Order Code: IIC141DV   
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The U.S. Judiciary is distinctive from the two elective branches of government in that it is both a legal and a political body. Justices may be influenced by their own views and by pressures that others seek to exert on them, but they are also bound by legal constraints that shape the cases they hear and the decisions they render.

Learning objectives:

  • Describe some of the key constraints on judicial decision making in the United States.
  • Identify a number of ways in which the American judicial system differs from systems in European democracies.
  • Understand the differences between statutory interpretation and constitutional interpretation.
  • Understand some of the political influences on judicial decision making.
  • Describe the basic differences between strict construction and loose construction of the U.S. Constitution, as well as the difference between judicial activism and judicial restraint.
  • Understand that a court that exercises judicial activism may be either liberal or conservative, and that a court might exercise judicial restraint in one area of the law and judicial activism in another area.
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This title is part of the series: FRAMEWORK FOR DEMOCRACY




10 and up


Color and black-and-white

Run Time

26 minutes