Unit 5 1 How The Supreme Court Works

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Information about Unit 5 1 How The Supreme Court Works

Published on July 10, 2008

Author: davidjosman

Source: slideshare.net

Judicial Branch Chapter 18 “ The Story of a Problem” You need the ‘Supreme Court Notes’ handout & an additional sheet of paper

A problem arises between two parties parties : interested groups or people – the people affected by a situation (can be local, state, or federal governments)

parties : interested groups or people – the people affected by a situation

(can be local, state, or federal governments)

Perhaps you think something is WRONG or UNCONSTITUTIONAL

Supreme Court SO… You want to take your case all the way to the Supreme Court???

SO…

You want to take your case all the way to the

Supreme Court???

Can YOU potentially take a case all the way to the Supreme Court? Yes! No way, not me!

Yes!

No way, not me!

First of all, cases are either… Criminal - The defendant is tried for committing an action that has been declared illegal by law Bank robbery, mail fraud, tax evasion, murder, etc… Civil - Involves noncriminal matter, such as a dispute over the terms of a contract Bankruptcy, civil rights, labor relations, terms of a contract, suing, etc… BOTH kinds of cases can be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court

Criminal -

The defendant is tried for committing an action that has been declared illegal by law

Bank robbery, mail fraud, tax evasion, murder, etc…

Civil -

Involves noncriminal matter, such as a dispute over the terms of a contract

Bankruptcy, civil rights, labor relations, terms of a contract, suing, etc…

Can take the issue to be resolved by a court but only if… … the plaintiff has ‘ standing to sue’ – must have a direct, personal interest in a case before he/she can sue. Can’t sue to the rights of the public/for the general interest of the world, or taxpayers The court will hear the case if you have standing to sue

… the plaintiff has

‘ standing to sue’ – must have a direct, personal interest in a case before he/she can sue.

Can’t sue to the rights of the public/for the general interest of the world, or taxpayers

The court will hear the case if you have standing to sue

A man in Colorado is tired of illegal immigrants getting free health care at local hospitals. He wants the Court to hear his case, arguing that his tax money shouldn’t go to support hospitals that help illegal immigrants. Does he have standing to sue? Yes No I don’t know

Yes

No

I don’t know

A boy in Arizona claims he was arrested and convicted for a crime he didn’t commit. He believes his due process rights were violated by the police. Does he have standing to sue? Yes No I don’t know

Yes

No

I don’t know

A new law has been passed that will require banks to routinely send all records of their customers checking accounts to the IRS. A man who doesn’t have a checking account would like to sue so the court will declare the law unconstitutional. Does he have standing to sue? Yes No I don’t know

Yes

No

I don’t know

Can take the issue to be resolved by a court but only if… … the issue isn’t ‘ moot’ – involves a pretend (hypothetical, academic, or abstract) situation Can’t ask ‘why did the chicken cross the road’ or ‘what’s the best way to set up a public school’, etc… If a case is moot, the court won’t hear it!

… the issue isn’t

‘ moot’ – involves a pretend (hypothetical, academic, or abstract) situation

Can’t ask ‘why did the chicken cross the road’ or ‘what’s the best way to set up a public school’, etc…

If a case is moot, the court won’t hear it!

A man says he was denied his Sixth Amendment rights to have a lawyer when he was arrested and convicted of burglary. He was released from prison after his sentence was completed last year. Is his case moot? Yes No I don’t know

Yes

No

I don’t know

A man is on death row for killing another man. However, he believes the undercover officer violated his 4 th Amendment rights. He wishes to be released due to lack of evidence. Is his case moot? Yes No I don’t know

Yes

No

I don’t know

Organization of the Courts Once you know your case will be heard… Can you take your case STRAIGHT to the Supreme Court??? How are the Courts organized???

Once you know your case will be heard…

Can you take your case STRAIGHT to the Supreme Court???

How are the Courts organized???

Jurisdiction Jurisdiction refers to the authority of a particular court to hear particular cases TYPICALLY – the court that oversees a certain area has JURISDICTION over that area. Can be a complicated issue, but use your common sense and it typically works Federal State Military

Jurisdiction refers to the authority of a particular court to hear particular cases

TYPICALLY – the court that oversees a certain area has JURISDICTION over that area.

Can be a complicated issue, but use your common sense and it typically works

Federal

State

Military

Structure of the American Judicial System is divided into… Federal State Jurisdiction: authority of a court to hear (to try and to decide ) a case Literally means; the power to “say the law”

Federal

State

Federal or State Jurisdiction? Jurisdiction refers to the authority of a particular court to hear particular cases. Decide which court would have jurisdiction in each scenario, federal court or state court.

