American Government Laws and Institutions
American Government Laws and Institutions PSCI 1040
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Date Created: 10/25/15
The Federal Courts I Courts I Jurisdiction definition and types I Federal court jurisdiction I Organization of the federal courts I US District Courts I US Courts of Appeals I US Supreme Court I Selection and confirmation of Article III judges I Supreme Court s original jurisdiction I Supreme Court s appellate jurisdiction I Supreme Court and judicial review I Marbury v Madison 1803 I Current ChiefJustice of the United States I Supreme Court processes ways to get on the Supreme Court s docket I Writs of certiorari I Rule of Four I Types of Supreme Court opinions majority concurring dissenting The Texas Courts I Civil law versus criminal law I Jurisdiction of state courts I Typical structure of state courts I Structure of the Texas judicial system I Methods ofjudicial selection in the states I Judicial accountability I Judicial independence I Methods ofjudicial selection in Texas I Campaign finance reform and judicial elections in Texas Civil Liberties I Civil liberties definition I Selective incorporation I Barron v Baltimore 1833 I The Civil War and the Bill of Rights I Freedom of expression I Clear and present danger test I Fighting words doctrine I Balancing doctrine I Fundamental freedoms doctrine I Strict scrutiny I Intermediate scrutiny I Contentbased restrictions on speech I Contentneutral restrictions on speech I Symbolic speech I Examples of symbolic speech protected by the Supreme Court and examples of symbolic speech not protected by the Supreme Court I Categories of unprotected speech I Obscenity I The Miller Test I Libel NYT v Sullivan 1964 Actual malice Rights of the criminally accused Search and seizure Exclusionary Rule Mapp v Ohio 1961 When must the government provide a criminal defendant with an attorney Cruel and unusual punishment When is the death penalty considered cruel and unusual punishment Right to privacy Undue burden test Limits on access to abortion upheld and invalidated by the Supreme Court Civil Rights Civil rights definition Equality of opportunity Equality of outcome The Thirteenth Amendment The Fourteenth Amendment The Fifteenth Amendment The Civil Rights Cases 1883 Plessy v Ferguson 1896 NAACP and Civil Rights Litigation Brown v Board of Education 1954 Brown v Board of Education 1955 The Civil Rights Act of 1964 The Voting Rights Act of 1965 De jure segregation De facto segregation Affirmative action Nineteenth Amendment Strict scrutiny Intermediateheightened scrutiny THE FEDERAL JUDICIARY Outline III Important Concepts El Organization of the Federal Courts El Federal Judicial Selection III The United States Supreme Court III Theories of Judicial DecisionMaking El Activism v Restraint A court is III A forum for the resolution of disputes between two parties El An orbiter between and among different branches and levels of government D A policymaking institution Civil versus Criminal Law III Criminal law C Branch of law that defines conduct prohibited by the state sets out the punishment to be imposed on those who breach those laws D Civil law 4 Branch of law dealing with disputes between individuals and organizations in which compensation may be awarded to the victim Jurisdiction CI The authority of a court to hear a case Types of Jurisdiction El Hierarchical II Original II Appellate El Geographic El Subject Matter II Limited I General El Proprietary Jurisdiction II Exclusive I Concurrent The American Legal System Federal Article III Courts Courts of chslL Resort US Supreme Court Intermediate Appellate US Courts of Appeals 12 Courts US District Courts 94 Trial Courts State Courts State Courts of Last Resort State Intermediate Courts of Appeals State Trial Courts Federal Trial Courts of General Jurisdiction El US District Courts D 94 federal iudicial circuits D At least 1 district in each state I Appeals go to the US Courts of Appeals US Federal Court Districts and Circuits US Courts of Appeals III 12 regional circuits III Each circuit consists of a collection of federal district courts D Primarin hear appeals from US district courts 1 Appeals go to the US Supreme Court Federal Court of Last Resort CI The United States Supreme Court Staffing the Bench Article III Judges CI The Constitutional Process ll Nomination by the President I Confirmation by the Senate I Requires simple maiority vote The Process Vacancy Created Consultation by president with influential senators Nominee