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Politics of the United States
Chapter 16: The Federal Courts Review
Terms in this set (52)
A judicial philosophy in which judges make bold policy decisions, even charting new constitutional ground. Advocates of this approach emphasize that the courts can correct pressing needs, especially those unmet by the majoritarian political process.
A judicial system in which the court of law is a neutral arena where two parties argue their differences.
Amicus Curiae Briefs
Legal briefs submitted by a "friend of the court" (i.e. interest groups) for the purpose of raising additional points of view and presenting information not contained in the briefs of the formal parties. These briefs attempt to influence a court's decision.
The authority of a court to review decisions made by lower courts. These courts do not review the factual record, only the legal issues involved.
documents given to a court by the attorneys trying a case. These documents contain summaries of the issues in the case, the laws relevant to the case, and the arguments which support the position taken by the attorney on behalf of his or her client.
the body of laws established by a state or nation for its own regulation
Class Action Law Suit
A case brought into court by a person on behalf of not only himself but all of the other persons who are in similar circumstances.
an opinion that agrees with the court's disposition of the case but is written to express a particular judge's reasoning- focused on a different constitutional or legal basis than that of the majority opinion
A federal court authorized by Article III of the Constitution that keeps judges in office during good behavior and prevents their salaries from being reduced. They are the Supreme Court (created by the Constitution) and appellate and district courts created by Congress
Courts of Appeal
Appellate courts empowered to review all final decisions of district courts, except in rare cases. In addition, they also hear appeals to orders of many federal regulatory agencies. Compare district courts.
the body of law dealing with crimes and their punishment
an opinion that disagrees with the court's disposition of the case/majority opinion
The lowest federal courts; federal trials can be held only here. 91 total, juries may be used
standing to sue
the requirement that plaintiffs have a serious interest in a case, which depends on whether they have sustained or are likely to sustain a direct and substantial injury from a party or an action of government
Federal Question Cases
cases concerning the Constitution, federal laws, or treaties
issues capable of being settled as a matter of law
The jurisdiction of courts that hear a case first, usually in a trial. These are the courts that determine the facts about a case.
Presidential custom of submitting the names of prospective appointees for approval to senators from the states in which the appointees are to work as judges
how and whether court decisions are translated into actual policy, thereby affecting the behavior of others; the courts rely on other units of government to enforce their decisions
view that the courts should reject any active lawmaking functions and stick to judicial interpretations of the past/precedent, hesitate from acting as policymakers, and use exact language of the Constitution
review by the US Supreme Court of the constitutional validity of a legislative act or action
A view that the Constitution should be interpreted according to the original intent of the framers. Many conservatives support this view.
courts created by congress for specialized purposes whose judges do not enjoy the protections of Article III of the constitution
an examination of the political ideology of a nominated judge
Responsibilities of the Supreme Court
1) Deciding which appealed cases to hear
2) Deciding the outcome for the case
3) Determining the explanation-court opinion
a statement that presents the views of the majority of supreme court justices regarding a case
Marbury v. Madison
This case establishes the Supreme Court's power of Judicial Review
a detailed explanation of the legal thinking behind a court's decision in a case
The Warren Court
1953-1969- very liberal and activist, major landmark decisions desegregating schools and expanding rights for suspected criminals
The Burger Court
1969-1986- starting to get more conservative, used strict constructionism, yet decided Roe v. Wade
The Rehnquist Court
1986-2005- very conservative, limited rights of decisions in the past
Per Curiam opinion
a brief, unsigned court opinion
Considerations for Nominations to the SCOTUS
-judicial philosophy (activism vs. restraint)
-race, gender, religion, region
Plaintiff (Petitioner at SCOTUS level)
a person who brings an action in a court of law
A doctrine developed by the federal courts and used as a means to avoid deciding some cases, principally those involving conflicts between the president and Congress.
an example that is used to justify similar occurrences at a later time
a judicial order enforcing a right or redressing a wrong
Defendant (Respondent at the SCOTUS level)
an individual, company, or institution sued or accused in a court of law
a law officer appointed to assist an attorney general
the rule that a citizen cannot sue the government without the government's consent
the head of the department of justice
an area of authority or control; the right to administer justice/make legal decisions and judgements
Let the decision stand; decisions are based on precedents from previous cases
various methods and tests used to determine meaning of law
Strict Constructionist Approach
the view that judges should decide cases strictly on the basis of the language of the laws and the Constitution
The pinnacle of the American judicial system. The court ensures uniformity in interpreting national laws, resolves conflicts among states, and maintains national supremacy in law. It has both original jurisdiction and appellate jurisdiction, but unlike other federal courts, it controls its own agenda.
Federalist 78 (Hamilton)
A limited Constitution requires an independent judiciary to check legislative actions; courts have a duty to make sure laws adhere to the Constitution and if the laws do not, declare them null and void (judicial review); least powerful of the three branches; defended lifelong term to prevent undue influence on court decisions
Writ of Certiorari
Order by the Supreme Court directing a lower court to send up the records of a case for review
Struct Scrutiny Test
The government/law must show that the challenged classification serves a compelling state interest and is necessary (race-based, national origin classifications)
Intermediate Scrutiny Test
The government/law must show that the challenged classification serves an important state interest and is substantially related to serving that interest (gender classification)
Rational Basis Scrutiny
The government/law need only show that the challenged classification is rationally related to serving a legitimate state interest homosexuals, innocent children of illegal aliens, age classifications)
If law does not pass the strict, intermediate or rational basis scrutiny test, the law in question is found __________.
Recommended textbook explanations
Magruder's American Government
United States Government: Principles in Practice (Florida)
Luis Ricardo Fraga
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