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13 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
The basis of the American judicial system
The American judiciary is based on an adversary sytem in which 2 sides in a dispute come together in a neutral arena to argue their points and prove they are right. This system is based on the fight theory which says that arguing over law and evidencs guarantees fairness
Types of laws (326-327)
common law- body of decisions based on precedence which implies that a rule estblished by a court is to be followed in all similar cases.
statutory law- comes from authoritative and specific lawmaking sources(legislatures,treaties,executive orders)
criminal law- defines crime against the public and provides for punishment;enforced by government and enacted by states
civil law- governs relations between individuals and their legal rights
In a state criminal case, in whose name is the accusation made? (notes)
The person being accused is the defendent.
Where criminal and civil cases are processed (notes)
Civil cases are procesed in state courts. The person who loses has to pay money. There are 2 types: compensatory (payments designed to make a person whole and punitive (when the ury feels the defendent was so neglegent that they have to pay compensatory and be physically hurt in some way.
Criminal cases are processed in federal court. They are based on a wrong against the whole of society. A person can not only lose money and liberty, but sometimes even life.
When accused of a felony under federal law (notes)
Federal courts are the person versus society. They have writ of habeas corpus in which a person can be released from custody or detainment if the judge finds that they are being held unconstitutionaly. In a plea bargain the person can save the court the cost of taking them to trial by pleading guilty upfront. It usually results in a lighter sentence and a judge has to sign off on it.
The federal appellate system (327-328)
In the heirarchy of federal courts there are district courts, courts of appeal, and the supremen court. The supreme court is above all other courts, it can enforce supremacy over the state, and it has the final say in justice. It starts everday on the same day (1st monday in october) The supreme court also has appellate jurisdiction in which it can review the decisions of other federal courts and agencies as determined by congress.
Nominations of federal judges (330-332)
The president has the power to appoint federal judges with the advice and consent of the senate. 1) department of justics officials and white house staff review the candidates. 2) the white house recommends to the president who to nominate. Before hand it practices senatorial courtesy in which the names of prospective appointees are submitted to the senators from the state in which the appointess are to work for aproval. This is done in a letter called a blue slip. This doesn't apply to supreme court appointment. 3) the senate recieves the name of the nominee and sends it to judiciary committee for consideration 4) if both home-state senators approve of a nominee they hold a hearing, vote, and send their recommendation to full senate for consideration and confirmation based on majority vote.
Adherence to precedent (336)
Although judges make policy they have limits on what they decide. One of these limits is stare decisis (rule of precedence) in which judges are expected to abide by previous decisions of their own courts and rulings of superior courts. This policy is supposed to promote uniformity and stability in the law. Judges are however, allowed to distinguish between precedence due to differences in the context of cases. Supreme courts are not seriously restricted by this policy.
Tie votes on the U.S. Supreme Court (339)
The supreme court starts every year on the same day; the 1st monday in October thought the end of June. 6 justices have to participate in each decision and cases are decided by majority vote. Briefs are argument on paper. In oral arguments each side has 30 minutes to argue their case. In a tie vote the decision of the lower court is sutained.
Appealing a case to the U.S. Supreme Court (340)
Appeals come to the supreme court through writ of certiorari, a formal petition used to bring a case before court that may be denied. The court can decide which cases it wants to review. An important factor in determing to review a case is its importance to the operation of the governmental system as a whole. The court also reviews cases in which rulings among the courts of appeal are in conflict. Cases are granted based on a rule of 4. If 4 justices are sufficiently interested in a petition for a writ of certiorari, it will be granted and the case brought up for review.
Representing the U.S. Government before the U.S. Supreme Court (341)
The solicitor general represents the federal government before the supreme court. They are aslo called the 10th justice. No appeal can be taken to any appellate court w/o the aproval of the SG. The SG's office decides which cases to appeal. Sometimes the SG is too aggressive in asking the court to overturn precedents
Submitting written views to the U.S. Supreme Court (341-342)
Written views are presented in the form of anicus curiae briefs. They are filed by an individual or organization to present arguments in addition to those presented by the immediate parties to a case. They can also be filed by the SG. They have been increasingly filed in the past decades by interest groups to counter decisions of the SC and the government. They are usually filed after a granted case review to urge the court to reach a certain decision
U.S. Supreme Court opinions (343-344)
Opinions are explanations of the decision of a Supreme court or any other appellate court. The can be directed at congress, the president, or often the public in order to gain support of a policy the court favors. When the chief justice is in the majority they decide who drafts the opinion but when they are in the minorit,y the senior justices makes the assignment. The document has to win the support of at least 4 intelligent, strong-willed persons