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PSCI 1040 Courts and Judiciary notes UNIT 3

by: Olivia Brooksbank

PSCI 1040 Courts and Judiciary notes UNIT 3 PSCI 1040

Marketplace > University of North Texas > History > PSCI 1040 > PSCI 1040 Courts and Judiciary notes UNIT 3
Olivia Brooksbank

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This covers the courts, the power of the court, judges and the judiciary! Notes covered in class and notes covered from the book! Take a look! You gotta know this stuff for the test!
American History
Wendy Watson
Class Notes
political science, history, PSCI
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This 8 page Class Notes was uploaded by Olivia Brooksbank on Friday April 8, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSCI 1040 at University of North Texas taught by Wendy Watson in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 49 views. For similar materials see American History in History at University of North Texas.


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Date Created: 04/08/16
Notes: Judiciary 4/7/16 The power of the court Power of Federal Judges: - Weakest branch because there are limits on the court’s ability to make policy affective - The way they affect policy through two mechanisms: Statutory Interpretation and constitutional interpretation - Statutory interpretation (limited): Imposing regulations, saying what congress wanted when regulating, it is up to the courts to decide what the law IS, what it MEANS, INTERPRET WHAT CONGRESS MEANT - Constitutional Interpretation (Judicial Review): Where their main power is! The Supreme Court decides what the constitution means and decide if the actions of the legislative and executive branches are doing things correctly. They interpret the constitution. - Judicial Review: Marbury v. Madison > Expanded the Judiciary! Interpret the constitution and decide if the powers and actions of the executive and legislative branches are constitutional and if they are not they can be undone No mechanism for enforcement - They only have themselves, no army to stand behind them - Life Tenure: They have the power to do things people don't like at times, Legislators and the executive branch have to respond to public will but the judges have life tenure so they are insulated so they can abide by what the constitution really means and stand by the law. - Impeachment: If the judge does something wrong (bribe, criminal behavior…) Implementation and impact of decisions - Supreme Court does not have the power to execute its own laws Adherence not a given - INS v. Chadha and the legislative veto (Executive branch acts and the Legislative branch can override executive decisions). Born in Kenya and came to the US, Kenya declared independence from Britain so he couldn't be a citizen from any country. So he stayed in US. - Brown v. Board of education: Implementation was problematic. Schools had to unsegregate schools Judges Decision Making Attitudinal Model: - (Dominant Model): Strategic behavior - Judicial decisions are designed to bring out the outcomes from the attitudes enforcing the law - Taking into consideration what other people are going to do before decision Legal Model: - Deference to congress - Neutral judges - They are making PURE legal decisions - Interpreting the law properly Three approaches to constitution - Plain meaning: WORDS on a page, meanings, interpret what it says - Original intent: To the extent that we don't know what words mean and have multiple meanings we are unsure of what the founding fathers really meant. - Living Constitution: The meaning of the constitution changes over time with technology, world circumstances and we should interpret it differently over time… Judicial Policymaking and Democracy - Judges shape public policy - Judges see themselves as interpreters - Problem: Interpreting the law and making law are so close together, it is hard to interpret without your own policy preferences shading those decisions. - If judges cannot avoid making policy…then how can we justify their existence in a judicial system? Notes: Judiciary 4/7/16 The power of the court - Counter majoritarian argument ^^^ We need another branch to check the majority, we need an independent judiciary to protect the minority interest. JUDICIAL BRANCH Notes The Judiciary Reading notes 4/5/16 The Supreme Court - Made of NINE justices Article III Contains guidelines: - Outlining the structure of the federal court system - The parameters governing judicial terms and compensation - the jurisdiction of the federal courts - Specific treatment of the crime of treason The constitution ONLY created the Supreme Court and left the creation of all lower courts of the federal judiciary to the US congress Review: 1. The minimum number of Supreme Court justices that have served at one time - SIX 2. The judiciary act did what… - Created a three-tiered federal court structure 3. Description of the Supreme courts early history - The Supreme Court met in a variety of places Jurisdiction: - Jurisdiction: The authority to decide a legal issue or case - Original jurisdiction: The power to hear a case for the first time, the Supreme court has both the appellate and original jurisdiction - Appellate jurisdiction: The power to review cases originally heard in a lower court - The Constitution grants the supreme court TWO types of jurisdiction, Original andAppellate - When a federal case involves two or more states the Supreme Court is the only appropriate venue for holding the trial - The vast majority of cases are filed in state courts, the structure of each of the state court systems is outlined by each state constitution, so organization of courts varies from state to state Review: 1. An example of a case that would fall under the ORIGINAL jurisdiction of the Supreme court. -Acase involving a dispute between Kansas and Missouri 2. An example of a case that would fall under theAPPELLATE jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. -Adecision made in the US Court ofAppeals for the second circuit 3. What the supreme court considers when hearing a case on appeal. -APPLICATION OF THE LAW 4. This Court hears the most cases per year. - State trial courts Notes The Judiciary Reading notes 4/5/16 The Court has expanded its influence through the power of judicial review - The judiciary has the power to INTERPRET FEDERAL LAWS - The influence of the Supreme Court broadened with its 1803 decision in Marbury v. madison, which ESTABLISHED the Court’s power of judicial review - Judicial Review: The supreme court’s ability to interpret the constitutionality of any act of Congress, the executive branch, or the states - Writ of Mandamus: An order issued by the supreme court requiring a government agent to carry out a legal duty The Judicial review has given the judicial branch a more equal share of institutional power by allowing it more control over the other two branches. - The supreme court established the ability to STRIKE down state laws that conflict with the constitution - Afinal check on judicial power is provided through the process of constitutional amendment, the court may have the power to interpret the constitution and even invalidate federal and state laws that violate its principles, but IT DOES NOT have the power to formally amend the constitution Review: 1. The Supreme Court’s power first significantly increased in… - Marbury v. Madison 2. The case of Marbury v. Madison established… - Court’s power of judicial review 3. Judicial review allows the supreme court to… - Strike down any law 4. The ConstitutionalAmendment allows congress to… - check the power of the Supreme Court The supreme court cannot initiate a case, but it can choose which case it hears: - The Supreme court relies on other arms of the federal government to uphold and implement its decisions - The Supreme court’s powers are limited in the way of it cannot choose which cases enter the judicial system - During the CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT the Supreme Court faced difficulty enforcing its rulings Access to the Supreme Court steps - In order for a case to reach the supreme court it needs to be able to prove personal or economic injury - Apetition of a writ of certiorari is filed in the first step of an appeal case Supreme Court’s Decision-Making Process - Amicus Curiae: Atype of brief filed by a “friend of the court” or someone who is not directly involved in the case at hand - Majority Opinion:Awritten opinion that establishes the decision of the court, offers a legal rationale for that decision and sets a precedent for future related cases Notes The Judiciary Reading notes 4/5/16 - Concurring opinion: Opinion that agrees with the conclusion but not the reasoning of the majority opinion of the court - Dissenting opinion: An opinion that disagrees with the conclusion of the majority opinion of the court - Oral argument stage: The justices ask questions not answered in the briefs - The chief justice is a TIEBREAKER - JUDGES decisions can be influence by personal experience, judicial philosophy, political ideology and political context Equal protection clause - Portion of the 14th amendment that requires the states to treat citizens equally under the law. Notes: The Courts Book notes 4/5/16 Judicial Review is an important feature of our republican form of government - Judicial Review: Practice of the judiciary, at both the state and federal levels, in which the courts determine whether a law or executive action is consistent with the constitution - There is nothing in the constitution that specifically gives the power of judicial review to the courts. - The constitution extends to the courts the JUDICIAL POWER (Marbury v. Madison) - JUDICIAL REVIEW:Allows the court to give voice to minority interests - Affirming the first amendment rights of the Westboro Baptist church is an unpopular court decision - THE COURT HAS THE POWER TO INTERPRET THE CONSTITUTION - Methods of judicial election help to ensure judicial independence - The president appoints all federal judges - SENATE