The Judiciary

Study Questions

1

Describe the common law tradition and precedent.

In a common law system, judges rely on past decisions for guidance on handling cases. A past ruling that informs court decisions is called a precedent.

2

What is judicial review? How did the Supreme Court get this power?

Judicial review is the power of a court to determine whether a law or government action is constitutional. The Supreme Court gave itself this power in the 1803 case Marbury v. Madison.

3

What is an amicus curiae brief?

An amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief is one filed by a group or person not a party to the case.