Ch 10 Judiciary - Study Questions (with Answers)

Study Questions (with Answers)


1)What is a class action suit? Why are they important? Give an example.

2)Discuss Article III and the Judiciary Act of 1789.

3)Compare and contrast original and appellate jurisdiction.

4)How are federal judges selected?
Federal judges are selected based on several different things. First of all, they are supposed to exhibit good behavior. They are usually very accomplished private or government attorneys, judges in state courts, magistrate judges or bankruptcy judges, or law professors.

5)What is a writ of certiorari? One of the writs issued by the Supreme Court to protect the fundamental rights of the citizens. It is issued to a lower court directing it that the record of a case be sent up for review with all the files, evidence and documents with an aim to overrule the judgement of the lower court.

6)Explain the role of the clerks in the Supreme Court.

7)Explain the rule of four. In order for a case to be heard in the Supreme Court four surpreme court justices must vote ya to hear a case. The reason it is four and not a majority is so it is not obvious that what the finial decision of the case will be.

8)Discuss three factors affecting the way a judge or justice makes a decision. 8

9)What is an amicus curiae brief?
a phrase that literally means "friend of the court" -- someone who is not a party to the litigation, but who believes that the court's decision may affect its interest. The idea behind the brief is that this third party individual will offer additional information and provide a point of view that will aid in the development of case and will help the court make a better an more fair verdict.

10)What is judicial restraint?
Judicial restraint is the philosophy of judicial decision making that argues courts should allow the decisions of other branches of government to stand, even when they offend a judge's own sence of principles. Restraints defend their posistion by asserting that the federal courts are composed of unelected judges, which makes the judicial branch the least democratic branch of government.

11)Explain the role of the Solicitor General.
The solicitor general represents the US government in cases before the Supreme Court. Sometimes, they must choose between arguing for president's policy interests and those of the entire nation.

12)Discuss the importance of John Marshall and Marbury v. Madison for the role and importance of the Supreme Court. John Marshall was the chief supreme court justice during the Marbury v. Madison case. The Marbury v. Madison established judicial review in the courts, stating the judicial branch could review laws created by the legisative branch and establish if they were consititutional or not.

13)Discuss the structure of the federal court system and the types of cases each level is likely to hear.

14)Discuss appointments to the Supreme Court including nomination criteria and the confirmation process. Be sure to discuss how the process has changed in recent years.

15)What types of jurisdiction does the Court have, how does a case make it to the Supreme Court, and what happens once a case is accepted for review?

16)Fully discuss the types of opinion the Court can issue, how that affects the strength of the precedent, and the current trends on the Court in terms of opinion writing.

17)The Supreme Court currently has nine members. The number of justices has changed in the past since it is not set by the Constitution. Using what you have learned in this chapter, discuss whether and how the membership of the Court might be changed. What would the politics of such a change be, and how would it affect the Court?

18)Discuss the possible impact on federal policy should recent Republican efforts succeed in restricting the authority of the Supreme Court to pure constructionist interpretation and eliminating judicial activism.

19)Explain the various influences on decision making in the Supreme Court, including the justices themselves, clerks, Congress, the executive branch, the media, and public opinion.

20)Explain the difference between original and appellate jurisdiction.

21)What is the difference between Constitutional courts and legislative courts?


22)Compare and contrast the principles of judicial restraint and judicial activism.

23)What is the doctrine of political questions?

24)Discuss three decisions of the Supreme Court and explain how they have affected how democratic our political system is.

25)Describe the typical participants and types of cases involved in the judicial system.

26)Over what kinds of cases do federal district courts have jurisdiction? Over what kinds of cases do federal district courts not have jurisdiction? Who are the major players in a district court?

27)Explain the organization of the federal court system. What type of cases are heard in each of the different courts?

28)Compare and contrast the Supreme Court with lower federal courts in terms of how judges are chosen, how cases are chosen, and who hears cases before the court.

29)How are nominees to the federal district courts selected? Who has veto power over the selections, and what is this called? Who checks the background of nominees to these courts? Is the entire selection process sensible? Explain.

30)Explain the relationship between the courts and Congress and the courts and the presidency. What is the relationship between these institutions in terms of judicial selection and policymaking?

31)Describe how federal judges and justices are chosen. What factors influence the selection process? What are the general characteristics of the Supreme Court justices chosen by this process?

32)What do presidents look for in selecting a Supreme Court justice? How often are they successful in appointing judges who reflect their judicial philosophy? Provide a few examples from the twentieth century of presidents succeeding and failing to have a direct influence on the Court.

33)What are the typical characteristics of the individuals chosen as judges and justices?

34)What kinds of cases are accepted for review by the Supreme Court, and how does the process usually work? Why are the Court's rulings so significant? Explain.

35)Describe the strengths and weaknesses of the judiciary as a political institution. What do the courts have the power to do? What do they not have the power to do? How does this power compare to other political institutions?

36)What role should original intent have in how the Supreme Court interprets the Constitution and laws of Congress? Should original intent be the most important criterion, or should other aspects be of equal or greater weight? Explain.

37)How are court decisions translated into actual policy? What elements of the population are involved in judicial implementation, and how might implementation be hindered or helped? Use examples to illustrate your answer.

38)Explain how the courts have affected the policy agenda throughout American history, citing specific court decisions as examples.

39)Using examples from specific Supreme Courts, explain how the courts have affected the policy agenda throughout American history.

40)Describe the significance of the Marbury v. Madison ruling by the Supreme Court. Has the legacy of this ruling been a positive or negative one? Did the dramatic ruling in this case serve to weaken American democracy? Explain.

41)Describe President Franklin Roosevelt's attempt to alter the Supreme Court. Why did Roosevelt make this attempt? Why did it eventually become unnecessary? Are you sympathetic with Roosevelt's actions or not? Explain.

42)In what ways has the judiciary made our political system more democratic? Less democratic?

43)Evaluate the American court system from the point of view of democratic theory.

44)What are the strengths and weaknesses of judicial restraint and judicial activism? To what extent are each of these associated with particular political ideologies (i.e., liberals or conservatives)?