The Supreme Court

American Politics AQA

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Liberal and Conservative

Originalism - follow original meaning of constitution. DO NOT UPDATE IT.

Strict Constructionism - conservative.

Loose Constructionism - liberal and historical fashion. Constitution is a living document.

Legislating from the Bench - judges change or interpret the law.

Judicial Activism - addressing social or moral issues in legislation.

- "Liberalism causes subjectivity"

Roosevelt found NEW DEAL and economic policies blocked by SC as unconstitutional.

Roosevelt tried to add 6 more judges but was overuled by Congress because it undermines Sep of Pow.

Accepted convention that the SC is balanced with liberals and conservatives.

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Warren, Burger and Rehnquist

Eisenhower, Nixon and Regan.

Warren - promoted judicial activism and kick started the civil rights movement in the 60s.

Limits to SC POWER.

-No enforcement.

-Cannot seek cases.

-Credibility is dependent on a balanced court.

-Bound by precedence

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The Appointment Process


PRESIDENT commissons a search for a candidate.

from aides, congress and professional groups.

SC justices are recruited from fed. courts of appeal.

FBI checks background

President interviews 2/3rds of finalists

Senate Judiciary Committee interview and Senators vote.

3 rejected since WW2

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-times when court can sit

-number of justices

Presidential control


-work with congress to reform court.

The SC often stays in touch with public opinion.

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