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Title: Three Branches of Government

Three Branches of Government
The National Legislature
  • The Legislative Branch or Congress is made of
    two bodies
  • House of Representatives and Senate.
  • This means that Congress is bicameral bi
    means two, and cameral means chamber.

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The National Legislature
  • Why did the founding fathers develop two houses?
  • One reason was because it is what they were used
    to from the British government.
  • Second reason is they wanted as many checks and
    balances as possible.

The National Legislature
  • However, the third and most important reason was
    because it served as a compromise during the
    Constitutional Convention.
  • Remember there was an argument as to how the
    states should be represented as votes.
  • Big states said it should be based on population
    little states said it should be equal.

The National Legislature
  • The Great Compromise created two houses in
    Congress HOR and Senate.
  • House of Representatives gets reps based on state
  • Senate gets two reps from each state regardless
    of population.

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The National Legislature
  • Total there are 435 members of the House of
  • Total there are 100 (50 states X 2 Senators
    from each state) members of the Senate.
  • How many total members of Congress are there?

The National Legislature
  • Congress meets for two-year terms 1st Congress
    met on March 4, 1789.
  • The 112th Congress began on January 3, 2011 and
    ended on January 3, 2013.
  • The 113th Congress will meet on January 3, 2013,
    and will end on January 3, 2015.

The National Legislature
  • In each two-year term there are two sessions
    one session per year.
  • When Congress begins a session it is called
    convenes, and it is called adjourn when it
  • There are numerous recess periods in a session
    as well.

The National Legislature
  • The President of the United States may call a
    special session during an emergency or a critical
    issue comes up.
  • This has happened 27 times in our nations
  • In 1933 President Roosevelt called an emergency
    session to deal with Great Depression.

The National Legislature
  • President Roosevelt also called an emergency
    session in 1939.
  • The issue then was outbreak of war in Europe
    the Nazis and U.S. policy to sell weapons to
  • Many times the President threatens a special
    session to force Congress to compromise on an

The National Legislature
  • summary

House and Senate
  • Remember there are 435 members with the states
    population determining how many members per
  • Every state must have at least on seat or
  • Every 10 years, the HOR is reapportioned to
    recalculate how many members per state never
    goes above 435 total though.

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House and Senate
  • During the 1st Congress in 1789 there were 65
    members in the House.
  • Every member in the House serves two-year terms.
  • This makes each member highly accountable for
    their actions and votes always an election year

House and Senate
  • There are no limits on how many times a member
    can be elected.
  • The election is always held on the Tuesday
    following the first Monday in November on even
    numbered years.
  • Each member in the House represents their
    district from their state.

House and Senate
  • Because there are 435 members in the House, that
    means there are 435 districts in the U.S.
  • Districts are created very carefully they have
    boundaries and borders.
  • Districts have to be near equal in total

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House and Senate
  • Districts also have to be one piece not bunches
    of pieces.
  • Every 10 years districts boundaries are re-drawn.
  • These rules lead to all different types of
    district shapes and sizes.

House and Senate
  • Re-drawing districts also brings gerrymandering
    into play.
  • Gerrymandering is named after former
    Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry in 1812.
  • Political parties in control of the state
    governments gerrymander district boundaries.

House and Senate
  • They re-form the districts with a strategy in
    mind to try to keep their members in office.
  • Gerrymandering is the reason why we see REALLY
    strange district shapes.
  • Arizonas 2nd district is a great example of

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House and Senate
  • Anyone can become a House of Representatives
    member you need to meet these simple
  • Minimum age of 25 years.
  • Minimum 7 years as U.S. Citizen.
  • Live in the state in which you represent.
  • However, other members of the House can reject
    you, punish you, or expel you based on a majority

House and Senate
  • It is extremely expensive to run a campaign in
    order to become a member of the House.
  • The average cost of a campaign is 1 million.
  • Also, once you are in, it is very hard to lose an
    election 90 of the incumbents or current
    members lose an election.

House and Senate
  • There are 100 total members of the Senate 50
    states X 2 per state 100.
  • The Senate is viewed as more esteemed and more
    important than the House.
  • Before 1913, Senators were chosen by the state
    governments since 1913 they are voted in by the

House and Senate
  • Senators are elected during the same elections as
    House members in November.
  • Each state can have only one Senate seat up for
    election at a time.
  • This means that only 1/3 of the Senate is up for
    election at once.

