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amicus curiae briefs

legal briefs given by friend of the court to bring up more points of view and influence court's decision

original jurisdiction

hear a case first, determine facts about a case

appellate jurisdiction

hears cases brought to them on appeal from lower courts; dont review the factual record, only legal issues

district courts

91 federal courts of original jurisdiction, no trials are held, juries may be empaneled

courts of appeal

appellate courts that review all final decisions of district courts, hears appeals to orders of many federal regulatory agencies

supreme court

pinnacle of american judicial system, national supremacy, resolves conflicts among states, has appellate and original jurisdiction

senatorial courtesy

unwritten tradition where nominations for state level federal judicial posts are not confirmed if they are opposed by the senator from the state in which the nominee will serve

solicitor general

a presidential appointee and the third ranking office in the department of justice, in charge of appellate court litigation of the federal government

opinion

a statement of legal reasoning behind a judicial decision

sare decisis

"let the decision stand" , most cases reaching appellate courts and settled on this

precendent

how similar cases have been decided in the past (cases that back up your case)

original intent

a view that the constitution should be interpreted according to the original intent of the framers; many conservatives support this

judicial implementation

how and whether court decisions are translated into actual policy, affecting the bahavior of others

marbury vs. madison

1803; chief justice john marshall used right of supreme court to determine meaning of u.s. constitution; judicial review

judicial review

the power of the courts to determine whether acts of congress or executive are in accord with u.s. constitution

judicial restraint

judges play minimal policymaking roles, leaving that strictly to legislatures

judicial activism

judges make bold policy decisions, even charting new constitutional ground

political questions

doctrine developed by the federal courts and used to avoid some cases, involving conflicts between president and congress

statutory construction

judicial interpretation of an act of congress

number of district courts

91

number of judges in district courts

646

district courts-jurisdiction???

original-fed crimes, civil suits

number of courts of appeal

12

number of judges in court of appeal

179

jurisdiction of court of appeals

correcting errors of procedure and law

number of judges in supreme court

9 but doesnt have to be

jurisdiction of supreme court

national supremacy, relationship between states and foreign powers, interpreting national laws

justiciable disputes

something that has to be settled by legal methods; can be settled by a law, constitution

role of a u.s. attorney

prosecute violations of federal law and represent the u.s. government in civil cases

3 conditions in which nominations to the supreme court are more likely to run into trouble

1)pres has minority party in senate 2)something questionable about nominee 3)if the pres's nomination is put in at end of term and has not been re-elected

demographic profile of the typical federal judge

white male, 50's-60's, protestant, previously a lawyer, judge

6 criteria important in choosing supreme court justices over the years

1) political ideology 2) party and personal loyalties 3)acceptability to the senate 4)judicial experience 5) race and gender 6)litmus test (ideological purity) what would you do if...

4 functions of solicitor general

1) to decide to appeal cases the gov has lost in lower courts 2) to review and modify briefs presented in gov appeals 3) to represent gov at supreme court 4) to submit a brief on behalf of a litigant in a case where the gov isnt directly involved

dissenting opinion

written by justices opposed to majority's decision

concurring opinion

written to support a majority decision (just another reason the chief justice has)

3 elements of judicial implementation according to charles johnson and bradley canon

1)interpreting population 2) implementing population 3)consumer population

standing to sue

requirement that litigants have a serious interest in a case

class action suits

lawsuits permitting a small group of people to sue on behalf of all other people similarly situated

diff between criminal law and civil law

criminal-someone is charge by the gov for violating a law, harms society, deserves punishment civil- 2 parties in a disagreement, no charge of criminality ex. mergers, divorce

3 regular participants in judicial system and one other participant

1) litigants: plaitiff(charging), defendent(being charged) 2) jury: representing avg person (12 people), they decide the outcome 3)attorneys: 1. prosecuting-reps plaintiff 2. defense attorney-reps defendent 4)audience: interest groups that support one side or the other, dont have to be physically present

majority opinion

if the chief justice is in majority, chief justice writes why they are right

warren court ideology and judicial restraint or activism

liberal, for the rights of the individuals judicial activism

interpreting population

lawyers and judges, understand and reflect original decision

implementing population

police; anyone that has to put it into practice

consumer population

us; we have to know our rights and stand up for them

what is the most important of the 6 criteria important in choosing supreme court justices

party and personal loyalties

which president wanted more justices to the supreme court b/c of the new deal

franklin roosevelt

rehnquist court ideology and judicial restraint or activism

conservative, restraint (1st amendment rights)

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