Ch. 10 Judiciary - Definitions, Text Notes, Class Notes & Connecting Theory to Reality

Definitions (Write the definitions in your own words & try to insert or link a picture with each definition.)

amicus curiae - a friend of the court; a person, who is not a member of a case's litigation team, invited by the court to give his/her views on that case.
appellate court courts that generally review only findings of laws made by lower courts
appellate court brief
appellate jurisdiction- the power of appelate courts, like the Supreme Court, to review the the decision of a lower court on a case
civil law - the body of law that concerns the private rights of individuals; different from the body of law concerning criminal cases.

Commerce Clause
concurring opinion
constitutional court Federal courts specifically created by the US constitution or by Congress pursuant to its authority in article III
criminal law, codes of behavior related to the protection of property and individual safety
informa pauperis Literally, "in the form of a pauper" , a way for a poor person to appeal a case to the Supreme Court
judicial activism - is the personal interpretation of the law, which are thought by critics to be a misuse of the power of interpretation of the law by a judge or judges for political or personal reasons.
judicial restraint- Judges power is limited only decisions based on whether law is unconstitutional.
judicial review- the power of a court to review the actions in terms of their legal or constitutional.
jurisdiction- the authority given to a legal body, or to a political leader to deal with legal matters, and to enforce legal matters.
legislative courts- courts made by Congress for specific puroses, like the US territorial courts
majority opinion
Marbury v. Madison (1803) - Supreme court case that delcared a proportion of a congressional act unconstitutional and firmly set forth and established the power of judicial review
original jurisdiction The jurisdiction of courts that hear a case first. Courts determine the facts of a case under their original jurisdiction
precedent - a ruling from one case that is used in deciding similar cases.
rule of four - At least four justices of the Supreme Court must vote to consider a case before it can be heard.
senatorial courtesy - Process by which presidents generally defer selection of district court judges to the choices of senators of their own party who represent the state where the vacancy occurs.
solicitor general - The foruth ranking member of the Department of Justice. Responsible for handling all appeals on behalf of the U.S government to the Supreme Court.
stare decisis - Once a decision has been made on a certain set of facts, that precedent will be applied to all similar cases which have the same facts.
strict constructionist, a person who approaches constitutional interpretation with an emphasis on what the Framer's would have wanted
trial court- the bottom courts where cases originate
unanimous opinion - an opinion that all of the Court justices agreed on.
Warren Court
writ of certiorari, a request for the Court to order up the records from a lower court to review the case

Text Notes & Class Notes

The Constitution & the Creation of the Federal Judiciary

-courts still have 2 basic limitations today. They have neither the power of the purse nor power of the sword

  • The Judiciary Act of 1789 set the basic three-part structure of the federal court system.

  • Checks on the Judicial Branch president appoints members, senate approves them

The Marshall Court: Marbury v. Madison and Judicial Review

The Federal Court System

-Constitutional Courts:


Stare Decisis

Strict Constructionist

Amicus Curiae

The Role of Clerks
  • Clerks selected from top graduating classes of prestigious law schools
  • jobs include: searching for arcane facts, researching relevant material, accompaning the justices
  • they read case petitions before the justices decide on whether or not to review a case
  • over time, number of justice clerks have increased.

Connecting Theory to Reality