University Press of Florida
Outline of the U.S. Legal System
Buy This Book ( Related Link )
CITATION PDF VIEWER
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00011695/00001
 Material Information
Title: Outline of the U.S. Legal System
Physical Description: Book
Language: en-US
Creator: Sola Neely, Mildred, Clack, George, United States Department of State
 Subjects
Subjects / Keywords: United States law, American law, American legal system, lawyers, judiciary, courts, judges, OGT+ isbn: 9781616100605
Constitutional Law, Criminal Law, Judges, Justice, Laws, Torts
Social Studies / United States Constitution, Social Studies / United States government
 Notes
Abstract: This outline covers the history and organization of the federal and state judicial systems; the criminal and civil court processes; the background, qualifications, and selection of federal judges; the role of other participants (lawyers, defendants, interest groups) in the judicial process; and the implementation and impact of judicial policies. Contents: 1) History and Organization of State Judicial System. 2) History and Organization of the Federal Judicial System. 3) Jurisdiction and Policy-Making Boundaries. 4) Lawyers, Litigants, and Interest Groups in the Judicial Process. 5) U.S. Criminal Court Process. 6) U.S. Civil Court Process. 7) Federal Judges. 8) Implementation and Impact of Judicial Policies. Also contains a Glossary and the full text of the US Constitution and Amendments.
General Note: Expositive
General Note: 11, 12, Community College, Higher Education
General Note: http://www.ogtp-cart.com/product.aspx?ISBN=9781616100605
General Note: Adobe PDF
General Note: US Dept of State
General Note: Textbook
General Note: http://www.america.gov/publications/books/outline-of-us-legal-system.html
General Note: http://florida.theorangegrove.org/og/file/322f5364-8d30-c888-9b4f-5b28442773ae/1/LegalSystem.pdf
 Record Information
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: Published in the public domain by the United States Department of State. A number of the excerpts and illustrations appearing in this volume are copyrighted. These may not be reprinted without the permission of the copyright holder.
Resource Identifier: isbn - 9781616100605
System ID: AA00011695:00001

Downloads

This item is only available as the following downloads:

( PDF )


Full Text

PAGE 1

U.S.LEGAL SYSTEM U.S.LEGAL SYSTEM OUTLINE OF THE OUTLINE OF THE

PAGE 2

Bureau ofInternational Information Programs United States Department ofState http://usinfo.state.gov2004U.S.LEGAL SYSTEM U.S.LEGAL SYSTEM OUTLINE OF THE

PAGE 3

INTRODUCTIONThe U.S.Legal System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4CHAPTER 1History and Organization ofthe Federal Judicial System . . . . .18CHAPTER 2History and Organization ofState Judicial Systems . . . . . . .44CHAPTER 3Jurisdiction and Policy-Making Boundaries . . . . . . . . . .56CHAPTER 4Lawyers,Litigants,and Interest Groups in the Judicial Process . .72CHAPTER 5The Criminal Court Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .90CHAPTER 6The Civil Court Process . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .118CHAPTER 7Federal Judges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .140CHAPTER 8Implementation and Impact ofJudicial Policies . . . . . . . .158 The Constitution ofthe United States . . . . . . . . . . . . .177 Amendments to the Constitution ofthe United States . . . . . .192 Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .204 Bibliography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .212 Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .214 CONTENTSU.S.LEGAL SYSTEM U.S.LEGAL SYSTEM OUTLINE OF THE

PAGE 5

THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEMIn this scene from an 1856 painting by Junius Brutus Searns, George Washington (standing, right) addresses the Constitutional Convention, whose members drafted and signed the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787. The Constitution is the primary source of law in the United States.INTRODUCTION

PAGE 6

Every business day,courts throughout the United States render decisions that together affect many thousands of people.Some affect only the parties to a particular legal action,but others adjudicate rights,benefits,and legal principles that have an impact on virtually all Americans.Inevitably,many Americans may welcome a given ruling while others „ sometimes many others „ disapprove.All,however,accept the legitimacy ofthese decisions, and ofthe courtsrole as final interpreter ofthe law.There can be no more potent demonstration ofthe trust that Americans place in the rule oflaw and their con“dence in the U.S. legal system. The pages that follow survey that system.Much ofthe discussion explains how U.S.courts are organized and how they work.Courts are central to the legal system,but they are not the entire system.Every day across America,federal,state,and local courts interpret laws,adjudicate disputes under laws,and at times even strike down laws as violating the fundamental protections that the Constitution guarantees all Americans.At the same time,millions ofAmericans transact their day-to-day affairs without turning to the courts.They,too, rely upon the legal system.The young couple purchasing their “rst home, two businessmen entering into a contract,parents drawing up a will to provide for their children „ all require the predictability and enforceable common norms that the rule oflaw provides and the U.S.legal system guarantees. This introduction seeks to familiarize readers with the basic structure and vocabulary ofAmerican law. Subsequent chapters add detail,and afford a sense ofhow the U.S.legal system has evolved to meet the needs ofa growing nation and its ever more complex economic and social realities.A FEDERAL LEGAL SYSTEM: OverviewThe American legal system has several layers,more possibly than in most other nations. One reason is the division between federal and state law.To understand this,it helps to recall that the United States was founded not as one nation, but as a union of13 colonies,each claiming independence from the British Crown.The Declaration of Independence (1776) thus spoke of the good People ofthese ColoniesŽ but also pronounced that these United Colonies are,and ofRight ought to be,FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES.ŽThe tension between one people and several states is a perennial theme in American legal history.As explained below,the U.S. Constitution (adopted 1787,rati“ed 1788) began a gradual and at times 6 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 7

hotly contested shift ofpower and legal authority away from the states and toward the federal government. Still,even today states retain substantial authority.Any student ofthe American legal system must understand how jurisdiction is apportioned between the federal government and the states. The Constitution “xed many ofthe boundaries between federal and state law.It also divided federal power among legislative,executive,and judicial branches ofgovernment (thus creating a separation ofpowersŽ between each branch and enshrining a system ofchecks-and-balancesŽ to prevent any one branch from overwhelming the others),each of which contributes distinctively to the legal system.Within that system,the Constitution delineated the kinds of laws that Congress might pass. As ifthis were not suf“ciently complex,U.S.law is more than the statutes passed by Congress.In some areas, Congress authorizes administrative agencies to adopt rules that add detail to statutory requirements.And the entire system rests upon the traditional legal principles found in English Common Law.Although both the Constitution and statutory law supersede common law,courts continue to apply unwritten common law principles to “ll in the gaps where the Constitution is silent and Congress has not legislated.SOURCES OF FEDERAL LAW The United States Constitution Supremacy of Federal LawDuring the period 1781…88,an agreement called the Articles ofConfederation governed relations among the 13 states.It established a weak national Congress and left most authority with the states.The Articles made no provision for a federal judiciary,save a maritime court,although each state was enjoined to honor (afford full faith and creditŽ to) the rulings ofthe otherscourts. The drafting and rati“cation of the Constitution re”ected a growing consensus that the federal government needed to be strengthened.The legal system was one ofthe areas where this was done.Most signi“cant was the supremacy clause,Žfound in Article VI: This Constitution,and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof;and all Treaties made,or which shall be made,under the Authority ofthe United States,shall be the supreme Law ofthe Land;and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws ofany State to the Contrary notwithstanding. This paragraph established the “rst principle ofAmerican law:Where the INTRODUCTION 7

PAGE 8

federal Constitution speaks,no state may contradict it.Left unclear was how this prohibition might apply to the federal government itself,and the role ofthe individual state legal systems in areas not expressly addressed by the new Constitution.Amendments would supply part ofthe answer,history still more,but even today Americans continue to wrestle with the precise demarcations between the federal and state domains.Each Branch Plays a Role in the Legal SystemWhile the drafters ofthe Constitution sought to strengthen the federal government,they feared strengthening it too much.One means ofrestraining the new regime was to divide it into branches.As James Madison explained in Federalist No.51 ,usurpations are guarded against by a division ofthe government into distinct and separate departments.ŽEach ofMadisons departments,Žlegislative,executive,and judiciary,received a measure of in”uence over the legal system.LegislativeThe Constitution vests in Congress the power to pass legislation.A proposal considered by Congress is called a bill Ifa majority ofeach house ofCongress „ two-thirds should the President veto it „ votes to adopt a bill,it becomes law.Federal laws are known as statutes .The United States Code is a codi“cationŽoffederal statutory law. The Code is not itselfa law,it merely 8 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM The Constitution has vested the power to pass legislation in Congress, here gathered in a joint session for President George W. Bushs budget speech in 2001. The executive power, in turn, is entrusted to the President.

PAGE 9

presents the statutes in a logical arrangement.Title 20,for instance, contains the various statutes pertaining to Education,and Title 22 those covering Foreign Relations. Congresslawmaking power is limited.More precisely,it is delegated by the American people through the Constitution,which speci“es areas where Congress may or may not legislate.Article I,Section 9 ofthe Constitution forbids Congress from passing certain types oflaws.Congress maynot,for instance,pass an ex post factoŽlaw (a law that applies retroactively,or after the factŽ),or levy a tax on exports.Article I,Section 8 lists areas where Congress may legislate.Some of these (To establish Post Of“cesŽ) are quite speci“c but others,most notably, To regulate Commerce with foreignNations,and among the several States,Žare less so.Obviously the power to interpret the less precise delegations is extremely important.Early in the young republics history,the judiciary branch assumed this role and thus secured an additional and extremely vital role in the U.S.legal system.JudicialAs with the other branches,the U.S. judiciary possesses only those powers the Constitution delegates.The Constitution extended federal jurisdiction only to certain kinds ofdisputes.Article III,Section 2 lists them.Two ofthe most signi“cant are cases involving a question offederal law (all Cases in Law and Equity,arising under this Constitution,the Laws ofthe United States,and Treaties madeƒŽ) and diversityŽcases,or disputes between citizens oftwo different states.Diversity jurisdiction allows each party to avoid litigating his case before the courts of his adversarys state. A second judicial power emerged in the Republics early years.As explained in Chapter 2,the U.S.Supreme Court in the case of Marbury v.Madison (1803) interpreted its delegated powers to include the authority to determine whether a statute violated the Constitution and,ifit did,to declare such a law invalid.A law may be unconstitutional because it violates rights guaranteed to the people by the ConINTRODUCTION 9Laws passed by one of the 50 state legislatures, such as the New York State Assembly shown above during a roll call, apply only to the citizens of that state or outsiders who reside or do business there.

PAGE 10

stitution,or because Article I did not authorize Congress to pass that kind oflegislation. The power to interpret the constitutional provisions that describe where Congress may legislate is thus very important.Traditionally,Congress has justi“ed many statutes as necessary to regulate commerceƒ among the several States,Žor interstate commerce.This is an elastic concept, dif“cult to describe with precision.Indeed,one might for nearly any statute devise a plausible tie between its objectives and the regulation ofinterstate commerce.At times,the judicial branch interpreted the commerce clauseŽnarrowly.In 1935,for instance, the Supreme Court invalidated a federal law regulating the hours and wages ofworkers at a New York slaughterhouse because the chickens processed there all were sold to New York butchers and retailers and hence not part ofinterstate commerce.Soon after this,however,the Supreme Court began to afford President Franklin D. Roosevelts New Deal programs more latitude,and today the federal courts continue to interpret broadly the commerce power,although not so broadly as to justify any legislation that Congress might pass.ExecutiveArticle II entrusts to the President ofthe United States the executive Power.ŽUnder President George Washington (1789…1801),the entire executive branch consisted ofthe President,Vice President,and the Departments ofState,Treasury,War, and Justice.As the nation grew,the executive branch grew with it.Today there are 15 Cabinet-level Departments.Each houses a number of Bureaus,Agencies,and other entities. Still other parts ofthe executive branch lie outside these Departments. All exercise executive power delegated by the President and thus are responsible ultimately to him. In some areas,the relationship between the executive and the other two branches is clear.Suppose one or more individuals rob a bank.Congress has passed a statute criminalizing bank robbery ( United States Code ,Title 18, Section 2113*).The Federal Bureau ofInvestigation (FBI),a bureau within the Department ofJustice,would investigate the crime.When it apprehended one or more suspects,a Federal Prosecutor (also Department ofJustice) would attempt to prove the suspects guilt in a trial conducted by a U.S.District Court. The bank robbery case is a simple one.But as the nation modernized and 10 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM Technically, the statute applies only to a bank that is federally chartered, insured, or a member of the Federal Reserve System. Possibly every bank in the United States meets these criteria, but one that did not, and could not be construed as impacting interstate commerce, would not be subject to federal legislation. Federal statutes typically recite a jurisdictional basis: in this case, the federal charter requirement.

PAGE 11

INTRODUCTION 11 Federal and state courts hear two kinds of disputes: civil and criminal. Here an attorney representing landowners in a civil action presents his arguments to the South Dakota Supreme Court. Left, civil law covers statutes pertaining to marriage and divorce. This couple is being married in this civil ceremony performed by a judge. At right, a judge in Texas. In the past few decades, the U.S. judiciary has expanded to include more women and minorities.

PAGE 12

grew,the relationship ofthe three branches within the legal system evolved to accommodate the more complex issues ofindustrial and postindustrial society.The role ofthe executive branch changed most ofall.In the bank robbery example,Congress needed little or no special expertise to craft a statute that criminalized bank robbery.Suppose instead that lawmakers wished to ban dangerousŽ drugs from the marketplace,or restrict the amount ofunhealthfulŽ pollutants in the air.Congress could,if it chose,specify precise de“nitions of these terms.Sometimes it does so,but increasingly Congress instead delegates a portion ofits authority to administrative agencies housed in the executive branch.The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) thus watches over the purity ofthe nations food and pharmaceuticals and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates how industries impact the earth,water,and air. Although agencies possess only powers that Congress delegates by statute,these can be quite substantial. They can include the authority to promulgate rules that de“ne with precision more general statutory terms. A law might proscribe dangerousŽ amounts ofpollutants in the atmosphere,while an EPA rule de“nes the substances and amounts ofeach that would be considered dangerous. Sometimes a statute empowers an agency to investigate violations ofits rules,to adjudicate those violations, and even to assess penalties! The courts will invalidate a statute that grants an agency too much power.An important statute called the Administrative Procedure Act ( United States Code Title 5,Section 551,et.seq.) explains the procedures agencies must follow when promulgating rules,judging violations,and imposing penalties.It also lays out how a party can seek judicial review ofan agencys decision.Other Sources of LawThe most obvious sources ofAmerican law are the statutes passed by Congress,as supplemented by administrative regulations.Sometimes these demarcate clearly the boundaries of legal and illegal conduct „ the bank robbery example again „ but no government can promulgate enough law to cover every situation.Fortunately,another body oflegal principles and norms helps “ll in the gaps, as explained belowCommon LawWhere no statute or constitutional provision controls,both federal and state courts often look to the common law,a collection ofjudicial decisions, customs,and general principles that began centuries ago in England and continues to develop today.In many states,common law continues to hold an important role in contract disputes,as state legislatures have not 12 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 13

seen “t to pass statutes covering every possible contractual contingency.Judicial PrecedentCourts adjudicate alleged violations ofand disputes arising under the law.This often requires that they interpret the law.In doing so,courts consider themselves bound by how other courts ofequal or superior rank have previously interpreted a law. This is known as the principle of stare decisis,Žor simply precedent.It helps to ensure consistency and predictability.Litigants facing unfavorable precedent,or case law,try todistinguish the facts oftheir particular case from those that produced the earlier decisions. Sometimes courts interpret the law differently.The Fifth Amendment tothe Constitution,for instance, contains a clause that [n]o personƒ shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.Ž From time to time,cases arose where an individual would decline to answer a subpoena or otherwise testify on the grounds that his testimony might subject him to criminal prosecution „ not in the United States but in another country.Would the selfincrimination clause apply here? The U.S.Court ofAppeals for the Second Circuit ruled it did,but the Fourth and Eleventh Circuits held that it did not.* This effectively meant that the law differed depending where in the country a case arose! Higher-level courts try to resolve these inconsistencies.The Supreme Court ofthe United States,for instance,often chooses to hear a case when its decision can resolve a division among the Circuit courts.The Supreme Court precedent will control,or apply to all the lower federal courts.In United States v.Balsys ,524 U.S.666 (1998),the Supreme Court ruled that fear offoreign prosecution is beyond the scope ofthe SelfIncrimination Clause.** This ruling became the law ofthe entire nation,including the Second Circuit.Any federal court subsequently facing the issue was bound by the high court ruling in Balsys .Circuit court decisions similarly bind all the District Courts within that circuit. Stare decisis also applies in the various state court systems.In this way,precedent grows both in volume and explanatory reach. INTRODUCTION 13 *The U.S. Circuit Court for the Second Circuit is an appellate court that hears appeals from the federal district courts in the states of New York, Connecticut, and Vermont. The Fourth Circuit encompasses Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia, and the Eleventh Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. For more information on the organization of the federal courts, see chapter 1. **The numbers in this sentence comprise the citation to the Balsys decision. They indicate that the Court issued its ruling in the year 1998 and that the decision appears in volume 524 of a series called United States Reports beginning on page 666.

PAGE 14

DIFFERENT LAWS; DIFFERENT REMEDIESGiven this growing body oflaw, it is useful to distinguish among different types oflaws and ofactions,or lawsuits,brought before the courts and ofthe remedies the law affords in each type ofcase.Civil/CriminalCourts hear two kinds ofdisputes: civil and criminal.A civil action involves two or more private parties,at least one ofwhich alleges a violation ofa statute or some provision ofcommon law.The party initiating the lawsuit is the plaintiff;his opponent the defendant.A defendant can raise a counterclaim against a plaintiffor a cross-claim against a co-defendant,so long as they are related to the plaintiffs original complaint.Courts prefer to hear in a single lawsuit all the claims arising from a dispute.Business litigations,as for breach ofcontract,or tort cases,where a party alleges he has been injured by anothers negligence or willful misconduct, are civil cases. While most civil litigations are between private parties,the federal government or a state government is always a party to a criminal action. It prosecutes,in the name ofthe people,defendants charged with violating laws that prohibit certain conduct as injurious to the public welfare. Two businesses might litigate a civil action for breach ofcontract,but only the government can charge someone with murder. The standards ofproofand potential penalties also differ.A criminal defendant can be convicted only upon the determination ofguilt beyond a reasonable doubt.ŽIn a civil case,the plaintiffneed only show a preponderance ofevidence,Ža weaker formulation that essentially means more likely than not.ŽA convicted criminal can be imprisoned,but the losing party in a civil case is liable only for legal or equitable remedies,as explained below.Legal and Equitable RemediesThe U.S.legal system affords a wide but not unlimited range ofremedies. The criminal statutes typically list for a given offense the range of“nes or prison time a court may impose. Other parts ofthe criminal code may in some jurisdictions allow stiffer penalties for repeat offenders.Punishment for the most serious offenses, or felonies,is more severe than for misdemeanors. In civil actions,most American courts are authorized to choose among legal and equitable remedies. The distinction means less today than in the past but is still worth understanding.In 13th century England, courts oflawŽwere authorized to decree monetary remedies only.Ifa defendants breach ofcontract cost the plaintiff£50,such a court could order the defendant to pay that sum to 14 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 15

the plaintiff.These damages were suf“cient in many instances,but not in others,such as a contract for the sale ofa rare artwork or a speci“c parcel ofland.During the 13th and 14th centuries,courts ofequityŽwere formed.These tribunals fashioned equitable remedies like speci“c performance,which compelled parties to perform their obligations,rather than merely forcing them to pay damages for the injury caused by their nonperformance.By the 19th century, most American jurisdictions had eliminated the distinction between law and equity.Today,with rare exceptions,U.S.courts can award either legal or equitable remedies as the situation requires. One famous example illustrates the differences between civil and criminal law,and the remedies that each can offer.The state ofCalifornia charged the former football star O.J.Simpson with murder.Had Simpson been convicted,he would have been imprisoned.He was not convicted,however, as the jury ruled the prosecution failed to prove Simpsons guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.Afterwards,Mrs. Simpsons family sued Simpson for wrongful death,a civil action.The jury in this case determined that a preponderance ofthe evidence demonstrated Simpsons responsibility for the death ofhis wife.It ordered Simpson to pay money damages „ a legal remedy „ to the plaintiffs. INTRODUCTION 15 The U.S. Constitution explicitly sets out that large parts of the U.S. legal system remain under the control of the individual states. Here, Cook County, Illinois, Circuit Court Judge William H. Haddad, left, and Illinois Supreme Court Justice Thomas R. Fitzgerald.

PAGE 16

THE ROLE OF STATE LAW IN THE FEDERAL SYSTEMThe Constitution speci“cally forbade the states from adopting certain kinds oflaws (entering into treaties with foreign nations,coining money).Also,the Article VI Supremacy Clause barred state laws that contradicted either the Constitution or federal law.Even so,large parts ofthe legal system remained under state control.The Constitution had carefully speci“ed the areas where Congress might enact legislation.The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution (1791) made explicit that state law would control elsewhere:The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution,nor prohibited by it to the States,are reserved to the States,respectively,or to the people.Ž There nonetheless remained considerable tension between the federal government and the states „ over slavery,and ultimately over the right ofa state to leave the federal union. The civil con”ict of1861…65 resolved both disputes.It also produced new restrictions on the state role within the legal system:Under the Fourteenth Amendment (1868),No State shallƒ deprive any person oflife,liberty or property,without due process oflaw;nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.ŽThis amendment greatly expanded the federal courtsability to invalidate state laws. Brown v.Board of Education (1954),which forbade racial segregation in the Arkansas state school system,relied upon this equal protection clause.Ž Beginning in the mid-20th century, a number ofthe trends outlined above „ the rise ofthe administrative state, a more forceful and expansive judicial interpretation ofdue process and equal protection,and a similar expansion ofCongresspower to regulate commerce „ combined to enhance the federal role within the legal system.Even so,much ofthat system 16 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM Family law remains almost exclusively a state matter. Here, Attorney Catherine Smith argues a case involving a child caregivers rights in front of the state Supreme Court in Olympia, Washington. Chief Justice Gerry L. Alexander, right, and Justice Charles Z. Smith listen.

PAGE 17

remains within the state domain. While no state may deny a citizen any right guaranteed by the federal Constitution,many interpret their own constitutions as bestowing even more generous rights and privileges. State courts applying state law continue to decide most contractual disputes.The same is true ofmost criminal cases,and ofcivil tort actions.Family law,including such matters as marriage and divorce,is almost exclusively a state matter.For most Americans most ofthe time,the legal system means the police of“cers and courts oftheir own state,or ofthe various municipalities and other political subdivisions within that state. This introduction offers a mere thumbnail sketch ofthe legal system. The remainder ofthe volume affords greater detail,”avor,and understanding.Chapters 1 and 2 describe respectively how the federal and state court systems have been organized,while Chapter 3 explains at length the complex question ofjurisdiction.The chapter necessarily delineates the borders between the federal and state courts but it also explores the question ofwho may sue,and ofthe kinds ofcases courts will hear.Chapter 4 expands the focus from the courts to the groups who appear before them.The practice oflaw in the United States is studied,and the typical litigants described.The chapter also explains the role played by interest groups that press particular cases to advance their social and political agendas.Chapter 5 details how the courts handle criminal cases while Chapter 6 turns the focus to civil actions.Chapter 7 describes how federal judges are selected.The “nal chapter explores how certain judicial decisions „ those ofhigher courts especially „ can themselves amount to a form ofpolicymaking and thus further entwine the judiciary in a complex relationship with the legislative and executive branches. „ By Michael Jay Friedman INTRODUCTION 17 Michael Jay Friedman is a Program Of“cer in the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of International Information Programs. He holds a Ph.D. in American History from the University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. degree from Georgetown University Law Center.

PAGE 19

CHAPTERChief Justice John Marshall, who headed the U.S. Supreme Court from 1801 to 1835, in a portrait by Alonzo Chappel. Marshalls dominance of the Court allowed him to initiate major changes, including adopting the practice of the Court handing down a single opinion.HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION OF THE FEDERAL JUDICIAL SYSTEM1

PAGE 20

One ofthe most important,most interesting,and,possibly,most confusingfeatures ofthe judiciary in the United States is the dual court system;that is,each level ofgovernment (state and na-tional) has its own set ofcourts.Thus,there is a separate court system for eachstate,one for the District ofColumbia, and one for the federal government. Some legal problems are resolved en-tirely in the state courts,whereas others are handled entirely in the federal courts.Still others may receive attention from both sets oftribunals,which sometimes causes friction.The federal courts are discussed in this chapter and the state courts in chapter 2.THE HISTORICAL CONTEXTPrior to the adoption ofthe Constitution,the United States was governed by the Articles of Confederation.Under the Articles, almost all functions ofthe national government were vested in a singlechamber legislature called Congress. There was no separation ofexecutive and legislative powers. The absence ofa national judiciary was considered a major weakness ofthe Articles ofConfederation. Consequently,the delegates gathered at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 expressed widespread agreement that a national judiciary should be established.A good deal ofdisagreement arose,however, on the specific form that the judicial branch should take.The Constitutional Convention and Article IIIThe first proposal presented to the Constitutional Convention was the Virginia Plan,which would have set up both a Supreme Court and inferior federal courts.Opponents ofthe Virginia Plan responded with the New Jersey Plan,which called for the creation ofa single federal supreme tribunal.Supporters ofthe New Jersey Plan were especially disturbed by the idea oflower federal courts.They argued that the state courts could hear all cases in the first instance and that a right ofappeal to the Supreme Court would be sufficient to protect national rights and provide uniform judgments throughout the country. The conflict between the states rights advocates and the nationalists was resolved by one ofthe many compromises that characterized the Constitutional Convention.The compromise is found in Article III ofthe Constitution,which begins,The judicial Power ofthe United States,shall be vested in one supreme Court,and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.ŽThe Judiciary Act of 1789Once the Constitution was ratified, action on the federal judiciary came quickly.When the new Congress convened in 1789,its first major concern was judicial organization. Discussion ofSenate Bill 1 involved 20 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 21

many ofthe same participants and arguments as were involved in the Constitutional Conventions debates on the judiciary.Once again,the question was whether lower federal courts should be created at all or whether federal claims should first be heard in state courts.Attempts to resolve this controversy split Congress into two distinct groups. One group,which believed that federal law should be adjudicated in the state courts first and by the U.S. Supreme Court only on appeal,exCHAPTER 1: HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION OF THE FEDERAL JUDICIAL SYSTEM 21 THE UNITED STATES COURT SYSTEMSUPREME COURT of the United States United States Court of Appeal for the Federal Circuit** United States Court of Appeal 12 Circuit* United States Court of Appeal for the Armed Forces U.S. Court of International Trade U.S. Court of Federal Claims U.S. Court of Veteran Appeals Army, Navy-Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard Courts of Criminal Appeals 94 U.S. Courts and United States Tax Court The 12 regional Courts of Appeals also receive cases from a number of federal agencies. ** The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit also receives cases from the International Trade Commission, the Merit Systems Protection Board, the Patent and Trademark Office, and the Board of Contract Appeals.Federal Questions from State Courts

PAGE 22

pressed the fear that the new government would destroy the rights ofthe states.The other group oflegislators, suspicious ofthe parochial prejudice ofstate courts,feared that litigants from other states and other countries would be dealt with unjustly.This latter group naturally favored a judicial system that included lower federal courts.The law that emerged from this debate,the Judiciary Act of1789,set up a judicial system composed ofa Supreme Court,consisting ofa chief justice and five associate justices;three circuit courts,each comprising two justices ofthe Supreme Court and a district judge;and 13 district courts, each presided over by one district judge.The power to create inferior federal courts,then,was immediately exercised.Congress created not one but two sets oflower courts.THE U.S. SUPREME COURTSupreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes wrote in The Supreme Court ofthe United States (1966) that the Court is distinctly American in conception and function,and owes little to prior judicial institutions.ŽTo understand what the framers ofthe Constitution envisioned for the Court,another American concept must be considered:the federal form ofgovernment.The Founders provided for both a national government and state governments; the courts ofthe states were to be bound by federal laws.However,final interpretation offederal laws could not be left to a state court and certainly not to several state tribunals,whose judgments might disagree.Thus,the Supreme Court must interpret federal legislation.Another ofthe Founders intentions was for the federal government to act directly upon individual citizens as well as upon the states. Given the Supreme Courts importance to the U.S.system ofgovernment,it was perhaps inevitable that the Court would evoke great controversy.Charles Warren,a leading student ofthe Supreme Court,said in The Supreme Court in United States History :Nothing in the Courts history is more striking than the fact that while its significant and necessary place in the Federal form ofGovernment has always been recognized by thoughtful and patriotic men,nevertheless,no branch ofthe Government and no institution under the Constitution has sustained more continuous attack or reached its present position after more vigorous opposition.ŽThe Courts First DecadeGeorge Washington,the first president ofthe United States,established two important traditions when he appointed the first Supreme Court justices.First,he began the practice of naming to the Court those with whom he was politically compatible.Washington,the only president ever to have an opportunity to appoint the entire federal judiciary,filled federal judge22 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 23

CHAPTER 1: HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION OF THE FEDERAL JUDICIAL SYSTEM 23 Alabama Wyoming Alaska Arizona West Virginia Washington Virginia Vermont Utah Texas Tennessee South Dakota South Carolina Rhode Island Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia Hawaii Idaho Oregon Illinois Wisconsin Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Nebraska Nevada New Hampsh ire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Car olina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Pennsylvania Montana District of Columbia Virgin Isl ands Puerto Ric o Guam Nothern Mariana Islands D.C. Circuit Washington, D.C. Federal Circuit Washington, D.C. 9 9 10 8 5 11 1 1 2 3 3 4 7 6 Geographical Boundaries ofU.S.Courts ofAppeals and U.S.District Courts

PAGE 24

ships,without exception,with faithful members ofthe Federalist Party. Second,Washingtons appointees offered roughly equal geographic representation on the federal courts.His first six appointees to the Supreme Court included three Northerners and three Southerners. The chiefjusticeship was the most important appointment Washington made.The president felt that the man to head the first Supreme Court should be an eminent lawyer,statesman,executive,and leader.Many names were presented to Washington, and at least one person formally applied for the position.Ultimately, Washington settled upon John Jay ofNew York.Although only 44 years old,Jay had experience as a lawyer, a judge,and a diplomat.In addition, he was the main drafter ofhis states first constitution. The Supreme Court met for the first time on Monday,February 1, 1790,in the Royal Exchange,a building located in the Wall Street section ofNew York City,and its first session lasted just 10 days.During this period the Court selected a clerk,chose a seal, and admitted several lawyers to practice before it in the future.There were, ofcourse,no cases to be decided;the Court did not rule on a single case during its first three years.In spite of this insignificant and abbreviated beginning,Charles Warren wrote,The New York and the Philadelphia newspapers described the proceedings of this first session ofthe Court more fully than any other event connected with the new government;and their accounts were reproduced in the leading papers ofall the states.Ž During its first decade the Court decided only about 50 cases.Given the scarcity ofSupreme Court business in the early days,ChiefJustice Jays contributions may be traced primarily to his circuit court decisions and his judicial conduct. Perhaps the most important ofJays contributions,however,was his insistence that the Supreme Court could not provide legal advice for the executive branch in the form ofan advisory opinion.Jay was asked by Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton to issue an opinion on the constitutionality of a resolution passed by the Virginia House ofRepresentatives,and President Washington asked Jay for advice on questions relating to his Neutrality Proclamation.In both instances,Jays response was a firm No,Žbecause Article III ofthe Constitution provides that the Court is to decide only cases pertaining to actual controversies.The Impact of Chief Justice MarshallJohn Marshall served as chiefjustice from 1801 to 1835 and dominated the Court to a degree unmatched by any other justice.Marshalls dominance of the Court enabled him to initiate major changes in the way opinions were presented.Prior to his tenure,the 24 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 25

justices ordinarily wrote separate opinions (called seriatimŽopinions … Latin for one after the otherŽ) in major cases.Under Marshalls stewardship,the Court adopted the practice ofhanding down a single opinion.Marshalls goal was to keep dissension to a minimum.Arguing that dissent undermined the Courts authority,he tried to persuade the justices to settle their differences privately and then present a united front to the public.Marshall also used his powers to involve the Court in the policy-making process.Early in his tenure as chiefjustice,for example,the Court asserted its power to declare an act ofCongress unconstitutional,in Marbury v.Madison (1803). This case had its beginnings in the presidential election of1800,when Thomas Jefferson defeated John Adams in his bid for reelection.Before leaving office in March 1801,however, Adams and the lame-duck Federalist Congress created several new federal judgeships.To fill these new positions Adams nominated,and the Senate confirmed,loyal Federalists.In addition,Adams named his outgoing secretary ofstate,John Marshall,to be the new chiefjustice ofthe Supreme Court. As secretary ofstate it had been Marshalls job to deliver the commissions ofthe newly appointed judges. Time ran out,however,and 17 ofthe commissions were not delivered before Jeffersons inauguration.The new president ordered his secretary of state,James Madison,not to deliver the remaining commissions.One of the disappointed nominees was William Marbury.He and three ofhis colleagues,all confirmed as justices of the peace for the District ofColumbia, decided to ask the Supreme Court to force Madison to deliver their commissions.They relied upon Section 13 ofthe Judiciary Act of1789,which granted the Supreme Court the authority to issue writs ofmandamus „ court orders commanding a public official to perform an official,nondiscretionary duty. The case placed Marshall in a predicament.Some suggested that he disqualify himselfbecause of his earlier involvement as secretary ofstate.There was also the question ofthe Courts power.IfMarshall were to grant the writ,Madison (under Jeffersons orders) would be almost certain to refuse to deliver the commissions.The Supreme Court would then be powerless to enforce its order.However,ifMarshall refused to grant the writ,Jefferson would win by default. The decision Marshall fashioned from this seemingly impossible predicament was evidence ofsheer genius.He declared Section 13 ofthe Judiciary Act of1789 unconstitutional because it granted original jurisdiction to the Supreme Court in excess of that specified in Article III ofthe Constitution.Thus the Courts power to CHAPTER 1: HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION OF THE FEDERAL JUDICIAL SYSTEM 25

PAGE 26

review and determine the constitutionality ofacts ofCongress was established.This decision is rightly seen as one ofthe single most important decisions the Supreme Court has ever handed down.A few years later the Court also claimed the right ofjudicial review over actions ofstate legislatures;during Marshalls tenure it overturned more than a dozen state laws on constitutional grounds.The Changing Issue Emphasis of the Supreme CourtUntil approximately 1865 the legal relationship between the national and state governments,or cases offederalism,dominated the Courts docket. John Marshall believed in a strong national government and did not hesitate to restrict state policies that interfered with its activities.A case in point is Gibbons v.Ogden (1824), in which the Court overturned a state monopoly over steamboat transportation on the ground that it interfered with national control over interstate commerce.Another good example of Marshalls use ofthe Court to expand the federal governments powers came in McCulloch v.Maryland (1819),in which the chiefjustice held that the Constitution permitted Congress to establish a national bank.The Courts insistence on a strong national government did not significantly diminish after Marshalls death.Roger Taney,who succeeded Marshall as chiefjustice,served from 1836 to 1864.Although the Courts position during this period was not as uniformly favorable to the federal government,the Taney Court did not reverse the Marshall Courts direction. During the period 1865-1937 issues ofeconomic regulation dominated the Courts docket.The shift in emphasis from federalism to economic regulation was brought on by a growing number ofnational and state laws aimed at monitoring business activities.As such laws increased,so did the number ofcases challenging their constitutionality. Early in this period the Courts position on regulation was mixed,but by the 1920s the bench had become quite hostile toward government regulatory policy.Federal regulations were generally overturned on the ground that they were unsupported by constitutional grants ofpower to Congress,whereas state laws were thrown out mainly as violations of economic rights protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. Since 1937 the Supreme Court has focused on civil liberties concerns „ in particular,the constitutional guarantees offreedom ofexpression and freedom ofreligion.In addition,an increasing number ofcases have dealt with procedural rights ofcriminal defendants.Finally,the Court has decided a great number ofcases concerning equal treatment by the government of racial minorities and other disadvantaged groups. 26 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 27

The Supreme Court as a Policy MakerThe Supreme Courts role as a policy maker derives from the fact that it interprets the law.Public policy issues come before the Court in the form of legal disputes that must be resolved. An excellent example may be found in the area ofracial equality.In the late 1880s many states enacted laws requiring the separation ofAfrican Americans and whites in public facilities.In 1890,for instance,Louisiana enacted a law requiring separate but equal railroad accommodations for African Americans and whites.A challenge came two years later.Homer Plessy, who was one-eighth black,protested against the Louisiana law by refusing to move from a seat in the white car of a train traveling from New Orleans to Covington,Louisiana.Arrested and charged with violating the statute, Plessy contended that the law was unconstitutional.The U.S.Supreme Court,in Plessy v.Ferguson (1896),upheld the Louisiana statute.Thus the Court established the separate-butequalŽpolicy that was to reign for about 60 years.During this period many states required that the races sit in different areas ofbuses,trains,terminals,and theaters;use different restrooms;and drink from different water fountains.African Americans were sometimes excluded from restaurants and public libraries.Perhaps most important,African American students often had to attend inferior schools. Separation ofthe races in public schools was contested in the famous case Brown v.Board ofEducation (1954).Parents ofAfrican American schoolchildren claimed that state laws requiring or permitting segregation deprived them ofequal protection ofthe laws under the Fourteenth Amendment.The Supreme Court ruled that separate educational facili-ties are inherently unequal and,therefore,segregation constitutes a denial ofequal protection.In the Brown deci-sion the Court laid to rest the separate-but-equal doctrine and established a policy ofdesegregated public schools. In an average year the Court decides,with signed opinions,between 80 and 90 cases.Thousands ofother cases are disposed ofwith less than the full treatment.Thus the Court deals at length with a very select set ofpolicy issues that have varied throughout the Courts history.In a democracy,broad matters ofpublic policy are presumed to be left to the elected representatives ofthe people „ not to judicial appointees with life terms.Thus,in principle U.S.judges are not supposed to make policy.However,in practice judges cannot help but make policy to some extent. The Supreme Court,however, differs from legislative and executive policy makers.Especially important is the fact that the Court has no selfstarting device.The justices must wait for problems to be brought to them; there can be no judicial policy making CHAPTER 1: HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION OF THE FEDERAL JUDICIAL SYSTEM 27

PAGE 28

ifthere is no litigation.The president and members ofCongress have no such constraints.Moreover,even the most assertive Supreme Court is limited to some extent by the actions ofother policy makers,such as lowercourt judges,Congress,and the president.The Court depends upon others to implement or carry out its decisions.The Supreme Court as Final ArbiterThe Supreme Court has both original and appellate jurisdiction.Original jurisdiction means that a court has the power to hear a case for the first time. Appellate jurisdiction means that a higher court has the authority to review cases originally decided by a lower court.The Supreme Court is overwhelmingly an appellate court since most ofits time is devoted to reviewing decisions oflower courts.It is the highest appellate tribunal in the country.As such,it has the final word in the interpretation ofthe Constitution,acts oflegislative bodies, and treaties „ unless the Courts decision is altered by a constitutional amendment or,in some instances,by an act ofCongress. Since 1925 a device known as certiorariŽhas allowed the Supreme Court to exercise discretion in deciding which cases it should review. Under this method a person may request Supreme Court review ofa lower court decision;then the justices determine whether the request should be granted.Ifreview is granted,the Court issues a writ ofcertiorari,which is an order to the lower court to send up a complete record ofthe case. When certiorari is denied,the decision ofthe lower court stands.The Supreme Court at WorkThe formal session ofthe Supreme Court lasts from the first Monday in October until the business ofthe term is completed,usually in late June or July.Since 1935 the Supreme Court has had its own building in Washington,D.C.The imposing five-story marble building has the words Equal Justice Under LawŽcarved above the entrance.It stands across the street from the U.S.Capitol.Formal sessions ofthe Court are held in a large courtroom that seats 300 people.At the front ofthe courtroom is the bench where the justices are seated.When the Court is in session,the chiefjustice, followed by the eight associate justices in order ofseniority,enters through the purple draperies behind the bench and takes a seat.Seats are arranged according to seniority with the chiefjustice in the center,the senior associate justice on the chiefjustices right,the second-ranking associate justice on the left,and continuing alternately in declining order ofseniority.Near the courtroom are the conference room where the justices decide cases and the chambers that contain offices for the justices and their staffs. 28 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 29

The Courts term is divided into sittings ofapproximately two weeks each,during which it meets in open session and holds internal conferences,and recesses,during which the justices work behind closed doors as they consider cases and write opinions.The 80 to 90 cases per term that receive the Courts full treatment follow a fairly routine pattern.Oral Argument.Oral arguments are generally scheduled on Monday through Wednesday during the sittings.The sessions run from 10:00 a.m.until noon and from 1:00 until 3:00 p.m.Because the procedure is not a trial or the original hearing ofa case, no jury is assembled and no witnesses are called.Instead,the two opposing attorneys present their arguments to the justices.The general practice is to allow 30 minutes for each side,although the Court may decide that additional time is necessary.The Court can normally hear four cases in one day.Attorneys presenting oral arguments are frequently interrupted with questions from the justices.The oral argument is considered very imporCHAPTER 1: HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION OF THE FEDERAL JUDICIAL SYSTEM 29 The U.S. Supreme Court Building, with the words Equal Justice Under LawŽ carved above the entrance.

PAGE 30

tant by both attorneys and justices because it is the only stage in the process that allows such personal exchanges.The Conference.On Fridays preceding the two-week sittings the Court holds conferences;during sittings it holds conferences on Wednesday afternoon and all day Friday.At the Wednesday meeting the justices discuss the cases argued on Monday.At the Friday conference they discuss the cases that were argued on Tuesday and Wednesday,plus any other matters that need to be considered.The most important ofthese other matters are the certiorari petitions. Prior to the Friday conference each justice is given a list ofthe cases that will be discussed.The conference begins at about 9:30 or 10:00 a.m.and runs until 5:30 or 6:00 p.m.As the justices enter the conference room they shake hands and take their seats around a rectangular table.They meet behind locked doors,and no official record is kept ofthe discussions.The chiefjustice presides over the conference and offers an opinion first in each case.The other justices follow in descending order ofseniority. A quorum for a decision on a case is six members;obtaining a quorum is seldom difficult.Cases are sometimes 30 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM The nine justices of the present U.S. Supreme Court are shown above. Seated, from left to right: Associate Justices Antonin Scalia and John Paul Stevens; Chief Justice William Renhquist; Associate Justices Sandra Day OConnor and Anthony Kennedy. Standing, left to right: Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter, Clarence Thomas, and Stephen Breyer.

