Judicial Branch

 Judicial:
relating to laws and courts
 Trial: a legal examination in which the
disputing groups meet in court and present
their positions to an impartial decision maker
 Defendant: the person accused of the
wrongdoing or crime
 Plaintiff: the person or designated
government official accusing the defendant
 Evidence: facts that support their position
 Jury:
a group of citizens not involved in the
 Case: a dispute that has been brought into
Criminal law cases: disputes in which the
government charges an individual with
committing a crime and violating a law that
protects another’s safety
Civil law cases: disputes among individual
citizens or individual citizens and government
officials over property or money
The Ohio Judicial Center
The state court system is organized into three
levels of authority
 Level One:
 Superior or district courts
 Trial courts that handle cases throughout the
State courts of appeals
 Separated into regions
 Reviews a superior or district court’s decision
when requested
 Presided over by a panel of judges (usually
 Three options
 Agree with the lower court
 Disagree with and overrule the lower court
 Order a new trial in the lower court
State supreme court
 Reviews courts of appeals cases
 Also involves a panel of judges
 Decision is final unless the losing party is able
to convince the Federal Supreme Court to
take the case
 Established
by Article III of the Constitution;
left the development up to Congress
 The Judiciary Act of 1789 established the
federal district courts and the circuit courts
of appeals
 Have jurisdiction (authority to hear cases)
over such federal crimes as
Mail fraud
Bank robbery
Illegal interstate commerce
 Separated
into district courts
Each state has at least one district
Each court has 2-28 judges, appointed to life
terms by the president
 The
US is divided into 13 judicial circuits,
each with its own court of appeals
Ohio belongs to the 6th judicial circuit
 Each
circuit court has between 6 and 28
permanent judges that hear cases in panels
of three
The final authority for interpreting the Constitution
 Heads
the Judicial Branch
 Reviews court cases
 Reviews legislative and executive decisions
that raise Constitutional questions
The U.S. Supreme Court
United States
Court of Appeals
12 circuits
(to be
State Supreme
Appellate Courts
U.S. District
State Trial Courts
Nine Justices
 Appointed by the
president to life
 The Chief Justice
is in charge of the
court; the other
eight are associate
Current justices:
 John Roberts (current
chief justice)—2005
 Antonin Scalia—1986
 Anthony Kennedy—1988
 Clarence Thomas—1991
 Ruth Bader Ginsburg—1993
 Stephen Breyer—1994
 Samuel Anthony Alito—
 Sonia Sotomayor—2009
 Elena Kagen—2010
Back row (left to right): Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen G. Breyer, Samuel A. Alito, and Elena
Kagan. Front row (left to right): Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John G.
Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg
John Jay was the first
Supreme Court chief
First met in 1790 in
New York City
writ of certiorari is a request for review
based on important constitutional and legal
issues raised by the court’s decision.
 Under the rule of four, only four justices
must agree to place a case on the docket
(their schedule of cases to review)
 The Supreme Court receives more than 7,000
requests each year, but places fewer than
100 on their docket.
 Begins
the first Monday in
October each year
 Lawyers for both sides file briefs, written
documents that contain facts and legal issues
involved in the appeal; often hundreds of
pages long
 Present their case directly through oral
arguments; only have 30 minutes
 The court’s decision is the majority opinion—
what five or more justices thought
 The minority is the dissenting opinion
 Roe
v Wade
 Marbury v Madison
 Brown v Board of Education
 Dred Scott v Sandford
 Korematsu v United States
 Miranda v Arizona
 New Jersey v T.L.O.
 Texas v Johnson
 Tinker v Des Moines
 William
Marbury was commissioned
Justice of the Peace of the District of
Columbia at the end of President John
Adam’s term.
 New President Thomas Jefferson
instructed his Secretary of State James
Madison not to deliver the orders—
keeping the opposing party from taking
 The
Supreme Court evaluated this based on the
foundation of checks and balances.
 This established the concept of judicial review.
 Dred
Scott was a slave owned by
Army Major John Emerson
 Scott travelled with Emerson to
various states, including several
free states
 Upon the death of Emerson,
Scott sued for his freedom
 Emerson’s widow Eliza’s brother
John Sandford was in charge of
the will
 The
Supreme Court ruled against Dred Scott
 He was not a citizen and therefore could not sue
 They also determined Scott was not a free man
 Obviously
this is a black mark for the Supreme
 Fred
Korematsu was a
Japanese American citizen
that was ordered into an
internment camp through
President Roosevelt’s
executive order after the
attack on Pearl Harbor.
 Korematsu attempted to
avoid being interned.
 Korematsu
argued he was being discriminated
against based on his race.
 The government argued they needed to protect the
 The
Supreme Court agreed that the need to protect
the country was greater than protecting an
individual’s rights.
 The
parents of Linda Brown
wanted their daughter to
attend the closest public school
in Topeka, Kansas—not the black
school that was farther away.
 They argued that this
segregation violated the
fourteenth amendment
 While
segregation was legal under Plessy v.
Ferguson (1896), the Court sided with the Brown
 Linda was able to attend the school closest to her
and the Civil Rights movement was strengthened.
 Ernesto
Miranda was
arrested, but was not
informed of his fifth and sixth
amendment rights.
 He and his lawyer eventually
sued the state of Arizona.
 The Court agreed and now all
police must take the proper
steps by issuing the Miranda
 Jane
Roe was an unmarried and pregnant
resident of Texas who wanted an abortion
 In 1970s Texas, abortions were illegal unless the
mother’s life was in jeopardy
 Henry Wade was the Dallas County district
 The
Supreme Court ruled in Roe’s
 They said her rights were
guaranteed in the 1st, 4th, 5th,
9th, and 14th Amendments
 This also eliminated any state
laws that prohibited first
trimester abortions
 Norma McCorvey later came
forward and admitted she was
Jane Roe
 Do
schools have the right to search a student’s
private property? What reasons do they have
to have to search?
 This case was based on two girls that were
caught smoking in the bathroom—instead of in
the designated area.
 T.L.O. was the pseudonym for Tracy Lois Odem
who denied smoking and had her purse
 In
addition to the cigarettes, the assistant
vice principal also found drugs and other
items that showed T.L.O. was dealing
 The Court sided with the school, although
they agreed a “reasonable suspicion” was
needed to perform a search.
 Gregory
Johnson doused an
American flag with kerosene
and set it on fire during a
political protest and
demonstration in Texas.
 Is this protected under the
first amendment?
 Johnson
(on the
right) offended a lot
of people by burning
this symbol of
 The Supreme Court
sided with Johnson
and said this
symbolic speech was
 Defined
the Constitutional rights of students in U.S.
public schools
 Students John F. Tinker, Mary Beth Tinker, and
Christopher Eckhardt worn black armbands to school,
protesting the Vietnam War
 Before wearing the arm bands, the school found out
and created a policy stating anyone wearing an
armband would be removed immediately
 All three wore armbands and were suspended from
 7-2
majority opinion stating that First
Amendment rights apply in schools, unless
constitutionally sound reasons were given to
limit the First Amendment
 Your First Amendment right is protected in
school as long as it does not cause a
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