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Judicial Branch
Overview, Key Understandings & Questions

Theme Key Understandings

  • The key responsibility of the judicial branch is to interpret the law through judicial review
  • Establishing a judicial branch creates a system of check and balances within a government
  • Federal courts are categorized by the type of infraction and their jurisdiction, which is determined by Congress
  • The executive branch appoints federal judges, making the judicial branch the least democratic of the three
  • Supreme Court rulings establish legal precedents for future cases to follow
  • Landmark Supreme Court cases impact citizens' lives, the application of rights, and government policy

Key Questions

What Is the Judicial Branch?

  • What is the primary role of the judicial branch in relationship to the legislative and executive branches of government?
  • Why is it so important for us to have an independent branch play this role?

Judicial Review

  • What court decision established the power of judicial review?
  • How does judicial review solidify the role of the courts in the U.S. government?

Civil or Criminal?

  • What kinds of cases would be heard in a federal criminal court?
  • Why is it important for the federal government to have criminal laws in addition to those of the state governments?
  • What are three types of issues that might be resolved in a federal civil court?
  • What role do these courts play in providing necessary protections for minority rights?

Supreme Court

  • Why are Supreme Court rulings so important in establishing legal precedents?
  • Why did the founders set up the Supreme Court in the constitution but leave it to Congress to set up the remaining courts?

Supreme Court at Work

  • What are the procedures the Supreme Court goes through in selecting and hearing a case?
  • How do various parties work to get their case heard by the Supreme Court?
  • How does the Supreme Court express its opinions? How are these opinions used in future legal action?

Landmark Cases

  • Identify and describe three cases that were critical to establishing the constitutional principles of the United States.
  • Why do some cases remain controversial even after the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled?

MLA Citation

"Judicial Branch." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Search/Display/2142495. Accessed 21 Apr. 2019.

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Entry ID: 2142495

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