The Courts - The Courts The Constitution and The Courts o o...

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The Courts The Constitution and The Courts o Constitution established federal judiciary as a branch of government o Founders delegated Congress the task of designing the court system that would fit the needs of the new country: three tiered system o Also established legislative courts: deal w/ specific issues or administer specific congressional statutes o Article II gives president right to appoint and senate right of advice and consent o Makes it difficult for congress or president to remove a justice (impeachment) o Bars congress and president from punishing justices by cutting their pay The Federal Court Structure (look at diagram in book) o System has 3 tiers: district courts, courts of appeals, and the Supreme Court (been in place since 1789/ establishment of constitution) Court of appeals o Organized to be multi-member bodies o Composed of 13 circuits that are organized geographically Judicial Review o The doctrine allowing the S.C. to review and overturn decisions made by Congress and the president o Allows S.C to declare acts of pres and congress unconstitutional (thus null and void) o Federal courts of appeals and district courts also may rule that legislation is unconstitutional; their rulings are binding unless higher court reverses them o Courts exercise this power o Courts overturn more state and local laws than federal o Established following the ruling of Marbury v. Madison Marbury was appointed to a justice of the peace by Adams(federalist) The decision in Marbury v Madison was written by Chief Justice John Marshall; crafted a decision that denied Marbury his appointment, giving the democrat-
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republicans the outcome they want but at the same time declared the Court’s right to declare acts passed by the congress and signed into law by the pres. to be unconstitutional o White House and Capitol Hill agreed to accept this doctrine bc both Jefferson and a majority in congress agreed w/ the decision the court reached in Marbury, bc of the persuasuiveness of Marshall’s skillfully written opinion( argued constitution implicitly granted power of judicial review), and bc S.C used this power sparingly Judicial Activism o The vigorous use of judicial review to overturn and make public policy from the federal bench o Many observers worry that judicial review has evolved into this bc federal judges may overturn laws to impose their policy preferences on the public rather than to uphold the Constitution o Judicial review(acceptable); judicial activism (not acceptable) Limitations on Court Power o Courts are inherently reactive Courts cannot go out on their own and seek problems to solve; they have to wait until problems are brought to them in specific form; must work way through judicial system before Courts can rule only on cases brought before them; cannot seek out cases to decide or issue rulings on hypothetical cases o Courts must rely on the other branches of gov to enforce their decisions Weakens power of courts
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This note was uploaded on 09/14/2011 for the course POL SCI 1100 taught by Professor Overby during the Spring '08 term at Missouri (Mizzou).

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The Courts - The Courts The Constitution and The Courts o o...

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