Warm-up • Should SC Justices rule mainly on the original intent of the Constitution or their personal backgrounds and experiences? VS.
Composition 9 Justices Appointment Appointed by the President Confirmed by the Senate Term of Office Lifetime Appointment Pay May not be diminished Chief Justice $202,900 Associates $194,200 Retirement Full salary @ 70 with 10 years service Full salary @ 65 with 15 years service The Court Characteristics
Critical Thinking • Why are Supreme Court justices given lifetime appointments?
Federalist No. 78 • “neither FORCE nor WILL but judgment.” • A. Hamilton • Lifetime appointments • Above politics • Protected from political currents • Freedom to make unpopular decisions • Insulated from public opinion
Supreme Facts Of 111 justices since 1789: • * 53 was the average age at appointment • * 36 served in the military • * 11 had no children • * 6 never married • * 4 were divorced • * 3 did not have a private law practice • * 39 were not judges before appointment • * 39 were Episcopalian • *18 attended and 14 graduated from Harvard Law School • * 26 were from judicial families • * 41 had fathers who held public office • * 39 grew up in urban or small-city settings • * 40 grew up on family farms, family plantations, or rural settings • * 31 grew up in small towns
Why is the make-up of the Supreme Court so important right now? • What are the stakes in the next presidential election?
How do Justices Make Their Rulings? • MACRO: Decision Making Process & Environment • Nomination & Confirmation Politics • Docketing and Processing of Cases • Oral Argument • Amicus Curiae • The Collegial Court Concept • Public Opinion • Support of Executive & Legislative Branches • MICRO: Ideology • Liberal • Moderate • Conservative • MICRO: Personal and Hereditary Factors • Race • Gender • Personal Socialization • MICRO & MACRO: Judicial Socialization • Law School Training • Law Practice & Experiences • Legal Associations & Organizations • Prior Judicial Experience • MICRO: Role • Activist • Restraintist • Pragmatist
MICRO AND MACRO INFLUENCES ON JUDICIAL DECISION MAKING THE POLITICS OF THE FEDERAL JUDICIARY
THE "MYTH" OF OUR JUDICIAL SYSTEM
HOW DID THE FOUNDERS PROVIDE FOR AN INDEPENDENT JUDICIARY?
NO SPECIFIED QUALIFICATIONS TO BE A FEDERAL JUDGE
FEDERAL JUDGES SERVE FOR LIFE Justice Wm Brennan was on the Court from 1956 to 1990- 34 years!
Chief Justice Wm Rehnquist- appointed in 1973 (Nixon)
CAN ONLY BE REMOVED THROUGH IMPEACHMENT 13 Impeachment trails, with 7 convictions since 1789
Samuel Chase- only Sup. Ct. justice to be impeached (1803)
The policy choices a court makes are based on interpretations of existing law
Federal judges are nominated by the president Examples of politics?
Federal judges are subject to the scrutiny of the Senate Senate Judiciary Cmte. room- Examples of politics?
Interests bring cases and present arguments to the Court in an effort to affect what it does
WOULD YOU TRUST THIS MAN TO HANDLE YOUR CASE?
“There was a burst of reporting and analysis last week about how it's been five years since Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas had asked a question from the bench.”
"Judges' decisions are a function of what they would prefer to do, tempered by what they think they ought to do, but constrained by what they perceive is feasible to do" Charles A. Johnson Texas A&M University
JUDICIAL IDEOLOGY ("...what they would prefer to do...")
Judges are people too- they are liberal and conservative on major policy issues
Scalia Rehnquist Thomas The "Pro-Life" Justices
Breyer Ginsburg Stevens The "Pro-Choice" Justices
Judicial Ideology is based on Personal Socialization
Former Justice Thurgood Marshall How do you think he ruled on civil rights policy knowing he experienced discrimination and segregation while growing up in the South?
Judicial Ideology is based on Professional Socialization
Their legal training is a part of professional socialization Harvard Law School
The type of law practiced before going to the bench is a factor
Former Justice Harry Blackmun (1970-1994)- wrote Roe v. Wade Blackmun had been in-house counsel to the Mayo Foundation and Mayo Clinic before being appointed to the bench
Did "party" play a role in the decision? SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES GEORGE W. BUSH, et al., PETITIONERS v.ALBERT GORE, Jr., et al. (2000)
JUDICIAL ROLE ("...what they think they ought to do...")
Role is based on judges' views about what constitutes appropriate behavior when interpreting the law
According to many, the proper role of a judge should be only to interpret the law- ascertain it's meaning and not make law
Five sources that have guided interpretation of the Constitution: (1) the text and structure of the Constitution,
Five sources that have guided interpretation of the Constitution: (2) intentions of those who drafted, voted to propose or ratify the provision in question
Five sources that have guided interpretation of the Constitution: (3) prior precedents (usually judicial) stare decisis
Five sources that have guided interpretation of the Constitution: (4) the social, political, and economic consequences of alternative interpretations