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Judicial Branch

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Sydney Kuehn

on 28 February 2013

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Transcript of Judicial Branch

Welcome To The Judicial Branch! Federal Courts Lesson 1: Dual Court System Our federal courts exist alongside 50 separate state court systems
Each state has its own laws and courts
State courts get power from state constitutions and laws
Fed. courts get their power from laws passed by congress. Made up of courts:
Hear civil and criminal cases
Ensures that laws are fairly enforced
Interprets laws Roles of The Judicial Branch The Federal Court System Lesson 2: Lesson 3: Lesson 4: The Supreme Court The Supreme Court System Origin Of Federal Courts The Lower Courts Admiralitry and Maritime Laws Federal Court Jurisdiction Rulings Types of Jurisdiction Circuit Courts of Appeals Principles of the Legal System Criminal Cases Civil Case Equal Justice Under Laws Government and Courts People accused of crimes appear in court for trial
Witnesses give evidence
A jury or judge decides if said person is guilty or innocent. Cases:
Each side presents in court
Court applies law to facts
Occur between parties who think their rights have been harmed
Three Types: Between two private parties, between private party and gov., and between U.S. gov and state gov. District Courts Lowest level of the federal system
The only federal courts in which witnesses testify and juries hear cases and reach verdicts.
There are 94 district courts
District courts have original jurisdiction Under The Articles of Confederation
No national court system
Each state had its own laws and courts
No equal justice
Article III of the constitution established national Supreme Court
Gave Congress power to make lower federal courts.
Judiciary Act
Established two lower courts: district (handled minor cases) and circuit (handles more major cases)
In 1891 Congress made circuit courts exclusively courts of appeal. Under the Constitution every person accused of breaking a law has the right to have a public trial and a lawyer
Everyone is innocent until proven guilty
Right to ask courts to review a case Jurisdiction is the authority to hear and decide a case
Federal cases must involve the Constitution, federal law, or the federal gov.
Handle cases that involve diff. states or people from diff. states
Handle cases from special areas of the law
If a person believes a constitutional right has been violated they can sue in fed court.
Disagreements between state govs. are taken to federal court
Lawsuits between citizens from different states are also under fed. court Concern crimes, accidents, and property at sea
Would be handled in fed court Government is NOT above the law
When gov. is part of a legal dispute it goes to federal court.
Any dispute between foreign gov. and the U.S. goes to fed. court
Disputes between foreign gov. and American company or citizen goes to federal court as well
If American officials at work in another nation are accused of a crime, its a fed. case Exclusive:
Most federal courts have this
Only they have the power to hear the cases
When state law is involved the case is heard in state court
Either federal or state court can hear a case
If someone breaks both federal and state law they can be tried in both courts
Same is true if citizens of diff. states have a dispute worth at least $75,000
person who brings suit can choose weather its heard in fed. or state court.
Person being sued has the right to insist on where the case will be heard. Dual Court System:
A court system made up of both federal and state courts
A court's authority to hear and decide cases
Exclusive Jurisdiction:
Authority of only federal courts to hear and decide cases
Concurrent Jurisdiction:
Authority of both state and federal courts to hear and decide cases Lesson 1: Words To Know District courts, Court of Appeals, and Supreme Court make up fed.court system.
Each layer in fed. court system has its own purpose and structure.
U.S. Supreme Court is the top.
District courts and court of Appeals make up lower fed. courts Middle court in the Fed. Court system
Also known as: Federal appeals court, Court of appeals, and appellate courts
Do not decide on the guilt or innocent in a criminal court case
Do not decide which party wins a lawsuit
Have appellate jurisdiction: Authority to review fairness of a case appealed from a a lower court
Can also review decisions of a federal regulatory agency if a party says the agency acted unfairly
Lawyers appeal a case if they think a judge made a mistake
Losing side appeals
There are 13 courts of appeal
12 of the courts have jurisdiction over a circuit.
The 13th hears special case based on patent law, international trade, or other civil cases brought against U.S. And is headquartered in D.C. Chief decision makers
Final authority
More than 650 judges
Each district court has two judges
Supreme court has 9 judges
Supreme court judges go by justices
