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A Brief Introduction Professor Margaret Martin Barry.

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1 A Brief Introduction Professor Margaret Martin Barry

2 Federal Government Fifty state governments Territorial and DC governments Local governments, e.g. county and city governments

3 Three Branches Legislative Executive Judicial

4 US Congress House Senate When both agree and the President signs, bill becomes federal law and applies to everyone in the country.

5 Headed by the President President appoints the heads of the federal agencies The agencies are responsible for the adminisatration of federal laws

6 Headed by the US Supreme Court Includes Federal courts of appeals Federal trial courts

7 Three branches: Legislative Executive Judicial State highest court State court of appeals State trial court

8 BranchFederal GovernmentState Government(s) LegislativeCongress General Assembly, State Assembly, House of Delegates, House of Representatives Executive PresidentGovernor Judicial Supreme Court Circuit Court of Appeals Federal District Courts Supreme Court (usually) Appellate Court Trial Court

9 How do you tell who has the power, the Federal Government or State Government

10 Enumerated Powers Reserved Powers Concurrent Powers

11 The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States... To borrow Money on the credit of the United States; To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes... U.S. Const. Article 1, sec. 8

12 The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people. U.S. Const. amend X

13 The power of either Congress or the State legislatures, each acting independently of the other, to make laws on the same subject matter. (e.g., set up courts, tax, create and enforce laws, build and maintain roads)

14 Many disputes over whether federal government or the states have the power The separation of powers between federal and state government is constantly evolving You will study this

15 State courts are courts of general jurisdiction Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction

16 Where to start? Trial Appellate Supreme Some states have only one level of appeals, and some states call their trial level court supreme Highest state court is the final word on state statutes, regulations and constitution

17 Where to start? Federal district court Federal court of appeals or circuit court U.S. Supreme Court SC hears cases involving the US Constitution, federal statutes and federal regulations SC only agrees to hear a fraction of the cases submitted


19 The Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeals Federal District Courts Highest State Court (e.g., Vermont Supreme Court) State Appeals Court Local Trial Courts

20 1.Constitution (federal or state) 2.Statutory 3. Regulatory 4. Common Law

21 State courts are bound by decisions of higher state courts within the same state, or by the U.S. Supreme Court where federal law is involved. Federal courts are bound by decisions of the US Supreme Court Federal district courts are bound by the decisions of the federal circuit courts within their own circuit On state law matters, federal courts are bound by decisions of the highest court of the state, but not by state appeals or trial courts

22 A court is not bound by decisions of lower courts or courts outside of the jurisdiction, but will often be persuaded by them Other authority – treatises, scholarly articles and other reliable sources may also be considered

23 Cases involving violations of federal law Cases involving questions about constitutional interpretation Cases involving disputes between people from two different states

24 Suits between states Cases involving foreign ambassadors and other high ranking public figures Federal crimes Bankruptcy Patent, Copyright and Trademark cases Admiralty Antitrust Securities and banking regulation Other cases specified by federal statute


26 Any type of case that does not fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal courts Cases involving violations of state law Cases involving questions of state constitutional interpretation


28 Diversity cases Federal Question cases

29 Is there personal jurisdiction over the defendant Is there subject matter jurisdiction over the case Does the court have venue What law should apply Who might we want to join as parties What should the complaint say

30 How will we get information needed to support our claim Dispute Resolution steps: Default Summary judgment Settlement – negotiation; mediation Arbitration Trial Judgments Appeals Estoppel

31 Jane Smith comes to your office. The appointment note indicates that her car was hit by someone a few weeks ago. She was injured, and her car totaled. When Ms. Smith comes to your office, what are your concerns? What will you want to know?

32 ics/CourtStructure/UnderstandingFederalAndStateCourts.aspx

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