PAGE 31

decided by fewer than nine justices because ofvacancies,illnesses,or nonparticipation resulting from possible conflicts ofinterest.Supreme Court decisions are made by a majority vote. In case ofa tie the lower-court decision is upheld.Opinion Writing.After a tentative decision has been reached in conference,the next step is to assign the Courts opinion to an individual justice.The chiefjustice,ifvoting with the majority,either writes the opinion or assigns it to another justice who voted with the majority.When the chiefjustice votes with the minority, the most senior justice in the majority makes the assignment. After the conference the justice who will write the Courts opinion begins work on an initial draft.Other justices may work on the case by writing alternative opinions.The completed opinion is circulated to justices in both the majority and the minority groups.The writer seeks to persuade justices originally in the minority to change their votes,and to keep his or her majority group intact.A bargaining process occurs,and the wording of the opinion may be changed in order to satisfy other justices or obtain their support.A deep division in the Court makes it difficult to achieve a clear, coherent opinion and may even result in a shift in votes or in another justices opinion becoming the Courts official ruling. In most cases a single opinion does obtain majority support,although few rulings are unanimous.Those who disagree with the opinion ofthe Court are said to dissent.A dissent does nothave to be accompanied by an opinion;in recent years,however,it usually has been.Whenever more than one justice dissents,each may write an opinion or all may join in a single opinion. On occasion a justice will agree with the Courts decision but differ in his or her reason for reaching that conclusion.Such a justice may write what is called a concurring opinion. An opinion labeled concurring and dissentingŽagrees with part ofa Court ruling but disagrees with other parts. Finally,the Court occasionally issues a per curiam opinion „ an unsigned opinion that is usually quite brief. Such opinions are often used when the Court accepts the case for review but gives it less than full treatment.For example,it may decide the case without benefit oforal argument and issue a per curiam opinion to explain the disposition ofthe case.THE U.S. COURTS OF APPEALSThe courts ofappeals receive less media coverage than the Supreme Court,but they are very important in the U.S.judicial system.Considering that the Supreme Court hands down decisions with full opinions in only 80 to 90 cases each year,it is apparent that the CHAPTER 1: HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION OF THE FEDERAL JUDICIAL SYSTEM 31

PAGE 32

courts ofappeals are the courts of last resort for most appeals in the federal court system.Circuit Courts: 1789-1891The Judiciary Act of1789 created three circuit courts (courts ofappeals),each composed oftwo justices ofthe Supreme Court and a district judge.The circuit court was to hold two sessions each year in each district within the circuit.The district judge became primarily responsible for establishing the circuit courts workload. The two Supreme Court justices then came into the local area and participated in the cases.This practice tended to give a local rather than national focus to the circuit courts. The circuit court system was regarded from the beginning as unsatisfactory,especially by Supreme Court justices,who objected to the traveling imposed upon them.Attorney General Edmund Randolph and President Washington urged relieffor the Supreme Court justices.Congress made a slight change in 1793 by altering the circuit court organization to include only one Supreme Court justice and one district judge.In the closing days ofPresident John Adamss administration in 1801,Congress eliminated circuit riding by the Supreme Court justices,authorized the appointment of16 new circuit judges,and greatly extended the jurisdiction ofthe lower courts. The new administration ofThomas Jefferson strongly opposed this action, and Congress repealed it.The Circuit Court Act of1802 restored circuit riding by Supreme Court justices and expanded the number ofcircuits. However,the legislation allowed the circuit court to be presided over by a single district judge.Such a change may seem slight,but it proved to be of great importance.Increasingly,the district judges began to assume responsibility for both district and circuit courts.In practice,then,original and appellate jurisdiction were both in the hands ofthe district judges. The next major step in the development ofthe courts ofappeals did not come until 1869,when Congress approved a measure that authorized the appointment ofnine new circuit judges and reduced the Supreme Court justicescircuit court duty to one term every two years.Still,the High Court was flooded with cases because there were no limitations on the right ofappeal to the Supreme Court.The Courts of Appeals: 1891 to the PresentOn March 3,1891,the Evarts Act was signed into law,creating new courts known as circuit courts ofappeals. These new tribunals were to hear most ofthe appeals from district courts. The old circuit courts,which had existed since 1789,also remained. The new circuit court ofappeals was to consist ofone circuit judge,one circuit court ofappeals judge,one 32 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 33

district judge,and a Supreme Court justice.Two judges constituted a quorum in these new courts. Following passage ofthe Evarts Act, the federal judiciary had two trial tribunals:district courts and circuit courts.It also had two appellate tribunals:circuit courts ofappeals and the Supreme Court.Most appeals of trial decisions were to go to the circuit court ofappeals,although the act also allowed direct review in some instances by the Supreme Court.In short,creation ofthe circuit courts of appeals released the Supreme Court from many petty types ofcases. Appeals could still be made,but the High Court would now have much greater control over its own workload. Much ofits former caseload was thus shifted to the two lower levels ofthe federal judiciary. The next step in the evolution of the courts ofappeals came in 1911.In that year Congress passed legislation abolishing the old circuit courts, which had no appellate jurisdiction and frequently duplicated the functions ofdistrict courts. Today the intermediate appellate tribunals are officially known as courts ofappeals,but they continue to CHAPTER 1: HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION OF THE FEDERAL JUDICIAL SYSTEM 33 The courts of appeals review cases appealed from federal district courts. Above, Chief Judge John M. Walker, Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, left, administers the oath of office to Barrington D. Parker, Jr., right, as a judge for the same court.

PAGE 34

be referred to colloquially as circuit courts.There are now 12 regional courts ofappeals,staffed by 179 authorized courts ofappeals judges.The courts ofappeals are responsible for reviewing cases appealed from federal district courts (and in some cases from administrative agencies) within the boundaries ofthe circuit.A specialized appellate court came into existence in 1982 when Congress established the Federal Circuit,a jurisdictional rather than a geographic circuit.The Review Function of the Courts of AppealsMost ofthe cases reviewed by the courts ofappeals originate in the federal district courts.Litigants disappointed with the lower-court decision may appeal the case to the court of appeals ofthe circuit in which the federal district court is located.The appellate courts have also been given authority to review the decisions of certain administrative agencies. Because the courts ofappeals have no control over which cases are brought to them,they deal with both routine and highly important matters. At one end ofthe spectrum are frivolous appeals or claims that have no substance and little or no chance for success.At the other end ofthe spectrum are the cases that raise major questions ofpublic policy and evoke strong disagreement.Decisions by the courts ofappeals in such cases are likely to establish policy for society as a whole,not just for the specific litigants.Civil liberties,reapportionment,religion,and education cases provide good examples ofthe kinds of disputes that may affect all citizens. There are two purposes ofreview in the courts ofappeals.The first is error correction.Judges in the various circuits are called upon to monitor the performance offederal district courts and federal agencies and to supervise their application and interpretation of national and state laws.In doing so, the courts ofappeals do not seek out new factual evidence,but instead examine the record ofthe lower court for errors.In the process ofcorrecting errors the courts ofappeals also settle disputes and enforce national law. The second function is sorting out and developing those few cases worthy ofSupreme Court review.The circuit judges tackle the legal issues earlier than the Supreme Court justices and may help shape what they consider review-worthy claims.Judicial scholars have found that appealed cases often differ in their second hearing from their first.The Courts of Appeals as Policy MakersThe Supreme Courts role as a policy maker derives from the fact that it interprets the law,and the same holds true for the courts ofappeals. The scope ofthe courts ofappeals policy-making role takes on added importance,given that they are the 34 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 35

courts oflast resort in the vast majority ofcases. As an illustration ofthe farreaching impact ofcircuit court judges,consider the decision in a case involving the Fifth Circuit.For several years the University ofTexas Law School (as well as many other law schools across the country) had been granting preference to African American and Mexican American applicants to increase the enrollment ofminority students.This practice was challenged in a federal district court on the ground that it discriminated against white and nonpreferred minority applicants in violation ofthe Fourteenth Amendment.On March 18,1996,a panel of Fifth Circuit judges ruled in Hopwood v.Texas that the Fourteenth Amendment does not permit the school to discriminate in this way and that the law school may not use race as a factor in law school admissions.The U.S.Supreme Court denied a petition for a writ of certiorari in the case, thus leaving it the law ofthe land in Texas, Louisiana,and Mississippi, the states comprising the Fifth Circuit.Although it may technically be true that only schools in the Fifth Circuit are affected by the ruling,an editorial in The National Law Journal indicates otherwise,noting that CHAPTER 1: HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION OF THE FEDERAL JUDICIAL SYSTEM 35 U.S. courts „ both at the level of the Appeals Courts and, in several instances, the Supreme Court „ often settle passionately contested issues such as affirmative action in higher education.

PAGE 36

while some might argue that Hopwood s impact is limited to three states in the South...,the truth is that across the country law school (and other) deans,fearing similar litigation,are scrambling to come up with an alternative to affirmative action.ŽThe Courts of Appeals at WorkThe courts ofappeals do not have the same degree ofdiscretion as the Supreme Court to decide whether to accept a case.Still,circuit judges have developed methods for using their time as efficiently as possible.Screening.During the screening stage the judges decide whether to give an appeal a full review or to dispose of it in some other way.The docket may be reduced to some extent by consolidating similar claims into single cases, a process that also results in a uniform decision.In deciding which cases can be disposed ofwithout oral argument, the courts ofappeals increasingly rely on law clerks or staffattorneys.These court personnel read petitions and briefs and then submit recommendations to the judges.As a result,many cases are disposed ofwithout reaching the oral argument stage.Three-Judge Panels.Those cases given the full treatment are normally considered by panels ofthree judges rather than by all the judges in the circuit.This means that several cases can be heard at the same time by different three-judge panels,often sitting in different cities throughout the circuit.En Banc Proceedings.Occasionally, different three-judge panels within the same circuit may reach conflicting decisions in similar cases.To resolve such conflicts and to promote circuit unanimity,federal statutes provide for an en bancŽ(Old French for high seat) procedure in which all the cir-cuits judges sit together on a panel anddecide a case.The exception to this general rule occurs in the large NinthCircuit where assembling all the judgesbecomes too cumbersome.There,en banc panels normally consist of11 judges.The en banc procedure may also be used when the case concerns an issue ofextraordinary importance.Oral Argument.Cases that have survived the screening process and have not been settled by the litigants are scheduled for oral argument.Attorneys for each side are given a short amount oftime (as little as 10 minutes) to discuss the points made in their written briefs and to answer questions from the judges.The Decision.Following the oral argument,the judges may confer briefly and,ifthey are in agreement,may announce their decision immediately. Otherwise,a decision will be announced only after the judges confer at greater length.Following the conference,some decisions will be 36 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 37

announced with a brieforder or per curiam opinion ofthe court.A small portion ofdecisions will be accompanied by a longer,signed opinion and perhaps even dissenting and concurring opinions.Recent years have seen a general decrease in the number of published opinions,although circuits vary in their practices.U.S. DISTRICT COURTSThe U.S.district courts represent the basic point ofinput for the federal judicial system.Although some cases are later taken to a court ofappeals or perhaps even to the Supreme Court,most federal cases never move beyond the U.S.trial courts.In terms ofsheer numbers of cases handled,the district courts are the workhorses ofthe federal judiciary.However,their importance extends beyond simply disposing ofa large number ofcases.The First District CourtsCongress made the decision to create a national network offederal trial courts when it passed the Judiciary Act of1789.Section 2 ofthe act established 13 district courts by making each ofthe 11 states then in the Union a district,and by making the parts of Massachusetts and Virginia that were to become Maine and Kentucky into separate districts.That organizational scheme established the practice,which still exists,ofhonoring state boundary lines in drawing districts.The First District JudgesEach federal district court was to be presided over by a single judge who resided in the district.As soon as this became known,President Washington began receiving letters from individuals desiring appointment to the various judgeships.Many asked members ofCongress or Vice President John Adams to recommend them to President Washington.Personal applications were not necessarily successful and were not the only way in which names came to the presidents attention.Harry Innes,for example,was not an applicant for the Kentucky judgeship but received it after being recommended by a member ofCongress from his state. As new states came into the Union, additional district courts were created. The additions,along with resignations,gave Washington an opportunity to offer judgeships to 33 people.All ofthe judges he appointed were members ofthe bar,and all but seven had state or local legal experience as judges,prosecutors,or attorneys general.Presidents have continued to appoint lawyers with public service backgrounds to the federal bench.Present Organization of the District CourtsAs the country grew,new district courts were created.Eventually,Congress began to divide some states into more than one district.California, New York,and Texas have the most, CHAPTER 1: HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION OF THE FEDERAL JUDICIAL SYSTEM 37

PAGE 38

with four each.Other than consistently honoring state lines,the organization ofdistrict constituencies appears to follow no rational plan.Size and population vary widely from district to district.Over the years,a court was added for the District ofColumbia, and several territories have been served by district courts.There are now U.S.district courts serving the 50 states,the District ofColumbia, Guam,Puerto Rico,the Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands. The original district courts were each assigned one judge.With the growth in population and litigation, Congress has periodically had to add judges to most ofthe districts.The Federal Judgeship Act of1990 created 74 new district judgeships,bringing the current total to 649.Today all districts have more than one judge; the Southern District ofNew York, which includes Manhattan and the Bronx,currently has 28 judges and is thus the largest.Because each federal district court is normally presided over by a single judge,several trials may be in session within the district at any given time.The District Courts as Trial CourtsCongress established the district courts as the trial courts ofthe federal judicial system and gave them original jurisdiction over virtually all cases. They are the only federal courts in which attorneys examine and crossexamine witnesses.The factual record is thus established at this level.Subsequent appeals ofthe trial court decision focus on correcting errors rather than on reconstructing the facts. The task ofdetermining the facts in a case often falls to a jury,a group of citizens from the community who serve as impartial arbiters ofthe facts and apply the law to the facts.The Constitution guarantees the right to a jury trial in criminal cases in the Sixth Amendment and the same right in civil cases in the Seventh Amendment. The right can be waived,however,in which case the judge becomes the arbiter both ofquestions offact and of matters oflaw.Such trials are referred to as bench trials. Two types ofjuries are associated with federal district courts.The grand jury is a group ofmen and women convened to determine whether there is probable cause to believe that a person has committed the federal crime ofwhich he or she has been accused. Grand jurors meet periodically to hear charges brought by the U.S.attorney. Petit jurors are chosen at random from the community to hear evidence and determine whether a defendant in a civil trial has liability or whether a defendant in a criminal trial is guilty or not guilty.Federal rules call for 12 jurors in criminal cases but permit fewer in civil cases.The federal district courts generally use six-person juries in civil cases. Trial courts are viewed as engaging primarily in norm enforcement, 38 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 39

whereas appellate courts are seen as having greater opportunity to make policy.Norm enforcement is closely tied to the administration ofjustice, because all nations develop standards considered essential to a just and orderly society.Societal norms are embodied in statutes,administrative regulations,prior court decisions, and community traditions.Criminal statutes,for example,incorporate concepts ofacceptable and unacceptable behavior into law.A judge deciding a case concerning an alleged violation of that law is practicing norm enforcement.Because cases ofthis type rarely allow the judge to escape the strict restraints oflegal and procedural requirements,he or she has little chance to make new law or develop new policy.In civil cases,too,judges are often confined to norm enforcement,because such litigation generally arises from a private dispute whose outcome is ofinterest only to the parties in the suit. The district courts also play a policy-making role,however.As Americans have become more litigationconscious,disputes that were once resolved informally are now more likely to be decided in a court oflaw.The courts find themselves increasingly involved in domains once considered private.What does this mean for the federal district courts? According to one study,These new areas ofjudicial involvement tend to be relatively free ofclear,precise appellate court and legislative guidelines;and as a consequence the opportunity for trial court jurists to write on a clean slate,that is, to make policy,is formidable.ŽCONSTITUTIONAL COURTS AND LEGISLATIVE COURTSThe Judiciary Act of1789 established the three levels ofthe federal court system in existence today.Periodically,however, Congress has exercised its power, based on Article III and Article I ofthe Constitution,to create other federal courts.Courts established under Article III are known as constitutional courts and those created under Article I are called legislative courts.The Supreme Court,courts ofappeals,and federal district courts are constitutional courts.Legislative courts include the U.S.Court ofMilitary Appeals,the United States Tax Court,and the Court ofVeterans Appeals. Legislative courts,unlike their constitutional counterparts,often haveadministrative and quasi-legislative as well as judicial duties.Another difference is that legislative courts are often created for the express purpose of helping to administer a specific congressional statute.Constitutionalcourts,on the other hand,are tribunalsestablished to handle litigation. Finally,the constitutional and legislative courts vary in their degree of independence from the other two branches ofgovernment.Article III (constitutional court) judges serve CHAPTER 1: HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION OF THE FEDERAL JUDICIAL SYSTEM 39

PAGE 40

during a period ofgood behavior,or what amounts to life tenure.Because Article I (legislative court) judges have no constitutional guarantee ofgoodbehavior tenure,Congress may set specific terms ofoffice for them.In sum,the constitutional courts have a greater degree ofindependence from the other two branches ofgovernment than the legislative courts.ADMINISTRATIVE AND STAFF SUPPORT IN THE FEDERAL JUDICIARYAlthough judges are the most visible actors in the judicial system,a large supporting cast is also at work.Their efforts are necessary to perform the tasks for which judges are unskilled or unsuited,or for which they simply do not have adequate time.Some members ofthe support team,such as law clerks,may work specifically for one judge.Others „ for example,U.S.magistrate judges „ are assigned to a particular court. Still others may be employees ofan agency,such as the Administrative Office ofthe United States Courts,that serves the entire judicial system.U.S. Magistrate JudgesIn an effort to help federal district judges deal with increased workloads, Congress in 1968 created a system of magistrate judges that responds to each district courts specific needs and circumstances.Magistrate judges are appointed by the judges ofthe district court for eight-year terms ofoffice,although they can be removed before the expiration ofthe term for good cause.ŽWithin guidelines set by the Congress,the judges in each district court establish the duties and responsibilities oftheir magistrate judges. The legislation permits a magistrate judge,with the consent ofthe involved parties,to conduct all proceedings in a jury or nonjury civil matter and enter a judgment in the case and to conduct a trial ofpersons accused ofmisdemeanors (less serious offenses than felonies) committed within the district,provided the defendants consent. Because the decision to delegate responsibilities to a magistrate judge is still made by the district judge,however,a magistrate judges participation in the processing ofcases may be more narrow than that permitted by statute.Law ClerksThe first use oflaw clerks by an American judge is generally traced to Horace Gray ofMassachusetts.In the summer of1875,while serving as chief justice ofthe Massachusetts Supreme Court,he employed,at his own expense,a highly ranked new graduate ofthe Harvard Law School.Each year, he employed a new clerk from Harvard.When Gray was appointed to the U.S.Supreme Court in 1882,he brought a law clerk with him to the nations highest court. Justice Grays successor on the High Court was Oliver Wendell 40 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 41

Holmes,who also adopted the practice ofannually hiring honor graduates ofHarvard Law School as his clerks.When William Howard Taft,a former law professor at Yale,became chiefjustice,he secured a new law clerk annually from the dean ofthe Yale Law School.Harlan Fiske Stone, former dean ofthe Columbia Law School,joined the Court in 1925 and made it his practice to hire a Columbia graduate each year. Since these early beginnings there has been a steady growth in the use of law clerks by all federal courts.More than 2,000 law clerks now work for federal judges,and more than 600 serve bankruptcy judges and U.S. magistrate judges.In addition to the law clerks hired by individual judges, all appellate courts and some district courts hire stafflaw clerks who serve the entire court. A law clerks duties vary according to the preferences ofthe judge for whom he or she works.They also vary according to the type ofcourt.Law clerks for federal district judges often serve primarily as research assistants. They spend a good deal oftime examining the various motions filed in civil and criminal cases.They review each motion,noting the issues and the positions ofthe parties involved,then research important points raised in the motions and prepare written memorandums for the judges.Because their work is devoted to the earliest stages ofthe litigation process,they may have a substantial amount ofcontact with attorneys and witnesses.Law clerks at this level may be involved in the initial drafting ofopinions. At the appellate level,the law clerk becomes involved in a case first by researching the issues oflaw and fact presented by an appeal.The courts of appeals do not have the same discretion to accept or reject a case that the Supreme Court has,and they use certain screening devices to differentiate between cases that can be handled quickly and those that require more time and effort.Law clerks are an integral part ofthis screening process. A number ofcases are scheduled for oral argument,and the clerk may be called upon to assist the judge in preparing for it.Intensive analysis ofthe record by judges prior to oral argument is not always possible. They seldom have time to do more than scan pertinent portions ofthe record called to their attention by law clerks. Once a decision has been reached by an appellate court,the law clerk frequently participates in writing the order that accompanies the decision. The clerks participation generally consists ofdrafting a preliminary opinion or order pursuant to the judges directions.A law clerk may also be asked to edit or check citations (references to a statute,precedentsetting case,or legal textbook,in a briefor argument in court) in an opinion written by the judge. CHAPTER 1: HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION OF THE FEDERAL JUDICIAL SYSTEM 41

PAGE 42

The work ofthe law clerk for a Supreme Court justice roughly parallels that ofa clerk in the other appellate courts.Clerks play an indispensable role in helping justices decide which cases should be heard.At the suggestion ofJustice Lewis F.Powell,Jr.,in 1972,a majority ofthe Courts members began to participate in a certpoolŽ;the justices pool their clerks,divide up all filings,and circulate a single clerks certiorari memo to all those participating in the pool.The memo summarizes the facts ofthe case,the questions oflaw presented, and the recommended course of action „ that is,whether the case should be granted a full hearing, denied,or dismissed.Once the justices have voted to heara case,the law clerks,like their counterparts in the courts ofappeals,prepare bench memorandums that thejustices may use during oral argument. Finally,law clerks for Supreme Court justices,like those who serve courts of appeals judges,help to draft opinions.Administrative Office of the U.S. CourtsThe administration ofthe federal judicial system as a whole is managed by the Administrative Office ofthe U.S.Courts.Since its creation in 1939 it has handled everything from distributing supplies to negotiating with other government agencies for court accommodations in federal buildings to maintaining judicial personnel records and collecting data on cases in the federal courts. The Administrative Office also serves the Judicial Conference ofthe United States,the central administrative policy-making organization ofthe federal judicial system.In addition to providing statistical information to the conferences many committees, the Administrative Office acts as a reception center and clearinghouse for information and proposals directed to the Judicial Conference.The office also acts as liaison for both the federal judicial system and the Judicial Conference,serving as advocate for the judiciary in its dealings with Congress,the executive branch,professional groups,and the general public.Especially important is its representative role before Congress where,along with concerned judges,it presents the judiciarys budget proposals,requests for additional judgeships,suggestions for changes in court rules,and other key measures.The Federal Judicial CenterThe Federal Judicial Center,created in 1967,is the federal courtsagency for continuing education and research.Its duties fall generally into three categories:conducting research on the federal courts,making recommendations to improve the administration and management ofthe federal courts,and developing educational and training programs for personnel ofthe judicial branch. 42 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 43

Since its inception,judges have benefited from orientation sessions and other educational programs put on by the Federal Judicial Center.In recent years,magistrate judges,bankruptcy judges,and administrative personnel have also been the recipients of educational programs.The Federal Judicial Centers extensive use ofvideos and satellite technology allows it to reach large numbers ofpeople.FEDERAL COURT WORKLOADThe workload ofthe courts is heavy for all three levels of the federal judiciary „ U.S. district courts,courts ofappeals,and the Supreme Court. For fiscal year 2002 slightly more than 340,000 cases were commenced in the federal district courts.Criminal filings alone have risen 43 percent since 1993. In 1995,50,072 appeals were filed in one ofthe regional circuit courts. This figure increased every year,to a high of60,847 appeals in 2003.However,the number ofappeals terminated by the courts ofappeals has also been steadily increasing,from 49,805 in 1995 to 56,586 in 2002. The overall caseload ofthe Supreme Court is large by historical standards;there were 8,255 cases on the docket for the 2002 term.The Supreme Court,however,has discretion to decide which cases merit its full attention.As a result,the number ofcases argued before the Court has declined rather dramatically over the years.In the 2002 term only 84 cases were argued and 79 were disposed of in 71 signed opinions. CHAPTER 1: HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION OF THE FEDERAL JUDICIAL SYSTEM 43

PAGE 45

Although the organization of state courts can be confusing, there is no doubt about their importance: They handle far more cases than those decided by federal tribunals. Here, a painting depicting the State of Florida Supreme Court Building in Tallahassee.HISTORY ANDORGANIZATIONOF STATE JUDICIAL SYSTEMSCHAPTER2

PAGE 46

Even prior to the Articles ofConfeder-ation and the writing ofthe U.S. Constitution in 1787,the colonies,as sovereign entities,already had written constitutions.Thus,the development ofstate court systems can be tracedfrom the colonial period to the present.HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT OF STATE COURTSNo two states are exactly alike when it comes to the organization ofcourts.Each state is free to adopt any organizational scheme it chooses,create as many courts as it wishes,name those courts whatever it pleases,and establish their jurisdiction as it sees fit.Thus,the organization ofstate courts does not necessarily resemble the clear-cut, three-tier system found at the federal level.For instance,in the federal system the trial courts are called district courts and the appellate tribunals are known as circuit courts.However,in well over a dozen states the circuit courts are trial courts.Several other states use the term superior court for their major trial courts.Perhaps the most bewildering situation is found in New York,where the major trial courts are known as supreme courts. Although confusion surrounds the organization ofstate courts,no doubt exists about their importance.Because statutory law is more extensive in the states than at the federal level, covering everything from the most basic personal relationships to the states most important public policies, the state courts handle a wide variety ofcases,and the number ofcases litigated annually in the state courts far exceeds those decided in the federal tribunals.The Colonial PeriodDuring the colonial period,political power was concentrated in the hands ofthe governor appointed by the king ofEngland.Because the governors performed executive,legislative,and judicial functions,an elaborate court system was not necessary. The lowest level ofthe colonial judiciary consisted oflocal judges called justices ofthe peace or magistrates. They were appointed by the colonys governor.At the next level in the system were the county courts,the general trial courts for the colonies.Appeals from all courts were taken to the highest level „ the governor and his council.Grand and petit juries were also introduced during this period and remain prominent features ofthe state judicial systems. By the early 18th century the legal profession had begun to change. Lawyers trained in the English Inns of Court became more numerous,and as a consequence colonial court procedures were slowly replaced by more sophisticated English common law.Early State CourtsFollowing the American Revolution (1775-83),the powers ofthe govern46 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 47

ment were not only taken over by legislative bodies but also greatly reduced.The former colonists were not eager to see the development ofa large,independent judiciary given that many ofthem harbored a distrust of lawyers and the common law.The state legislatures carefully watched the courts and in some instances removed judges or abolished specific courts because ofunpopular decisions. Increasingly,a distrust ofthe judiciary developed as courts declared legislative actions unconstitutional. Conflicts between legislatures and judges,often stemming from opposing interests,became more prominent. Legislators seemed more responsive to policies that favored debtors,whereas courts generally reflected the views of creditors.These differences were important because out ofthis conflict over legislative and judicial power...the courts gradually emerged as an independent political institution,Žaccording to David W.Neubauer in Americas Courts and the Criminal Justice System CHAPTER 2: HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION OF STATE JUDICIAL SYSTEMS 47The colonial period helped establish important legal principles. Left, prominent lawyer Andrew Hamiltons defense of newspaper printer Johann Peter Zenger in 1735 proved a landmark on the road to protecting freedom of the press. Above, a 1682 woodcut of The Frame of the Government of the Province of Pennsylvania,Ž which included laws agreed upon by the governor and free men of the aforesaid province.Ž

PAGE 48

Modern State CourtsFrom the Civil War (1861-65) to the early 20th century,the state courts were beset by other problems.Increasing industrialization and the rapid growth ofurban areas created new types oflegal disputes and resulted in longer and more complex court cases. The state court systems,largely fashioned to handle the problems ofa rural,agrarian society,were faced with a crisis ofbacklogs as they struggled to adjust. One response was to create new courts to handle the increased volume ofcases.Often,courts were piled on top ofeach other.Another strategy was the addition ofnew courts with jurisdiction over a specific geographic area.Still another response was to create specialized courts to handle one particular type ofcase.Small claims courts,juvenile courts,and domestic relations courts,for example,became increasingly prominent. The largely unplanned expansion ofstate and local courts to meet specific needs led to a situation many have referred to as fragmentation.A multiplicity oftrial courts was only one aspect offragmentation,however. Many courts had very narrow jurisdiction.Furthermore,the jurisdictions of the various courts often overlapped. Early in the 20th century,people began to speak out against the fragmentation in the state court systems.The program ofreforms that emerged in response is generally known as the court unification movement.The first well-known legal scholar to speak out in favor ofcourt unification was Roscoe Pound,dean of the Harvard Law School.Pound and others called for the consolidation oftrial courts into a single set of courts or two sets ofcourts,one to hear major cases and one to hear minor cases. A good deal ofopposition has arisen to court unification.Many trial lawyers who are in court almost daily become accustomed to existing court organizations and,therefore,are opposed to change.Also,judges and other personnel associated with the courts are sometimes opposed to reform.Their opposition often grows out offear „ ofbeing transferred to new courts,ofhaving to learn new procedures,or ofhaving to decide cases outside their area ofspecialization.The court unification movement, then,has not been as successful as many would like.On the other hand, proponents ofcourt reform have secured victories in some states.STATE COURT ORGANIZATIONSome states have moved in the direction ofa unified court system, whereas others still operate with a bewildering complex ofcourts with overlapping jurisdiction.The state courts may be divided into four general categories or levels:trial courts oflimited jurisdiction,trial 48 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 49

courts ofgeneral jurisdiction,intermediate appellate courts,and courts oflast resort.Trial Courts of Limited JurisdictionTrial courts oflimited jurisdiction handle the bulk oflitigation in the United States each year and constitute about 90 percent ofall courts.They have a variety ofnames:justice ofthe peace courts,magistrate courts,municipal courts,city courts,county courts,juvenile courts,domestic relations courts,and metropolitan courts, to name the more common ones. The jurisdiction ofthese courts is limited to minor cases.In criminal matters,for example,state courts deal with three levels ofviolations:infractions (the least serious),misdemeanors (more serious),and felonies (the most serious).Trial courts oflimited jurisdiction handle infractions and misdemeanors.They may impose only limited fines (usually no more than $1,000) and jail sentences (generally no more than one year).In civil cases these courts are usually limited to disputes under a certain amount,such as $500.In addition, these types ofcourts are often limited to certain kinds ofmatters:traffic violations,domestic relations,or cases involving juveniles,for example. Another difference from trial courts ofgeneral jurisdiction is that in many instances these limited courts are not courts ofrecord.Since their proceedings are not recorded,appeals oftheir decisions usually go to a trial court ofgeneral jurisdiction for what is known as a trial de novoŽ(new trial).Yet another distinguishing characteristic oftrial courts oflimited jurisdiction is that the presiding judges ofsuch courts are often not required to have any formal legal training. Many ofthese courts suffer from a lack ofresources.Often,they have no permanent courtroom,meeting instead in grocery stores,restaurants, or private homes.Clerks are frequently not available to keep adequate records.The results are informal proceedings and the processing ofcases on a mass basis.Full-fledged trials are rare and cases are disposed ofquickly. Finally,trial courts oflimited jurisdiction are used in some states to handle preliminary matters in felony criminal cases.They often hold arraignments,set bail,appoint attorneys for indigent defendants,and conduct preliminary examinations. The case is then transferred to a trial court ofgeneral jurisdiction for such matters as hearing pleas,holding trials,and sentencing.Trial Courts of General JurisdictionMost states have one set ofmajor trial courts that handle the more serious criminal and civil cases.In addition, in many states,special categories „ such as juvenile criminal offenses,domestic relations cases,and probate cases „ are under the jurisdiction of the general trial courts. CHAPTER 2: HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION OF STATE JUDICIAL SYSTEMS 49

PAGE 50

50 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM Attorney Edward Clancy, left, argues his case before his states court of last resort,Ž the New Hampshire State Supreme Court. Washington States Supreme Court, like other state courts of last resort, follows procedures similar to those of the U.S. Supreme Court. Here, defense attorney Roger Hunko makes closing arguments in the penalty phase of a murder trial.

PAGE 51

In most states these courts also have an appellate function.They hear appeals in certain types ofcases that originate in trial courts oflimited jurisdiction.These appeals are often heard in a trial de novo or tried again in the court ofgeneral jurisdiction. General trial courts are usually divided into judicial districts or circuits. Although the practice varies by state, the general rule is to use existing political boundaries,such as a county or a group ofcounties,in establishing the district or circuit.In rural areas the judge may ride circuit and hold court in different parts ofthe territory according to a fixed schedule.In urban areas,however,judges hold court in a prescribed place throughout the year. In larger counties the group ofjudges may be divided into specializations. Some may hear only civil cases;others try criminal cases exclusively. The courts at this level have a variety ofnames.The most common are district,circuit,and superior.The judges at this level are required by law in all states to have law degrees.These courts also maintain clerical help because they are courts ofrecord.Intermediate Appellate CourtsThe intermediate appellate courts are relative newcomers to the state judicial scene.Only 13 such courts existed in 1911,whereas 39 states had created them by 1995.Their basic purpose is to relieve the workload ofthe states highest court. In most instances these courts are called courts ofappeals,although other names are occasionally used. Most states have one court ofappeals with statewide jurisdiction.The size ofintermediate courts varies from state to state.The court ofappeals in Alaska,for example,has only three judges.At the other extreme, Texas has 80 courts ofappeals judges. In some states the intermediate appeals courts sit en banc,whereas in other states they sit in permanent or rotating panels.Courts of Last ResortEvery state has a court oflast resort. The states ofOklahoma and Texas have two highest courts.Both states have a supreme court with jurisdiction limited to appeals in civil cases and a court ofcriminal appeals for criminal cases.Most states call their highest courts supreme courts;other designations are the court ofappeals (Maryland and New York),the supreme judicial court (Maine and Massachusetts),and the supreme court of appeals (West Virginia).The courts of last resort range in size from three to nine judges (or justices in some states).They typically sit en banc and usually,although not necessarily,convene in the state capital. The highest courts have jurisdiction in matters pertaining to state law and are,ofcourse,the final arbiters in such matters.In states that have intermediate appellate courts,the Supreme CHAPTER 2: HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION OF STATE JUDICIAL SYSTEMS 51

PAGE 52

Courts cases come primarily from these mid-level courts.In this situation the high court typically is allowed to exercise discretion in deciding which cases to review.Thus,it is likely to devote more time to cases that deal with the important policy issues ofthe state.When there is no intermediate court ofappeals,cases generally go to the states highest court on a mandatory review basis. In most instances,then,the state courts oflast resort resemble the U.S. Supreme Court in that they have a good deal ofdiscretion in determining which cases will occupy their attention.Most state supreme courts also follow procedures similar to those of the U.S.Supreme Court.That is,when a case is accepted for review the opposing parties file written briefs and later present oral arguments. Then,upon reaching a decision,the judges issue written opinions explaining that decision.Juvenile CourtsAmericans are increasingly concerned about the handling ofcases involving juveniles,and states have responded to the problem in a variety ofways.Some have established a statewide network 52 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM New York and Maryland call their highest courts the court of appeals.Ž Pictured left to right are New York State Court of Appeals Judge George Bundy Smith, Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye, and Judge Howard A. Levine, as they listen to arguments in a death penalty case.

PAGE 53

ofcourts specifically to handle matters involving juveniles.Two states „ Rhode Island and South Carolina „ have family courts,which handle domestic relations matters as well as those involving juveniles. The most common approach is to give one or more ofthe states limited or general trial courts jurisdiction to handle situations involving juveniles. In Alabama,for example,the circuit courts (trial courts ofgeneral jurisdiction) have jurisdiction over juvenile matters.In Kentucky,however,exclusive juvenile jurisdiction is lodged in trial courts oflimited jurisdiction „ the district courts. Finally,some states apportion juvenile jurisdiction among more than one court.The state ofColorado has a juvenile court for the city of Denver and has given jurisdiction over juveniles to district courts (general trial courts) in the other areas ofthe state. Also,some variation exists among the states as to when jurisdiction belongs to an adult court.States set a standard age at which defendants are tried in an adult court.In addition,many states require that more youthful offenders be tried in an adult court ifspecial circumstances are present.In Illinois,for instance, the standard age at which juvenile jurisdiction transfers to adult courts is 17.The age limit drops to 15, however,for first-degree murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault, armed robbery,robbery with a firearm,and unlawful use ofweapons on school grounds.ADMINISTRATIVE AND STAFF SUPPORT IN THE STATE JUDICIARYThe daily operation ofthe federal courts requires the efforts of many individuals and organizations.This is no less true for the state court systems.MagistratesState magistrates,who may also be known in some states as commissioners or referees,are often used to perform some ofthe work in the early stages ofcivil and criminal case processing.In this way they are similar to U.S.magistrate judges.In some jurisdictions they hold bond hearings and conduct preliminary investigations in criminal cases.They are also authorized in some states to make decisions in minor cases.Law ClerksIn the state courts,law clerks are likely to be found,ifat all,in the intermediate appellate courts and courts oflast resort.Most state trial courts do not utilize law clerks,and they are practically unheard ofin local trial courts oflimited jurisdiction.As at the national level,some law clerks serve individual judges while others serve an entire court as a staffattorney. CHAPTER 2: HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION OF STATE JUDICIAL SYSTEMS 53

PAGE 54

Administrative Office of the CourtsEvery state now has an administrative office ofcourts or a similarly titled agency that performs a variety of administrative tasks for that states court system.Among the tasks more commonly associated with administrative offices are budget preparation, data processing,facility management, judicial education,public information,research,and personnel management.Juvenile and adult probation are the responsibility ofadministrative offices in a few states,as is alternative dispute resolution.Court Clerks and Court AdministratorsThe clerk ofthe court has traditionally handled the day-to-day routines of the court.This includes making courtroom arrangements,keeping records ofcase proceedings,preparing orders and judgments resulting from court actions,collecting court fines and fees, and disbursing judicial monies.In the majority ofstates these officials are elected and may be referred to by other titles. The traditional clerks ofcourt have been replaced in many areas by court administrators.In contrast to the 54 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM State courts handle millions of cases a year, at times in facilities like the Berkeley County Courthouse in Martinsburg, West Virginia, which some call historicŽ or charmingŽ and others describe as inadequate.Ž

PAGE 55

court clerk,who traditionally managed the operations ofa specific courtroom,the modern court administrator may assist a presiding judge in running the entire courthouse.STATE COURT WORKLOADThe lions share ofthe nations judicial business exists at the state,not the national,level. The fact that federal judges adjudicate several hundred thousand cases a year is impressive;the fact that state courts handle several million a year is overwhelming,even ifthe most important cases are handled at the federal level.While justice ofthe peace and magistrate courts at the state level handle relatively minor matters, some ofthe biggest judgments in civil cases are awarded by ordinary state trial court juries. The National Center for State Courts has compiled figures on the caseloads ofstate courts oflast resort and intermediate appellate courts in 1998.In all,some 261,159 mandatory cases and discretionary petitions were filed in the state appellate courts. Reliable data on cases filed in the state trial courts are harder to come by. Still,the center does an excellent job oftracking figures for statestrial courts.In 1998,17,252,940 cases were filed in the general jurisdiction and limited jurisdiction courts.As with the federal courts,the vast majority ofthe cases are civil,although the criminal cases often receive the most publicity. CHAPTER 2: HISTORY AND ORGANIZATION OF STATE JUDICIAL SYSTEMS 55

PAGE 57

Beginning with the Supreme Courts decision in Baker v. Carr (1962), the Court has held in several cases that legislative districts should be of equal population size and that courts should see to it that this mandate is carried out. Here, Associate Justice Sarah Parker of the Supreme Court of North Carolina looks over a map during a court session dealing with redistricting, or reapportionment of legislative districts.CHAPTER3 JURISDICTIONAND POLICYMAKING BOUNDARIES

PAGE 58

In setting the jurisdictions ofcourts, Congress and the U.S.Constitution „ and their state counterparts „ mandate the types ofcases each court may hear.This chapter considers how Congress,in particular,can influence judicial behavior by redefining the types of cases judges may hear.It also discusses judicial self-restraint,examining 10 principles,derived from legal tradition and constitutional and statutory law, that govern a judges decision about whether to review a case.FEDERAL COURTSThe federal court system is divided into three separate levels:thetrial courts,the appellate tribunals,and the U.S.Supreme Court.U.S. District CourtsCongress has set forth the jurisdiction ofthe federal district courts.These tribunals have original jurisdiction in federal criminal and civil cases;that is, by law,the cases must be first heard in these courts,no matter who the parties are or how significant the issues.Criminal Cases.These cases commence when the local U.S.attorneys have reason to believe that a violation ofthe U.S.Penal Code has occurred. After obtaining an indictment from a federal grand jury,the U.S.attorney files charges against the accused in the district court in which he or she serves.Criminal activity as defined by Congress covers a wide range ofbehavior,including interstate theft ofan automobile,illegal importation of narcotics,assassination ofa president, conspiracy to deprive persons oftheir civil rights,and even the killing ofa migratory bird out ofseason. After charges are filed against an accused,and ifno plea bargain has been made,a trial is conducted by a U.S.district judge.In court the defendant enjoys all the privileges and immunities granted in the Bill ofRights (such as the right to a speedy and public trial) or by congressional legislation or Supreme Court rulings (for instance,a 12-person jury must render a unanimous verdict).Defendants may waive the right to a trial by a jury of their peers.A defendant who is found not guilty ofthe crime is set free and may never be tried again for the same offense (the Fifth Amendments protection against double jeopardy).Ifthe accused is found guilty,the district judge determines the appropriate sentence within a range set by Congress.The length ofa sentence cannot be appealed so long as it is in the range prescribed.A verdict ofnot guilty may not be appealed by the government,but convicted defendants may appeal ifthey believe that the judge or jury made an improper legal determination.Civil Cases.A majority ofthe district court caseload is civil in nature;that is, suits between private parties or between the U.S.government,acting in a 58 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 59

nonprosecutorial capacity,and a private party.Civil cases that originate in the U.S.district courts may be placed in several categories.The first is litigation concerning the interpretation or application ofthe Constitution,acts of Congress,or U.S.treaties.Examples of cases in this category include the following:a petitioner claims that one of his or her federally protected civil rights has been violated,a litigant alleges that he or she is being harmed by a congressional statute that is unconstitutional,and a plaintiffargues that he or she is suffering injury from a treaty that is improperly affecting him. The key point is that a federal question must be raised in order for the U.S. trial courts to have jurisdiction. Traditionally,some minimal dollar amounts had to be in controversy in some types ofcases before the trial courts would hear them,but such amounts have been waived ifthe case falls into one ofseveral general categories.For example,an alleged violation ofa civil rights law,such as the Voting Rights Act of1965,must be heard by the federal rather than the state judiciary.Other types ofcases in this category are patent and copyright claims,passport and naturalization proceedings,admiralty and maritime disputes,and violations ofthe U.S. postal laws. Another broad category ofcases over which the U.S.trial courts exercise general original jurisdiction includes what are known as diversity of citizenship disputes.These are disputes between parties from different states or between an American citizen and a foreign country or citizen. Federal district courts also have jurisdiction over petitions from convicted prisoners who contend that their incarceration (or perhaps their denial ofparole) is in violation of their federally protected rights.In the vast majority ofthese cases prisoners ask for a writ ofhabeas corpusŽ (Latin for you should have the bodyŽ),an order issued by a judge to determine whether a person has been lawfully imprisoned or detained.The judge would demand that the prison authorities either justify the detention or release the petitioner.Prisoners convicted in a state court must argue that a federally protected right was violated „ for example,the right to be represented by counsel at trial. Otherwise,the federal courts would have no jurisdiction.Federal prisoners have a somewhat wider range for their appeals since all their rights and options are within the scope ofthe U.S.Constitution. Finally,the district courts have the authority to hear any other cases that Congress may validly prescribe by law.U.S. Courts of AppealsThe U.S.appellate courts have no original jurisdiction whatsoever;every case or controversy that comes to one ofthese intermediate level panels has been first argued in some other forum. CHAPTER 3: JURISDICTION AND POLICY-MAKING BOUNDARIES 59

PAGE 60

These tribunals,like the district courts,are the creations ofCongress, and their structure and functions have varied considerably over time. Basically,Congress has granted the circuit courts appellate jurisdiction over two general categories ofcases. The first ofthese are ordinary civil and criminal appeals from the federal trial courts.In criminal cases the appellant is the defendant because the government is not free to appeal a verdict of not guilty.In civil cases the party that lost in the trial court is usually the appellant,but the winning party may appeal ifit is not satisfied with the lower-court judgment.The second broad category ofappellate jurisdiction includes appeals from certain federal administrative agencies and departments and also from independent regulatory commissions,such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the National Labor Relations Board.U.S. Supreme CourtThe U.S.Supreme Court is the only federal court mentioned by name in the Constitution,which spells out the general contours ofthe High Courts jurisdiction.Although the SupremeCourt is usually thought ofas an appellate tribunal,it does have some general original jurisdiction.Probably the mostimportant subject ofsuch jurisdiction is a suit between two or more states. 60 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM Judges from the Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court in Rochester, New York, hear motion arguments. A dispute must be real and current before a court will agree to accept it for adjudication.

