The Judicial Branch

Powers of the Courts
• Jurisdiction
Authority to hear a case State Courts-cases involving state law Federal Courts-ambassadors, state governments, U.S. government • Concurrent jurisdiction • Original Jurisdiction • Appellate Jurisdiction

Development of Power
• Precedents John Marshall-1801 Marbury v. Madison • Due Process Plessy v. Ferguson “separate but equal” Brown v. Board of Ed. • Business • Protection of Civil liberties

Federal Court System
District Courts 94 Courts U.S. Court of Appeals 13 Courts of Appeal Supreme Court

The Supreme Court

• Jurisdiction
Original-cases involving ambassadors and conflicts between states Appellate

• 9 Justices sit on the court • Can be impeached by House of Representatives • Duties have developed through laws and tradition Must decided which cases to hear each year Must decide the case itself and give an opinion Each justice has responsibility for federal circuits Occasionally have special duties

What makes good justice?
• Law clerks Do research and help prepare opinions Usually young law school graduates • Background Legal experience Usually older

Appointment
• Political Considerations • Look at previous career • Usually gets advice from legal experts • ABA • Interest groups • Justices

Supreme Court’s Work
• Procedures Begins 2nd Monday in October Hear cases Mon-Wed Work on opinions • Reaching the Court Writ of Certiorari Appeal Solicitor General Selection of Cases “Rule of Four”

Decisions “Oyez Oyez…”
• Submitting Briefs amicus curiae • Oral Arguments Each side allowed 30 minutes • Conference • Writing the Opinion Unanimous Majority Concurring Dissenting

Shaping Policy
• Judicial Review
Used at state and local levels

Ex Parte Milligan-1866 Miranda v. Arizona-1966 • Interpretation of Laws
Congress often leaves laws vague PGA Tour v. Martin-2001

• Overturning Earlier Decisions -stare decisis-follows earlier precedent Olmstead v. U.S.-1928

Limits
• Only hears cases on certain issues Civil liberties, questions of separation of powers • Limits to types of cases • Limited Control over its agenda • Lack of enforcement power

How does the Court decide?
• The Law Meaning of Constitution is not always clear Justices personal view creates blocs Relationship of Justices Conflict v. harmony Society must consider public support society has changed over time original intent v. spirit of the law

• • •

Balancing Power
• President’s influence Appointment Enforces court’s decisions Congress May try to pass laws to circumvent the court’s ruling Propose Constitutional amendments Senate confirmation power