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SAGE Publications

Cover Image: The Federal Courts, 5th Edition
  • Date: 11/09/2010
  • Format: Print Paperback
  • Price: $49.00
  • ISBN: 978-1-60871-411-7
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The Federal Courts, 5th Edition
Robert A. Carp, University of Houston
Ronald Stidham, Appalachian State University
Kenneth L. Manning, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth

For law and courts courses focused on the federal level, this popular spin-off volume from Judicial Process in America, is the perfect supplement. The authors explain the organizational structure of the federal courts, outline the jurisdiction of the three levels of U.S. courts, and pay particular attention to the link between the courts, public policy, and the political environment.
New to this Edition
Not applicable.
Previous Editions
4th Edition ©2001

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Table of Contents

Tables and Figures



1.       History and Organization of the Federal Judicial System

The Historical Context

The U.S. Supreme Court                                                                                                                                          

The U.S. Courts of Appeals                                                                                                                                   

U.S. District Courts                                                                                                                                                  

Constitutional Courts, Legislative Courts, and Courts of Specialized Jurisdiction                                       

Administrative and Staff Support in the Federal Judiciary                                                                                

Federal Court Workload                                                                                                                                          


2.       Jurisdiction and Policymaking Boundaries                                                                                                      

Federal Courts                                                                                                                                                          

Jurisdiction of State Courts                                                                                                                                    

Jurisdiction and Legislative Politics                                                                                                                      

Judicial Self-Restraint                                                                                                                                              


3.       Federal Judges                                                                                                                                                         

Background Characteristics of Federal Judges                                                                                                   

Formal and Informal Qualifications of Federal Judges                                                                                       

The Federal Selection Process and Its Participants                                                                                            

The Judicial Socialization Process                                                                                                                         

The Retirement and Removal of Judges                                                                                                               


4.       Policy Links between the Citizenry, the President, and the Federal Judiciary                                          

The President and the Composition of the Judiciary                                                                                         

Presidents’ Values and Their Appointees’ Decisions                                                                                       

President George W. Bush and the Federal Judiciary                                                                                        

President Barack Obama and the Federal Judiciary                                                                                            


5.       Decision Making by Trial Court Judges                                                                                                            

The Legal Subculture                                                                                                                                              

The Democratic Subculture                                                                                                                                    

The Subcultures as Predictors                                                                                                                               


6.       Decision Making in Collegial Courts                                                                                                                 

Cue Theory                                                                                                                                                               

Small-Group Analysis                                                                                                                                              

Attitude Theory                                                                                                                                                       

Rational Choice Theory                                                                                                                                          

Practical Applications of These Four Approaches                                                                                            


7.       Implementation and Impact of Judicial Policies                                                                                                

The Impact of Higher Court Decisions on Lower Courts                                                                                  

Congressional Influences on the Implementation Process                                                                               

Executive Branch Influences on the Implementation Process                                                                          

Other Implementers                                                                                                                                                  

The Impact of Judicial Policies                                                                                                                               


8.       Policymaking by American Judges: A Synthesis                                                                                             

The Nature of the Case or Issue                                                                                                                            

The Values and Orientations of the Judges                                                                                                         

The Nature of the Judicial Decision-Making Process                                                                                        

The Impact of Extraneous Influences                                                                                                                   



Annotated Constitution
Robert A. Carp, University of Houston
Robert A. Carp is professor of political science at the University of Houston. He is coauthor of Policymaking and Politics in the Federal District Courts; Politics and Judgment in Federal District Courts; The Federal Courts, Fifth Edition, and The State Courts, as well as the author of forty-eight peer-reviewed articles and book chapters.

Ronald Stidham, Appalachian State University
Ronald Stidham is professor emeritus of Government and Justice Studies at Appalachian State University. He is coauthor of The Federal Courts, Fifth Edition, with Robert A. Carp and Kenneth L. Manning; The State Courts, with Robert A. Carp and Kenneth L. Manning, and numerous articles in legal, social science, and criminal justice journals.

Kenneth L. Manning, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
Kenneth L. Manning is professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. He is coauthor with Robert A. Carp and Ronald Stidham of The Federal Courts (Fifth Edition) and The State Courts. Manning's work on the politics of judicial decision-making and federal judicial selection have been published in a variety of journals.
Sample Pages