Professor Arto Artinian

POL100 (0502): Discussion Board 11.1

June 26, 2021

1. In what ways is the court system better suited to protect the individual, than are the elected branches of government (such as Congress and the President; or the Mayor of NYC and the NYC City Assembly)? Give an example to illustrate your argument.

The court system is better suited to protect the individual, than are the elected branches of government because the U.S. judicial system is a dual court system, which has three basic tiers consisting of trial courts, appellate courts, and supreme courts. That means everyone has more than one court system to protect his/her rights. According to Reading 11.1 “The Dual Court System,” the author explains how people are protected by different U.S. court systems. For example, the author writes, “Ernesto Miranda, arrested for kidnapping and rape, which are violations of state law, was easily convicted and sentenced to prison after a key piece of evidence—his own signed confession—was presented at trial in the Arizona court. On appeal first to the Arizona Supreme Court and then to the U.S. Supreme Court to exclude the confession on the grounds that its admission was a violation of his constitutional rights, Miranda won the case” (The Dual Court System, par. 10). The dual court system protects the voices of a few people like Miranda being heard in court, and has been favorably resolved. Therefore, the court system is more suitable to protect individuals than elected government departments. 

2. Think about how federal judges get to become judges – unlike Presidents, Mayors and members of Congress (and other legislatures), they are not elected, but rather appointed. Many Americans have thus called the federal courts system, and especially the Supreme Court, anti-democratic PLACES IN OUR GOVERNMENT. Do you agree that the Supreme Court, for example, is an anti-democratic part of our government? What could be the reason for this way of choosing judges in federal courts? (HINT: think about our discussion of “Federalist #10”, and which social class plays a leading role in our government system.)

I agree that the Supreme Court is an anti-democratic part of our government because federal judges are not elected by the people, but appointed by the president. After the president nominates a judge, he needs to be confirmed by a majority of the Senate, so the senator exerts a considerable influence on the choice of judges. Before nominating judges, the president needs to consult with senators who have political ties with himself. These senators can block the judges nominated by the president by expressing opposition. This puts the appointment of federal judges firmly in the hands of the ruling party. Therefore, the Supreme Court is an anti-democratic part of our government. Moreover, they chose this approach to make the appointment of judges in the American judicial system to be in the hands of a few political parties with a clear ideology, so as to facilitate the protection of their own interests. Therefore, this is also the reason why they chose this way to choose federal judges. 

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