1. The party that brings a complaint in court is called the ________, and the one against whom the complaint is brought is called the ________.
a. defendant; plaintiff
b. plaintiff; precedent
c. plaintiff; defendant
d. litigator; juror
e. defendant; litigator
ANS: C
2. Prior cases whose principles are used by judges to decide current cases are called ________.
a. public law
b. en blanc decisions
c. precedents
d. common law
e. ex post facto cases
ANS: C
*3. The area of authority possessed by a court, in terms of either subject area or geography, is called its________.
a. appellate scope
b. judicial review
c. precedent
d. jurisdiction
e. mandate
ANS: D
*4. In what type of law is the government always the plaintiff?
a. public law
b. criminal law
c. civil law
d. common law
e. tort law
ANS: B
*5. The doctrine of ________ requires courts to follow authoritative prior decisions when ruling on a case.
a. stare decisis
b. habeas corpus
c. lex talions
d. ex post facto
e. a priori
ANS: A
*6. The phrase stare decisis means
a. “let the decision stand.”
b. “the state will decide.”
c. “the decision is void.”
d. “the state must be decisive.”
e. “the decision is made.”
ANS: A
7. In most circumstances, a supreme court is best described as a(n) ________ court.
a. uniform
b. trial
c. advisory
d. appellate
e. elected
ANS: D
8. ________ occurs when a criminal case is resolved through a negotiated agreement before a full trial is completed.
a. A misdemeanor
b. A plea bargain
c. Taking the Fifth
d. A writ of certiorari
e. Mediation
ANS: B
9. About ________ percent of all cases in the United States are heard in state courts.
a. 33
b. 50
c. 66
d. 85
e. 99
ANS: E
*10. The jurisdiction of each federal court is derived from ________.
a. the Constitution and federal law
b. the Supreme Court
c. state laws
d. state constitutions
e. the president
ANS: A
11. A writ of habeas corpus declares that
a. the government must show a legal cause for holding someone in detention.
b. the government cannot send a defendant to stand trial in a geographically distant jurisdiction.
c. a defendant in a felony trial must receive assistance from legal counsel.
d. capital punishment can be neither cruel nor unusual.
e. the government cannot search premises without a warrant issued by a judge.
ANS: A
*12. When a private individual brings a suit against a company for breaking a contract, this is an example of ________ law.
a. criminal
b. civil
c. public
d. constitutional
e. common
ANS: B
*13. If a man is arrested because his home was searched by police without a legal warrant, he could argue in court that he had been denied ________.
a. a writ of habeas corpus
b. his Miranda rights
c. a writ of certiorari
d. judicial review
e. the due process of law
ANS: E
14. The right of due process is best described as the right of
a. everyone to appeal his or her trial.
b. every citizen to vote.
c. every person not to be treated arbitrarily by a government official or agency.
d. every person to be a lawyer.
e. every person to sue when he or she feels harmed in some way.
ANS: C
*15. All of the following are part of the official jurisdiction of the federal courts EXCEPT
a. treaties with other nations.
b. federal statutes.
c. cases involving the U.S. Constitution.
d. cases involving citizens of more than one state where less than $75,000 is at stake.
e. any case in which the U.S. government is party.
ANS: D
16. Prisoners who are challenging their convictions are most likely to seek a writ of ________.
a. habeas corpus
b. judicial error
c. jurisdiction
d. stare decisis
e. challenge
ANS: A
*17. About ________ percent of all cases in the United States are heard in federal courts.
a. 1
b. 5
c. 10
d. 30
e. 55
ANS: A
*18. Which of the following statements about federal courts is most accurate?
a. The federal government does not operate a court system.
b. Federal courts hear only a small fraction of all of the civil and criminal cases decided each year in the United States, and their decisions are rarely important because they are not allowed to interpret the Constitution or the federal laws that govern all Americans.
c. Although federal courts hear the vast majority of all civil and criminal cases decided each year in the United States, their decisions are rarely important because they are not allowed to interpret the Constitution or the federal laws that govern all Americans.
d. Federal courts hear the vast majority of all civil and criminal cases decided each year in the United States, and their decisions are extremely important because they interpret the Constitution and the federal laws that govern all Americans.
e. Although the federal courts hear only a small fraction of all of the civil and criminal cases decided each year in the United States, their decisions are extremely important because they interpret the Constitution and the federal laws that govern all Americans.
