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Article III: The Judicial Branch

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Article III: The Judicial Branch. Article III Summary. Which of the Seven Principles is prevalent in Article III of the Constitution?. Federalism: power shared btwn state and federal government. . What is the Judicial Branch comprised of?. Federal Courts.

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federal courts
Federal Courts
  • established under the Constitution by Congress to decide disputes involving the Constitution and laws passed by Congress.
The Federal Courts

The authority for the federal court system is in the Constitution. The system includes:

  • The Supreme Court
  • The federal courts of appeals
  • The federal district courts
The United States Supreme Court
  • Court of last resort in all questions of federal law and U.S. Constitution.
  • The court may hear cases:
    • Appealed from federal courts of appeal.
    • Appealed directly from federal district courts.
    • Appealed from the high court of a state, if claims under federal law or the Constitution are involved.
The United States Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court is composed of:

  • A chief justice
  • Eight associate justices
  • Each member of the court is appointed for life by the president and affirmed by the Senate.
The United States Supreme Court
  • In order for a case to be heard by the Supreme Court, at least four justices must vote to hear the case.
john roberts
John Roberts
  • Chief Justice
  • Appointed by George W. Bush.
  • Took his seat on High Court on 9/25/05.
  • Graduate of Harvard and Harvard Law
  • Right leaning….
antonin scalia
Antonin Scalia
  • Associate Justice
  • Appointed by Ronald Reagan.
  • Took his seat on the High Court on 9/26/86.
  • Graduate of Georgetown and Harvard Law.
  • RIGHT leaning….
anthony kennedy
Anthony Kennedy
  • Associate Justice
  • Appointed by Ronald Reagan.
  • Took his seat on the High Court on 2/18/88.
  • Graduated from Stanford and Harvard Law.
  • Moderate….
elena kagan
Elena Kagan
  • Associate Justice
  • Appointed by Barack Obama.
  • Took her seat on the High Court on 8/7/10.
  • Graduate of Princeton and Harvard Law
  • Left leaning….
clarence thomas
Clarence Thomas
  • Associate Justice
  • Appointed by George HW Bush.
  • Took his seat on the High Court on 10/23/91.
  • Graduate of Holy Cross and Yale Law
  • RIGHT leaning….
sonia sotomayor
Sonia Sotomayor
  • Associate Justice.
  • Appointed by Barack Obama.
  • Took her seat on 8/6/09.
  • First Hispanic
  • Graduate of Princeton and Yale Law.
  • Left leaning….
ruth bader ginsburg
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  • Associate Justice
  • Appointed by William Clinton.
  • Took her seat on the High Court on 8/10/93.
  • Graduate of Cornell and Columbia Law.
  • LEFT leaning….
stephen breyer
Stephen Breyer
  • Associate Justice.
  • Appointed by William Clinton.
  • Took his seat on the High Court on 8/3/94
  • Graduate of Stanford and Harvard Law.
  • LEFT leaning….
samuel alito
Samuel Alito
  • Associate Justice.
  • Appointed By George W. Bush.
  • Took his seat on the High Court on 1/31/06.
  • Graduate of Princeton and Yale Law.
  • Right leaning….
State courts handle a much larger number of cases and have more contact with the public than federal courts do. Although the federal courts hear far fewer cases than the state courts, the cases they do hear tend more often to be of national importance. Think of the court cases you have heard the most about. Most are U.S. Supreme Court decisions, because the federal laws they uphold and the federal rights they protect extend to everyone in this country. When state cases are known outside their local area, it’s often because of the identity of the parties; for example, the O.J. Simpson case was widely followed, although the outcome would not affect the millions of television viewers.
to preside over the proceedings and see that order is maintained;
  • to determine whether any of the evidence that the parties want to use is illegal or improper;
  • in jury trials, to give the jury instructionsabout the law that applies to the case and the standards it must use in deciding the case before it begins its deliberations about the facts in the case;
  • in bench trials, to determine the facts and decide the case; and
  • to sentence convicted criminal defendants
The courts review and interpret laws passed by Congress. If the courts strike down a federal law as unconstitutional, or interpret it in a way different from what Congress intended, Congress may come up with a different version of the law.
  • Congress creates federal judgeships and courts. As of 2007, Congress had authorized 179 court of appeals judgeships and 678 district court judgeships and had authorized 352 bankruptcy judgeships and 551 full-time and part-time magistrate judgeships. Congress also controls the types of cases that the federal courts may hear.
  • Through the confirmation process, the Senate decides which of the President’s judicial nominees will become federal judges.
  • Congress can impeach federal judges and remove them from office.
  • Congress sets the budget for the courts. Every year, representatives of the courts testify to Congress about how much money is needed for different kinds of court operations, salaries, and other expenses, and Congress decides how much to allocate for the next fiscal year.
The President appoints most federal judges with the "advice and consent" of the Senate.
  • Executive branch agencies propose legislation that often affects the courts.
  • The Department of Justice, an executive branch agency, is the most frequent litigator in the federal courts. It prosecutes federal crimes and represents the government in civil cases.
  • The courts have the power of review over presidential actions when these actions are properly brought before the courts in a lawsuit.
  • The Chief Justice of the United States presides over impeachment proceedings against the President.
  • Judges depend on the executive branch to enforce court decisions.