Ap government Study Guide Unit One: Constitutional Underpinnings



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The Supreme Court

(original and appellate jurisdictions)





Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces

And other Legislative Courts



Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

(specialized appellate jurisdiction)




Appointing Judges


  1. The president’s staff presents him with possible nominees (typically other judges), FBI does background check, president looks at previous record of the individuals, conducts litmus test (determines political views), uses senatorial courtesy (uses preferences of senators from the district where the judge will serve) and finally selects nominee

  2. The Senate Judiciary committee members and staff review candidates, interest groups campaign for/against nominees, senate judiciary committee holds hearing, asking nominee questions, finally votes up/down on whether to send recommendation to the full senate

  3. The full senate has open floor debate on nominee, votes on confirmation

  4. If confirmed, the judge is given an oath of office by the Chief Justice

  • Because judges serve life terms, there is no political pressure on them to rule a certain way, and they are allowed to act independently

The Court
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