branches.
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24. The liberals include John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Baber Ginsburg, and Stephen Breyer. The conservatives include Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, and Chief Justice John Roberts. The swing vote is Anthony Kennedy.
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25. It is too early to say how the Roberts Court will become. However, we will probably see the Court swing to a more conservative tone.
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1) Executive Checks – the lack of power to enforce decisions; appointments by the President and Senate

2) Legislative Checks – the power of the purse by Congress; Constitutional Amendments; rewriting laws

3) Public Opinion – the public can ignore a ruling of the Supreme Court

4) Judicial Traditions and Doctrines – Self-restraint; stare decisis (let it stand); justiciable suits (real cases); political questions (should be solved by the other two branches)

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27. Where are privacy rights listed in the Constitution? How did the Supreme Court affect this?
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27. The words “right to privacy” are not in the Constitution. Liberal Courts have established this right over time interpreting portions of the Constitution to establish this right. Justice Clarence Thomas, the most conservative of the justices, stated that there is no right to privacy in the U.S. This “right” is at the mercy of the Court.