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US Government and politics
Supreme Court
The role of the judiciary

Responsibility of judges to adjudicate ­ to do this, they resolve disputes that can't
be settled without legal action
They reach conclusions according to a set of rules, such as referring to previous

Philosophy of the justices


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Activist judges are not inclined to be deferential to the other branches of

Judicial restraint

The court when it is more inclined to accept what has gone before ­ leave
things as they are ­ more associated with justices who are strict
Importance on what is called stare…

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The defeat of Robert Bork, one of the most outstanding jurists and scholar
of his generation ­ Dem. Opponents on the Senate Judiciary Committee
mobilized liberal interest groups against Bork's nomination
Another situation ­ Bush nominated another conservative Clarence Thomas ­
senate didn't focus on his lackluster qualifications but focused…

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It also decides what the first amendment `freedom of speech' applies to the
The supreme court has involved itself in a host of political issues ­ acting as
grantor of fundamental civil rights and liberties ­ S.C has made landmark
decisions on issues such as rights of racial minorities,…

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Due Process

The term more fully is due process of law and although no precise legal
definition of the term has been made, it is understood to refer to the
principle of limited government.
There are 2 types of due process referred to by the courts.
Substantive due process demands…

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Lee v. Weisman 1992 ­ Declared prayer at state school graduation
unconstitutional (Separation of religion and education).

Freedom of speech:

Citizen United v. Election Commission 2010 ­ Declared corporations to
have the same rights as individuals (financial contributions to
campaigns) over turning key elements in the Bipartisan Campaign
Reform act.…

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Nomination of justices.
Can either throw weight behind court or openly criticise it.
Power to pardon.

Other checks:

No enforcement powers (Brown v Board ­ only implemented by
Eisenhower sending in troops to Little Rock in 1957).
Has to wait for a case to come before it ­ cannot review…

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The structure of congress

Bicameral ­ two houses, House of Representative & Senate

Membership of Congress

House Membership

In the House of Representatives there are 435 members.
Each state has a certain number of members proportional to the population of
the state.
Each member represents a district. By the…

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Following his election as President, the Illinois state governor appointed another
African American, Rolan Burris to fill the vacancy.

Just under half of the current senate are former members of the house of
representatives. This indicates the perceived power and prestige of the senate
compared to the house.

Powers of…

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2. Both houses must vote by 2/3rds majorities to override the presidents veto of a bill
­ 2007 congress overrode President Bush's veto of the Water Resources
Development bill
3. Initiating constitutional amendments ­ approved by two-thirds majority in both
houses before it is sent to states to be ratified…


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