ANS: E Although the federal courts hear only a small fraction of all of the civil and criminal cases decided each year in the United States, their decisions are extremely important because they interpret the Constitution and the federal laws that govern all Americans.
19. How many justices currently serve on the Supreme Court?
a. 7
b. 9
c. 10
d. 11
e. 15
ANS: B
20. The size of the U.S. Supreme Court is set by ________.
a. the U.S. Constitution
b. Congress
c. a national convention
d. the American Bar Association
e. the president
ANS: B
21. What is the main function of the chief justice of the Supreme Court?
a. The chief justice decides what cases will be heard by the full Court each term.
b. The chief justice always writes the Court’s majority opinions.
c. The chief justice presides over the Court’s public sessions and private conferences.
d. The chief justice is also the constitutional adviser to the president.
e. The chief justice is the constitutional adviser to Congress.
ANS: C
22. What was known as the “court packing” plan?
a. the decision in the early nineteenth century that all federal courts should be guarded by members of the armed forces
b. the attempt by the Republican-dominated Senate of the 1990s to confirm as many conservative judges as possible
c. the attempt by President Franklin Roosevelt to add sympathetic justices to the Supreme Court in order to get New Deal laws upheld as constitutional
d. the desire in Congress during the 1890s to expand the number of federal courts to ease the workload of the Supreme Court
e. the attempt by the Democratic-dominated Senate of the 1980s to confirm as many liberal judges as possible
ANS: C
23. Senatorial courtesy describes the practice of
a. senators from a president’s party approving of a judicial nominee from their home state.
b. including home-state senators in the formal vetting of district and circuit court judges.
c. allowing any senator to place a hold on the consideration of a judicial nominee.
d. permitting senators to officially swear in home-state district court judges.
e. allowing senators to nominate members to the federal judiciary.
ANS: A
24. Which of the following statements about the Supreme Court is true?
a. In 2014, seven of the nine justices were appointed by Democratic presidents.
b. In 2014, seven of the nine justices were appointed by Republican presidents.
c. In 2014, all of the justices were appointed by Democratic presidents.
d. In 2014, five of the nine justices were appointed by Republican presidents.
e. none of the above
ANS: D
25. Which of the following statements best describes the Supreme Court?
a. The justices have no discretion whatsoever to decide which cases they will hear because their jurisdiction is defined entirely by the Constitution.
b. The justices have limited discretion to decide which cases they will hear, and they are forced to hear many cases that address only narrow, technical issues of federal law.
c. The justices have limited discretion to decide which cases they will hear, and they are forced to hear only those cases that raise the most important issues of federal law.
d. The justices have broad latitude to decide which cases they will hear and generally hear only those cases they deem to raise the most important issues.
e. The justices have broad latitude to decide which cases they will hear and generally avoid those cases that they deem to raise the most important issues.
ANS: D
26. In recent years, federal court appointments have
a. been characterized by strict neutrality on the part of Congress.
b. attracted very little attention from the media and special interest groups.
c. been characterized by intense partisan and ideological efforts to support or defeat the candidate.
d. been unaffected by ideological concerns.
e. been confirmed very quickly.
ANS: C
27. There are ________ U.S. district courts.
a. 50
b. 94
c. 100
d. 200
e. 434
ANS: B
28. About ________ percent of all lower court cases are reviewed by federal appeals courts.
a. 1
b. 10
c. 20
d. 40
e. 58
ANS: C
29. Normally, ________ judge(s) hear(s) a specific case on a federal circuit court of appeals.
a. 1
b. 3
c. 9
d. 15
e. all of the above
ANS: B
30. There are approximately ________ federal district court judges in the United States.
a. 9
b. 50
c. 145
d. 679
e. 2,500
ANS: D
31. What is the most frequent and best-known action of Supreme Court justices in their role as circuit justices?
a. vetting cases for the Supreme Court
b. hearing challenges to state laws
c. writing writs of habeas corpus
d. reviewing requests for stays of execution
e. overturning laws passed by Congress
ANS: D
32. Why has partisan conflict surrounded federal judicial appointments in recent years?
a. Members of Congress do not want the president to have so much power that he or she can place anyone he or she wants on the federal bench.
b. Recent presidents have chosen to nominate people who are often unqualified to be federal judges.
c. Public opinion has not been favorable to most of the recent presidents’ nominees.
d. There have not been enough minority nominees, including women.
e. The federal courts play an important role in shaping American law and politics.