PAGE 61

The High Court shares original jurisdiction (with the U.S.district courts) in certain cases brought by or against foreign ambassadors or consuls,in cases between the United States and a state,and in cases commenced by a state against citizens ofanother state or another country.In situations such as these,where jurisdiction is shared,the courts are said to have concurrent jurisdiction.Cases over which the Supreme Court has original jurisdiction are often important,but they do not constitute a sizable proportion ofthe overall caseload.In recent years less than 1 percent ofthe High Courts docket consisted ofcases heard on original jurisdiction. The U.S.Constitution declares that the Supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction...under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.Ž Over the years Congress has passed much legislation setting forth the RegulationsŽdetermining which cases may appear before the nations most august judicial body.Appeals may reach the Supreme Court through two main avenues.First,there may be appeals from all lower federal constitutional and territorial courts and also from most,but not all,federal legislative courts.Second,the Supreme Court may hear appeals from the highest court in a state „ as long as there is a substantial federal question. Most ofthe High Courts docket consists ofcases in which it has agreed to issue a writ ofcertiorari „ a discretionary action.Such a writ (which must be supported by at least four justices) is an order from the Supreme Court to a lower court demanding that it send up a complete record ofa case so that the Supreme Court can review it.Historically,the Supreme Court has agreed to grant the petition for a writ ofcertiorari in only a tiny proportion ofcases „ usually less than 10 percent ofthe time,and in recent years the number has been closer to 1 percent. Another method by which the Supreme Court exercises its appellate jurisdiction is certification.This procedure is followed when one ofthe appeals courts asks the Supreme Court for instructions regarding a question oflaw.The justices may choose to give the appellate judges binding instructions,or they may ask that the entire record be forwarded to the Supreme Court for review and final judgment.JURISDICTION AND POLICY MAKING OF STATE COURTSThe jurisdictions ofthe 50 separate state court systems in the United States are established in virtually the same manner as those within the national court system.Each state has a constitution that sets forth the authority and decision-making powers ofits trial and appellate judges.Likewise,each state legislature passes laws that further detail the specific powers and prerogatives ofjudges and the rights and obligations ofthose CHAPTER 3: JURISDICTION AND POLICY-MAKING BOUNDARIES 61

PAGE 62

who bring suit in the state courts.Because no two state constitutions or legislative bodies are alike,the jurisdictions ofindividual state courts vary from one state to another. State courts are extremely important in terms ofpolicy making in the United States.Well over 99 percent of the judicial workload in the United States consists ofstate,not federal, cases,and 95 percent ofall judges in the United States work at the state level.Moreover,the decisions ofstate jurists frequently have a great impact on public policy.For example,during the 1970s a number ofsuits were brought into federal court challenging the constitutionality ofa states spending vastly unequal sums on the education ofits schoolchildren.(This occurred because poorer school districts could not raise the same amount ofmoney as could wealthy school districts.) The litigants claimed that children in the poorer districts were victims ofunlawful discrimination in violation oftheir equal protection rights under the U.S.Constitution. The Supreme Court said they were not,however,in a five-to-four decision in San Antonio Independent School District v.Rodriguez (1973).But the matter did not end there.Litigation was instituted in many states arguing that unequal educational opportunities were in violation ofvarious clauses in the state constitutions. Since Rodriguez such suits have been brought 28 times in 24 states.In 14 of these cases,state supreme courts invalidated their states method offinancing education,thus requiring the reallocation ofbillions ofdollars.JURISDICTION AND LEGISLATIVE POLITICSSome judges and judicial scholars argue that the U.S.Constitution and the respective state documents confer a certain inherent jurisdiction upon the judiciaries in some key areas,independent ofthe legislative will.Nevertheless,the jurisdictional boundaries ofAmerican courts are also a product oflegislative judgments „ determinations often influenced by politics. Congress may advance a particular cause by giving courts the authority to hear cases in a public policy realm that previously had been forbidden territory for the judiciary.For example,when Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of1968,it gave judges the authority to penalize individuals who interfere with any person because of his race,color,religion or national origin and because he is or has been...traveling in...interstate commerce.ŽPrior to 1968 the courts had no jurisdiction over incidents that stemmed from interference by one person with anothers right to travel. Likewise,Congress may discourage a particular social movement by passing legislation to make it virtually impossible for its advocates to have any success in the courts. 62 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 63

The jurisdictions ofstate courts, like their federal counterparts,also are very much governed by „ and the political product of„ the will ofthe state legislatures.JUDICIAL SELF-RESTRAINTThe activities that judges are forbidden to engage in,or at least discouraged from engaging in, deal not so much with jurisdiction as with justiciability „ the question of whether judges in the system ought to hear or refrain from hearing certain types ofdisputes.Ten principles ofjudicial self-restraint,discussed below, serve to check and contain the power ofAmerican judges.These maxims originate from a variety ofsources „ the U.S.Constitution and state constitutions,acts ofCongress and ofstate legislatures,and the common law. Some apply more to appellate courts than to trial courts;most apply to federal and state judicial systems.A Definite Controversy Must ExistThe U.S.Constitution states that the judicial Power shall extend to all Cases,in Law and Equity,arising under this Constitution,the Laws of the United States,and Treaties made...under their AuthorityŽ(Article III,Section 2).The key word here is cases.Since 1789 the federal courts have chosen to interpret the term in its most literal sense:There must be an actual controversy between legitimate adversaries who have met all the technical legal standards to institute a suit. The dispute must concern the protection ofa meaningful,nontrivial right or the prevention or redress ofa wrong that directly affects the parties to the suit.There are three corollaries to this general principle. The first is that the federal courts do not render advisory opinions,rulings about situations that are hypothetical or that have not caused an actual clash between adversaries.A dispute must be real and current before a court will agree to accept it for adjudication. A second corollary is that the parties to the suit must have proper standing.This notion deals with the matter ofwho may bring litigation to court.The person bringing suit must have suffered (or be immediately about to suffer) a direct and significant injury.As a general rule,a litigant cannot bring a claim on behalfofothers (except for parents ofminor children or in special types ofsuits called class actions).In addition,the alleged injury must be personalized and immediate „ not part ofsome generalized complaint. The third corollary is that courts ordinarily will not hear a case that has become moot „ when the basic facts or the status ofthe parties have significantly changed between the time when the suit was first filed and when it comes before the judge(s).The death ofa litigant or the fact that the litigants have ceased to be warring CHAPTER 3: JURISDICTION AND POLICY-MAKING BOUNDARIES 63

PAGE 64

parties would render a case moot in most tribunals.However,sometimes judges may decide that it is necessary to hear a case,even though the status ofthe facts and parties would seem to have radically altered.Examples include cases where someone has challenged a states refusal to permit an abortion or to permit the life-support system ofa terminally ill person to be switched off.(In such cases,by the time the suit reaches an appellate court,the woman may already have given birth or the moribund person may have died.) In these cases judges have believed that the issues were so important that they needed to be addressed by the court.To declare such cases moot would,practically speaking,prevent them from ever being heard in time by an appellate body. Although federal judges do not rule on abstract,hypothetical issues,many state courts are permitted to do so in some form or other.Federal legislative courts may give advisory opinions as well.Also,American judges are empowered to render declaratory judgments,which define the rights of various parties under a statute,a will, or a contract.The judgments do not entail any type ofcoercive relief.The federal courts were given the authority to act in this capacity in the Federal Declaratory Judgment Act of1934, and about three-fourths ofthe states grant their courts this power.Although a difference exists between an abstract dispute that the federal courts must avoid and a situation where a declaratory judgment is in order,in the real world the line between the two is often a difficult one for jurists to draw.A Plea Must Be SpecificAnother constraint upon the federal judiciary is that judges will hear no case on the merits unless the petitioner is first able to cite a specific part of the Constitution as the basis ofthe plea.For example,the First Amendment forbids government from making a law respecting an establishment ofreligion.ŽIn 1989 the state ofNew York created a special school district solely for the benefit ofthe Satmar Hasids,a group ofHasidic Jews with East European roots that strongly resists assimilation into modern society. Most ofthe children attended parochial schools in the Village of Kiryas Joel,but these private schools werent able to accommodate retardedand disabled students,and the Satmarsclaimed that such children within their community would be traumatized ifforced to attend a public school.Responding to this situation, the state legislature created a special district encompassing a single school that served only handicapped children from the Hasidic Jewish community. This arrangement was challenged by the association representing New York states school boards.In June 1994 the U.S.Supreme Court ruled that the creation ofthe one-school district effectively delegated political power to the 64 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 65

CHAPTER 3: JURISDICTION AND POLICY-MAKING BOUNDARIES 65 Circuit courts have appellate jurisdiction over civil appeals from the federal trial courts, such as a 2000 case where the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was asked to overturn a federal judges ruling that the mining industry claimed would end mining in the Appalachian Mountains (shown above). These courts also can hear appeals from certain federal administrative agencies. The two juvenile Mexican spotted owls, left, however, appear unaware that a suit by an environmental group, the Audubon Society, involves their speciess habitats.

PAGE 66

66 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM Congress has said that federal district courts have jurisdiction in federal civil and criminal cases. In this photo, Justice Department lead attorney David Boies, left, and Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, right, discuss the Microsoft Windows 98 case with the media.

PAGE 67

orthodox Jewish group and therefore violated the First Amendments ban on governmental establishment ofreligion.ŽWhether or not everyone agrees that the New York law was constitutional,few,ifany,would doubt that the school board association met the specific criteria for securing judicial review:The Constitution clearly forbids the government from delegating political power to a specific religious entity.The government here readily acknowledged that it had passed a law for the unique benefit of a singular religious community. However,ifone went into court and contended that a particular law or official action violated the spirit of the Bill ofRightsŽor offended the values ofthe Founders,Ža judge surely would dismiss the proceeding.For if judges were free to give concrete,substantive meaning to vague generalities such as these,there would be little check on what they could do.In the real world this principle is not as simple and clear-cut as it sounds,because the Constitution contains many clauses that are open to a wide variety ofinterpretations,giving federal judges sufficient room to maneuver and make policy.Beneficiaries May Not SueA third aspect ofjudicial self-restraint is that a petitioner who has been the beneficiary ofa law or an official action may not subsequently challenge that law.For example,suppose that a farmer has long been a member ofa program under which he agreed to take part ofhis land out ofproduction and periodically was paid a subsidy by the federal government.After years as a participant,the farmer learns that a neighbor is also drawing regular payments for letting all ofhis farmland lie fallow.The idea that the neighbor is getting something for nothing offends the farmer,and he questions the programs constitutionality.The farmer challenges the legality ofthe program in the local federal district court.As soon as it is brought to the judges attention that the farmer had himself been a member ofthe program and had gained financially from it,the suit is dismissed:One may not benefit from a particular governmental endeavor or official action and subsequently attack it in court.Appellate Courts Rule on Legal „ Not Factual „ QuestionsA working proposition ofstate and federal appellate court practice is that these courts will generally not hear cases ifthe grounds for appeal are that the trial judge or jury wrongly amassed and identified the basic factual elements ofthe case.It is not that trial judges and juries always do a perfect job ofmaking factual determinations.Rather,there is the beliefthat they are closer to the actual parties and physical evidence ofthe case,and,therefore,they will do a much better job ofmaking factual CHAPTER 3: JURISDICTION AND POLICY-MAKING BOUNDARIES 67

PAGE 68

assessments than would an appellate body reading a transcript ofthe case some months or years after the trial. However,legal matters „ which laws to apply to the facts ofa case or how to assess the facts in light ofthe prevailing law „ are appropriate for appellate review.The Supreme Court Is Not Bound (Technically) by PrecedentsIfthe High Court is free to overturn or circumvent past and supposedly controlling precedents when it decides a case,this might appear to be an argument for judicial activism „ not restraint.However,this practice is one ofthe principles ofself-restraint.If the Supreme Court were inescapably bound by the dictates ofits prior rulings,it would have very little flexibility.By occasionally allowing itself the freedom to overrule a past decision or to ignore a precedent that would seem to be controlling,the Supreme Court establishes a corner of safety to which it can retreat ifneed be.When wisdom dictates that the Court change direction or at least keep an open mind,this principle of self-restraint is put to use.Other Remedies Must Be ExhaustedAnother principle ofself-restraint often frustrates the anxious litigant but is essential to the orderly administration ofjustice:Courts in the United States will not accept a case until all other remedies,legal and administrative,have been exhausted.In its simplest form this doctrine means that one must work up the ladder with ones legal petitions.Federal cases must first be heard by the U.S. trial courts,then reviewed by one of the appellate tribunals,and finally heard by the U.S.Supreme Court.This orderly procedure ofevents must occur despite the importance ofthe case or ofthe petitioners who filed it. In certain circumstances,however,the appellate process can be shortened. Exhaustion ofremedies refers to possible administrative reliefas well as to adherence to the principle ofa three-tiered judicial hierarchy.Such reliefmight be in the form ofan appeal to an administrative officer,a hearing before a board or committee, or formal consideration ofa matter by a legislative body.Courts Do Not Decide Political QuestionsŽTo U.S.judges,the executive and the legislative branches ofgovernment are political in that they are elected by the people for the purpose ofmaking public policy.The judiciary,in contrast,was not designed by the Founders to be an instrument manifesting the popular will and is therefore not political.According to this line ofreasoning,then,a political question is one that ought properly to be resolved by one ofthe other two branches ofgovernment. 68 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 69

For example,when the state of Oregon gave its citizens the right to vote on popular statewide referendums and initiatives around 1900, the Pacific States Telephone and Telegraph Company objected.(The company feared that voters would bypass the more business-oriented legislature and pass laws restricting its rates and profits.) The company claimed that Article IV,Section 4,of the Constitution guarantees to each state a Republican Form ofGovernmentŽ„ a term that supposedly means that laws are to be made only by the elected representatives ofthe people,not by the citizens directly. The High Court refused to rule on the merits ofthe case,declaring the issue to be a political question.The Court reasoned that since Article IV primarily prescribes the duties ofCongress, it follows that the Founders wanted Congress „ not the courts „ to oversee the forms ofgovernment in the several states. In recent decades an important political versus nonpolitical dispute has concerned the matter ofreapportionment oflegislative districts.Prior to 1962,a majority on the Supreme Court refused to rule on the constitutionality oflegislative districts with unequal populations,saying that such matters were nonjusticiableŽ and that the Court dared not enter what Justice Felix Frankfurter called the political thicket.ŽAccording to traditional Supreme Court thinking, the Founders wanted legislatures to redistrict themselves „ perhaps with input from the electorate.However, with the Supreme Courts decision in Baker v.Carr (1962),the majority reversed that thinking.Since then the Court has held in scores ofcases that the equal-protection clause ofthe Fourteenth Amendment requires legislative districts to be ofequal population size and,furthermore,that the courts should see to it that this mandate is carried out.The Burden of Proof Is on the PetitionerThe nations jurists generally agree that an individual who would challenge the constitutionality ofa statute bears the burden ofproof.Thus,if someone were to attack a particular statute,he or she would have to do more than demonstrate that it was questionable or ofdoubtful constitutionalityŽ;the petitioner would have to persuade the court that the evidence against the law was clear-cut and overwhelming. The only exception to this burden ofproofprinciple is in the realm of civil rights and liberties.Some jurists who are strong civil libertarians have long contended that when government attempts to restrict basic human freedoms the burden ofproofshould shift to the government.And in several specific areas ofcivil rights jurisprudence that philosophy now prevails.For example,the U.S. CHAPTER 3: JURISDICTION AND POLICY-MAKING BOUNDARIES 69

PAGE 70

Supreme Court has ruled in a variety ofcases that laws that treat persons differently according to their race or gender are automatically subject to special scrutiny.ŽThis means that the burden ofproofshifts to the government to demonstrate a compelling or overriding need to differentiate persons according to their ethnic origins or sex.For instance,the government has long argued (successfully) that some major restrictions can be placed on women in the armed forces that prevent them from being assigned to full combat duty.Laws Are Overturned on the Narrowest Grounds OnlySometimes during a trial a judge clearly sees that the strictures ofthe Constitution have been offended by a legislative or executive act.Even here, however,a jurist may proceed with caution.First,a judge may have the option ofinvalidating an official action on what is called statutory, instead ofconstitutional,grounds. Statutory invalidation means that a judge overturns an officials action because the official acted beyond the authority delegated to him or her by the law.Such a ruling has the function ofsaving the law itselfwhile still nullifying the officials misdeed. Second,judges may,ifpossible,invalidate only that portion ofa law they find constitutionally defective instead ofoverturning the entire statute.No Rulings Are Made on the WisdomŽ of LegislationIffollowed strictly,this principle means that the only basis for declaring a law or an o fficial action unconstitutional is that it literally violates the Constitution.Statutes do not offend the Constitution merely because they are unfair,are fiscally wasteful,or constitute bad public policy.Iftaken truly to heart,this means that judges and justices are not free to invoke their own personal notions of right and wrong or ofgood and bad public policy when they examine the constitutionality oflegislation. Another spinoffofthis principle is that a law may be passed that all agree is good and wise but that is nevertheless unconstitutional;conversely,a statute may legalize the commission of an official deed that all know to be bad and dangerous but that still does not offend the Constitution. The principle ofnot ruling on the wisdomŽofa law is difficult to follow in the real world.This is so because the Constitution,a rather briefdocument,is silent on many areas of public life and contains a number of phrases and admonitions that are open to a variety ofinterpretations. For instance,the Constitution says that Congress may regulate interstate commerce.But what exactly is commerce,and how extensive does it have to be before it is ofan interstateŽ character? As human beings,judges 70 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 71

have differed in the way they have responded to this question.The Constitution guarantees a person accused ofa crime the right to a defense attorney.But does this right continue if one appeals a guilty verdict and,ifso, for how many appeals? Strict constructionists and loose constructionists have responded differently to these queries. In all,despite the inevitable intrusion ofjudgespersonal values into their interpretation ofmany portions ofthe Constitution,virtually every jurist subscribes to the general principle that laws can be invalidated only ifthey offend the Constitution „ not the personal preferences of the judges. CHAPTER 3: JURISDICTION AND POLICY-MAKING BOUNDARIES 71

PAGE 73

New lawyers take their oaths in Topeka, Kansas, to practice in the Kansas state court and in the Federal court in the district of Kansas. According to recent estimates, the United States has more than 950,000 lawyers.CHAPTER4LAWYERS, LITIGANTS, AND INTEREST GROUPS IN THE JUDICIAL PROCESS

PAGE 74

This chapter focuses on three crucial actors in the judicial process:lawyers, litigants,and interest groups.Judges in the United States make decisions only in the context ofcases that are brought to the courts by individuals or groups who have some sort ofdisagreement or dispute with each other.These adversaries,commonly called litigants, sometimes argue their own cases in such minor forums as small claims courts,but they are almost always represented by lawyers in the more important judicial arenas.Following an examination ofthe legal profession, the chapter discusses the role ofindividual litigants and interest groups in the judicial process.LAWYERS AND THE LEGAL PROFESSIONThe training ofattorneys and the practice oflaw have evolved over time in the United States. Today American lawyers practice in a variety ofsettings and circumstances.Development of the Legal ProfessionDuring the colonial period in America (1607-1776),there were no law schools to train those interested in the legal profession.Some young men went to England for their education and attended the Inns ofCourt.The Inns were not formal law schools, but were part ofthe English legal culture and allowed students to become familiar with English law. Those who aspired to the law during this period generally performed a clerkship or apprenticeship with an established lawyer. After the American Revolution (1775-83),the number oflawyers increased rapidly,because neither legal education nor admission to the bar was very strict.The apprenticeship method continued to be the most popular way to receive legal training, but law schools began to come into existence.The first law schools grew out oflaw offices that specialized in training clerks or apprentices.The earliest such school was the Litchfield School in Connecticut,founded in 1784.This school,which taught by the lecture method,placed primary emphasis on commercial law.Eventually,a few colleges began to teach law as part oftheir general curriculum,and in 1817 an independent law school was established at Harvard University. During the second halfofthe 19th century,the number oflaw schools increased dramatically,from 15 schools in 1850 to 102 in 1900.The law schools ofthat time and those oftoday have two major differences.First,law schools then did not usually require any previous college work.Second,in 1850 the standard law school curriculum could be completed in one year. Later in the 1800s many law schools instituted two-year programs. In 1870 major changes began at Harvard that were to have a lasting impact on legal training.Harvard in74 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 75

stituted stiffer entrance requirements; a student who did not have a college degree was required to pass an entrance test.The law school course was increased to two years in 1871 and to three years in 1876.Also,students were required to pass first-year final examinations before proceeding to the second-year courses. The most lasting change,however, was the introduction ofthe case method ofteaching.This method replaced lectures and textbooks with casebooks.The casebooks (collections ofactual case reports) were designed to explain the principles oflaw,what they meant,and how they developed. Teachers then used the Socratic method to guide the students to a discovery oflegal concepts found in the cases.Other schools eventually adopted the Harvard approach,and the case method remains the accepted method ofteaching in many law schools today. As the demand for lawyers increased during the late 1800s,there was a corresponding acceleration in the creation ofnew law schools.Opening a law school was not expensive, and a number ofnight schools,using lawyers and judges as part-time faculty members,sprang into existence. Standards were often lax and the curriculum tended to emphasize local practice.These schoolsmajor contribution lay in making training more readily available to poor,immigrant, and working-class students. In the 20th century,the number of people wanting to study law increased dramatically.By the 1960s the number ofapplicants to law schools had grown so large that nearly all schools became more selective.At the same time,in response to social pressure and litigation,many law schools began actively recruiting female and minority applicants. Also by the 1960s,the curriculum in some law schools had been expanded to include social concerns such as civil rights law and law-and-poverty issues.International law courses also became available. A more recent trend in law schools is an emphasis on the use ofcomputers for everything from registration to classroom instruction to accessing court forms to student services.Also noteworthy is that more and more law schools are offering courses or special programs in intellectual property law, a field ofspecialization that has grown considerably in recent years.Finally, the increasing use ofadvertising by lawyers has had a profound impact on the legal profession.On television stations across the country one can now see lawyers making appeals to attract new clients.Furthermore,legal clinics,established to handle the business generated by the increased use of advertising,have spread rapidly.Growth and StratificationThe number oflawyers in the United States has increased steadily over the past halfcentury and is currently CHAPTER 4: LAWYERS, LITIGANTS, AND INTEREST GROUPS IN THE JUDICIAL PROCESS 75

PAGE 76

estimated at more than 950,000. Where do all the attorneys in the United States find work? The Law School Admission Council provides some answers in The Official Guide to U.S.Law Schools ,2001 Edition.Almost three-fourths (72.9 percent) ofAmericas lawyers are in private practice,some in small,oneperson offices and some in much larger law firms.About 8.2 percent ofthe legal professions members work for government agencies,roughly 9.5 percent work for private industries and associations as lawyers or managers, about 1.1 percent work for legal aid associations or as public defenders,representing those who cannot afford to pay a lawyer,and 1 percent are in legal education.Some 5 percent ofthe nations lawyers are retired or inactive. Americas lawyers apply their professional training in a variety ofsettings.Some environments are more profitable and prestigious than others. This situation has led to what is known as professional stratification. One ofthe major factors influencing the prestige level is the type oflegal specialty and the type ofclientele served.Lawyers with specialties who serve big business and large institutions occupy the top hemisphere; those who represent individual interests are in the bottom hemisphere. At the top ofthe prestige ladder are the large national law firms.Attorneys in these firms have traditionally been known less for court appearances than for the counseling they provide their clients.The clients must be able to pay for this high-powered legal tal76 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM The large national law firms employ associates, librarians, and paralegals to help partners with a myriad of tasks, such as research.

PAGE 77

ent,and thus they tend to be major corporations rather than individuals. However,many ofthese large national firms often provide pro bonoŽ(Latin for the public good,Žor free) legal services to further civil rights,civil liberties,consumer interests,and environmental causes. The large national firms consist of partners and associates.Partners own the law firm and are paid a share of the firms profits.The associates are paid salaries and in essence work for the partners.These large firms compete for the best graduates from the nations law schools.The most prestigious firms have 250 or more lawyers and also employ hundreds ofother people as paralegals (nonlawyers who are specially trained to handle many ofthe routine aspects of legal work),administrators,librarians, and secretaries. A notch below those working in the large national firms are those employed as attorneys by large corporations.Many corporations use national law firms as outside counsel.Increasingly,however,corporations are hiring their own salaried attorneys as in-house counsel.The legal staffofsome corporations rivals those ofprivate firms in size.Further, these corporations compete with the major law firms for the best law school graduates. Instead ofrepresenting the corporation in court (a task usually handled by outside counsel when necessary), the legal division handles the multitude oflegal problems faced by the modern corporation.For example, the legal division monitors the companys personnel practices to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations concerning hiring and removal procedures.The corporations attorneys may advise the board of directors about such things as contractual agreements,mergers,stock sales, and other business practices.The company lawyers may also help educate other employees about the laws that apply to their specific jobs and make sure that they are in compliance with them.The legal division ofa large company also serves as a liaison with outside counsel. Most ofthe nations lawyers work in a lower hemisphere ofthe legal profession in terms ofprestige and do not command the high salaries associated with large national law firms and major corporations.However,they are engaged in a wider range ofactivities and are much more likely to be found, day in and day out,in the courtrooms ofthe United States.These are the attorneys who represent clients in personal injury suits,who prosecute and defend persons accused ofcrimes, who represent husbands and wives in divorce proceedings,who help people conduct real estate transactions,and who help people prepare wills,to name just a few activities. Attorneys who work for the government are generally included in the CHAPTER 4: LAWYERS, LITIGANTS, AND INTEREST GROUPS IN THE JUDICIAL PROCESS 77

PAGE 78

lower hemisphere.Some,such as the U.S.attorney general and the solicitor general ofthe United States,occupy quite prestigious positions,but many toil in rather obscure and poorly paid positions.A number ofattorneys opt for careers as judges at the federal or state level. Another distinction in terms of specialization in the legal profession is that between plaintiffs and defense attorneys.The former group initiates lawsuits,whereas the latter group defends those accused ofwrongdoing in civil and criminal cases.Government Attorneys in the Judicial ProcessGovernment attorneys work at all levels ofthe judicial process,from trial courts to the highest state and federal appellate courts.Federal Prosecutors.Each federal judicial district has one U.S.attorney and one or more assistant U.S.attorneys.They are responsible for prosecuting defendants in criminal cases in the federal district courts and for defending the United States when it is sued in a federal trial court. U.S.attorneys are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate.Nominees must reside in the district to which they are appointed and must be lawyers.They serve a formal term offour years but can be reappointed indefinitely or removed at the presidents discretion.The assistant U.S.attorneys are formally appointed by the U.S.attorney general, although in practice they are chosen by the U.S.attorney for the district, who forwards the selection to the attorney general for ratification. Assistant U.S.attorneys may be fired by the attorney general. In their role as prosecutors,U.S. attorneys have considerable discretion in deciding which criminal cases to prosecute.They also have the authority to determine which civil cases to try to settle out ofcourt and which ones to take to trial.U.S.attorneys, therefore,are in a very good position to influence the federal district courts docket.Also,because they engage in more litigation in the district courts than anyone else,the U.S. attorneys and their staffs are vital participants in policy making in the federal trial courts.Prosecutors at the State Level.Those who prosecute persons accused ofviolating state criminal statutes are commonly known as district attorneys.In most states they are elected county officials;however,in a few states they are appointed. The district attorneys office usually employs a number ofassistants who do most ofthe actual trial work.Most ofthese assistant district attorneys are recent graduates oflaw school,who gain valuable trial experience in these positions.Many later enter private practice,often as criminal defense 78 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 79

attorneys.Others will seek to become district attorneys or judges after a few years. The district attorneys office has a great deal ofdiscretion in the handling ofcases.Given budget and personnel constraints,not all cases can be afforded the same amount of time and attention.Therefore,some cases are dismissed,others are not prosecuted,and still others are prosecuted vigorously in court.Most cases, however,are subject to plea bargaining.This means that the district attorneys office agrees to accept the defendants plea ofguilty to a reduced charge or to drop some charges against the defendant in exchange for pleas ofguilty to others.Public Defenders. Often the person charged with violating a state or federal criminal statute is unable to pay for the services ofa defense attorney. In some areas a government official known as a public defender bears the responsibility for representing indigent defendants.Thus,the public defender is a counterpart ofthe prosecutor.Unlike the district attorney, however,the public defender is usually appointed rather than elected. In some parts ofthe country there are statewide public defender systems; in other regions the public defender is a local official,usually associated with a county government.Like the district attorney,the public defender employs assistants and investigative personnel. CHAPTER 4: LAWYERS, LITIGANTS, AND INTEREST GROUPS IN THE JUDICIAL PROCESS 79 In some areas, if a person charged with violating a state or federal criminal statute is unable to pay for the services of a defense attorney „ as happened with the defendant above, center, facing the judge „ a government official known as the public defender is responsible for representing the defendant.

PAGE 80

Other Government Lawyers. At both the state and federal levels,some government attorneys are better known for their work in appellate courts than in trial courts.For example,each state has an attorney general who supervises a staffofattorneys who are charged with the responsibility ofhandling the legal affairs ofthe state.At the federal level the Department ofJustice has similar responsibilities on behalfofthe United States.The U.S. Department of Justice.Although the Justice Department is an agency ofthe executive branch ofthe government,it has a natural association with the judicial branch.Many of the cases heard in the federal courts involve the national government in one capacity or another.Sometimes the government is sued;in other instances the government initiates the lawsuit.In either case,an attorney must represent the government.Most ofthe litigation involving the federal government is handled by the Justice Department,although a number of other government agencies have attorneys on their payrolls. The Justice Departments Office of the Solicitor General is extremely important in cases argued before the Supreme Court.The department also has several legal divisions,each with a staffofspecialized lawyers and headed by an assistant attorney general.The legal divisions supervise the handling oflitigation by the U.S.attorneys,take cases to the courts ofappeals,and aid the solicitor generals office in cases argued before the Supreme Court.U.S. Solicitor General.The solicitor general ofthe United States,the thirdranking official in the Justice Department,is assisted by five deputies and about 20 assistant solicitors general. The solicitor generals primary function is to decide,on behalfofthe United States,which cases will and will not be presented to the Supreme Court for review.Whenever an executive branch department or agency loses a case in one ofthe courts ofappeals and wishes a Supreme Court review,that department or agency will request that the Justice Department seek certiorari.The solicitor general will determine whether to appeal the lower court decision. Many factors must be taken into account when making such a decision. Perhaps the most important consideration is that the Supreme Court is limited in the number ofcases it can hear in a given term.Thus,the solicitor general must determine whether a particular case deserves extensive consideration by the Court.In addition to deciding whether to seek Supreme Court review,the solicitor general personally argues most ofthe governments cases heard by the High Court.State Attorneys General. Each state has an attorney general who serves as its chieflegal official.In most states 80 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 81

this official is elected on a partisan statewide ballot.The attorney general oversees a staffofattorneys who primarily handle the civil cases involving the state.Although the prosecution ofcriminal defendants is generally handled by the local district attorneys, the attorney generals office often plays an important role in investigating statewide criminal activities.Thus,the attorney general and his or her staff may work closely with the local district attorney in preparing a case against a particular defendant. The state attorneys general also issue advisory opinions to state and local agencies.Often,these opinions interpret an aspect ofstate law not yet ruled on by the courts.Although an advisory opinion might eventually be overruled in a case brought before the courts,the attorney generals opinion is important in determining the behavior ofstate and local agencies.Private Lawyers in the Judicial ProcessIn criminal cases in the United States the defendant has a constitutional right to be represented by an attorney. Some jurisdictions have established public defenders offices to represent indigent defendants.In other areas, some method exists ofassigning a private attorney to represent a defendant who cannot afford to hire one. Those defendants who can afford to hire their own lawyers will do so. In civil cases neither the plaintiff nor the defendant is constitutionally entitled to the services ofan attorney. However,in the civil arena the legal issues are often so complex as to demand the services ofan attorney.Various forms oflegal assistance are usually available to those who need help.Assigned Defense Counsel. When a private lawyer must be appointed to represent an indigent defendant,the assignment usually is made by an individual judge on an ad hoc basis.Local bar associations or lawyers themselves often provide the courts with a list of attorneys who are willing to provide such services.Private Defense Counsel. Some attorneys in private practice specialize in criminal defense work.Although the lives ofcriminal defense attorneys may be depicted as glamorous on television and in movies,the average real-life criminal defense lawyer works long hours for low pay and low prestige.The Courtroom WorkgroupRather than functioning as an occasional gathering ofstrangers who resolve a particular conflict and then go their separate ways,lawyers and judges who work in a criminal court room become part ofa workgroup. The most visible members ofthe courtroom workgroup „ judges, prosecutors,and defense attorneys „ are associated with specific functions: Prosecutors push for convictions of CHAPTER 4: LAWYERS, LITIGANTS, AND INTEREST GROUPS IN THE JUDICIAL PROCESS 81

PAGE 82

those accused ofcriminal offenses against the government,defense attorneys seek acquittals for their clients, and judges serve as neutral arbiters to guarantee a fair trial.Despite their different roles,members ofthe courtroom workgroup share certain values and goals and are not the fierce adversaries that many people imagine.Cooperation among judges,prosecutors, and defense attorneys is the norm. The most important goal ofthe courtroom workgroup is to handle cases expeditiously.Judges and prosecutors are interested in disposing ofcases quickly to present a picture ofaccomplishment and efficiency. Because private defense attorneys need to handle a large volume of cases to survive financially,resolving cases quickly works to their advantage. And public defenders seek quick dispositions simply because they lack adequate resources to handle their caseloads. A second important goal ofthe courtroom workgroup is to maintain group cohesion.Conflict among the members makes work more difficult and interferes with the expeditious handling ofcases. Finally,the courtroom workgroup is interested in reducing or controlling uncertainty.In practice this means that all members ofthe workgroup strive to avoid trials.Trials,especially jury trials,produce a great deal ofuncertainty given that they require substantial investments oftime and effort without any reasonable guarantee ofa desirable outcome. To attain these goals,workgroup members employ several techniques. Although unilateral decisions and adversarial proceedings occur,negotiation is the most commonly used technique in criminal courtrooms. The members negotiate over a variety ofissues „ continuances (delays in the court proceedings),hearing dates, and exchange ofinformation,for example.Plea bargaining,however,is the most critical tool ofnegotiation.Legal Services for the PoorAlthough criminal defendants are constitutionally entitled to be represented by a lawyer,those who are defendants in a civil case or who wish to initiate a civil case do not have the right to representation.Therefore, those who do not have the funds to hire a lawyer may find it difficult to obtain justice. To deal with this problem,legal aid services are now found in many areas. Legal aid societies were established in New York and Chicago as early as the late 1880s,and many other major cities followed suit in the 20th century. Although some legal aid societies are sponsored by bar associations,most are supported by private contributions.Legal aid bureaus also are associated with charitable organizations in some areas,and many law schools operate legal aid clinics to provide both legal assistance for the poor and valu82 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 83

able training for law students.In addition,many lawyers provide legal services pro bono publicoŽ(Latin for for the public goodŽ) because they see it as a professional obligation.LITIGANTSIn some cases taken before the courts,the litigants are individuals,whereas in other cases one or more ofthe litigants may be a government agency,a corporation,a union, an interest group,or a university. What motivates a person or group to take a grievance to court? In criminal cases the answer to this question is relatively simple.A state or federal criminal statute has allegedly been violated,and the government prosecutes the party charged with violating the statute.In civil cases the answer is not quite so easy.Although some persons readily take their grievances to court, many others avoid this route because ofthe time and expense involved. Political scientist Phillip Cooper points out that judges are called upon to resolve two kinds ofdisputes: private law cases and public law controversies.Private law disputes are those in which one private citizen or organization sues another.In public law controversies,a citizen or organization contends that a government agency or official has violated a right established by a constitution or statute.In Hard Judicial Choices Cooper writes that legal actions, whether public law or private law contests,may either be policy oriented or compensatory.Ž A classic example ofprivate,or ordinary,compensation-oriented litigation is when a person injured in an automobile accident sues the driver of the other car in an effort to win monetary damages as compensation for medical expenses incurred.This type oflitigation is personal and is not aimed at changing governmental or business policies. Some private law cases,however, are policy oriented or political in nature.Personal injury suits and product liability suits may appear on the surface to be simply compensatory in nature but may also be used to change the manufacturing or business practices ofthe private firms being sued. A case litigated in North Carolina provides a good example.The case began in 1993 after a five-year-old girl got stuck on the drain ofa wading pool after another child had removed the drain cover.Such a powerful suction was created that,before she could be rescued,the drain had sucked out most ofher large and small intestines. As a result,the girl will have to spend about 11 hours per day attached to intravenous feeding tubes for the rest of her life.In 1997 a jury awarded the girls family $25 million in compensatory damages and,before the jury was to have considered punitive damages, the drain manufacturer and two other defendants settled the case for $30.9 million.The plaintiffs attorney said CHAPTER 4: LAWYERS, LITIGANTS, AND INTEREST GROUPS IN THE JUDICIAL PROCESS 83

PAGE 84

that the lawsuit revealed similar incidents in other areas ofthe country and presented a stark example ofsomething industry insiders knew but others did not.Not only did the family win its lawsuit,but the North Carolina legislature also passed a law requiring multiple drains to prevent such injuries in the future. Most political or policy-oriented lawsuits,however,are public law controversies.That is,they are suits brought against the government primarily to stop allegedly illegal policies or practices.They may also seek damages or some other specific form ofrelief.A case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, Lucas v.South Carolina Coastal Council ,provides a good example.South Carolinas Beachfront Management Act forbade David H. Lucas from building single-family houses on two beachfront lots he owned.A South Carolina trial court ruled that Lucas was entitled to be compensated for his loss.The South Carolina Supreme Court reversed the trial court decision,however,and Lucas appealed to the U.S.Supreme Court.The High Court ruled in Lucass favor,saying that ifa property owner is denied all economically viable use ofhis or her property,a taking has occurred and the Constitution requires that he or she get compensation. Political or policy-oriented litigation is more prevalent in the appellate courts than in the trial courts and is most common in the U.S.Supreme Court.Ordinary compensatory litigation is often terminated early in the judicial process because the litigants find it more profitable to settle their dispute or accept the verdict ofa trial court.However,litigants in political cases generally do little to advance their policy goals by gaining victories at the lower levels ofthe judiciary. Instead,they prefer the more widespread publicity that is attached to a decision by an appellate tribunal. Pursuing cases in the appellate courts is expensive.Therefore,many lawsuits that reach this level are supported in one way or another by interest groups.INTEREST GROUPS IN THE JUDICIAL PROCESSAlthough interest groups are probably better known for their attempts to influence legislative and executive branch decisions,they also pursue their policy goals in the courts.Some groups have found the judicial branch to be more receptive to their efforts than either ofthe other two branches ofgovernment.Interest groups that do not have the economic resources to mount an intensive lobbying effort in Congress or a state legislature may find it much easier to hire a lawyer and find some constitutional or statutory provision upon which to base a court case.Likewise,a small group with few registered voters among its members may lack the political clout to exert much influence on legislators and ex84 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 85

CHAPTER 4: LAWYERS, LITIGANTS, AND INTEREST GROUPS IN THE JUDICIAL PROCESS 85 One of the most famous cases involving special interests was the 1925 monkey trial,Ž where the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sent Clarence Darrow, left, to defend biology teacher John T. Scopes in his test of Tennessees law banning the teaching of the theory of evolution. William Jennings Bryan, right, testified for the prosecution as a Bible expert. During the 1950s and 1960s, interest group lawyers such as Thurgood Marshall, then chief counsel of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), successfully persuaded the courts to support African Americans struggle for their civil rights. Marshall here is shown with one of his clients, Autherine Lucy, expelled within days of becoming the first African American student to attend the University of Alabama, allegedly for her own safetyŽ in response to threats.

