Is the Supreme Court a political institution

  • Created by: Jess
  • Created on: 28-03-13 08:58

Confirmation and nomination process

  • President nominates someone that broadly shares their ideological views e.g Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor and she is a liberal justice
  • However, Justice's decisions may do the opposite of what is expected
  • Senate Judiciary Committee: Robert Bork rejected by a Democrat-Controlled senate as he was a strong conservative
  • Opinions on abortion and gay marriage are considered of a nominee
  • The senate has rejected 12 Supreme Court nominees in history.
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Bush v Gore

  • Supreme Court decided that Florida recounts could not take place because they wouldn't be done before the deadline. It overturned the Florida state ruling that the votes could be counted.
  • Gave presidency to Bush.
  • Justices acted in an activist court.
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Judicial Review

  • Justices can use judicial review to overturn the views of an elected majority in Congress.
  • Roe v Wade right to privacy.
  • Judicial activism is seen to make the judiciary a 'super legislature'.
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Conservative or Liberal?

  • If we did not consider Justices 'conservative' or 'liberal' then we would refer to them as impartial or neutral.
  • Swing judges aren't neutral. e.g Kennedy top 10 Conservative Supreme Justice.
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Democratic Control or accountability

  • Checks off congress and the President
  • Supreme Court is accountable to public. The public support Supreme Court decisions more than the president e.g Death penalty.
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Expansion and Limitation of the President

  • The Supreme Court has the power to say what the constitution means... This includes interpretating the power of the President.
  • In Myres v United States (1926) the court granted the President the power to remove government officials without Congress' approval.
  • Hamdan v Rumsfield (2006) the court clipped the wings of the president for employing military commissions to try the Guantanamo Bay detainees and for the use of warrantless wiretapping to get information about possible terrorist activity in the United States
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  • It is not a political institution, but it has the power to control other political institutions.
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