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American Politics and Government
The Judiciary
International Studies
Undergraduate 1

Additional International Studies Flashcards




Context and Significance of the Judiciary
♣ Anti-federalists:
• Judiciary would give themselves the right of judicial review
• Not elected, which is not democratic
• Didn’t like life terms because it seemed similar to Divine Right
♣ Federalists:
• “Courts have no purse or sword” – Hamilton
o Cannot enforce their decisions
o Cannot fund or defund programs

♣ Highly partisan
♣ Seem to have a lot of power
♣ Differing views on how to interpret the Constitution
♣ Presidents can reward party supporters or activists
judicial review
the doctrine whereby the federal courts may determine constitutional questions that relate to congressional legislation

Power of the judiciary to examine and if necessary, invalidate actions undertaken by the legislative and executive branches.
federalism and the courts
Federalists said it would be least powerful branch because it doesn’t have purse or sword.
Anti-F said that they would give themselves judicial review, and they are appointed for life.

Courts have official jurisdiction over issue depending on if it applies to the state or nation as a whole etc.
original jurisdiction court
a court is the power to hear a case for the first time, as opposed to appellate jurisdiction, when a court has the power to review a lower court's decision.
appellate jurisdiction court
the power of the United States Supreme Court to review decisions and change outcomes of decisions of lower courts. Most appellate jurisdiction is legislatively created, and may consist of appeals by leave of the appellate court or by right.

There are 13 federal appellate courts, whose decisions are final unless selected for review by the Supreme Court.
types of case law
Criminal: deals with disputes involving criminal penalties
Civil: settles disputes that do not involve criminal penalties
Public: cases in private, civil, or criminal law in which one party to the dispute argues that a license is unfair, a law is inequitable or unconstitutional, or an agency has acted unfairly, violated a procedure, or gone beyond its jurisdiction

o Criminal
♣ Government charges an individual with violating a statue that has been enacted to protect the public health, safety, morals or welfare. The government is always the plaintiff.
o Civil
♣ Involves disputes among individuals or between individuals and the government where no criminal violation is being charged.
o Public
♣ When plaintiffs or defendants in a civil or criminal case seek to show that their case involves the power of government or rights of the citizens as defined under the Constitution or by statute.
plea bargaining
an agreement in a criminal case between the prosecutor and defendant whereby the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a particular charge in return for some concession from the prosecutor

Both sides come to an agreement outside of court
habeas corpus
the right of the accused to be brought into court to face their accusers and be shown the cause for detention

Court order to the authorities to release a prisoner deemed to be held in violation of his or her legal rights
writ of certiorari
a decision of at least 4 of the 9 SC justices to review a decision of a lower court (“to make certain”)

Certiorari is an order to a lower court to deliver the records of a particular case to be reviewed for legal errors
agenda setting and the supreme court
The Solicitor General and the members of the SC

o 4 justices have to agree to take a case
o Decide what cases to take and not take
♣ 8-9,000 requests but only hear 5% of them
amicus curiae briefs
briefs submitted by 3rd parties; “friends of the court” who seek to assist the court in reaching a decision by presenting additional briefs

Friend of the court brief written when the federal government is not a direct litigant
law clerks
Very well educated and very hard to become a federal law clerk

a person who provides assistance to a judge or a licensed attorney in researching issues before the court and in writing opinions.
stages in consideration (supreme court)
♣ Briefs
♣ Clerks
♣ Oral arguments
♣ Conference
♣ Decision
o Most important stage: Conference – where justices decide how they are going to vote
o Least important stage: Oral arguments – facts have already been established
judicial activism
proclivity of a court to select cases because of their importance to society rather than adhering to strict legal standards of jurisdiction

The Court should go beyond the words of the Constitution or a statute to consider the broader societal implications of its decisions
judicial restraint
deference to the views of legislatures and adherence to strict jurisdictional standards

Look strictly to the words of the Constitution in interpreting its meaning
class action lawsuits
a lawsuit in which a large number of persons with common interests join together under a rep party to bring or defend a lawsuit

Permits large numbers of persons with common interests to join together under a representative party to bring or defend a lawsuit
decision (judiciary)
result of the case
opinion (judiciary)
Types of opinions
1. Majority
2. Dissenting
3. Concurring

♣ Majority opinion represents the outcome of the case
♣ Dissenting opinion is the publication of those justices who disagree with the majority decision
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