PAGE 86

86 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEMecutive branch officials.Large memberships and political clout are not prerequisites for filing suits in the courts,however. Interest groups may also turn to the courts because they find the judicial branch more sympathetic to their policy goals than the other two branches.Throughout the 1960s interest groups with liberal policy goals fared especially well in the federal courts.In addition,the public interest law firm concept gained prominence during this period.The public interest law firms pursue cases that serve the public interest in general „ including cases in the areas ofconsumer rights, employment discrimination,occupational safety,civil liberties,and environmental concerns. In the 1970s and 1980s conservative interest groups turned to the federal courts more frequently than they had before.This was in part a reaction to the successes ofliberal interest groups.It was also due to the increasingly favorable forum that the federal courts provided for conservative viewpoints. Interest group involvement in the judicial process may take several different forms depending upon the goals ofthe particular group. However,two principal tactics stand out:involvement in test cases and presentation ofinformation before the courts through amicus curiaeŽ(Latin,meaning friend ofthe courtŽ) briefs.Test CasesBecause the judiciary engages in policy making only by rendering decisions in specific cases,one tactic ofinterest groups is to make sure that a case appropriate for obtaining its policy goals is brought before the court. In some instances this means that the interest group will initiate and sponsor the case by providing all the necessary resources.The best-known example ofthis type ofsponsorship is Brown v.Board ofEducation (1954). In that case,although the suit against the Board ofEducation ofTopeka, Kansas,was filed by the parents ofLinda Brown,the National Association for the Advancement ofColored People (NAACP) supplied the legal help and money necessary to pursue the case all the way to the Supreme Court.Thurgood Marshall,who later became a U.S.Supreme Court justice, argued the suit on behalfofthe plaintiffand the NAACP.As a result,the NAACP gained a victory through the Supreme Courts decision that segregation in the public schools violates the equal protection clause ofthe Fourteenth Amendment. Interest groups may also provide assistance in a case initiated by someone else,but which nonetheless raises issues ofimportance to the group.A good example ofthis situation may be found in a freedom ofreligion case, Wisconsin v.Yoder .That case was initiated by the state ofWisconsin when it filed criminal complaints charging

PAGE 87

CHAPTER 4: LAWYERS, LITIGANTS, AND INTEREST GROUPS IN THE JUDICIAL PROCESS 87 Linda Brown, left, and her younger sister with their parents, who filed the landmark suit Brown v. Board of Education (1954) that led to the Supreme Courts decision that segregation in the public schools violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Abe Yoder, the Amish youth whose father, along with others of his faith, were charged by the state of Wisconsin with failure to send their children to school until the age of 16, as required by state law. In this freedom of religion case, interest groups came to the defense of the parents.

PAGE 88

88 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEMJonas Yoder and others with failure to send their children to school until the age of16 as required by state law. Yoder and the others,members ofthe Amish faith,believed that education beyond the eighth grade led to the breakdown ofthe values they cherished and to worldly influences on their children.Ž An organization known as the National Committee for Amish Religious Freedom (NCARF) came to the defense ofYoder and the others.Following a decision against the Amish in the trial court,the NCARF appealed to a Wisconsin circuit court,which upheld the trial courts decision.An appeal was made to the Wisconsin Supreme Court,which ruled in favor ofthe Amish,saying that the compulsory school attendance law violated the free exercise ofreligion clause ofthe First Amendment.Wisconsin then appealed to the U.S.Supreme Court, which on May 15,1972,sustained the religious objection that the NCARF had raised to the compulsory school attendance laws. As these examples illustrate,interest group involvement in litigation has focused on cases concerning major constitutional issues that have reached the Supreme Court.Because only a small percentage ofcases ever reaches the nations highest court,however, most ofthe work ofinterest group lawyers deals with more routine work at the lower levels ofthe judiciary. Instead offashioning major test cases for the appellate courts,these attorneys may simply be required to deal with the legal problems oftheir groupsclientele. During the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s,for example, public interest lawyers not only litigated major civil rights questions;they also defended African Americans and civil rights workers who ran into difficulties with the local authorities.These interest group attorneys,then,performed many ofthe functions ofa specialized legal aid society:They provided legal representation to those involved in an important movement for social change.Furthermore,they performed the important function of drawing attention to the plight of African Americans by keeping cases before the courts.Amicus Curiae BriefsSubmission ofamicus curiae briefs is the easiest method by which interest groups can become involved in cases. This method allows a group to get its message before the court even though it does not control the case.Provided it has the permission ofthe parties to the case or the permission ofthe court,an interest group may submit an amicus briefto supplement the arguments ofthe parties.The filing of amicus briefs is a tactic used in appellate rather than trial courts,at both the federal and the state levels. Sometimes these briefs are aimed at strengthening the position ofone of

PAGE 89

the parties in the case.When the Wisconsin v.Yoder case was argued before the U.S.Supreme Court,the cause ofthe Amish was supported by amicus curiae briefs filed by the General Conference ofSeventh Day Adventists,the National Council of Churches ofChrist in the United States,the Synagogue Council of America,the American Jewish Congress,the National Jewish Commission on Law and Public Affairs,and the Mennonite Central Committee. Sometimes friend-of-the-court briefs are used not to strengthen the arguments ofone ofthe parties but to suggest to the court the groups own view ofhow the case should be resolved.Amicus curiae briefs are often filed in an attempt to persuade an appellate court to either grant or deny review ofa lower-court decision.A study ofthe U.S.Supreme Court found that the presence ofamicus briefs significantly increased the chances that the Court would give full treatment to a case. Unlike private interest groups, all levels ofthe government can submit amicus briefs without obtaining permission.The solicitor general of the United States is especially important in this regard,and in some instances the Supreme Court may invite the solicitor general to present an amicus brief. CHAPTER 4: LAWYERS, LITIGANTS, AND INTEREST GROUPS IN THE JUDICIAL PROCESS 89

PAGE 91

A jury forewoman reads the verdict in court. The Sixth Amendment of the Constitution guarantees Americans the right to an impartial jury.THE CRIMINAL COURT PROCESSCHAPTER5

PAGE 92

The criminal process begins when a law is first broken and extends through the arrest,indictment,trial, and appeal.There is no single criminal,or civil,court process in the United States.Instead,the federal system has a court process at the national level,and each state and territory has its own set ofrules and regulations that affect the judicial process. Norms and similarities do exist among all ofthese governmental entities, and the discussion will focus primarily on these,but no two states have identical judicial systems and no states system is identical to that ofthe national government.THE NATURE AND SUBSTANCE OF CRIMEAn act is not automatically a crime because it is hurtful or sinful.An action constitutes a true crime only ifit specifically violates a criminal statute duly enacted by Congress,a state legislature,or some other public authority.A crime,then, is an offense against the state punishable by fine,imprisonment,or death. A crime is a violation ofobligations due the community as a whole and can be punished only by the state.The sanctions ofimprisonment and death cannot be imposed by a civil court or in a civil action (although a fine may be a civil or a criminal penalty). In the United States most crimes constitute sins ofcommission,such as aggravated assault or embezzlement;a few consist ofsins ofomission,such as failing to stop and render aid after a traffic accident or failing to file an income tax return.The state considers some crimes serious,such as murder and treason,and this seriousness is reflected in the corresponding punishments,such as life imprisonment or the death penalty.The state considers others crimes only mildly reprehensible,such as double parking or disturbing the peace,and consequently punishments ofa light fine or a night in the local jail are akin to an official slap on the wrist. Some crimes,such as kidnapping or rape,constitute actions that virtually all citizens consider outside the sphere ofacceptable human conduct, whereas other crimes constitute actions about which opinion would be divided.For example,an 1897 Michigan statute makes it illegal to curse in front ofa child,and a Nebraska law forbids bingo games at church suppers.Other criminal statutes are plainly silly:In Wisconsin it is illegal to sing in a bar,and in Louisiana it is forbidden to appear drunk at a meeting ofa literary society. The most serious crimes in the United States are felonies.In a majority ofthe states a felony is any offense for which the penalty may be death (in states that allow it) or imprisonment in the penitentiary (a federal or state prison);all other offenses are misdemeanors or infractions.In other states, and under federal law,a felony is an 92 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 93

offense for which the penalty may be death or imprisonment for a year or more.Thus,felonies are distinguished in some states according to the place where the punishment occurs;in some states and according to the federal government,the length ofthe sentence is the key factor.Examples offelonies include murder,forcible rape,and armed robbery.Misdemeanors are regarded as pettycrimes by the state,and their punishment usually consists ofconfinement in a city or county jail for less than a year.Public drunkenness,small-time gambling,and vagrancy are common examples ofmisdemeanor offenses. Some states have a third category of offense known as infractions.Often they include minor traffic offenses, such as parking violations,and the penalty is usually a small fine.Fines may also be part ofthe penalty for misdemeanors and felonies.CATEGORIES OF CRIMEFive broad categories that comprise the primary criminal offenses in the United States today are conventional,economic,syndicated,political,and consensual.Conventional CrimesProperty crimes make up the lions share ofthe 31.3 million conventional crimes committed annually in the United States.Property crimes are distinguished by the government from crimes ofviolence,although the two often go hand in glove.For example, the thiefwho breaks into a house and inadvertently confronts a resistant owner may harm the owner and thus be involved in more than just the property crime ofburglary. The less numerous,but more feared,conventional crimes are those against the person.These crimes of violence include murder and nonnegligent manslaughter,forcible rape, robbery,and aggravated assault.Economic CrimesThere are four broad categories ofeconomic crimes: € Personal crimes consist ofnonviolent criminal activity that one person inflicts on another with the hope of monetary gain.Examples include intentionally writing a bad check, cheating on ones income tax,and committing welfare fraud. € Abuse oftrust occurs when business or government employees violate their fidelity to their employer or clients and engage in practices such as commercial bribery,theft and embezzlement from the workplace, and filling out false expense accounts. € Business crimes are crimes that are not part ofthe central purpose ofthe business enterprise but are incidental to (or in furtherance of) it.Misleading advertising,violations ofthe antitrust laws,and false depreciation figures computed for corporate income tax purposes are all business crimes. CHAPTER 5: THE CRIMINAL COURT PROCESS 93

PAGE 94

€ Con games are white-collar criminal activities committed under the guise ofa business.Syndicated, or Organized, CrimesSyndicated crime is engaged in by groups ofpeople and is often directed on some type ofhierarchical basis.It represents an ongoing activity that is inexorably entwined with fear and corruption.Organized crime tends to focus on areas that are particularly lucrative,such as trafficking in illegal drugs,gambling,prostitution,and loan-sharking (money-lending at exorbitant interest rates and high repayment rates).Political CrimesPolitical crime usually constitutes an offense against the government:treason, armed rebellion,assassination ofpublic officials,and sedition.However,the term has come to include crimes committed by the government against individual citizens,dissident groups,and foreign governments or nationals „ for example,illegal wiretaps conducted by the government ofpolitically dissident groups or the refusal ofthe military to investigate incidents of sexual harassment.Consensual CrimesSo-called victimless crime,such as prostitution,gambling,illegal druguse,and unlawful sexual practices be-tween consenting adults,is called consensual because both perpetrator and client desire the forbidden activity.ELEMENTS OF A CRIMEEvery crime has several distinct elements,and unless the state is able to demonstrate in court the existence ofthese essential elements there can be no conviction.Although the judicial process in the courtroom may not focus separately and distinctly on each ofthese elements,they are at least implicit throughout the entire 94 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM Syndicated crime is one of five broad categories that comprise the primary criminal offenses in the United States today. At this June 20, 2002, press conference, U.S. Attorney General for the Southern District of New York James Comey, left, and Kevin Donovan, right, assistant director of the New York FBI field office, announce the indictment of 14 alleged members of the Gambino organized crime family in New York.

PAGE 95

process ofduly convicting someone ofa criminal offense.A Law Defining the Crime and the PunishmentIfan act is to be prohibited or required by the law,a duly constituted authority (usually Congress or a state legislature) must properly spell out the matter so that the citizenry can know in advance what conduct is prohibited or required.Lawmakers must also set forth the penalties to be imposed upon the individual who engages in the harmful conduct. There are several corollaries to this general principle.One is that the U.S.Constitution forbids criminal laws thatare ex post facto,that is,laws that declare certain conduct to be illegal after the conduct takes place.Likewise,the state may not pass bills ofattainder,which are laws that single out a partic-ular person or group ofpersons anddeclare that something is criminal forthem but legal for everyone else.A finalcorollary is that a law defining a crime must be precise so that the average person can determine in advance what conduct is prohibited or required.The Actus ReusActus reusŽis the Latin phrase meaning the criminal action committed by the accused that gives rise to the legal prosecution.The actus reus is the material element ofthe crime.This element may be the commission ofan action that is forbidden (for instance, assault and battery),or it may be the failure to perform an action that is required (for instance,a persons refusal to stop and render aid to a motor vehicle accident victim).The Mens ReaThe mens reaŽ(a Latin term) is the essential mental element ofthe crime. The U.S.legal system has always made a distinction between harm that was caused intentionally and harm that was caused by simple negligence or accident.Thus,ifone person takes the life ofanother,the state does not always call it murder.Ifthe killing was done with malice aforethought by a sane individual,it will likely be termed murder in the first degree.Ž But ifthe killing occurred in the passion ofa barroom brawl,it would more likely be called second-degree murder,Žwhich carries a lesser penalty.Reckless driving on the highway that results in the death ofanother would correspondingly be considered negligent homicideŽ„ a wrong,to be sure,but not as serious in the eyes ofthe state as the intentional killing ofanother.An Injury or ResultA crime consists ofa specific injury or a wrong perpetrated by one person against another.The crime may harm society at large,such as selling military secrets to a foreign government,or the injury may be inflicted upon an individual and,because ofits nature,is CHAPTER 5: THE CRIMINAL COURT PROCESS 95

PAGE 96

considered to offend society as a whole.The nature ofthe injury,as with the mens rea,often determines the nature ofthe crime itself.For example,consider two drivers who have been cutting each other offin traffic.Finally they both stop their cars and come out fighting.Suppose one ofthem hits the other so hard he dies.The crime may be murder (of some degree).Ifthe man does not die but suffers serious bodily harm,the crime is aggravated assault.Ifthe injury is minor,the charge may be simple assault.Because the nature of the injury often determines the offense,it is frequently asserted that the nature ofthe injury is the key legal element ofthe crime. Some actions may be criminal even though no injury is actually inflicted. Most crimes ofcriminal conspiracy fall into this category.For instance,if several persons were to plan to assassinate a judge or to bribe jurors in an attempt to keep a criminal from being convicted,the crime would be conspiracy to obstruct justice.This would be a crime even ifthe judge went unharmed and no money was ever passed to the jurors.All that is required is that the crime be planned and intended and that some specific, overt act be taken by one ofthe conspirators in furtherance oftheir plan (such as the purchase ofa weapon or possession ofa map ofthe route that the judge takes between his home and the courtroom).A Causal Relationship Between theAction and the Resultant InjuryBefore there can be a conviction for a criminal offense,the state must prove that the accused,acting in a natural and continuous sequence,produced the harmful situation.Usually proving a causal relationship is not difficult.If BillŽstabs JohnŽwith a knife and inflicts a minor wound,there is no doubt that Bill is guilty ofassault with a deadly weapon.But what ifJohn does not obtain proper medical care for the wound,develops an infection, and subsequently dies? Is Bill now guilty ofmanslaughter or murder? Or what ifafter being stabbed,John stumbles across a third party and causes injury to her? Is Bill to blame for this,too? Resolution ofquestions such as these are often difficult for judges and juries.The law requires that all circumstances be taken into account. The accused can be convicted only if the state can prove that his or her conduct is the direct,immediate,or determining cause ofthe resultant harm to the victim.PROCEDURES BEFORE A CRIMINAL TRIALBefore a criminal trial can be held,federal and state laws require a series ofprocedures and events.Some ofthese stages are mandated by the U.S.Constitution and state constitutions,some by court decisions,and others by legislative en96 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 97

actments.Custom and tradition often account for the rest.Although the exact nature ofthese procedural events varies from federal to state practice „ and from one state to another „ there are similarities throughout the country. These procedures,however,are not as automatic or routine as they might appear;rather,the judicial systems decision makers exercise discretion at all stages according to their values,attitudes,and views ofthe world.The ArrestThe arrest is the first substantial contact between the state and the accused. The U.S.legal system provides for two basic types ofarrest „ those with a warrant and those without.A warrant is issued after a complaint,filed by one person against another,has been presented and reviewed by a magistrate who has found probable cause for the arrest.Arrests without a warrant occur when a crime is committed in the presence ofa police officer or when an officer has probable cause to believe that someone has committed (or is about to commit) a crime.Such a beliefmust later be established in a sworn statement or testimony.In the United States up to 95 percent ofall arrests are made without a warrant. An officers decision whether to make an arrest is far from simple or automatic.To be sure,the officer who witnesses a murder will make an arrest on the spot ifpossible.But most lawbreaking incidents are not that simple or clear-cut,and police officials possess „ and exercise „ wide discretion about whether to take someone into custody.Sufficient resources are simply not available to the police for them to proceed against all activities that Congress and the legislatures have forbidden.Consequently,discretion must be exercised in determining how to allocate the time and resources that do exist.Police discretion is at a maximum in several areas.Trivial Offenses. Many police manuals advise their officers that when minor violations ofthe law are concerned, a warning is a more appropriate response than an arrest.Traffic violations,misconduct by juveniles,drunkenness,gambling,and vagrancy all constitute less serious crimes and entail judgment calls by police.Victim Will Not Seek Prosecution.Nonenforcement ofthe law is also the rule in situations where the victim ofa crime will not cooperate with the police in prosecuting a case.In the instance ofminor property crimes,for example,the victim is often satisfied if restitution occurs and the victim cannot afford the time to testify in court. Unless the police have expended considerable resources in investigating a particular property crime,they are generally obliged to abide by the victims wishes. When the victim ofa crime is in a continuing relationship with the crimCHAPTER 5: THE CRIMINAL COURT PROCESS 97

PAGE 98

inal,the police often decline to make an arrest.Such relationships include landlord and tenant,one neighbor and another,and,until recently, husband and wife.In this last case, however,heightened awareness ofdomestic violence has had a significant impact on police procedures. Rape and child molestation constitute another major category ofcrimes for which there are often no arrests because the victims will not or cannot cooperate with the police.Oftentimes the victim is personally acquainted with,or related to,the criminal,and the fear ofreprisals or ofugly publicity inhibits the victim from pressing a complaint.Victim Also Involved in Misconduct.When police officers perceive that the victim ofa crime is also involved in some type ofimproper or questionable conduct,the officers frequently opt not to make an arrest.Appearance Before a MagistrateAfter a suspect is arrested for a crime, he or she is booked at the police station;that is,the facts surrounding the arrest are recorded and the accused may be fingerprinted and photographed.Next the accused appears before a lower-level judicial official whose title may be judge, magistrate,or commissioner.Such an appearance is supposed to occur without unnecessary delayŽ;in 1991 the U.S.Supreme Court ruled that police may detain an individual arrested without a warrant for up to 48 hours without a court hearing on whether the arrest was justified. This appearance in court is the occasion ofseveral important events in the criminal justice process.First,the accused must have been informed of the precise charges and must be informed ofall constitutional rights and guarantees.Among others,these rights include those ofthe now famous Miranda v.Arizona decision handed down in 1966 by the Supreme Court.The accused must be warned prior to any questioning that he has the right to remain silent,that anything he says can be used against him in a court oflaw,that he has the right to the presence ofan attorney,and that ifhe cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed for him prior to any questioning.Ž(Such warnings must also be given by the arresting officer ifthe officer questions the suspect about the crime.) In some states the accused must be informed about other rights that are provided for in the states Bill ofRights,such as the right to a speedy trial and the right to confront hostile witnesses. Second,the magistrate will determine whether the accused is to be released on bail and,ifso,what the amount ofbail is to be.Constitutionally,the only requirement for the amount is that it shall not be excessive.ŽBail is considered to be a privilege „ not a right „ and it may be 98 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 99

denied altogether in capital punishment cases for which the evidence of guilt is strong or ifthe magistrate believes that the accused will flee from prosecution no matter what the amount ofbail.An alternative to bail is to release the defendant on recognizance,basically on a pledge by the defendant to return to court on the appointed date for trial. In minor cases the accused may be asked to plead guilty or not guilty.If the plea is guilty,a sentence may be pronounced on the spot.Ifthe defendant pleads not guilty,a trial date isscheduled.However,in the typical seri-ous (felony) case,the next primary duty ofthe magistrate is to determine whether the defendant requires a preliminary hearing.Ifsuch a hearing isappropriate,the matter is adjourned by the prosecution and a subsequent stageofthe criminal justice process begins.The Grand Jury Process or the Preliminary HearingAt the federal level all persons accused ofa crime are guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment to have their cases considered by a grand jury.However,the Supreme Court has refused to make this right binding on the states.Today only about halfofthe states use grand juries;in some ofthese,they are used for only special types ofcases. Those states that do not use grand juries employ a preliminary hearing or an examining trial.(A few states use both procedures.) Regardless ofwhich method is used,the primary purpose ofthis stage in the criminal justice process is to determine whether there CHAPTER 5: THE CRIMINAL COURT PROCESS 99 Since 1966, police have had to advise suspects about their rights prior to any interrogation. They use the so-called Miranda Warning,Ž named after Ernesto Miranda, who was granted a retrial because he was not advised about his rights.

PAGE 100

is probable cause for the accused to be subjected to a formal trial.The Grand Jury.Grand juries consist of16 to 23 citizens,usually selected at random from the voter registration lists,who render decisions by a majority vote.Their terms may last anywhere from one month to one year, and some may hear more than a thousand cases during their term.The prosecutor alone presents evidence to the grand jury.Not only are the accused and his or her attorney absent from the proceedings,but usually they also have no idea which grand jury is hearing the case or when.Ifa majority believes probable cause exists,then an indictment,or true bill,is brought. Otherwise the result is a no bill. Historically two arguments have been made in favor ofgrand juries. One is that grand juries serve as a check on a prosecutor who might be using the office to harass an innocent person for political or personal reasons.Ideally an unbiased group ofcitizens would interpose themselves between an unethical prosecutor and the defendant. A second justification for grand juries is to make sure that the district attorney has secured enough evidence to warrant the trouble and expense „ for both the state and the accused „ ofa full-fledged trial.The Preliminary Hearing.In the majority ofstates that have abolished the grand jury system,a preliminary hearing is used to determine whether there is probable cause for the accused to be bound over for trial.At this hearing the prosecution presents its case,and the accused has the right to cross-examine witnesses and to produce favorable evidence.Usually the defense elects not to fight at this stage ofthe criminal process;in fact,a preliminary hearing is waived by the defense in the vast majority ofcases. Ifthe examining judge determines that there is probable cause for a trialor ifthe preliminary hearing is waived,the prosecutor must file a bill ofinformation with the court where the trial will be held.This serves to outline precisely the charges that will be adjudicated in the new legal setting.The ArraignmentArraignment is the process in which the defendant is brought before the judge in the court where he or she is to be tried to respond to the grand jury indictment or the prosecutors bill ofinformation.The prosecutor or a clerk usually reads in open court the charges that have been brought against the accused.The defendant is informed that he or she has a constitutional right to be represented by an attorney and that a lawyer will be appointed without charge ifnecessary. The defendant has several optionsabout how to plead to the charges.The most common pleas are guilty and notguilty.But the accused may also plead not guilty by reason ofinsanity,for100 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 101

mer jeopardy (having been tried on thesame charge at another time),or nolo contendereŽ(from the Latin,no contest).Nolo contendere means that the accused does not deny the facts ofthe case but claims that he or she has not committed any crime,or it may mean that the defendant does not under-stand the charges.The nolo contendere plea can be entered only with the consent ofthe judge (and sometimes theprosecutor as well).Such a plea has two advantages.It may help the accused save face vis--vis the public be-cause he or she can later claim that technically no guilty verdict was reached even though a sentence or afine may have been imposed.Also,theplea may spare the defendant from certain civil penalties that might follow a guilty plea (for example,a civil suit that might follow from conviction for fraud or embezzlement). Ifthe accused pleads not guilty,the judge will schedule a date for a trial.If the plea is guilty,the defendant may be sentenced on the spot or at a later date set by the judge.Before the court will accept a guilty plea,the judge must certify that the plea was made voluntarily and that the defendant was aware ofthe implications ofthe plea. A guilty plea is to all intents and purposes the equivalent to a formal verdict ofguilty.The Possibility of a Plea BargainAt both the state and federal levels at least 90 percent ofall criminal cases never go to trial.That is because before the trial date a bargain has been struck between the prosecutor and the defendants attorney concerning the official charges to be brought and the nature ofthe sentence that the state will recommend to the court.In effect, some form ofleniency is promised in exchange for a guilty plea. Because plea bargaining virtually seals the fate ofthe defendant before trial,the role ofthe judge is simply to ensure that the proper legal and constitutional procedures have been followed.There are three (not mutually exclusive) types ofplea bargains.Reduction of Charges. The most common form ofagreement between a prosecutor and a defendant is a reduction ofthe charge to one less serious than that supported by the evidence.This exposes the criminal to a substantially reduced range ofsentence possibilities.A second reason for a defendant to plead guilty to a reduced charge is to avoid a record of conviction for an offense that carries a social stigma.Another possibility is that the defendant may wish to avoid a felony record altogether and would be willing to plead guilty to almost any misdemeanor offered by the prosecutor rather than face a felony charge.Deletion of Tangent Charges.Asecond form ofplea bargain is the agreement ofthe district attorney to drop other charges pending against an indiCHAPTER 5: THE CRIMINAL COURT PROCESS 101

PAGE 102

vidual.There are two variations on this theme.One is an agreement not to prosecute verticallyŽ„ that is,not to prosecute more serious charges filed against the individual.The second type ofagreement is to dismiss horizontalŽcharges;that is to dismiss additional indictments for the same crime pending against the accused. Another variation ofthis type of plea bargaining is the agreement in which a repeater clause is dropped from an indictment.At the federal level and in many states,a person is considered a habitual criminal upon the third conviction for a violent felony anywhere in the United States. The mandatory sentence for the habitual criminal is life imprisonment.In state courts the habitual criminal charge often is dropped in exchange for a plea ofguilty. Another plea bargain ofthis type is the agreement in which indictments in different courts are consolidated into one court in order that the sentences may run concurrently.As indictments or preliminary hearing rulings are handed down in many jurisdictions, they are placed on a trial docket on a rotation system.This means that a defendant charged with four counts of forgery and one charge ofpossession ofa forged instrument might be placed on the docket offive different courts.Generally it is common practice in such multicourt districts to transfer all ofa persons indictments to the first court listed.This gives the presiding judge the discretion ofallowing all ofthe defendants sentences to run concurrently.Sentence Bargaining.A third form ofplea bargaining concerns a plea of guilty from the defendant in exchange for a prosecutors agreement to ask the judge for a lighter sentence.The strength ofthe sentence negotiation is based upon the realities ofthe limited resources ofthe judicial system.At the state level,at least,prosecutors are able to promise the defendant a fairly specific sentence with confidence that the judge will accept the recommendation.Ifthe judge were not to do so,the prosecutors credibility would quickly begin to wane,and many ofthe defendants who had been pleading guilty would begin to plead not guilty and take their chances in court.The result would be a gigantic increase in court dockets that would overwhelm the judicial system and bring it to a standstill.Prosecutors and judges understand this reality,and so do the defense attorneys.Constitutional and Statutory Restrictions on Plea Bargaining.At both the state and federal levels,the requirements ofdue process oflaw mean that plea bargains must be made voluntarily and with comprehension. This means that the defendant must be admonished by the court ofthe consequences ofa guilty plea (for example,the defendant waives all oppor102 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 103

tunities to change his or her mind at a later date),that the accused must be sane,and that,as one state puts it,It must plainly appear that the defendant is uninfluenced by any consideration offear or by any persuasion,or delusive hope ofpardon prompting him to confess his guilt.Ž For the first two types ofplea bargains „ reduction ofcharges and deletion oftangent charges „ some stricter standards govern the federal courts.One is that the judge may not actually participate in the process of plea bargaining;at the state level judges may play an active role in this process.Likewise,ifa plea bargain has been made between the U.S.attorney and the defendant,the government may not renege on the agreement.If the federal government does so,the federal district judge must withdraw the guilty plea.Finally,the Federal Rules ofCriminal Procedure require that before a guilty plea may be accepted,the prosecution must present a summary ofthe evidence against the accused,and the judge must agree that there is strong evidence ofthe defendants guilt.Arguments For and Against Plea Bargaining.For the defendant the obvious advantage ofthe bargain is that he or she is treated less harshly than would be the case ifthe accused were convicted and sentenced under maximum conditions.Also,the absence ofa trial often lessens publicity on the case,and because ofpersonal interests or social pressures,the accused may wish to avoid the length and publicity ofa formal trial.Finally, some penologists (professionals in the field ofpunishment and rehabilitation) argue that the first step toward rehabilitation is for a criminal to admit guilt and to recognize his or her problem. Plea bargaining also offers some distinct advantages for the state and for society as a whole.The most obvious is the certainty ofconviction, because no matter how strong the evidence may appear,an acquittal is always a possibility as long as a trial is pending.Also,the district attorneys office and judges are saved an enormous amount oftime and effort by their not having to prepare and preside over cases in which there is no real contention ofinnocence or that are not suited to the trial process.Finally,when police officers are not required to be in court testifying in criminal trials,they have more time to devote to preventing and solving crimes. Plea bargains do have a negative side as well.The most frequent objection to plea bargaining is that the defendants sentence may be based upon nonpenological grounds.With the large volume ofcases making plea bargaining the rule,the sentence often bears no relation to the specific facts ofthe case,to the correctional needs of the criminal,or to societys legitimate CHAPTER 5: THE CRIMINAL COURT PROCESS 103

PAGE 104

interest in vigorous prosecution ofthe case.A second defect is that ifplea bargaining becomes the norm ofa particular system,then undue pressure may be placed upon even innocent persons to plead guilty.Studies have shown that,in some jurisdictions,the less the chance for conviction,the harder the bargaining may be because the prosecutor wants to get at least some form ofminimal confession out ofthe accused. A third disadvantage ofplea bargaining is the possibility ofthe abuse called overcharging „ the process whereby the prosecutor brings charges against the accused more severe than the evidence warrants,with the hope that this will strengthen his or her hand in subsequent negotiations with the defense attorney. Another flaw with the plea bargaining system is its very low level ofvisibility.Bargains between prosecutor and defense attorney are not made in open court presided over by a neutral jurist and for all to observe.Instead, they are more likely made over a cup ofcoffee in a basement courthouse cafeteria where the conscience ofthe two lawyers is the primary guide. Finally,the system has the potential to circumvent key procedural and constitutional rules ofevidence.Because the prosecutor need not present any evidence or witnesses in court,a bluffmay result in a conviction even though the case might not be able to pass the muster ofthe due process clause.The defense may be at a disadvantage because the rules ofdiscovery (the laws that allow the defense to know in detail the evidence the prosecution will present) in some states limit the defense counsels case preparation to the period after the plea bargain has occurred.Thus the plea bargain may deprive the accused of basic constitutional rights.The Adversarial ProcessThe adversarial model is based on the assumption that every case or controversy has two sides to it:In criminal cases the government claims a defendant is guilty while the defendant contends innocence;in civil cases the plaintiffasserts that the person he or she is suing has caused some injury while the respondent denies responsibility.In the courtroom each party provides his or her side ofthe story as he or she sees it.The theory (or hope) underlying this model is that the truth will emerge ifeach party is given unbridled opportunity to present the full panoply ofevidence,facts,and arguments before a neutral and attentive judge (and jury). The lawyers representing each side are the major players in this courtroom drama.The judge acts more as a passive,disinterested referee whose primary role is to keep both sides within the accepted rules oflegal procedure and courtroom decorum.The judge eventually determines which side has won in accordance with the 104 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 105

rules ofevidence,but only after both sides have had a full opportunity to present their case.PROCEDURES DURING A CRIMINAL TRIALAssuming that no plea bargain has been struck and the accused maintains his or her in-nocence,a formal trial will take place. This is a right guaranteed by the SixthAmendment to all Americans chargedwith federal crimes and a right guaranteed by the various state constitutions „ and by the Fourteenth Amendment„ to all persons charged with state offenses.The accused is provided many constitutional and statutory rights during the trial.The following are the primary rights that are binding on both the federal and state courts.Basic Rights Guaranteed During the Trial ProcessThe Sixth Amendment says,In all criminal prosecutions,the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial.ŽThe Founders emphasized the word speedy so that an accused would not languish in prison for a long time prior to the trial or have the determination ofhis or her fate put offfor an unduly long period of time.But how soon is speedy? Although this word has been defined in various ways by the Supreme Court, Congress gave new meaning to the term when it passed the Speedy Trial Act of1974.The act mandated time limits,ultimately reaching 100 days, within which criminal charges must either be brought to trial or dismissed. Most states have similar measures on the statute books,although the precise time period varies from one jurisdiction to another.By public trialŽthe Founders meant to discourage the notion ofsecret proceedings whereby an accused could be tried without public knowledge and whisked offto some unknown detention camp. The Sixth Amendment also guarantees Americans the right to an impartial jury.At the least this has meant that the prospective jurors must not be prejudiced one way or the other before the trial begins.For example,a potential juror may not be a friend or relative ofthe prosecutor or the crime victim;nor may someone serve who believes that anyone ofthe defendants race or ethnic ancestry is probably the criminal type.ŽWhat the concept ofan impartial jury ofones peers has come to mean in practice is that jurors are to be selected randomly from the voter registration lists „ supplemented in an increasing number ofjurisdictions by lists based on automobile registrations,drivers licenses,telephone books,welfare rolls,and so on.Although this system does not provide a perfect cross-section ofthe community,because not all persons are registered to vote,the Supreme Court has said that this method is good enough. The High Court has also ruled that no class ofpersons (such as African CHAPTER 5: THE CRIMINAL COURT PROCESS 105

PAGE 106

Americans or women) may be systematically excluded from jury service. Besides being guaranteed the right to be tried in the same locale where the crime was committed and to be informed ofthe charges,defendants have the right to be confronted with the witnesses against them.They have the right to know who their accusers are and what they are charging so that a proper defense may be formulated. The accused is also guaranteed the opportunity to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.ŽPrior to the 1960s this meant that one had this right (at the state level) only for serious crimes and only ifone could pay for an attorney.However,because ofa series ofSupreme Court decisions,the law ofthe land guarantees one an attorney iftried for any crime that may result in a prison term,and the government must pay for the legal defense for an indigent defendant. This is the rule at both the national and state levels. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution declares that no person shall be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy oflife and limb.ŽThis is the double jeopardy clause and means that no one may be tried twice for the same crime by any state government or by the federal government.It does not mean,however, that a person may not be tried twice for the same action ifthat action has violated both national and state laws. For example,someone who robs a federally chartered bank in New Jersey runs afoul ofboth federal and state law.That person could be legally tried and acquitted for that offense in a New Jersey court and subsequently be tried for that same action in federal court. Another important right guaranteed to the accused at both the state and federal levels is not to be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.ŽThis has been interpreted to mean that the fact that someone elects not to testify on his or her own behalfin court may not be used against the person by judge and jury.This guarantee serves to reinforce the principle that under the U.S.judicial system the burden ofproofis on the state;the accused is presumed innocent until the government proves otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt. Finally,the Supreme Court has interpreted the guarantee ofdue process oflaw to mean that evidence procuredin an illegal search and seizure may notbe used against the accused at trial. The source ofthis so-called exclusionary rule is the Fourth Amendment to the U.S.Constitution;the Supreme Court has made its strictures binding on the states as well.The Courts purpose was to eliminate any incentive the police might have to illegally obtain evidence against the accused.Selection of JurorsIfthe accused elects not to have a bench trial „ that is,not to be tried and sentenced by a judge alone „ his 106 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 107

or her fate will be determined by a jury.At the federal level 12 persons must render a unanimous verdict.At the state level such criteria apply only to the most serious offenses.In many states a jury may consist offewer than 12 persons and render verdicts by other than unanimous decisions. A group ofpotential jurors is summoned to appear in court.They are questioned in open court about their general qualifications for jury service in a process known as voir direŽ (from Old French,meaning to say the truthŽ).The prosecutor and the defense attorney ask general and specific questions ofthe potential jurors.Are they citizens ofthe state? Can they comprehend the English language? Have they or anyone in their family ever been tried for a criminal offense? Have they read about or formed any opinions about the case at hand?In conducting the voir dire,the stateand the defense have two goals.The first is to eliminate all members ofthepanel who have an obvious reason whythey might not render an impartial decision in the case.Common examples might be someone who is excluded bylaw from serving on a jury,a juror who is a friend or relative ofa participant in the trial,and someone who openly admits a strong bias in the case at hand. Objections to jurors in this category areknown as challenges for cause,and the number ofsuch challenges is unlimited.It is the judge who determines whether these challenges are valid. The second goal that the opposing attorneys have in questioning prospective jurors is to eliminate those who they believe would be unfavorable to their side even though no overt reason is apparent for the potential bias.Each side is allowed a number of peremptory challenges „ requests to the court to exclude a prospective juror with no reason given.Most states customarily give the defense more peremptory challenges than the prosecution.At the federal level one to three challenges per jury are usually permitted each side,depending on the nature ofthe offense;as many as 20 are allowed in capital cases.The use of peremptory challenges is more ofan art than a science and is usually based on the hunch ofthe attorneys. In the past attorneys were able to exclude potential jurors via the peremptory challenge for virtually any reason whatsoever.However,in recent years the Supreme Court has interpreted the Fourteenth Amendments equal protection clause to restrict this discretion by prohibiting prosecutors from using their challenges to exclude African Americans or women from serving on a criminal jury. The process ofquestioning and challenging prospective jurors continues until all those duly challenged for cause are eliminated,the peremptory challenges are either used up or waived,and a jury of12 (six in some states) has been created.In some states alternate jurors are also chosen.They CHAPTER 5: THE CRIMINAL COURT PROCESS 107

PAGE 108

attend the trial but participate in deliberations only ifone ofthe original jurors is unable to continue in the proceedings.Once the panel has been selected,they are sworn in by the judge or the clerk ofthe court.Opening StatementsAfter the formal trial begins,both the prosecution and the defense make an opening statement (although in no state is the defense compelled to do so).Long and detailed statements are more likely to be made in jury trials than in bench trials.The purpose of opening statements is to provide members ofthe jury „ who lack familiarity with the law and with procedures ofcriminal investigation „ with an outline ofthe major objectives ofeach sides case,the evidence that is to be presented,the witnesses that are to be called,and what each side seeks to prove.Ifthe opening statements are well presented,the jurors will find it easier to grasp the meaning and significance ofthe evidence and testimony.The usual procedure is for the state to make its opening statement first and for the defense to follow with a statement about how it will refute that case.The Prosecutions CaseAfter the opening statements the pros-ecutor presents the evidence amassed by the state against the accused.Evidence is generally oftwo types „physical evidence and the testimony ofwitnesses.The physical evidence mayinclude things such as bullets,ballisticstests,fingerprints,handwriting samples,blood and urine tests,and otherdocuments or items that serve as physical aids.The defense may object to theadmission ofany ofthese tangible items and will,ifsuccessful,have the item excluded from consideration.If defense challenges are unsuccessful, the physical evidence is labeled by one ofthe courtroom personnel and becomes part ofthe official record. Most evidence at criminal trials takes the form oftestimony ofwitnesses.The format is a question-andanswer procedure whose purpose is to elicit very specific information in an orderly fashion.The goal is to present only evidence that is relevant to the immediate case at hand and not to give confusing or irrelevant information or illegal evidence that might result in a mistrial (for example, evidence that the accused had a prior conviction for an identical offense). After each witness the defense attorney has the right to cross-examine. The goal ofthe defense will be to impeach the testimony ofthe prosecution witness „ that is,to discredit it. The attorney may attempt to confuse, fluster,or anger the witness,causing him or her to lose self-control and begin providing confusing or conflicting testimony.A prosecution witness testimony may also be impeached if defense witnesses who contradict the version ofevents suggested by the state 108 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 109

are subsequently presented.Upon completion ofthe cross-examination, the prosecutor may conduct a redirect examination,which serves to clarify or correct some telling point made during the cross-examination.After the state has presented all its evidence and witnesses,it rests its case.The Case for the DefenseThe presentation ofthe case for the defense is similar in style and format to that ofthe prosecution.Tangible evidence is less common in the defenses case,and most ofthe evidence will be that ofwitnesses who are prepared to rebut or contradict the prosecutions arguments.The witnesses are questioned by the defense attorney in the same style as those in the prosecution case.Each defense witness may in turn be cross-examined by the district attorney,and then a redirect examination is in order. The difference between the case for the prosecution and the case for the defense lies in their obligation before the law.The defense is not required by law to present any new or additional evidence or any witnesses at all.The defense may consist merely ofchallenging the credibility or the legality of the states evidence and witnesses.The defense is not obligated to prove the innocence ofthe accused;it need show only that the states case is not beyond a reasonable doubt.The defendant need not even take the stand.(However,ifhe or she elects to do so,the accused faces the same risks ofcrossexamination as any other witness.) After the defense has rested its case, the prosecution has the right to present rebuttal evidence.In turn,the defense may offer a rejoinder known as a surrebuttal.After that,each side delivers closing arguments.Oftentimes this is one ofthe more dramatic episodes in the trial because each side seeks to sum up its case,condense its strongest arguments,and make one last appeal to the jury.New evidence may not be presented at this stage,and the arguments ofboth sides tend to ring with emotion and appeals to values that transcend the immediate case. The prosecutor may talk about the crime problem in general,about the need for law and order,and about the need not to let compassion for the accused get in the way ofempathy for the crime victim.The defense attorney,on the other hand,may remind the jurors how we have all made mistakes in this lifeŽor argue that in a free, democratic society any doubt they have should be resolved in favor ofthe accused.The prosecution probably avoids emotionalism more than the defense attorney,however,because many jury verdicts have been reversed on appeal after the district attorney injected prejudicial statements into the closing statements.Role of the Judge During the TrialThe judges role in the trial,although very important,is a relatively passive CHAPTER 5: THE CRIMINAL COURT PROCESS 109

PAGE 110

110 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM Prosecutors and police display a seizure of more than $45 million worth of heroin and cocaine. Illegal drug traffic belongs under either one of two categories of crime: organized crime and consensual crime, also known as victimless crime, because both the perpetrator and the client desire the forbidden activity. Witnesses and physical evidence form the principal elements of the prosecutions case in most trials. Left: Tampa Police Department investigators take fingerprint samples in an attempt to trace an accused terrorist. Above: An expert witness points to a chart of the parking lot where an alleged crime took place.

