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The Judicial Branch. Of the United States Government. The Federal Court System. Set up to interpret or explain the meaning of the U.S. Constitution Cases that violate a federal law are heard in federal courts

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The Judicial Branch

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the judicial branch

The Judicial Branch

Of the United States Government

the federal court system
The Federal Court System
  • Set up to interpret or explain the meaning of the U.S. Constitution
  • Cases that violate a federal law are heard in federal courts
  • Federal court system includes district courts, courts of appeals, and the Supreme Court
what are federal district courts
What are Federal District Courts?

Each state has at least one district court.

Total of 94 district courts, and more than 600 judges

Large states are divided into districts, and each district has their own federal district court

District courts are the only federal courts that use juries

federal district courts
Federal District Courts
  • Each district has a chief judge and one or more other judges.
  • Hear a wide variety of cases; most of which are heard by a judge without a jury
  • cases like robbery, kidnapping, tax evasion, or counterfeiting money are tried by a judge and jury
  • The court hears these cases and the jury decides if the defendant is guilty.
cases in federal district courts
Cases in Federal District Courts
  • Any person or group who disobeys
  • any part of the Constitution
  • Any person or group who breaks federal laws like tax, postal, banking, or military laws
  • A foreign nation that sues the US or a US citizen
  • An ambassador accused of breaking the law in the country where he/she is serving
  • A crime that occurs on an American ship at sea or on federal property
  • Disagreements between states
  • Lawsuits between citizens of different states
vocabulary checkpoint
Vocabulary Checkpoint
  • Violate: to break a law or rule
  • Defendant: a person accused of doing something that is not legal
  • Disobey: to do something that is against the rules
  • Disagreement: a quarrel; a difference of opinion
other federal courts
Other Federal Courts

Federal Claims Court

Court of International Trade

Hears cases about taxes collected by customs officials on imported items.

  • Hears cases involving money claims against the federal government.
other federal courts1
Other Federal Courts

The Court of Customs and Patent Appeals

The Territorial Courts

Hears cases from people who live in U.S. territories

These courts are the same as the federal district courts

  • Hears cases about patent applications and violations
tax court
Tax Court

Hears cases about payment of federal taxes

review questions
Review Questions
  • Cases that involve a violation
  • of a ___________law are heard in federal courts.
  • A ____________ court is where federal cases are heard.
  • District courts are the only federal courts that use ____________.
  • Cases such as bank robbery or kidnapping are heard in a district court with a ____________ and jury.
  • ___________ has set up courts to handle special cases such as international trade, patent appeals, and taxes.

Word Bank






courts of appeals
Courts of Appeals
  • Accused people who feel that their trial was unfair in a district court may appeal, or ask for a review of their case.
  • This takes place in a court of appeals.
  • Congress set up the courts of appeals in 1891
how are the courts of appeals organized
How are the Courts of Appeals Organized?
  • The United States is divided into
  • 13 courts of appeals
  • The 50 states are divided into 11 large judicial areas called circuits
  • There is also a circuit for District of Columbia and a Federal Circuit
  • The Federal Circuit has control over all states and territories
  • Each court of appeals has at least six judges
how does a court of appeals work
How does a Court of Appeals work?
  • At least three judges study the history of the case.
  • They review the legal procedures involved in the case
  • They also interpret the laws.
  • Judges may not ask for any
  • new facts to be presented.
courts of appeals1
Courts of Appeals

After reviewing the case…..

  • The judges listen to lawyers from each side.
  • The judges vote, and decision is reached by majority.
  • If the judges decide that the trial was not fair, the judges reverse the district court’s decision or send it back for a new trial.
  • If the judges decide the trial was fair, the district court’s verdict stands.
vocabulary checkpoint1
Vocabulary Checkpoint…
  • Appeal: to ask a higher court to review a case
  • Circuit: an assigned area or district
  • Procedure: a series of steps followed in a regular order
  • Interpret: to explain or tell the meaning of something
  • Reverse: to overturn or set aside
  • Verdict: the finding or judgment of a court
review questions1
Review Questions
  • The (Constitution, Congress, Senate) set up the United States courts of appeals in 1951.
  • Every circuit has a United States court of appeals that reviews decisions made in (higher courts, state courts, district courts).
  • The judges in a court of appeals listen to arguments presented by the (accused, judges, lawyers) from each side.
  • A case may be sent back to a district court for a new trial if the judges decide that (justice, the procedure, the jury) was not done.
  • If the court of appeals decides the verdict was fair, the (judge, argument, decision) of the district court will stand.