House and Senate
  • Senators serve 6-year terms and there is no limit
    on how many times they can be elected.
  • The Senate was set up this way to counter the
    knee-jerk reactions of the House.
  • Senators have a cushion of 6 years and are able
    to look at the bigger picture of an issue.

House and Senate
  • Senators must be
  • 30 years old.
  • A U.S. Citizen for at least 9-years.
  • Live in the state in which they serve.

House and Senate
  • Just like the House, it is very expensive to run
    a campaign to become a Senator millions of
  • Incumbents win most elections part of this is
    credited to name recognition.
  • Also, just like the House, an elected Senator can
    be rejected by 2/3 majority vote, or expelled.

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House and Senate
  • summary

Members of Congress
  • Who are the members of Congress where do they
    come from, and what are they like?
  • The average members is male, white and in his
  • Of the 535 members, 95 are women, 42
    African-American, 25 Spanish, 7 Asian.

Members of Congress
  • 1/3 of the House members are lawyers, ½ of the
    Senate members are lawyers.
  • Almost all 535 members have advanced degrees
    meaning higher then a bachelors.
  • Several members are millionaires, and 1/3 of
    Senators were once House members.

Members of Congress
  • In other words, the Legislative Branch (Congress)
    is not an accurate cross section of the American
  • Instead they represent the upper-middle class
  • Some people feel this makes Congress out of
    touch with normal Americans.

Members of Congress
  • Senators and House members both receive 174,000
    salary per year.
  • However, there are also other fringe benefits
    they receive as well.
  • They receive breaks on taxes because they are
    forced to own two homes.

Members of Congress
  • They also receive travel allowances or money to
    travel with.
  • Congressional members also receive full medical
    benefits for themselves and their families at
    reduced prices.
  • When they retire, they also receive a pension
    or yearly income until they die.

Members of Congress
  • Other benefits include operating costs to hire
    workers to run their offices.
  • They receive a franking privilege allowed to
    use the postal service free of charge.
  • They also receive free parking on Capitol Hill
    and free airport parking.

Members of Congress
  • But, all of these benefits come with a heavy
    burden on representing thousands of people.
  • Members are required to use their votes to make
    decisions for our country.
  • In this role, members choose their vote in a
    variety of ways.

Members of Congress
  • Some members choose to vote as delegates based
    on what they believe their people want.
  • Some members choose to vote as trustees or base
    their decisions on their own morals and values.
  • Some members choose their vote as partisans or
    base their choice on what the rest of their party

Members of Congress
  • summary

How a Bill Becomes a Law
  • To become a law, a proposed bill usually starts
    in the House of Representatives.
  • A bill can be introduced in a variety of ways
    citizens demands, President recommendation,
    Congressional idea.
  • Each proposed bill is turned into the clerk and
    given a title and a number.

How a Bill Becomes a Law
  • For example, H.R. 3,410 A bill to provide
  • After it is given a number and a title, the bill
    is entered into the House Journal and the
    Congressional Record.
  • The Speaker of the House reads the bill and
    refers it to the correct standing committee.

How a Bill Becomes a Law
  • Every member in Congress serves in a committee
    a small group that is responsible for certain
    functions of our country.
  • There are dozens of committees, such as
    transportation, natural resources, foreign
    policy, and oversight.
  • That committee researches the bill to determine
    its worth.

How a Bill Becomes a Law
  • After the committee is done researching the bill
    they report their information back to the House.
  • They could recommend that the bill be passed,
    recommend it be denied, or change the wording to
    make it better.
  • After the bill is reported the House Rules
    Committee schedules time for debate on the floor.

How a Bill Becomes a Law
  • Each member is given 5 minutes to debate.
  • The bill is then voted on if it gets 2/3 vote
    then it is approved by the House.
  • Remember once a bill passes in the House it
    still must receive 2/3 approval in the Senate.

How a Bill Becomes a Law
  • The rules for debating a bill in the Senate are
    much different than the House.
  • Senators are allowed to debate a bill on the
    floor for as long as they want.
  • Senators have used filibusters in the past
    tactic to talk a bill to death.

