1 The Federal Court System SSCG16 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the operation of the federal judiciary. a. explain the jurisdiction of the federal courts and the state courts b. examine how John Marshall established the Supreme Court as an independent, coequal branch of government through his opinions in Marbury v. Madison c. describe how the Supreme Court decides cases d. compare the philosophies of judicial activism and judicial restraint
2 Powers of the Fed Courts Federal courts are generally created by the United States Congress under the constitutional power described in Article III. These courts are much more independent of Congress and the President. Article III requires the establishment of a Supreme Court and permits the Congress to create other federal courts, and place limitations on their jurisdiction.
3 Jurisdiction is the authority to hear certain cases. Federal courts have jurisdiction in cases that involve United States laws, treaties with other countries, or interpretations of the Constitution. (Also hear cases involving bankruptcy & maritime law)
4 Jurisdiction Federal courts also have jurisdiction over cases involving certain persons: Ambassadors/representatives of foreign governments 2 or more state governments The US government or office/agency of Citizens who are residents of different states Citizens who are residents of the same state but claim lands under grants from different states.
5 Concurrent jurisdiction occurs when both state and federal court appear to have jurisdiction. Ex: A case involving citizens from different states in a dispute concerning more than $75,000. A person may sue in federal or state court but if the person being sued insists, the case must be tried in federal court.
6 Original/Appellate The court in which a case is originally tried is known as a trial court. A trial court has original jurisdiction. If a person loses a case in trial court and wishes to appeal the decision, he or she may take the case to the court with appellate jurisdiction. If a person loses in the court of appeals, he or she may appeal to the Supreme Court, (which has both original and appellate jurisdiction.
7 Developing Supreme Court Power Early in the court s history, it was established that the Supreme Court, nor any other federal court may initiate action. (A judge/justice can not seek out an issue and request that the parties bring their case before the court) The court must wait for litigants, those involved in a lawsuit, to come before them
8 John Marshall John Marshall shaped American constitutional law and made the Supreme Court a center of power. The longest serving Chief Justice in Supreme Court history, Marshall established that the courts are entitled to exercise judicial review, the power to strike down laws that violate the Constitution. He repeatedly confirmed the supremacy of federal law over state law and supported an expansive reading of the enumerated powers.
9 Due Process Following the Civil War, the Supreme Court issued several rulings on the 13 th, 14 th, & 15 th Amendments. These amendments were intended to ensure the rights of newly freed African Americans, BUT the Court did not apply the due process clause of the 14 th Amendment when individuals challenged business or state interests. The due process clause says that no state may deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without the due process of law.
10 Landmark Cases Fletcher v. Peck (1810), was one of the first cases in which the Supreme Court ruled a state law unconstitutional. It is the earliest case of the Court asserting its right to invalidate state laws conflicting with the Constitution.
11 Marbury v. Madison,, is a landmark case in U.S. law. It formed the basis for the exercise of judicial review in the U.S. under Article III of the Constitution. Marbury v. Madison was the first time the Supreme Court declared something "unconstitutional unconstitutional," and established the concept of judicial review in the U.S. (the idea that courts may oversee and nullify the actions of another branch of government). The landmark decision helped define the "checks and balances" of the American form of government.
12 Landmark Cases Dred Scott v. Sandford was a decision by the United States Supreme Court that ruled that people of African descent imported into the United States and held as slaves, or their descendants whether or not they were slaves were not protected by the Constitution and could never be citizens of the United States.
13 It also held that the United States Congress had no authority to prohibit slavery in federal territories. The Court also ruled that because slaves were not citizens, they could not sue in court. Lastly, the Court ruled that slaves as private property could not be taken away from their owners without due process.
14 The Slaughter-House Cases,, (1873) was the first United States Supreme Court interpretation of the relatively new Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. It is viewed as a pivotal case in early civil rights law, reading the Fourteenth Amendment as protecting the "privileges or immunities" conferred by virtue of the U.S. citizenship to all individuals of all states within it. It, the 14 th Amendment, partially overturned the Dred Scott decision.
15 Plessy v. Ferguson, (1896), upheld the constitutionality of racial segregation even in public accommodations (particularly railroads), under the doctrine of "separate but equal". "Separate but equal" remained standard doctrine in U.S. law until it was overturned with Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka in 1954.
16 Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka,, (1954), overturned earlier rulings going back to Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, by declaring that state laws that established separate public schools for black and white students denied black children equal educational opportunities. As a result, de jure racial segregation was ruled a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. This victory paved the way for integration and the civil rights movement.
17 Lower Federal Courts The Constitution created the Supreme Court and allowed for Congress to establish a network of lower federal courts as well. These courts are of 2 basic types: constitutional federal courts and legislative federal courts.
18 The United States Judiciary Act of 1789 was a landmark statute adopted on September 24, 1789 in the first session of the First United States Congress establishing the U.S. federal judiciary. Article III, section 1 of the Constitution prescribed that the "judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court", and such inferior courts as Congress saw fit to establish.
