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American Government 3e

Review Questions

American Government 3eReview Questions


The Supreme Court’s power of judicial review ________.

  1. is given to it in the original constitution
  2. enables it to declare acts of the other branches unconstitutional
  3. allows it to hear cases
  4. establishes the three-tiered court system

The Supreme Court most typically functions as ________.

  1. a district court
  2. a trial court
  3. a court of original jurisdiction
  4. an appeals court

In Federalist No. 78, Alexander Hamilton characterized the judiciary as the ________ branch of government.

  1. most unnecessary
  2. strongest
  3. least dangerous
  4. most political

Explain one positive and one negative aspect of the lifetime term of office for judges and justices in the federal court system. Why do you believe the constitution’s framers chose lifetime terms?


What do you find most significant about having a common law system?


Of all the court cases in the United States, the majority are handled ________.

  1. by the U.S. Supreme Court
  2. at the state level
  3. by the circuit courts
  4. by the U.S. district courts

Both state and federal courts hear matters that involve ________.

  1. civil law only
  2. criminal law only
  3. both civil and criminal law
  4. neither civil nor criminal law

A state case is more likely to be heard by the federal courts when ________.

  1. it involves a federal question
  2. a governor requests a federal court hearing
  3. it involves a criminal matter
  4. the state courts are unable to come up with a decision

The existence of the dual court system is an unnecessary duplication to some but beneficial to others. Provide at least one positive and one negative characteristic of having overlapping court systems in the United States.


Which court would you consider to be closest to the people? Why?


Besides the Supreme Court, there are lower courts in the national system called ________.

  1. state and federal courts
  2. district and circuit courts
  3. state and local courts
  4. civil and common courts

In standing by precedent, a judge relies on the principle of ________.

  1. stare decisis
  2. amicus curiae
  3. judicial activism
  4. laissez-faire

The justices of the Supreme Court are ________.

  1. elected by citizens
  2. chosen by the Congress
  3. confirmed by the president
  4. nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate

Do you believe federal judges should be elected rather than appointed? Why or why not?


When it comes to filling judicial positions in the federal courts, do you believe race, gender, religion, and ethnicity should matter? Why or why not?


The Supreme Court consists of ________.

  1. nine associate justices
  2. one chief justice and eight associate justices
  3. thirteen judges
  4. one chief justice and five associate justices

A case will be placed on the Court’s docket when ________ justices agree to do so.

  1. four
  2. five
  3. six
  4. all

One of the main ways interest groups participate in Supreme Court cases is by ________.

  1. giving monetary contributions to the justices
  2. lobbying the justices
  3. filing amicus curiae briefs
  4. protesting in front of the Supreme Court building

The lawyer who represents the federal government and argues cases before the Supreme Court is the ________.

  1. solicitor general
  2. attorney general
  3. U.S. attorney
  4. chief justice

What do the appointments of the Supreme Court’s three newest justices, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett reveal about the changing selection process for the high court?


When using judicial restraint, judges will usually ________.

  1. refuse to rule on a case
  2. overrule any act of Congress they don’t like
  3. defer to the decisions of the elected branches of government
  4. make mostly liberal rulings

When a Supreme Court ruling is made, justices may write a ________ to show they agree with the majority but for different reasons.

  1. brief
  2. dissenting opinion
  3. majority opinion
  4. concurring opinion

Which of the following is a check that the legislative branch has over the courts?

  1. Senate approval is needed for the appointment of justices and federal judges.
  2. Congress may rewrite a law the courts have declared unconstitutional.
  3. Congress may withhold funding needed to implement court decisions.
  4. all of the above

What are the core factors that determine how judges decide in court cases?


Discuss some of the difficulties involved in the implementation and enforcement of judicial decisions.

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