PAGE 111

one.He or she does not present any evidence or take an active part in the examination ofthe witnesses.The judge is called upon to rule on the many motions ofthe prosecutor and ofthe defense attorney regarding the types ofevidence that may be presented and the kinds ofquestions that may be asked ofthe witnesses.In some jurisdictions the judge is permitted to ask substantive questions of the witnesses and also to comment to the jury about the credibility ofthe evidence that is presented;in other states the judge is constrained from such activity.Still,the American legal tradition has room for a variety of judicial styles that depend on the personality,training,and wisdom ofindividual judges. First and foremost,the judge is expected to play the part ofa disinterested party whose primary job is to see to it that both sides are allowed to present their cases as fully as possible within the confines ofthe law.If judges depart from the appearance or practice ofbeing fair and neutral parties,they run counter to fundamental tenets ofAmerican jurisprudence and risk having their decisions overturned by an appellate court. Although judges do for the most part play such a role,the backgrounds and values ofthe jurists also affect their decisions in the close calls „ when they are called upon to rule on a motion for which the arguments are about equally strong or on a point oflaw that is open to a variety ofinterpretations.Role of the Jury During the TrialThe jurorsrole during the trial is passive.Their job is to listen attentively to the cases presented by the opposing attorneys and then come to a decision based solely on the evidence that is set forth.They are ordinarily not permit-ted to ask questions either ofthe witnesses or ofthe judge,nor are they allowed to take notes ofthe proceedings.This is not because ofconstitutional or statutory prohibitions but primarily because it has been the traditional practice ofcourts in America. In recent years,however,many judges have allowed jurors to become more involved in the judicial arena. Chicagos ChiefU.S.District Court Judge John F.Grady has for over a decade permitted jurors in his courtroom to take notes.At least four U.S. appellate courts have given tacit approval to the practice ofjuror participation in questioning witnesses,as long as jurors are not permitted to blurt out queries in the midst oftrial and attorneys are given a chance to object to specific questions before they are posed to witnesses.In some states a few trial judges have allowed jurors to take fairly active roles in the trial.Still,at both state and federal levels the role ofthe jury remains basically passive. CHAPTER 5: THE CRIMINAL COURT PROCESS 111

PAGE 112

Instructions to the JuryAlthough the jurys job is to weigh and assess the facts ofthe case,the judge must instruct the jurors about the meaning ofthe law and how the law is to be applied.Because many cases are overturned on appeal as a result of faulty jury instructions,judges tend to take great care that the wording be technically and legally correct. All jury instructions must have some basic elements.One is to define for the jurors the crime with which the accused is charged.This may involve giving the jurors a variety ofoptions about what kind ofverdict to bring.For example,ifone person has taken the life ofanother,the state may be trying the accused for first-degree murder.Nevertheless,the judge may be obliged to acquaint the jury with the legal definition ofsecond-degree murder or manslaughter ifit should determine that the defendant was the killer but did not act with malice aforethought. The judge must also remind the jury that the burden ofproofis on the state and that the accused is presumed to be innocent.If,after considering all the evidence,the jury still has a reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the accused,it must bring in a not guilty verdict. Finally,the judge usually acquaints the jurors with a variety ofprocedural matters:how to contact the judge if they have questions,the order in which they must consider the charges ifthere are more than one,who must sign the official documents that express the verdict ofthe jury.After the instructions are read to the jury (and the attorneys for each side have been given an opportunity to offer objections),the jurors retreat into a deliberation room to decide the fate ofthe accused.The Jurys DecisionThe jury deliberates in complete privacy;no outsiders observe or participate in its debate.During their deliberation jurors may request the clarification oflegal questions from the judge,and they may look at itemsofevidence or selected segments ofthecase transcript,but they may consult nothing else „ no law dictionaries,no legal writings,no opinions from experts.When it has reached a decision by a vote ofits members,the jury returns to the courtroom to announce its verdict.Ifit has not reached a decision by nightfall,the jurors are sent home with firm instructions neither to discuss the case with others nor read about the case in the newspapers. In very important or notorious cases, the jury may be sequestered by the judge,which means that its members will spend the night in a local hotel away from the public eye. Ifthe jury becomes deadlocked and cannot reach a verdict,it may report that fact to the judge.In such an event the judge may insist that the jury continue its effort to reach a ver112 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 113

CHAPTER 5: THE CRIMINAL COURT PROCESS 113 Defendants in the photos to the left and above are shown awaiting the jurys verdict and listening to the judges announcement of the verdict. Once the verdict is reached, the judge has several weeks to determine the penalty, based on the principle that the punishment should fit the crime. Bottom left, a prisoner is led back to his cell.

PAGE 114

dict.Or,ifthe judge is convinced that the jury is in fact hopelessly deadlocked,he or she may dismiss the jury and call for a new trial. Research studies indicate that most juries dealing with criminal cases make their decisions fairly quickly.Almost all juries take a vote soon after they retire to their chambers in order to see how divided,or united,they are. In 30 percent ofthe cases it takes only one vote to reach a unanimous decision.In 90 percent ofthe remainder, the majority on the first ballot eventually wins out.Hung juries „ those in which no verdict can be reached „ tend to occur only when a large minority existed on the first ballot. Scholars have also learned that juries often reach the same verdict that the judge would have,had he or she been solely responsible for the decision.One large jury study asked judges to state how they would have decided jury cases over which they presided. The judge and jury agreed in 81 percent ofthe criminal cases (about the same as in civil cases).In 19 percent of the criminal cases the judge and jury disagreed,with the judge showing a marked tendency to convict where the juries had acquitted. When the members ofthe jury do finally reach a decision,they return to the courtroom and their verdict is announced in open court,often by the jury foreman.At this time either the prosecutor or the defense attorney often asks that the jury be polled „ that is,that each juror be asked individually ifthe general verdict actually reflects his or her own opinion.The purpose is to determine whether each juror supports the overall verdict or whether he or she is just caving in to group pressure.Ifthe polling procedure reveals that the jury is indeed not ofone mind,it may be sent back to the jury room to continue deliberations; in some jurisdictions a mistrial may be declared.Ifa mistrial is declared, the case may be tried again before another jury.There is no double jeopardy because the original jury did not agree on a verdict.Ifthe jurys verdict is not guilty,the defendant is discharged on the spot and is free to leave the courtroom.PROCEDURES AFTER A CRIMINAL TRIALAt the close ofthe criminal trial, generally two stages remain for the defendant ifhe or she has been found guilty:sentencing and an appeal.SentencingSentencing is the courts formal pronouncement ofjudgment upon the defendant at which time the punishment or penalty is set forth. At the federal level and in most states,sentences are imposed by the judge only.However,in several states the defendant may elect to be sentenced by either a judge or a jury,and in capital cases states generally require 114 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 115

that no death sentence shall be imposed unless it is the determination of 12 unanimous jurors.In some states after a jury finds someone guilty,the jury deliberates a second time to determine the sentence.In several states a new jury is empaneled expressly for sentencing.At this time the rules of evidence are more relaxed,and the jury may be permitted to hear evidence that was excluded during the actual trial (for example,the previous criminal record ofthe accused). After the judge pronounces the sentence,several weeks customarily elapse between the time the defendant is found guilty and the time when the penalty is imposed.This interval permits the judge to hear and consider any posttrial motions that the defense attorney might make (such as a motion for a new trial) and to allow a probation officer to conduct a presentence investigation.The probation officer is a professional with a background in criminology,psychology, or social work,who makes a recommendation to the judge about the length ofthe sentence to be imposed. The probation officer customarily examines factors such as the background ofthe criminal,the seriousness ofthe crime committed,and the likelihood that the criminal will continue to engage in illegal activity. Judges are not required to follow the probation officers recommendation, but it is still a major factor in the judges calculus as to what the sentence shall be.Judges are presented with a variety ofalternatives and a range ofsentences when it comes to punishment for the criminal.Many of these alternatives involve the concept ofrehabilitation and call for the assistance ofprofessionals in the fields of criminology and social science. The lightest punishment that a judge can hand down is that ofprobation.This is often the penalty ifthe crime is regarded as minor or ifthe judge believes that the guilty person is not likely to engage in additional criminal activity.Ifa probated sentence is handed down,the criminal may not spend any time in prison as long as the conditions ofthe probation are maintained.Such conditions might include staying away from convicted criminals,not committing other crimes,or with increasing frequency,performing some type of community service.Ifa criminal serves out his or her probation without incident,the criminal record is usually wiped clean and in the eyes of the law it is as ifno crime had ever been committed. Ifthe judge is not disposed toward probation and feels that jail time is in order,he or she must impose a prison sentence that is within a range prescribed by law.The reason for a range ofyears instead ofan automatically assigned number is that the law recognizes that not all crimes and criminals are alike and that in principle the punishment should fit the crime. CHAPTER 5: THE CRIMINAL COURT PROCESS 115

PAGE 116

In an effort to eliminate gross disparities in sentencing,the federal government and many states have attempted to develop sets ofprecise guidelines to create greater consistency among judges.At the national level this effort was manifested by the enactment ofthe Sentencing Reform Act of1987,which established guidelines to structure the sentencing process. Congress provided that judges may depart from the guidelines only ifthey find an aggravating or mitigating circumstance that the commission did not adequately consider.Although the congressional guidelines do not specify the kinds offactors that could constitute grounds for departure from the sentencing guidelines,Congress did state that such grounds could not include race,gender,national origin, creed,religion,socioeconomic status, drug dependence,or alcohol abuse. The states,too,have a variety of programs for avoiding vast disparities in judgessentences.By 1995,22 states had created commissions to establish sentencing guidelines for their judges, and as oflate 1997 such guidelines were in effect in 17 states.Likewise,almost all ofthe states have now enacted mandatory sentencing laws that require an automatic,specific sentence upon conviction ofcertain crimes „ particularly violent crimes,crimes in which a gun was used,or crimes perpetrated by habitual offenders. Despite the enormous impact that judges have on the sentence,they do not necessarily have the final say on the matter.Whenever a prison term is set by the judge,it is still subject to the parole laws ofthe federal government and ofthe states.Thus parole boards (and sometimes the president and governors who may grant pardons or commute sentences) have the final say about how long an inmate actually stays in prison.An AppealAt both the state and federal levels everyone has the right to at least one appeal upon conviction ofa felony, but in reality few criminals avail themselves ofthis privilege.An appeal is based on the contention that an error oflaw was made during the trial process.Such an error must be reversible as opposed to harmless.An error is considered harmless ifits occurrence had no effect on the outcome ofthe trial.A reversible error, however,is a serious one that might have affected the verdict ofthe judge or jury.For example,a successful appeal might be based on the argument that evidence was improperly admitted at trial,that the judges instructions to the jury were flawed, or that a guilty plea was not voluntarily made.However,appeals must be based on questions ofprocedure and legal interpretations,not on factual determinations ofthe defendants guilt or innocence as such.Furthermore,under most circumstances one cannot appeal the length ofones sen116 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 117

tence in the United States (as long as it was in the range prescribed by law). Criminal defendants do have some degree ofsuccess on appeal about 20 percent ofthe time,but this does not mean that the defendant goes free. The usual practice is for the appellate court to remand the case (send it back down) to the lower court for a new trial.At that point the prosecution must determine whether the procedural errors in the original trial can be overcome in a second trial and whether it is worth the time and effort to do so.A second trial is not considered to be double jeopardy,since the defendant has chosen to appeal the original conviction. The media and others concerned with the law often call attention to appellate courts that turn loose seemingly guilty criminals and to convictions that are reversed on technicalities. Surely this does happen,and one might argue that this is inevitable in a democratic country whose legal system is based on fair play and the presumption ofthe innocence ofthe accused.However,about 90 percent ofall defendants plead guilty,and this plea virtually excludes the possibility ofan appeal.Ofthe remaining group,two-thirds are found guilty at trial,and only a small percentage of these appeal.Ofthose who do appeal, only about 20 percent have any measurable degree ofsuccess.Of those whose convictions are reversed, many are found guilty at a subsequent trial.Thus the number ofpersons convicted ofcrimes who are subsequently freed because ofreversible court errors is a small fraction of 1 percent. CHAPTER 5: THE CRIMINAL COURT PROCESS 117

PAGE 119

Multnomah (Oregon) County Circuit Judge Roosevelt Robinson polls the jury about the verdict in a civil law case involving tort law, specifically, a suit brought against a corporation for defective products.CHAPTER6THE CIVIL COURT PROCESS

PAGE 120

Civil actions are separate and distinct from criminal proceedings.This chapter focuses on civil courts:how civil law differs from criminal law,the most important categories ofcivil law,alternatives to trials,and a step-by-step look at the civil trial process.THE NATURE AND SUBSTANCE OF CIVIL LAWThe American legal system observes several important distinctions between criminal and civil law.Criminal law is concerned with conduct that is offensive to society as a whole.Civil law pertains primarily to the duties ofprivate citizens to each other.In civil cases the disputes are usually between private individuals,although the government may sometimes be a party in a civil suit. Criminal cases always involve government prosecution ofan individual for an alleged offense against society. In a civil case the court attempts to settle a particular dispute between the parties by determining their legal rights.The court then decides upon an appropriate remedy,such as awarding monetary damages to the injured party or issuing an order that directs one party to perform or refrain from a specific act.In a criminal case the court decides whether the defendant is innocent or guilty.A guilty defendant may be punished by a fine,imprisonment,or both. In some instances the same act may give rise to both a criminal proceeding and a civil suit.Suppose that JoeŽand Pete,Žtwo political scientists attending a convention in Atlanta,are sharing a taxi from the airport to their downtown hotel.During the ride they become involved in a heated political discussion.By the time the taxi stops at their hotel,the discussion has become so heated that they get into a physical confrontation.IfPete strikes Joe in the ribs with his briefcase as he gets out ofthe taxi,Pete may be charged with criminal assault.In addition,Joe might file a civil suit against Pete in an effort to obtain a monetary award sufficient to cover his medical expenses. Civil cases far outnumber criminal cases in both the federal and state courts,although they generally do not attract the same media attention as criminal trials.Still,they often raise important policy questions and cover a broad range ofdisagreements in society.Judicial scholar Herbert Jacob summarizes the breadth ofthe civil law field in Justice in America :Every broken agreement,every sale that leaves a dissatisfied customer,every uncollected debt,every dispute with a government agency,every libel and slander,every accidental injury,every marital breakup,and every death may give rise to a civil proceeding.Ž Thus,virtually any dispute between two or more persons may provide the basis for a civil suit.The number of suits is huge,but most ofthem fall into one offive basic categories. 120 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 121

THE MAIN CATEGORIES OF CIVIL LAWThe five main categories ofcivil law are contract law,tort law, property law,the law ofsuccession,and family law.Contract LawContract law is primarily concerned with voluntary agreements between two or more people.Some common examples include agreements to perform a certain type ofwork,to buy or sell goods,and to construct or repair homes or businesses.Basic to these agreements are a promise by one party and a counter promise by the other party,usually a promise by one party to pay money for the other partys services or goods.For example,assume that Mr.BurnsŽand Ms.ColderŽenter into an agreement whereby Colder agrees to pay Burns $125 ifhe will cut and deliver a cord ofoak firewood to her home on December 10.If Burns does not deliver the wood on that date,he has breached the contract and Colder may sue him for damages. Although many contracts are relatively simple and straightforward, some complex fields also build on contract law or contract ideas.One such field is commercial law,which focuses primarily on sales involving credit or the installment plan.Commercial law also deals with checks, promissory notes,and other negotiable financial instruments. CHAPTER 6: THE CIVIL COURT PROCESS 121 Bankruptcy and creditors rights are important areas in contract law. Above, a jet belonging to American Airlines, which in 2003 narrowly averted a bankruptcy filing.

PAGE 122

Another closely related field is bankruptcy and creditorsrights. Bankrupt individuals or businesses may go through a process that essentially wipes the slate clean and allows the person filing for bankruptcy to begin again.The bankruptcy process is also designed to ensure fairness to creditors.Bankruptcy law has been a major concern oflegislators for several years,and a large number of special bankruptcy judges are now attached to the U.S.district courts. The final area is the insurance contract,which is important because of its applicability to so many people. The insurance industry is regulated by government agencies and subject to its own distinct rules.Tort LawTort law may generally be described as the law ofcivil wrongs.It concerns conduct that causes injury and fails to measure up to some standard set by society. Actions for personal injury or bodily injury claims are at the heart oftort law,and automobile accidents have traditionally been responsible for a large number ofthese claims. One ofthe most rapidly growing subfields oftort law is product liability.This category has become an increasingly effective way to hold corporations accountable for injuries caused by defective foods,toys,appliances,automobiles,drugs,or a host of other products. Perhaps one reason for the growth in product liability cases is a change in the standard ofproof.Traditionally, negligence (generally defined as carelessness or the failure to use ordinary care,under the particular circumstances revealed in the lawsuit) must be proven before one person is able to collect damages for injuries caused by someone else.However,some have argued that for many years reliance on the negligence concept has been declining,especially in product liability cases.In its place,the courts often use a strict liability standard,which means that a victim can recover even ifthere was no negligence and even ifthe manufacturer was careful. Another reason commonly suggested for the growth in the number ofproduct liability cases is the size of jury awards when the decision favors the plaintiff.Jury awards for damages may be oftwo types:compensatory and punitive.Compensatory damages are intended to cover the plaintiffs actual loss,such as repair costs,doctor bills,and hospital expenses.Punitive (or exemplary) damages are designed, instead,to punish the defendant or serve as a warning against such behavior in the future. As a result ofconcern over large jury awards and the increasing number ofso-called frivolous cases, government officials,corporate executives,interest groups,and members of the legal community have called for legislation aimed at tort reform. 122 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 123

Throughout the 1990s a number of states enacted a variety oftort reform measures.The American Tort Reform Association,which serves as an advocate oftort reform,reports that states have limited awards for noneconomic damages,modified their laws governing punitive damages,or enacted statutes penalizing plaintiffs who file frivolous lawsuits. Another rapidly growing subfield oftort law is medical malpractice.The number ofmedical malpractice claims has increased even as great advances have been made in medicine.Two ongoing problems in contemporary medicine are the increased risk imposed by new treatments and the impersonal character ofspecialists and hospitals.Patients today have high expectations,and when a doctor fails them,their anger may lead to a malpractice suit. Courts generally use the traditional negligence standard rather than the strict liability doctrine in resolving medical malpractice suits.This means that the law does not attempt to make doctors guarantee successful treatment,but instead tries to make the doctor liable ifthe patient can prove that the physician failed to perform in a manner consistent with accepted methods ofmedical practice.The notion ofacceptable practice varies from state to state,and such questions must be resolved by the courts on a case-bycase basis.However,customarily a presumption is made that the conduct ofprofessionals,including doctors,is reasonable in nature.This means that to prevail against the doctor in court, the injured patient needs at least the testimony ofone or more expert witnesses stating that the doctors conduct was not reasonable.Property LawA distinction has traditionally been made between real property and personal property.The former normally refers to real estate „ land,houses, and buildings „ and has also included growing crops.Almost everything else is considered personal property, including such things as money, jewelry,automobiles,furniture,and bank deposits. According to Lawrence M.Friedman in American Law ,As far as the law is concerned,the word property means primarily real property;personal property is ofminor importance.ŽNo single special field oflaw is devoted to personal property.Instead, personal property is generally considered under the rubric ofcontract law, commercial law,and bankruptcy law. Property rights have always been important in the United States,but today property rights are more complex than mere ownership ofsomething.The notion ofproperty now includes,among several other things, the right to use that property. One important branch ofproperty law today deals with land use controls. The most common type ofland use CHAPTER 6: THE CIVIL COURT PROCESS 123

PAGE 124

124 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM Product liability is one of the most rapidly growing subfields of tort law, with many manufacturers increasingly being held liable even when they were careful. Above, product liability attorney Ralph G. Patino displays a tire that his client claimed separated from its casing and caused a serious accident „ one of many claims that led the Firestone Company to recall millions of its tires in 2000. Property law „ the right to use and the right to acquire property „ was the principal question behind the Federal Communications Commissions 2003 review of whether to ease regulations on media ownership for corporations.

PAGE 125

restriction is zoning,a practice whereby local laws divide a municipality into districts designated for different uses.For instance,one neighborhood may be designated as residential,another as commercial,and yet another as industrial. Early zoning laws were challenged on the ground that restrictions on land use amounted to a taking ofthe land by the city in violation ofthe Constitution,which says,Nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.ŽIn a sense,zoning laws do take from the owners ofland the right to use their property in any way they see fit. Nonetheless,courts have generally ruled that zoning laws are not regarded as a taking in violation ofthe Constitution.Today,zoning is a fact oflife in cities and towns ofall sizes throughout the United States.City planners and other city officials recognize zoning ordinances as necessary to the planned and orderly growth of urban areas.The Law of SuccessionThe law ofsuccession considers how property is passed along from one generation to another.The American legal system recognizes a persons right to dispose ofhis or her property as he or she wishes.One common way to do this is to execute a will.Ifa person leaves behind a valid will,the courts will enforce it.However,ifsomeone leaves no will (or has improperly drawn it up),then the person has died intestate,and the state must dispose of the property. The states disposition ofthe property is carried out according to the fixed scheme set forth in the state statutes.By law,intestate property passes to the deceased persons heirs „ that is,to his or her nearest relatives.Occasionally a person who dies intestate has no living relatives. In that situation the property escheats, or passes,to the state in which the deceased resided.State statutes often prohibit the more remote relatives, such as second cousins and great uncles and aunts,from inheriting. Increasingly,Americans are preparing wills to ensure that their property is disposed ofaccording to their wishes,not according to a scheme determined by the state.A will is a formal document.It must be very carefully drafted,and in most states it must be witnessed by at least two persons.Family LawFamily law concerns such matters as marriage,divorce,child custody,and childrens rights.It clearly touches the lives ofa great number ofAmericans each year. The conditions necessary for entering into a marriage are spelled out by state law.These laws traditionally cover the minimum age ofthe parties, required blood tests or physical examinations,mental conditions of CHAPTER 6: THE CIVIL COURT PROCESS 125

PAGE 126

the parties,license and fee requirements,and waiting periods. The termination ofa marriage was once very rare.In the early 19th century some states granted divorces only through special acts ofthe legislature;one state,South Carolina, simply did not allow divorce.In the other states divorces were granted only when one party proved some grounds for divorce.In other words, divorces were available only to innocent parties whose spouses were guilty ofsuch things as adultery,desertion, or cruelty. The 20th century saw an enormous change in divorce laws.The movement was away from restrictive laws and toward no-fault divorce.This trend was the result oftwo factors.First,for many years there was an increasing demand for divorces.Second,the stigma once attached to divorced persons all but disappeared. The no-fault divorce system means that the parties simply explain that irreconcilable differences exist between them and that the marriage is no longer viable.The no-fault divorce system has put an end to the adversarial nature ofdivorce proceedings. Not so easily solved are some of the other problems that may result from an ended marriage.Child custody battles,disputes over child support payments,and disagreements 126 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM Two children await the results of a custody decision by the Manhattan Family Court. Custody disputes have become more common as a result of no-fault divorce, and courts increasingly have to decide which parent will get custody.

PAGE 127

over visitation rights find their way into court on a regular basis.Custody disputes are probably more common and more contentious today than before no-fault divorce.The childs needs come first,and courts no longer automatically assume that this means granting custody to the mother. Fathers are increasingly being granted custody,and it is also now common for courts to grant joint custody to the divorced parents.THE COURTS AND OTHER INSTITUTIONS CONCERNED WITH CIVIL LAWDisagreements are common in the daily lives ofAmericans. Usually these disagreements can be settled outside the legal system. Sometimes they are so serious,however,that one ofthe parties sees no alternative but to file a lawsuit.Deciding Whether to Go to CourtEvery year thousands ofpotential civil cases are resolved without a trial because the would-be litigants settle their problems in another way or because the prospective plaintiffdecides not to file suit.When faced with a decision to call upon the courts,to try to settle differences,or to simply forget the problem,many people resort to a simple cost-benefit analysis.That is, they weigh the costs associated with a trial against the benefits they are likely to gain ifthey win.Alternative Dispute ResolutionIn practice few persons make use of the entire judicial process.Instead, most cases are settled without resort to a full-fledged trial.In civil cases, a trial may be both slow and expensive.In many areas the backlogs are so enormous that it takes three to five years for a case to come to trial. In addition,civil trials may be exceedingly complex. Often,the expense ofa trial is enough to discourage potential plaintiffs.The possibility oflosing always exists.The possibility ofa long wait also always exists,even ifa plaintiff wins,before the judgment is satisfied „ that is,ifit is ever completely satisfied.In other words,a trial may simply create a new set ofproblems for the parties concerned.For all these reasons,more and more discussion has been heard about alternative methods ofresolving disputes. From major corporations to attorneys to individuals,support for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) has been growing.Corporate America is interested in avoiding prolonged and costly court battles as the only way to settle complex business disputes.In addition,attorneys are more frequently considering alternatives such as mediation and arbitration where there is a need for faster resolution ofcases or confidential treatment ofcertain matters.And individual citizens are increasingly turning to local mediation CHAPTER 6: THE CIVIL COURT PROCESS 127

PAGE 128

services for help in resolving family disputes,neighborhood quarrels,and consumer complaints. Alternative dispute resolution processes are carried out under a variety ofmodels.These models are commonly classified as private, court-referred,and court-annexed, but the latter two together often are called court-connected,Žwrites Susan L.Keita in the Handbook ofCourt Administration and Management .In other words,some private ADR processes function independently of the courts.A court-referred ADR process is one that operates outside the court itselfbut still has some relationship to the court.The court administers the ADR process in a court-annexed program.Depending on the model and the issue,ADR processes may be voluntary or mandatory;they may be binding or allow appeals from decisions rendered;and they may be consensual,adjudicatory, or some hybrid ofthe two,Žaccording to Keita.Some commonly used ADR processes are mediation,arbitration, neutral fact-finding,mini-trial,summary jury trial,and private judging.Mediation.Mediation is a private, confidential process in which an impartial person helps the disputing parties identify and clarify issues ofconcern and reach their own agreement. The mediator does not act as a judge. Instead,the parties themselves maintain control ofthe final settlement. Mediation is especially appropriate for situations in which the disputants have an ongoing relationship,such as disputes between family members, neighbors,employers and employees, and landlords and tenants.Mediation is also useful in divorce cases because it changes the procedure from one of confrontation to one ofcooperation. Child custody and visitation rights are frequently resolved through mediation as well.And in many areas,personal injury and property claims involving insurance companies are settled through mediation.Arbitration.The arbitration process is similar to going to court.After listening to both parties in a dispute,an impartial person called an arbitrator decides how the controversy should be resolved.There is no judge or jury.Instead,the arbitrator selected by both parties makes the final decision.Arbitrators are drawn from all different types ofprofessional backgrounds and frequently volunteer their time to help people resolve their problems. Disputants choose arbitration because it saves time and money and is more informal than a court hearing. Most arbitrations are completed in four months or less,as compared with six months to several years for court decisions. Arbitration is used privately to resolve a variety ofconsumer complaints.Examples include disputes over poor automobile repairs,prob128 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 129

lems with the return offaulty merchandise,and overcharging for services.Arbitration is also being used in court-referred and court-annexed processes to resolve several types of disputes,including business,commercial,and employment disputes.Neutral Fact-Finding.Neutral factfinding is an informal process whereby an agreed-upon neutral party is asked to investigate a dispute.Usually,the dispute involves complex or technical issues.The neutral third party analyzes the disputed facts and issues his or her findings in a nonbinding report or recommendation. This process can be particularly useful in handling allegations ofracial or gender discrimination within a company because such cases often provoke strong emotions and internal dissension.Ifboth parties are employees ofthe same company,conflicts of interest could interfere with a supervisor or managers ability to conduct an impartial investigation ofalleged discrimination.To avoid the appearance ofunfairness,a company may turn to a neutral third party in hopes ofreaching a settlement all the employees can respect.Mini-Trial.In a mini-trial each party presents its position in a trial-like fashion before a panel that consists of selected representatives for both parties and neutral third parties.Every panel has one neutral advisor.Minitrials are designed to help define the issues and develop a basis for realistic settlement negotiations.The representatives from the two sides present an overview oftheir positions and arguments to the panel.As a result, each party becomes more knowledgeable about the other partys position. Having heard each sides presentation, the panel,including the advisor,meets to develop a compromise solution. The neutral advisor may also issue an advisory opinion regarding the merits ofthe case.This advisory opinion is nonbinding unless the parties have agreed in writing beforehand to be bound by it. The primary benefit ofa mini-trial is that both parties have an opportunity to develop solutions.It also means that each has representation and access to detailed information.Summary Jury Trial.A summary jury trial involves a court-managed process that takes place after a case has been filed,but before it reaches trial. In a summary jury trial each party presents its arguments to a jury (normally six persons).An overview of each sides argument as well as abbreviated opening and closing arguments are presented.Attorneys are typically given a short amount oftime (an hour or less) for their presentations.They are limited to the presentation ofinformation that would be admissible at trial.No testimony is taken from sworn witnesses,and proceedings are CHAPTER 6: THE CIVIL COURT PROCESS 129

PAGE 130

generally not recorded.Because the proceedings are nonbinding,rules of procedure and evidence are more flexible than in a normal trial. The jury hands down an advisory, nonbinding decision based on the arguments presented.In this setting, the verdict is designed to give the attorneys and their clients insight into their cases.It may also suggest a basis for settlement ofthe dispute. Ifthe dispute is not resolved during or immediately following the summary jury trial proceeding,a pretrial conference is held before the court to discuss settlement. One ofthe major advantages ofa summary jury trial is the time involved.A summary jury trial is typically concluded in less than a day compared to several days or weeks for full-fledged trials.Private Judging.This method ofalternative dispute resolution makes use ofretired judges who offer their services for a fee.Advocates claim that there are several advantages.First,the parties are able to select a person with the right qualifications and experience to handle the matter.Second,the parties can be assured that the matter will be handled when first scheduled and not be continued because the courts calendar is too crowded.Finally,the cost can be less than that incurred in full litigation.Critics ofprivate judging,however,are concerned by the high fees charged by some retired judges.A California appellate court, for instance,has noted that some sitting judges are leaving the bench in order to earn more money as private judges.Specialized CourtsThe state court systems are frequently characterized by a number ofspecialized courts that are set up to handle specific types ofcivil cases.Domestic relations courts are often established to deal with such matters as divorce, child custody,and child support.In many jurisdictions,probate courts handle the settlement ofestates and the contesting ofwills. Perhaps the best known ofthe specialized courts are the small-claims courts.These courts have jurisdiction to handle cases when the money being sued for is not above a certain amount.The amount varies by jurisdiction but the maximum is usually $500 or $1,000.Small-claims courts allow less complex cases to be resolved more informally than in most other trial courts.Filing fees are low,and the use ofattorneys is often discouraged, making small-claims court affordable for the average person.Administrative BodiesA number ofgovernment agencies have also established administrative bodies with quasi-judicial authority to handle certain types ofcases.At the federal level,for example,agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission 130 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 131

and the Federal Communications Commission carry out an adjudication ofsorts within their respective spheres ofauthority.An appeal ofthe ruling ofone ofthese agencies may be taken to a federal court ofappeals. At the state level,a common example ofan administrative body that aids in the resolution ofcivil claims is a workerscompensation board.This board determines whether an employees injury is job-related and thus whether the person is entitled to workerscompensation payments. Many state motor vehicle departments have hearing boards to make determinations about revoking drivers licenses.Another type ofadministrative board commonly found in the states rules on civil rights matters and cases ofalleged discrimination.THE CIVIL TRIAL PROCESSAnumber ofdisputes are resolved through some method ofalternative dispute resolution,in a specialized court,or by an administrative body.However,a large number ofcases each year still manage to find their way into a civil court. Generally speaking,the adversarial process used in criminal trials is also used in civil trials,with just a few important differences.First,a litigant must have standing.This concept means simply that the person initiating the suit must have a personal stake in the outcome ofthe controversy. Otherwise,there is no real controversy between the parties and thus no actual case for the court to decide. A second major difference is that the standard ofproofused in civil cases is a preponderance ofthe evidence,not the more stringent beyond-a-reasonable-doubt standard used in criminal cases.A preponderance ofthe evidence is generally taken to mean that there is sufficient evidence to overcome doubt or speculation.It clearly means that less proofis required in civil cases than in criminal cases. A third major difference is that many ofthe extensive due process guarantees that a defendant has in a criminal trial do not apply in a civil proceeding.For example,neither party is constitutionally entitled to counsel.The Seventh Amendment does guarantee the right to a jury trial in lawsuits where the value in controversy shall exceed $20.ŽAlthough this amendment has not been made applicable to the states,most states have similar constitutional guarantees.Filing a Civil SuitThe person initiating the civil suit is known as the plaintiff,and the person being sued is the defendant or the respondent.A civil action is known by the names ofthe plaintiffand the defendant,such as Jones v.Miller.The plaintiffs name appears first.In a typical situation,the plaintiffs attorney pays a fee and files a complaint or petition with the clerk ofthe proper CHAPTER 6: THE CIVIL COURT PROCESS 131

PAGE 132

court.The complaint states the facts on which the action is based,the damages alleged,and the judgment or reliefbeing sought. The decision about which court should actually hear the case involves the concepts ofjurisdiction and venue:Jurisdiction deals with a courts authority to exercise judicial power, and venue means the place where that power should be exercised. Jurisdictional requirements are satisfied when the court has legal authority over both the subject matter and the person ofthe defendant.This means that several courts can have jurisdiction over the same case.Suppose,for example,that a resident of Dayton,Ohio,is seriously injured in an automobile accident in Tennessee when the car he is driving is struck from the rear by a car driven by a resident ofKingsport,Tennessee. Total damages to the Ohio driver and car come to about $80,000. A state trial court in Ohio has subject matter jurisdiction,and Ohio can in all likelihood obtain jurisdiction over the defendant.In addition, the state courts ofTennessee probably have jurisdiction.Federal district courts in both Ohio and Tennessee also have jurisdiction because diversity ofcitizenship exists and the amount in controversy is over $75,000.Assuming that jurisdiction is the only concern,the plaintiffcan sue in any ofthese courts. 132 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM Heavy media coverage often prompts defense attorneys to move for a change of venue so as to avoid prejudicing their clients case, for instance, in auto accidents caused by drunk drivers.

PAGE 133

The determination ofproper venue may be prescribed by statute based on avoiding possible prejudice,or it may simply be a matter ofconvenience. The federal law states that proper venue is the district in which either the plaintiffor defendant resides,or the district where the injury occurred. State venue statutes vary somewhat, but they usually provide that where land is involved,proper venue is the county where the land is located.In most other instances venue is the county where the defendant resides. Venue questions may also be related to the perceived or feared prejudice ofeither the judge or the prospective jury.Attorneys sometimes object to trials being held in a particular area for this reason and may move for a change ofvenue.Although this type ofobjection is perhaps more commonly associated with highly publicized criminal trials,it is also found in civil trials. Once the appropriate court has been determined and the complaint has been filed,the court clerk will attach a copy ofthe complaint to a summons,which is then issued to the defendant.The summons may be served by personnel from the sheriffs office, a U.S.marshal,or a private processservice agency. The summons directs the defendant to file a response,known as a pleading,within a certain period of time (usually 30 days).Ifthe defendant does not do so,then he or she may be subject to a default judgment. These simple actions by the plaintiff,clerk ofthe court,and a process server set in motion the civil case. What happens next is a flurry ofactivities that precedes an actual trial and may last for several months.Approximately 75 percent ofcases are resolved without a trial during this time.Pretrial Activities Motions.Once the summons has been served on the defendant,a number ofmotions can be made by the defense attorney.A motion to quash requests that the court void the summons on the ground that it was not properly served.For example,a defendant might contend that the summons was never delivered personally as required by state law. Two types ofmotions are meant to clarify or to object to the plaintiffs petition.A motion to strike requests that the court excise,or strike,certain parts ofthe petition because they are prejudicial,improper,or irrelevant.A motion to make more definite asks the court to require the plaintiffto be more specific about the complaints. A fourth type ofmotion often filed in a civil case is a motion to dismiss.This motion may argue that the courtlacks jurisdiction,or it may insist thatthe plaintiffhas not presented a legallysound basis for action against the de-fendant even ifthe allegations are true. CHAPTER 6: THE CIVIL COURT PROCESS 133

PAGE 134

The Answer.Ifthe complaint survives the judges rulings on the motions,then the defendant submits an answer to the complaint.The response may contain admissions,denials,defenses,and counterclaims.When an admission is contained in an answer, there is no need to prove that fact during the trial.A denial,however,brings up a factual issue to be proven during the trial.A defense says that certain facts set forth in the answer may bar the plaintifffrom recovering damages. The defendant may also create a separate action known as a counterclaim.Ifthe defendant thinks that a cause ofaction against the plaintiff arises from the same set ofevents, then he or she must present the claim to the court in response to the plaintiffs claim.The plaintiffmay file a reply to the defendants answer.In that reply,the plaintiffmay admit,deny,or defend against the allegations offact contained in the counterclaim.Discovery. The U.S.legal system provides for discovery procedures;that is, each party is entitled to information in the possession ofthe other.There are several tools ofdiscovery: € A deposition is testimony ofa witness taken under oath outside the court.The same question-andanswer format as in the courtroom is used.All parties to the case must be notified that the deposition is to be taken so that their attorneys may be present to cross-examine the witness. € Interrogatories are written questions that must be answered under oath. Interrogatories can be submitted only to the parties in the case,not to witnesses.They are used to obtain descriptions ofevidence held by the opposing parties in the suit. € Production ofdocuments may be requested by one ofthe parties in the suit ifthey wish to inspect documents,writings,drawings,graphs,charts,maps,photographs,orother items held by the other party. € Ifthere are questions about the physical or mental condition ofone ofthe parties,the court may order that person to submit to an examination by a physician.The Pretrial Conference.Before going to court,the judge may call a pretrial conference to discuss the issues in the case informally with the opposing attorneys.The general practice is to allow only the judge and the lawyers to attend the conference,which is normally held in the judges chambers. At this meeting,the judge and the attorneys try to come to agreement on uncontested factual issues,which are known as stipulations.The purpose of stipulations is to make the actual trial more efficient by reducing the number ofissues that must be argued in court.The attorneys also share with each other a list ofwitnesses and documents that are part ofeach case. Lawyers and judges may also use the pretrial conference to try to settle 134 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 135

the case.Some judges actively work to bring about a settlement so the case does not have to go to trial.The Civil Trial Selection of Jury.The right to a jury trial in a civil suit in a federal court is guaranteed by the Seventh Amendment ofthe U.S.Constitution.State constitutions likewise provide for such a right.A jury trial may be waived,in which case the judge decides the matter.Although the jury traditionally consists of12 persons,today the number varies.Most ofthe federal district courts now use juries offewer than 12 persons in civil cases.A majority of states also authorize smaller juries in some or all civil trials. As in criminal trials,jurors must be selected in a random manner from a fair cross-section ofthe community.A large panel ofjurors is called to the courthouse,and when a case is assigned to a court for trial,a smaller group ofprospective jurors is sent to a particular courtroom. Following the voir dire examination,which may include challenges to certain jurors by the attorneys,a jury to hear the particular case will be seated.Lawyers may challenge a prospective juror for cause,in which case the judge must determine whether the person challenged is impartial.Each side may also exercise a certain number ofperemptory challenges „ excusing a juror without CHAPTER 6: THE CIVIL COURT PROCESS 135 The Seventh Amendment of the Constitution and state constitutions guarantee the right to a jury trial in civil suits. As a result, many citizens such as these women from Macomb County, Michigan, are called to serve as jurors.

