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AP Gov Unit 4C: The Judicial Branch & Civil Liberties
Terms in this set (84)
what is judicial review?
the right of federal courts to declare laws of Congress and acts of the executive branch void and unenforceable if they are judged to be in conflict with the Constitution
where (from which case) did judicial review come from?
Marbury v. Madison
what is the difference between judicial restraint(strict constructionism) and judicial activism?
the view that a judge should enforce law as its written VS. the view that a judge should interpret the Constitution in a way that corrects the wrongs of society
what is on the president's mind when he selects federal judges?
how does a president's judge selection sometimes not work out so well for the president?
he often picks someone based on their political ideology based on the assumption that that judge will act a certain way, but often that is not the case because party is not the only thing that influences decision making
what is senatorial courtesy?
this tradition gives heavy weight to the preferences of the senators from the state where a federal district judge is to serve (basically, if the president was going to nominate a federal judge to serve for a certain state, he would first ask for a recommendation from that state's senior senator)
what is a litmus test?
a test of ideological purity in selecting judges
how can the executive branch "check" the judicial branch?
how can the legislative branch "check" the judicial branch?
1. by approving the appointments
2. impeaching judges it doesn't like
3. altering the number of judges
what is the relationship between the Supreme Court and public opinion?
because judges are not elected and they are appointed for life, they do not have to worry about the pleasing the public AS MUCH. however, judges do tend to factor in public opinion when making decisions, especially the elite opinion.
how is the Dred Scott case related to the relationship between the Supreme Court and public opinion?
this Supreme Court decision (that the federal government could not tell states whether or not their citizens could own slaves) was in complete opposition to public opinion and nearly destroyed the legitimacy of the Court itself.
what are the two different types of law?
criminal law and civil law
what are criminal laws?
laws protecting property and individual safety
what are civil laws?
laws relating to business and contractual relationships (can also include wrongful death)
what are the two court systems in America?
the state court system and the federal court system
what are the three different tiers of our federal court system?
Federal Trial(District) Courts -->
Federal Appeals(Circuit) Courts -->
The US Supreme Court
what is original jurisdiction?
the authority of a court to TRY a case first
what is appellate jurisdiction?
the authority of a court to REVIEW cases ALREADY DECIDED by a lower court
explain the federal trial courts and its type of jurisdiction
-called the district courts
-each state has at least one, large states have more
~has original jurisdiction only over cases that present a federal question
explain the US Courts of Appeals and its type of jurisdiction
-also called circuit courts
-there are 11 in the US (plus 2 special circuits)
-each court has between 6 and 30 judges with one chief judge
-no trials are held. a panel of 3 judges reviews the trial court's record of the trial, listens to the attorneys, and looks for errors in the lower court's ruling
~has appellate jurisdiction only over cases already decided by the district courts
what are the three (really four) tiers of our state system?
state trial courts -->
state appeals courts -->
state supreme court -->
US Supreme Court
why does the US Supreme Court sit atop both systems?
1. because state law cannot violate any federal law (including the constitution)
2. federal law cannot violate the constitution
3. the Supreme Court has the ultimate power to decide if they have
what kind of jurisdiction does the Supreme Court have?
-appellate jurisdiction over cases decided by the federal appeals court or any of the various state supreme courts
-original jurisdiction over cases of which a state is a party or cases involving ambassadors and other public ministers and consuls
when does the court grant certiorari?
when it decides to accept an appeal, the Supreme Court grants this to make it official
what is the rule of 4?
the court considers all the petitions it receives to review lower court decisions. if 4 justices agree to hear the case, a cert is issued and the case is scheduled for a hearing
what dilemma does the Court face in granting or not granting certiorari?
1. if the court grants cert frequently, it will be overwhelmed with cases
2. if the court grants cert rarely, the federal courts of appeals have the last word on the interpretation of the Constitution and federal laws, and they often disagree
what role do clerks play in granting certiorari?
because the supreme court has such a heavy workload, law clerks (recent college grads of law schools that are hired by justices) play a big role in deciding which case should be heard under a writ of certiorari (each justice has 4).
what role do interest groups play in getting cases to the Court?
interest groups often help fund a case if the issue seems sufficiently important to them
once a case has been accepted, what steps in the process occur?
