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The Judicial Branch

The Judicial Branch

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The Judicial Branch

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  1. The Judicial Branch Helen Oh Yiyun Kong JanellAng

  2. The Basics • Courts settle conflict • Two types • Criminal law • Civil law • Jurisdiction • Original (91 district courts) • Appellate (federal judicial circuits) • Participants(litigants) • Plaintiff • Defendant • Class action suits • Justiciable disputes

  3. United States Supreme Court • Highest court in the land • Nine justices • Appointed for life • Resolve conflicts between states • Interpret national law • Original and appellate jurisdiction • Judicial review (Marbury v. Madison) • Cases must have substantial federal question • “rule of four” • Writ of certiorari

  4. Supreme Court Decisions • Cases are heard Oct-June in 2 week cycles • Judges receive written briefs like amicus curiae • Attorneys given 30 minutes to argue • Opinions • Reasoning behind them is important • Majority • Concurring • Dissenting • Stare decisis: “let the decision stand” • Lower courts follow precedent • Can overrule its own precedent

  5. Relations between Government Branches • President • President nominates judges and the Senate confirms the nomination with majority vote • Tradition of senatorial courtesy • Congress • Lower federal courts, district courts, and courts of appeal • Justices may be impeached by Congress • Judiciary Act of 1789 • Bureaucracy • Policy implementation

  6. Linkage Institutions • Interest groups • Seek out litigants (ie. NAACP in Brown v. Board of Education) • Amicus curiae briefs • Public opinion and voters • No influence on decisions made by the court • Media • Reports important problems • Political parties • Presidential appointments

  7. Linkage Institutions • Subnational government • Lower courts • Questioned when constitutional law is/is possibly broken