revision lesson; supreme court

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Revision Lesson; The Constitution

Revision Lesson; Supreme Court

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The US Supreme CourtJudicial reviewAppointment processChecks and balancesLandmark casesCivil liberties

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Judicial ReviewThe power of the judiciary to review laws and governmental actions to see whether they conform to the Constitution. If they violate the Constitution, the court has the power to overturn them. Marbury v Madison (1803)Flying Fish Case Little v Barreme (1804)

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The Court may void any actions or statutes that come into conflict with the constitutionJudiciary can hold other branches of government to its own interpretation of the constitutionExample in case of Bush v. Gore (2000) where Supreme Court overturned judgement of Florida Supreme Court, making Bush the 43rd presidentJudicial Review

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Judicial Review and Limited GovernmentThe prime and most necessary function of the Court has been that of validation, not that of invalidation. What a government of limited powers needs, at the beginning and forever, is some means of satisfying the people that it has taken all steps humanly possible to stay within its powers." --Professor Charles L. Black

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Appointment & Confirmation Process

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StepsDescriptionExplain the power granted and how it acts as a check on another branchPresident NominationPresident nominates candidates and submits the names to the SenateGives the President power to choose nominees for key government jobs and power to select members of another branch (the Judicial branch).White House ReviewMembers of the Executive Branch review the qualifications of the nomineeEnsures that other members of the executive branch approve of the nominee and help ensure he/she supports the Presidents efforts.Paperwork Financial DisclosureNominee fills out forms (after all this is the government) and discloses information about their financial status.FBI InvestigationFBI investigates nominees for past actions and any possible encounters with the law.Senate Confirmation HearingsMembers of the Senate Judicial Committee interview and question nominees about a wide range of topics related to their qualifications and past cases.Senate hearings ensure that representatives from the Legislative Branch (representing citizens) has an opportunity to verify the nominees qualifications.Senate VoteThe full senate confirms or rejects the appointment of the nominee by a majority vote.Majority vote from Senate ensures the Legislative Branch is in favour of the executive Branchs nominee or rejects it because they feel the person isnt qualified.

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Successful AppointmentsElena Kagan (Barack Obama) 2010previously White House Council and Solicitor General but no previous experience as a judgenomination endorsed by the deans of over a third of the nations law schoolsnomination and questioning uneventfuldescribed as an Obama person i.e. moderate and favouring consensus approved by vote of 63-37Sonia Sotomayor (Barack Obama) 2009first Hispanic judge to sit on Supreme Court benchquestioned about comments that a Latina women would make a better decision than a white male in earlier speeches (Newt Gingrich branded her a racist)3rd woman to sit on benchapproved by vote of 68-31

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Rejected NominationsClarence Thomas (George H W Bush) 1990race based appointment?had never written a legal book, article, or brief of consequence, and had been a judge for only a yearNAACP, and NOW opposed nomination because of his opposition to affirmative action and Roe v. Wadesexual harassment allegations from former colleagueapproved by vote of 52-48G Harold Carswell (Richard Nixon) 1970nominated after Haynsworth nomination rejectedquestionable record on civil rights, womens rights and favoured segregationpainted as Southern right wing extremist, strict constructionistrejected by vote of 51-45Close Call Appointments

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Rejected NominationsRobert Bork (Ronald Reagan) 1987very right wing, nominated to replace a moderatewanted to roll back civil rights decisions made by previous courtsnomination opposed by civil rights groups including ACLUTV ads attacked him as extremistindicated he may have wanted to reverse Roe v. Waderejected by vote of 42-58Clement Haynsworth (Richard Nixon) 1969right wing, nominated to replace liberalopposed by Democrats, liberal Republicans and NAACPallegedly favoured segregation and anti-laborrejected by vote of 55-45

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Checks and BalancesChecks onChecks byThe legislatureThe executiveThe judiciaryThe legislatureAmend/delay/reject legislationOverride presidents vetoPower of the purseDeclare warRatify treaties (Senate)InvestigationImpeachment, trial, conviction and removal from officeImpeachment, trial, conviction, removal from officePropose constitutional amendmentsIssue new legislation to overturn rulingsThe executiveRecommend legislationVeto legislationAppointment of judgesPardonThe judiciaryJudicial ReviewJudicial Review

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Checks by the LegislatureSenate confirmation of appointments

Congress decides how many justices

Power of impeachment

Congress can amend constitution

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Checks by the ExecutiveNominates justices

Can support or criticise a decision

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Other ChecksNo power of initiation

No enforcement powers

Public opinion

Can amend or overturn previous decisions

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Checks on the Judiciary by the ExecutivePresident Obama signed into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009. This effectively overturns the Supreme Courts infamous 2007 ruling against Ms. Ledbetter in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., a ruling that made it much harder for workers who have been victims of unlawful pay discrimination to obtain compensation for that discrimination.Presidential pardon of Randy Eugene Dyer in 2011.Convicted of importing and trafficking drugs from Mexico in 1975 he spent 3 years in prison. After his release he became a God-fearing family man who has preached and ministered to prisoners for over 30 years.Obama has pardoned only 17 people in his presidency (9 people in December 2010 and 8 people in May 2011).

EXAMPLES

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Checks on the Judiciary by the LegislatureJudge G. Thomas Porteous, a federal judge was found guilty on 4 articles of impeachment by the Senate in December 2008.In March 2008, the House of Representatives voted unanimously to impeach Porteous on corruption charges.He was found to have been corrupt, taken bribes, lied to the Senate and the FBI.4 out of 27 amendments overturn Supreme Court decisions.The 11th Amendment overturned Chisholm v. Georgia (1793) by guaranteeing the immunity of states from lawsuits by citizens of another state or a foreign country. The 14th Amendment nullified Scott v. Sandford (1857) by guaranteeing the civil rights and citizenship of African Americans. The 16th Amendment overrode Pollock v. Farmers' Loan and Trust Co. (1895) by giving Congress the power to levy an income tax. The 26th Amendment negated Oregon v. Mitchell (1970) by permitting 18-year-olds to vote in state elections.EXAMPLES

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Landmark CasesDred Scott v. Sandford (1857) Blacks, whether free or slaves, cannot be U.S. citizens. Ableman v. Booth (1859) State courts cannot issue rulings that contradict the decisions of federal courts.Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) Segregated facilities for blacks and whites are constitutional under the doctrine of separate but equal, which held for close to 60 years.Roth v. United States (1957)Obscene material is not protected by the First Amendment.Engel v. Vitale (1962) Government-directed prayer in public schools, even if it is denominationally neutral and non-mandatory, violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.Roe v. Wade (1973) Struck down abortion laws restricting abortion

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Landmark CasesNear v. Minnesota (1931) Except in rare cases, censorship is unconstitutional.Brown v. Board of Education (1955) Segregated schools in the several states are unconstitutional in violation of the 14th Amendment.United States v. Nixon (1974) Ruled that the doctrine of executive privilege is legitimate, however the President cannot invoke it in criminal cases to withhold evidence.

Roth v. United States (1957)Obscene material is not protected by the First Amendment.Engel v. Vitale (1962) Government-directed prayer in public schools, even if it is denominationally neutral and non-mandatory, violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.Roe v. Wade (1973) Struck down abortion laws restricting abortion

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Landmark CasesTexas v. Johnson (1989) Law prohibiting burning of the American flag is unconstitutional as violating the First Ame

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