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Judicial Questions

Judicial Questions/Terms ALL

What party in a court case brings the charge? Plaintiff
What party in a court case is the one being charged? Defendant
What is another name for an impartial arbiter? Judge
The federal courts can only act on actual cases brought to them. Therefore, they must wait on other parties to take the initiative. They must simply react. This makes the Judicial Branch the only _______ branch. Passive
What term means the court's authority to hear a case? If they do not have this, they may not hear a case. Jurisdiction
What type of jurisdiction is where a case is first heard? Original Jurisdiction
What type of jurisdiction is where a court hears a case brought to them on appeal from a lower court? Appelate
What type of jurisdiction is where a court hears cases that can only be heard in certain courts? Exclusive
What type of jurisdiction includes cases that can be heard in either federal or state courts? Concurrent
What does "dual court" system mean? What are the two separate court systems? State and federal courts
What percentage of criminal cases are heard in state and local courts? 97
Which court is the only one named in the Constitution? Supreme Court
Which branch was given power in the Constitution to create all other federal courts? Legislative
Which act established the three-tiered structure of the federal court system? Judiciary Act of 1789
How many Supreme Court Justices were there in 1789? How many are there today? 6, 9
How many district courts are there in America? 94
What is the minimum number of district courts a state can have? 1
What percentage of all federal cases are heard at the district court level? 80
What percentage of district court cases end in plea bargains? What percentage are decided by trials? 98
Which level of the federal court system reviews all district court decisions? Federal Court of Appeals
What two things can happen when a case reaches a federal court of appeal? It can either be sent to the Supreme Court or rejected.
Which level in the federal court system has the power to rule on decisions from federal regulatory agencies? Federal Court of Appeals
Which level in the federal court system is the only level that does not actually hold trials or hear testimony? Federal Court of Appeals
Which level in the federal court system reviews cases from courts of appeals and state supreme courts? Supreme Court
Supreme Court decisions establish precedents that are binding on... the entire nation.
What is defined as something that comes from a ruling that will lead to future rulings following the example? Precedent
What is the final court in the federal court system? Supreme Court
Which Supreme Court case established judicial review? Marbury v. Madison
What is the power of the Supreme Court to declare federal legislation unconstitutional? Judicial Review
What are the three levels of the federal court system? District Court, Federal Court of Appeals, Supreme Court
Who appoints all federal judges? Who confirms them? President appoints, Senate confirms
What is a tradition where the Senate won't confirm a judge for lower court positions that are opposed by a senator of the president's own party from the state where the nominee will serve? Senatorial Courtesy
What are the three most important criteria that a president will use when nominating a Supreme Court Justice? Competence, ideology and race/gender
What prior experience should every nominated Supreme Court Justice have? Experience as a judge or in government
What kind of ideologies should a nominated Supreme Court Justice have? The same as the president
If Barack Obama nominates a Supreme Court Justice in 2014, what will her or his take on healthcare probably be? He'd love him some Obamacare
How many African American justices have there been? Two
How many female justices have their been? Three
How many Hispanic justices have their been? One
Where are possible nominee's names first sent in the confirmation process? FBI for a "thorough" background check
Where are possible nominee's names then sent in the confirmation process? American Bar Association
What is the ABA? What does it stand for? Where does it fit into the confirmation process? American Bar Association, it is used to check their rating as a judge or lawyer and review the cases they have worked with/on
Which groups use TV appearances, protests and buying advertisements to influence the confirmation process? Intrest Groups
Which Senate committee holds public hearings on a nominee for Supreme Court Justice? Senate Judiciary Committee
In which three instances does the Supreme Court have original jurisdiction? State v. State, US Government v. State, US Government v. foreign ambassadors or diplomats
What is an order by a higher court directing a lower court to send up the record in a case for its review? Writ of Certiorari
What does certiorari mean? "to be informed"
How do most cases reach the Supreme Court? Writs of Certiorari
What kinds of cases do the Supreme Court usually take? Serious constitutional issues or interpretations of federal laws
Who screens cases for the Supreme Court? Supreme Court clerks
How many justices must agree to hear a case? Four
What is the Rule of Four? After the Supreme Court clerks present the possible cases to the justices, they vote. At least four justices must vote to hear a case in order for them to hear it. If three or less vote for it, they don't hear it.
