86 terms

AP Gov Sabato Judicial Branch

Checks on the Judiciary
Congress can alter the Court's jurisdiction
Congress can propose constitutional amendments to
reverse judicial decisions
Congress can impeach and remove federal judges
President appoints all federal judges (with the "advice
and consent" of the Senate)
Original Jurisdiction
All cases arising under the
Constitution and laws or
treaties of the United States
All cases of admiralty or
maritime jurisdiction
Cases in which the United
States is a party
Controversies between a
state and citizens of another
state (*11th Amendment -
Controversies between two
or more states

Controversies between
citizens of different states
Controversies between
citizens of the same state
claiming land grants in
different states
Controversies between a
state (or its citizens) and
foreign states (or its
All cases affecting
ambassadors or other public
art III section 1
gives Congress the power to establish other federal
courts as needed, establishes life tenure (with good behavior)
and protection against salary reduction
art III section 2
specifies the judicial power of the Supreme Court
and discusses original and appellate jurisdiction; requires all
federal crimes to be tried by a jury in the state where the crime occurred
art 3 section 3
defines treason as levying war against the US or
giving aid to its enemies; mandates at least two witnesses AND requires the chief justice too preside over presidential impeachments
was set at five
associate justices and one
chief justice; it changed size
several times until it was
finally set at nine justices in
The Judiciary Act of 1789
established a three-tiered
federal court system
Supreme court justices
served as circuit court
early supreme court
faced many problems making it
ineffective (frequent changes in personnel, limited space for
its operations, no clerical support, no system of reporting its
decisions, circuit travel)
Chisholm v. Georgia (1793)
Held that states did not enjoy sovereign immunity from lawsuits brought by residents of other states (Overruled by the 11th Amendment-provides that states may not be sued in federal court by citizens of another state or country without the consent of the states being sued)
John Marshall
brought prestige to the Court
through his leadership
He discontinued the practice of seriatim and replaced it with
a single court opinion (usually unanimous) written by the
chief justice
Fletcher v. Peck (1810)
Supreme Court case that established the Court's power to invalidate state laws contrary to the Constitution; in this case, the Court prevented Georgia from rescinding a land grant even though it was fraudulently made.
Martin v. Hunter's Lessee (1816),
The Supreme Court case that gave the Supreme Court the power to review the decision of the highest state courts if they involve a federal law or the federal Constitution.
Cohens v. Virginia (1821)
Case that reinforced federal supremacy by establishing the right of the Supreme Court to review decisions of state supreme courts in questions involving the powers of the federal government.
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)
the Supreme Court upheld the power of the national government and denied the right of a state to tax the federal bank using the Constitution's supremacy clause. The Court's broad interpretation of the necessary and proper clause paved the way for later rulings upholding expansive federal powers
writ of mandamus
Court order directing an official to perform an official duty.
Scott v. Sandford (1857)
Supreme Court decision ruling that a slave who had escaped to a free state enjoyed no rights as a citizen and that Congress had no authority to ban slavery in the territories
Pollock v. Farmers' Loan &
Trust Company (1895)
dealt with a national income tax passed with congress; USSC found the tax violated the Constitution since it was a direct tax that had not been properly apportioned by state
United States v. Nixon (1974)
The 1974 case in which the Supreme Court unanimously held that the doctrine of executive priveledge was implicit in the Constitution but could not be extended to protect documents relevant to criminal prosecutions
Just read this---no answer
The Supreme Court has been
much more willing to declare
state laws unconstitutional
Era 1
Nation versus State (1790-1860) - Marshall and Taney Courts
Era 2
Regulating the National Economy (1860-1940) - Application of 14th Amendment to protect businesses; "liberty of contract"
Era 3
Civil Rights & Civil Liberties (1940-1970) - Warren Court
Era 4
National Referee (1970-Present)
american judicial system
dual system consisting of the
federal court system and the judicial systems of the fifty states
structure of the system
three tiered with trial courts, appellate
courts, and high courts (also appellate courts)
provide an arena for two parties to bring their conflict before an
impartial arbiter (judge)--The theory is that justice will emerge out of the struggle between
two contending points of view
The vast majority of all criminal and civil cases involve state law
are tried in state courts. True or False?
More than 90% of all cases end in the court of original
appellate jurisdiction
a court's ability to review cases
already decided by a trial court; usually review legal
procedures, not evidence
criminal cases
usually under the state judicial system, but
increasing federal crimes is increasing the workload of federal
criminal law
refers to the body of law that regulates individual
conduct and is enforced by state and national governments
civil law
refers to a body of law that regulates the
conduct and relationships between private individuals
or companies
Many civil disputes are settled out of court before,
during, or just before the end of a trial
Civil cases
involve lawsuits to recover something of
value: the right to vote, fair treatment, or monetary
compensation for an item or service that cannot be
Federal judges can only decide "cases" or "controversies" -
actual disputes rather than hypothetical ones; the judiciary is
essentially passive, dependent on others to take initiative
brings a complaint or charge against another party
sometimes the U.S.
Government can be the plaintiff or the defendant
defends against the party who is suing
participants in a case
standing to sue
a serious interest in a case in order to challenge a law
justiciable disputes
issues that are capable of being settled
by legal methods
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954)