PAGE 136

stating any reason.However,the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the equal protection guarantee ofthe Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the use ofsuch challenges to disqualify jurors from civil trials because oftheir race or gender.Peremptory challenges are fixed by statute or court rule and normally range from two to six.Opening Statements.After the jury has been chosen,the attorneys present their opening statements.The plaintiffs attorney begins.He or she explains to the jury what the case is about and what the plaintiffs side expects to prove.The defendants lawyer can usually choose either to make an opening statement immediately after the plaintiffs attorney finishes or to wait until the plaintiffs case has been completely presented.Ifthe defendants attorney waits,he or she will present the entire case for the defendant continuously,from opening statement onward.Opening statements are valuable because they outline the case and make it easier for the jury to understand the evidence as it is presented.Presentation of the Plaintiffs Case.In the normal civil case,the plaintiffs side is first to present and attempt to prove its case to the jury and last to make closing arguments.In presenting the case,the plaintiffs lawyer will normally call witnesses to testify and produce documents or other exhibits. When a witness is called,he or she will undergo direct examination by the plaintiffs attorney.Then the defendants attorney will have the opportunity to ask questions or cross-examine the witness.The Arizona Supreme Court recently took steps to help jurors do a better job ofmaking decisions in civil cases. Among other things,the states highest court voted to allow jurors to pose written questions to witnesses through the judge.Other states are considering implementing Arizonas new practice.Following the crossexamination,the plaintiffs lawyer may conduct a redirect examination, which may then be followed by a second cross-examination by the defendants lawyer. Generally speaking,witnesses may testify only about matters they have actually observed;they may not express their opinions.However,an important exception to this general rule is that expert witnesses are specifically called upon to give their opinions in matters within their areas ofexpertise. To qualify as an expert witness,a person must possess substantial knowledge about a particular field. Furthermore,this knowledge must normally be established in open court. Both sides often present experts whose opinions are contradictory. When this happens,the jury must ultimately decide which opinion is the correct one. 136 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 137

When the plaintiffs side has presented all its evidence,the attorney rests the case.Motion for Directed Verdict.After the plaintiffs case has been rested,the defendant will often make a motion for a directed verdict.With the filing ofthis motion,the defendant is saying that the plaintiffhas not proved his or her case and thus should lose.The judge must then decide whether the plaintiffcould win at this point if court proceedings were to cease. Should the judge determine that the plaintiffhas not presented convincing enough evidence,he or she will sustain the motion and direct the verdict for the defendant.Thus the plaintiff will lose the case.The motion for a directed verdict is similar to the pretrial motion to dismiss.Presentation of the Defendants Case.Ifthe motion for a directed verdict is overruled,the defendant then presents evidence.The defendants case is presented in the same way as the plaintiffs case.That is, there is direct examination ofwitnesses and presentation ofdocuments and other exhibits.The plaintiff has the right to cross-examine witnesses.Redirect and recross questions may follow.Plaintiffs Rebuttal.After the presentation ofthe defendants case,the plaintiffmay bring forth rebuttal evidence,which is aimed at refuting the defendants evidence.Answer to Plaintiffs Rebuttal.The defendants lawyer may present evidence to counter the rebuttal evidence.This rebuttal-and-answer pattern may continue until the evidence has been exhausted.Closing Arguments.After all the evidence has been presented,the lawyers make closing arguments,or summations,to the jury.The plaintiffs attorney speaks both first and last.That is,he or she both opens the argument and closes it,and the defendants lawyer argues in between. In this stage ofthe process each attorney attacks the opponents evidence for its unreliability and may also attempt to discredit the opponents witnesses.In doing so,the lawyers often wax eloquent or deliver an emotional appeal to the jury.However,the arguments must be based upon facts supported by the evidence and introduced at the trial.Instructions to the Jury.Assuming that a jury trial has not been waived, the instructions to the jury follow the conclusion ofthe closing arguments. The judge informs the jury that it must base its verdict on the evidence presented at the trial.The judges instructions also inform the jurors about the rules,principles,and standards ofthe particular legal concept CHAPTER 6: THE CIVIL COURT PROCESS 137

PAGE 138

involved.In civil cases,a finding for the plaintiffis based on a preponderance ofthe evidence.This means that the jurors must weigh the evidence presented during the trial and determine in their minds that the greater weight ofthe evidence,in merit and in worth,favors the plaintiff.The Verdict.The jury retires to the seclusion ofthe jury room to conduct its deliberations.The members must reach a verdict without outside contact.In some instances the deliberations are so long and detailed that the jurors must be provided meals and sleeping accommodations until they can reach a verdict.The verdict,then, represents the jurorsagreement after detailed discussions and analyses of the evidence.Sometimes the jury deliberates in all good faith but cannot reach a verdict.When this occurs, the judge may declare a mistrial.This means that a new trial may have to be conducted. After the verdict is reached,the jury is conducted back into open court,where it delivers its verdict to the judge.The parties are informed of the verdict.It is then customary for the jury to be polled „ the jurors are individually asked by the judge whether they agree with the verdict.Post-trial Motions.Once the verdict has been reached,a dissatisfied party may pursue a variety oftactics.The losing party may file a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict.This type ofmotion is granted when the judge decides that reasonable persons could not have rendered the verdict the jury reached. The losing party may also file a motion for a new trial.The usual basis for this motion is that the verdict goes against the weight ofthe evidence. The judge will grant the motion on this ground ifhe or she agrees that the evidence presented simply does not support the verdict reached by the jury.A new trial may also be granted for a number ofother reasons:excessive damages,grossly inadequate damages,the discovery ofnew evidence,and errors in the production of evidence,to name a few. In some cases the losing party also files a motion for relieffrom judgment.This type ofmotion may be granted ifthe judge finds a clerical error in the judgment,discovers some new evidence,or determines that the judgment was induced by fraud.Judgment and Execution.A verdictin favor ofthe defendant ends the trial,but a verdict for the plaintiffrequires another stage in the process.There is no sentence in a civil case,but there must be a determination ofthe remedy or damages to be assessed.This determination is called the judgment. In situations where the judgment is for monetary damages and the defendant does not voluntarily pay the set amount,the plaintiffcan ask to have 138 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 139

the court clerk issue an order to execute the judgment.The execution is issued to the sheriffand orders the sheriffto seize the defendants property and sell it at auction to satisfy the judgment.An alternative is to order a lien,which is the legal right to hold property that may be used for the payment ofthe judgment.Appeal.Ifone party feels that an error oflaw was made during the trial, and ifthe judge refuses to grant a posttrial motion for a new trial,then the dissatisfied party may appeal to a higher court.Probably the most common grounds for appeal are that the judge allegedly admitted evidence that should have been excluded,refused to admit evidence that should have been introduced,or failed to give proper jury instructions. An attorney lays the groundwork for an appeal by objecting to the alleged error during the trial.This objection goes into the trial record and becomes a part ofthe trial transcript,which may be reviewed by an appellate court.The appellate court decision may call for the lower court to enforce its earlier verdict or to hold a new trial. CHAPTER 6: THE CIVIL COURT PROCESS 139

PAGE 141

The movement to include minorities and women in the judiciary increased during the presidency of Jimmy Carter. President Ronald Reagan broke the gender barrier at the Supreme Court with his 1981 appointment of Sandra Day OConnor, right, as Associate Justice. Chief Justice Warren Burger, left, is shown swearing her in, while her husband, John J. OConnor, center, holds the two family Bibles.FEDERAL JUDGESCHAPTER7

PAGE 142

The main actors in the federal system are the men and women who serve as judges and justices.What characteristics do these people have that distinguish them from the rest ofthe citizenry? What are the qualifications „ both formal and informal „ for appointment to the bench? How are judges selected and who are the participants in the process? How do judges learn to be judges? How are judges disciplined and when are they removed from the bench?BACKGROUND CHARACTERISTICS OF FEDERAL JUDGESAmericans cling to the notion that someone born in the humblest ofcircumstances (such as Abraham Lincoln) may one day grow up to be the president ofthe United States,or at least a U.S.judge. As with most myths,this one has a kernel oftruth.In principle virtually anyone can become a prominent public official,and a few well-known examples can be cited ofpeople who came from poor backgrounds yet climbed to the pinnacle ofpower. More typically,however,Americas federal judges,like other public officials and the captains ofcommerce and industry,come from the nations middle and upper-middle classes.District JudgesBackground data for all federal district judges for the past 210 years have never been collected,but a good deal is known about judges who have served in recent decades. Before assuming the federal bench, a plurality ofjudges had been judges at the state or local level.The next largest blocs were employed either in the political or governmental realms or in moderateto large-sized law firms.Those working in small law firms or as professors oflaw made up the smallest bloc. Judgeseducational background reveals something oftheir elite nature. All graduated from college;about half attended either costly Ivy League schools or other private universities to receive their undergraduate and law degrees.Judges also differ from the population as a whole in that there is a strong tendency toward occupational heredityŽ„ that is,for judges to come from families with a tradition ofjudicial and public service. Although the United States is about 51 percent female,judges have been almost exclusively male.Until the presidency ofJimmy Carter (1977-81),less than 2 percent ofdistrict judges were female,and even with conscious effort to change this phenomenon,only 14.4 percent ofCarters appointments to district judgeships were women.Racial minorities also have been underrepresented on the trial bench,not only in absolute numbers but also in comparison with figures for the overall population.Until the present time,only Jimmy Carter had appointed a signifi142 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 143

cant number ofnon-Anglos to the federal bench „ over 21 percent.During the administration ofPresident Bill Clinton (1993-2001),a dramatic change took place.During his first six years in office,49 percent ofhis judicial appointees were either women or minorities. About nine out often district judges have been ofthe same political party as the appointing president,and historically about 60 percent have a record ofactive partisanship. The typical judge has been 49 years old at the time ofappointment.Age variations from one presidency to another have been small,with no discernible trend over the years from one administration to another.Appeals Court JudgesAppeals judges are much more likely to have previous judicial experience than their counterparts on the trial court bench,and they are just as likely, ifnot more so,to have attended private and Ivy League schools. In terms ofpolitical party affiliation,little difference is seen between trial and appellate court appointments.However,appeals judges have a slight tendency to be more active in their respective parties than their colleagues on the trial bench. The Clinton initiative to make thebench more accurately reflect U.S.gen-der and racial demographics is evidentin the ranks ofthe appellate judges as well.A third ofhis appointees were women,and more African Americans, Hispanics,and Asians were appointed to the appellate court bench by Clinton than by any other president. President George W.Bush,in turn, also has shown a commitment to racial and gender diversity.Almost one-third ofhis district court appointments,for example,have been nontraditionalŽ„ women and minorities.Supreme Court JusticesSince 1789,106 men and two women have sat on the bench ofAmericas highest judicial tribunal.Although perhaps 10 percent ofthe justices were essentially ofhumble origin,a majority ofthe justices came from politically active families,and about a third were related to jurists and closely connected with families with a tradition ofjudicial service. Until the 1960s the High Court hadbeen all white and all male,but in 1967President Lyndon Johnson appointed Thurgood Marshall as the first AfricanAmericanmember ofthe Court.WhenMarshall retired in 1991,President George H.W.Bush,father ofPresident George W.Bush,replaced him with another African American,Clarence Thomas.In 1981 the gender barrier was broken when President Ronald Reagan named Sandra Day OConnor to the Court,and 13 years later she was joined by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. As for the nonpolitical occupations ofthe justices,all 108 had legal training and all had practiced law at some CHAPTER 7: FEDERAL JUDGES 143

PAGE 144

stage in their careers.Only 22 percent had state or federal judicial experience immediately prior to their appointments,although more than halfhad served on the bench at some time before their nomination to the Supreme Court.As with their colleagues in thelower federal judiciary,the justices weremuch more likely to have been politically active than the average American, and virtually all shared many ofthe ideological and political orientations oftheir appointing president.QUALIFICATIONS OF FEDERAL JUDGESDespite the absence offormal qualifications for a federal judgeship,there are welldefined informal requirements.Formal QualificationsNo constitutional or statutory qualifications are stipulated for serving on the Supreme Court or the lower federal courts.The Constitution merely indicates that the judicial Power ofthe United States,shall be vested in one supreme CourtŽas well as in any lower federal courts that Congress may establish (Article III,Section 1) and that the president by and with the Advice and Consent ofthe Senate,shall appoint...Judges ofthe supreme CourtŽ (Article II,Section 2).Congress has applied the same selection procedure to the appeals and the trial courts. There are no exams to pass,no minimum age requirement,no stipulation that judges be native-born citizens or legal residents,no requirement that judges even have a law degree.Informal RequirementsAt least four vital although informal factors determine who sits on the federal bench in America:professional competence,political qualifications, self-selection,and the element ofluck.Professional Competence:Althoughcandidates for U.S.judicial posts do not have to be attorneys,it has been the custom to appoint lawyers who have distinguished themselves professionally.Although the political rules may allow a president to reward an old ally with a seat on the bench,tradition has created an expectation that the would-be judge have some reputation for professional competence,the more so as the judgeship in question goes from the trial court to the appeals court to the Supreme Court level.Political Qualifications:Most nominees for judicial office have some record ofpolitical activity for two reasons.First,to some degree judgeships are still considered part ofthe political patronage system;those who have served the party are more likely to be rewarded with a federal post than those who have not.Second,some political activity on the part ofthe would-be judge is often necessary,because otherwise the candidate would simply not be visible to the president, 144 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 145

senator(s),or local party leaders who send forth the names ofcandidates.Self-Selection:While many consider it undignified and lacking in judicial temperament for someone to announce publicly a desire for a federal judgeship,some would-be jurists orchestrate discreet campaigns on their own behalfor at least pass the word that they are available for judicial service.Few will admit to seeking an appointment actively,but credible anecdotes suggest that attorneys often position themselves in such a way that their names will come up when there is a vacant seat to fill.The Element of Luck:A good measure ofhappenstance exists in virtually all judicial appointments.Being a member ofthe right party at the right time or being visible to the power brokers at the right moment often has as much to do with becoming a judge as ones professional background.THE FEDERAL SELECTION PROCESS AND ITS PARTICIPANTSThe framework ofjudicial selection is the same for all federal judges,although the roles of the participants vary depending on the level ofthe U.S.judiciary.All nominations are made by the president after due consultation with the White House staff,the attorney generals office,certain senators,and other political operatives.The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),an arm ofthe Justice Department,customarily performs a routine security check.After the nomination is announced to the public,various interest groups that believe they have a stake in the appointment may lobby for or against the candidate.Also,the candidates qualifications will be evaluated by a committee ofthe American Bar Association.The candidates name is sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which conducts an investigation ofthe nominees fitness for the post.Ifthe committees vote is favorable,the nomination is sent to the floor ofthe Senate,where it is either approved or rejected by a simple majority vote.The PresidentTechnically,the president nominates all judicial candidates,but historically the chiefexecutive has been more in-volved in appointments to the SupremeCourt than to the lower courts.This is so for two major reasons. First,Supreme Court appointments are seen by the president „ and by the public at large „ as generally more important and politically significant than openings on the lesser tribunals.Presidents often use their few opportunities for High Court appointments to make a political statement or to set the tone oftheir administration.For example,during the period ofnational stress prior to U.S.entry into World War II,DemocCHAPTER 7: FEDERAL JUDGES 145

PAGE 146

ratic President Franklin D.Roosevelt elevated Republican Harlan Fiske Stone to chiefjustice as a gesture of national unity.In 1969 President Richard Nixon used his appointment ofthe conservative Warren Burger to fulfill his campaign pledge to restore law and order.ŽAnd President Ronald Reagan in 1981 hoped to dispel his reputation for being unsympathetic toward the womens movement by being the first to name a woman to the High Court. A second reason why presidents are likely to devote more attention to Supreme Court appointments and less to lower court appointments is that tradition has allowed for individual senators and local party leaders to influence,and often dominate,lower court appointments.The practice known as senatorial courtesy is part of the appointment process for district judges.Under senatorial courtesy,senators ofthe presidents political party who are from the home state ofthe nominee are asked their opinions of the candidate by the Senate Judiciary Committee.In expressing their views about a particular candidate,these senators are in a position to virtually veto a nomination.Senatorial courtesy does not apply to appellate court appointments,although it is customary for presidents to defer to senators oftheir party from states that make up the appellate court circuit.The Department of JusticeAssisting the president and the White House staffin the judicial selection process are the two key presidential appointees in the Justice Department „ the attorney general ofthe United 146 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM President Lyndon B. Johnson, right, appointed the first African American member of the Supreme Court, Thurgood Marshall, left, in 1967.

PAGE 147

States and the deputy attorney general.Their primary job is to seek out candidates for federal judicial posts who conform to general criteria set by the president.Once several names are obtained,the staffofthe Justice Department will subject each candidate to further scrutiny.They may order an FBI investigation ofthe candidates character and background; they will usually read copies ofall articles or speeches the candidate has written or evaluate a sitting judges written opinions;they might check with local party leaders to determine that the candidate is a party faithful and is in tune with the presidents major public policy positions. In the case ofdistrict judge appointments,where names are often submitted by home-state senators,the Justice Departments function is more that ofscreener than ofinitiator.Regardless ofwho comes up with a list of names,the Justice Departments primary duty is to evaluate the candidates personal,professional,and political qualifications.In performing this role the department may work closely with the White House staff, with the senators involved in the nomination,and with party leaders who may wish to have some input in choosing the nominee.State and Local Party LeadersRegional party leaders have little to say in the appointment ofSupreme Court justices,where presidential prerogative is dominant,and their role in the choice ofappeals court judges is minimal.However,in the selection of U.S.trial judges their impact is formidable,especially when appointments occur in states in which neither senator is ofthe presidents political party. In such cases the president will be more likely to consult with state leaders ofhis own party rather than with the states senators.Interest GroupsA number ofpressure groups in the United States,representing the whole political spectrum from left to right, often lobby either for or against judicial nominations.Leaders ofthese groups „ civil liberties,business,organized labor,civil rights „ have little hesitation about urging the president to withdraw the nomination ofsomeone whose political and social values are different from their own or about lobbying the Senate to support the nomination ofsomeone who is favorably perceived.Interest groups lobby for and against nominees at all levels ofthe federal judiciary.The American Bar Association (ABA)For more than five decades,the Committee on the Federal Judiciary ofthe ABA has played a key role in evaluating the professional credentials of potential nominees for positions on the federal bench.The committee, whose 15 members represent all the CHAPTER 7: FEDERAL JUDGES 147

PAGE 148

148 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM The President nominates all federal judicial candidates, but individual senators and local party leaders traditionally wield a lot of influence in the case of lower court appointments. Above, two U.S. district court judges presiding in a naturalization ceremony in New York State. Center, President George W. Bush congratulates his nominees to federal judgeships. Bottom, Senior Judge Constance Baker Motley, right, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York speaks at a panel discussion.

PAGE 149

U.S.circuits,evaluates candidates on the basis ofthree criteria:judicial temperament,professional competence, and integrity.A candidate approved by the committee is rated either qualifiedŽor well qualified,Žwhereas an unacceptable candidate is stamped with a not qualifiedŽlabel.The Senate Judiciary CommitteeThe rules ofthe Senate require its Judiciary Committee to consider all nominations to the federal bench and to make recommendations to the Senate as a whole.Its role is thus to screen individuals who have already been nominated,not to suggest names of possible candidates.The committee holds hearings on all nominations,at which time witnesses are heard and deliberations take place behind closed doors.The hearings for district court appointments are largely perfunctory because the norm ofsenatorial courtesy has,for all intents and purposes, already determined whether the candidate will be acceptable to the Senate. However,for appeals court nominees „ and surely for an appointment to the Supreme Court „ the committee hearing is a serious proceeding.The SenateThe final step in the judicial appointment process for federal judges is a majority vote by the Senate.Historically,two general views have prevailed of the Senates prescribed role.Presidents from the time ofGeorge Washington and a few scholars have taken the position that the Senate ought quietly to go along with the presidential choices unless overwhelmingly strong reasons exist to the contrary.Other scholars and most senators have held the view that the Senate has the right and the obligation to make its own decision regarding the nominee.In practice the role ofthe Senate in the judicial confirmation process has varied,depending on the level ofthe federal judgeship that is being considered. For district judges the norm ofsenatorial courtesy prevails.That is,ifthe presidents nominee is acceptable to the senator(s) ofthe presidents party in the state in which the judge is to sit, the Senate is usually happy to confirm the appointment.For appointments to the appeals courts,senatorial courtesy does not apply,since the vacancy to be filled covers more than just the state of one or possibly two senators.But senators from each state in the circuit in which the vacancy has occurred customarily submit names ofpossible candidates to the president.An un-written rule is that each state in the circuit should have at least one judge onthat circuits appellate bench.As long as the norms are adhered to and the presidents nominee has reasonably good qualifications,the Senate as a whole usually goes along with the recommendations ofthe chiefexecutive. The Senate has been inclined to dispute the president ifdisagreement arises over a nominees fitness for the CHAPTER 7: FEDERAL JUDGES 149

PAGE 150

High Court.Since 1789,presidents have sent the names of144 Supreme Court nominees to the Senate for its advice and consent.Ofthis number, 30 were either rejected or indefinitely postponedŽby the Senate,or the names were withdrawn by the president.Thus presidents have been successful about 79 percent ofthe time, and their success rate seems to be improving,given that as many as onethird ofthe nominations were rejected by the Senate in the 19th century.The record shows that presidents have met with the most success in getting their High Court nominations approved when the nominee comes from a noncontroversial background and has middle-of-the-road political leanings, and when the presidents party also controls the Senate,or at least a majority shares the presidents basic attitudes and values.THE JUDICIAL SOCIALIZATION PROCESSIn college and law school,future judges acquire important analytic and communication skills,in addition to the basic substance ofthe law.After a couple ofdecades oflegal practice,the future judge has learned a good bit about how the courts and the law actually work and has specialized in several areas ofthe law.Despite all this preparation,sometimes called anticipatory socialization,Žmost new judges in America still have a lot to learn about being a judge. Not only does the United States lack formalized training procedures for the judicial profession,but there is an assumption that being a lawyer for a decade or so is all the experience one needs to be a judge.On the contrary, becoming a judge in America requires a good deal offreshman socialization (short-term learning and adjustment to the new role) and occupational socialization (on-the-job training over a period ofyears). Typical new trial court appointees may be first-rate lawyers and experts in a few areas ofthe law in which they have specialized.As judges,however, they are expected to be experts on all legal subjects,are required to engage in judicial duties usually unrelated to any tasks they performed as lawyers (for example,sentencing),and are given a host ofadministrative assignments for which they have had no prior experience (for example,learning how to docket efficiently several hundred diverse cases). At the appeals court level there is also a period offreshman socialization „ despite the circuit judges possible prior judicial experience „ and former trial judges appear to make the transition more easily. During the transition time,circuit judges tend to speak less for the court than their more experienced colleagues.They often take longer to write opinions,defer more often to senior colleagues,or experience a period ofindecision. 150 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 151

The learning process for new Supreme Court justices is even harder. As with new appeals court judges, novice Supreme Court justices tend to defer to senior associates,to write fewer majority and dissenting opinions,and to manifest a degree of uncertainty.New High Court appointees may have more judicial experience than their lower-court colleagues,but the fact that the Supreme Court is involved in broad judicial policy making „ as opposed to the error correction ofthe appeals courts and the norm enforcement of the trial courts „ may account for their initial indecisiveness. Given the need on the part of all new federal jurists for both freshman and occupational socialization, where do they go for instruction? For both the appeals court judges and their trial court peers,most of their training comes from their more senior,experienced colleagues on the bench „ particularly the chief judge ofthe circuit or district.Likewise on the Supreme Court,older associates,often the chiefjustice,play a primary part in passing on to novice justices the essential rules and values ofthe Court. Training seminars provided by the Federal Judicial Center for newly appointed judges also play an important role in the training and socialization ofnew jurists.Although some ofthese seminars are conducted by outsider specialists „ subject matter experts in the law schools „ the key instructors tend to be seasoned judges whose reallife experience on the bench commands the respect ofthe new members ofthe federal judiciary. What is the significance ofthis socialization process for the operation of the U.S.judicial-legal system? First, the agents ofsocialization that are readily available to the novice jurists allow the system to operate more smoothly,with a minimum ofdown time.Ifnew judges were isolated from their more experienced associates,geographically or otherwise,they would require more time to learn the fine points oftheir trade and presumably a greater number oferrors would occur in litigation. Second,the fact that the system is able to provide its own socialization „ that the older,experienced jurists train the novices „ serves as a sort of glue that helps bond the system together.It allows the judicial values, practices,and orientations ofone generation ofjudges to be passed on to another.It gives continuity and a sense ofpermanence to a system that operates in a world where chaos and random behavior are common.THE RETIREMENT AND REMOVAL OF JUDGESJudges cease performing their judicial duties when they retire by choice or because ofill health or death,or when they are subjected to the disciplinary actions ofothers. CHAPTER 7: FEDERAL JUDGES 151

PAGE 152

Disciplinary Action Against Federal JudgesAll federal judges appointed under the provisions ofArticle III ofthe Constitution hold office during good Behavior,Žwhich means in effect for life or until they choose to step down.The only way they can be removed from the bench is by impeachment (indictment by the House ofRepresentatives) and conviction by the Senate.In accordance with constitutional requirements (for Supreme Court justices) and legislative standards (for appeals and trial court judges),impeachment may occur for Treason,Bribery,or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.ŽAn impeached jurist would face trial in the Senate,which could convict by a vote oftwo-thirds ofthe members present. Since 1789 the House ofRepresentatives has initiated impeachment proceedings against only 13 jurists „ although about an equal number of judges resigned just before formal action was taken against them.Of these 13 cases,only seven resulted in a conviction,which removed them from office. Although outright acts ofcriminality by those on the bench are few,a gray area ofmisconduct may put offending judges somewhere between acceptable and impeachable behavior. What to do with the federal jurist who hears a case despite an obvious conflict ofinterest,who consistently demonstrates biased behavior in the courtroom,whose personal habits negatively affect his or her performance in court? Historically,little has been done in such cases other than issuance ofa mild reprimand by colleagues.In recent decades, however,actions have been taken to discipline judges. On October 1,1980,a new statute ofCongress took effect.Titled the Judicial Councils Reform and Judicial Conduct and Disability Act,the law has two distinct parts.The first part authorizes the Judicial Council in each circuit,composed ofboth appeals and trial court judges and presided over by the chiefjudge of the circuit,to make all necessary and appropriate orders for the effective and expeditious administration of justice within its circuit.ŽThe second part ofthe act establishes a statutory complaint procedure against judges. Briefly,it permits an aggrieved party to file a written complaint with the clerk ofthe appellate court.The chief judge then reviews the charge and may dismiss it ifit appears frivolous, or for a variety ofother reasons.Ifthe complaint seems valid,the chief judge must appoint an investigating committee consisting ofhimselfor herselfand an equal number oftrial and circuit court judges.After an inquiry the committee reports to the council,which has several options: the judge may be exonerated;ifthe offender is a bankruptcy judge or magistrate,he or she may be re152 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 153

moved;and an Article III judge may be subject to private or public reprimand or censure,certification of disability,request for voluntary resignation,or prohibition against further case assignments.However,removal ofan Article III judge is not permitted;impeachment is still the only recourse.Ifthe council determines that the conduct might constitute grounds for impeachment,it will notify the Judicial Conference,which in turn may transmit the case to the U.S.House ofRepresentatives for consideration.Disability of Federal JudgesPerhaps more problematic than removing jurists for misconduct is the removal ofthose who have become too old and infirm to carry out their judicial responsibilities effectively. Congress has tried with some success to tempt the more senior judges into retirement by making it financially more attractive to do so.Since 1984 federal judges have been permitted to retire with full pay and benefits under what is called the rule of80;that is, when the sum ofa judges age and number ofyears on the bench is 80. Congress has also permitted judges to go on senior status instead ofaccepting full retirement.In exchange for a reduced caseload they are permitted to retain their office and staffand „ equally important „ the prestige and self-respect ofbeing an active judge. Judges often time their resignations to occur when their party controls the presidency so that they will be replaced by a jurist ofsimilar political and judicial orientation.A 1990 study found that especially since 1954,judicial retirement/resignation rates have been strongly influenced by political/ideological considerations,and infused with partisanship,Žthus indicating that many jurists view themselves as part ofa policy link between the people,the judicial appointment process,and the subsequent decisions ofthe judges and justices. CHAPTER 7: FEDERAL JUDGES 153

PAGE 154

154 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEMMost state laws and constitutions provide few rigid conditions for being a state judge. The vast majority of the states do not require their justices of the peace or magistrates to have law degrees, but such degrees are virtually required (either formally or in practice) for trial and appellate judges.Although women constitute a slight majority ofthe American population and despite the upsurge in recent decades in the number ofwomen in the legal profession,women are still underrepresented on the bench. Those who do serve as state jurists are much more likely to serve at the lower levels ofthe state judiciary than on the supreme courts,although this varies greatly from one state to the next.As of the mid-1990s,only about 14 percent ofall state judges were women and 6 percent were either African American,Hispanic,or Asian American. State judges,like their federal counterparts,have generally stayed in the region where they grew up and were educated.About threefourths ofall state jurists were born in the state in which they serve,and less than a third went out ofstate for their undergraduate degrees or for their law degrees. This penchant for localism is also reflected in the patterns ofwork experience that state judges bring to the bench.For example,ofthose QUALIFICATIONS AND BACKGROUNDS OF STATE JUDGES

PAGE 155

CHAPTER 7: FEDERAL JUDGES 155serving on the state supreme court bench,only 13 percent have any prior federal experience,whereas 93 percent have some type ofprior state experience. Judges tend to be middle-aged when they assume the bench.State trial judges come to the bench at about age 46,which corresponds roughly to the figure of49 for federal trial judges.State appellate court judges tend to be slightly older than their trial court colleagues when they become jurists „ about 53,which is approximately the same as their federal equivalents. In terms ofpolitical party affiliation, state judges,whether they be elected or appointed,tend to mirror the party that dominates in the judges state.Also,the vast majority ofstate judges had been politically active before assuming the bench,whether they were elected to the bench or appointed by a governor. Over halfthe state trial judges come to the bench from the private practice oflaw,and about a quarter were elevated from a lower court judgeship,such as a magistrates position.Ofthose who practiced law,most reported a general practice without specialization.About one in five was recruited from the ranks of district attorneys,and only 3 percent come from private criminal law practice.Ofthose serving on state supreme courts,almost two-thirds came from the ranks ofthe intermediate appellate courts or from the state trial courts.THE SELECTION PROCESS FOR STATE JUDGESAt the state level a variety of methods are used to select jurists,and each ofthese has many permutations.Basically, there are five routes to a judgeship in any one ofthe 50 states:partisan election,nonpartisan election, merit selection,gubernatorial appointment,and appointment by the legislature.Election of JudgesThe election ofjudges,on either a partisan or a nonpartisan ballot,is the norm in the states.This method became popular during the time of President Andrew Jackson (182937),an era when Americans sought to democratize the political process. In practice,however,political party leaders often regard judicial elections as indirect patronage to reward the party faithful.Also, judges who must run for election

PAGE 156

156 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEMare often forced to solicit campaign contributions from the lawyers and law firms that will eventually appear before them in court „ a potential source ofconflict ofinterest.Finally, voter turnout in judicial elections is extremely low.Voters may know whom they prefer for president or member ofCongress or state senator,but they may be unfamiliar with the persons running for state judgeships. As part ofthe Progressive movement at the turn ofthe 20th century, reformers sought to take some of the partisanship out ofjudicial elections by having judges run on a nonpartisan basis.In principle they would run on their ideas and qualifications,not on the basis of which party they belonged to. But even in these technically nonpartisan states,the political parties endorse individual judicial candidates and contribute to their campaigns so that the candidates acquire identification with one political party or another.Merit SelectionMerit selection has been in use since the early 1900s as a preferred method ofselecting judges.The first state fully to adopt such a method was Missouri in 1940,and ever since such schemes have come to be known as generic variants of the Missouri Plan.Ž The states with Missouri-type plans use a combination ofelections and appointments.The governor appoints a judge from among several candidates recommended by a nominating panel offive or more people,usually including attorneys (often chosen by the local bar association),nonlawyers appointed by the governor,and sometimes a senior local judge.Either by law or by implicit agreement,the governor appoints someone from the recommended list.After serving for a short period oftime,often a year, the newly appointed judge must stand for a special election,at which time he or she in effect runs on his or her record.(The voters are asked, Shall Judge X be retained in office?Ž) Ifthe judges tenure is supported by the voters,as is virtually always the case,the judge will serve for a regular and fairly long term.Gubernatorial Appointment and Legislative AppointmentToday,judges are chosen by the governor or by the state legislature in only a handful ofstates.When judges are appointed by the

PAGE 157

CHAPTER 7: FEDERAL JUDGES 157governor,politics almost invariably comes into play.Governors tend to select individuals who have been active in state politics and whose activity has benefited either the governor personally or the governors political party or allies. Also,in making judicial appointments the governor often bargains with local political leaders or with state legislators whose support he or she needs.A governor may also use a judgeship to reward a legislator or local politician who has given faithful political support in the past. Only a few states still allow their legislators to appoint state judges. Although a variety ofcriteria may be used in choosing members ofthe state supreme courts,when it comes to filling the state trial benches,state legislators tend to turn to former members ofthe legislature.THE RETIREMENT AND REMOVAL OF JUDGESJudges who are too old or unfit to serve seem to be less ofa problem at the state level than at the federal level.A number ofstates have mandatory retirement plans. Minimum ages for retirement range from 65 to 75,with 70 being the most common.Some states have declining retirement benefit plans for judges who serve beyond the desired tenure;that is,the longer judges stay on the bench,the lower their retirement benefits. Retirement plans,no matter how effective in getting the older judge to resign,are oflittle use against the younger jurist who is incompetent, corrupt,or unethical.Throughout American history the states have used procedures such as impeachment,recall elections,and concurrent resolutions ofthe legislature to dismiss these judges. These methods were only minimally effective,however,either because they proved to be politically difficult to put into operation or because oftheir time-consuming, cumbersome nature. More recently,the states have begun to set up special commissions, often made up ofthe judges themselves,to police their own members.Such commissions are not always effective,however, because judges are often loath to expose a colleague to public censure and discipline.

PAGE 159

CHAPTERIMPLEMENTATIONAND IMPACT OF JUDICIAL POLICIES8 A prosecuting attorney argues before the Washington State Supreme Court, one of the lower courts normally seen as the enforcers of the policies made by rulings by appellate courts, notably the U.S. Supreme Court.

PAGE 160

After a courts decision is reached,a variety ofindividuals „ other judges, public officials,even private citizens „ may be called upon to implement the decision.This chapter looks at the various actors involved in the implementation process,their reactions to judicial policies,and the methods by which they may respond to a courts decision. Depending upon the nature ofthe courts ruling,the judicial policy may have a very narrow or a very broad impact.A suit for damages incurred in an automobile accident would directly affect only the persons involved and perhaps their immediate families.But the famous Gideon v.Wainwright (1963) decision has directly affected millions ofpeople in one way or another.In Gideon the Supreme Court held that states must provide an attorney for indigent defendants in felony trials. Scores ofpeople „ defendants, judges,lawyers,taxpayers „ have felt the effects ofthat judicial policy.THE IMPACT OF HIGHERCOURT DECISIONS ON LOWER COURTSAppellate courts,notably the U.S.Supreme Court,often are viewed as the most likely courts to be involved in policy making,while the trial courts are generally seen as norm enforcers.However, lower-court judges have a great deal of independence from the appellate courts and may be viewed,according to one study,as independent actors...who will not follow the lead of higher courts unless conditions are favorable for their doing so.ŽLower-Court DiscretionWhy do the lower-court judges have so much discretion when it comes to implementing a higher courts policy? In part,the answer may be found in the structure ofthe U.S.judicial system. The judiciary has always been characterized by independence,decentralization,and individualism.Federal judges,for example,are protected by life tenure and traditionally have been able to run their courts as they see fit. Disciplinary measures are not at all common,and federal judges have historically had little fear ofimpeachment.To retain their positions,the state trial court judges generally have only to keep the electorate satisfied. The discretion exercised by a lowercourt judge may also be a product of the higher courts decision itself.For example,following the famous school desegregation case, Brown v.Board of Education ofTopeka (1954),the Supreme Court told federal district judges,who had the task ofenforcing the ruling,that the public schools were to make a prompt and reasonable start and then proceed with all deliberate speed to bring about desegregation. What constitutes a prompt and reasonable start? How rapidly must a school district proceed in order to be moving with all deliberate speed? 160 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 161

CHAPTER 8: IMPLEMENTATION AND IMPACT OF JUDICIAL POLICIES 161The Supreme Court did not provide specific answers to these questions. Although not all High Court decisions are so open to interpretation,a good number ofthem are.A courts decision may be unclear for several reasons.Sometimes the issue or subject matter may be so complex that it is difficult to fashion a clear policy.In obscenity cases,for instance, the Supreme Court has had little difficulty in deciding that pornographic material is not entitled to protection as free speech under the First Amendment to the Constitution. Defining obscenity has proven to be another matter,however.Phrases such as prurient interest,Žpatently offensive,Žcontemporary community standards,Žand without redeeming social valueŽhave become commonplace in obscenity opinions,but these terms leave a good deal ofroom for subjective interpretation. Policies established by collegial courts are often ambiguous because the majority opinion is written to accommodate several judges.The majority opinion may also be accompanied by several concurring opinions. When this happens,lower court judges are left without a clear-cut precedent to follow.For example, in Furman v.Georgia (1972),the Supreme Court struck down the death penalty in several states,but for a variety ofreasons.Some justices opposed the death penalty per se,on the ground that it constituted cruel and unusual punishment in violation ofthe Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.Others voted to strike down the state laws because they were applied in a discriminatory manner. The uncertainty created by the 1972 decision affected not only lower-court judges but also state legislatures. The states passed a rash ofwidely divergent death penalty statutes and caused a considerable amount of new litigation. A lower-court judges discretion in the implementation process may also be affected by the manner in which a higher courts policy is communicated.Certainly the court from which a case has been appealed will be informed ofthe decision.However, systematic,formal efforts are not made to inform other courts ofthe decision or to see that lower-court judges have access to a copy ofthe opinion.The decisions that contain the new judicial policy are made available to the public in printed form or on the Internet,and judges are expected to read them ifthey have the time and inclination. Opinions ofthe Supreme Court, lower federal courts,and state appellate courts are available in a large number ofcourthouse,law school, and university libraries.They are also increasingly available on the Internet. This widespread availability does not guarantee that they will be read and clearly understood,however.Many lower-level state judges,such as jus-

PAGE 162

162 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEMtices ofthe peace and juvenile court judges,are nonlawyers who have little interest or skill in reading complex judicial decisions.Finally,even those judges who have an interest in highercourt decisions and the ability to understand them do not have adequate time to keep abreast ofall the new opinions. Given these problems,how do judges become aware ofupper-court decisions? One way is to hear ofthem through lawyers presenting cases in the lower courts.It is generally assumed that the opposing attorneys will present relevant precedents in their arguments before the judge. Those judges who have law clerks may also rely upon them to search out recent decisions from higher courts. Thus some higher-court policies are not quickly and strictly enforced simply because lower-court judges are not aware ofthem.Even those policies which lower-court judges are aware of may not be so clear to them.Either reason contributes to the discretion exercised by lower-court judges placed in the position ofhaving to implement judicial policies.Interpretation by Lower CourtsOne study noted that important policy announcements almost always require interpretation by someone other than the policy maker.ŽThis is certainly true in the case ofjudicial policies established by appellate courts.The first exercise ofa lowercourt judges discretion may be to interpret what the higher courts decision means. The manner in which a lowercourt judge interprets a policy established by a higher court depends upon a number offactors.Many policies are not clearly stated.Thus reasonable people may disagree over the proper interpretation.Even policy pronouncements that do not suffer from ambiguity,however,are sometimes interpreted differently by different judges. A judges own personal policy preferences will also have an effect upon the interpretation he or she gives to a higher-court policy.Judges come to the courts with their own unique background characteristics.Some are Republican,others are Democrat;one judge may be more lenient,another strict.They come from different regions ofthe country.Some have been prosecutors;others have been primarily defense lawyers or corporate lawyers.In short,their backgrounds may influence their own particular policy preferences.Thus the lowercourt judges may read their own ideas into a higher-court policy.The result is that a policy may be enthusiastically embraced by some judges yet totally rejected by others.Strategies Employed by Lower CourtsJudges who favor and accept a higher courts policy will naturally try to en-

PAGE 163

CHAPTER 8: IMPLEMENTATION AND IMPACT OF JUDICIAL POLICIES 163force it and perhaps even expand upon it.Some judges even have risked social ostracism and various kinds of harassment in order to implement policies they believed in but that were not popular in their communities. Judges who do not like a higher courts policy decision may implement it sparingly or only under duress.A judge who basically disagrees with a policy established by a higher court can employ a number of strategies.One rarely used strategy is defiance,whereby a judge simply does not apply the higher courts policy in a case before a lower court. Such outright defiance is highly unusual.Other strategies are not so extreme.One is simply to avoid having to apply the policy.A case may be disposed ofon technical or procedural grounds so that the judge does not have to rule on the actual merits ofthe case.It may be determined,for example,that the plaintiffdoes not have standing to sue or that the case has become moot because the issue was resolved before the trial commenced. Lower-court judges sometimes avoid accepting a policy by declaring a portion ofthe higher-court decision to be dictaŽ(Latin,meaning an authoritative declaration).Dicta refers to the part ofthe opinion that does not contribute to the central logic ofthe decision.It may be useful as guidance but is not seen as binding. What constitutes dicta is open to varying interpretations. Another strategy used by judges who are in basic disagreement with a judicial policy is to apply it as narrowly as possible.One method is for the lower-court judge to rule that a precedent is not controlling because factual differences exist between the higher-court case and the case before the lower courts.That is, because the two cases may be distinguished,the precedent does not have to be followed.Influences on Lower-Court JudgesAt times the lower courts must decide cases for which no precise standards have been provided by the higher courts.Whenever this occurs,lowercourt judges must turn elsewhere for guidance in deciding a case before them.One study notes that lowercourt judges in such a position may take their cues on how to decide a particular case from a wide variety offactors including their party affiliation,their ideology,or their regional norms.ŽCONGRESSIONAL INFLUENCES ON THE IMPLEMENTATION PROCESSOnce a federal judicial decision is made,Congress can offer a variety ofresponses:It may aid or hinder the implementation ofa decision.In addition,it can alter a courts interpretation ofthe law.Finally,Congress can mount an attack on an individual judge.

PAGE 164

164 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEMIn the course ofdeciding cases,the courts are often called upon to interpret federal statutes.On occasion the judicial interpretation may differ from what a majority in Congress intended. When that situation occurs,Congress can change the statute in new legislation that in effect overrules the courts initial interpretation.However,the vast majority ofthe federal judiciarys statutory decisions are not changed by Congress. Besides ruling on statutes,the federal courts interpret the Constitution. Congress has two methods to reverse or alter the effects ofa constitutional interpretation it does not like.First, Congress can respond with another statute designed to avoid the constitutional problems.Second,a constitutional decision can be overturned directly by an amendment to the U.S.Constitution.Although many such amendments have been introPresident Lyndon B. Johnson, after signing into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964, reaches to shake hands with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This law was an example of Congress key role in implementing a decision by the Supreme Court, in this instance, school desegregation policy.

PAGE 165

CHAPTER 8: IMPLEMENTATION AND IMPACT OF JUDICIAL POLICIES 165duced over the years,it is not easy to obtain the necessary two-thirds vote in each house ofCongress to propose the amendment and then achieve ratification by three-fourths ofthe states.Only four Supreme Court decisions in the history of the Court have been overturned by constitutional amendments. Congressional attacks on the federal courts in general and on certain judges in particular are another method ofresponding to judicial decisions.These attacks may take the form ofverbal denouncements by a member ofCongress,threats ofimpeachment ofsitting judges,or more thorough investigations ofthe judicial philosophies ofpotential nominees to the federal bench. Congress and the federal courts are not natural adversaries,however.Retaliations against the federal judiciary are fairly rare,and often the two branches work in harmony toward similar policy goals.For example, Congress played a key role in implementing the Supreme Courts school desegregation policy by enacting the Civil Rights Act of1964,which empowered the Justice Department to initiate suits against school districts that failed to comply with the Brown v. Board ofEducation decision.Title VI ofthe Act also provided a potent weapon in the desegregation struggle by threatening the denial offederal funds to schools guilty ofsegregation. In 1965 Congress further solidified its support for a policy ofdesegregated public schools by passing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. This act gave the federal government a much larger role in financing public education and thus made the threat to cut offfederal funds a serious problem for many segregated school districts. Such support from Congress was significant because the likelihood of compliance with a policy is increased when there is unity between branches ofgovernment.EXECUTIVE BRANCH INFLUENCES ON THE IMPLEMENTATION PROCESSAt times the president may be called upon directly to implement a judicial decision.An example is United States v.Nixon (1974).A Senate committee investigation into the cover-up ofa break-in at the Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C.,led directly to high government officials working close to the president.It was also revealed during the investigation that President Richard Nixon had installed an automatic taping system in the Oval Office.Leon Jaworski,who had been appointed special prosecutor to investigate the Watergate affair,subpoenaed certain tapes that he felt might provide evidence needed in his prosecution of high-ranking officials.Nixon refused to turn over the tapes on grounds of executive privilege and the need for

PAGE 166

166 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEMconfidentiality in discussions leading to presidential decisions.The Supreme Courts decision instructed the president to surrender the subpoenaed tapes to Judge John J.Sirica,who was handling the trials ofthe government officials.Nixon did comply with the High Courts directive and thus a decision was implemented that quickly led to his downfall.Within two weeks he resigned from the presidency,in August 1974. Even when not directly involved in the enforcement ofa judicial policy, the president may be able to influence its impact.Because ofthe status and visibility ofthe position,a president, simply by words and actions,may encourage support for,or resistance to,a new judicial policy. A president can propose legislation that directly affects the courts.President Franklin D.Roosevelt,for instance,unsuccessfully urged Congress to increase the size ofthe Supreme Court so he could packŽit with justices who supported his administrations legislative agenda. The appointment power also gives the president an opportunity to influence federal judicial policies,as the president appoints all federal judges, with the advice and consent of the Senate. A president can influence judicial policy making through the activities of the Justice Department,a part ofthe executive branch.The attorney general and staffsubordinates can emphasize specific issues according to the overall policy goals ofthe president. The other side ofthe coin,however,is that the Justice Department may,at its discretion,de-emphasize specific policies by not pursuing them vigorously in the courts. Another official who is in a position to influence judicial policy making is the solicitor general.Historically,this official has been seen as having dual responsibility to both the judicial and executive branches.Because ofthe solicitor generals close relationship with the Supreme Court, this official is sometimes referred to as the tenth justice.ŽThe solicitor general is often seen as a counselor who advises the Court about the meaning of federal statutes and the Constitution. The solicitor general also determines which ofthe cases involving the federal government as a party will be appealed to the Supreme Court.Furthermore,he or she may file an amicus curiae briefurging the Court to grant or deny another litigants certiorari petition or supporting or opposing a particular policy being urged upon the High Court. Many judicial decisions are actually implemented by the various departments,agencies,bureaus,and commissions ofthe executive branch.For example,the Supreme Court decision in Frontiero v.Richardson (1973) called upon the U.S.Air Force to play the major implementation role.The Frontiero case questioned congres-

PAGE 167

CHAPTER 8: IMPLEMENTATION AND IMPACT OF JUDICIAL POLICIES 167sional statutes that provided benefits for married male members ofthe Air Force but did not provide similar benefits for married female members. Lieutenant Sharron Frontiero challenged the policy on the ground that it constituted sexual discrimination.A federal district court in Alabama issued a decision upholding the Air Force policy.Lieutenant Frontiero appealed to the Supreme Court,which overturned the lower court decision and required the Air Force to implement a new policy.OTHER IMPLEMENTERSThe implementation ofjudicial policies is often performed by state as well as federal officials. Many ofthe Supreme Courts criminal due process decisions,such as Gideon v.Wainwright and Miranda v.Arizona (1966),have been enforced by state court judges and other state officials. State and local police officers,for instance,have played a major role in implementing the Miranda requirement that criminal suspects must be advised oftheir rights.The Gideon ruling that an attorney must be provided at state expense for indigent defendants in felony trials has been implemented by public defenders, local bar associations,and individual court-appointed lawyers. State legislators and executives are also frequently drawn into the implementation process.A judge who determines that a wrong has been committed may choose from a variety ofoptions to remedy the wrong. Among the more common options are process remedies,performance standards,and specified remedial actions.Process remedies provide for such things as advisory committees, citizen participation,educational programs,evaluation committees,dispute resolution procedures,and special masters to address a problem and come up with a solution.The remedies do not specify a particular form of action.Performance standards call for specific remedies „ for example,a certain number ofhousing units or schools or a certain level ofstaffing in a prison or mental health facility. The specific means ofattaining these goals are left to the discretion ofthe officials named in the suit.Examples ofspecified remedial actions are school busing,altered school attendance zones,and changes in the size and condition ofprison cells or hospital rooms.This type ofremedy provides the defendant with no flexibility concerning the specific remedy or the means ofattaining it. Implementation ofthese remedial decrees often devolves,at least partially,to the state legislatures.An order calling for a certain number ofprison cells or a certain number ofguards in the prison system might require new state expenditures,which the legislature would have to fund.Similarly,an order to construct more modern mental health facilities or provide more

PAGE 168

168 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEMmodern equipment would mean an increase in state expenditures.Governors would also be involved in carrying out these types ofremedial decrees because they typically are heavily involved in state budgeting procedures. Also,they may sign or veto laws. Sometimes judges appoint certain individuals to assist in carrying out the remedial decree.Special masters are usually given some decision-making authority.Court-appointed monitors are also used in some situations,but they do not relieve the judge ofdecision-making responsibilities.Instead, the monitor is an information gatherer who reports on the defendants progress in complying with the remedial decree.When orders are not implemented or when barriers of one kind or another block progress in providing a remedy,a judge may name someone as a receiver and empower him or her to disregard normal organizational barriers to get the job done. One group ofindividuals has been deeply involved in implementing judicial policies:the thousands ofmen and women who constitute school boards throughout the country.Two major policy areas stand out as having embroiled school board members in considerable controversy as they faced the task oftrying to carry out Supreme Court policy. First,when the High Court ruled in 1954 that segregation has no place in the public schools,school boards and school superintendents, along with federal district judges,bore the brunt ofimplementing that decision.Their role in this process has affected the lives ofmillions ofschoolchildren,parents,and taxpayers all over America. The second area that has involved school boards is the Supreme Courts policies on religion in the public schools.In Engel v.Vitale (1962),the Court held unconstitutional a New York requirement that a state-written prayer be recited daily in the public schools.Some school districts responded to the decision by requiring instead the recitation ofa Bible verse or the Lords Prayer.Their reasoning was that since the state did not write the Lords Prayer or the Bible,they were not violating the Courts policy. A year later,the Supreme Court struck down these new practices,pointing out that the constitutional violation lay in endorsing the religious activity and its determination did not depend on whether the state had written the prayer.THE IMPACT OF JUDICIAL POLICIESThe ultimate importance of the Supreme Courts decisions depends primarily on their impact on American society as a whole.A few policies that have had significant effects are in the areas of racial equality,criminal due process, and abortion.

