POLITICS Supreme Court

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  1. The Marshall Court
    •Marshall joined Supreme Court in 1801 as Chief Justice.

    •Boldly asserted judicial branch’s authority and judicial rights
  2. Among Marshall’s reforms in the Marshall Court
    –Delivery of single court decision rather than opinions of individual justices

    –Established principle of Judicial Review in Marbury v. Madison in 1803

    –Decided cases that assured that Court was final arbiter of constitutionality (McCullough v. Maryland 1819 and Gibbons v. Ogden 1824)

    –Enforced authority of SC to declare state laws unconstitutional
  3. Marbury v. Madison
    Chief Justice Marshall used case about Marbury’s appointment to government post to claim a major power for Supreme Court

    •since Constitution is “supreme,” any law that is “repugnant to the Constitution is void”
  4. Judicial Review
    •power of court to decide if law or other legal issue defy the Constitution, and then overturn it

    •not mentioned in Constitution

    •established by Marshall Court

    •has been used more frequently to invalidate acts of state legislatures
  5. The Federal Court System
    Constitutional & Legislative Courts
  6. Constitutional courts
    created by U.S. Constitution or Congress pursuant to its authority in Article III
  7. Legislative courts
    established by Congress for specialized purposes, such as Court of Military Appeals and Veterans Appeals
  8. Original Jurisdiction
    –Hears all cases arising under Constitution, laws of U.S., and any treaties

    –Cases involving: two or more states, Maritime issues, U.S. is a party to the case

    –4% of the Supreme Court’s caseload
  9. Appellate Jurisdiction
    –Hears cases already heard by highest state court, U.S. Court of Appeals, regulatory commissions, legislatives courts

    –96% of the Supreme Court’s caseload
  10. Writ of Certiorari
    petitions from parties seeking review of their cases (2/3rds of the cases)
  11. There are three main types of written opinions from the Supreme Court
    Majority Opinion, Concurring Opinion, and Dissenting Opinion
  12. Majority Opinion
    Opinion written by one member of Court that reflects views of at least majority of justices

    sets out legal reasoning justifying decision, and becomes precedent for deciding future cases
  13. Concurring Opinion
    Opinion written by justice who agrees with outcomes of cases but not with legal rational for decision
  14. Dissenting Opinion
    Opinion written by one or more justices who disagree with opinion of majority of Court
  15. How Federal Court Judges Are Selected
    •Judges are nominated by President and confirmed by Senate
  16. Nomination Criteria
    -No constitutional qualifications

    -Ideology/Policy Preferences, rewards

    -Pursuit of Political Support

    -Religion, race and gender
  17. Judicial Restraint
    encourages minimalist roles for judges
  18. Judicial Activism
    feels that judges should use law to promote justice, equality, and personal liberty
  19. Precedent
    Prior judicial decisions serve as a rule for settling later cases of similar nature
  20. Petitions before Supreme Court must meet the following criteria
    –Cases must have exhausted all lower court review

    –Cases must involve a federal question

    –Court must present issues of importance beyond the particular facts and parties involved
  21. Steps in Petitioning the Court
    –Petition for a writ of certiorari

    –Certiorari granted on vote of 4 of Justices

    –only considers matters of constitutional importance

    –If Court refuses to grant certiorari; the decision stands unchanged
  22. Tasks of a Supreme Court clerk including the following
    –Perform initial screening of around 9,000 petitions that come to Court each term

    –Draft memos to summarize facts and issues in each case

    –Write a “bench memo” for oral argument

    –Write first draft of an opinion

    –Be informal conduit for communicating and negotiating between other justices’ chambers
  23. SUPREME COURT’S SCREENING PROCESS of petitions and cases
    •clerks select few petitions worthy of consideration

    •Friday Conference (weekly), secret

    •Discussion in order with Chief first. 4 must agree to hear case

    •petition accepted, oral arguments scheduled
    •2/3rds of justices must be present in Court

    •Argument given by one lawyer on each side before all vote

    •Majority opinion speaks for final decision of Court
  25. The Supreme Court consists of...
    •the Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices

    • •Appointed to serve for life, removed only by resignation

    • •Courts jurisdiction is universal, but subject to limitation of acts of Congress
  26. Types of cases Supreme Court was given the original jurisdiction to hear
    •arising under Constitution and laws

    •Controversies between a state and citizens of another state

    •Controversies btwn 2 or more states

    •Controversies btwn citizens of different states

    •All cases affecting ambassadors or other public ministers
  27. Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist Paper # 78 about the judiciary that...
    -the court cannot force compliance with its rulings nor fund programs

    -least dangerous branch of government
  28. Supreme Court Overview: Cases to be Reviewed
    •About 9,000 requests, hears only 75-95 yearly, 2 to 6 only original jurisdiction cases

    •Reviews cases from lower courts

    •Final interpreter of Constitution

    •Decides cases of tremendous policy significance

    •Ensures uniformity of interpretation for national laws
  29. Chief Justice of the United States
    –No hierarchy; among equals

    –have same duties as Associates along with several unique duties
  30. Unique Duties of Chief Justice
    • •Impeachment Trials and Seniority
    • •Sets agenda for weekly meetings where Justices decide whether to hear or deny each case
    • •Usually senior Justice in majority decides who will write Opinion of Court
    • •Head of Judicial Conference of U.S.
    • •Appoints members of U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
  31. Seniority (duties of Chief Justice)
    •Justice with most independent of number of years he/she has served

    •regulates weekly conference where cases are discussed and voted on by Justices
  32. Oath of Office (Chief Justice)
    Administers oath of office at inauguration of the President
  33. U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court
    oversees requests for surveillance warrants by federal police agencies
  34. How the Justices Vote
    Legal Factors

    • •Judicial Philosophy (Judicial Restraint and Judicial Activism)
    • •Precedent

    Extra-Legal Factors

    • •Behavioral Characteristics
    • •Ideology
    • •The Attitudinal Model
    • •Public Opinion
  35. Behavioral Characteristics
    • -personal experiences of justices affect how they vote
    • -early poverty, job experience, friends, and relatives all affect how decisions are made
  36. Ideology
    Ideological beliefs influence justices’ voting patterns
  37. The Attitudinal Model
    A justice’s attitudes affect voting behavior
  38. Cases come before the Supreme Court in two ways
    Writ of Certiorari and In forma pauperis
Card Set:
POLITICS Supreme Court
2013-03-30 14:35:21

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