Emily's notes: The Judicial System Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Emily's notes: The Judicial System Deck (40):

How are disputes settled?

In court


How many levels of court are there in the US?

Three levels


How many court systems are there?

There is a court system for every state and territory and for the District of Columbia


How many federal court systems are there? Why?

There is a federal court system with at least one federal court in each state because of the diversity of citizenship


What are Criminal suits?

-Arise from violation of some rule, ie., a violation of statutory law
-The government is a party to the suit


What are Civil Suits? What is a tort?

-Involve disputes that fall outside criminal law
-The government is not a party, but acts as a referee
-A civil wrong is a “tort”


What are the two types of court?

Trial court and appellate court.


What is a trial court?

Trial: courts of original jurisdiction
o Fact-finding courts


What is an appellate court?

- Appellate – courts of review
o Determine whether the law has been properly applied


When writing a lawsuit, the party bringing the actions name is first or second?

Party bringing action always comes first)


What is the path of a lawsuit?

- Commonwealth of Virginia v. Putney Pornographer
- Commonwealth v. Pornographer
- Pornographer v. Commonwealth
- Virginia v. Pornographer


What does jurisdiction mean?

An area over which a court has authority; the power and authority of a court to hear and determine a judicial proceeding; the area may be geographic or based on the subject matter of the case.


What happens if a court does not have jurisdiction?

It may not render a legal decision in the matter


What is diversity of citizenship action?

A civil action in which the parties are residents of different states; the U.S. Constitution allows federal district courts to hear such cases, even if the subject matter of the suit is one of state law, as long as the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000


What is a plaintiff?

The party who brings a lawsuit


What is a defendant?

The party against whom a lawsuit is brought


What is writ of certiorari?

First off, a writ is an order by a court requiring some action or giving authority and commission to that act. A writ of certiorari. A type of writ, meant for rare use, by which an appellate court decides to review a case at its discretion. The word certioari comes from Law Latin and means "to be more fully informed." A writ of certiorari orders a lower court to deliver its record in a case so that the higher court may review it. The U.S. Supreme Court uses certiorari to pick most of the cases that it hears.


Where do criminal cases go?

Circuit courts to court of appeals


Who currently sits on the Supreme Court of the United States?

-Sonia Sotomayor
-Stephen Breyer
-Clarence Thomas
-Antonio Scalia
-John Roberts
-Anthony Kennedy
-Ruth Bader Ginsburg
-Samuel Alito
-Elena Kagen


What is the first step in how does the Supreme Court work with new cases?

First, a writ of certiorari is filed.


What happens after the writ of certoirari is filed?

The judges vote on it. It's the rule of 4: if four judges vote affirmative it is granted. If it fails to approve, a justice can dissent from denial of certiorari if he feels it needs to be granted


What happens after a writ of certoirari is granted?

- Oral arguments (30. Mins. Per side)
o Side bringing the case goes first
o “You should side in this manner because”


What happens after a oral arguments?

- Discussion at conference
o Refer to themselves as conference not the court except when they are on the stand
o Discuss each case they heard that week
o Each justice votes on the case
o Based on that discussion, author of the majority opinion is determined
 Always chief justice, or if not in majority, senior associate justice who is in the majority


When the opinions are circulated to the justices, how do the justices tell each other whether or not they want to join the others opinion?

“Dear Chief, join me in the above case” add me to your opinion
o“Dear Chief, as I noted in conference, I dissent”


What happens after the justices discuss?

The official opinion is delivered.


What is the opinion of the court?

Opinion of the court: the majority, and therefore, controlling opinion. It expresses the judgment of the court and the rationale behind that judgment.


What is the judgement of the court?

Judgment of the Court: the result or outcome.


What is the plurality opinion?

- Plurality opinion: in the absence of an opinion of the court, the opinion that commands the most votes


What is the per curiam opinion?

- Per curiam opinion: unsigned opinion “by the Court”, not much debate over the outcome
-Example: 1973, certain material could be obscene despite 3 part test


What is a concurring opinion?

Concurring opinion: an opinion agreeing with the opinion of the court but written to highlight or emphasize a particular point or points


What is an opinion concurring in judgement?

Opinion concurring in judgment: an opinion agreeing with the majority or plurality opinion, but not with the rationale, the justice is not counted as part of the majority or plurality


What is a dissenting opinion?

Dissenting opinion: an opinion disagreeing with the opinion of the court or with the plurality


What is an opinion concurring and dissenting?

The justice agrees


What were the facts behind Branzburg v. Hayes?

Branzburg one of the Petitioners observed the making of hashish from marijuana and was later called before a grand jury to implicate the persons involved. Two of the other Petitioners, Pappas and Caldwell, both covered the Black Panthers and were later called to a federal grand jury to discuss their findings. All three reporters refused to participate in the grand juries claiming a newman’s privilege.


What was the issue discussed in Branzburg v. Hayes?

Do journalists have a First Amendment right to withhold the identities of news sources from grand juries or other law enforcement agencies?


What was the opinion of the court in Branzburg v. Hayes?

White, j by Burger, Blacknum, Powell, Rehnquist = Journalists don't have a First Amendment right to withhold the identities of news sources from grand juries or other law enforcement agencies but media harassment will not be tolerated


Who concurred in Branzburg v. Hayes?

Powell concurred, but the holding is limited


Who dissented in Branzburg v. Hayes?

1. Douglas dissents = the right exists

2. Stewart dissents and is joined by Brennan and Marshall = A privilege exists, and a four-part test must be met for it to yield


Under what circumstances may the commonwealth of Virginia punish a person for disseminating sexually explicit material?

9 – if the material is without redeeming social value: Opinion of the Court
6 – if the material is without redeeming social value.
1 – under no circumstances
2 – if there is total nudity: Opinion of the Court: Dissenting opinions


When is sexually explicit material obscene? Is the material in question obscene?

5 – material is obscene when it is without redeeming social value;
this material is not obscene; conviction rev’d – opinion of the court
1 – there is no such thing as obscene material under the First Amendment; conviction rev’d; opinion concurring in judgment
3 – material is obscene when it is without redeeming social value; this material is obscene; conviction should be aff’d opinion concurring and dissenting