vetting by White House Staff and DOJ Nomination by the President Referral to the Senate Judiciary Committee I Hearings I Committee Vote I Referral to the full Senate Vote by full Senate Unofficial Participants in Federal Judicial Selection CI The Legal Community 1 Interest Groups Notes on Judicial Selection III Most nominations thot foil don t do so by vote they foil because the Senate does not take action I The higher the level of the iudiciol voconcy the more personally involved the president will be The United States Supreme Court Supreme Court s Original Jurisdiction El Cases involving ambassadors from foreign countries and cases in which a state is a party Q Most of the Court s original jurisdiction is shared with the lower federal courts There are very few cases that the Supreme Court HAS TO hear because no other court can Supreme Court s Appellate Jurisdiction El As stipulated by Congress Statutory Interpretation El Application of the laws of Congress and of the states to particular cases Judicial Review III The power of a court to review the acts of other branches of government and the states and to determine whether they are constitutional Establishment of Judicial Review El Marburyv Madison 1 803 The Supreme Courf asserfed ifs power to declare acfs of Congress null and void Marburyv Madison 1 Does Marbury have a righf fo fhe commission he demandsa 2 If he has fhe righf and fhaf righf has been violafed fo fhe laws afford him a remedya 39 3 If fhey afford him a remedy is if a wrif of mandamus issuing from fhe Supreme Courfa 4 Can an acf repugnanf fo fhe Consfifufion become fhe law of fhe Ianda s Supreme Court Processes C One term each year Begins 15 Monday in October typically ends in June El Sessions Typically 2week sittings alternating with 2week recesses El Conference quot Attended by Justices only quot 2 per week while sitting l Wednesday afternoon Discuss Monday s cases I Friday Discuss Tuesday and Wednesday s cases and petitions for hearing Deciding to Decide El Docket the schedule of cases to be heard by a court Ways to get on the Supreme Court Docket El Original Jurisdiction III Mandatory Appeals writs of appeal El Discretionary Appeals writs of certiorari u The Rule of Four Consideration of Cases Granted Review El Certiora ri 1 Writing and filing of briefs I Parties petitioner and respondent I Amicus curiae III Oral Argument El ConferenceOpinion Assianment 1 Opinion Writina Contents of the Maiority Opinion El Facts of the case III Applicable rules of law El Issues or legal questions 1 Holding I A statement of the relevant rules of law and their application to the case at hand Separate Opinions 1 III Concurring Opinions Regular Concurrence Agrees with majority outcome and maiority s reasoning 7 Special Concurrence Agrees with maiority outcome but not reasoning III Dissenting Opinions Disagree with the outcome and reasoning of the maiority Other Types of Opinions El Per curiam E An unsigned or collectively written opinion I Plurality E Opinion announcing the judgment of the court with supporting reasoning that is not endorsed by a majority of the justices participating Models of Judicial DecisionMaking The Legal Model The A r rifudinol Model The Strategic Model The Legal Model El Original In ren r III Plain Meaning El Precedent aka stare decisis ll Limits of precedent distinguishing cases The Attitudinal Model El Judges decide cases on the basis of the interaction of their ideological attitudes and values and the facts of the case The Supreme Court and The A r ri ruclinol Model El Why do can Supreme Courf ius ces vofe ideologically D No elecforol occounfobilify D No ombifion for higher office D No fear of reversal El Confrol over dockef The Strategic Model El Judges decide cases on the basis of the interaction of their ideological attitudes and values and the facts of a case and in light of the decisions they expect other relevant actors to make Who are these other actors The Strategic Model III Cong ress a Can override statutory decisions engage in institutional attacks on the Court or initiate constitutional amendments D President Q Charged with implementing decisions III Public Ell Complies with decisions Judicial Activism III Doctrine that says the principle of store decisis should sometimes be sacrificed in order to adopt the Constitution to changing conditions Judicial Restraint El Judges should rule narrowly and avoid overturning prior court decisions if of all possible An Important Note on Judicial Activism El There is no ideological orientation to activism