Pearson Longman PoliticalScience Interactive. Shea, Green, and Smith Living Democracy, Second Edition Chapter 4: The Judiciary. The Adversarial System Judges serve as relatively passive and detached referees who do not argue with attorneys or challenge evidence. The Inquisitorial System
Shea, Green, and Smith
Living Democracy, Second Edition
Judges serve as relatively passive and detached referees who do not argue with attorneys or challenge evidence.
The Inquisitorial System
Judges take an active role in discovering and evaluating evidence, will question witnesses, and will intervene as deemed necessary.The Adversarial System
Dual Court SystemSeparate systems of state and federal courts
throughout the United States, each with
responsibilities for its own laws and constitutions.
“The legitimacy of the Judicial Branch ultimately depends on its reputation for impartiality and nonpartisanship.”
–Late Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun
What constitutes “cruel and unusual” punishment?
Whenever there are disputes about the meaning of the words and phrases in constitutions and statutes, judges are asked to provide interpretations that will settle the disputes.
Marbury v. Madison (1803)Judicial Review
Chief Justice John Marshall
Federal judges can only be removed from office by impeachment by Congress if they commit a crime.
How does this lack of accountability shape their decisions?
The process of judicial selection is a highly partisan and political process.
Because of the power wielded by the Supreme Court, presidents take a personal interest in selecting appointees.
George W. Bush and Harriet Miers
Four methods of judicial selection
The body of prior judicial opinions, especially those from the U.S. Supreme Court and state supreme courts, that establishes the judge-made law that develops from interpretations of the U.S. Constitution, state constitutions, and statutes
Approaches to constitutional interpretation
Courts cannot automatically ensure that their decisions are enforced and obeyed.
The “Trail of Tears”
Although Alexander Hamilton expected the judiciary to be the weakest of the three branches, public policy can be shaped by the courts.