19 Constitutional Courts Courts established by Congress under the provisions of Article III of the Constitution are constitutional courts. These courts include: federal district courts, the federal courts of appeals the U.S. Court of International Trade
20 Federal District Courts Congress created district courts in 1789 to serve as trial courts. As population grew and cases multiplied, Congress divided some states into more than one district. There are 94 federal judicial districts, including at least one district in each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Three territories of the United States -- the Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands -- have district courts that hear federal cases, including bankruptcy cases
21 Federal District Courts The district courts have jurisdiction to hear nearly all categories of federal cases, including both civil and criminal matters. Every day hundreds of people across the nation are selected for jury duty and help decide some of these cases
22 Juries Federal courts use 2 types of juries: grand jury and trial jury. Grand jury has people and hears evidence against the accused. If they think there is enough evidence, they pass an indictment a formal accusation charging the person with a crime. The trial jury /petit jury has 6 12 people. They find the accused guilty or innocent. In some states, they pass sentence on the convicted.
23 The 94 U.S. judicial districts are organized into 12 regional circuits, each of which has a United States court of appeals. A court of appeals hears appeals from the district courts located within its circuit, as well as appeals from decisions of federal administrative agencies.
24 Court of Appeals Courts of appeals have only appellate jurisdiction. Most appeals arise from decisions of district courts, the U.S. Tax Court and various territorial courts. These courts also hear appeals on the rulings of regulatory agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission or the Federal Communications Commission.
25 Courts of appeals may decide an appeal in one of 3 ways: Uphold the original decision Reverse that decision Or send it back to the lower court to be tried again. Unless appealed to the Supreme Court, the appeals court decision is final.
26 A special court of appeals called the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit was created by Congress with passage of the Federal Courts Improvement Act of 1982 making the judges of the former courts into circuit judges. It is housed in Washington, D.C.
27 The United States Court of Federal Claims hears non- tort monetary claims against the U.S. government. It hears claims for money that arise from the United States Constitution, federal statutes, executive regulations, or an express or implied contract with the United States Government.
28 The United States Tax Court specializes in adjudicating disputes over federal income tax, generally prior to the time at which the formal tax assessments are made by the Internal Revenue Service. The Tax Court is the only forum in which taxpayers outside of bankruptcy may do so without having first paid the disputed tax in full.
29 The United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces exercises worldwide appellate jurisdiction over members of the United States armed forces on active duty and other persons subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The court is composed of five civilian judges appointed for 15- year terms by the President of the United States with the advice and consent of the United States Senate.
30 Selection of Federal Judges Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution provides that the president, with consent of the Senate, appoints all federal judges. Judges in constitutional courts are appointed to serve for life. What advantages/disadvantages (political) would there be for a judge to be appointed for life?
31 Party Affiliation/Political Philosophy Presidents favor judges who belong to their own political party. Because judges are appointed for life, presidents view the appointments are a way to ensure their political ideas will continue even after they leave office. Senatorial courtesy allows that the president submit the name of the judicial candidate to the senators from the candidate s state before submitting to the entire Senate for approval. If either or both senators oppose the nominee, the president usually withdraws that nomination.
32 The Supreme Court The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest judicial body in the United States. It consists of the Chief Justice of the United States and eight Associate Justices, who are nominated by the President and confirmed with the of the Senate. Once appointed, Justices effectively have life tenure, serving "during good Behavior, which terminates only upon death, resignation, retirement, or conviction on impeachment. The Court meets in Washington, D.C. in the United States Supreme Court building. The Supreme Court is primarily an appellate court, but it has original jurisdiction over a small range of cases
33 How do they decide which cases to The Supreme Court decides to hear a case on three major factors. Whether it was an appeal by the federal court and is in conflict with the decisions of other circuits, the general importance of the case, and whether the lower court's decisions may be wrong in light of the Supreme Court's opinions. hear?
34 A petition for a writ of certiorari is the documentation sent to the Supreme Court of the United States to request that they review a case. A writ of certiorari ("to be informed") is issued from any appellate court (the Supreme Court is the highest appellate court) to a lower court requesting more information about a case - seeking judicial review.
35 How do they decide a case? Once the Supreme Court accepts a case, the lawyers give the Court lengthy, detailed documents called "briefs" arguing their points and providing legal support for them. Next, the attorneys typically argue the merits of their cases orally before the Supreme Court (which the public is welcome to attend). The Court considers these briefs and arguments in researching and deciding the cases.
36 The Conference After the lawyers complete their oral arguments, the justices debate the case. Usually about 30 minutes per case then they vote. A majority of the justices must be in agreement.
37 The Opinion The opinion states the facts of the case. The opinions are as important as the decision itself. They set a precedent for the lower courts to follow in future cases and gives the public an explanation for their decision. There are 4 different opinions: Unanimous, majority, concurring, and dissenting
38 Opinions Unanimous: all justices vote the same way (only about 1/3 of the decisions are unanimous) Majority: expresses the views of a majority of the justices Concurring: one or more of the justices agree with the majority s conclusions on the case, but for different reasons Dissenting: opinion of the justices on the losing side.
39 Judicial Activism The philosophy of judicial activism is the charge that judges are going beyond their appropriate powers and engaging in making law and not merely interpreting it. Judicial activism is a critical term used by some to describe judicial rulings that they feel are based more upon the judge's personal bias than by existing law.
40 Judicial Restraint Judicial restraint encourages judges to limit the exercise of their own power. It asserts that judges should hesitate to strike down laws unless they are obviously unconstitutional.
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