This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: Judicial System and Supreme Court
Article Three is Very Short: Sets out one Supreme Court and Jurisdiction of JudiciaryAll rest of Federal Courts are Left up to Congress. Judicial Independence Judicial Authority What are the powers of the Judicial System? Hamilton: Have neither the FORCE nor WILL but merely judgment DeTocqueville: There are few political questions in America that do not become legal questions AntiFederalist: Powers as boundless as the ocean (Use Existing State Courts) Federalist: Least dangerous branch Courts Courts come in many shapes and sizes Trial Courts Find Fact (Determine what happened) and Apply the Law (Given what happened, what law was broken) Appellate Courts Determine if the trial court applied the correct law When there is a jury it finds the fact and the judge applies the law If there is no jury, the judge finds the fact and applies the law Main Goal is to resolve disputes between individuals (private law) and between individuals and the government (public law) Main goals are error correction and making public policy through the application of the law Court Structure Some General Principles: Geographic Jurisdiction: Power to Hear cases in governmental boundaries Subject Matter Jurisdiction: Hear certain types of cases: Courts of Limited Jurisdiction
Traffic Court Drug Court Juvenile Court Circuit Courts District Courts Courts of General Jurisdiction Federal Court Jurisdiction Diversity + 70,000 Federal Question Federal Gov. as Party Federal Court Jurisdiction Federal Court Jurisdiction Basics Diversity + 70,000 Federal Question Citizens of Two States Court applies the Law of State in which it sits (Erie Doctrine) Reasonable Likelihood of winning Problem Constitution Congressional Statute International Treaty Administrative Rule Nothing Like Home Field Advantage Federal Gov. as Party Hierarchical Jurisdiction Original Jurisdiction: hear case for the first time (Usually Trial: SCT) Appellate jurisdiction: hear case on appeal US has a dual Court system 51 separate court systems Federal 1 State 50 Territorial Courts United Courts of Guam Participants in the Court System Adversarial System Judges Jury Jury Trial Referee to protect process rights and guide jury's fact finding Bench Trial Referee and Fact Finder Passive Fact Finder Guided by Jury Instructions Jury as Democratic Instrument or Check Jury Nullification Dispute Resolution
Represent Clients Tie Facts to Law Role of Lawyers: Adversarial Process
Present Factual Story Advocate within Limits of Law and Ethics Important Role in Define Justice Gatekeepers Courts in General Supreme or High Court Intermediate Court of Appeal Trial Courts Federal System Major and Minor State Geography (District Courts) Regional Influences (Courts of Appeals) National Prominence (US Supreme Court) Constitutional and Legislative Courts District Courts: Federal Trial Courts close to 300,000 cases One Judge (Special Three Judge Panel) Courts determine the fact and apply the law Role is to resolve disputes Deal with a wide variety of issues Some PolicyMaking Role Define Facts Define Parameters of Dispute Impact future Negotiations Concerning Future Cases Special Courts Legislative Courts to deal with Special Issues Article I U.S. Tax Court 15 Year Presidential Appointment http://www.ustaxcourt.gov/about.htm Bankruptcy Court 14 Year Court of Appeals Appointment in given District http://www.uscourts.gov/bankruptcycourts.html FISA Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court and Appeals Court 7 Year Staggered Terms Chief Justice of SCOTUS Appeals Court Made Up of Circuit Judges http://www.fjc.gov/history/home.nsf/page/fisc_bdy!OpenDocument&C http://www.fjc.gov/history/home.nsf/page/fisc_bdy!OpenDocument& = US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit: Appeals from Administrative Agencies Courts of Appeals First Federal Appeals Court: 30,000 Cases 13 Circuits: 11 regional and 1 Federal Circuit and 1 DC Hear mandatory Appeals from District Courts and Agencies Rule on Law not Facts (very rare) 3 Judge Panels that rotate Role: Error Correction and Policymaking Judicial Decisions and Courts of Appeals Three Judge Panel Typical Rehearing Sometimes En Banc Rare Less than 100 a year Review to the Supreme Court Unlikely DecisionMaking Models Law tied to role Politics Clearly but not as overt as one might expect PolicyMaking Role Yes but difficult to measure State Court Structure State Courts http://courts.ewashtenaw.org/ Michigan Courts of Appeals Election 6 year Michigan Supreme Court Election 8 year term State Supreme Court Intermediate Court of Appeals Major Trial Court Minor Trail Court Review and Selection Decisions in State Court