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Terms in this set (196)

-president appoints federal judges
-nominees are typically prominent or politically active members of the legal profession.
-many federal judges previously served as state court judges or state or local prosecutors; some were prominent attorneys; others were highly regarded law professors
--Thurgood Marshall, Supreme Court justice, was the chief counsel for the NAACP and argued Brown vs. Board of Education before the Court
-prior experience as a judge is not necessary
-in general, presidents endeavor to appoint judges who possess legal experiences and good character whose partisanship and ideological views are similar to theirs
-Constitution calls to the Senate to "advise and consent" to federal judicial nominations. This power gives the upper chamber of Congress an important check on the president's influence over the judiciary.
-before the president formally nominates a candidate for a federal district judgeship, the senators from the nominee's state must indicate that they support her. This is an informal but seldom violated practice called senatorial courtesy
-once the president has formally nominated an individual, the appointment must be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee and confirmed by a majority vote in the full Senate.
-the politics and rules of the Senate determine the fate of a president's judicial nominees and influence the types of people the president selects for judicial positions.
--like any piece of legislation, approval of a nomination must be given by the relevant committee and brought to the floor of the Senate, and get a majority vote. There is always the risk of a filibuster, and cloture of debate requires an affirmative vote of 3/5 of the senators.
-since the mid 1950s, then, judicial appointments have become increasingly partisan and, ultimately, ideological.
-today, the Judiciary Committee of the Senate nominees for the federal judiciary to lengthy questioning about a wide range of issues, from gun rights to abortion to federal power under the commerce clause. Senators' support for or opposition to specific nominees turns on the individual's ideological and judicial views as much as her qualifications
-most cases reach the Supreme Court through a writ of certiorari--that is an order to a lower court to deliver the records of a particular case to be reviewed for legal errors.
-an individual who loses in a lower federal court of a state court and wants the Supreme Court to review the decision has 90 days to file a petition for a writ of certiorari with the clerk of the Supreme Court
-two types of petitions: paid petitions and petitions in the form of paper.
--paid requires the payment of filing fees, submission of a certain number of copies, and compliance with a variety of other rules
--for in forma pauperis petitions, which are usually filed by prison inmates, the Court waives the fees and most other requirements
-most of the justices have participated in certiorari pool in which their law clerks work together to evaluate the petitions. Each petition is reviewed by one clerk, who writes a memo summarizing the facts and issues and making a recommendation for all the justices participating in the pool. clerks for other justices add their comments to the memo
--after the justices have reviewed the memos, any one of them may place any case on the discuss list, which is circulated by the chief justice.
---if a case isn't placed on the discuss list, it is automatically denied certiorari
---cases on the discuss list are considered and voted on during justices' closed-door conference. for certiorari to be granted, four justices must be convinced that the case satisfies Rule 10 of the Rules of the U.S. Supreme Court--states that certiorari is not a matter or right but is granted only when there are special and compelling reasons
-few cases satisfy this requirement
-the Court has granted certiorari to fewer than 90 petitioners each year--about 1% of those seeking Supreme Court Review
-writ of certification, this can be used when a Court of Appeals asks the Supreme Court for instructions on a point of law that has never been decided
-writ of appeal, which is used to appeal the decision of a 3-judge district court
-the solicitor general is third in status in the Justice Department, but he is the top government lawyer in virtually all cases before the appellate courts in which the government is a party
-he has the greatest control on regulating the flow of cases, with no review of his or her actions by any higher authority in the executive branch
-more than half of the Supreme Court's total workload consists of cases under the direct charge of the solicitor general
-he exercises strong influence by screening cases involving the federal government as a party long before they approach the Supreme Court; indeed, the justices rely on his to "screen out undeserving litigation and furnish them with an agenda to hear government cases that deserve serious consideration"
-agency heads may lobby the president or otherwise try to circumvent the solicitor general, and a few of the independent agencies have a statutory right to make direct appeals, but without the solicitor general's support these are seldom reviewed by the Court
-by writing an amicus curiae "friend of the court" brief, the solicitor general can enter a case even when the federal government is not a direct litigant. A friend of the court is not a direct party to a case but has a vital interest in its outcome. Thus, when the government has such an interest, the solicitor general can file as amicus curiae, or the Court can invite such a brief because it wants an opinion in writing. Other interested parties may file briefs as well
-he can also shape the arguments used before the Court. the Court tends to give special attention to the way the solicitor general characterizes the issues.
-the credibility of the solicitor general is not hurt when several times each year she comes to the Court to withdraw a case with the admission that the government has made an error