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16JudMedia_bw_ - American Government Lecture 16 The...

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American Government Lecture 16 - The Judicial Branch
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Announcements Thursday Class April 1, Guest speakers Questions will be on the exam about it Extra Credit Experiment Participation Register on: http://rutgers-econ.sona-systems.com 3 points on next exam
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Opinion Writing Arguably the most important action Typically 80-120 pages, written largely by Clerks Edited by the Justice in charge assigned to it Explains the court’s verdict and reasoning Sets down precedence for the future …and creates a firm argument to contend with Often a result of compromise Authoring justice seeks to expand majority Talks to dissenters to find out what it would take to win vote Weak unanimous opinion better than strong split Cites history of case, reasoning and precedence Informs lawyers and lower justices of how subsequent similar cases should be handled
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The Decision Court delivers an oral verdict and its Opinion Justices have options Can sign opinion Can write/sign concurrence Can dissent Concurrence agrees on winning side of the case Offers different rationale for it though Dissents disagree with the Opinion Argue why the decision is wrong Rarely involve compromise Typically the most interesting and passionate
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How Justices Decide Three major influences Personal Ideology Judicial Activism Constitutional Interpretation All blend together to influence “Judicial Adjucation” Simply means “decision-making” Yet Justices almost always claim that they simply follow the Constitution “Mechanical Jurisprudence” They rely on credibility to exert influence
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Personal Ideology Liberal vs. Conservative Can be economic and/or social How much should government interfere in society (either economic or social)? Liberals say “As much as necessary to achieve Equality under the law” Favor Equality over Democracy Conservatives say “As little as possible to preserve order and credibility” Favor Democracy over Equality
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Judicial Activism Should Courts defer to Legislatures and Public Will or be active in opposing them? Judicial Restraint Idea that courts should avoid the “political thicket” Defer to legislation passed by elected officials Courts should focus on clarifying, not making, law Only overturn laws when clear textual conflict* Judicial Activism View the Courts as a Co-Equal branch More willing to strike down legislation Also to require government action where there is none Courts should protect Liberties and Rights of all People Go beyond the words of the Constitution* Look for Founding Intent and Social Implications
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