Project #66979 - The Courts

Read the Chapter in the course text:   Courts




  • Review the lecture notes




  • Provide a minimum two page response to the following:


1.  Just exactly what is the role of the courts?

2. Has the role of the courts actually changed since the framers instituted the judical system? If the role of the courts has changed, can you give  examples of such change?

3. What suggestions might you offer to improve the American Courts system? Please explain your answer.

Suggested Minimum - Two-pages



 Due: Per Schedule





Some Interesting Facts:

The Constitution is rather vague about the Federal Courts.



The judicial system in the U.S. is adversarial at best.



The system is based on the theory that justice will emerge out of the struggle between two contending points of view.



Judiciary Act of 1789 Congress created a system of Constitutional Courts (also called Article III Courts)



In some ways the courts are not a very democratic institution. Federal Judges are not elected and almost impossible to remove.



Most federal Judges have served as a judge or prosecutor at some point.

Selecting a federal judge is not a neutral process. Any system will favor certain skills and characteristics and downplay others. One observer has noted the typical Supreme Court Justice has generally been white, protestant, usually of ethnic stock originating in the British Isles and born in comfortable circumstances in an urban or small-town environment. Even more interesting is that two-thirds of all justices have come from politically active families and have been politically active themselves. 



Some judges favor a policy of Judicial Restraint in which judges play a minimal role in policy-making. However, some judges tend to be Political Activist simply because they make bolder policy decisions even breaking new constitutional ground.



District Courts are courts of original jurisdiction. They are trial courts



U.S. Courts of Appeal have... you guessed it... appellate jurisdiction.






Class Action Suits - cases which permit a small number of people to sue on behalf of all other people similarly affected.


District Courts - the 91 courts of original jurisdiction which serve as the entry point for most federal legislation.


Judicial Review - The power of the courts to hold acts of congress and the executive branch in violation of the U.S. Constitution.




Supreme Court - resolves disputes between and among states. Ensures uniformity in the interpretation of national laws.


Please Read On...



Marbury v. Madison

The 1803 case in which Chief Justicw John Marshall and his asscoiates first asserted the right of the Supreme Court to determine the meaning of the U.S. Constitution. The decision established the Courts power of judicial review over acts of Congress in this case the judiciary act of 1789

Did you Know....

The term Stare Decisis  (Latin The Decision Stands) - Judicial precept that the issue has already been decided in earlier cases. Also, the earlier decisions only need to be applied in the specific case before the bench.

Rule of Four - At least four justices must agree to hear an appeal (writ of certiorani) from a lower court order to get a case before the Supreme Court.

Dissenting Opinion - Opinion by a member of a court that disagrees with the result reached by the court in the case.


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Due By (Pacific Time) 04/18/2015 12:00 pm
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