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Flashcards in Federal Judicial Powers Deck (18):

Article III

Establishes the Supreme Court of the US, while vesting the power in Congress to establish other inferior courts and place limitations on the jx. Judges hold office during good behavior (life term unless impeached). Sets up the Supreme Court, gives it original jx upon certain things and appellate jx over all others.
Greater power vested in Art III courts because they are independent of Congress, the President, and the judicial process.


Judicial Review

The power of the judges and court to interpret the law to asses the conformity of executive or legislative actions to a higher legal standard.

Constitution is silent whether SC or other Fed Cts have authority to engage in judicial review. Authority first announced by the court in Marbury v. Madison

Early on, held power to review state court decisions to ensure they acted in conformity with the US Con; could hold acts of other govt branched unconstitutional; and could rule state statutes uncon


Marbury v Madison

-Congress cannot expand the original jx of the Supreme Court
-Must be left to the judiciary to decide the interpretation of the rules as constitutional instead of the other branches because "it is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is".
-If there is any conflict between any law and the US Constitution, it is within the judicial power granted to the Supreme Court to determine whether the law is unconstitutional.


3 Limits on Federal Judicial Power

1. Interpretive Limits
2. Congressional Limits
3. Justiciability Limits


Interpretative Limits

Originalism v. Non Originalism

Sources drawn from: Preamble, contemporary law/practices, Federalist/Anti-Federalist papers, notes from the constitutional convention, precedence, text of the document, structure of the constitution



-Textualism/Strict Constructionalism. "the original intent"
-Hold on to the meaning at the time the Constitution was written
-Benefit: Consistent interpretation from framer's intent. Meaning never changes
- Problem: Doesn't allow for modern expansion. Meanings conflict
- Change: through formal amendment process.



-Court should have substantial discretion in determining the meaning and interpretation of the Constitution
-Constitution is a living document - adopting modern developments, views, and understanding of the law
-Source: text, purpose, intent, consequence, justice
-Benefit: Expansive interpretative power, adopts to society and today.
-Problem: when do we stop interpretating? Discretion and interpretation can not exactly be what was originally intended as a part of tradition. Confusion and uncertainty, less structure.


Congressional Limits

-Limits what the court can actually hear. Ability of congress to restrict federal ct. jx.
-Congress cannot take away what was given by the Constitution to the judicial branch (app review and original jx)
-Congress cant increase Court's power


Plenary Congressional Authority: Specific power vested to Congress

Ex Parte McCardle:
-Although the Supreme Court dervies its appellate jx from the Constitution, It also gives Congress the express powers to make exceptions to app review.
=="Supreme Ct shall have appellate jx...with such exceptions as Congress shall make"
-This case is an example of judicial restraint b/c it took away court's authority in Habeas cases (which was later repealed)


Mandatory Judicial Authority: things that no other branch can do

US v. Klein
-Facts: Congress passed a law that had the Court ignore evidence of pardons granted by the President as sufficient to compensate for recovery of land post civil war
-By requiring the court to make a specific finding of fact in a case of which the Court has jx, and then removing the court's jx after the finding, Congress is not limiting jx, but rather prescribing a rule of decision for the courts. More of a separations of power issue.
-Congress can force a "rule of decision" in a "pending case"


Justiciability Limits

-Limits who can actually be in court. Textual and judicially created procedural limits.
-Art III, Sec 2 authorizes federal courts to hear several types of "cases" and "controversies" = there has to be a dispute
-5 major justiciability doctrines/limits [all must be met]
1. No advisory opinions
2. Standing
3. Ripeness
4. Mootnes
5 Political Question


No Advisory Opinions

-Provides a basis of standing, ripeness, and mootness
-Don't want courts mixed up in politics.
-Want an actual dispute and result between adverse litigants
-State courts are allowed to render advisory opinions



Who is the right person?
-Whether a Plaintiff is legally qualified person to a claim, regardless of merit
-Constitutional Standing Requirements
1. Injury
==Direct (not abstract or hypothetical)
==Current or imminent harm from the D to the P.
2. Causation
==Injury traceable to D's conduct
==Chain cannot be too extensive
3. Redressability (remedy)
==If P wins, has make it better/ change something


Prohibition of 3rd Party Standing

-A party generally may assert only his or her rights and cannot raise the claims of third parties not before the court.
==Close/Special Relationship- such as an employer asserting the rights of its employees, a doctor asserting the rights of his patients in challenging abortion rulings
==Unable to Assert own rights
==Organization on behalf of its members- if (a) its members would have standing to sue in their own rights (b) the interests at stake are genuine (relevant) to the organization's purpose, and (c) neither the claim asserted nor the relief requested would require participating by the individual members in the suit


Prohibition of General Grievances

You can't sue if there is no additional harm.
Ex: A P may not sue as a taxpayer who shares a grievance in common with all other taxpayers. Being a tax payer is too remote to have any stake in the outcome.



-Is this the right time?
-P must show that review is not premature. Must show that the harm has occurred or imminently will occur.
-Ripeness bars considerations of claims before they have been fully developed.



-If you settle or resolve controversy, then the case is dismissed or moot
-An actual case or controversy must exist at all stages of the litigation. Alive
-Collateral legal consequences: although the principle issue in the lawsuit has been resolved, if a party still has an interest in resolving collateral (or lesser) matters, the case will not be dismissed.
==(1) Capable of repetition and yet evading review: Controversy may often occur but that will not last long enough to work its way through the judicial system. (ex: pregnancy and elections allowed)
==(2) Voluntary Cessation: The court will not dismiss a moot case in which the D just says they've stopped their action. The court must be assured that there is no reasonable expectation that the wrong will be repeated.
==(3) Class Actions: if the named P's claim in a certified class action is resolved and becomes moot, that fact does not render the entire class action moot.


Political Question

A federal court will not rule on a matter in controversy if the matter is a political question to be resolved by one or both of the other two branches.