How a Bill Becomes a Law
  • In 1935 Huey Long, Democrat from Louisiana talked
    for 15 hours to stall from being approved.
  • There is no regulation on what you talk about in
    the Senate either.
  • Long read the Washington D.C. phone book and his
    favorite recipes.

How a Bill Becomes a Law
  • Strom Thurmond, Republican from South Carolina
    talked for 24 hours trying to block a Civil
    Rights law.
  • Filibusters go on today but usually they are
    team efforts.
  • There are some rules to help prevent filibusters.

How a Bill Becomes a Law
  • Senators must stand the whole time they are
    speaking no sitting, no leaning.
  • The Senate must approve the identical version of
    the bill that the House apporved.
  • If the Senate wants changes made the bill must be
    referred to a conference committee.

How a Bill Becomes a Law
  • Conference committee is made up of House and
    Senate members and their job is to create a
    compromised version of the bill.
  • The compromised version must be passed by both
    House and Senate.
  • If a bill survives and is approved by 2/3 House
    and Senate then it is sent to President for

How a Bill Becomes a Law
  • President can do four things with the bill
  • 1. Signs it bill officially becomes a law.
  • 2. Vetoes the bill rejects it and Congress can
    override with 2/3 vote in House and Senate.
  • 3. Not sign it after 10 days the bill becomes
    a law.
  • 4. Pocket Veto not sign it, and if Congress
    adjourns before 10 days is up then the bill dies.

How a Bill Becomes a Law
  • summary

Presidents Job Description
  • The President of the United States has many roles
    to play.
  • The President acts as the Chief of State the
    head of the government, and the face of the
  • Chief Executive the Constitution declares the
    President as the executive or boss of the

Presidents Job Description
  • Chief Administrator President is in charge of
    2.7 million civilian workers and a government
    that spends 3 trillion dollars a year.
  • Chief Diplomat Meets and greets other world
    leaders to discuss treaties, and joint solutions.
  • Commander in Chief Leader of the Armed Forces
    and the 1.4 million men and women who serve.

Presidents Job Description
  • Chief Legislator Most important person in
    shaping government policy.
  • President recommends, and sometimes demands
    Congressional actions.
  • Chief of Party leader of their political party
    (Democrat, Republican).

Presidents Job Description
  • Chief Citizen President must lead by example
    when it comes to behavior, attitude, and actions.
  • The formal qualifications to become President of
    the United States are clear
  • 35 years of age.
  • Natural born citizen of the U.S.
  • Resident of the U.S. for at least 14 years.

Presidents Job Description
  • However, there are informal qualifications to
    become President
  • President should have political experience.
  • President should be likeable and intelligent.

Presidents Job Description
  • When elected, the President serves a four-year
  • Since 1951, with the adoption of the 22nd
    Amendment, the terms are limited to two.
  • Some critics of the amendment claim it is
    unconstitutional by restricting citizens rights
    to chose the President they want.

Presidents Job Description
  • Congress determines the salary for the President.
  • Since 2001 Presidents earn 400,000 per year.
  • However, there are other benefits that go along
    with the yearly salary.

Presidents Job Description
  • Presidents receive 50,000 a year for personal
  • Presidents and their families live in the
    132-room White House in Washington D.C.
  • 18 acre estate, full service staff and workers as

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Presidents Job Description
  • Presidents also receive full access to Air Force
  • Camp David, a get-away complex in western
  • Best healthcare available, and additional
    entertainment funds as well.

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Presidents Job Description
  • summary

Presidential Powers
  • Powers of the President are discussed in Article
    II of the Constitution.
  • The description is not very detailed and this has
    raised many questions.
  • Should the President be more powerful then
    Congress, or should Congress be more powerful
    then the President.

Presidential Powers
  • Power has grown for the President over the past
    200 years.
  • The power of the President depended on the
    personality of the President.
  • Some President have used executive powers to
    which is an undefined power in the Constitution
    to do almost anything.

