APMacro: IES Human Development Index


Summit HDI
The United Nations developed what is known as the Human Development Index, The HDI covers three areas: life expectancy, education, and GDP per capita and offers a broader measure of the standard of living than GDP per capita alone. The Human Development Index was created to emphasize that people and their capabilities should be the ultimate criteria for assessing the development of a country, not economic growth alone. The Human Development Index is a summary measure of average achievement in key dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, being knowledgeable and have a decent standard of living. The HDI does not reflect on inequalities, poverty, human security, empowerment, etc.

INvestment Rates and GDP per Capita 05.23.2016
The term investment is often used in a variety of ways. Investment represents actual materials, research and development purchased and used today to produce goods and services in the future. For our purposes here, we are referring to the part of investment that is reflected in GDP, specifically the spending on new equipment, software, and structures that add to a country’s stock or amount of capital. Gross Domestic Product can be separated into four components that include consumer spending, business investment spending, government spending, and net exports. (GDP = C + I + G + X) The “I” represents the amount spent on new equipment and factories, which adds to the total amount of the capital factor of production. Investment is a key factor in growing GDP.


Gov: Judicial System

dual court system
When Congress enacted the Judiciary Act of 1789, it created a dual court system in the United States. The federal judicial system was set up alongside the state judicial systems. For the most part, the two systems operate independently of one another, but they can overlap.

One way to sort out what gets tried where in this dual system is to look at each court’s jurisdiction, or its authority to enforce laws. State courts have jurisdiction over cases arising under state law. Federal courts are generally limited to cases involving federal law or the Constitution. Within each system, jurisdiction is limited by three factors: level in the court hierarchy, geographic reach, and type of case.

Each level within the hierarchy of the state or federal court system has a set of responsibilities. Trial courts, at the bottom of the hierarchy, generally have original jurisdiction. This means they have the authority to hear a case for the first time. Moving up the hierarchy, appeals courts have appellate jurisdiction. This means they have the authority to review decisions made in lower courts. Appeals courts do not second-guess jury decisions by reviewing the facts in a case. Instead, their focus is on whether the trial in the lower court was carried out in a fair manner, with no errors of law. An error of law is a mistake made by a judge in applying the law to a specific case.

With the exception of the Supreme Court, courts hear cases that arise within certain geographic boundaries. Within a state judicial system, the geographic jurisdiction of a trial court is usually limited to the city or county in which that court operates. In the federal system, trial court districts are larger. The geographic reach of appellate courts is greater than that of trial courts. Most states have regional appeals courts and a state supreme court. The federal system has 13 appellate courts. The U.S. Supreme Court accepts cases from anywhere in the United States and its territories.

A case’s subject matter also determines where it will be tried. At both the state and the federal levels, the typical trial court has general jurisdiction. This means the court can hear cases covering a variety of subjects. Some courts, however, have limited jurisdiction. This means they specialize in certain kinds of cases. Traffic courts deal only with traffic violations. Bankruptcy courts only hear cases involving bankruptcy issues. Juvenile courts work only with young offenders.

State courts are the workhorses of the judicial system, handling several million cases a year. Nearly half of these cases were traffic related. In contrast, the entire federal system hears fewer cases each year than do the courts of a medium-size state. State court systems vary in their structures. However, most states have four general levels of courts: trial courts of limited jurisdiction, trial courts of general jurisdiction, intermediate appellate courts, and courts of last resort.

Trial courts of limited jurisdiction are local courts that specialize in relatively minor criminal offenses or civil disputes handle most of the cases filed each year. They are known as justice-of-the-peace courts, magistrate courts, municipal courts, city courts, county courts, traffic courts, or small-claims courts, depending on the state and the types of cases they hear. Their hearings are generally informal and do not involve jury trials. Cases heard in these courts may be appealed to trial courts.

Trial courts of general jurisdiction are general trial courts that handle most serious criminal cases and major civil disputes. They are often called superior, district, or circuit courts. In rural areas, general trial court judges may have to travel within a large circuit to try cases. In urban areas, general trial court judges may specialize in criminal, family, juvenile, civil, or other types of cases.

Intermediate appellate courts or intermediate courts of appeals hear appeals from general trial courts. Though the structure varies from state to state, most state appeals courts employ three-judge panels to hear and decide cases.

Courts of last resort are the appeals court at the top of the state system which varies from state to state. The most common name is state supreme court. Most often, these courts of last resort convene in the state’s capital. Their jurisdiction includes all matters of state law. Once a state supreme court decides a case, the only avenue of appeal left is the U.S. Supreme Court. However, such appeals are limited to cases that present a constitutional issue, which is a highly unlikely occurrence.

Ninety-four district courts occupy the lowest level in the federal judiciary. These ninety-four courts include 89 federal court districts throughout the country, with at least one district in each state. The five additional district courts are located in Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and three other U.S. territories. Each district court is a trial court with original jurisdiction in its region. District courts are where most cases in the federal system begin. In the past, civil cases dominated district court caseloads. Increasingly, criminal cases are crowding the dockets of these courts, with drug violations leading the way. District court cases are tried before a jury, unless a defendant waives that right. In such cases, the judge decides the outcome of the case in what is known as a bench trial.

