United States Constitution and Supreme Court

* Identify six key characteristics of the U.S. Constitution. 1. Constitutions are a higher form of law that speak with a political authority that no ordinary law or other government action can ever match. 2. Constitutions express the will of the whole people.

3. Constitutions always bind the government.
4. Constitutions can’t be changed by the government.
5. Only the direct action of the whole people can change constitutions. 6. Constitutions embody the fundamental values of the people. * Identify and describe two limits placed upon the powers of the United States Supreme Court. First, the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court are at the top of a pyramid with a very wide state and local base of criminal justice administration. So the Supreme Court has to depend on local courts, prosecutors, and police officers to apply its decisions to day-to-day operations. Second, and just as important, U.S. Courts of Appeals, U.S. District Courts, and state courts answer constitutional questions the Supreme Court hasn’t answered yet—and often never will (Amsterdam 1970, 785). * Explain the difference between the fundamental fairness doctrine and the incorporation clause. Fundamental fairness Doctrine: Notice to defendants of the charges against them; A hearing on the facts before convicting and punishing defendants Incorporation clause: which defined Fourteenth Amendment due process as applying the specific provisions of the Bill of Rights to state criminal procedure? * What was the ruling in Rochin v. California? The court voted in an 8–0 decision (Minton abstained), to overturn the decision. Justice Frankfurter wrote the majority opinion which struck down the conviction arguing that the brutality of the means used to extract the evidence from Rochin, "shocks the conscience," and clearly violates the due process of law as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. Frankfurter also admitted the term "due process" was nebulous; he asserted that it existed in order to...
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