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Patterson Chapter 14

Patterson Chapter 14 - Patterson Chapter 14 The Bush v Gore...

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Patterson Chapter 14 The Bush v. Gore case illustrated three key points about court decisions; first, the judiciary is an extremely important policymaking body. Second, the judiciary has considerable discretion in its rulings; third, the judiciary is a political as well as legal institution The federal judiciary includes the Supreme Court of the United States, which functions mainly as an appellate court; courts of appeals, which hear appeals; and district courts, which hold trials. Each state has a court of its own, which for the most part is independent of supervision by the federal courts Judicial decisions are constrained by applicable constitutional law, statutory and administrative law, and precedent. Nevertheless, political factors have a major influence on judicial appointments and decisions; judges are political officials as well as legal ones. The judiciary has become an increasingly powerful policymaking body in recent decades, raising the question of the judiciary’s proper role in a democracy. The philosophies of judicial restraint and judicial activism provide different answers to this question. Federal judges are nominated and appointed to office by the president, subject to confirmation by a majority vote in the Senate. The Constitution places no age, residency, or citizenship requirements on federal judicial officers. The chief justice presides over the Supreme Court and, like the eight associate justices, is nominated by the president and subject to Senate confirmation. Jurisdiction- a court’s authority to hear cases of a particular type Original Jurisdiction- The authority to be the first court to hear a case. (Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction= legal disputes involving foreign diplomats and cases in which the opposing parties are state governments) Appellate jurisdiction- The authority to review cases that have already been heard in lower courts and are appealed to a higher court by the losing party; these higher courts are called appeals courts or appellate courts. Precedent- a judicial decision that serves as a rule for settling subsequent cases of a similar nature The primary function of the judiciary is to interpret the law in such a way that rules made in the past (for example, the Constitution) can be applied reasonably in the present.
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