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Study Guide

CRM/LAW C165 Study Guide - Spring 2018, Comprehensive Midterm Notes - Capital Punishment, Supreme Court Of The United States, Rape


Department
Criminology, Law and Society
Course Code
CRM/LAW C165
Professor
Cole
Study Guide
Midterm

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CRM/LAW C165
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
Fall 2018

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Mechanics of the United States Supreme Court
composition
o 9 Justices (not judges)
o nominated by President, confirmed by Senate
o life tenure
o 1 chief
administers court, but no extra vote
same nomination process as appointment
can be elevated from Associate or appointed from outside
o 8 Associates
seated by seniority
how do cases reach the Supreme Court?
o writ of certiorari
court will hear the case
o 6,500 writs filed/year
<5% granted
o requires vote of 4 Justices
note strategic implications
o stay of execution requires 5 votes
Clarence Hill case and Chief Roberts
“Cert. pool”
o Justices (and clerks) share review of cert. petitions
o alternative is for the Justice to review all in his/her own chambers
o 8 Justices in the cert. pool
Stevens in exception
o Justices (and clerks) share review of cert. petitions
o alternative is for the Justice to review all in his/her own chambers
o 8 Justices in the cert. pool
Stevens is exception
Supreme Court and Death Penalty
o stay of execution require 5 votes
o emergency stays
each justice assigned a circuit
Puzzler
o questions
Explain what Justice Douglas meant by “if four can grant and the
opposing five dismiss, then the four cannot get a decision of the case on
the merits”
a man named Clarence Hill was executed while the Supreme Court was
preparing to hear his case. Using what you’ve learned, explain how this
can happen.
Argument
o usually 30 min/side
o attorneys only, no witness, no jury
o justices famously interrupt with sometimes nasty, always difficult question
deciding cases
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o Justices meet on Fridays to discuss cases
o vote in order of reverse seniority, or dispense with formal vote
o 5 votes wins
except w/ recusal
e.g. Scalia, Cheney & duck hunting
in case of tie, lower court ruling stands
assignment of cases
o most opinions are authored
o if Chief is in majority, Chief assigned the opinion
opportunity for influence
o if not, senior Associate in majority assigns opinion
Burger, vote-switching
o draft are circulated, votes may change
types of opinions
o unanimous: 9 votes
o majority: >5
o plurality: <5, but no other position was able to obtain majority
o concurrence: agrees with outcome but for different reasons
o dissent: disagree with outcome
issuing of opinion
o read aloud in courtroom
at discretion of Justices
o published opinions issues later
sometimes opinions are slightly revised
Rehnquist Court, 1986-2005
o Scalia, Rehnquist, Thomas
reliable votes to uphold death sentences
o Stevens part of the plurality in Gregg, now a reliable vote to vacate death
sentences
o Souter, Ginsberg, Breyer
liberal wing
o O’Connor and Kennedy
considered swing votes
Roberts Court
o Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Alito
reliable votes to uphold death sentences
o Stevens
part of the plurality in Gregg, now a reliable vote to vacate death sentences
o Souter, Ginsberg, Breyer
liberal wing
o Kennedy
sole swing vote
Clerks
o 3-4 clerks/Justice
o “Senior” (retired) Justices have 1 clerk
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