PAGE 169

CHAPTER 8: IMPLEMENTATION AND IMPACT OF JUDICIAL POLICIES 169Racial EqualityMany point to the Supreme Courts decision in Brown v.Board ofEducation as the impetus for the drive for racial equality in the United States. However,Congress and the executive branch were also involved in the process ofensuring implementation ofthe decisions desegregation policy. Still,the courts initiated the pursuit for a national policy ofracial equality with the Brown ruling. In the beginning,the court decisions were often vague,leading to evasion ofthe new policy.The Supreme Court justices and many lower federal judges were persistent,however,and kept the policy ofracial equality on the national political agenda.Their persistence paid offwith passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act,10 years after the Brown decision.That act, which had the strong support of Presidents John F.Kennedy (1961-63) and Lyndon B.Johnson (1963-69), squarely placed Congress and the president on record as being supportive ofracial equality in America. One other aspect ofthe federal judiciarys importance in the policymaking process is illustrated by the Brown decision and the cases that followed it.Although the courts stood virtually alone in the quest for racial equality for several years,their decisions did not go unnoticed.Charles A. Virginia Military Institute cadets say grace before their evening meal of April 2, 2001, shortly after the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit to force the school to drop the prayers. The role of religion in public schools has been one of the most disputed issues before the U.S. court system in the past 40 years.

PAGE 170

170 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEMJohnson and Bradley C.Canon argue in Judicial Policies: Implementation and Impact that the Brown decision was a highly visible Court decision,a judicial attempt to generate one ofthe greatest social reforms in American history.And certainly in the years that followed,African Americans and their allies brought considerable pressures on other governmental bodies to desegregate the schools.Indeed,the pressures soon went far beyond schools to demand integration ofall aspects ofAmerican life.ŽCriminal Due ProcessJudicial policy making in the area of criminal due process is most closely associated with Earl Warrens tenure as U.S.chiefjustice (1953-69).Speaking ofthis era,Archibald Cox,a former solicitor general,said,Never has there been such a thorough-going reform ofcriminal procedure within so short a time.ŽThe Warren Court decisions were aimed primarily at changing the procedures followed by the states in dealing with criminal defendants.By the time Warren left the Supreme Court,new policies had been established to deal with a wide range ofactivities;among the more far-reaching were Mapp v.Ohio (1961), Gideon v.Wainwright ,and Miranda v.Arizona The Mapp decision extended the exclusionary rule,which had applied to the national government for a number ofyears,to the states.This rule required state courts to exclude from trial evidence that had been illegally seized by the police.Although some police departments,especially in major urban areas,have tried to establish specific guidelines for their officers to follow in obtaining evidence,such efforts have not been universal.Because ofvariations in police practices and differing lowercourt interpretations ofwhat constitutes a valid search and seizure, implementation of Mapp has not been consistent throughout the United States. After Clarence Earl Gideon petitioned the Supreme Court that he had not had legal representation before a Florida court, the Justices ruled in 1963 that indigent defendants must be provided attorneys when they go to trial in felony cases.

PAGE 171

CHAPTER 8: IMPLEMENTATION AND IMPACT OF JUDICIAL POLICIES 171Perhaps even more important in reducing the expected impact of Mapp was the lack ofsolid support for the exclusionary rule among the Supreme Court justices.The decision was not a unanimous one to begin with,and over the years some justices have been openly critical ofthe exclusionary rule.Furthermore,subsequent Supreme Court decisions have broadened the scope oflegal searches,thus limiting the applicability ofthe rule. The Gideon v.Wainwright decision held that indigent defendants must be provided attorneys when they go to trial in a felony case in the state courts. U.S. Chief Justice Earl Warren, seen here in a 1961 photo. During his tenure, 1953-69, the Supreme Court sparked major reforms in criminal procedure through landmark decisions, including Gideon v. Wainwright and Miranda v. Arizona

PAGE 172

172 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEMMany states routinely provided attorneys in such trials even before the Courts decision.The other states began to comply in a variety ofways. Public defender programs were established in many regions.In other areas, local bar associations cooperated with judges to implement some method ofcomplying with the Supreme Courts new policy. The impact ofthe Gideon decision is clearer and more consistent than that of Mapp .One reason,no doubt,is the fact that many states had already implemented the policy called for by Gideon .It was simply more widely accepted than the policy established by Mapp .The policy announced in Gideon was also more sharply defined than the one in Mapp .Although the Court did not specify whether a public defender or a court-appointed lawyer must be provided,it is still clear that the indigent defendant must have the help ofan attorney.Also,the Supreme Court under the next chiefjustice, Warren Burger (1969-86),did not retreat from the Warren Courts policy ofproviding an attorney for indigent defendants as it did in the search and seizure area addressed by Mapp .All these factors add up to a more recognizable impact for the policy announced in Gideon In Miranda v.Arizona the Supreme Court went a step further and ruled that police officers must advise suspects taken into custody oftheir constitutional rights,one ofwhich is to have an attorney present during questioning.Suspects must also be advised that they have a right to remain silent and that any statement they make may be used in court;that ifthey cannot afford an attorney,one will be provided at state expense;and that they have the right to stop answering questions at any time.These requirements are so clearly stated that police departments have actually copied them down on cards for officers to carry in their shirt pockets.Then,when suspects are taken into custody,the police officers simply remove the card and read the suspects their rights. In terms ofwhether police officers read the Miranda rights to persons they arrest,there has been a high level ofcompliance with the Supreme Court policy.Some researchers,however,have questioned the impact of Miranda because ofthe method by which suspects may be advised oftheir rights.It is one thing to read to a person from a card;it is another to explain what is meant by the High Courts requirements and then try to make the suspect understand them.Looked at in this manner,the impact ofthe policy announced in Miranda is not quite as clear. The Burger Court did not show an inclination to lend its solid support to the Warren Courts Miranda policy. Although Miranda has not been overruled,its impact has been limited somewhat.In Harris v.New York (1971),for example,the Burger Court

PAGE 173

CHAPTER 8: IMPLEMENTATION AND IMPACT OF JUDICIAL POLICIES 173ruled that statements made by an individual who had not been given the Miranda warning could be used to challenge the credibility ofhis testimony at trial.Then,the Court,under the leadership ofChiefJustice William Rehnquist (1986),ruled in Davis v.United States (1994) that police are not required to stop questioning a suspect who makes an ambiguous request to have an attorney present. Congress reacted to Miranda ,two years after the decision,by enacting a statute that in essence made the admissibility ofa suspects statements turn solely on whether they were made voluntarily.The statute received little attention until 1999 when the Fourth Circuit Court ofAppeals,in a case involving an alleged bank robber who moved to suppress a statement he made to the FBI on grounds that he had not received  Miranda warningsŽ before being interrogated,held that the statute was satisfied because his statement was voluntary.The court ofappeals decision raised the question whether the congressional statute or the High Courts Miranda decision should be followed.On June 26,2000,the U.S.Supreme Court held that Miranda ,being a constitutional decision ofthe Court, could not in effect be overruled by an act ofCongress.In other words, the Miranda decision still governs the admissibility ofstatements made during custodial interrogation in state and federal courts. In sum,the impact ofthe Supreme Courts criminal justice policies has been mixed,for several reasons.In some instances ambiguity is a problem.In other cases,less than solid support for the policy may be evident among justices or support erodes when one Court replaces another.All these variables translate into greater discretion for the implementers.AbortionIn Roe v.Wade (1973) the Supreme Court ruled that a woman has an absolute right to an abortion during the first trimester ofpregnancy;that a state may regulate the abortion procedure during the second trimester in order to protect the mothers health;and that,during the third trimester,the state may regulate or even prohibit abortions,except where the life or health ofthe mother is endangered. The reaction to this decision was immediate,and primarily negative.It came in the form ofletters to individual justices,public speeches,the introduction ofresolutions in Congress, and the advocacy ofright to lifeŽ amendments in Congress.Given the controversial nature ofthe Courts decision,hospitals did not wholeheartedly offer to support the decision by changing their abortion policies. Reaction to the Courts abortion policy has not only continued but also has moved into new areas.Recent presidential elections have seen the

PAGE 174

174 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEMtwo major party platforms and candidates take opposing stands on the abortion issue.Democratic platforms and nominees have generally expressed support for Roe v.Wade whereas the Republican platforms and contenders have noted opposition to the Supreme Courts decision. Congress has also been a hotbed of activity in response to the Supreme Courts abortion decision.Unable to secure passage ofa constitutional amendment to overturn Roe v.Wade antiabortion „ also known as prolife „ forces successfully lobbied for amendments to appropriations bills preventing the expenditure offederal funds for elective abortions.In 1980 the Supreme Court,in a five-to-four vote,upheld the constitutionality of such a prohibition. Most ofthe legislation in the aftermath ofthe Roe decision has been at the state level.One study reports that within two years ofthe decision 32 states had passed 62 laws relating to abortion,most aimed at limiting access to abortions,regulating abortion procedures,or prohibiting abortions under certain conditions. Since the Supreme Courts Roe v. Wade abortion ruling, the battles between supporters and opponents of abortion are being fought in Congress, at all levels of the judiciary, and in the political arena.

PAGE 175

CHAPTER 8: IMPLEMENTATION AND IMPACT OF JUDICIAL POLICIES 175Interest group activity increased dramatically after the Roe decision. Groups opposing the decision often organized public demonstrations against the decision and later began to picket clinics.Interest groups that support the Roe v.Wade decision have been more likely to focus their efforts on the courts. While battles over the abortion issue were being fought in the courts, political campaigns,and legislative arenas,others preferred a more direct approach,demonstrating at and blockading abortion centers.The Supreme Court has ruled,however, that reasonable time,place,and manner restrictions may be placed on such demonstrations.That position was reaffirmed on June 28,2000,when the Court upheld a Colorado statute making it unlawful for a person to knowingly approach another person without that persons consent to hand out a leaflet,display a sign,or orally protest within 100 feet ofa health care facility.ConclusionsSome judicial policies have a greater impact on society than others.The judiciary plays a greater role in developing the nations policies than the constitutional framers envisioned. However,American courts are not all-powerful institutions,Žwrites Gerald N.Rosenberg in Hollow Hope: Can Courts Bring About Social Change? They were designed with severe limitations and placed in a political system ofdivided powers.To ask them to produce significant social reforms is to forget their history and ignore their constraints.Ž Within this complex framework of competing political and social demands and expectations is a policymaking role for the courts.Because the other two branches ofgovernment are sometimes not receptive to the demands ofcertain segments ofsociety,the only alternative for those individuals or groups is to turn to the courts.Civil rights organizations,for example,made no real headway until they found the Supreme Court to be a supportive forum for their school desegregation efforts. As civil rights groups attained some success in the federal courts, others were encouraged to employ litigation as a strategy.For example, womens rights supporters followed a pattern established by minority groups when they began taking their grievances to the courts.What began as a more narrow pursuit for racial equality was thus broadened to a quest for equality for other disadvantaged groups in society. Clearly,then,the courts can announce policy decisions that attract national attention and perhaps stress the fact that other policy makers have failed to act.In this way the judiciary may invite the other branches to exercise their policy-making powers. Follow-up decisions indicate the

PAGE 176

176 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEMjudiciarys determination to pursue a particular policy and help keep alive the invitation for other policy makers to join in the endeavor. All things considered,the courts seem best equipped to develop and implement narrow policies that are less controversial in nature.The policy established in the Gideon case provides a good example.The decision that indigent defendants in state criminal trials must be provided with an attorney did not meet any strong outcries ofprotest.Furthermore,it was a policy that primarily required the support ofjudges and lawyers;action by Congress and the president was not really necessary.A policy of equality for all segments ofsociety, on the other hand,is so broad and controversy-laden that it must move beyond the judiciary.As it does so, the courts become simply one part,albeit an important part,ofthe policymaking process.

PAGE 177

177The following text of the United States Constitution reflects the original spelling and usage. Brackets [ ] indicate parts that have been changed or set aside by amendments.PREAMBLE:We the Peopleofthe United States,in Order to form a more perfect Union,establish Justice,insure domestic Tranquility,provide for the common defence,promote the general Welfare,and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity,do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States ofAmerica. ARTICLE.I. Section.1. All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress ofthe United States,which shall consist ofa Senate and House ofRepresentatives. Section.2. The House ofRepresentatives shall be composed ofMembers chosen every second Year by the People ofthe several States,and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors ofthe most numerous Branch ofthe State Legislature. No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years,and been seven Years a Citizen ofthe United States,and who shall not,when elected,be an Inhabitant ofthat State in which he shall be chosen. Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States [which may be included within this Union,according to their respective Numbers,which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number offree Persons,including those bound to Service for a Term of Years,and excluding Indians not taxed,three fifths ofall other Persons.] The177THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES

PAGE 178

178 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEMactual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress ofthe United States,and within every subsequent Term often Years,in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand,but each State shall have at Least one Representative;and until such enumeration shall be made,the State ofNew Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight,Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five,New-York six,New Jersey four,Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one,Maryland six,Virginia ten,North Carolina five,South Carolina five,and Georgia three. When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State,the Executive Authority thereofshall issue Writs ofElection to fill such Vacancies. The House ofRepresentatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power ofImpeachment. Section.3. The Senate ofthe United States shall be composed oftwo Senators from each State,[chosen by the Legislature thereof,] for six Years;and each Senator shall have one Vote. Immediately after they shall be assembled in Consequence ofthe first Election,they shall be divided as equally as may be into three Classes.The Seats ofthe Senators ofthe first Class shall be vacated at the Expiration ofthe second Year,ofthe second Class at the Expiration ofthe fourth Year,and of the third Class at the Expiration ofthe sixth Year;so that one third may be chosen every second Year;[and ifVacancies happen by Resignation,or otherwise,during the Recess ofthe Legislature ofany State,the Executive thereofmay make temporary Appointments until the next Meeting ofthe Legislature,which shall then fill such Vacancies.] No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age ofthirty Years,and been nine Years a Citizen ofthe United States,and who shall not, when elected,be an Inhabitant ofthat State for which he shall be chosen. The Vice President ofthe United States shall be President ofthe Senate,but shall have no Vote,unless they be equally divided.

PAGE 179

179 THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES 179The Senate shall chuse their other Officers,and also a President pro tempore, in the Absence ofthe Vice President,or when he shall exercise the Office of President ofthe United States. The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments.When sitting for that Purpose,they shall be on Oath or Affirmation.When the President of the United States is tried,the ChiefJustice shall preside:And no Person shall be convicted without the Concurrence oftwo thirds ofthe Members present. Judgment in Cases ofImpeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office,and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office ofhonor,Trust or Profit under the United States:but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment,Trial,Judgment and Punishment, according to Law. Section.4. The Times,Places and Manner ofholding Elections for Senators and Representatives,shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, [except as to the Places ofchusing Senators.] The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year,[and such Meeting shall be on the first Monday in December,] unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day. Section.5. Each House shall be the Judge ofthe Elections,Returns and Qualifications of its own Members,and a Majority ofeach shall constitute a Quorum to do Business;but a smaller Number may adjourn from day to day,and may be authorized to compel the Attendance ofabsent Members,in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide. Each House may determine the Rules ofits Proceedings,punish its Members for disorderly Behaviour;and,with the Concurrence oftwo thirds,expel a Member.

PAGE 180

180 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEMEach House shall keep a Journal ofits Proceedings,and from time to time publish the same,excepting such Parts as may in their Judgment require Secrecy;and the Yeas and Nays ofthe Members ofeither House on any question shall,at the Desire ofone fifth ofthose Present,be entered on the Journal. Neither House,during the Session ofCongress,shall,without the Consent of the other,adjourn for more than three days,nor to any other Place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting. Section.6. The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services,to be ascertained by Law,and paid out ofthe Treasury ofthe United States.They shall in all Cases,except Treason,Felony and Breach ofthe Peace,be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses,and in going to and returning from the same;and for any Speech or Debate in either House,they shall not be questioned in any other Place. No Senator or Representative shall,during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority ofthe United States, which shall have been created,or the Emoluments whereofshall have been encreased during such time;and no Person holding any Office under the United States,shall be a Member ofeither House during his Continuance in Office. Section.7. All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House ofRepresentatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills. Every Bill which shall have passed the House ofRepresentatives and the Senate,shall,before it become a Law,be presented to the President ofthe United States;Ifhe approve he shall sign it,but ifnot he shall return it,with his Objections to that House in which it shall have originated,who shall enter the Objections at large on their Journal,and proceed to reconsider it.Ifafter such Reconsideration two thirds ofthat House shall agree to pass the Bill,it shall be sent,together with the Objections,to the other House,by which it

PAGE 181

181 THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES 181shall likewise be reconsidered,and ifapproved by two thirds ofthat House,it shall become a Law.But in all such Cases the Votes ofboth Houses shall be determined by yeas and Nays,and the Names ofthe Persons voting for and against the Bill shall be entered on the Journal ofeach House respectively.If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him,the Same shall be a Law,in like Manner as ifhe had signed it,unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return,in which Case it shall not be a Law. Every Order,Resolution,or Vote to which the Concurrence ofthe Senate and House ofRepresentatives may be necessary (except on a question of Adjournment) shall be presented to the President ofthe United States;and before the Same shall take Effect,shall be approved by him,or being disapproved by him,shall be repassed by two thirds ofthe Senate and House ofRepresentatives,according to the Rules and Limitations prescribed in the Case ofa Bill. Section.8. The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes,Duties,Imposts and Excises,to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare ofthe United States; but all Duties,Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States; To borrow Money on the credit ofthe United States; To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations,and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes; To establish an uniform Rule ofNaturalization,and uniform Laws on the subject ofBankruptcies throughout the United States; To coin Money,regulate the Value thereof,and offoreign Coin,and fix the Standard ofWeights and Measures; To provide for the Punishment ofcounterfeiting the Securities and current Coin ofthe United States;

PAGE 182

182 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEMTo establish Post Offices and post Roads; To promote the Progress ofScience and useful Arts,by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries; To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court; To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas,and Offences against the Law ofNations; To declare War,grant Letters ofMarque and Reprisal,and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water; To raise and support Armies,but no Appropriation ofMoney to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; To provide and maintain a Navy; To make Rules for the Government and Regulation ofthe land and naval Forces; To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws ofthe Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions; To provide for organizing,arming,and disciplining,the Militia,and for governing such Part ofthem as may be employed in the Service ofthe United States,reserving to the States respectively,the Appointment ofthe Officers, and the Authority oftraining the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress; To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever,over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may,by Cession ofparticular States,and the Acceptance ofCongress,become the Seat ofthe Government ofthe United States,and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent ofthe Legislature ofthe State in which the Same shall be,for the Erection ofForts,Magazines,Arsenals,dock-Yards,and other needful Buildings;„And

PAGE 183

183 THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES 183To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers,and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government ofthe United States,or in any Department or Officer thereof. Section.9. The Migration or Importation ofsuch Persons as any ofthe States now existing shall think proper to admit,shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight,but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation,not exceeding ten dollars for each Person. The Privilege ofthe Writ ofHabeas Corpus shall not be suspended,unless when in Cases ofRebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it. No Bill ofAttainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed. No Capitation,[or other direct,] Tax shall be laid,unless in Proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken. No Tax or Duty shall be laid on Articles exported from any State. No Preference shall be given by any Regulation ofCommerce or Revenue to the Ports ofone State over those ofanother:nor shall Vessels bound to,or from,one State,be obliged to enter,clear,or pay Duties in another. No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury,but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law;and a regular Statement and Account ofthe Receipts and Expenditures ofall public Money shall be published from time to time. No Title ofNobility shall be granted by the United States:And no Person holding any Office ofProfit or Trust under them,shall,without the Consent ofthe Congress,accept ofany present,Emolument,Office,or Title,ofany kind whatever,from any King,Prince,or foreign State.

PAGE 184

184 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEMSection.10. No State shall enter into any Treaty,Alliance,or Confederation;grant Letters ofMarque and Reprisal;coin Money;emit Bills ofCredit;make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment ofDebts;pass any Bill of Attainder,ex post facto Law,or Law impairing the Obligation ofContracts,or grant any Title ofNobility. No State shall,without the Consent ofthe Congress,lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports,except what may be absolutely necessary for executing its inspection Laws:and the net Produce ofall Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports,shall be for the Use ofthe Treasury of the United States;and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul ofthe Congress. No State shall,without the Consent ofCongress,lay any Duty ofTonnage, keep Troops,or Ships ofWar in time ofPeace,enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State,or with a foreign Power,or engage in War, unless actually invaded,or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay. ARTICLE.II. Section.1. The executive Power shall be vested in a President ofthe United States of America.He shall hold his Office during the Term offour Years,and,together with the Vice President,chosen for the same Term,be elected,as follows Each State shall appoint,in such Manner as the Legislature thereofmay direct,a Number ofElectors,equal to the whole Number ofSenators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress:but no Senator or Representative,or Person holding an Office ofTrust or Profit under the United States,shall be appointed an Elector. [The Electors shall meet in their respective States,and vote by Ballot for two Persons,ofwhom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant ofthe same State with themselves.And they shall make a List ofall the Persons voted for,and of

PAGE 185

185 THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES 185the Number ofVotes for each;which List they shall sign and certify,and transmit sealed to the Seat ofthe Government ofthe United States,directed to the President ofthe Senate.The President ofthe Senate shall,in the Presence ofthe Senate and House ofRepresentatives,open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted.The Person having the greatest Number ofVotes shall be the President,ifsuch Number be a Majority ofthe whole Number ofElectors appointed;and ifthere be more than one who have such Majority,and have an equal Number ofVotes,then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one ofthem for President; and ifno Person have a Majority,then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President.But in chusing the President,the Votes shall be taken by States,the Representation from each State having one Vote;A quorum for this Purpose shall consist ofa Member or Members from two thirds ofthe States,and a Majority ofall the States shall be necessary to a Choice.In every Case,after the Choice ofthe President,the Person having the greatest Number ofVotes ofthe Electors shall be the Vice President.But ifthere should remain two or more who have equal Votes,the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.] The Congress may determine the Time ofchusing the Electors,and the Day on which they shall give their Votes;which Day shall be the same throughout the United States. No Person except a natural born Citizen,or a Citizen ofthe United States,at the time ofthe Adoption ofthis Constitution,shall be eligible to the Office of President;neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age ofthirty five Years,and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States. In Case ofthe Removal ofthe President from Office,or ofhis Death, Resignation,or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties ofthe said Office,the Same shall devolve on the Vice President,and the Congress may by Law provide for the Case ofRemoval,Death,Resignation or Inability,both of the President and Vice President,declaring what Officer shall then act as President,and such Officer shall act accordingly,until the Disability be removed,or a President shall be elected. The President shall,at stated Times,receive for his Services,a Compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the Period for which

PAGE 186

186 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEMhe shall have been elected,and he shall not receive within that Period any other Emolument from the United States,or any ofthem. Before he enter on the Execution ofhis Office,he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:„ I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office ofPresident ofthe United States,and will to the best ofmy Ability,preserve,protect and defend the Constitution ofthe United States.Ž Section.2. The President shall be Commander in Chiefofthe Army and Navy ofthe United States,and ofthe Militia ofthe several States,when called into the actual Service ofthe United States;he may require the Opinion,in writing,of the principal Officer in each ofthe executive Departments,upon any Subject relating to the Duties oftheir respective Offices,and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States,except in Cases ofImpeachment. He shall have Power,by and with the Advice and Consent ofthe Senate,to make Treaties,provided two thirds ofthe Senators present concur;and he shall nominate,and by and with the Advice and Consent ofthe Senate,shall appoint Ambassadors,other public Ministers and Consuls,Judges ofthe supreme Court,and all other Officers ofthe United States,whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for,and which shall be established by Law:but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers,as they think proper,in the President alone,in the Courts ofLaw,or in the Heads ofDepartments. The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess ofthe Senate,by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End oftheir next Session. Section.3. He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information ofthe State of the Union,and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient;he may,on extraordinary Occasions,convene both Houses,or either ofthem,and in Case ofDisagreement between them, with Respect to the Time ofAdjournment,he may adjourn them to such

PAGE 187

187 THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES 187Time as he shall think proper;he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers;he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,and shall Commission all the Officers ofthe United States. Section.4. The President,Vice President and all civil Officers ofthe United States,shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for,and Conviction of,Treason, Bribery,or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors. ARTICLE.III. Section.1. The judicial Power ofthe United States,shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.The Judges,both ofthe supreme and inferior Courts,shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour;and shall,at stated Times,receive for their Services,a Compensation,which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office. Section.2. The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases,in Law and Equity,arising under this Constitution,the Laws ofthe United States,and Treaties made,or which shall be made,under their Authority;„ to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;„ to all Cases ofadmiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;„ to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;„ to Controversies between two or more States;„ [between a State and Citizens ofanother State;]„ between Citizens ofdifferent States,„ between Citizensofthe same State claiming Lands under Grants ofdifferent States,and betweena State,or the Citizens thereof,and foreign States,[Citizens or Subjects.] In all Cases affecting Ambassadors,other public Ministers and Consuls,and those in which a State shall be Party,the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction.In all the other Cases before mentioned,the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction,both as to Law and Fact,with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

PAGE 188

188 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEMThe Trial ofall Crimes,except in Cases ofImpeachment,shall be by Jury;and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed;but when not committed within any State,the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed. Section.3. Treason against the United States,shall consist only in levying War against them,or in adhering to their Enemies,giving them Aid and Comfort.No Person shall be convicted ofTreason unless on the Testimony oftwo Witnesses to the same overt Act,or on Confession in open Court. The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment ofTreason,but no Attainder ofTreason shall work Corruption ofBlood,or Forfeiture except during the Life ofthe Person attainted. ARTICLE.IV. Section.1. Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts,Records, and judicial Proceedings ofevery other State.And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts,Records and Proceedings shall be proved,and the Effect thereof. Section.2. The Citizens ofeach State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States. A Person charged in any State with Treason,Felony,or other Crime,who shall flee from Justice,and be found in another State,shall on Demand ofthe executive Authority ofthe State from which he fled,be delivered up,to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction ofthe Crime. [No Person held to Service or Labour in one State,under the Laws thereof, escaping into another,shall,in Consequence ofany Law or Regulation therein,be discharged from such Service or Labour,but shall be delivered up on Claim ofthe Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.]

PAGE 189

189 THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES 189Section.3. New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union;but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction ofany other State;nor any State be formed by the Junction oftwo or more States,or Parts ofStates, without the Consent ofthe Legislatures ofthe States concerned as well as of the Congress. The Congress shall have Power to dispose ofand make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States;and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims ofthe United States,or ofany particular State. Section.4. The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form ofGovernment,and shall protect each ofthem against Invasion;and on Application ofthe Legislature,or ofthe Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence. ARTICLE.V. The Congress,whenever two thirds ofboth Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution,or,on the Application ofthe Legislatures oftwo thirds ofthe several States,shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments,which,in either Case,shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes,as Part ofthis Constitution,when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths ofthe several States,or by Conventions in three fourths thereof,as the one or the other Mode ofRatification may be proposed by the Congress;Provided [that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section ofthe first Article;and] that no State, without its Consent,shall be deprived ofits equal Suffrage in the Senate. ARTICLE.VI. All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into,before the Adoption of this Constitution,shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution,as under the Confederation.

PAGE 190

190 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEMThis Constitution,and the Laws ofthe United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof;and all Treaties made,or which shall be made,under the Authority ofthe United States,shall be the supreme Law ofthe Land;and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby,any Thing in the Constitution or Laws ofany State to the Contrary notwithstanding. The Senators and Representatives before mentioned,and the Members of the several State Legislatures,and all executive and judicial Officers,both of the United States and ofthe several States,shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation,to support this Constitution;but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States. ARTICLE.VII. The Ratification ofthe Conventions ofnine States,shall be sufficient for the Establishment ofthis Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.(The following statement reflects copyists corrections to the original document.)The Word,the,Žbeing interlined between the seventh and eighth Lines ofthe first Page,The Word ThirtyŽbeing partly written on an Erazure in the fifteenth Line ofthe first Page,The Words is triedŽbeing interlined between the thirty second and thirty third Lines ofthe first Page and the Word theŽ being interlined between the forty third and forty fourth Lines ofthe second Page. Attest William Jackson Secretary done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent ofthe States present the Seventeenth Day ofSeptember in the Year ofour Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and ofthe Independence ofthe United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereofWe have hereunto subscribed our Names, Go.WASHINGTON „ Presid.t and deputy from Virginia

PAGE 191

191 THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES 191Delaware Geo:Read Gunning Bedford jun John Dickinson Richard Bassett Jaco:Broom Maryland James McHenry Dan ofSt Thos.Jenifer Danl Carroll Virginia John Blair„ James Madison Jr. North Carolina Wm.Blount Richd.Dobbs Spaight Hu Williamson South Carolina J.Rutledge Charles Cotesworth Pinckney Charles Pinckney Pierce Butler Georgia William Few Abr Baldwin New Hampshire John Langdon Nicholas Gilman Massachusetts Nathaniel Gorham Rufus King Connecticut Wm.Saml.Johnson Roger Sherman New York Alexander Hamilton New Jersey Wil:Livingston David Brearley. Wm.Paterson. Jona:Dayton Pennsylvania B Franklin Thomas Mifflin Robt Morris Geo.Clymer Thos.FitzSimons Jared Ingersoll James Wilson Gouv Morris

PAGE 192

192 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM(The first ten amendments, known as the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791.)The Preamble to The Bill ofRights Congress ofthe United States begun and held at the City ofNew-York,onWednesday the fourth ofMarch,one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.THE Conventions ofa number ofthe States,having at the time oftheir adopting the Constitution,expressed a desire,in order to preventmisconstruction or abuse ofits powers,that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added:And as extending the ground ofpublic confidence inthe Government,will best ensure the beneficent ends ofits institution. RESOLVED by the Senate and House ofRepresentatives ofthe United States ofAmerica,in Congress assembled,two thirds ofboth Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures ofthe several States,as amendments to the Constitution ofthe United States,all,or any of which Articles,when ratified by three fourths ofthe said Legislatures,to be valid to all intents and purposes,as part ofthe said Constitution;viz. ARTICLES in addition to,and Amendment ofthe Constitution ofthe United States ofAmerica,proposed by Congress,and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States,pursuant to the fifth Article ofthe original Constitution. AMENDMENT I Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment ofreligion,or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;or abridging the freedom ofspeech,or of the press;or the right ofthe people peaceably to assemble,and to petition the Government for a redress ofgrievances.AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES

PAGE 193

193 AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES 193AMENDMENT II A well regulated Militia,being necessary to the security ofa free State,the right ofthe people to keep and bear Arms,shall not be infringed. AMENDMENT III No Soldier shall,in time ofpeace be quartered in any house,without the consent ofthe Owner;nor in time ofwar,but in a manner to be prescribed by law. AMENDMENT IV The right ofthe people to be secure in their persons,houses,papers,and effects,against unreasonable searches and seizures,shall not be violated,and no Warrants shall issue,but upon probable cause,supported by Oath or affirmation,and particularly describing the place to be searched,and the persons or things to be seized. AMENDMENT V No person shall be held to answer for a capital,or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment ofa Grand Jury,except in cases arising in the land or naval forces,or in the Militia,when in actual service in time of War or public danger;nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy oflife or limb;nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself,nor be deprived oflife,liberty, or property,without due process oflaw;nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation. AMENDMENT VI In all criminal prosecutions,the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial,by an impartial jury ofthe State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed,which district shall have been previously ascertained by law,and to be informed ofthe nature and cause ofthe accusation;to be confronted with the witnesses against him;to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor,and to have the Assistance ofCounsel for his defence.

PAGE 194

194 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEMAMENDMENT VII In Suits at common law,where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars,the right oftrial by jury shall be preserved,and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court ofthe United States,than according to the rules ofthe common law. AMENDMENT VIII Excessive bail shall not be required,nor excessive fines imposed,nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. AMENDMENT IX The enumeration in the Constitution,ofcertain rights,shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. AMENDMENT X The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution,nor prohibited by it to the States,are reserved to the States respectively,or to the people. AMENDMENT XI (1795) The Judicial power ofthe United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity,commenced or prosecuted against one ofthe United States by Citizens ofanother State,or by Citizens or Subjects ofany Foreign State. AMENDMENT XII (1804) The Electors shall meet in their respective states,and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President,one ofwhom,at least,shall not be an inhabitant ofthe same state with themselves;they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President,and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President,and they shall make distinct lists ofall persons voted for as President,and ofall persons voted for as Vice-President,and ofthe number ofvotes for each,which lists they shall sign and certify,and transmit sealed to

PAGE 195

195 AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES 195the seat ofthe government ofthe United States,directed to the President of the Senate;„The President ofthe Senate shall,in the presence ofthe Senate and House ofRepresentatives,open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;„The person having the greatest number ofvotes for President, shall be the President,ifsuch number be a majority ofthe whole number of Electors appointed;and ifno person have such majority,then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list ofthose voted for as President,the House ofRepresentatives shall choose immediately,by ballot,the President.But in choosing the President,the votes shall be taken by states,the representation from each state having one vote;a quorum for this purpose shall consist ofa member or members from twothirds ofthe states,and a majority ofall the states shall be necessary to a choice.{And ifthe House ofRepresentatives shall not choose a President whenever the right ofchoice shall devolve upon them,before the fourth day ofMarch next following,then the Vice-President shall act as President,as in the case ofthe death or other constitutional disability ofthe President}* „ The person having the greatest number ofvotes as Vice-President,shall be the Vice-President,ifsuch number be a majority ofthe whole number ofElectors appointed,and ifno person have a majority,then from the two highest numbers on the list,the Senate shall choose the Vice-President;a quorum for the purpose shall consist oftwo-thirds ofthe whole number ofSenators,and a majority ofthe whole number shall be necessary to a choice.But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office ofPresident shall be eligible to that of Vice-President ofthe United States. *Superseded by Section 3 of the Twentieth Amendment.AMENDMENT XIII (1865) Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude,except as a punishment for crime whereofthe party shall have been duly convicted,shall exist within the United States,or any place subject to their jurisdiction. Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

PAGE 196

196 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEMAMENDMENT XIV (1868) Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof,are citizens ofthe United States and ofthe State wherein they reside.No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities ofcitizens ofthe United States;nor shall any Statedeprive any person oflife,liberty,or property,without due process oflaw;nordeny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection ofthe laws. Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers,counting the whole number ofpersons in each State,[excluding Indians not taxed.] But when the right to vote at any election for the choice ofelectors for President and Vice President ofthe United States,Representatives in Congress,the Executive and Judicial officers ofa State,or the members ofthe Legislature thereof,is denied to any ofthe male inhabitants ofsuch State,being twenty-one years ofage,* and citizens of the United States,or in any way abridged,except for participation in rebellion,or other crime,the basis ofrepresentation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number ofsuch male citizens shall bear to the whole number ofmale citizens twenty-one years ofage in such State. *Changed by Section 1 of the Twenty-sixth Amendment.Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress,or elector of President and Vice President,or hold any office,civil or military,under the United States,or under any State,who,having previously taken an oath,as a member ofCongress,or as an officer ofthe United States,or as a member of any State legislature,or as an executive or judicial officer ofany State,to support the Constitution ofthe United States,shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same,or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.But Congress may by a vote oftwo-thirds ofeach House, remove such disability.

PAGE 197

197 AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES 197Section 4. The validity ofthe public debt ofthe United States,authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment ofpensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion,shall not be questioned.But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid ofinsurrection or rebellion against the United States,or any claim for the loss or emancipation ofany slave;but all such debts,obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void. Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce,by appropriate legislation,the provisions ofthis article. AMENDMENT XV (1870) Section 1. The right ofcitizens ofthe United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account ofrace,color,or previous condition ofservitude. Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. AMENDMENT XVI (1913) The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes,from whatever source derived,without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration. AMENDMENT XVII (1913) The Senate ofthe United States shall be composed oftwo Senators from each State,elected by the people thereof,for six years;and each Senator shall have one vote.The electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for electors ofthe most numerous branch ofthe State legislatures.

PAGE 198

198 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEMWhen vacancies happen in the representation ofany State in the Senate,the executive authority ofsuch State shall issue writs ofelection to fill such vacancies:Provided,That the legislature ofany State may empower the executive thereofto make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct. This amendment shall not be so construed as to affect the election or term of any Senator chosen before it becomes valid as part ofthe Constitution. AMENDMENT XVIII(1919,repealed by Amendment XXI) Section 1. After one year from the ratification ofthis article the manufacture,sale,or transportation ofintoxicating liquors within,the importation thereofinto,or the exportation thereoffrom the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereoffor beverage purposes is hereby prohibited. Section 2. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures ofthe several States,as provided in the Constitution,within seven years from the date ofthe submission hereofto the States by the Congress. AMENDMENT XIX (1920) The right ofcitizens ofthe United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account ofsex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

PAGE 199

199 AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES 199AMENDMENT XX (1933) Section 1. The terms ofthe President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day ofJanuary,and the terms ofSenators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day ofJanuary,ofthe years in which such terms would have ended ifthis article had not been ratified;and the terms oftheir successors shall then begin. Section 2. The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year,and such meeting shall begin at noon on the 3d day ofJanuary,unless they shall by law appoint a different day. Section 3. If,at the time fixed for the beginning ofthe term ofthe President,the President elect shall have died,the Vice President elect shall become President.Ifa President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning ofhis term,or ifthe President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified;and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified,declaring who shall then act as President,or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected,and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified. Section 4. The Congress may by law provide for the case ofthe death ofany ofthe persons from whom the House ofRepresentatives may choose a President whenever the right ofchoice shall have devolved upon them,and for the case ofthe death ofany ofthe persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right ofchoice shall have devolved upon them.

PAGE 200

200 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEMSection 5. Sections 1 and 2 shall take effect on the 15th day ofOctober following the ratification ofthis article. Section 6. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures ofthree-fourths ofthe several States within seven years from the date ofits submission. AMENDMENT XXI (1933) Section 1. The eighteenth article ofamendment to the Constitution ofthe United States is hereby repealed. Section 2. The transportation or importation into any State,Territory,or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein ofintoxicating liquors,in violation ofthe laws thereof,is hereby prohibited. Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States,as provided in the Constitution,within seven years from the date ofthe submission hereofto the States by the Congress. AMENDMENT XXII (1951) Section 1. No person shall be elected to the office ofthe President more than twice,and no person who has held the office ofPresident,or acted as President,for more than two years ofa term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office ofthe President more than once.But this article shall not apply to any person holding the office ofPresident when

PAGE 201

201 AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES 201this article was proposed by the Congress,and shall not prevent any person who may be holding the office ofPresident,or acting as President,during the term within which this article becomes operative from holding the office of President or acting as President during the remainder ofsuch term. Section 2. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures ofthree-fourths ofthe several states within seven years from the date ofits submission to the states by the Congress. AMENDMENT XXIII (1961) Section 1. The District constituting the seat ofgovernment ofthe United States shall appoint in such manner as the Congress may direct: A number ofelectors ofPresident and Vice President equal to the whole number ofSenators and Representatives in Congress to which the District would be entitled ifit were a state,but in no event more than the least populous state;they shall be in addition to those appointed by the states,but they shall be considered,for the purposes ofthe election ofPresident and Vice President,to be electors appointed by a state;and they shall meet in the District and perform such duties as provided by the twelfth article of amendment. Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. AMENDMENT XXIV (1964) Section 1. The right ofcitizens ofthe United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President,for electors for President or Vice

PAGE 202

202 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEMPresident,or for Senator or Representative in Congress,shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state by reason offailure to pay any poll tax or other tax. Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. AMENDMENT XXV (1967) Section 1. In case ofthe removal ofthe President from office or ofhis death or resignation,the Vice President shall become President. Section 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office ofthe Vice President,the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote ofboth Houses ofCongress. Section 3. Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore ofthe Senate and the Speaker ofthe House ofRepresentatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties ofhis office,and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary,such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President. Section 4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority ofeither the principal officers of the executive departments or ofsuch other body as Congress may by law provide,transmit to the President pro tempore ofthe Senate and the Speaker ofthe House ofRepresentatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties ofhis office,the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties ofthe office as Acting President.