Presidential Powers
  • Presidents have the power to issue what is called
    executive orders.
  • These are rules and regulations that are similar
    to laws but they dont need Congressional
  • This is sometimes worrisome because the President
    would not be acting for the people in this

Presidential Powers
  • Presidents also have the power to appoint
    top-ranking officials in the government.
  • The Senate must approve all presidential
    appointments by a 2/3 vote.
  • President can also remove anyone that he

Presidential Powers
  • Presidents also have the power of executive
  • Under executive privilege the President can
    refuse to disclose information to Congress or the
  • However, executive privilege cannot be used in
    criminal hearings.

Presidential Powers
  • There are also informal powers that the President
    has as well.
  • For instance, the President can address the
    American public at any time through the media.
  • These are considered the media powers of the

Presidential Powers
  • However, the checks and balances system allows
    Congress and the Supreme Court to limit the
    Presidents power.
  • Congress can override vetoes Congress controls
    the power of the purse Congress can impeach
    the President.
  • Congress can impeach the President of the United

Presidential Powers
  • The House impeaches which means to bring
    charges against the President.
  • The House only needs a majority vote to impeach
    and then it goes to the Senate for trial.
  • To convict the President and kick him out the
    Senate needs a 2/3 vote.

Presidential Powers
  • No President has ever been convicted but Andrew
    Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached.
  • Richard Nixon may have been convicted, but
    resigned before impeachment vote took place.

Presidential Powers
  • summary

Cabinet Departments
  • Alexander Hamilton once said The true test of
    a good government is its aptitude and tendency to
    produce a good administration.
  • The President has many people help him do his job
  • However, none are more important than his

Cabinet Departments
  • Much of the work done by the Federal Government
    is done by the 15 Cabinet Departments.
  • The Cabinet is also called the Presidents
    Advisory Group.
  • Each Department is headed by a secretary except
    for one the Department of Justice.

Cabinet Departments
  • The Department of Justice is headed by the
    attorney general.
  • Each department head is the link between
    presidential policy and their own department.
  • They are responsible for making sure the will of
    the President is being carried out.

Cabinet Departments
  • Each department secretary is aided by an
    undersecretary or a deputy secretary.
  • Each secretary, or deputy secretary appointment
    is made by the President and approved by the
  • Each department is also made up of subunits.

Cabinet Departments
  • Example The Department of Justice is a
    Presidential Cabinet.
  • However, the Criminal Division is a subunit of
    the Department of Justice.
  • And, the Counterterrorism Section and Narcotics
    Section are subunits even further.

Cabinet Departments
  • The subunits of the Cabinet Departments are
    regionally placed to work throughout the entire
  • Take the Department of Veterans Affairs as an
  • There are over 150 Veteran Medical Centers around
    the nation, and 800 outpatient Veteran medical

Cabinet Departments
  • In fact, 90-percent of Cabinet employees work
    outside of Washington D.C.
  • The Department of State is the oldest and most
    prestigious of the Cabinets.
  • The current Secretary of State is Hillary

Cabinet Departments
  • The Department of Defense is the largest with
    700,000 civilian and 1.4 military members.
  • Department of Health and Human Services has the
    largest budget of the Cabinets.
  • It accounts for 25-percent of the total federal

Cabinet Departments
  • The youngest Cabinet Department is the Department
    of Homeland Security established in 2002.
  • Important to know the Presidents Cabinet
    serves as an advisory group to the President.
  • However, the President does not have to take
    their advice.

Cabinet Departments
  • summary

The National Judiciary
  • During the years the Articles of Confederation
    were in force there was no national court system.
  • The laws of the United States were left up to the
    courts of each state to interpret.
  • Often, decisions in one state were ignored by
    other states.

The National Judiciary
  • Article III, Section 1 of the Constitution says
  • The judicial power of the United States shall be
    vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior
    Courts as the Congress may from time to time
    ordain and establish.
  • The idea was to establish a national court system
    that had the final say on the law.

The National Judiciary
  • What exists in the United States today is a
    dual-court system.
  • There are over 100 federal courts across the
    country, and each state has their own system of
    courts as well.
  • Most cases heard today take place in state

The National Judiciary
  • The Constitution created the Supreme Court and
    allows Congress to create inferior federal
  • There are two types of federal courts
    constitutional courts, and special courts.
  • The constitutional courts hear most cases tried
    in federal courts.

