Structure and Function of the Judicial Branch

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1 Structure and Function of the Judicial Branch Course Principles of GPA Unit III Implementation of the Three Branches of Government Essential Question What are the functions of each type of court system in the United States according to the U.S Constitution? TEKS (c) (10)(C) Prior Student Learning None Estimated Time 1 to 2 hours Rationale This lesson introduces students to the functions of each type of court system according to the constitution. This knowledge is essential to making informed decisions about government and government careers. Objectives The student will be able to 1. Analyze the structure and functions of the judicial branch of government, including the federal court system and types of jurisdiction Engage Do an Internet search for the following: why Marbury v. Madison still matters. Read the article prior to class. Then explain to the class the actions taken by Thomas Jefferson during the Lame Duck period in the Election of After summarizing the actions following the Election of 1800, have the students decide who they would rule in favor of: James Madison or William Marbury. After students have a chance to discuss it, reveal Chief Justice John Marshall s opinion on the Marbury v. Madison case of Use the Discussion Rubric for assessment. Key Points I. History of the Judicial Branch A. Before the Constitution, no national courts existed B. Laws were interpreted and applied as each state saw fit, if at all C. Court decisions in one state were ignored in another D. The Constitution provides for judicial power in 1. One Supreme Court 2. Inferior courts as Congress establishes (the rest of the federal court system) II. Dual Court System A. National judiciary 1. Supreme Court 2. Inferior courts a. Constitutional courts most federal cases b. Special courts narrow range B. States have their own court systems 1. They number in the thousands 2. Most cases are heard in state courts 1

2 III. Federal Court Jurisdiction A. Jurisdiction is limited by the Constitution to cases involving 1. Federal questions the interpretation and application of a provision of the Constitution or a federal statute or treaty 2. Questions of admiralty matters that arise on the high seas or navigable waters of the U.S. 3. Questions of maritime law matters that arise on land but are directly related to the water 4. The U.S. or one of its officers or agencies 5. An official representative of a foreign government 6. A state suing another state or one of its residents 7. A citizen of one state suing a citizen of another state B. Types of jurisdiction 1. Exclusive 2. Concurrent 3. Original 4. Appellate a. Not retrying a case b. Determining whether a trial court has acted in accord with applicable law c. Appellate courts can uphold, overrule, or modify a decision appealed from the lower court IV. Federal Judges A. Selection 1. Supreme Court judges are nominated by the President and are appointed with the consent of the Senate 2. Since the Judiciary Act of 1789, Congress has provided the same procedure for the selection of all federal judges 3. Federal judges have no age, residency, or citizenship requirements 4. Tradition alone dictates an educational or professional background in the law B. Terms and pay for Supreme Court and federal courts 1. Appointed for life; serve until they resign, retire, or die in office 2. This lifelong tenure ensures the independence of the federal judiciary 3. May be removed only through impeachment 4. Congress sets their salaries C. Terms for judges of the special courts 1. Appointed for 8- or 15-year terms 2. Can be reappointed V. Inferior Courts A. District courts federal trial courts judges in 94 districts 2. Hear more than 300,000 cases per year percent of the federal caseload 2

3 4. Created by Congress in the Judiciary Act of Each state forms at least one judicial district; some are divided into two or more districts 6. Judges hear criminal and civil cases B. Courts of Appeals 1. Established by Congress in 1891 to relieve the Supreme Court of the burden of hearing appeals of district court decisions courts of appeals today a. The U.S. is divided into 12 judicial courts; there is one court of appeals for each district b. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is the 13 th i. Nationwide jurisdiction ii. Mostly hears appeals of patent, copyright, and international trade cases C. Court of International Trade 1. Nine judges appointed by the President and the Senate 2. Federal trial court 3. Tries civil cases arising out of customs and other trade-related laws VI. The Supreme Court A. The only court specifically created by the Constitution B. Made up of the Chief Justice of the United States and eight associate judges C. On an equal plane with the President and Congress D. The court of last resort in all questions of federal law the final authority for any case with questions concerning 1. The Constitution 2. An act of Congress 3. A treaty of the United States E. Judicial review 1. Established in Marbury v. Madison in 1803 a. The outgoing political party tried to stack the judiciary in its favor b. William Marbury had been appointed justice of the peace on President Adams last day in office c. The next day, President Jefferson took office and halted the commission d. The Supreme Court sided with President Jefferson, stating the court-packing attempt was in conflict with the Constitution and, therefore, void e. Set the precedent that the Supreme Court can declare acts of Congress unconstitutional 2. Many of the more important statutes that Congress has passed have been heard by the Supreme Court 3. The Court has had a large impact on the meaning and effect of the laws F. Jurisdiction 3

