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CHAPTERS 9 AND 4: INTRODUCTION TO U.S. AND CALIFORNIA COURTS:
U.S. SUPREME COURT, CIVIL LIBERTIES AND CIVIL RIGHTS
U.S.:http://www.uscourts.gov or http://www.law.emory.edu/FEDCTS or http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct
California Courts: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/
Los Angeles .County Court: http://www.co.la.ca.us/courts/superior-auc
City of Los Angeles Municipal Court: http://www.lamuni.org
I. Questions to ask about U.S. Supreme Court cases
A. What was the situation in the country before the case started?
B. What facts gave rise to the case?
C. Who (or what litigant) first filed the case (the plaintiff)?
D. Who (or what party to the case) was the litigation first filed against [the defendant] (pp. 243-245
E. Was the court of original jurisdiction (the trial court) a federal or state court?
Was the court of appellate jurisdiction (the appeal court) a federal or state court? (p. 243)
F. Was civil law or criminal law (either felony or misdemeanor) involved (p. 832)?
G. What state or federal law was mentioned in the brief submitted by the plaintiff or the defendant?
H. What provision of the original US Constitution or Amendments was involved?
I. Did the original plaintiff or original defendant appeal the case to the
U.S. Supreme Court?
J. What were the plaintiff's and defendant's U.S. Supreme Court arguments?
K. Was the judgment of the Supreme Court members for the plaintiff or defendant?
l. How many Justices voted for the plaintiff; how many for the defendant?
2. How many opinions were written? (See p. 266, center, for an example)
3. Who wrote the majority opinion (or plurality opinion, p. 265)?
4. Who wrote a concurring opinion? (p. 266, center)
5. Who wrote a dissenting opinion? (p. 259)
L. What was the long term result or significance of the judgment?
l. For the plaintiff?
2. For the defendant?
3. For the history of the United States and daily lives of people in the U.S.?
II. Three historically significant federal cases arising under civil law
A. Marbury v. Madison (1803): establishes judicial review (pp. 248-251)
B. Dred Scott v. San(d)ford (1857): prohibits the abolition of slavery by Congress (p. 251)
C. U.S. v. Nixon (1974): Watergate Tape Case concerning executive privilege
(pp. 210, 253-254)
III. Definitions: court packing, p. 257; seniority, p. 265 and ch. 5; small claims divisions, including
Federal Tax Court, p. 246; amicus curiae, p. 265, stare decisis/precedent, pp. 112, 250, 251
256, 259; injunction, p. 105; writ; litigant=party; counsel=attorney; indictment by grand jury;
an information; juries: grand, criminal, civil, p. 832; class action lawsuit, lecture, litigation=lawsuit,
impeachment and trial, pp. 122, 208, 258; incorporation of the Bill of Rights, pp. 96-99, affirmative
action, pp. 63-64, 110, 112, 268, 362, 378F; Missouri Plan for the retention-election of California
judges and justices