Judicial Branch- Chapter 12 - consists of the lower federal courts (district court, and appeals court) and the Supreme Court.I. Lower Federal Courts- A. District Court- lowest level of the federal court system. 1. District court is where trials are held and lawsuits are started. 2. District courts have “original jurisdiction,” or the opportunity to hear cases first. 3. District court is the only federal court in which jury trials are held. 4. About 90% of the work in federal courts is done in district court. 5. Accused people will be tried in the state where the crime was committed; this ensures a fair trial because the accused will be tried by people who are familiar with the area. B. Court of Appeals – level of court directly above district courts. 1. Hear only cases that have been appealed from district court. 2. Appeals may be made if it is felt that the district court ruling was incorrect because of procedure flaws or new evidence that could change the ruling. 3. Appointed for life - like other federal judges. 4. No juries in appeals courts, a minimum of 3 judges instead.
5. Do not decide guilt or innocence, only decide whether a fair trial was given in district court. 6. Can make one of three rulings- a. Uphold the district court decision. b. Overturn the district court decision c. Remand the case to the lower court for a new trial.II. Supreme Court- highest court in the land. A. Judicial Review- the most important power of the Supreme Court. The power to review any federal or state law to see if it is in agreement with the Constitution. Has the power to nullify any law or action that it deems unconstitutional. B. 9 justices, one chief justice. C. It is the final court of appeals, most cases it hears are appeals. D. 6,000 or more cases are appealed to the Supreme Court each year, less than 150 are heard. E. A Supreme Court decision may only be reversed by the Supreme Court. F. Legislative and Executive branches must follow Supreme Court rulings.