Am Govt Homework 3 Answers - Student One

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American Government and Politics: Lecture Three Homework Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Question 1:

The following hypothetical story explains the case process for a lawsuit in federal court: Mr. Smith of New Jersey sued Mr. Jones’ business (located in New York) for poorly replacing the septic system at his beverage company’s brand new warehouse. During the rainy hurricane season when the ground was saturated, the septic backed up and damaged most of his stock and his warehouse, which formerly had had no water issues. The case began in a district court (I don’t know whether it would be in NJ or in NY); however, if both men had lived in the same state, the case would probably have started in a state court rather than a federal one. Because the case was damage-related, the case had the right to a jury, which decided that Mr. Jones was not at fault. Mr. Smith, frustrated, brought the case to a U.S. Court of Appeals (again, I’m not sure which circuit this case applies to). A 3-judge panel at this appellate court, which is required to hear the appeals given them, decided that Mr. Jones had done a below-minimum job and was at fault for the damage, so Mr. Smith won his case. If he had not won, he might have asked that all of the judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals “rehear en banc” the three judges’ ruling. If he still wasn’t satisfied, he could appeal, to the U.S. Supreme Court, but because of the relatively unimportant nature of his case, the members of the court probably wouldn’t have voted to grant him a petition for certiorari—thus, he would not have been allowed to argue his case. In order for his case to be “granted cert,” it would need the vote of four of the (currently) nine Supreme Court Justices, and they only “grant cert” to 1% of the many appeals they are presented with.

Superb example!

Question 2:

The “Rule of Four” is the rule that, in order for a case to be heard in the U.S. Supreme Court, four out of the nine U.S. Supreme Court Justices have to vote in favor of the trial.


Question 3:

Federal judges are not elected, but they should be. If they do not need to prove to the American people that they are honest, upstanding, and right for the position, but instead are given a station for life, then they may easily develop a dangerous sense of security. They could be tempted not to work for the good of the country and could grow to make selfish, biased, or careless decisions. Although they are clearly still imperfect, elected judges are apt to be more conservative than non-elected judges. Since appointed judges cannot be removed from office unless they are impeached, which is uncommon, they have far less incentive to work as honorably as they ought.

A non-Article III judge is a judge who is appointed for a renewable term of a certain number of years at a time; these positions are not indefinite. An example of this type of judge is a bankruptcy judge.

Excellent answer.

Question 4:

In federal court, the two types of cases that are heard are trial cases and appeal cases. Cases are first heard at the trial level, and if the outcome is undesirable, they can be brought to the next level, the U.S. Court of Appeals, and finally, the U.S. Supreme Court.

Not what this question was asking about. The two types of cases are "diversity" cases (like you example in response to question 1) and "federal question" cases, which arise under a federal law. (-3)

Question 5:

The liberal media influences politics in an enormous way. Although some people protect themselves from being deceived by it by watching, listening to, or reading more balanced TV stations, radio stations, and newspapers, many people are talked into believing lies about candidates for upcoming elections. After all, if most of the information they are receiving about current events is hand-picked and “painted” by biased bigwigs at TV station companies, then how can they be expected to believe anything other than what the media wants them to believe? The media is dangerously powerful: it can cause politicians to be elected or not elected, wars to start, and government officials to resign.

Superb analysis.

Question 6:

The men who composed the Constitution were wise to withhold information about their ongoing work from the media. They were pioneers on a new enterprise, performing a "noble experiment." From the viewpoint of the common citizens, their ideas might have seemed confusing or complicated. Any information that leaked out of the convention would be incomplete; in fact, comments could be ideas that had not yet been agreed upon! If the media had gotten hold of any information, they could easily twist it into rumors that would scare or anger the people. Without complete information, the citizens might have been persuaded to interrupt or prevent the convention meetings, and in so doing, they would have destroyed our republic before it even had a chance to begin.

Terrific answer.

Question 8:

Cases are heard by the U.S. Supreme Court if the decisions of courts from different areas of the United States clash in some way and need to be resolved for the entire nation, or if the case applies to the whole country in a significant way. The latter reason was used when the U.S. Supreme Court decided to hear the violent video game case; many people all over the country are involved and concerned with that topic.


Extra Credit:

Question 9:

Rather than being heard in the U.S. court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which includes California, the case would be handled by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, since the case was patent-related.

Fabulous! Very well done.

Question 10:

The pardoning power is defined in Article 2, Section 2, and clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution, and is conferred on the President alone. “Pursuant” means “in agreement or conformity [to];” according to the Constitution alone, Governor Christie was not acting in conformity to this pardoning power, because the power was not given to him. However, in cases of offences against a state, a Governor sometimes has the power to pardon the offence. Thus, Governor Christie (helped by the Second Amendment groups) was acting pursuant to the pardoning power when he pardoned Mr. Aitken. (Extra information from

The American spelling is "offense", not "offence". The point is that Governor Christie's power to pardon is from the NJ Constitution, not the U.S. Constitution. Full credit.
Grade: 87/90. Nearly all of your answers are superb - you should consider becoming an attorney one day.--Andy Schlafly 14:20, 9 October 2012 (EDT)