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The Judicial Branch


The Judicial Branch ... Government & political liberty (1936-present) Court establishes tradition of deferring to the legislature in economic regulation cases. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Judicial Branch

The Judicial Branch
United States v other nations
  • Only in the U.S. do judges play such a large role
    in _______________.
  • ________________- the right of federal courts to
    rule on the constitutionality of laws and
    executive actions.
  • Its the 1 judicial weapon in the checks and
    balances system.

How to interpret the Constitution?
  • There is much debate on how the Constitution
    should be interpreted
  • 1) _______________________- judges are bound by
    the wording of Constitution. (narrowly
  • 2) ____________- judges should look to the
    underlying principles of the Constitution.
    (broadly interpret).

  • Definition- When judges rule on cases by using
    the decisions of previous judges.
  • Also known as __________________- Let the
    decision stand.

The History of the Federal Judiciary
  • Most founders probably expected judicial review
    but did not anticipate the courts to have such a
    large role in policy-making.
  • Hamilton - Federalist 78- the ____________ of
    judges is essential to a democracy.
  • He believed the courts to be the least dangerous
    of the three branches.

National Supremacy and Slavery 1789-1861
  • Marbury v Madison (1803)
  • McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)
  • Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)- interstate
    ___________________ strengthened (under authority
    of federal government).
  • Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857)- Blacks could not
    become free citizens of the U.S.

Government the Economy 1865-1936
  • Dominant issue Could the federal government
  • Private property protected by the 14th amendment.
  • Narrow interpretation of _____ and ______
    amendments in relation to blacks allowing
    segregation (Plessy v Feruson (1896), excluded
    blacks from voting in many states.

Government political liberty (1936-present)
  • Court establishes tradition of deferring to the
    legislature in economic regulation cases.
  • Courts shift attention to _________________ as is
    active in defining rights.
  • _______________- liberal protection of rights and
    liberties against government trespass.
  • 1992- Court rules that states have the right to
    resist some federal action.

Federal Courts Structure
  • Two kinds of federal courts were created by
    Congress to handle cases that the Supreme Court
    does not need to decide.
  • 1) __________________________- exercise judicial
    powers found in Article III
  • Judges serve for life, with good behavior
  • Salaries not reduced while in office
  • Appointed by prez, confirmed by Senate

Constitutional Courts
  • District Courts- (_____)-
  • At least 1 in each state
  • Trial courts of the federal system
  • Single judge and jury present.
  • Circuit Court of Appeals (____)
  • appellate court
  • located regionally
  • panel of 3 judges

Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Decisions appealed to the US Supreme Court.
  • Over 8000 decisions get appealed in a calendar
  • Most get denied. When this happens, the decision
    is ________ back to the lower court, which means
    the circuit court decision stands.
  • Circuit Court decisions are usually the court of
    __________________ for most cases.

Selecting Judges
  • All constitutional court judges are nominated by
    the _____________ and confirmed by the
    ______________, on recommendation from the Senate
    Judiciary Committee.
  • _________________ usually employed for district

The Litmus Test
  • Presidents seek judges who share an ideology
    similar to their own.
  • Greatest impact on court decisions is
  • Litmus test during Reagan/Bush administrations
    was ___________.

Jurisdiction of Courts
  • Dual court system- state courts and federal
    courts have their own ________________.
  • Federal cases listed in Article III and the 11th
  • Federal question cases involving US
    Constitution, federal law and treaties.
  • Also cases involving different __________ or
    ______________ of different states.

Federal or State Court?
  • Some cases can be tried at either level.
  • Example if both federal and state laws have been
    broken. (_______________)
  • State cases can sometimes be appealed to the
    Supreme Court.a ___________ question must be

Route to the Supreme Court
  • Most federal cases begin in district court, then
    are appealed to circuit court.
  • Supreme Court picks which cases it wants to hear.
    ___________- 4 justices agree to hear case, then
    issue a writ of certiorari
  • Usually pick cases that deal with
  • 1) significant federal or __________ question
  • 2) conflicting decisions by circuit courts
  • 3) constitutional interpretation by a high state
    court, about state or federal law.

Going Supreme!!
  • About 8000 requests for certiorari are submitted,
    the Supreme Court usually limits its
    _____________ to no more than 100 cases in a
  • The Supreme Court sometimes hears cases on
    ______________ jurisdiction
  • 1) when a foreign ambassador is named in a case
  • 2) when a state is named in a case
  • 3) when maritime/_________ law is involved.

Supreme Court in Action
  • Each side has an 1/2 hour for oral arguments,
    including interruptions for questions by
  • Briefs are submitted by each side and friends of
    the court ______________ briefs.
  • Solicitor general- ________ justice

Conference Procedures
  • Judges meet in chambers.
  • Chief Justice speaks ______, votes _______
  • Selection of opinion writer
  • Types of opinions
  • 1) per curiam- brief and unsigned
  • 2) majority opinion- official decision
  • 3) _______________ opinion- agree, but for
    different reason
  • 4) Dissenting opinion- minority opinion.

Checks on Judicial power
  • Congress
  • 1) _____________ and impeachment
  • 2) change the number of judges
  • 3) changing jurisdiction of courts
  • 4) revising legislation
  • 5) ______________ the Constitution

Public Opinion and the Courts
  • Judges do not follow ______________.
  • However, over time if public opinion is
    consistent, judges will adapt laws to _________
    public opinion.