Thirteen appellate courts occupy the second level of the federal judiciary. These midlevel courts are known as U.S. courts of appeals. Only a fraction of the cases decided in district courts are reviewed by appeals courts. Of these, an even smaller number get heard by the Supreme Court. Of the 13 appeals courts, one deals with cases arising in Washington, D.C. Another 11 review cases in circuits made up of several states. In 1982, Congress added the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to the judicial system. This 13th appeals court reviews cases nationwide that involve special subjects, such as veterans’ benefits and trade issues. The judges who staff appeals courts sit in panels of three to hear cases. Their primary job is to review district court cases to determine whether the district judge made an error in applying the law in that one trial. However, sometimes their decisions have a broader application than the specific case before them.

From time to time, Congress has established special federal courts to deal with specific categories of cases. Staffing these courts are judges expert in a particular area, such as tax or trade law. These special courts include both lower and appeals courts. During times of war, the United States has also set up military tribunals to try members of enemy forces. A military tribunal is a court in which officers from the armed forces serve as both judge and jury. In 2006, Congress authorized the creation of military tribunals to try noncitizens accused of committing acts of terrorism against the United States.

State of Oregon judge
Each state has its own method of choosing judges to preside over state courts. There are three basic routes to a judgeship: election, appointment, or merit selection.

The oldest method of choosing state judges is through the election process. Supporters of this method argue that judicial elections provide a public forum for debating judicial issues. They also argue that elections allow voters to remove judges who have not upheld the public trust. However, this method of choosing judges is not without its pitfalls. First, to fund their campaigns, judicial candidates must often seek contributions from lawyers and business that may eventually appear before them in court. This may interfere with their ability to be impartial. Second, voter turnout for judicial elections is notoriously low. Most voters simply do not know enough about judgeship candidates to cast a meaningful vote.

In a handful of states, judges are appointed by the governor or state legislature. This method relieves poorly informed voters of the responsibility of choosing judges. Nonetheless, it also has drawbacks. Governors often use their appointment power to award judgeships to those who have supported them politically. Similarly, state legislatures tend to appoint former lawmakers to be judges. Such appointees may or may not be highly qualified to serve as judges.

Finally, many judges are selected through a process that combines appointments and elections. Under this system, a committee nominates candidates for judgeships based on their merits, or qualifications. The governor then appoints judges from this list. After a fixed period, usually a year, voters are asked to confirm or reject the appointment in a retention election. If a majority of voters answer yes, the judge remains in office for a longer term. If a majority says no, which rarely happens, the judge is removed from office. Supporters of this process argue that it takes the politics out of judicial appointments by focusing on candidates’ qualifications rather than on their political connections or popularity with voters. At the same time, merit selection allows voters to review a judge’s performance on the bench from time to time. Opponents argue that this method gives the public too little control over judges.

Despite their different levels and functions, all federal courts have one thing in common, judges. These judges oversee court proceedings, decide questions of law, and, where no jury is present, determine the outcome of the cases before them.

The Constitution gives the president the power to appoint federal judges, but it says nothing about the qualifications of judges. Generally, presidents look for candidates who have distinguished themselves as attorneys in the state where an opening exists. They also tend to look for candidates who share their political ideology.

In theory, the confirmation process looks simple. The president submits a nomination to the Senate. The nomination goes to the Senate Judiciary Committee. If approved by the committee, the nomination is submitted to the full Senate for a confirmation vote.

However, the reality is more complex because of an unwritten rule known as senatorial courtesy. This rule allows a senator to block a nomination to a federal court in his or her home state. Nominations are blocked through a process known as the blue-slip policy. When the Senate Judiciary Committee receives a nomination, it notifies the senators from the nominee’s state by sending them an approval form on a blue sheet of paper. If a senator fails to return the blue slip, this indicates his or her opposition to the appointment. As a courtesy to the senator, the Judiciary Committee then kills the nomination by refusing to act on it.

Nominees who make it through the confirmation process remain in office, as Article III states, during good behavior. In practical terms, this means they are judges for life or until they choose to retire. The only federal judges not appointed to life terms of service, are those serving in most of the special courts. With the exception of the Court of International Trade, the creation of these special courts was not expressly authorized under Article III. Instead, Congress created them using its legislative authority. As a result, Congress has the power to fix terms of service for special court judges. The only way to remove a federal judge with lifetime tenure from office is by impeachment. Over the past two centuries, the House of Representatives has impeached 13 federal judges. Of that number, only 7 were convicted of wrongdoing in the Senate and removed from office.

Article III also states that the salaries of judges with lifetime tenure shall not be diminished during their continuance in office. This means that judges cannot be penalized for making unpopular decisions by cutting their pay. The purpose of these protections was to ensure the independence of the judges against the effects of occasional ill humors in society.

current events7

A second federal appeals court has ruled against President Trump’s revised travel ban, delivering on Monday the latest in a string of defeats for the administration’s efforts to limit travel from several predominantly Muslim countries. Monday’s decision came from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco. The Ninth Circuit rested its conclusions on statutory grounds. It said Mr. Trump had exceeded the authority Congress granted him in making national security judgments in the realm of immigration without adequate justification.