Chapter 10 and Note Bundle
Chapter 10 and Note Bundle pol101
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Date Created: 10/10/15
Chapter 10 The American Legal System and the Courts Part 1 Keywords 0 John Locke 0 Thomas Hobbes 0 Civillaw tradition 0 Commonlaw tradition 0 Stare decisis 0 Adversarial system 0 Inquisitorial system 0 Litigious 0 Civil suits 0 Substantive laws 0 Procedural laws 0 Criminal laws 0 Civil laws 0 Tort 0 Constitutional law 0 Statutory laws 0 Administrative laws 0 Executive orders 0 Jurisprudence 0 Federal Judiciary Act 1789 0 Federalist No 78 0 John Marshall 0 Judicial review 0 Marbury v Madison 1803 0 Jurisdiction original appellate 0 Appeal 0 Trial courts 0 Intermediate courts 0 State supreme courts Laws are products of the political process They39re created to gain valuable resources 0 Civil peace 0 Security 0 Particular moral order 0 Power 0 In uence 0 Goods 0 Entitlements 0 Precedent 0 Stare decisis Laws eliminate traffic chaos Laws enforce contracts Laws ban violence Laws prohibit rape murder and incest Laws may give large states more power in the presidential election Laws may allow the majority party to draw electoral districts Laws give tax breaks to homeowners Laws subsidize dairy farmers Different political systems produce different legal systems Formal legal structures may be unnecessary in small homogenized communities Laws in authoritarian nations serve the rulers and the government Laws in authoritarian nations change whenever the rulers see fit Religious states assume that laws are created by God Anyone who violates such laws is a sinner Laws in nonauthoritarian nations serve the citizens Laws have 5 important functions in democratic nations 0 Provide security according to Locke and Hobbes 0 Provide predictability citizens aware of what actions are illegal 0 Resolve con icts via neutral thirdparties known as courts 0 Re ect and enforce conformity to societal values ex theft is wrong 0 Distribute society39s benefits and rewards allocate the costs of those things Civillaw tradition Legal system based on detailed legal code 0 The legislature usually creates a civil law tradition 0 Some codes are very old date back to 1804 0 Court rulings don39t have much weight in determining the law 0 The judge plays an active role in guring out the truth 0 There39s more emphasis on the outcome than the procedures 0 Fair procedures are still important The federal legal system is based on common law as are the states except LA Commonlaw tradition Legal system based on court rulings 0 This began in Great Britain 0 Royal judges made decisions based on their own judgment 0 They based their decisions on past legal decisions 0 These past legal decisions were uniform through Britain 0 They relied on precedent or stare decisis let the decision stand 0 Court rulings have far more weight in determining the law 0 The judge doesn39t take an active role in guring out the truth Americans are more focused on their constituents than a complete body of laws American laws are somewhat haphazard American judges rely on their discretion precedent and stare decisis Adversarial system Trial procedures that resolve con ict through two opposing sides 0 Plaintiff vs defendant 0 The winner may be the side with more skilled attorneys 39 Judges have a passive role 0 They apply the law and keep proceedings fair 0 They aren39t the truth seeker 0 This is apart of the American legal system 0 It fits with the United States39 emphasis on individualism and cultural values 0 It gives tremendous in uence to lawyers Inquisitorial system Trial procedures that resolve con ict through an active judge 0 The judge questions witnesses 0 The judge seeks evidence 0 The prosecution and defense are relatively minor 0 Many European nations use this Germany France etc The US legal system is litigious 0 Americans sue each other litigate a lot Civil suits cases seeking compensation from noncriminal actions 0 Medical malpractice 0 Breach of contract 0 Americans file more civil suits than citizens of other nations Americans39 openness and democratic concern may explain the large number of civil suits Litigation is necessary in democracies that are committed to individual freedoms and citizens39 rights There aren39t other ways to provide compensation and security from risk Americans39 belief in total justice may also explain the large number of civil suits Americans believe someone else is responsible for something bad happening The government occasionally tries to limit lawsuits 0 Caps on medical malpractice awards 0 These efforts usually have political motives 0 They don39t amount to anything usually Substantive laws content or substance of a law defines what we can and can39t do 0 We can39t exceed the speed limit 0 We can39t kill someone 0 We can39t shoplift 0 We can39t rob a bank 0 We can39t launder money 0 We can39t commit treason Procedural laws