4 1. Original a. Cases to which a state is a party b. Cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls 2. Appellate a. Most of its cases b. From the lower federal courts and the highest state courts G. Cases reaching the Supreme Court 1. From a writ of certiorari 2. Through a certificate 3. Most cases come from the highest state courts and the federal court of appeals 4. Very few come from the federal district courts Activities 1. Interpretation of the 14 th Amendment project. Have students investigate and research how the 14th Amendment has been used since Within their investigation, the students will answer and explain the following three basic guiding questions for the project: What significant court cases have used the 14th Amendment? Cite at least three examples. How has the 14th Amendment been interpreted during different eras in history? (during the Reconstruction, the 1900 s to 1950 s,and from the 1960 s to the present) Explain, in your own words, the importance of the 14th Amendment. The student can either write a three- to five-page essay or make it a multimedia presentation (podcast, video, storyboard, computer-based presentation, etc). Use the Presentation Rubric and/or the Writing Rubric for assessment. 2. Amendment 28. Students will have the opportunity to create a new amendment which will be added to the U.S Constitution. Each student must provide a written summary, citing examples of why this amendment is Constitutional. Use the Writing Rubric for assessment. Assessments Structure and Functions of the Judicial Branch Quiz and Key Discussion Rubric Presentation Rubric Summary Rubric Writing Rubric Materials Structure and Functions of the Judicial Branch computer-based presentation Structure and Functions of the Judicial Branch Key Terms Resources 4

5 , Macgruder s American Government, McClenaghan, W., Pearson, Prentice Hall, (Ch. 18) The Federalist 78 Do an Internet search for the following: why Marbury v. Madison still matters. Accommodations for Learning Differences For reinforcement, have students analyze The Federalist 78 by Alexander Hamilton (http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa78.htm). After reading it, have students provide a summary of the article which explains the origins of the United States Court System. Use the Summary Rubric for assessment. For enrichment, have students create a poster that compares the types of cases that the federal district court and the federal court of appeals hear. The poster should include who hears which type of case, each court s jurisdiction, and the number of courts in each system. Students can also research and identify what types of courts are in their communities. State Education Standards Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Career and Technical Education Principles of Government and Public Administration (One-Half to One Credit). (10) The student will select an appropriate method of communication to facilitate the flow of ideas and information among government, public administration, the business community, and the general public. The student is expected to: (C) analyze the structure and functions of the judicial branch of government, including the federal court system and types of jurisdiction College and Career Readiness Standards English/Language Arts V. Research A. Formulate topic and questions. 1. Formulate research questions. 2. Explore a research topic. 3. Refine research topic and devise a timeline for completing work. 5

6 Structure and Functions of the Judicial Branch Key Terms 1. Jurisdiction the authority of a court to hear and to decide a case; the power to say the law 2. Exclusive jurisdiction sole jurisdiction. For example, cases that can be tried only in federal courts are the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal courts 3. Concurrent jurisdiction federal and state courts share authority to hear a case 4. Original jurisdiction describes the court where a case is first heard 5. Appellate jurisdiction describes a court that hears a case on appeal from a lower court 6. Criminal case the defendant is tried for committing an action that Congress has declared by law to be a federal crime 7. Civil case a noncriminal matter, such as a dispute over the terms of a contract or someone seeking damages for harm done 8. Power of judicial review the authority to decide the constitutionality of an act of government, whether executive, legislative, or judicial 9. Writ of certiorari an order by the Supreme Court directing a lower court to send up the record in a given case for its review 10. Certificate the process used to get a case to be reviewed by the Supreme Court when a lower court is not clear about the procedure or the rule of law that should apply in a case, and asks the Supreme Court to certify the answer to a specific question 6

