chapter 13 - Studying the Courts and the Legal System Click...

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Click to edit Master subtitle style Studying the Courts and the Legal System
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Why we should care about the courts
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Some key education cases San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez (1973) Edgewood I.S.D. v. Kirby (1989) and subsequent cases leading to “Robinhood” law
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Why we should care about the legal system Key features: Adversarial system Importance of lawyers Concern over fate of “Gideon v. Wainwright” (1963) See Mondale, “A Key Legal Right at Risk”, Washington Post, March 10, 1009 [www.washingtonpost.com] Appellate structure Constitution’s “supremacy clause”
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Structural context of court behavior [textbook] Supreme Court nominations Constitutional powers Power of judicial review Appointment to “the federal bench” with confirmation by the Senate
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Specialized federal courts and the “war on terror” Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 created FISA Court Created after Nixon Administration abuses -11 District Court judges (picked by SC Chief Justice) meet as 3-person panels in secret (closed doors in windowless room in Justice Dept.) to grant warrants for surveillance of suspected spies After 9-11, jurisdiction expanded to “a significant purpose”[unspecified] Has approved 19,000 requests, denied only 4 Administration can appeal to a review panel, and then
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Specialized federal courts [contd] Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 created an “alien removal court” Response to Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 Curt rules on “probable cause for deportation” resulting in public trial Defendant cannot see evidence
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Supreme Court rulings on secret legal proceedings re In 2004, ruled that arrested “enemy combatants”cannot be denied due process rights Ruled detainees at Guantanamo can challenge grounds for confinement in court Congress then passed law denying them right to “habeas corpus” Potential problem for citizens In June, Court overturned that provision
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The Supreme Court in action [textbook] How it operates Patterns in its decisions over time
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Interpreting the law Judicial philosophy —a set of beliefs about what is, what causes what, what’s right, what works, and who should do what, that guides legal judgments Competing judicial philosophies: “Judicial restraint”: to operate strictly within the constitutional limits that allegedly constrain the role of the courts Depends on interpretation of constitution Key role of precedent [ stare decisis ] “Judicial activism”: to play a more active policymaking role
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Types of “construction” (interpretation) of law “strict construction” Look to “letter of the law” when interpreting Constitution or a law as “originally written and intended” “broad construction” Look to context and purpose of a law when interpreting “living Constitution” doctrine
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chapter 13 - Studying the Courts and the Legal System Click...

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