establish how the law is used applied and enforced 0 These detail how legal proceedings should work 0 These detail how defendants will be treated 0 These detail what juries can be told during a trial Procedural due process procedural protections for those who must deal with the legal system Substantive and procedural laws sometimes con ict with each other Someone guilty of breaking a substantive law might be exonerated if procedural laws were violated 0 The police didn39t read the accused his or her rights 0 Police brutality took place 0 The police forced the accused to sign a document saying they39re guilty 0 The police didn39t get a search warrant before searching someone39s house Different judges interpret procedural laws differently Criminal laws ban actions that the government believes endanger the public 0 Burglary 0 Homicide includes accidental and orchestrated homicide 0 Rape 0 Sexual harassment 0 Money laundering 0 Treason 0 Creditdebit card fraud 0 ID theft 0 Stock market fraud 0 Bank fraud 0 Libel 0 Tax evasion 0 J aywalking 0 DUI DWI 0 Sale and use of illicit drugs Crime Violation of criminal law The government prosecutes such cases The penalty depends on the severity of the crime 0 fine 0 community service 0 prison time sentence can range from a few weeks to life 0 death Criminals must pay their debt to society since their actions harm society Civil laws regulate disputes between individual citizens Citizens bring lawsuits against each other for various reasons 0 Breach of contract 0 Reckless behavior causes physical harm or property damage 0 Failure to fulfill contract terms These are injuries to individuals Tort violation of civil law The government provides an outlet where individuals can peacefully settle their disputes 0 It has no stake in the outcome aside from peaceful con ict resolution Someone can face both criminal charges and a civil lawsuit 0 A drunk driving incident causes a serious accident that injures a victim 0 Criminal charges DUIDWI 0 Civil lawsuit for compensatory damages medical expenses pain and suffering property damage etc 0 Punitive damages fine for causing injury The injured party tends to sue the involved party with the most money 0 That would be the bar that sold the alcohol to begin with The burden of proof is easier to meet in civil trials 0 The government is seen as more dangerous to civil liberties than individuals are Constitutional law laws that establish the government39s powers and limitations 0 These detail the interrelationships of government institutions 0 They guarantee citizens39 basic rights 0 They refer to rulings made by lower courts and the Supreme Court 0 The lower courts and the Supreme Court interpret the Constitution 0 Court rulings have become an important part of American constitutional law 0 These laws evolve over time Statutory laws laws passed by state or federal legislatures 0 They re ect the elected bodies39 will to represent the people 0 They can address almost every behavior 0 Wearing seat belts 0 Paying taxes 0 Making Memorial Day a federal holiday 0 These can be struck down if they violate basic government principles or constitutional rights Legislatures often give some of their legislative power to bureaucratic agencies and departments Administrative laws laws established by the bureaucracy on Congress39s behalf These include thousands of regulations 0 Limit amount of coloring in food 0 Determine how airports conduct air traffic 0 What kinds of material can be included in toys 0 Limit concentration of heavy metals in drinking water 0 Limit concentration of greenhouse gases released from factories and vehicles 0 What deductions may be legal when determining income tax These laws aren39t made by people who39re directly accountable to Americans 0 Bureaucratic decision making aren39t democratic by nature Executive orders Laws made by the president 0 These aren39t made with Congress39s participation 0 They39re only effective during the issuing president39s administration 0 Truman signed an executive order that integrated the armed forces 0 Lyndon B Johnson signed an executive order that included affirmative action in business Jurisprudence law philosophy 0 American jurisprudence is heavily based on Britain39s 0 The separate court system is unique to the US 0 Large states preferred a strong court system and a strong national government 0 Small states wanted a weak court system and a weak national government Judges can39t face pay cuts while they39re in office Judges who demonstrate good behavior will remain in office The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction in some cases 0 cases affecting ambassadors 0 cases affecting public ministers and consuls 0 cases affecting states The Supreme Court has appellate jurisdiction in all other cases Federal Judiciary Act 1789 This detailed how the court system would be organized An independent judiciary