The Federal Court System Chapter 18 section 1 and 2
Dual Court System
The National Judiciary
Types of Jurisdiction
The Appointment of Judges
The Inferior Courts
From left to right, seated: Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice John Paul Stevens, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy - standing: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice David H. Souter, Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Stephen G. Breyer ~
I. A Dual Court System
The Federal Court System
The State Court System
II. The National Judiciary
Limits on Power
The Supreme Court
The Constitutional Courts
The Special Courts
A. Constitutional basis
Power of Judiciary is established by Article III, section one of the Constitution.
Mentions only a Superior court.
No mention of Lower courts.
Judiciary Act of 1789 set up the Supreme Court, 3 Circuit Courts and 13 District Courts.
B. Limits on Power
Cases must be Justiciable, or appropriate for review by the courts.
Must wait for a case to be brought to them.
Can only rule on legal matters.
Involved parties must have standing, a vested interest, in the case.
Supreme Court will only hear a case as a last resort.
Burden of Proof is on the plaintiff.
Case must involve a specific portion of the Constitution
A person can not question a law that they benefit from.
C. The Supreme Court
Established by Article III of the Constitution
Comprised of 9 judges currently
Headed by a Chief Justice
Antonin Scalia and John Paul Stevens
Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy
Ruth Bader Ginsberg and David H. Souter
Clarence Thomas and Stephan G. Breyer
D. The Constitutional Courts
94 District Courts
12 Courts of Appeals
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
U.S. Court of International Trade
E. The Special Courts
U.S. Court of Federal Claims
U.S. Tax Court
Courts of District of Columbia
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Services
U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
III. Types of Jurisdiction
What is Jurisdiction
A. What is Jurisdiction
It means the power “To Say The Law”
Federal courts will jurisdiction based on:
The subject matter
The parties involved
B. Exclusive Jurisdiction
It is the authority of the court to try only certain types of cases.
Federal courts have jurisdiction over:
Interpretation of the Constitution
Interpretation of Federal Law
Involving Treaties, admiralty and maritime law.
Involving the Federal Government
Cases involving separate states or Foreign governments
C. Concurrent Jurisdiction
Authority of two or more courts to hear the same kind of case.
Laws that are established by federal and state governments.
D. Original Jurisdiction
Authority of court to try case first time it is heard.
District courts are given original jurisdiction.
E. Appellate Jurisdiction
Authority of the court to review a decision of a lower court.
The Federal Court of Appeals has power to review decisions made by the District Courts.
IV. The Appointment of Judges
Selection and appointment
The Issue of Judicial Activism
Terms of a Judge
A. Selection and appointment
Judges are appointed by the President.
Judges are confirmed by the Senate.
Historically appointments were accepted if the Senator from that state supported the appointed Judge.
This is referred to as Senatorial Courtesy.
This is not the case any longer.
B. The Issue of Judicial Activism
Interpretation of the law is powerful.
Ideological fights occur occur over who should have that power.
Judicial Activists usually argue that a judge should use there power to promote desirable social ends.
Judicial Restraint argues that policy decisions are the sphere of the Legislative and executive branch.
C. Terms of a Judge
Judges are appointed for life.
We want impartial judges, not subject to the emotion and whims of the masses.
If they were elected, they may craft decisions to get re elected.
Special Court Judges serve 15 year terms.
V. The Inferior Courts
The Court of Appeals
The Other Courts
A. District Courts
Federal cases are first tried in District Courts.
District courts have original Jurisdiction
District Courts can hear criminal and civil cases.
87% of case load deals with civil cases.
B. Courts of Appeals
The Supreme Court used to hear all appeals cases.
By 1887, it was 4 years behind on the docket .
The Federal Courts of Appeals were established to help with the work load.
The purpose is to review a case if a federal law was applied incorrectly .