Chapter 12 The Federal Courts

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The solicitor general is the lawyer who represents the United States before the Supreme Court in cases where the federal government is a party.

Which of the following best describes the role of the solicitor general?

senators from a president’s party approving of a judicial nominee from their home state

Senatorial courtesy


There are ________ U.S. district courts.

cases involving citizens of more than one state where less than $75,000 is at stake.

All of the following are part of the official jurisdiction of the federal courts EXCEPT

The chief justice presides over the Court’s public sessions and private conferences.

What is the main function of the chief justice of the Supreme Court?

the due process of law

If a man is arrested because his home was searched by police without a legal warrant, he could argue in court that he had been denied ________

The Justice has broad latitude to decide which cases it will hear and generally listens only those cases it deems to raise the most important issues.

Which of the following statements best describes the Supreme Court?


There are ________ circuits in the United States Court of Appeals.


There are approximately ________ federal district court judges in the United States.

habeas corpus

Prisoners who are challenging their convictions are most likely to seek a writ of ________.

the attempt by President Franklin Roosevelt to add sympathetic justices to the Supreme Court in order to get New Deal laws upheld as constitutional

What was known as the "court packing" plan?


About ________ percent of all lower court cases are reviewed by federal appeals courts.

reviewing requests for stays of execution

What is the most frequent and best-known action of Supreme Court justices in their role as circuit justices?

practice by which Supreme Court law clerks work together to evaluate each petition.

A certiorari pool describes the


How many justices currently serve on the Supreme Court?

important because differences in wording and emphasis can have important implications for how the decision is interpreted in future litigation

The assignment of the opinion in a Supreme Court case is

go beyond the words of a constitution or statute to consider the broader societal implications of their decisions.

Activist judges believe that federal judges should

the solicitor general

Aside from the justices themselves, who or what has the greatest power in shaping the flow of cases to the Supreme Court?


Each Supreme Court justice is assigned ________ law clerks.


Normally, ________ judge(s) hear(s) a specific case on a federal circuit court of appeals.

They are able to hear all cases involving federal law, but not constitutional law

Which of the following statements about the U.S. Courts of Appeals is INCORRECT?

stare decisis

The doctrine of ________ requires courts to follow authoritative prior decisions when ruling on a case.

let the decision stand

The phrase stare decisis means

judicial review

hrough the exercise of ________, the Supreme Court has held actions or laws of the executive and legislative branches unconstitutional

amicus curiae

A person, agency, or interest group not directly a party to a case but with an interest in its outcome may file a(n) ________ brief.

bringing the same type of suit into multiple circuits, hoping that a contradiction in rulings will bring about a Supreme Court review.

When interest groups involved in litigation pursue a "pattern of cases" strategy, they are


Prior cases whose principles are used by judges to decide current cases are called ________.

the constitution and federal law

The jurisdiction of each federal court is derived from ________.

the government must show a legal cause for holding someone in detention.

A writ of habeas corpus declares that


In most circumstances, a supreme court is best described as a(n) ________ court.

the Court has been reluctant to strike down congressional laws and has overturned only a small number over the last 200 years.

The Supreme Court’s power to review acts of Congress has not been seriously questioned because

Marbury v. Madison

The power of the Supreme Court to review state actions and legislation comes from ________.

she supported affirmative action

Why did many Republicans oppose President Obama’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court?


About ________ percent of all cases in the United States are heard in state courts

Hamdi was entitled to a lawyer and an opportunity to rebut the government’s charges against him.

What did the justices rule in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (2004)?

Dissents are signs that the Court is in disagreement on an issue and could change its ruling.

What is the significance of dissenting opinions?

important because differences in wording and emphasis can have important implications for how the decision is interpreted in future litigation

The assignment of the opinion in a Supreme Court case is

been characterized by intense partisan and ideological efforts to support or defeat the candidate.

In recent years, federal court appointments have

30 minutes

Under normal rules of oral argument, each lawyer has ________ to present his or her case before the Supreme Court.

felix frankfurter

________ is an example of a justice who advocated judicial restraint.

criminal law

In what type of law is the government always the plaintiff?

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