Appointed by President
Appointed for life
Must be approved by senate
12 total judges
Can only get removed from office by impeachment
Use senatorial courtesy to select Appeal courts do not hold trial
A panel of three or more judges review record of case
Listens to arguments made by lawyers for both sides
Judges make decision by majority vote
The panel rules whether the original trial was fair
Their decision is called a ruling
Decisions are final
Ways they decide a case
Uphold the result of the trial
Reverse result of trial
Remand the case No federal court may initiate action
No judge or justice may seek a case and ask to bring it to court
Court must wait for litigants or parties to lawsuit
Decisions of the highest courts are binding on the courts under it
District courts should follow precedents of the circuit in which they are found Federal Judges Jurisdiction and Duties The supreme court's main job is to decide whether laws are allowed by the Constitution
The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction in only cases that involve diplomats from foreign countries or disputes between multiple states
otherwise they hear cases that were appealed from lower courts
Supreme court has final authority in cases involving Constitution, acts of Congress, and treaties with other nations.
The courts decision is binding on all lower courts
The supreme Court hears only a small percentage of cases it recieves
Court chooses which to handle
Justices Supreme Court is Made up of 9 justices
Chief is the court's leader
A justice's rulings can affect citizens just as a president or congress' can
Main duty of a justice is to hear and rule on a case
They don't have to be lawyers
They have jobs for life
Powers and Limits Article III of the Constitution creates the Judicial branch
They have the power of judicial Review
That means that the court can review any federal, state, or local law or action to see if it goes against the constitution
A law that is constitutional follows the constitution and may stand
If a law is unconstitutional, it can be nullified
The court can only make rulings on a case that comes to it
All cases taken by court must be actual legal disputes
Court can only take cases that involve a federal question
If congress disagrees with a court ruling, it can pass a new law or change the law, or creating an amendment to the Constitution
Court Procedures Supreme Court meets each year for 9 months
Each first Monday in October a term begins
Nearly all cases go to supreme court on appeal from a lower court
Most have had request for a writ of certiorari (suhr-sheeuh-rehr-ee) which is Latin for "to make more certain"
This happens when one of the parties claims one of the lower courts made a mistake
Supreme Court doesn't have to accept all cases presented to it
Selecting Cases Justices review possible cases and consider their merits
A case has a merit if it involves a key constitutional question
Supreme Court Justices usually pick cases that involve legal issues rather than political issues
The cases usually involve real people and events
The court accepts a case when 4 of 9 justices agree
Accepted cases go onto the Court Docket, or calendar of cases to be heard
The workload of cases in a period of time is called the caseload
Supreme Court gets about 10,000 petitions for writs of certiorari each term
It hears arguments for about 75 of 80 of them
How The Court's Rulings Are Made Supreme Court hears cases appealed by everyone from prisoners in jail to the president
Once the court takes on a case, lawyers from each side make a brief
A brief is a document that explains one side's position on the case
The two parties get to review each other's briefs and write a second one
The court can also take briefs from parties that are not involved but have interest in a case
After the briefs are reviewed, lawyers present oral arguments
Each side only gets 30 minutes for its argument
The party who appealed goes first
Conference Each week during the term, justices get together to make first decisions about cases they studied
The meetings take place in secret
A majority vote decides the case
Factors Influencing Decisions Precedents, social atmosphere, and justices' views can change decisions
Stare Decisis is a Latin term meaning let the decision stand
It refers to the practice of using earlier court decisions to decide cases
Personal experiences could change views
Writing Opinions Set precedent for lower courts to follow
One justice is assigned to write the majority opinion
Either chief or longest-serving member of the majority assigns the writing
The majority opinion states the facts and gives the ruling
It also explains the court's reasoning in reaching its decision
If a justice agrees with the majority decision but for a different reason said justice can write a separate statement called a concurrent opinion
Justices who oppose the majority decision write a dissenting opinion
Court issues a unanimous opinion when all the justices agree
Full transcript