L12 The Judiciary - The Judiciary Lecture 12 February 18,...

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The Judiciary Lecture 12 February 18, 2008 Pol 1101
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The Judicial Branch The Constitution, Article III, section 1: “The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” According to Madison’s notes, the Philadelphia convention devoted little time to the judicial branch Hamilton, Federalist No. 78 … the judiciary, from the nature of its functions, will always be the least dangerous to the political rights of the constitution; because it will be least in a capacity to annoy or injure them. The executive not only dispenses the honours, but holds the sword of the community; the legislature not only commands the purse, but prescribes the rules by which the duties and rights of every citizen are to be regulated; the judiciary, on the contrary, has no influence over wither the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or the wealth of the society; and can take no active resolution whatever. It may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgments.
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The Judicial Branch The judiciary was constructed to be of a wholly different character than the Congress and the presidency. 1. Judges and justices have life terms (or “during good behavior”) that provide for a great deal of judicial independence 2. Non-elected status allows the judiciary more leeway than the other branches to protect minority rights and interests Traditionally, courts have structural limitations that legislatures and executives do not. 1. Courts must wait for actual controversies to come to them 2. Courts cannot provide general relief to constituencies. They can only provide specific relief to litigants
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The Judicial Branch Originally when the government moved to the District of Columbia in 1800, Congress forgot to include any space for the Supreme Court . Nowadays, despite the traditional limitations on courts, the American judiciary is influential. Marbury v. Madison (1803) established the right of judicial review in which the Court can overturn actions of the legislature it deems unconstitutional, a sweeping authority 1. The federal judiciary can determine the constitutionality of laws passed by state legislatures and Congress 2. Although judicial review was used sparingly in the early years of the Republic, this link to the Constitution provided for what de Tocqueville called the “immense political power” of American judges.
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The Judicial Branch Alexis de Tocqueville also noted that in America all political questions become legal questions sooner or later. Example: the 2000 presidential election, when
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course POL 1101 taught by Professor White during the Spring '07 term at Georgia Institute of Technology.

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L12 The Judiciary - The Judiciary Lecture 12 February 18,...

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