1. State Courts -three tiers: trial, review, and supreme courts -judges are elected or appointed by an elected official, so they have close ties to politics. However, appointments are for a long time, so there is some independence. -Bush v. Gore – Gore contests the election, asks for a recount, Florida judge denies request 2. Federal court system – federal courts trump state courts, are distributed by district throughout the country 3. Selection of judges – senatorial courtesy – the senator from a particular state has special influence over the appointment of judges from that state 4. Supreme Court selection -S. Court hears cases from state courts and district courts -Borking – when a candidate for the S. Court is rejected for being too extreme -stealth candidate – a candidate whose political views are relatively unknown, so Congress cannot reject candidate on grounds of extreme views 5. Judicial Review – S. Court has power to interpret the Constitution (Marbury v. Madison) 6. Four Theories of Constitutional Interdependence – how to interpret the Constitution -defer to Congress – presume that a law is Constitutional, unless CLEARLY not -original intent – stay consistent with intent of the founders -experiential – account for American history and the whole experience of the country -plain meaning – what does the text literally say? 7. + 8. Dred Scott and Lockner v. NY – two “bad” decisions when the S. Court declared laws unconstitutional Peterson did not get to Statutory Interdependence or Stare Decisis, but: Statutory Interpretation – court decides what a law means (see Derthick on how the courts influence public policy by interpreting statues) Principle of Stare Decisis – stable decisions, so favors staying consistent with what has been done in the past. IDs
stare decisis Brown v. Board of Ed. Judicial Review Senatorial Courtesy The Federalist Papers , #78 (#79-81 are recommended) Federalist #78 Hamilton begins by telling the readers that this paper will discuss the importance of an independent judicial branch and the meaning of judicial review. The Constitution proposes the federal judges hold their office for life, subject to good behavior. Hamilton laughs at anyone who questions that life tenure is the most valuable advances in the theory of representative government. Permanency in office frees judges from political pressures and prevents invasions on judicial power by the president and Congress. The judicial branch of government is by far the weakest branch. The judicial branch posses only the power to judge, not to act, and even its judgments or decisions depend upon the executive branch to carry them out. Political rights are least threatened by the judicial branch. On occasion, the courts may unfairly treat an individual, but they, in general, can never threaten liberty.
- Spring '11