The National Judiciary
  • Before a case is heard in court jurisdiction
    must be decided that is which court will the
    case be heard in.
  • Usually states have jurisdiction and that is why
    most cases are heard in state courts.
  • The Constitution however gives federal courts
    jurisdiction because of subject matter or the
    parties involved.

The National Judiciary
  • In terms of subject matter the federal courts may
    hear a case if it involves a federal question.
  • Is the interpretation of the Constitution needed?
  • If yes, than the case may be heard in a federal

The National Judiciary
  • In terms of the parties involved federal courts
    hold jurisdiction over a case if one of the
    parties is
  • 1. The United States or one of its officers or
  • 2. An ambassador or other official
    representative of a foreign government.

The National Judiciary
  • 3. One of the 50 states suing another state,
    resident of another state, or a foreign
  • 4. A citizen of one state suing a citizen of
    another state.
  • 5. An American citizen suing a foreign
    government or a subject of that government.

The National Judiciary
  • 6. A citizen of one state suing a citizen of the
    same state where both claim title to land grants
    from different states.
  • Besides these situations, state courts hold
    jurisdiction over all other legal matters.
  • However, there are exceptions.

The National Judiciary
  • Example Tony robs a bank in California.
  • Jurisdiction Federal
  • Why Bank robbery violates a federal law,
    regardless of the state in which the crime was

The National Judiciary
  • Example Lisa from Michigan sues Jane from Ohio
    for 80,000 in damages caused as a result of a
    car accident.
  • Jurisdiction Concurrent Both
  • Why When a citizen from one state sues a
    citizen from another state for damages greater
    then 75,000 the case can be heard in both.

The National Judiciary
  • Example Mitch has his car repaired at a local
    repair shop. His car breaks down after he pays
    the bill so he sues for breach of contract.
  • Jurisdiction State
  • Why A purely local matter where nothing from
    the case is related to federal law.

The National Judiciary
  • There is also a difference between original
    jurisdiction and appellate jurisdiction.
  • The court where the case is first heard has
    original jurisdiction.
  • Appellate courts handle appeals or protests to
    the original courts outcome.

The National Judiciary
  • Appellate courts do not retry cases instead
    they determine whether a court acted in accord
    with the law.
  • If the appellate court decides that the original
    court did not act within the law a decision can
    be overruled.

The National Judiciary
  • summary

Federal Judges and Officers
  • The Constitution explains the manner in which
    federal judges are chosen, how long they serve,
    and how much they get paid.
  • How are federal judges selected?
  • The president selects the judge, the Senate
    confirms the judge with 2/3 vote (checks and

Federal Judges and Officers
  • Usually the president is given recommendations
    from advisors, other politicians, and interest
  • There are no formal qualifications in the
    Constitution to be a federal judge.
  • Most candidates have state judicial experience,
    most are lawyers, most are law school professors.

Federal Judges and Officers
  • When selected and confirmed, federal judges serve
    in federal courts.
  • There are 109 federal courts across the U.S.
    including the highest of them all The Supreme
  • There are 874 federal judges that have been
    selected and confirmed.

  • John Jay first Supreme Court Chief Justice.

  • Thurgood Marshall first African-American Supreme
    Court Justice. 1967-1991.

  • Sandra Day OConnor first female Supreme Court
    Justice. 1981-2006.

Federal Judges and Officers
  • How long do federal judges serve?
  • The Constitution says during good behavior
    which means there is no limit to their term.
  • Serve until they retire, resign, die, or
    impeached (7 have been).
  • Designed this way to try to keep them out of
    politics and elections.

Federal Judges and Officers
  • A federal judge makes anywhere from 174,000 per
    year to 223,000.
  • Some of the best lawyers in the U.S. make
    millions per year causing some to claim we need
    to pay federal judges more.
  • Federal judges may retire when they reach 65 with
    15 years of service age service 80. They
    retire will full pension.

Federal Judges and Officers
  • Federal judges have a great responsibility they
    interpret the Constitution and their decisions
    shape what is allowed in society.
  • How a judge makes their decisions varies from
    judge to judge depending on their philosophy.
  • Some judges practice judicial restraint, some
    practice judicial activism.

