[POLI 4020] - Midterm Exam Guide - Everything you need to know! (17 pages long)

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POLI 4020
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
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POLITICAL SCIENCE TEST 1 NOTES
During the 2015 term, 82 cases were argued and 70 were disposed of in 62 signed opinions. The court
also issued 12 per curiam (court issues opinion without oral argument) decisions during the 2015 term in
cases that were not argued
VOCABULARY:
Original jurisdiction: cases not heard by another court. Usually when one state is suing another.
The court can hear cases involving ambassadors from foreign countries, and those to which a
state is a party, but lower courts can also hear those cases. In Marbury vs. Madison, the court
uled that ogess ould ot add to the “upee Couts juisditio
Appellate jurisdiction: 3 types of appeals
o Appeals involve a superior/supreme court reviewing the decision of a lower court
o Appellate jurisdiction is the legal authority of a court to review. Change the decisions of
a lower court
o Most mandatory appeals were eliminated in 1988, and the court is legally obligated to
hear only a few (usually voting rights cases)
o Certification: lower appellate courts can ask for the Court to clarify federal law. Only a
handful of cases in the last 6 decades have come to the court in the manner
o Writ of Certiorari
Federal judiciary act of 1789
o U.S. Supreme Court (1 court)
o U.S. Court of Appeals (13 circuits12 regional and 1 federal circuit)
o U.S. district courts94 circuits
How the court decides
o Rule 10
Provides the legal consideration for granting a writ of certiorari
If courts disagree with each other, then supreme courts will most likely hear the
case
If a court has made a mistake in applying the law, the Supreme Court will
probably not hear the case unless it is apparent that other courts are making the
same mistake. The supreme court will also not hear cases that are in a dispute
over evidencethey are almost never a trial court.
Ripeness: the supreme court will wait to hear a case. If it addresses a question
or hears a case too early it will not have the advantage to have all of the
information it needs. Supreme Court likes to wait to hear a case until all other
parties (circuit courts) have heard the case. They restrict their ruling to the
questions that HAVE to be answered.
o Rule of 4- a custom, not a rulenot a requirement of congress
If four justices believe that a case is deserving of review, it will be heard
o Other factors that play a role in case selection
Amicus Curiaefiled by interest groups, government, professional
organizations, scholars, interested third parties in general. The more Amicus
Curiae briefs, the more likely it is to be heard. It can be filed at any time.
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Ideologyvery conservative judges or very liberal judges may like to hear a
certain case
Cases are more likely to be taken if solicitor general is part of a case
o Affirm: to uphold the decision of a lower court. In Bailey, the Court of Appeals for the
second circuit affirmed the decision of the district court against Bailey. The supreme
out the eesed ad eaded the seod iuits deisio
o Balancing test: a process of judicial decision making in which the court weights the right
of the individual against the interest of government. In cases involving whether law
enforcement can detain individuals as they wait for a warrant to search the immediate
peises, the alae is etee the liited itusio o pesoal lieties ad the
la efoeet iteests at stake. Keeds ajority opinion did not explicitly say
alae, ut it epessed the sese of alaig those iteests.
o Brief: a written argument of law and fact that is submitted to the court by an attorney
for a party that has an interest in the case. In Bailey, the U.S. submitted a brief, urging
the Court to rule against Bailey
o Case Law: law that has evolved from previous decisions, rather than being created by
legislatures. The Bailey question focused in part on a previous case (Michigan v.
Summers) allowed law enforcement to detain Bailey approximately one mile from
residence that was being searched.
o Case: a legal dispute of controversy
o Certification: a procedure whereby a lower court requests that a superior court rule on
specific legal questions, so that the lower court may correctly apply the law. This has
happened at most 6 times in the last 6 decades. In 2007, KKK member James Seale was
prosecuted and convicted for his role in murdering 2 black teens in 1964. The
procedural issue was that the law had been revised in between the commission of the
crime and the trial, and it was unclear whether the stature of limitations has expired.
The last time the court granted a certification request was in 1981.
o Case or controversy rule: the constitutional requirement that courts can hear only real
disputes brought by adversarial parties
o Writ of certiorari: an order of an appellate court to an inferior court to send up the
records of a case that the appellate court has elected to review. This is the primary
method by which the US supreme court exercises its discretionary jurisdiction to accept
appeals for a full hearing
o Common law: law that has evolved from usage and custom as reflected in the decisions
of courts. The US is one of the only countries to combine common law with a complete
federalism00 in other words, the supreme court can review federal court decisions, but
cannot review state court decisions. We have a common lawbut not a general
common law, because common law in the US varies from state to state. Common law is
distinct (but can be used along with) statutory law and constitutional law. Relies entirely
on precedent and informal rules.
o The bill of rights did not protect individuals from state government or state action until
the 20th century. The supreme court selectively incorporated the rights in the Bill of
Rights so that they would protect people from not only the federal government but also
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