may be reviewed by Supreme Court or brought into Federal Court on other grounds. Habeas Corpus: Let the Body Go Others Federal Judicial Qualifications Formal: Informal: No constitutional or statutory requirements No exams, no education, no citizenship or any other Demographics: Political, Well Place, White Males, Protestant, Wealthy, Ivy League Education Lawyer Some Judicial Experience Judicial Selection Personal Qualities Supreme Court: SES Age usually in 50's (Roberts and Alito), Douglas 40 Thomas 45 and Ginsburg 60 Class, Race, Gender Politics: Look Like America Prior Judicial Service: Judicial Record and no SURPRISE Partisans: Know what you are getting Class not as important any more--Middle and Lower class Race and Gender: Obvious and Pool of Applicants Professional Qualifications Professional: Merit, Ethics Political: Since 37 12 in Exec. FDR, Prestigious Law School 7 of 9 Harvard Yale or Stanford Thriving Practice Judicial Experience Harriet Meyers ? 16 Appellate Ct 2 State Court 7 elected office Supreme Court High Qualifications: Very Important most nominees are skilled G. Harrold Carswell (1970)Even if Medoc., there are allot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers and they are entitled to a little rep...aren't they and a chance...We cannot all be Brandies, Frankfurter Cardozo and stuff like that Ethics Ethics: Kennedy: (post Bork and Ginsburg) Boy scout FBI told at white house....problem daughter unpaid ticket Ethics and Competency not enough BORK Fortas: Johnson Breyer: Financial deals with Llyods Ginsburg (No not her) and dope C. Thomas Political & Personal Qualifications 90% in same party 50% politically active Some pay offs: State Politics and Senators...Also Pres FortasJohnsons Close Friend White worked for KE national volunteer organ. Minton: Can I do anything for you Shay....I want to fill that new vacancy on SCt.... Shay Ill do just that Mayor Daley Chicago... Son Will trouble in school Awarded Joe Gordon with a Judgeship Warren helped Ike win Cal at convention Ike Harry Kennedy Grand Scheme Region: Race: Gender: Suggestions of Candidates Other Justices and Judges politicking: Nixon did not know BlackmunRenchberg Self Selection: Looking for the Job Timing is all Wrong Taft: Reluctant Pres...Wanted CJ Appoints White...who to return the favor did not die until Rep Pres Larry Tribe Carter: did not have vacancy, too young Johnson and too old Clinton Policy Goals Most important Johnson last to choose people knew well Litmus test abortion Why are Presidents so concerned? Cannot go too far. and can never be sure Select judges paper trail: SCT all since 1975 Not too much then harder to confirm...BORK Roe 4050 years....35 years on bench Power of President, Congress and S. Court Process Senate Confirmation Prospects for Confirmation PreSelection of Nominee A Painful Experience Divided Government Makeup of the Senate Interest Group Activity Media Attention Perceptions Pending Elections Posturing by Presidential Hopefuls Process is very different at different statges: Bork and ThomasNo problems becoming Court Appeals Judges on DC circuit Souter--If I knew what I was in for never would Roberts v. Alito Bork v. Ginsberg What the Supreme Court Does Sets Agenda Appeals Cases the Court Must Hear Most cases Have Discretion: Rule of 4 or Writ of Certiorari Supreme Court Decides what to hear Voting Rights Appeals Original Jurisdiction: Cases in Constitution Other Basis for Hearing Case Important legal question Conflict between lower courts and lower court and Supreme Court Technical Rules...may be suspended in forma pauperis Gideon Policy Preferences Amicus curiae briefs and litigants Positive Grants & Defensive Denials New Deal and Caroline Products footnote 4 S.G. as litigant 70% & files amicus 88% granted Interest groups file amicus 33% Normal Cases 3% IFP Cases 1/3 of 1% Ct becomes a Civil Liberties and Civil Rights Court Oral Arguments 1/2 hour discussion with Justices in open court Only time YOU see court in action Ceremony rather than meaningful (sometimes) Conference Only the Justices Very little debate or conferencing CJ. Speaks and votes then down line by seniority Why so secret? Jr. must answer the door and run errands Opinion Writing about 70-100 a year Chief Justice appoints if in the majority If not, most senior justice in majority Types of Opinions: Importance of Opinion Assignment
Policymaking Coalition maintaining Workload Plurality Opinion Opinion of the Court Less than a Majority Majority Opinion Concurring Opinion Dissenting Opinion ...
View Full Document
This note was uploaded on 04/01/2008 for the course PLSC 215 taught by Professor Pyle during the Winter '08 term at Eastern Michigan University.
- Winter '08
- Civil Liberties