PAGE 203

203 AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES 203Thereafter,when the President transmits to the President pro tempore ofthe Senate and the Speaker ofthe House ofRepresentatives his written declaration that no inability exists,he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority ofeither the principal officers ofthe executive department or ofsuch other body as Congress may by law provide,transmit within four days to the President pro tempore ofthe Senate and the Speaker ofthe House ofRepresentatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue,assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose ifnot in session.Ifthe Congress,within twenty-one days after receipt ofthe latter written declaration,or,ifCongress is not in session,within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble,determines by two-thirds vote ofboth Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties ofhis office,the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President;otherwise,the President shall resume the powers and duties ofhis office. AMENDMENT XXVI (1971) Section 1. The right ofcitizens ofthe United States,who are 18 years ofage or older,to vote,shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account ofage. Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. AMENDMENT XXVII (1992) No law,varying the compensation for the services ofthe Senators and Representatives,shall take effect,until an election ofRepresentatives shall have intervened.

PAGE 204

204 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM Activism (judicial).The willingness ofa judge to inject into a case his or her own personal values about what is good and bad public policy.See also self-restraint (judicial).Actus reus.The material element of the crime,which may be the commission ofa forbidden action (for example,robbery) or the failure to perform a required action (for example,to stop and render aid to a motor vehicle accident victim).Adversarial process.The process used in American courtrooms where the trial is seen as a battle between two opposing sides,and the role ofthe judge is to act as a sort ofpassive referee.See also inquisitorial method.Advisory opinions.Rendering a decision on an abstract or hypothetical question (something that American courts are not supposed to do).Alternative dispute resolution (ADR).Methods ofresolving disputes (often with the help ofneutral third parties) without a trial.Mediation and arbitration are two well-known ADR techniques.Amicus curiae.(Friend ofthe court.Ž) A person (or group),not a party to a case,who submits views (usually in the form ofwritten briefs) about how the case should be decided.Answer. The formal written statement by a defendant responding to a civil complaint and setting forth the grounds for his or her defense.Appellate jurisdiction.The authority ofa higher court to review the decision ofa lower court.Arraignment.The process in which the defendant is brought before the judge in the court where he or she is to be tried to respond to the grand jury indictment or the prosecutors bill of information.Bail.A sum ofmoney put up with the court by the defendant to ensure that he or she will appear at the time oftrial.Bench trial.Trial without a jury in which the judge decides which party prevails. GLOSSARY

PAGE 205

205 GLOSSARY 205Bill of attainder.A law,forbidden by the U.S.Constitution,that makes conduct illegal for one person (or class ofpersons) but not for the population in general.Bill of information.A statement of the charges against the accused prepared by the prosecutor,which,if approved by a judge,will require the accused to stand trial for the alleged crimes.This is used in states that do not employ a grand jury.Certification.The procedure by which one ofthe U.S.appeals courts asks the U.S.Supreme Court for instructions or clarification about a particular legal matter.Either the justices may choose to honor this request or not,or they may request that the entire record ofthe case be sent to the Supreme Court for review and final judgment.Civil law. The law that pertains to the relationship between one private citizen and another,between a private citizen and a corporation,or between one corporation and another.Class action.A suit brought by persons having similar grievances against a common entity;for example, a group ofsmokers with lung cancer suing a tobacco company.Collegial courts.Courts having more than one judge,which are almost always appellate courts.Common law. A system oflaw inherited from England based on legal precedents or tradition instead of statutory law or systematic legal codes.Complaint.A written statement filed by the plaintiffthat initiates a civil case.It states the wrongs allegedly committed by the defendant and requests relieffrom the court.Concurrent jurisdiction.A situation in which two courts have a legal right to hear the same case.For example, both the U.S.Supreme Court and U.S. trial courts have concurrent jurisdiction in certain cases brought by or against ambassadors or counsels.Concurring opinion.An opinion by a member ofa court that agrees with the result reached in a case but offers its own rationale for the decision.Corpus juris.The entire body oflaw for a particular legal entity.Courtroom workgroup.The regular participants in the day-to-day activities ofa particular courtroom. The most visible members ofthis group are judges,prosecutors,and defense attorneys.

PAGE 206

206 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEMCourt of appeals.A court that is higher than an ordinary trial court and has the function ofreviewing or correcting the decisions oftrial judges.Crime.An offense against the state punishable by fine,imprisonment,or death.Criminal law.The law that pertains to offenses against the state itself, actions that may be directed against a person but that are deemed to be offensive to society as a whole „ for example,armed robbery or rape.Cross-examination.During a trial, the questions posed to a witness who has been called to the stand by the opposing attorney.Damages.Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.Compensatory damages are designed to cover the plaintiffs actual loss;punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant.Declaratory judgment.When a court outlines the rights ofthe parties under a statute,a will,or a contract.Defendant.In a civil case,the person or organization against whom the plaintiffbrings suit;in a criminal case, the person accused ofthe crime.Deposition.An oral statement made before an officer authorized by law to administer oaths.Such statements are often taken to examine potential witnesses in the discovery process.Discovery.The process by which lawyers learn about their opponents case in preparation for trial.Typical tools ofdiscovery include depositions, interrogatories,and requests for documents.Dissenting opinion.An opinion by a member ofa court that disagrees with the result reached in the case by the court.Diversity of citizenship suit. A civil legal proceeding brought by a citizen ofone state against a citizen ofanother state.En banc.(In the benchŽor as a full bench.Ž) Court sessions with the entire membership ofa court participating, not just a smaller panel ofjudges.Equity.That realm ofthe law in which the judge is able to issue a remedy that will either prevent or cure the wrong that is about to happen;for example,an injunction against an illegal strike by a union.Ex post facto law.Forbidden by the U.S.Constitution,this law declares conduct to be illegal after the conduct takes place.

PAGE 207

207 GLOSSARY 207Federal question.Ifa court case centers around the interpretation ofa federal law,the U.S.Constitution,or a treaty,then it contains a federal question and the case may be heard by a U.S.court.Felony.Any offense for which the penalty may be death or imprisonment in a penitentiary.Grand jury.A body of16 to 23 citizens who listen to evidence of criminal allegations,which is presented by the prosecutors,and determine whether probable cause exists to believe an individual committed an offense.See also indictment.Habeas corpus.A writ (court order) that is usually used to bring a prisoner before the court to determine the legality ofhis or her imprisonment.Impeachment.The only way in which a federal judge may be removed from office.The House of Representatives brings the charge(s), and the Senate,following trial, convicts by a two-thirds vote ofthe membership.Indictment.The decision ofa grand jury to order a defendant to stand trial because the jury believes that probable cause exists to warrant a trial.Inquisitorial method.The procedure used in most European and Latin American courtrooms in which the judge and jury take an active role in the trial and the attorneys act only to aid and supplement the judicial inquiry.See also adversarial process.Interrogatories.Written questions sent by one party in a lawsuit to an opposing party as part ofpretrial discovery in civil cases.The party receiving the interrogatories is required to answer them in writing under oath.Judgment.The official decision ofa court finally resolving the dispute between the parties to the lawsuit.Judicial review.The power ofthe judicial branch to declare acts ofthe executive and legislative branches unconstitutional.Jurisdiction.The authority ofa court to hear and decide legal disputes and to enforce its rulings.Justiciability.Whether a judge ought to hear or refrain from hearing certain types ofcases.It differs from jurisdiction,which pertains to the technical right ofa judge to hear a case.For example,lawsuits dealing with political questions are considered nonjusticiable.

PAGE 208

208 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEMLaw.A social norm that is sanctioned in threat or in fact by the application ofphysical force.The party that exercises such physical force is recognized by society as legitimately having this kind ofauthority,such as a police officer.Magistrate.A lower level judicial official to whom the accused is brought after the arrest.A magistrate has the obligation ofinforming the accused ofthe charges against him or her and ofhis or her legal rights.Mandatory sentencing laws.Statutes that require automatic jail time for a convicted criminal,usually for a minimum period oftime.These laws are often for violent crimes in which a gun was used and for habitual offenders.Mens rea.The mental element ofthe crime „ that is,what was intended by the perpetrator ofthe crime.Usually the more intentional and willful the mental state,the more serious the crime.Merit selection.A method of selecting state judges that requires the governor to make the appointment from a short list ofnames submitted by a special commission established for that purpose.After serving for a short period oftime,the judge must run in a retention election.Voters thus determine whether the judge should be retained for a full term.Misdemeanor.A petty crime. Punishment usually is confinement in a city or county jail for less than a year.Moot.Describes a case when the basic facts or the status ofthe parties have significantly changed in the interim when the suit was filed and when it comes before the judge.Nolo contendere.(No contest.Ž) A plea by a criminal defendant in which he or she does not deny the facts ofthe case but claims that he or she has not committed any crime,or it may mean that the defendant does not understand the charges.Opinion of the court. A judges written explanation ofthe courts decision.Because the case may be heard by a panel ofjudges in an appellate court,the opinion can take two forms.Ifall the judges completely agree with the result,one judge will write the opinion for all.Ifall the judges do not agree,the formal decision will be based on the view of the majority,and one member ofthe majority will write the decision.

PAGE 209

209 GLOSSARY 209Oral argument.An opportunity for lawyers to summarize their position before the court and to answer the judgesquestions.Ordinance-making power.The power ofstate governors to fill in the details oflegislation passed by state legislatures.Original jurisdiction. The court that by law must be the first to hear a particular type ofcase.For example, in suits with at least $75,000 at stake between citizens from different states, the federal district courts are the courts oforiginal jurisdiction.Overcharging.The process whereby a prosecutor charges a criminal defendant with crimes more serious than the facts warrant to obtain a more favorable plea bargain from the defendants attorney.Per curiam.(By the court.Ž) An unsigned opinion ofthe court,often brief.Peremptory challenge.An objection that an attorney might have to a prospective juror.The juror may be eliminated from the array without the attorney having to give a public reason for the objection.The number ofsuch challenges is limited by law.Petit jury (or trial jury).A group of citizens who hear the evidence presented by both sides at trial and determine the facts in dispute.Plaintiff.The person who files the complaint in a civil lawsuit.Plea bargain. A bargain or deal that has been struck between the prosecutor and the defendants attorney whereby some form of leniency is promised in exchange for a guilty plea.Political question.When the courts refuse to rule because they believe that under the U.S.Constitution the founders meant that the matter at hand should be dealt with by Congress or the president.Private law.This deals with the rights and obligations that private individuals and institutions have when they relate to one another.Probation.Punishment for a crime that allows the offender to remain in the community and out ofjail so long as he or she follows court-ordered guidelines about his or her behavior.Pro bono publico.(For the public good.Ž) Usually refers to legal representation undertaken without fee for some charitable or public purpose.

PAGE 210

210 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEMPublic law.The relationships that individuals have with the state as a sovereign entity „ for example,the tax code,criminal laws,and Social Security legislation.Recess appointment.An appointment made by the president when Congress is in recess.Persons appointed in this manner may hold office only until Congress reconvenes.Reversible error.An error committed at the trial court level that is so serious that it requires the appellate court to reverse the decision ofthe trial judge.Rule of four.On the Supreme Court at least four justices must agree to take a case before the Court as a whole will consider it.Rule of 80.When the sum ofa federal judges age and number of years on the bench is 80,Congress permits the individual to retire with full pay and benefits.Self-restraint (judicial).The reluctance ofa judge to inject into a case his or her own personal ideas of what is good or bad public policy.See also activism (judicial).Senatorial courtesy. Under this practice,senators ofthe presidents political party who object to a candidate that the president wishes to appoint to a district judgeship in their home state have a virtual veto over the nomination.Sequestration (of jury).In very important or notorious cases the jury may be kept away from the public eye by the judge,and this usually means that the jury is housed and fed as a group at taxpayersexpense.Socialization (judicial).The process by which a new judge is formally and informally trained to perform the specific tasks ofthe judgeship.Standing.The status ofsomeone who wishes to bring a lawsuit.To have standing,the person must have suffered (or be immediately about to suffer) a direct and significant injury.Stare decisis, the doctrine of.(Stand by what has been decided.Ž) In effect,the tradition ofhonoring and following previous decisions ofthe courts and established points oflaw.Statutory law.The type oflaw enacted by a legislative body,such as Congress,a state legislature,or a city council.

PAGE 211

211 GLOSSARY 211Three-judge panels (of appellate courts).Most decisions ofthe U.S. courts ofappeals are not made by the entire court sitting together but by three judges,often selected at random, to hear any given case.Three-judge district courts.With some types ofimportant cases Congress has mandated that the case cannot be heard by a U.S.trial judge acting alone but has to be decided by a panel ofthree judges,one ofwhom must be an appeals court judge.Tort.A civil wrong or breach ofduty to another person.Trial de novo. A new trial in which the entire case is retried as ifno prior trial had occurred.Venue. The geographical location in which a case is tried.Voir dire.The procedure by which opposing attorneys question potential jurors to determine whether the jurors might be prejudicial to their individual cases.Warrant.Issued after a complaint, filed by one person against another, has been presented and reviewed by a magistrate who has found probable cause for the arrest.Writ of certiorari.An order issued by the U.S.Supreme Court directing the lower court to transfer records for a case that it will hear on appeal.Writ of mandamus.A court order compelling a public official to perform his or her duty.

PAGE 212

212 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM BOOKSAdministrative Office ofthe United States Courts. United States Courts: Their Jurisdiction and Work. Washington,DC:1989. Fallon,Richard H.,Hart,Henry Melvin,and Wechsler,Herbert. Hart and Wechslers the Federal Courts and the Federal System ,5th ed.New York, NY:Foundation Press,2003. Baum,Lawrence. American Courts: Process and Policy .5th ed.Boston,MA: Houghton Mifflin,2001. Chemerinsky,Erwin. Federal Jurisdiction ,4th ed.New York,NY: Aspen Publishers,2003. Feinman,Jay M. Law 101: Everything You Need to Know About the American Legal System .New York,NY:Oxford University Press,Inc.,2000. Franklin,Carl J. Constitutional Law for the Criminal Justice Professional Boca Raton,FL:CRC Press,1999. Friedman,Lawrence Meir. Law in America: A Short History .New York, NY:Modern Library,2002. Mullenix,Linda S.,Martin Redish,and Georgene Vairo. Understanding Federal Courts and Jurisdiction .New York,NY:Matthew Bender,1998. Posner,Richard A. The Federal Courts: Challenge and Reform. Cambridge, MA:Harvard University Press,1996. Stumpf,Harry P. American Judicial Politics ,2nd ed.Upper Saddle River, NJ:Prentice Hall,1998.WEB SITESFacts About the American Judicial System htt p://www .abane t.o rg/me dia/ fa c t b o oks/j udifa c t.pdf Federal Courts and What They Do htt p://www .fjc.g o v/pub lic/pdf.nsf/ lo okup/FCtsW hat.pdf/$file/ FCtsW hat.pdf The Federal Court System in the United States:An Introduction for Judges and Judicial Administrators in Other Countries htt p://www .usc our ts.g o v/lib r ar y/ int e r nat io nalb o ok-f e d c ts2.pdf BIBLIOGRAPHY

PAGE 213

213 BIBLIOGRAPHY 213InfoUSA „ Judicial Branch htt p://usinf o .stat e.g o v/usa/inf ousa/ p olit ics/j udb r anc.ht m Introduction to the Legal System htt p://www .c e c.o rg/pubs_inf o_ r esour c es/la w_t r eat_ag r e e/s ummar y_ e n v ir o_la w/pub licat io n/ usd o c.cfm?v ar lan=e ng lish&t o pic=1 JURIST:The Legal Education Network htt p://www .j ur ist.la w .pitt.e d u/ Law Library Resource Exchange htt p://www .l lr x.c o m/ Legal Encyclopedia htt p://www .nolo .c o m/la w c e nt e r/e ncy/ ind e x.cfm Library ofCongress:Guide to Law Online htt p://www .lo c.g o v/la w/guid e/us.ht ml National Center for State Courts „ Court Information Database htt p://www .ncsc o nline.o rg/W CDS/ ind e x.ht m Prosecutors in State Courts,2001 htt p://www .o jp .usd o j .g o v/b js/pub/ pdf/psc01.pdf State Court Organization,1998 htt p://www .o jp .usd o j .g o v/b js/pub/ pdf/sc o98.pdf The Supreme Court ofthe United States htt p://www .s up r e me c our t us.g o v Understanding the Federal Courts htt p://www .usc our ts.g o v/ und e r stand02 /

PAGE 214

214 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM A Abortion,173…175 Actus reus,95 Administrative law,7,12,60 quasi-judicial bodies,130,131 Administrative Procedure Act,12 Administrative law courts,39 Advisory opinions,24,63,64,81 Advocates ... see Lawyers Affirmative action,35,36 Alternative dispute resolution,127…131 arbitration,128,129 mediation,128 mini-trial,129 neutral fact-finding,129 private judging,130 summary jury trial,129,130 American Bar Association,145,147…149 Amicus curiae,86…89 Anticipatory socialization,150,151 Appeals,116,117,139 Appellate courts ... see Jurisdiction;U.S.Courts of Appeal;U.S.Supreme Court Arbitration,128,129 Arraignment,100,101 Arrest,97 Article I,9,10,39 Article II,144,149 Article III,20,152,153 jurisdiction,9,24,25,63 courts,creation of,39,144 Article IV,69 Article VI,7,8,16 Articles ofConfederation,7 Assistance ofcounsel ... see Counsel,assistance of Attorneys ... see Lawyers B Bail,98,99 Baker v.Carr ,69 Bankruptcy,122 Bench trial,106 Bill ... see Laws Bill ofinformation,100 Bill ofRights bail,98,99 bills ofattainder,95 counsel,assistance of,79,81…83,106, 160,171…173 double jeopardy,58,101,106,114, 117 Eighth Amendment,161 ex post facto laws,95 Fifth Amendment,13,58,99,106 First Amendment,88,161 Fourth Amendment,106 Miranda rights,98,99,167,170,172, 173 public trial,38,105 self-incrimination,106 Seventh Amendment,38,131,135 Sixth Amendment,38,105 speedy trial,98,99,105 Tenth Amendment,16 text of,192…194 witnesses,confronting,98,100,106, 108,109 Bills ofattainder,95 Briefs,86…89 Brown v.Board ofEducation ,16,27,86, 160,165,169 Burden ofproof,69,70,106 in criminal trial,112 Burger,Warren,146,172 INDEX

PAGE 215

C Capital punishment,114,115,161 Case citation format,13,131 Certified question,61 Certiorari,writ of,28,61 Challenge for cause,107 Checks and balances,7 Child custody,126,127 Church and state,separation of,168,169 Circuit riding,32 Circuit Court Act of1802,32 City courts,49 Civil law adversarial process in,131 alternative dispute resolution, 127…131 categories of,121…127 constitutional rights,81,82 criminal law,comparison to,15 damages,122,123 definition of,120 federal,59 remedies,14 standard ofproof,14,131,138 trials,costs of,127 Civil procedure answer,134 appeals,139 counter claims,134 default judgment,133 discovery,134 filing,131,132 judgment and execution,138 jurisdiction,132 jury selection,135,136 motions,133 peremptory challenges,135,136 pleadings,133 post-trial motions,138 pretrial conference,134 service ofprocess,133 standing,131 summons,133 trial,136…138 venue,132,133 voir dire,135 Civil Rights Act of1964,165,169 Civil Rights Act of1968,62 Clerk ofthe court,54,55 Closing argument,109,137 Colonial era courts in,46,47 legal profession in,74 Commerce clause,9,10 Commercial law,121 Common law,7,12,13 Compensatory damages,122 Compensatory litigation,83,84 Concurring opinions,31 Consensual crime,94 Constitution ... see U.S.Constitution Constitutional Convention,20 Constitutional courts,39 Contract law,121,122 Conventional crime ... see Crimes ofviolence;Property crime Counsel,assistance of,76,131 right to,81-83,106,160,171-172 Counterclaims,134 County courts,49 Court unification movement,48 Courtroom workgroup,81,82 Courts civil,130 conflicts with legislatures,9,10,47 domestic relations,130 jurisdiction,requirements for,63…71 probate,130 and public policy,26,61…71, 160…163,168…176 small claims,130 ... see also Federal courts;State courts Courts ofAppeal ... see under State Courts, intermediate appellate courts Courts ofequity,15 INDEX 215

PAGE 216

Creditorsrights,122 Crime actus reus,95 consensual,94 definition of,92,93 degrees of,49 felony,92,93 infractions,93 misdemeanors,93 domestic violence,98 economic,93,94 elements of,94…96 homicide,95,96 injury,nature of,96 mens rea,95 ofviolence,93 organized,94 political,94 property,93,97 punishment,92,93,102,114,115, 161 Crimes against the person,93 Crimes ofviolence,93 Criminal due process,170…173 Criminal law,120 burden ofproof,69,70,106,112 capital punishment,114,115,161 categories of,92,93 civil law,comparison to,15 constitutional rights,81,82 federal,58 plea bargaining,79,82,101…104 police discretion,97,98 sentencing,114…116,161 standard ofproof,14,112 trials,roles ofjudges and lawyers,81, 82 ... see also Crime;Defendants rights; Trial Criminal procedure arraignment,100,101 arrest,97 assistance ofcounsel,106,160, 171…173 bail,98,99 bill ofinformation,100 burden ofproof,106 constitutional rights,105,106 cross examination,108,109 double jeopardy,114 due process,170…173 exclusionary rule,106,170…172 grand jury,99,100 indictment,100 innocence,presumption of,106 magistrate,appearance before,98 mistrial,108,114 plea bargaining,79,82,101…104 pleas,100,101 preliminary hearing,99,100 voir dire,107 warrant,97 ... see also Defendants rights Criminal trial ... see under Trial Cross-examination,108,109,136 D Damages,122,123,138,139 Davis v.U.S. ,173 Death penalty ... see Capital punishment Declaration ofIndependence,6 Declaratory judgments,64 Default judgment,133 Defendants rights assistance ofcounsel,79,81…83,106, 160,171…173 bail,98,99 bills ofattainder,95 Davis v.U.S. ,173 double jeopardy,58,101,106,114, 117 ex post facto laws,9,95 Gideon v.Wainwright ,160,167, 170…172,176 Harris v.New York ,172,173 jury,38,105 216 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 217

Mapp v.Ohio ,170…172 Miranda rights,98,99,167,170,172, 173 public trial,38,105 selfincrimination,106 speedy trial,98,99,105 trials,105,106 witnesses,confronting,98,100,106, 108,109 Defendants indigent,76,79,81…83 ... see also Counsel,assistance of Delegation ofpowers,8,9,12 Depositions,134 Desegregation ... see Racial equality Dicta,163 Discovery,134 Dissenting opinions,31 District Attorney ... see Prosecutors Diversity jurisdiction,9,10,59 Divorce,126,127 Domestic relations courts,49,130 Domestic violence,98 Double jeopardy,58,101,106,114,117 E Economic crime,93,94 Eighth Amendment,161 Elementary and Secondary Education Act,165 En banc proceedings,36 Engel v.Vitale ,168 Equal protection clause,16,27,35,36 Equitable remedies,14,15 Establishment ofreligion,64…67 Evarts Act,32,33 Evidence,106,108,109,137 Ex post facto laws,9,95 Exclusionary rule,106,170…172 Executive branch,10,12 influence on judicial decisions, 165…167 Executive privilege,165,166 Exemplary damages,122 Exhaustion ofremedies,68 Expert witnesses,136 F Family law,125…128 Federal Bureau ofInvestigation,10,145, 147 Federal courts administration of,40…43 advisory opinions,63,64 chart of,22 creation of,20…22 jurisdiction of diversity,59 original,28,59…61 mootness,63,64 standing,63 structure of,20…22 workload of,43 ... see also U.S.Courts ofAppeal; U.S.District Courts;U.S.Supreme Court Federal criminal law,58 Federal Declaratory Judgment Act of 1934,64 Federal executive branch development of,10,12 interaction with judiciary,10 Federal judges ... seeunder Judges Federal Judgeship Act of1990,38 Federal law civil law,59 components of,6,7 judicial interpretation of,164 relationship to state law,6,7,17 sources of,7…13 Felonies,49,92,93 Fifth Amendment,13,58,99,106 First Amendment,88,161 Former jeopardy ... see Double jeopardy INDEX 217

PAGE 218

Fourteenth Amendment,16,26,105 equal protection,27,35,36,69,107 Fourth Amendment,106 Freedom ofreligion,86…88 Freedom ofspeech,161 Freedom ofthe press,47 Friend ofthe court brief ... see Amicus curiae Frontiero v.Richardson ,166,167 Furman v.Georgia ,161 G Gibbons v.Ogden ,26 Gideon v.Wainwright ,160,167,170…172, 176 Ginsburg,Ruth,143 Grand jury,38,99,100 Guilty plea,101 H Habeas corpus,59 Habitual criminal,102 Harmless error,116 Harris v.New York ,172,173 Holmes,Oliver Wendell,40,41 Homicide,95,96 Hopwood v.Texas ,35,36 Hung jury,114 I Impeachment,152,153,157 Indictment,58,100 Indigent defendants,76,79,81…83 Infractions,49,93 Innocence,presumption of,106 Insurance law,122,128 Interest groups,84…89 Interrogatories,134 Intestate succession,125 J Jay,John,24 Judgment n.o.v.,138 Judgments,138 Judges criminal trial,role in,81,82,104,105, 109,111,112 decisions access to,161,162 Congressional influence on, 163…165,173 dicta,163 executive branch influence on, 165…167 implementation of,166…168 precedential value of,160…163 discretion of,160,161 en banc panels,36 federal American Bar Association,147, 149 anticipatory socialization,150, 151 appointment of,144…150 disability of,153 disciplinary action against,152 diversity,142,143 educational background,142 impeachment,152,153 and political views,150,153 prebench experience,142,143 qualifications of,144,145 removal of,152,153 Senate Judiciary Committee,145, 149 senatorial courtesy,146,149 senior status,153 tenure,151…153,160 training,150,151 panels of,36 private judging,130 state appointment of,155…157 diversity,154 election of,155,156 Missouri Plan,156 and political views,157 removal of,157 218 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 219

tenure,157 tenure,39,40,151…153,157,160 terms of,39,40 training of,42,43,49,51 Judgments default,133 enforcement and implementation of, 138,139,163…168 impact of,168…175 precedential value of,13,68,160…163 Judicial Councils Reform and Judicial Conduct and Disability Act,152 Judicial panels,36 Judicial policy,61…71,160…163,168…176 Judicial precedent,13,68,160…163 Judicial review,25,26 Judicial self-restraint,63…71 Judiciary Act of1789,20…22,25,32,37, 39 Jurisdiction actual controversy,63 appellate,28 beneficiaries oflaw,67 burden ofproof,69,70 concurrent,61 determined by legislature,62,63 diversity,9,10,59 exhaustion ofremedies,68 federal,9-12 judicial selfrestraint,63 legal versus factual questions,67,68 mootness,63 original,28,59…61 personal,132 prerequisites to,63…71 separation ofpowers,68,69 specificity ofplea,65,67 standing,63 state courts,12,13 subject matter,132 Jury challenges,107,135,136 civil trial number ofjurors,135 peremptory challenges,135,136 role in,136,138 selection ofjurors,135 voir dire,135 constitutional issues,105,106 criminal trial deliberations,112 …114 number ofjurors,107,108 role in,111…114 selection ofjurors,106,107,108 voir dire,107 deadlock,112…114 hung,114 impartial,105 instructions,112,137,138 number of,38,107,108,135 polling,114,138 right to,38 sequestration of,112 Seventh Amendment,38 Sixth Amendment,38 summary jury trial,129,130 verdict,114 voir dire,107,135 ƒ see also Grand jury Justice ofthe peace courts,49 Justiciability,as prerequisite to jurisdiction,63…71 Juvenile courts,52-53 age ofoffenders,53 jurisdiction of,53 L Land use law,123…125 Law clerks,40…42,53 Law firms,76,77 Law schools,74,75 Laws adoption of,8,9 creation of,7…9 education in,74,75 relation ofstate and federal law,17 sources of,9…13 U.S.Code,8,9 INDEX 219

PAGE 220

ƒ see also Civil law;Criminal law Lawyers criminal trials,role in,81,82 development ofthe legal profession, 74,75 education of,74,75 government,78…81 number of,76 pro bono services,77 professional opportunities for,75…81 professional stratification of,76…78 role of,81 ƒ see also Prosecutors;Public defenders Legal aid ... see Counsel,assistance of Legal Aid societies,82 Legal profession,74…78 ... see also Lawyers Legal remedies,14,15 Legislative courts,39 Legislatures,conflicts with courts,9,10, 47 Liens,139 Litigants,83,84 Lucas v.South Carolina Coastal Council 84 M Magistrate courts,49 Magistrates,53 appearance before,98-99 Mandamus,25 Mandatory sentence,102,116 Mapp v.Ohio ,170…173 Marbury v.Madison ,9,25,26 Marriage,law of,125,126 Marshall,John,24,26 Marshall,Thurgood,86,143 McCulloch v.Maryland ,26 Mediation,128 Medical malpractice,123 Mens rea,95 Metropolitan courts,49 Miranda rights ... see under Defendants rights Miranda v.Arizona ,98,99,167,170,172, 173 Misdemeanors,49,93 Missouri Plan,156 Mistrial,108,114,138 Mootness,63 Motions civil,133,137,138 post-trial,115,138 Municipal courts,49 Murder,95,96 N Negligence,122 New Jersey Plan,20 No-fault divorce,126 Nolo contendere,101 Norm enforcement,38,39 O OConnor,Sandra Day,143 Obscenity,161 Opening statements,108,136 Opinions,by courts,30,31 Oral argument,29,30,36 Organized crime,94 Original jurisdiction,28,59…61 P Paralegals,77 Pardons,116 Penalties ƒ see Remedies;Sentencing Peremptory challenge,107 Personal injury law,122 Personal jurisdiction,132 Personal property,123 Petit jury,38 ƒ see also Jury Physical evidence,108 Plea bargaining,79,82 restrictions on,102,103 220 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 221

sentencing,102 types of,101,102 value of,103,104 Pleadings,133,134 Pleas,100,101 Plessy v.Ferguson ,27 Police,discretion of,97,98 Political crime,94 Political interest groups,147 Post trial motions,115 Powell,Lewis F.,42 Precedent ƒ see Judicial precedent Preliminary hearing,99,100 Preponderance ofthe evidence,14,131, 138 Private law,83,84 Pro bono services,77 Probable cause,97 Probate courts,130 Probation,115 Product liability law,122 Property crime,93,97 Property law,123…125 Prosecutors federal,78 state,78,79 Public defenders,76,79,81…83 Public interest law firm,86 Public law,83,84 Public policy and courts,26,61…71, 160…163,168…176 Public trial,105 Punitive damages,122 R Racial equality,26,27,165,175,176 Brown v.Board ofEducation ,27,86, 87 Civil Rights Act of1968,62 equal protection,62 Hopwood v.Texas ,35,36 Plessy v.Ferguson ,27 San Antonio Ind.School Dist.v. Rodriguez ,62 separate but equal,27 U.S.Supreme Court decisions, 168…170 Real property,123,124 Reapportionment,69 Reasonable doubt,112 Rebuttal evidence,109,137 Recognizance,99 Rehnquist,William,173 Remedies,14,15,167 Repeat offender,102 Roe v.Wade ,173…175 Rules ofCriminal Procedure,103 S San Antonio Ind.School Dist.v. Rodriguez ,62 Search and seizure,106 Segregation ... see Racial equality Selfincrimination,106 Senate Judiciary Committee,145,149 Senatorial courtesy,146,149 Senior status,153 Sentencing capital punishment,114,115,161 concurrent sentence,102 guidelines,115,116 mandatory,102,116 pardons,116 probation,115 Separation ofpowers,7…11,21,68,69 executive branch,10,11 judicial branch,9,10,12 legislative branch,8,9 Service ofprocess,133 Seventh Amendment,38,131,135 Sixth Amendment,38,105 Small claims courts,130 Special scrutiny,69 Specialized courts,130 Speedy trial,105 Speedy Trial Act of1974,105 INDEX 221

PAGE 222

Standard ofproof,14 in civil courts,131,138 in criminal courts,112 Standing,63 Stare decisis,13 State Attorneys General,80,81 State constitutions,17,61,62 jury trials,135 State courts administration of,53…55 caseloads of,55,62 clerk ofthe court,54,55 courts oflast resort (Supreme Courts),49,51,52 development of,46…48 family courts,53 intermediate appellate courts (courts ofappeal),49,51 jurisdiction of,61,62 juvenile courts,52,53 law clerks in,53 magistrates,53 organization of,46,48…53 specialized courts,48 trial courts ofgeneral jurisdiction,49, 51 trial courts oflimited jurisdiction,48, 49 State law,relation to federal law,17 States,powers ofunder the U.S. Constitution,16 Statutes ... see Laws Stipulations,134 Stone,Harlan Fiske,41,146 Strict liability,122 Subject matter jurisdiction,132 Succession,law of,125 Summons,133 Supremacy clause,7,8 Supreme Court ... see U.S.Supreme Court Supreme Courts ... seeunder State Courts,courts of last resort Syndicated crime ... see Organized crime T Taft,William Howard,41 Taney,Roger,26 Tenth Amendment,16 Tenure ... seeunder Judges Testaments,125 Thomas,Clarence,143 Tort law,122,123 Trial adversarial process,104,105 bench trial,106 civil adversarial process in,131 appeal,139 closing arguments,137 cross-examination,136 discovery,134 judgments,138,139 jury,135…138 motions,133,137 opening statements,136 plaintiffs case,136 post-trial motions,138 pretrial conference,134-135 rebuttal evidence,137 standard ofproof,14,131,138 suit,filing of,131,132 testimony,136,137 verdict,138 witnesses,136,137 criminal appeal,116,117 burden ofproof,69,70,106 closing arguments,109 cross-examination,108,109 defendants case,109 errors in,116 evidence in,108,109 hung jury,114 222 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 223

judge,role of,104,105,109…112 jury polling,114 jury selection,106,108 jury,role of,111,112 opening statement,108 post trial motions,115 prosecution case,108-109 rebuttal evidence,109 sentencing,114…116,161 standard ofproof,14,112 verdict,114 witnesses,confronting,98,106 evidence,108 participants in lawyers,81,82 litigants,83,84 summary jury trial,129,130 voir dire,107 Trial courts ƒ see U.S.District Courts Trial de novo,49,50 U U.S.Attorney General,78,146,147 U.S.Circuit Courts,32,33 U.S.Code,8,9 U.S.Congress advice and consent,144 influence on judicial decisions, 163…165,173 powers of,12,22 to create courts,39 under the U.S.Constitution,8,9, 144 Senate,144…147,149,150 U.S.Constitution amendment of,164,165 Article I,9,10,39 Article II,10,12,144,149 Article III,9,20,24,25,39,63,144, 152,153 Article IV,69 Article VI,7,8,16 assistance ofcounsel,106,131, 170…172 bail,98,99 bills ofattainder,95 burden ofproof,106 commerce clause,9,10 Congress,powers of,8,9 delegation ofpowers,8,9,12 double jeopardy,101,106,114,117 due process rights,131 Eighth Amendment,161 equal protection clause,16,62 establishment ofreligion,64…67 ex post facto law,95 exclusionary rule,106,170…172 executive branch,10,12 federal judiciary,9,10 Fifth Amendment,13,58,99,106 First Amendment,88,161 Fourteenth Amendment,16,26,27, 35,36,69,105,107 Fourth Amendment,106 freedom ofreligion,86-88 freedom ofspeech,161 freedom ofthe press,47 interpretation of,164 jury,38,105 Miranda rights,98,99,167,170,172, 173 obscenity,161 probable cause,97 public trial,105 real property,125 rights under,81,82,131 search and seizure,106 selfincrimination,106 separation ofchurch and state,168, 169 Seventh Amendment,38,131,135 Sixth Amendment,38,105 speedy trial,98,99,105 states,16 Tenth Amendment,16 text of,177…203 trials,105,106 INDEX 223

PAGE 224

witnesses,confronting,98,100,106, 108,109 zoning,125 ƒ seealso Bill ofRights;Defendants rights;Separation ofpowers U.S.Court ofMilitary Appeals,39 U.S.Court ofVeterans Appeals,39 U.S.Court system creation and structure of,20…22 ... seealso Federal courts;State courts U.S.Courts ofAppeal,31…37 appeals from administrative law tribunals, 60 from U.S.District Courts,60 caseload of,43 development of,32,33 en banc proceedings,36 equal protection,35,36 geographical boundaries of,23 hearings before,36 Hopwood v.Texas ,35,36 jurisdiction of,34,59,60 law clerks in,41 opinions in,36,37 oral argument in,36 role of,34,35 three judge panels,36 U.S.Department ofJustice,10,80,146, 147,166 U.S.District Courts appeals from,58 caseload of,43 civil cases in,58,59 creation of,37 criminal cases in,58 geographical boundaries of,23 jurisdiction of,38,58,61 law clerks in,41 organization of,37,39 role of,38,39 U.S.Attorneys,78 U.S.Government federal form of,22 relationship between branches,7…13 U.S.Magistrate judges,40 U.S.Penal Code,58 U.S.Solicitor General,78,80,89,166 U.S.Supreme Court caseload of,43,61 cases Baker v.Carr ,69 Brown v.Board ofEducation ,27, 86,87,160,165,169 Davis v.U.S. ,173 Engel v.Vitale ,168 Frontiero v.Richardson ,166,167 Furman v.Georgia ,161 Gibbons v.Ogden ,26 Gideon v.Wainwright ,160,167, 170…172,176 Harris v.New York ,172,173 Lucas v.South Carolina Coastal Council ,84 Mapp v.Ohio ,170…173 Marbury v.Madison ,25,26 McCulloch v.Maryland ,26 Miranda v.Arizona ,167,170,172, 173 Plessy v.Ferguson ,27 Roe v.Wade ,173…175 San Antonio Ind.School Dist.v. Rodriguez ,62 U.S.v.Nixon ,165,166 Wisconsin v.Yoder ,86…89 certified question,61 certiorari,28 conferences in,30,31 courtpacking,166 criminal due process,170…173 decisions of impact,168…175 implementation,160,163…168 overturning,164,165,173 development of,22…26 first justices of,22,24 first sitting of,24 freedom ofreligion,86…88 224 OUTLINE OF THE U.S. LEGAL SYSTEM

PAGE 225

hearings before,29,30 issues before,26,27,169-174 Judiciary Act of1789,20…22,25 jurisdiction of,13,22,24…26 appellate,27,61 concurrent,61 original,27,60,61 justices appointment of,143…150,166 Burger,Warren,146,172 Ginsburg,Ruth,143 Jay,John,24 Marshall,John,24,26 Marshall,Thurgood,86,143 OConnor,Sandra Day,143 Powell,Lewis F.,41 Rehnquist,William,173 Stone,Harlan Fiske,41,146 Taft,William Howard,41 Taney,Roger,26 Thomas,Clarence,143 training of,150,151 Warren,Earl,170 law clerks in,40…42 opinions concurring,31 dissenting,31 precedential value of,13,68,160163 writing of,24,25 oral argument before,29,30 racial equality,decisions concerning, 27,62,86,87,160,165,168…170 right to counsel,170…172 role of,27,28 scrutiny,standards of,69 sessions of,28,29 ƒ seealso Defendants rights U.S.Tax Court,39 U.S.v.Nixon ,165,166 V Venue,132,133 Verdict,114,138 Virginia Plan,20 Voir dire,107,135 W Warrant,arrest,97 Warren,Earl,170 Watergate affair,165,166 Wills and estates,125 Wisconsin v.Yoder ,86…89 Witnesses confronting,98,106 cross-examination,108,109,136,137 Workload ofcourts,43,55,61,62 Writs certiorari,28,61 habeas corpus,59 mandamus,25 Z Zoning,123…125 INDEX 225

PAGE 226

ACKNOWLEDGMENT Outline ofthe American Legal System is a publication of the United States Department ofState.Chapters 1 through 8 are adapted with permission from the book Judicial Process in America 5th edition,by Robert A.Carp and Ronald Stidham, published by Congressional Quarterly,Inc.Copyright 2001 Congressional Quarterly Inc.All rights reserved.

PAGE 227

Picture Credits Illustrations are credited AP/Wide World Photo with the following exceptions: Page 8: Michael Geissinger/The Image Works. 9: David M. Jennings/The Image Works. 11: bottom left; Kent Meireis/ The Image Works, bottom right; Bob Daemmrich/The Image Works. 29: inset; John Nordell/The Image Works. 30: Courtesy U.S. Supreme Court. 44-5: Courtesy Florida Supreme Court Historical Society, Tallahassee. 47: North Wind Picture Archives (2). 60: Syracuse Newspapers/Carl J. Single/The Image Works. 76: Bob Daemmrich/The Image Works. 79: Syracuse Newspapers/John Berry/The Image Works. 85: bottom; Hulton Archive/Getty Images. 87: top; Time Life Pictures/Getty Images. 90-1 James Pickerell/The Image Works. 99: Hulton Archive/Getty Images. 113: top; Harry Scull Jr.-Pool/Getty Images; middle; George Martell/Getty Images. 121: Scott Olson/Getty Images. 124: top; Robert King/Newsmakers/Getty Images; bottom; Alex Wong/Getty Images. 126: Carrie Boretz/The Image Works. 146: Hulton Archive/Getty Images. 148: top; Syracuse Newspapers/The Image Works. 170: Hulton Archive/Getty Images. Executive Editor: George Clack Managing Editors: Rosalie Targonski, Mildred Sol Neely Art Director/Design: Min-Chih Yao Cover Illustration: Sally Vitsky Photo Research: Maggie Johnson Sliker

PAGE 228

BUREAU OF INTERNATIONAL INFORMATION PROGRAMS U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATEhttp://usinfo.state.gov