Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States“SCOTUS” The Roberts Court
Chief Justice John Roberts Born: Jan. 27, 1955. Age: 58 Philosophy: Conservative Time served: 8 years. Position: Chief Justice Nominated by: Bush 43 Sworn in: Sep. 29, 2005 Confirmation Vote: 78-22
Justice Antonin Scalia Born: March 11, 1936 Age: 77 Philosophy: Very Consv. Time served: 27 years Position: associate Justice Nominated by: Reagan Confirmation Vote: 98-0 Commissioned: September 25, 1986 Sworn in: September 26, 1986
Justice Anthony Kennedy Born: July 23, 1936 Age: 76 Philosophy: Mod. Consv. Time served: 25 years Position: associate Justice Nominated by: Reagan Confirmation Vote: 100-0 Commissioned: February 11, 1988 Sworn in: February 18, 1988 Now considered the Court’s swing vote!
Born: June 23, 1948 Age: 64 Philosophy: very Consv. Time served: 22 years Position: Associate Justice Nominated by: Bush 41 Confirmation Vote: 52-48 Sworn in: Oct. 23, 1991 Justice Clarence Thomas
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Born: March 15, 1933 Age: 80 Philosophy: very Liberal Time served: 20 years Position: associate Justice Nominated by: Clinton Confirmation Vote: 96-3 Commissioned: August 5, 1993 Sworn in: August 10, 1993
Justice Steven Breyer Born: August 15, 1938 Age: 74 Philosophy: Liberal Time served: 19 years Position: associate Justice Nominated by: Clinton Confirmation Vote: 87-9 Commissioned: August 2, 1994 Sworn in: August 3, 1994
Justice Sonia Sotomayor Sotomayor being sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts on 8/6/09. First Hispanic on the Court.
Justice Elena Kagan Born: April 28, 1960 Age: 52 Philosophy: Liberal Time served: 3 years (newest!) Position: Associate Justice Nominated by: Obama Confirmation Vote: 63-37 Sworn in: August 7, 2010
Each Justice is assigned to oversee a circuit. • ALLOTMENT ORDER • It is ordered that the following allotment be made of The Chief Justice and the Associate Justices of this Court among the circuits, pursuant to Title 28, United States Code, Section 42 and that such allotment be entered of record, effective September 28, 2010. • For the District of Columbia Circuit, John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice, • For the First Circuit, Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice, • For the Second Circuit, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice, • For the Third Circuit, Samuel A. Alito, Jr., Associate Justice, • For the Fourth Circuit, John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice, • For the Fifth Circuit, Antonin Scalia, Assoc. Justice, • For the Sixth Circuit, Elena Kagan, Associate Justice, • For the Seventh Circuit, Elena Kagan, Associate Justice, • For the Eighth Circuit, Samuel A. Alito, Jr., Associate Justice, • For the Ninth Circuit, Anthony M. Kennedy, Associate Justice, • For the Tenth Circuit, Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice, • For the Eleventh Circuit, Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice, • For the Federal Circuit, John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice. • 1
Advice & Consent Selection of Federal Judges
Appointment Process(Justice Kagan, 2010) President nominates a candidate. Senate Judiciary Committee holds hearings; questioning the nominee and witnesses. Full Senate debate. Announcement of confirmation & swearing in.
Most important factors in choosing a nominee • 1. Merit • Objectivity, ABA rating, write clearly and sharply, education and scholarship • 2. Ideology • Jurisprudence • 3. Diversity (balancing representation) • Geography (historically) • Religion • 4. Friendship
Can the choice of a nominee change the makeup of the Court and the outcome of decisions? • Justice Stevens was a Republican but became more liberal on the Court • CJ Earl Warren appointed by Rep. Pres. Eisenhower became the most liberal Court in recent history!
Who might retire next? • 1. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg • Health issues • If she retires, would it change the political make up of the court?
Some reasons why they will take a case: • Conflict between circuits (or top state courts) • Unusual (or “one of a kind”) case • Major issues case with impact on many people (such as civil liberties) • Issue important to clarify a law, legal evidence, or administrative procedure • Issue involving the working of the federal government
Some reasons why they will take a case: • Case illustrating flagrant abuse of justice or disregard for announced legal doctrine • Public pressure • Personal preference of the justices.
Reasons NOT to take a case: • Most cases must be previously heard • Congress has the power to limit the court’s jurisdiction • The court will not offer advice • The court will not answer hypothetical or moot questions (too old) • Parties must have STANDING to sue • The issue in the case must be “ripe” • No political questions • Must have 4 justices = “Rule of 4” • No local cases • Fail to raise serious questions of Const’l law • It’s expensive to go to a higher court.
What if they don’t take your case? • Supreme Court refuses to hear Redskins' naming caseBy Robert BarnesWashington Post Staff WriterMonday, November 16, 2009 1:14 PM • The Supreme Court on Monday declined to revive a lawsuit on behalf of Native American activists who claimed that the Washington Redskins' team name is so offensive that it does not deserve trademark protection. • The court without comment refused to get involved in the long-running dispute. The decision essentially lets stand a lower court ruling that the activists waited too long to bring the challenge. • The team has been known as the Redskins since 1933, when the name was changed from the Boston Braves. It became the Washington Redskins in 1937, when the team moved south. • The lawsuit was filed in 1992, when seven activists challenged a Redskins trademark issued in 1967. They won seven years later in a decision by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, which said the name could be interpreted as offensive to Native Americans. The case is Harjo v. Pro-Football Inc.
Where to find Opinions • www.scotusblog.com • www.oyez.org (has audio too!) • www.findlaw.com
PRECEDENT • A previous court decision that is used as a standard for future cases dealing with the same legal question. • Stare Decisis • Let the decision stand.
Limit the exercise of their own power. Go to great lengths to defer to the legislature (or executive) because they represent the majority of Americans. Respect stare decisis, the principle of upholding established precedent handed down by past judges. Plessey v. Ferguson (1896) Stating that the “separate but equal” is okay. Let the legislatures decide how to handle it. Judicial Restraint
Courts believe it is their duty to uphold liberties because the leg. and exec. branches won’t always do that. Believe in “case law.” Courts making new public policies. Brown v. Board of Education (1954) Overturned the precedent set in Plessey. Expected the states to act upon their ruling Brown II (1955): “…with all deliberate speed.” Judicial Activism
Originalism v. Living Constitution Interpreting the Constitution
Originalism • Staying true to the intent of the Founding Fathers. • Interpret the Const. based on what reasonable persons living at the time of its adoption would have declared the ordinary meaning of the text to be.
Living/Evolving Constitution • The Const. remains interdependent with the society that implements it. • Make it fit the times. • Societal progress should be taken into account when interpreting key constitutional phrases.
Judicial Review A court’s power to look over a legislative or executive act/action and declare it unconstitutional.
WWFD • What Did the Founders Think of Judicial Review? • Pp. 54-57 • Federalist 78
Marbury v. Madison (1803) LET’S REVIEW THE CASE…