How many cases come from the Supreme Court's original jurisdiction in a given year? Two or three
Who determines if the federal government should appeal cases? Solicitor General
Who is usually the lawyer for the federal government in front of the Supreme Court? Solicitor General
Who is the main source of amicus curiae briefs on behalf of the federal government? Solicitor General
What is a written statement arguing one's side to a case? Each side must file one of these for any court case. Brief
What are the three things you can find in a brief? Facts, legal principles and precedents
Which groups usually file amicus curiae briefs? Interest groups
What kind of cases usually have amicus curiae briefs filed? Controversial ones like affirmative action or abortion
What kind of brief is filed by groups that are not one of the two parties involved in the case? Amicus Curaie
What part of a SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) trial is public? The oral arguments
How long do attorneys have for their oral arguments? Thirty minutes
Who is the current Chief Justice? John Roberts
What part of the SCOTUS trial is not public? The discussion of the case among the justices
What are the three types of opinions SCOTUS can write? Majority, concurring and minority (dissenting)
Which opinion is known as "the opinion of the Court"? The majority opinion
Which opinion is known as the law of the land? The majority opinion
Which opinion supports the majority opinion but states it is supported for different reasons than the majority reason does? The concurring opinion
Which opinion disagrees with the majority opinion? The minority or dissenting opinion
What Latin phrase means "let the decision stand"? Stare decisis
What are most Supreme Court case decisions based on? Precedent
If the Supreme Court has set a precedent, how does that impact later cases on the same topic? They will probably follow the precedent and rule in the same way they ruled in the first place
Is the Court able to overturn earlier decisions? Si, senior.
What is the most famous example of the Court overturning earlier decisions? Plessy being overruled by Brown
What was the ruling in Plessy? Separate but equal (train cars for different races)
What was the ruling in Brown? Separate is not equal (equal school for all races)
What are the two types of judicial philosophy? Judicial restraint and judicial activism
Which judicial philosophy says that the Court should defer to the legislation in most cases? It also says that the Framers' ideas should be held up as often as possible. Judicial restrait
Which judicial philosophy says that the Court is responsible to fix things that the other branches don't or won't? This philosophy thinks that the Court's role is to protect the rights of citizens above all else. Judicial activism
List three reasons why the Court is insulated from political and public pressure. Justices serve life terms (can't be removed), salaries can't be reduced, they set their own agenda, the public has limited access to their proceedings
What is the only way a justice can be removed? If they commit high crimes and misdemeanors. Then they are impeached
How can the public opinion impact the actions of the justices? The public can persuade the president not to appoint them or the Senate not to confirm them.
What are four ways Congress has control over the Justices? Congress can amend the Constitution, change the SCOTUS appellate jurisdiction, change the number of justices and impeach justices
Judicial review The court can refuse to enforce a law that it finds unconstitutional. This is often used to set a precedent for further rulings.
Adversary system A system where the court is neutral and the two sides (adversaries) can argue their case.
Criminal law A law that defines crimes against the public order.
Civil law A law that governs relationships between individuals.
Defendant In a criminal action, the person or party accused of an offense.
Prosecution The name for the state when the state is the plaintiff.
Plaintiff In a criminal action, the person or party that is accusing. Sometimes called “complaintant”
Plea bargain Agreement between a prosecutor and a defendant that the defendant will plead guilty to a lesser offense to avoid having to stand trial for a more serious offense. Sometimes called “begging down”
Public defender system Lawyers are hired by the government to provide legal assistance to the accused that can’t afford a lawyer.
Original jurisdiction The authority of a court to hear a case “in the first instance.” Usually a local or state court.
Appellate jurisdiction The authority of a court to review decisions made by lower courts.
Court of appeals A court with appellate jurisdiction that hears appeals from the decisions of lower courts.
Precedent A decision made by a higher court such as a circuit court of appeals or the Supreme Court that is binding on all other federal courts in the future.
Writ of habeas corpus A court order requiring explanation to a judge why a prisoner is being held in custody.
Judicial restraint Philosophy proposing that judges should interpret the Constitution to reflect what the framers intended and what its words literally say. AKA “Strict interpretation”
Judicial activism Philosophy proposing that judges should interpret the Constitution to reflect current conditions and values. AKA “relaxed interpretation”
Stare decisis Latin for “to stand by things already decided”. The rule of precedent. Future cases must follow the ruling of the first “higher court” case that set the precedent.
Writ of certiorari Latin for “to be more informed”. An order for a lower court to deliver its record in a case so that the higher court may review it.
Docket The list of potential cases that reach the Supreme Court.
Amicus curiae brief Literally, a “friend of the court” brief, filed by an individual or organization to present arguments to the court even though they are not involved in the trial.
Opinion of the Court An explanation of the decision of the Supreme Court or any other appellate court.
Dissenting opinion An opinion disagreeing with a majority in a Supreme Court ruling.
Concurring opinion An opinion that agrees with the majority in a Supreme Court ruling but differs on the reasoning.
Created by: rockcastle