Segregated schools were inherently unequal and did not uphold the 13th or 14th Ammendments, because they deprived children of equal protection under the laws
translate policies into legal language and then enforce
or challenge them
lawyers (equality of access)
available to all levels of society; public interest
law firms, public defenders, legal insurance
constitutional courts
courts of appeal, and the Supreme
Court are:
judicial review
All constitutional courts can exercise:
Legislative courts
set by Congress under its implied
powers for special purposes: U.S. territorial courts, U.S. Court
of Veterans Appeals, Court of Military Appeals, Tax Court,
Legislative courts judges
appointed by the president
and confirmed by the Senate, but serve fixed, limited terms;
not protected by the Constitution
Federal district courts
federal trial courts of
original jurisdiction created by the Judiciary Act of
federal district court
Every state and territory has at least one - California, Texas, and New York have four
The bulk of federal judicial work takes place in the district courts
Cases heard in federal district courts
They involve the federal government as a party
They present a federal question based on a claim under the U.S.
Constitution, a treaty with another nation, or a federal statute. This
is called federal question jurisdiction and it can involve criminal
or civil law
They involve civil suits in which citizens are from different states
(diversity of citizenship), and the amount of money at issue is more
than $75,000
Supervision of bankruptcy proceedings
Admiralty and maritime law cases
U.S. attorney
Each federal judicial district has a _____ who is nominated by the
president and confirmed by the Senate;
chief law enforcement officer for that
U.S. attorney
_____ have considerable
discretion in deciding to pursue criminal
or civil investigations or file charges
against an individual or corporation
Other staff include clerks, bailiffs, law
clerks, stenographers, court reporters,
probation officers, federal magistrates,
and U.S. marshals
losing party (litigant), court of appeals (circuit court)
The _______ in a case heard and decided in a
federal district court can appeal the decision to the appropriate_______
Circuit Courts of Appeals
The _____were created by the
Judiciary Act of 1789; currently there are 11.
D.C. Court of Appeals
handles most appeals involving federal regulatory commissions and agencies
Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
deals with patents and contract and financial claims against the federal government
chief judge
Each circuit is supervised by a ____ (most senior
judge under 65, seven year term)
three, en banc
In deciding cases, judges are divided into rotating _____- judge panels (active judges, visiting judges, and retired judges); all circuit judges may choose to sit together ____ to decide a case by majority vote
courts of appeals
have no original
jurisdiction and are not trial courts
courts of appeals
Congress has granted these courts appellate
jurisdiction over two general categories;
Appeals from criminal and civil cases from the district courts
Appeals from administrative agencies (10%)
D.C. Court of Appeals
Most administrative agency appeals are heard by the_______; *2nd most important court in
the nation
Supreme court
Once a decision is made by a federal court of appeals, a litigant no longer as an automatic right to an appeal; The losing party may submit a petition to the _____, but it grants few requests
courts of appeals
In general, _____ try to correct errors of law
and procedure that have occurred in the lower courts or
agencies; they do not hear new testimony
written argument
Decisions of any court of appeals are binding on only the
district courts within that circuit; decisions of the U.S.
Supreme Court are binding throughout the entire nation
and establish national precedents
stare decisis
The reliance on precedents (past decisions) to formulate
decision in new cases is called
court of appeals, state supreme courts
The Supreme Court (court of last resort) reviews cases
from the ______ and the _______
and acts as the final interpreter of the U.S. Constitution
Original jurisdiction for the Supreme Court
Cases involving foreign diplomats
Cases involving a state (vs. the United States or another state(s) or
a foreign nation)
The Supreme Court only hears cases from states if they
involve a federal question and all potential remedies in
the state court system have been exhausted
supreme court
It decides major cases with tremendous policy
supreme court
ensures uniformity in the interpretation
of national laws and the Constitution
supreme court
resolves conflicts among the states
supreme court
maintains the supremacy of
national law in the federal system
The Supreme Court operates with few support staff
All federal court judges and justices must be nominated by the president and confirmed by the ____
strict constructionist
a person who interprets the Constitution in a way that allows the federal government to take only those actions the Constitution specifically says it can take
nomination criteria
Competence (Experience) - some
prior judicial or governmental
experience; ethical behavior

Ideology or Policy Preferences -
share political ideology of the
president; strict constructionist

Rewards - personal friend of the
president or party loyalist/activist;
Hugo Black & Earl Warren

Pursuit of Political Support -
appointments of women or
minorities to gain votes

Religion - Desire to
keep religious diversity
(Catholics, Protestants,
and Jews) on the Court

Race, Ethnicity, and
Gender - Only two
African Americans and
four women have served
on the Court
When the president narrows the list of possible
nominees, names are sent to the Federal Bureau of
Investigations for background checks
Names have traditionally been submitted to the
American Bar Association (ABA) for ratings -
Highly Qualified, Qualified, Not Qualified
Senate Judiciary Committee
After a formal nomination is made and sent to the
Senate, the ______ begins its
supreme court cases
must contain a federal question
solicitor general
handles most appeals
for the United States before the Supreme Court and
has a close relationship with the Court
cases heard by SC (trends)
1. The federal government is the party asking for

2. Conflict among the lower (circuit) courts

3. Case presents a civil rights or civil liberties question

4. Case involves ideological and/or policy preferences
of the justices

5. Case has significant social or political interest;
presence of interest group amicus curiae briefs
per curiam decision
decision without explanation