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Courts 1

pg. 508-11

1) 1a. In what ways do the federal courts "pose a special challenge to American democracy?" The president nominates federal judges for life, and their power raises the issue of the appropriate scope of judicial power in our society. They are in the thick of policymaking and the challenge is to find their appropriate role in democracy.
1) 1b. What did the framers of the Constitution do on purpose? Insulated federal judges from the influence of public opinion.
1) 2a. Provide both sides of the argument with regards to the Courts being in the "thick of policymaking on issues ranging from affirmative action, abortion..." One side says they should not be actively involved in public policy and instead settle routine disputes. The other advocates for an aggressive role because judicial decisions have often met pressing needs left unmet by the normal processes of policymaking
1) 2b. What example is cited by those advocating a more aggressive role? The courts played a leading role in ending legally supported racial segregation in the US.
1) 3. Justify the notion of the SC as a tiny fraction of the American judicial system. In addition to the SC, there are 12 federal courts of appeals plus a Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, 91 federal district courts, and thousands of state and local courts.
1) 4a. Explain the notion of the American judicial system as an adversarial one. Courts provide an arena for two parties to bring their conflict before an impartial arbiter (judge).
1) 4b. "In reality," what is true of "most cases?" They never go to trial because they are settled by agreements reached out of court.
1) 5a. Contrast criminal law with civil law. criminal law - gov. charges individual with violating specific laws. The offense may be harmful to an individual or society, either case warrants punishment. civil law - dispute between 2 parties over a wide range of matters. Both statutes and common law.
1) 5b. Contrast statues with common law. Statutes - laws passed by legislatures. Common law - the accumulation of judicial decisions about legal issues.
1) 5c. What is true of the "vast majority of criminal and civil cases?" Involve state law and are tried in state courts.
1) 5d. What role do judges play in the American judicial system? policymakers
1) 6a. In restricting federal judges to deciding "cases" or "controversies," what is true? Judges do not issue advisory opinions on what they think (in the abstract) may be the meaning or constitutionality of a law.
1) 6b. Thus, the judiciary is "essentially" what? The judiciary is essentially passive, dependent on others to take the initiative.
1) 6c. Contrast a plaintiff and a defendant. A plaintiff brings the charge against an individual or a corporation (defendant)
1) 7. Define the standing to sue requirement. Plaintiffs have a serious interest in a case, which depends on whether they have sustained or are likely to sustain a direct and substantial injury from another party or from an action of government.
1) 8a. Define class action suits. Lawsuits in which a small number of people sue on behalf of all people in similar circumstances.
1) 8b. Provide two examples of the above (class action suits). civil rights and environmental protection
1) 9a. Why and how do interest groups use the courts? The recognize the courts' ability to shape policy so they seek out litigants whose cases seem particularly strong
1) 9b. Provide an example of the above (Why and how do interest groups use the courts?). National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was seeking to end the policy of "separate but equal" and sued the school board of Topeka, Kansas in Brown v. Board of Education.
1) 10a. Amicus curiae means what? friend of the court
1) 10b. What do amicus curiae briefs do and how are they used by interest groups? Influence a court's decision by raising additional points of view and presenting information not contained in the briefs of the formal parties.
1) 10c. Amicus curiae briefs always come from where? Outside of the court (friends of the court, interest groups, etc.)
Created by: Matti



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