MUSTAPPROVE THE NOMINEE FOR JUDGE OR THE PRESIDENT MUST GO BACK AND NOMINATEANOTHER - President and senate are elected by the people Terms: - Partisan Elections: Elections in which the candidates for the bench are publicly affiliated with a political party - Nonpartisan elections: Require the candidates to run without showing any party affiliation - Gubernatorial selection: Requires the consent of the state legislature, but still gives the governor a fair amount of power Review: 1. The method of selecting judges that is called the Missouri plan - Merit selection 2. The method that most closely resembles the federal method of selecting judges - Gubernatorial appointment 3. Method of selection gives judges the greatest JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE. - The federal method 4. Retention election -An election to determine whether someone who currently holds a position may keep it There are both pros and cons to tort reform - Tort:Asituation in which one person’s negligence causes harm to another person. - The term TORT encompasses car accidents, medical malpractice (misdiagnosis), and product liability (exploding lawnmower) - Compensatory damages: Monetary awards that compensate the plaintiff for his or her direct losses Ethical decision making is central to attorney conduct - Attorney-client privilege is the most important of the rules that attorneys must abide by - Attorney-client privilege: anything you say to your lawyer remains secret between the two of you Courts act at once to protect minority rights while being consistent with public opinion and consistent with democratic norms. The court’s primary function is to resolve disputes between citizens Notes: The Courts 4/5/16 UNIT 3 What do courts do? Their role in society! = Resolve disputes: - Criminal case: Cases where government is prosecuting and individual or corp for violating the public interest (Ex: if you kill someone you have hurt them, but you have also harmed society and that is why the court prosecutes you) - Civil case: Between private citizens/corp, violations of norms and grievances - Contracts:Agreements, explicit - Torts: when there is not an agreement but an understanding in the community for what is reasonable behavior Differences between Criminal and Civil - Criminal: Be imprisoned or executed - Civil:Always about money never be put in prison, you're obligation is to make the other person hold by giving them money and compensating them - Burden of proof: CRIMINAL CASE the state accuses me of murder they must have proof, a lot of proof. In a CIVIL CASE pondering of the evidence, more likely or not that they are in the wrong. Apply the law - To resolve the disputes they rely on the law - Constitutions provide this basis - Law comes from courts through the development of cases In order to apply the law you must aim for in the law: - Courts apply the law - Consistency - Know what the law is - Certainty Courts ofAppeals: - Points of Law ONLY - No witnesses/juries - Trial court: decide factually what occur then apply the facts - Appeal: the question of law, was the law applied correctly Federal Courts: Jurisdiction (What authority the court has) 1. Diversity jurisdiction: Two parties are from different states and they are arguing about a lot of money 2. Federal question jurisdiction: Lawsuit itself is a federal question, for example if I were to sue UNT for gender discrimination I would sue because they violated state and federal anti discrimination laws that says that employees cannot discriminate Structure of the US Court System: State Supreme Courts > US Supreme court <<< Original Jurisdiction ^ ^ ^ State Courts of appeals US circuit courts of appeals ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ State Trial Courts Federal Trial courts Notes: The Courts 4/5/16 UNIT 3 Federal Courts ofAppeals - District courts: Federal trial courts can have anywhere from 8 to 80 judges who hear cases one at a time, single judge - District: Representative district that is carved on the map US Supreme Court: Court composition - Chief Justice: Nominated by the president, one of the 9 justices - Associate Justices - 9 Justices! - Among the nine one of them is designated as the chief of justice Taking this case to supreme court - Plenary Jurisdiction: They pick the cases that they want to heat - This is done by filing a crib of certiorari: If there is someone unhappy they sign a petition and ask the supreme court to hear the case. Rule of 4 8000+ > 80 If your case is accepted Briefs: (Written arguments to explain what happened, why you should win, the law, why the court made a bad or good decision…, etc.) - Parties - Amicus curiae:Afriend of the court OralArguments - Arguments aloud - Attournies show up and they each have half an hour to argue Conference Vote OpinionAssignment - Majority: Opinion that is signed on by at least 5 of the justices - Dissent: “I disagree” and why - Concurrence: You agree with the outcome but you disagree with the reason


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