was a unique idea when the United States was founded It was ideal to those who believed in checks and balances and separation of powers 0 An independent judiciary could check the president and Congress 0 Others thought it posed an unknown threat Federalist No 78 The judiciary is the least dangerous branch 0 Hamilton argued that it didn39t have the power of the sword executive power 0 He argued it didn39t have the power of the purse legislative budget power 0 It could only judge passively 0 He implied that he wanted a stronger Supreme Court 0 The Court was seen as a weak harmless branch 0 It wasn39t very prestigious Judicial review The Court can review the acts of other branches of government 0 These acts must be constitutional 0 The Court can strike them down if they violate it 0 Hamilton supported judicial review 0 He said that using the Constitution to check the other branches represents Americans39 will 0 John Marshall created judicial review 0 This made the Court much more powerful 0 Judicial review began in Marbury v Madison Marbury v Madison 1803 established judicial review 0 Adams made midnight judicial appointments 0 These lastminute appointments irritated Jefferson 0 He wanted to appoint his own candidates 0 He told his secretary of state James Madison to discard the appointment letters 0 These included Marbury39s letter 0 The Judiciary Act said the Court should decide if Marbury got his appointment 0 It was a nowin situation for the Supreme Court 0 Marshall focused on the act that gave the Court this authority 0 He said Congress couldn39t give the Court the authority to enforce Marbury39s appointment 0 This part of the Judiciary Act was unconstitutional 0 Judicial review was born Judicial review vastly expanded the Court39s power Justices have used judicial review sparingly on federal laws 0 It39s used more often to strike down state laws The court system under the Federal Judiciary Act was too simple to handle complex legal cases 0 There were more legal cases popping up too The federal government system of the US has two separate court systems 0 State courts 0 Federal courts Most legal actions in the US occur at the state level Jurisdiction courts39 authority to hear certain cases 0 There are special rules on which courts have jurisdiction over which cases 0 Most cases fall under the state courts39 jurisdiction 0 Cases can go to federal courts if they raise certain questions 0 The state and federal courts39 jurisdiction is dictated by the Constitution and statutory law 0 There39s still room for political maneuvering Four basic characteristics of a case determine which courts have jurisdiction over it 0 How the federal government Via treaties or federal statutes or Constitution is involved 0 Who the parties in the case are is a state one of the parties 0 Where the case arose 0 How serious the offense is Cases that start in one level of government usually end in that level of government 0 Cases starting at the federal level usually end at the federal level 0 Cases starting at the state level usually end at the state level It39s rare for a case to move to different government levels 0 A case in the highest state court is appealed to the Supreme Court 0 These cases challenge federal law Cases come to state and federal courts under original jurisdiction or appellate jurisdiction Original jurisdiction cases that come straight to one court 0 No other court hears this case before that one court Appellate jurisdiction cases that a court hears on appeal 0 One of the parties believes that the law wasn39t applied properly at a lower court 0 They request a higher court to hear it Most cases heard by the Supreme Court come to it on appeal 0 The Court39s original jurisdiction is limited to certain cases 0 Cases involving ambassadors 0 Cases involving public ministers 0 Cases involving a state 0 Up to two or three cases a year fit these descriptions All parties in US lawsuits are entitled to an appeal 0 90 of losers in federal cases accept their verdicts without appeal 0 Further appeals are at the higher court39s discretion The Supreme Court is the highest court of appeals in the US 0 Its appellate jurisdiction is discretionary The Court may refuse to hear a case for various reasons 0 The justices think the case is frivolous 0 The justices agree with the lower court39s ruling Just because the Court agrees to hear a case doesn39t mean it39ll overturn the lower court39s ruling 0 It overturns the lower court39s ruling about 70 of the time 0 The Court may hear a case to say that it agrees with a lower court39s ruling 0 This allows the Court to set a precedent for other courts to follow State courts are similar in function and appearance They generally fall into 3 tiers State Supreme Courts Court of last resort Final court of appeals at state level All 50 states have state supreme court names vary No juries No questions of fact can