(1. accepting a case)
2. reading briefs
3. hearing oral arguments
4. deciding the case(/debating in private)
5. writing the decision
who is the Solicitor General?
the federal government's top trial lawyer who is frequently before the court because the federal government is often one of the parties in a case
what are amicus curie briefs?
written briefs and even oral arguments that may be offered by an interested party not directly involved in the suit and filed on behalf of the petitioner
what are the different kinds of opinions the court can issue on a case?
a majority opinion, concurring opinion, or dissenting opinion
what is the majority opinion?
an opinion reflecting the view of the majority (called the opinion of the court)
what is the concurring opinion?
an opinion by one of more justices who agree with the majority's conclusion but for different reasons that they wish to express
what is a dissenting opinion?
the opinion of the justices on the losing side
when does the court "make policy"?
1. when the court rules laws unconstitutional
2. when the court interprets the constitution
3. when the court changes its mind on past policy decisions
what are the 4 measures of the court's power to make policy?
1. how often the court rules laws unconstitutional
2. how often the court changes its mind
3. the degree to which the court handles matters it once left to Congress to handle
4. the kinds of remedies that the court will impose
explain the term "state decisis":
its an informal rule of decision making meaning "let the decision stand"
what does it mean to say that the Judiciary is "independent" and why is it important?
it isn't subject to political pressure from the other branches or the US people which is important because it means it can make justified decisions without worrying about pleasing others
what do the stories of Presidents Jackson and Eisenhower tell us about the important of "executing" judicial decisions?
When Jackson didn't enforce the Supreme Court decision regarding the Cherokee Indians, he forced them from their land and many of them were killed in the process. When Eisenhower enforced the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, he was able to keep the Little Rock Nine safe when entering school.
What are the rights of the 1st Amendment, and is it incorporated?
1. Freedom of Religion
2. Freedom of Speech
3. Freedom of Organizing Peacefully (so that they may ask the government to correct a wrong)
yes, it is incorporated
What is the 2nd Amendment, and is it incorporated?
the right to bear arms (Congress can't stop people from keeping/carrying guns because they have the right to protect themselves)
yes, it is incorporated
What is the 3rd Amendment, and is it incorporated?
in peacetime, citizens cannot be forced to house US soldiers. in wartime this may be done if Congress passes a law for it
no, it has not been incorporated
What is the 4th Amendment, and is it incorporated?
personal property cannot be searched without a proper warrant
yes, it has been incorporated
What are the rights of the 5th Amendment, and is it incorporated?
1. before anyone can be tried in a federal court, a grand jury must formally accuse that person
2. one found not guilty, a person cannot be tried again for that crime by the federal government (protection against double jeopardy)
3. no one can be forced to say anything in federal court that would help convict him/herself of a crime
4. the federal government cannot take a person's life, freedom, or personal property except in ways of the law
5. private property can't be taken without reason benefiting all people and proper compensation
yes, but it is selectively incorporated
What is the 6th Amendment, and is it incorporated?
1. right to a speedy trial decided by a jury
2. right to a lawyer
3. right to have witnesses testify (the accused must be present during this)
yes, it is incorporated
What is the 7th Amendment, and is it incorporated?
in disputes over property worth over $20, either side can insist on having a jury trial or both sides can agree against it
yes, but it is selectively incorporated
What is the 8th Amendment, and is it incorporated?
courts cannot require too large of a bail or punish convicts in cruel/unusual ways
yes, but it is selectively incorporated
What is the 9th Amendment, and is it incorporated?
the mention of certain rights are not the only rights and do not make other rights less important
yes it is incorporated
What is the 10th Amendment, and is it incorporated?
the states or the people have all powers that have not been specifically assigned to the central government or specifically prohibited to the states
yes, it is incorporated
what happened in the case Tinker v. Des Moines School District, what amendment/right was involved, and what was the outcome?
Mary Beth Tinker peacefully protested the war by wearing a black arm band and the school suspended her for it. The Supreme Court did support her 1st Amendment right of expression
what happened in the case Texas v. Johnson, what amendment/right was involved, and what was the outcome?
Joe Johnson burned a flag outside a republican national convention in Texas. The Court supported his right to do this because the flag was another form of speech, so he was protected by the 1st Amendment
what happened in the case Miranda v. Arizona, what amendment/right was involved, and what was the outcome?
Ernesto Miranda was arrested for kidnapping and rape, but he was uneducated so he didnt have a lawyer and had to defend himself and did a poor job. The Supreme Court decided to change police procedures and require that everyone arrested must be read their "miranda" rights to prevent this from happening again
what happened in the case Westside Community Schools v. Mergens, what amendment/right was involved, and what was the outcome?
Bridget Mergens wanted to establish a bible club for her school but the principal refused. She relied on the free exercise clause of the 1st Amendment for her case, and the principal relied on the establishment clause regarding religion for her case. The Supreme Court supported Mergens 1st Amendment right to do so.
