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The Judicial Branch

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The Judicial Branch

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  1. The Judicial Branch Today’s Objective: C-3 To gather information on the structure of the judicial branch and the ideological tendencies of the Supreme Court.

  2. Federal Jurisdiction Found In Article III, Section 2 Subject Matter: -Dealing with a federal questions (Constitution, federal statute or treaty, or issue of admiralty/maritime concerns) Parties: • U.S. or one of its officers or agencies • Ambassadors, consul, or other gov’t official representatives of a foreign government • One state suing another state, suing resident of another state, or suing a foreign government or subject • Citizen of 1 state suing citizen of another state • Citizen suing foreign government • Citizen vs. citizen in same state over land claims from different states *Other Jurisdiction Left to the States*

  3. Concurrent Jurisdiction • These cases could be heard in a federal or state setting • Disputes involving citizens of different states are common examples (diverse citizenship)

  4. A. An Indiana resident sues an Ohio resident in a dispute over $85,000. B. A police officer charges a citizen with operating a motor vehicle recklessly. C. One Florida company sues another Florida company for marketing a product identical to its patented product. D. A school forbids a student from wearing an Islamic headscarf to school. The student sues the school for interfering with her First Amendment right to practice her religion. E. An Illinois citizen disputes the Internal Revenue Service’s claim that he did not pay all taxes due. F. Divorcing parents compete for custody of their children. G. The government seeks to stop a merger between two companies based on the Sherman Antitrust Act. H. A citizen of Texas sues a citizen of Idaho for damages to property totaling $8,000. I. A ship’s captain is charged with negligence in a shipwreck resulting in an oil spill off the coast of Alaska. J. A citizen files for bankruptcy. K. A convenience store is robbed


  6. Introduction to the Judicial Branch U.S. Court System Today • U.S. has a dual system of courts: • Federal Courts – handle criminal and civil cases involving federal law or any constitutional issue • State Courts – handle criminal and civil cases involving state law • Criminal Case – Government or state charges an individual with violating one or more laws • Civil Case – Government or state resolves a dispute between two parties

  7. Federal Court Jurisdiction • What is Jurisdiction? • The authority of the courts to hear certain cases Types of Federal Jurisdiction 1.)Original Jurisdiction: authority to hear a case for the first time • Trials are conducted, evidence is presented, and juries determine outcome of case • Federal District Courts and the Supreme Court (in certain cases) have original jurisdiction 2.)Appellate Jurisdiction: courts that hear reviews or appeals of decisions from the lower courts • Federal Courts of Appeals and the Supreme Court have appellate jurisdiction 3.) Concurrent Jurisdiction: allows certain types of cases to be tried in either the federal or state courts 4.) Exclusive Jurisdiction: cases that can only be tried at the federal level (as in cases with ambassadors or an infringement on an act of Congress)

  8. Introduction to the Judicial Branch • Federal Court Structure • Supreme Court – Created by the Constitution • Federal District Courts – Created by Congress through the Judiciary Act of 1789 - act as federal trial courts • U.S. Court of Appeals – Created by Congress in 1891 – act as federal appeal courts 13 94

  9. Types of Federal Courts 1.) District Courts • Every state has at least one; more people = more district courts (PA has 3) • Currently 94 district courts (w/ over 550 judges) • Have original jurisdiction ONLY – no appellate jurisdiction • Decide civil and criminal cases arising under the Constitution and federal laws • Judges serve for life – appointed by President of U.S. and confirmed by Senate • Can only be removed by impeachment with a guilty verdict

  10. Types of Federal Courts 2.) U.S. Courts of Appeal • Decide appeals from U.S. district courts • 13 U.S. Court of Appeals • States are divided into circuits, or geographic judicial districts (not every state has one) • Also a circuit for Washington, D.C. and a special appeals court with national jurisdiction • Have appellate jurisdiction ONLY (May only review cases already decided by a lower court) • Panel of 3 judges decide cases in the Courts of Appeals • Judges serve for life – nominated by President and confirmed by Senate

  11. Participants in the Judicial System • Called Litigants • Plaintiff: the party bringing the charges • Defendant: the party being accused or charged • Jury: 12 people who decide the outcome of the trial

  12. The Supreme Court At Work • Most cases denied because 1.) Justices agree with the lower court decision 2.) Justices believe the case does not involve a significant point of law • Cases that are accepted must meet the rule of four • Four of the nine justices must agree to hear the case • Cases presented to the Supreme Court may be presented through 1.) Writ of Certiorari – an order by the Court (when petitioned) directing a lower court to send up records of a case for review 2.)Certificate – a lower court asks the Supreme Court about a rule of law or procedures in specific cases 3.) Original Jurisdiction

  13. Writing Opinions 3 Types of Opinions: 1.) Majority Opinion – opinion agreed upon by a majority of the justices 2.) Concurring Opinion – written by a justice or justices who agree with the majority opinion, but not with the reasoning behind the decision 3.) Dissenting Opinion – written by a justices or justices who disagree with the majority opinion • Majority opinion become precedents • Standards or guides to be followed in deciding similar cases in the future • Ex. Roe v. Wade (abortion)

  14. Judicial Philosophy 2 Types: 1.) Judicial Activism • The court should play a more active role in creating national policies and answering questions of conflict in society given current conditions and changes in society. 2.) Judicial Restraint • The court should operate strictly within the limits of the Constitution and only answer questions if a clear violation of the Constitution is present. Policy making should be left up to the executive and legislative branches. Follow precedent.

  15. Ideology of Supreme Court • Groups of 3-4 • Examine the 6 infographics • Answer the questions on your sheet

  16. Crash Course Gov’t/Politics • Basics of the Legal System • • Structure of Court System •