Supreme Court Quiz

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Explain the structure of the federal courts?
At the top is the SC, then the 13 Courts of Appeal and then the 94 trial courts
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Describe the membership of the SC?
9 members (1 chief justice), appointed by the pr and they have life tenure unless they resign, die or are impeached in office
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Explain the term strict constructionist?
Usually conservative and interpret the constitution in a literal manner and look at the intent of the Founding Fathers. Usually they favours state's role over federal courts
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Explain the term loose constructionist?
Liberal and interprets the constitution in a loose fashion and tend to favour the power of the federal govt.
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Explain the senate's role in confirming SC appointments
Must first appear before Senate Judiciary Committee (hearing and then vote) and then the senate must accept or reject the nomination
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What are the principal criticisms of the appointment and confirmation process to the SC?
Pr chooses a candidate based on their ideological philosophy, senate is polarised and the media
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Explain why nominations to the SC are so important?
Infrequent, life tenure, only 9 judges and power of court (judicial review)
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Briefly explain the power of judicial review?
Power of the SC to declare acts of Congress, actions of executive or states to be unconstitutional
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Explain the difficulties facing the SC in cases concerning freedom of religion?
They have to protect the rights of everyone to practise the religion of their choice freely without forcing religion on anyone
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Name examples of SC cases regarding freedom of speech, expression and press
McConnell vs. Federal Election Commission (2004), US vs. Eichmann (1990) and Reno vs. American Civil Liberties (1997)
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Name rulings which the SC has made on the issue of gun control
US vs. Lopez (1995) and District of Columbia vs. Heller (2008)
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What has the SC said on 4th amendment rights?
US vs. Drayton (2002) - 2 men searched on a bus by police found with cocaine said theur rights had been violated (declared not to have) and Board of Education vs. Earls (2002)
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Name cases that the SC where they have ruled on the rights of arrested people
Gideon vs. Wainwright (1963), Miranda vs. Arizona (1966) and Dickerson vs. US (2000)
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What significant rulings has the SC made concerning capital punishment?
Ring vs. Arizona (2002), Atkins vs. Virginia (2002) and Baze vs. Rees (2008)
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Name cases where the Court has attempted to protet the rights of racial minorities
Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), Regents of Uni of California vs. Bakke (1978)
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What was the first significant act on abortion?
Roe vs. Wade (1973)
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How does judicial review allow the SC to interpret the constitution?
They have to define certain aspects of the Constitution e.g. 8th amendment
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How does judicial review turn the court into a political institution?
Make decisions on politically contentious issues that the 2 main parties fundamentally disagree on
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How does judicial review give the court quasi-legislative power?
'Legislate from the bench' - when they pass a decision it can change legislation passed by Congress
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How has the Supreme Court acted as a check on actions of recent presidents?
USA vs. Nixon, Clinton vs. Paula Jones, Rasul vs. Bush, Hamdam vs. Rumsfield
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What checks do Congress have on the Supreme Court?
Power to confirm/ reject appointments, power to decide how many sit on the court, power of impeachment and can initiate constitutional amendment
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What checks does the President have on the Supreme Court?
Power to nominate judges and can throw his weight behind a decision or criticise it
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What other checks exist on the Supreme Court?
No power of initiation, does not possess enforcement powers, public opinion, ability to amend itself and constitution is ambiguous in parts
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Card 2

Front

Describe the membership of the SC?

Back

9 members (1 chief justice), appointed by the pr and they have life tenure unless they resign, die or are impeached in office

Card 3

Front

Explain the term strict constructionist?

Back

Preview of the front of card 3

Card 4

Front

Explain the term loose constructionist?

Back

Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5

Front

Explain the senate's role in confirming SC appointments

Back

Preview of the front of card 5
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