ANS: E
33. Why did many Republicans oppose President Obama’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court?
a. She supported affirmative action.
b. She supported upholding Roe v. Wade.
c. She was the first Latino American nominee to the Supreme Court.
d. She had never served as a judge in any capacity prior to nomination.
e. She supported overturning Roe v. Wade.
ANS: A
34. There are ________ circuits in the United States Court of Appeals.
a. 4
b. 8
c. 13
d. 16
e. 20
ANS: C
35. Which of the following statements about the U.S. Courts of Appeals is INCORRECT?
a. The appeals courts were created by Congress, not by the Constitution.
b. The appeals courts are able to hear all cases involving federal law, but not constitutional law.
c. About 20 percent of federal cases are heard by the appeals courts.
d. There are more than 10 appeals courts in the United States.
e. Except for cases selected for review by the Supreme Court, decisions made by an appeals court are final.
ANS: B
*36. Through the exercise of ________, the Supreme Court has held actions or laws of the executive and legislative branches unconstitutional.
a. stare decisis
b. writs of certiorari
c. judicial review
d. clemency
e. writs of habeas corpus
ANS: C
37. Which of the following is part of the Miranda rule?
a. Arrested people have the right to remain silent.
b. Arrested people have the right to sue the police for police brutality.
c. Arrested people have the right to fair trials.
d. Arrested people have the right to face their accusers.
e. Arrested people have the right to reasonable bails.
ANS: A
38. The power of the Supreme Court to review state actions and legislation comes from ________.
a. the judicial review clause of Article III
b. the supremacy clause of Article VI
c. the Tenth Amendment
d. Marbury v. Madison
e. Congress
ANS: B
*39. Why is Marbury v. Madison an important case?
a. In this case, the justices recognized the authority of Congress to regulate the economy of the United States.
b. In this case, the justices nationalized the Bill of Rights.
c. In this case, the justices authorized the Supreme Court to exercise judicial review over laws passed by Congress.
d. In this case, the justices declared the secession of the Confederate states to be in violation of the Constitution.
e. In this case, the justices declared that segregation of schools based on race is illegal.
ANS: C
40. The Supreme Court’s power to review acts of Congress has not been seriously questioned because
a. the Court only overturns laws that are unpopular with a majority of voters.
b. Congress granted the power of judicial review to the Court in the Federal Judicial Review Act of 1798.
c. Congress and the president always agree with the decisions made by the Court.
d. the Constitution explicitly grants this power to the Court in the judicial review clause of Article III.
e. the Court has been reluctant to strike down congressional laws and has overturned only a small number over the last 200 years.
ANS: E
41. Which of the following kinds of cases are not likely to be accepted by the Supreme Court?
a. cases in which the federal government is an appellant
b. cases that address state laws but that do not raise constitutional issues
c. cases that raise important questions about civil rights
d. cases that involve conflicting decisions by federal circuit courts
e. cases that raise important questions about civil liberties
ANS: B
*42. Marbury v. Madison was decided in ________.
a. 1789
b. 1803
c. 1861
d. 1911
e. 1938
ANS: B
43. What did the justices rule in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (2004)?
a. The actions of a president are not subject to judicial review.
b. The president does not have the authority to declare individuals to be “enemy combatants.”
c. Hamdi was entitled to a lawyer and an opportunity to rebut the government’s charges against him.
d. During the war, the president’s power as commander in chief is unlimited.
e. The president has the power to suspend writs of habeas corpus under any circumstances.
ANS: C
44. The written document in which attorneys explain why the court should rule in favor of their clients is called a(n) ________.
a. intervention
b. writ of certiorari
c. brief
d. writ of habeas corpus
e. argument
ANS: C
45. Most cases reach the Supreme Court through ________.
a. a writ of appeal
b. a writ of certiorari
c. a writ of habeas corpus
d. a writ of amicus curiae
e. state courts
ANS: B
46. A certiorari pool describes the
a. computerized lottery system by which the Supreme Court selects its cases each year.
b. practice by which Supreme Court law clerks work together to evaluate each petition.
c. method used to appoint the chief justice.
d. nickname for the water fountain in the courtyard of the Supreme Court building.
e. pool of applicants seeking appointment to the federal judiciary.