Federal Judges and Officers
  • Judicial Restraint
  • Make decision based on original intent of
  • Make decision based on what other judges have
    ruled on in the past with similar cases.
  • Do not believe in using their power to make major
    changes to society norms.

Federal Judges and Officers
  • Judicial Activism
  • Make decisions based on what is happening in
    current times.
  • Belief that society has changed over time,
    therefore court decisions should reflect those
  • It is okay to rule differently on similar cases
    of the past okay to change society with your

Federal Judges and Officers
  • Federal judges hear the cases and make decisions.
  • Court officers handle all of the supportive work
    clerks, bailiffs, reporters, officers.
  • Magistrates are also considered officers of the

Federal Judges and Officers
  • U.S. magistrates are justices that help run
    federal district courts. They handle minor civil
    complaints and misdemeanor cases.
  • They also issue warrants for arrest and set bail
    in federal criminal cases.

Federal Judges and Officers
  • U.S. Attorneys are also selected by the President
    and confirmed by the Senate to serve as the
    countrys prosecutors.
  • U.S. Marshals are also appointed to serve as a
    sheriff for the country make arrests, keep
    order in court, and hold suspects in custody.

Federal Judges and Officers
  • summary

The Supreme Court
  • Supreme Court is located in Washington D.C. on
    the building quote reads Equal justice under the
  • The Court consists of one Chief Justice the
    head honcho and eight associate judges.
  • It is part of the three branches of government in
    the U.S. Legislative, Executive, Judicial.

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The Supreme Court
  • Framers of the Constitution gave all three
    branches power over each other checks and
  • The Supreme Courts power is judicial review.
  • It has the final say on all matters relating to
    the interpretation of the Constitution.

The Supreme Court
  • Judicial review was established in 1803 as a
    result of Marbury v. Madison a court case.
  • Dispute over the 1800 election in which
    Anti-Federalist Thomas Jefferson won the
    presidency and they also controlled Congress.
  • President John Adams a Federalist tried to
    add Federalist judges to the Supreme Court before
    his term was over.

The Supreme Court
  • An argument followed and the case was decided
    upon by the Supreme Court which gave the Court
    power to determine laws and policies of other
    branches as unconstitutional.
  • This is important if two or more laws conflict
    each other Supreme Court decides which law

The Supreme Court
  • Today, most cases heard in the Supreme Court are
  • These cases were tried in lower federal courts or
    high state courts and their outcome is
  • More then 8,000 cases are appealed to the Supreme
    Court each year only a few hundred are actually
    heard most are denied.

The Supreme Court
  • The rule of four is used to determine which
    cases will be heard.
  • 9 judges a minimum of 4 judges must agree that
    case is worthy of being heard.
  • Most of the cases that reach the Supreme Court
    are from the writ of certiorari.

The Supreme Court
  • It is Latin for to be made more certain.
  • This happens when either the prosecution or the
    defendant asks the Supreme Court to interpret the
  • The other cases that reach the Supreme Court do
    so as a certificate where the judge requests
    Court interpretation.

The Supreme Court
  • Supreme Court is in session from October to July
    they set dates for the cases they hear.
  • When your case is heard you must submit a
    written brief your argument about the case.
  • Briefs sometimes reach 100 pages in length.

The Supreme Court
  • After brief is submitted, you get to appear
    before the judges in Court and present your
    argument verbally called the oral argument.
  • You have 30 minutes to speak white light shines
    for 5 minute warning red light shines you must

The Supreme Court
  • After the hearing, judges meet in private
    conference to make their decision.
  • This is where judicial restraint or judicial
    activism is used.
  • Majority is needed so 5 out of 9 judges is
    minimum needed to make a ruling.

The Supreme Court
  • Once decision is made, the Chief Justice issues a
    written document called the majority opinion.
  • It summarizes the view of the Court and explains
    the reasons for their decision.
  • This helps to create precedent down the road for
    future cases.

The Supreme Court
  • In addition to the majority opinion a
    dissenting opinion can be issued as well.
  • This is submitted by the judges on the losing
    side and explains their position.
  • This can also be used later in the future to help
    judges make decisions for cases later on.

The Supreme Court
  • summary