Why did the framers of the Constitution think a bill of rights was unnecessary?
1. they thought they had made it very clear what the federal government could do
2. they thought they had created a government of such limited powers that it wasn't even necessary to add a separate list to specify
what are civil liberties?
the protections the Constitution provides against the abuse of government power
what are civil rights?
rights protecting certain groups, such as women, gays, and African Americans, against discrimination
what is included in the 14th amendment?
1. the due process clause (no state shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law)
2. the equal protection clause (no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law)
what is selective incorporation?
some, but not all, federal rights (listed in the amendments) apply to states
what is included in the 1st amendment?
1. freedom of expression
2. freedom of religion
what is the clear and present danger test?
a test to see whether the words used in a case are used in such circumstances and are of such a nature as to create clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils that Congress has a right to prevent
what 4 kinds of speech are not always constitutionally protected?
3. symbolic speech
4. false advertising
a written statement that defames the character of another person
explain the controversy of whether or not obscenity is constitutionally protected
there are 55 separate opinions regarding the meaning of obscene, which makes it hard to come to a conclusion
define symbolic speech and the controversy
an act that conveys a political message
controversy: burning a flag is constitutionally protected speech but burning a draft card is not
describe the decision of Schenck v. United States:
speech may be punished if it creates a clear-and-present-danger test of illegal acts
describe the significance of Gitlow v. New York:
the Court stated that the freedoms of speech and press are now among the fundamental personal rights protected by the due process clause of the 14th amendment
describe the significance of McConnel v. Federal Election Commission:
the Supreme Court upheld a 2002 campaign finance reform law
describe the significance of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission:
in the case, the Court reversed the decision of McConnel v. Federal Election Commission and decided that campaign advertising by corporations and unions is considered protected speech under the 1st Amendment
what is the "wall of separation" principle?
no national religion or government involvement with religion is allowed at all
how does the "wall of separation" relate to school prayer?
this is not allowed in public schools
how does the "wall of separation" relate to the teaching of evolution and creationism?
laws prohibiting these are unconstitutional because they are religiously inspired
how does the "wall of separation" relate to vouchers?
these (for parents to send students to private religious schools) have been ruled unconstitutional
what is due process?
protection for those accused of a crime
what is the exclusionary rule and what rights does it deal with?
what: protect a citizen's 4th amendment protections from unreasonable searches and seizures by excluding improperly gathered evidence from the trial in the first place
1. the right to be free from unreasonable searches (4th Amendment)
2. the right not to be compelled to give evidence against oneself (5th Amendment)
what is the "good-faith" exception to the exclusionary rule?
if the police are granted a search-warrant, but, unbeknownst to them, the judge issuing it used the wrong form, the evidence gathered under the defective warrant is still admissable
what is the USA Patriot Act?
after the 9/11 attacks, this law was passed to give law enforcement agents greater power in fighting terrorism, including more ease in conducting surveillance
what was the significance of Mapp v. Ohio?
when the police broke into Dollree Mapp's home to search for drugs, didn't find any, but still arrested her for other obscene material, the court ruled the search unlawful because the police didn't follow the search warrant (decision follows exclusionary rule)
what was the significance of Rasul v. Bush?
the Supreme Court ruled that American Courts can consider cases that are challenges to the legality of the detention of these men
what was the story of Clarence Gideon?
he was poor and always getting into trouble. one day he was arrested for stealing, but he couldn't afford a lawyer to represent him so he lost each case. finally he filed a petition to the Supreme Court.
what rights/amendments were involved in the case Gideon v. Wainwright?
1. 6th Amendment - Gideon claimed that his right to council meant that he had the right to be appointed a lawyer
2. 14th Amendment - equal incorporation
what did the Court rule on the case Gideon v. Wainwright and how did it affect the amendments involved?
The Supreme Court altered their decision in Betts v. Brady and incorporated the 6th Amendment, saying that all criminals have the equal (equal=14th Amendment) right to be appointed a lawyer free of charge
what is the story of Fred Korematsu and what amendments did he claim in support of his case?
he was subject to the Japanese Internment Camps after where they were all sent to the middle of the US and put into camps in precaution of Pearl Harbor. He claimed that his 14th amendment right of equal protection and 5th Amendment right of due process had been violated.
what did the Court rule on the case Korematsu v. United States and how did it affect the amendments involved?
the Court ordered the internment camp decision of the US constitutional because it was a time of war, so the amendments were unaffected.
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