Jurisdiction refers to the authority of a particular court to hear particular cases.

Decide which court would have jurisdiction in each scenario, federal court or state court.

A women from New York sues her ex-husband for custody of their child Federal State I don’t know

Federal

State

I don’t know

A Massachusetts woman sues a man from Nevada for failure to uphold a purchase agreement Federal State I don’t know

Federal

State

I don’t know

A firm from Maine sues a Canadian shipping company for failure to deliver goods Federal State I don’t know

Federal

State

I don’t know

A company in Alaska sues a local travel agent for overcharging on airfare to other states. Federal State I don’t know

Federal

State

I don’t know

State Courts Most cases in the United States start ( and finish ) here. Cases in State jurisdiction are handled here Each of the 50 states court systems is slightly different Texas’s highest court is called the Texas Supreme Court

Most cases in the United States start ( and finish ) here.

Cases in State jurisdiction are handled here

Each of the 50 states court systems is slightly different

Texas’s highest court is called the Texas Supreme Court

Federal Courts Country is divided into 12 Courts of Appeal (TX, LA, MS all in 5 th Circuit) Courts of Appeal are divided into 94 District Courts (Texas is divided into 4 regions) 642 judges handle more than 300,000 cases a year They are inferior courts the lower federal courts that function beneath the Supreme Court.

Country is divided into 12 Courts of Appeal (TX, LA, MS all in 5 th Circuit)

Courts of Appeal are divided into 94 District Courts (Texas is divided into 4 regions)

642 judges handle more than 300,000 cases a year

They are inferior courts

the lower federal courts that function beneath the Supreme Court.

 

If you don’t like the result of your case you can APPEAL Appeal : a higher court may uphold, overrule, or in some way modify the decision appealed from the lower court The higher court, however, doesn’t always HAVE to hear your case!!! Cases must make their way through the court system before they get to the Supreme Court. Otherwise they are not considered ‘ ripe ’

Appeal : a higher court may uphold, overrule, or in some way modify the decision appealed from the lower court

The higher court, however, doesn’t always HAVE to hear your case!!!

Cases must make their way through the court system before they get to the Supreme Court. Otherwise they are not considered ‘ ripe ’

An employee of the IRS was fired. Not believing that he could receive a fair hearing within the agency, he wants to appeal his firing directly to the Supreme Court. Is his case ripe? Yes No I don’t know

Yes

No

I don’t know

A publisher wants to appeal the case he last in all lower, as well as the highest court in his state. He believes the law he is being punished under is an unconstitutional violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights to free speech and press. Is his case ripe? Yes No I don’t know

Yes

No

I don’t know

Selection of Judges What would the best way to select a Judge for the job?

What do you believe would be the best way to select a judge? An election by the people Selection by the President/Governor

An election by the people

Selection by the President/Governor

Selection of Judges Federal Appointed by the Executive (President) Confirmed by the Senate Are not associated (officially) with any political party Senators from the state judge is appointed to (Federal District Court) usually gets to approve the judge before Senate confirmation State (TX) Elected by citizens (Texas Supreme Court appointed) Are Republican or Democratic (mostly Republican in Texas) Every state is different, however ‘ What Makes a Good Justice’ Activity

Federal

Appointed by the Executive (President)

Confirmed by the Senate

Are not associated (officially) with any political party

Senators from the state judge is appointed to (Federal District Court) usually gets to approve the judge before Senate confirmation

State (TX)

Elected by citizens

(Texas Supreme Court appointed)

Are Republican or Democratic (mostly Republican in Texas)

Every state is different, however

Judges can be… Judicial ‘Activists’ Believe that a judge should use his or her position to promote desirable social ends For example, cases involving civil rights or social welfare issues Judicial ‘Restraint’ In making judicial decisions, judges should defer to the actions of the executive branches – except in cases where those actions are clearly unconstitutional.

Judicial ‘Activists’

Believe that a judge should use his or her position to promote desirable social ends

For example, cases involving civil rights or social welfare issues

Judicial ‘Restraint’

In making judicial decisions, judges should defer to the actions of the executive branches – except in cases where those actions are clearly unconstitutional.

BACK TO OUR PROBLEM! It may make it all the way to the Supreme Court. BUT only if…

It may make it all the way to the Supreme Court. BUT only if…

Will your case make it all the way to the Supreme Court??? Not all cases that are submitted to the Supreme Court are heard by the court. Most are dismissed by the court. If four justices want to hear the case, the case is heard. This is called the ‘ rule of four .’