arise Panel of 59 justices meet to discuss case Make decision and issue opinion Ruling is final unless case involves federal question case appealed to federal court Intermediate Courts of Appeals Hear cases from often major trial courts Number of judges geographic setup subject matter jurisdiction etc vary from state to state First Layer Trial Court Major trial courts Courts for less serious offenses Cases are heard here for the first time Cases often end here too Called county and municipal courts at minor level Called superior or district courts at major level State court judges are appointed through various procedures 0 These procedures are detailed in each state constitution 0 Appointment by governor 0 Election by state legislature 0 Election by entire state population Judicial elections are controversial Supporters say they give Americans a voice 0 They hold judges accountable 0 They keep judges in line with public opinion Critics say judicial elections are a con ict of interest 0 They can be in uenced by donations from large organizations Business Roundtable etc 0 Few Americans cast educated votes in judicial elections 0 The threat of defeat in an election could in uence judges39 rulings Chapter 10 The American Legal System and the Courts Part 2 Keywords 0 District courts 0 District Attorney 0 US Courts of Appeals 0 US Supreme Court 0 Strict constructionism 0 Judicial interpretivism 0 Senatorial courtesy 0 writs of certiorari 0 forma pauperis 0 Rule of Four 0 Dissenting from the denial 0 Solicitor general 0 Amicus curiae briefs 0 Judicial activism 0 Judicial restraint 0 Opinion concurring or dissenting Federal courts fall into 3 tiers US Supreme Court Highest court in American legal system Panel of 9 justices Usually but not always consist of top legal minds in the country FBI does background check on nominees Seen as above politics by public Lifetime rule President much more involved in Supreme Court appointments Usually belong to president39s party US Courts of Appeals Hear cases appealed beyond district court Only have appellate jurisdiction Review ruling of district court No evidence presented No new witnesses called No jury impaneled Lawyers present written briefs summarizing their arguments Make oral arguments as well Facts of case assumed to be true Rulings made by rotating panel of 3 judges Arranged in 12 circuits Circuits include several district court territories and district court where case was originally heard 12th circuit includes only Washington DC 12th circuit hears appeals involving government agencies large number of cases 13th Federal Circuit Court hears cases over patents and copyrights District Courts Lowest level of federal courts 94 district courts Each state has 1 largest states each have 4 Appellate level Original jurisdiction over all federal cases Original jurisdiction over cases involving Constitution Original jurisdiction over cases involving Congress Original jurisdiction over other aspects of the federal government Tackles variety of issues EPA lawsuits etc Hear both criminal and civillaw cases Evidence is presented Witnesses called to testify Attorneys representing both sides question and crossexamine witnesses civillaw case Attorney represents government criminal law case 1 district attorney per district appointed by president with Senate39s consent Juries return the final verdict Strict constructionism calls for a literal interpretation of the Constitution 0 The Framers39 intentions are the most important 0 No one can change its meaning 0 Amendments are the only way to change the Constitution 0 This is often held by conservatives Judicial interpretivism calls for uid interpretation of the Constitution 0 The Constitution is a living document 0 The framers couldn39t predict every issue that could pop up 0 Justices should interpret it in response to social changes 0 Example implied right to privacy 0 This is often held by liberals The Court has swayed between strict constructionism and judicial interpretivism 0 Justices have become more conservative over time Supreme Court justices have been traditionally White male Christians 0 Carter started a trend towards a more diverse Supreme Court 0 Clinton continued this trend 0 Reagan the Bushes and Obama followed suit Justices Kagan and Sotomayor are female justices 0 Sotomayor is Latina No AsianAmerican justices have been appointed No NativeAmerican justices have been appointed Only 1 Hispanic and 2 AfricanAmericans have been appointed Many believe the Supreme Court should represent national demographics 0 Racial minority populations are expanding at higher rates The appointee39s ideology has become an important qualification 0 Presidents have become more aware of political in uence in the courts 0 This started with Nixon 0 They39ve tried to the use appointments to extend their political legacies 0 Nixon Reagan and HW Bush tried to limit