7 Name: Date: Structure and Functions of the Judicial Branch Quiz 1. The Constitution provides judicial power in a. One Supreme Court b. Inferior courts to be established by Congress c. Popular vote by the people d. Both a and b 2. The dual court system in the U.S. means a. There are separate national and state court systems b. Two judges preside over each court session c. Congress must approve all court decisions d. No one court has the final authority 3. The jurisdiction of the federal courts is limited by the Constitution to a. Questions involving federal matters, such as interpreting the Constitution itself b. Questions of admiralty or maritime law c. Cases involving two or more states, or an official representative of a foreign government d. All of the above 4. The type of jurisdiction that describes a court that hears a case on appeal from a lower court is called a. Original jurisdiction b. Concurrent jurisdiction c. Appellate jurisdiction d. Exclusive jurisdiction 5. Which of the following describes the U.S. process of selecting federal judges? a. Voted into office by the constituents of his or her state of residence b. Nominated and appointed by the President with consent of the Senate c. Nominated by the largest law firms in the nation and appointed by Congress d. After serving a full term at the state level, judges are promoted to the federal level 7

8 6. A federal judge serves a. For life, until he or she resigns, retires, or dies in office b. For up to 18 years, but no longer c. For the term set by the Senate for each individual federal judge d. None of the above 7. The Court of Appeals a. Was established by Congress to relieve the burden on the Supreme Court to hear appeals from lower courts b. Includes 13 courts, 12 of which include the 50 states divided into judicial districts, and one of which has nationwide jurisdiction c. Both a and b d. Neither a nor b 8. The Supreme Court a. Is the only court specifically created by the Constitution, and it is made up of a chief justice and eight associate judges b. Is on an equal plane with the President and Congress c. Has final judicial authority in the land the court of last resort d. All of the above 9. Judicial review a. Is a Supreme Court power to declare acts of Congress unconstitutional, allowing it to have a large impact on the meaning and effect of laws b. Is outside the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court c. Is mainly a tool for Congress, but occasionally the Supreme Court uses it d. Means that judges have to proofread each other s cases before making their final decisions 10. Most cases reaching the Supreme Court a. Come from other federal courts b. Come from the highest state courts and the federal court of appeals c. Are simple, straightforward cases d. Are criminal rather than civil cases 8

9 Structure and Functions of the Judicial Branch Quiz Key 1. d 2. a 3. d 4. c 5. b 6. a 7. c 8. d 9. a 10. b 9

10 Name Date Objectives 4 pts. Excellent Discussion Rubric 3 pts. Good 2 pts. Needs Some 1 pt. Needs Much N/A Pts. Participates in group discussion Encourages others to join the conversation Keeps the discussion progressing to achieve goals Shares thoughts actively while offering helpful recommendations to others Gives credit to others for their ideas Respects the opinions of others Involves others by asking questions or requesting input Expresses thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively Total Points (32 pts.) Comments: 10

11 Name: Date: Presentation Rubric Objectives Topic/Content Topic discussed completely and in-depth Includes properly cited sources (if used) Creativity/Neatness Integrates a variety of multimedia effects to create a professional presentation (transition and graphics) or appropriate visual aid used Title slide, table of contents, and bibliography are included, using an acceptable format Mechanics Grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization are correct Image and font size are legible to the entire audience Oral Presentation Communicates with enthusiasm and eye contact Voice delivery and projection are dynamic and audible Audience Interaction Presentation holds the audience s attention and relates a clear message Clearly and effectively communicates the content throughout the presentation 4 pts. Excellent 3 pts. Good 2 pts. Needs Some 1 pt. Needs Much N/A Pts. Total Points (20 pts.) Comments: 11

12 Name Date Objectives The critical analysis has all required parts from introduction to body to conclusion. The critical analysis is concise but complete. The critical analysis demonstrates that the writer comprehends the content. The critical analysis demonstrates accurate spelling, grammar, and punctuation. The overall content of the critical analysis emphasizes appropriate points. The writer shows an understanding of sentence structure, paragraphing, and punctuation. The source of the critical analysis is clearly and accurately documented. The critical analysis demonstrates the correct use of terminology. 4 pts. Excellent Summary Rubric 3 pts. Good 2 pts. Needs Some 1 pt. Needs Much N/A Pts. Total Points (32 pts.) Comments: 12

13 Name: Date: Writing Rubric Objectives The writing has all required parts from introduction to conclusion in smooth transition. The writing is interesting, supportive, and complete. The writing demonstrates that the writer comprehends the writing process. Accurate spelling, grammar, and punctuation 4 pts. Excellent 3 pts. Good 2 pts. Needs Some 1 pt. Needs Much N/A Pts. The content of paragraphs emphasizes appropriate points. The writer shows an understanding of sentence structure, paragraphing, and punctuation. All sources and references are clearly and accurately documented. Total Points (28 pts.) Comments: 13

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