Английский язык. Учебное пособие. Бабушкин А.П - 2 стр.


does not rule on the guilt or innocence of those accused, but only on whether or not
laws and legal procedures conform to the Constitution.
The Court rules on whether the individual’s right to due process - the proper
and correct handling of a legal case - has been violated. If it has, the person must go
free, possibly to stand trial again with due process guaranteed.
It should also be noted that not all Americans are satisfied with all Supreme
Court decisions. Many Americans believe that the court too often “takes the side of
the criminals” in declaring proceedings invalid because an accused person’s rights
have been violated. Others argue, however, that protecting the innocent is the real
intent of these rulings, and that it is better to have a few criminals go free than to have
one innocent person be jailed.
Not all cases are settled in the Supreme Court Only a small percentage win
the attention of the chief justice and the associate justices. Many cases sent to the
Supreme Court are studied by the justices and then sent back to the court or the
person from which they
That means that, as a lower court has ruled on the
case, the ruling remains in effect.
Text B
The U.S. Constitution is a very general set of principles that have been
interpreted and applied in many different ways throughout history.
Some legislative and executive rules are vague because lawmakers cannot
agree on more specific regulations. They often compromise by creating very general
rules and allow others, often judges and lawyers, to interpret what the rules mean in
particular circumstances. Other rules intentionally provide only general principles or
guidelines so that they can be applied to many similar, but somewhat different
circumstances. Criminal codes are examples of this kind of lawmaking. Criminal acts
are defined by legislatures, but the penalties for the same crime may range from fines
and probation to many years in prison. Judges are free to hand down sentences that
fall within the range specified by the legislature and to make the punishment fit the
crime and the criminal. It is possible and perfectly legal, therefore, for judges to
sentence defendants convicted of the same crime to vastly different prison terms. A
particular decision depends on the personal values and choices of judges, prosecutors,
and defense lawyers and the compromises that they produce among themselves.
Whatever they decide within the broad range of sentences fixed by the legislature will
be lawful.
Other vague legal principles also give judges lots of room to make decisions
they believe are proper or right. For instance, the principle
of equity
gives judges
almost complete freedom to decide what is best. Equity generally means fairness or
doing right. The rule comes from old England and the American colonies where
separate equity courts once heard certain types of disputes but also had the special
power to ignore laws that judges believed were unjust in particular cases. Today,
separate equity courts are rare, but
the equity idea still permits judges to acknowledge
formal law, but to avoid it selectively in the name of fairness.