ANS: B
47. The number of cases filed in the Supreme Court
a. has increased dramatically since 1940.
b. has decreased dramatically since 1940.
c. has remained the same since 1940.
d. increased between 1940 and 1965 but decreased since 1965.
e. decreased between 1940 and 1965 but increased since 1965.
ANS: A
48. A person, agency, or interest group not directly a party to a case but with an interest in its outcome may file a(n) ________ brief.
a. certiorari
b. per curiam
c. amicus curiae
d. standing
e. accompaniment
ANS: C
49. The solicitor general is the
a. top-ranking official in the Department of Justice.
b. second-ranking official in the Department of Justice.
c. third-ranking official in the Department of Justice.
d. top-ranking official in the American Bar Association.
e. top-ranking official in the FBI.
ANS: C
50. Under normal rules of oral argument, each lawyer has ________ to present his or her case before the Supreme Court.
a. 30 minutes
b. 1 hour
c. 90 minutes
d. 2 hours
e. unlimited time
ANS: A
51. When a justice agrees with the ruling of the Court’s majority but not all of its reasoning, he or she may often write ________.
a. a dissent
b. a concurrence
c. ex parte
d. per curiam
e. a writ of certiorari
ANS: B
52. Aside from the justices themselves, who or what has the greatest power in shaping the flow of cases to the Supreme Court?
a. the attorney general
b. the solicitor general
c. the Senate Judiciary Committee
d. the state supreme courts
e. Congress
ANS: B
53. The assignment of the opinion in a Supreme Court case is
a. unimportant because the final vote of the justices is the only statement that carries any weight in future cases.
b. important because differences in wording and emphasis can have important implications for how the decision is interpreted in future litigation.
c. unimportant because all justices usually describe their decisions in exactly the same way.
d. important because every word of a decision is legally binding.
e. unimportant because it is rarely, if ever, read by anyone involved in the legal process.
ANS: B
54. What is the significance of dissenting opinions?
a. They are made to appeal to a justice’s constituency groups.
b. They have as much weight of law as the majority’s opinion does.
c. Dissents are signs that the Court is in disagreement on an issue and could change its ruling.
d. Dissents are meant to confuse lawyers and government officials as to the true meaning of a decided case.
e. They are meant to appease the losing side in a case.
ANS: C
55. Which of the following best describes the role of the solicitor general?
a. The solicitor general is the chief legal counsel for the White House.
b. The solicitor general is the lawyer who represents the United States before the Supreme Court in cases where the federal government is a party.
c. The solicitor general is the chief lawyer for Congress who makes advisory opinions on the constitutionality of legislative proposals.
d. The solicitor general is the head of the Department of Justice.
e. The solicitor general is the chief legal counsel to the U.S. military.
ANS: B
56. Each Supreme Court justice is assigned ________ law clerks.
a. 2
b. 4
c. 8
d. 10
e. 16
ANS: B
57. When interest groups involved in litigation pursue a “pattern of cases” strategy, they are
a. using legal arguments that have won in the past.
b. bringing the same type of suit into multiple circuits, hoping that a contradiction in rulings will bring about a Supreme Court review.
c. shopping around for the district where the likelihood of a favorable decision is highest.
d. filing multiple friend-of-the-court briefs, in the hope of influencing the legal arguments of the Supreme Court.
e. filing cases in different courts on the same subject.
ANS: B
*58. If someone is an advocate of the philosophy of judicial restraint, he or she believes
a. in looking only at the words of the Constitution in order to understand its meaning.
b. that the Court should beware of overturning the judgments of popularly elected legislatures.
c. that the meaning of the law tends to evolve over time.
d. the Court should go beyond the words of the Constitution or a statute to consider the broader societal implications of its decisions.
e. that judges should consider legal questions rather than deciding political matters.
ANS: A
*59. Activist judges believe that federal judges should
a. always overrule state legislatures and governors when making decisions.
b. interpret the U.S. Constitution according to the intentions of its framers and defer to the views of Congress when interpreting federal statutes.
c. be more aggressive and ideological than the president when vacancies occur on the courts.
d. go beyond the words of a constitution or statute to consider the broader societal implications of their decisions.
e. always defer judgment to precedents set by previous courts.
ANS: D
*60. ________ is an example of a justice who advocated judicial restraint.
a. Harry Blackmun
b. Earl Warren
c. John Marshall
d. Felix Frankfurter
e. Ruth Bader Ginsburg
ANS: D
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