“In Article III the framers of the Constitution established a federal judiciary (court system) as the third branch of government. Article III gives certain powers to a Supreme Court but leaves to Congress the responsibility of organizing the lower courts. The Supreme Court also has the authority to review cases appealed to it from lower courts. It may decide either to uphold the decision of the lower court or to overturn that decision. Congress has the power to determine the number of justices who shall sit on the Supreme Court. Today there are nine justices on the Supreme Court (one chief justice and eight associate justices). Cases are decided by majority vote. According to the Constitution, there is no fixed limit on a federal judge’s term of office. In effect, a federal judge may be in office for life or until she or he voluntarily retires. As a result of this rule, a federal judge feels no pressure to make decisions to win the favor of politicians or the popularity of voters.” ~ Adapted from U.S. History and Government
What are the three branches of the U.S. federal government? ________________________________________________________________________
Explain the system of checks and balances. [Previous Knowledge] ________________________________________________________________________
What does Article III of the U.S. Constitution grant? ________________________________________________________________________
What does the Supreme Court have the authority to do? ________________________________________________________________________
What power does Congress have regarding the Supreme Court? ________________________________________________________________________
How many justices serve on the Supreme Court? ________________________________________________________________________
Why is there no fixed limit on a judge’s term of office? ________________________________________________________________________
8. Which constitutional principle best protects the public from abuse by one branch of government?
(3) executive privilege
(4) checks and balances 9. The term supreme law of the land refers to which document?
(1) Fundamental Orders of Connecticut
(2) Constitution of the United States
(3) Articles of Confederation
(4) Declaration of Independence
10. To avoid having too much power concentrated in one branch of government, the framers of the Constitution established
(4) the system of checks and balances 11. The Supreme Court has the power to
(1) control the federal budget
(2) vote to end a tie in the Senate
(3) approve presidential appointments
(4) interpret the Constitution
“John Marshal served as chief justice of the United States from 1801 to 1835. He was remarkably successful in establishing the Supreme Court as an independent and influential force in the federal government. Three of Marshall’s most important decisions are summarized here.” ~ Adapted from U.S. History and Government
Marbury v. Madison (1803) - Before leaving office, President John Adams appointed William Marbury as a federal court judge. - Thomas Jefferson, the next president, ordered his secretary of state, James Madison, not to carry out the appointment. - Marbury appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that a 1789 law granted the Supreme Court the power to force Madison to give Marbury his appointment. - But the Supreme Court argued that the 1789 law of Congress was not authorized by the Constitution. - Thus, the law was unconstitutional – null and void. - The principle of judicial review was established. - Judicial Review is the power of the Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of federal and state laws.
McCulloch v. Maryland (1819) - At issue in this case was whether a state government (Maryland) could collect a tax from a bank that had been chartered by the U.S. government. - Marshall argued that the states could not tax a federal agency because, according to the Constitution, the federal government was meant to be supreme. - On another question, Marshall argued that Congress’s powers could be interpreted loosely to authorize the creation of a national bank. - This case established the idea that a state law could be nullified (declared void) if it was found to be in conflict with a federal law.
Gibbons v. Ogden (1824) - At issue in this case was whether a state (New York) could grant to one steamship company the exclusive right to operate an interstate waterway (the Hudson River). - In his decision Marshall stated that trade is commerce, that commerce between states was controlled by the U.S. Congress. - Therefore, New York’s law was invalid. - The ruling clarified the concept of interstate commerce and increased the authority of the federal government to regulate businesses that operate in more than one state.
“Taken as a whole, the many cases decided by Chief Justice Marshall increased the power of the national government in relation to that of the states. Also, by the repeated application of judicial review, Marshall greatly expanded the power and influence of the Supreme Court.” ~ U.S. History and Government
What was Chief Justice John Marshall successful in establishing? ________________________________________________________________________
What three Supreme Court cases established the Supreme Court as an influential force in the federal government? ________________________________________________________________________
What had President John Adams appointed William Marbury? ________________________________________________________________________
What did the next President, Thomas Jefferson, order his secretary of state to do? ________________________________________________________________________
What did Marbury do when denied his appointment? ________________________________________________________________________
What did the Supreme Court rule? ________________________________________________________________________
Summary of Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District
Decided by the United States Supreme Court in 1969 (icivic.org)
In 1965, some middle and high school students wore black armbands to school to show their protest of the war in Vietnam. Before the day of the protest, the schools’ principals had heard about the students’ plan and told the students they could not wear the armbands. Five students were suspended from school for wearing the armbands. Students and teachers have First Amendment rights even when they are at school. They do not leave their freedom of speech or freedom of expression behind when they walk through the schoolhouse gate. Even so, teachers and principals must keep order at school so that learning can take place. In a school setting, therefore, the First Amendment must be applied in a special way to protect free speech and keep order at the same time.
A student at school may express opinions, even about controversial subjects like war. However, the student may not disrupt learning or interfere with other peoples’ rights. The First Amendment does not protect student speech that disrupts class or causes trouble between classes, and school rules can prohibit that kind of speech. There is no evidence that the students’ armbands disrupted class or any school activity. Outside class, a few students made nasty remarks to those who wore armbands. However, there were no threats or acts of violence on the school grounds. The trial court had decided that, because the principals were afraid the armbands would be disruptive, it was reasonable for the principals to suspend the students for wearing them. The trial court, however, did not understand the importance of freedom of speech. In our legal system, a general fear of disruption is not enough to take away someone’s right to freedom of expression. After all, a disruption could happen any time one person says something that another person disagrees with. Schools cannot prohibit speech unless they have good evidence that the speech will be disruptive. They cannot prohibit speech only to avoid the uncomfortable situation of someone expressing an unpopular opinion.
1- Under what circumstances are schools allowed to prohibit speech or expression? ______________________________________________________________________________
2- One thing happened that shows the armbands might have caused disruption. (However, the Court did not think this was enough.) Identify what might have caused a disruption.