Not all cases that are submitted to the Supreme Court are heard by the court.

Most are dismissed by the court.

If four justices want to hear the case, the case is heard. This is called the ‘ rule of four .’

According to Supreme Court tradition, how many justices must agree to hear a case? None 1 3 4 5 All 9

None

1

3

4

5

All 9

Nomination and Confirmation Process Judges are nominated by the President And confirmed by 2/3 rds vote in the Senate Was nominated by George W. Bush in 2005, but not confirmed by the Senate Sam Alito Harriet Myers

Judges are nominated by the President

And confirmed by 2/3 rds vote in the Senate

How the Supreme Court Operates In session for part of the year. ( Takes the summer off ) Gathers on Mondays and Wednesdays to hear cases and announce decisions.

In session for part of the year. ( Takes the summer off )

Gathers on Mondays and Wednesdays to hear cases and announce decisions.

How does the Supreme Court Operate? No witnesses, no jury simply oral testimony from attorneys from both parties Justices can interrupt attorneys at any time to ask questions (which comes out of their total 30 minutes) Justices decide which side has the CONSTUTITIONAL argument – not who’s RIGHT Announces the court’s opinion a few months later

No witnesses, no jury

simply oral testimony from attorneys from both parties

Justices can interrupt attorneys at any time to ask questions (which comes out of their total 30 minutes)

Justices decide which side has the CONSTUTITIONAL argument – not who’s RIGHT

Announces the court’s opinion a few months later

When the Supreme Court hears a case: There are no witnesses The Justices can ask questions of the lawyers Each side argues for 30 minutes All of the above are true

There are no witnesses

The Justices can ask questions of the lawyers

Each side argues for 30 minutes

All of the above are true

Opinions of the Court Each justice records an opinion on the case (who won?)(5-4, 6-3, etc…) One justice will write a ‘ majority opinion ’ stating why the majority decided why they did A different justice will write a ‘ dissenting opinion ’ stating why they disagree with the majority Also, a judge can choose to write a ‘ concurring opinion ’ agreeing with the majority, but for different reasons Chief Justice John Roberts

Each justice records an opinion on the case

(who won?)(5-4, 6-3, etc…)

One justice will write a ‘ majority opinion ’

stating why the majority decided why they did

A different justice will write a ‘ dissenting opinion ’

stating why they disagree with the majority

Also, a judge can choose to write a ‘ concurring opinion ’

agreeing with the majority, but for different reasons

Thomas Stevens Roberts (Chief Justice) Scalia Alito Ginsberg Souter Breyer Kennedy ‘ Access to the Supreme Court’ Activity 7 were appointed by Republicans 2 were appointed by Democrats Term is for LIFE pay is good, but retirement benefits are better

7 were appointed by Republicans

2 were appointed by Democrats

Term is for LIFE

pay is good, but retirement benefits are better

The Supreme Court Decides cases based on: What is right and wrong What is moral and immoral What is constitutional and unconstitutional That the executive branch wants

What is right and wrong

What is moral and immoral

What is constitutional and unconstitutional

That the executive branch wants

Done! Semester Project Two events tonight! RR City Council John Carter – Speaking MrOsman.com Tests are graded Still need bill information from some people!

Semester Project

Two events tonight!

RR City Council

John Carter – Speaking

MrOsman.com

Tests are graded

Still need bill information from some people!

Federal Courts Known as inferior courts – the lower federal courts that function beneath the Supreme Court. 642 judges handle more than 300,000 cases a year Country divided into 94 District Courts (Texas is divided into 4 regions) Can appeal to Courts of Appeals Country divided into 12 Courts of Appeal (TX, LA, MS all in 5 th Circuit)

Known as inferior courts – the lower federal courts that function beneath the Supreme Court.

642 judges handle more than 300,000 cases a year

Country divided into 94 District Courts (Texas is divided into 4 regions)

Can appeal to Courts of Appeals

Country divided into 12 Courts of Appeal (TX, LA, MS all in 5 th Circuit)

State Courts Cases in State jurisdiction are handled here Most cases in the United States start ( and finish ) here. Each of the 50 states court systems is slightly different Texas’s highest court is called the Texas Supreme Court Appeal : a higher court may uphold, overrule, or in some way modify the decision appealed from the lower court

Cases in State jurisdiction are handled here

Most cases in the United States start ( and finish ) here.

Each of the 50 states court systems is slightly different

Texas’s highest court is called the Texas Supreme Court

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