liberal in uence in the courts 0 This liberal in uence started with the New Deal 0 Carter tried to limit conservative in uence in the courts 0 Clinton appointed moderate justices like Gerald Ford did W Bush39s judicial positions were 562 Republican by the end of his term 0 Obama has tried to appoint liberal justices 0 The Court is still strongly conservative 0 The president39s nominees face a battle in the Senate 0 Senate majority leader Harry Reid invoked a nuclear option 0 The nuclear option eliminated the filibuster on nonSupreme Court federal nominees Senatorial courtesy grants senior senators of the president39s party great power over federal judicial appointments in their home states 0 Bush and the Senate Republicans weakened this practice somewhat 0 Senate Republicans tried to restore it once Obama became president Senate Judiciary Committee plays largest role in confirming presidential appointments 0 They hold hearings 0 They invite the nominee their colleagues and concerned interest groups to testify These hearings sometimes become political battlefields 0 The Senate majority party isn39t the president39s party 0 Senate minority party may use filibusters to in uence the confirmation The Supreme Court doesn39t hear every case that comes to it 0 It receives about 8000 petitions per year 0 It hears about 80 or 90 of them 0 Its decision to hear them is political in nature Writs of certiorari losing party in lower court case writes down why the Court should hear the case 0 These come with a 300 filing fee 0 Someone who can39t afford the filing fee petition the Court in forma pauperis 0 F orma pauperis exempts them from the fee and strict writing rules 0 The Supreme Court can grant or deny writs of certiorari The case must have harmed the losing party in some way 0 No question about an abstract principle 0 No political question justices may or may not agree on this The case must be in the Court39s jurisdiction Law clerks are usually recent law school graduates 0 They39ve usually served as clerks to judges in lower courts 0 They must read all the petitions 0 They summarize them in a fivepage memo 0 Their summaries must include a recommendation on whether to hear the case or not Rule of Four 4 justices must agree to grant a writ of certiorari before hearing a case 0 This isn39t a written rule Justices deny writs of certiorari for various reasons 0 The case isn39t important enough 0 The case isn39t special enough Dissenting from the denial efforts to persuade other justices to hear case 0 These justices strongly believe that the case is important 0 This practice has become more common recently lt5 of cases appealed to the Supreme Court survive the screening process Solicitor General Justice Department officer 0 This is the federal government39s lawyer 0 They argue the government39s cases before the Supreme Court 7080 of cases appealed by the federal government survive the screening process 0 The justices trust that the solicitor general can weed out frivolous lawsuits 0 The federal government39s interests hold a high stature 0 The solicitor general is highly experienced Amicus curiae briefs friend of the court documents 0 These are filed by interested parties 0 They encourage the Court to grant or deny certiorari 0 They urge the Court to decide a case in some way 0 These appear to improve the likelihood that the Court will hear a case 0 Economic interest groups file these more often than other kinds of groups 0 Their interests most often in uence justices to grant certiorari Judicial activism courts should be active lawmaking policymaking bodies 0 Judicial activism supporters agree with overturning precedents 0 They agree with judicial review 0 They agree that the courts should help shape government policy 0 The Court has frequently followed this concept in its history civil rights etc Judicial restraint courts should stick to past rulings 0 Judicial restraint supporters believe strongly in stare decisis 0 They don39t think that courts should be part of the lawmaking process 0 Active lawmaking by the Court is unconstitutional These viewpoints usually line up with interpretivism and constructionism respectively Neither one is necessarily liberal or conservative The Court isn39t separate from politics 0 Pressure from interest groups 0 Ideological leanings toward the president 0 Public opinion 0 J ustices39 relationships with each other Opinion written part of decision that details the Court39s majority judgment 0 This is the case39s legacy 0 It39s very important for how the nation will understand the Court39s ruling 0 They39re either concurring or dissenting Concurring opinions Documents written by justices who agree with the ruling 0 They may agree for different or additional reasons for the ruling Dissenting opinions Documents written by justices who disagree with the ruling
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