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Chapter 8: The Federal Courts and the Judicial Branch. Section 1: The Federal Court System Section 2: Lower Federal Courts Section 3: The Supreme Court. Section 1 at a Glance. The Federal Court System The United States has a dual court system.
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Section 1:The Federal Court System
Section 2:Lower Federal Courts
Section 3:The Supreme Court
The Framers created an independent judicial branch as part of the separation of powers of the national government. At the federal level, the judicial branch consists of three tiers of courts, each performing a different function.
Why is jurisdiction complicated by the nation’s dual court system?
Answer(s):Some cases fall under both state and federal jurisdiction.
Structure of the Federal Court System
The Constitution left much of the structure of the U.S. federal court system to the discretion of Congress.
What are the three tiers of the federal court system?
Answer(s):the district courts, the courts of appeals, and the Supreme Court
Appointing Federal Judges
Presidents usually consider four items when nominating a federal judge: legal expertise, party affiliation, judicial philosophy, and the opinions of the Senate.
How does the appointment process ensure that voters have some input on the selection of judges and justices?
Answer(s):Nominations are made by the president and nominees must be approved by the Senate; both president and senators are subject to popular election.
What is the judiciary’s primary check on the other two branches?
Should judges be guided by a philosophy of judicial activism or judicial restraint?
The question of how much power the judiciary should have in interpreting the Constitution is not one that is likely to have a final answer anytime soon. Most judges declare their belief in judicial restraint. But the power of judicial review, the fundamental power of the judiciary, demands that judges be willing to overturn the acts of the legislative and executive branches—in other words, that they be judicial activists. The tension between judicial restraint and judicial activism is built in to the fabric of judicial decision-making.