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Chapter 3 Federal and State Courts. Why are there two separate court systems in the United States? Federal court system deals with issues relating to.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 3 Federal and State Courts. Why are there two separate court systems in the United States? Federal court system deals with issues relating to."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 3 Federal and State Courts

2 Why are there two separate court systems in the United States? Federal court system deals with issues relating to the powers expressly or implicitly granted to it by the U.S. Constitution State court systems deal with issues of law relating to the matters that the U.S. Constitution did not give to the federal government or explicitly deny the states

3 Federal Court Jurisdiction Jurisdiction of the federal courts is spelled out in Article III, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution Federal courts are courts of LIMITED JURISDICTION because they can only hear two types of cases:

4 Federal Court Jurisdiction Diversity of Citizenship—cases of civil nature in which the parties are residents of different states and the amount in question exceeds the amount set by federal law ($75,000). Federal courts are often required to apply state law when dealing with these cases since the issues concern matters of state law

5 Federal Court Jurisdiction Federal Question—cases that arise under the U.S. Constitution, the laws of the United States, and the treaties made under the authority of the United States. Suits between states Cases involving ambassadors and other high-ranking public figures Federal crimes Bankruptcy Patent, copyright, and trademark cases Admiralty Anti-trust Securities and banking regulation Other cases specified by federal statute

6 State Court Jurisdiction Jurisdiction of state courts extends to basically any type of case that does not fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of the federal courts. State courts are COMMON LAW COURTS—they not only have the authority to apply or interpret law, but also have the authority to create law if it does not yet exist by act of the legislature in order to create an equitable remedy to a specific legal problem

7 State Court Jurisdiction Examples: Cases involving the state constitution State criminal offenses Tort and personal injury law Contract law Probate Family Sale of goods Corporation and business organization Election issues Municipal/zoning ordinances Traffic regulation Real property

8 Concurrent Jurisdiction State courts and federal courts have concurrent jurisdiction concerning the following points of law: Diversity of citizenship—civil cases involving citizens of two or more states in which the dollar amount in question exceeds $75,000 Federal Question—any state court may interpret the U.S. Constitution, federal statute, treaty, etc. if the applicable constitutional provision, statute, or treaty has direct bearing on a case brought in state court under state law. However, by interpreting the U.S. Constitution, federal statute, treaty, the state is subjecting itself to federal review. This means that after a state supreme court has acted on a case, the U.S. Supreme Court may review it. Only interested in reviewing the state court’s interpretation of the applicable federal constitutional provision, statute, or treaty Does not review matters of law that are under the exclusive jurisdiction of the state courts

9 Federal Court System District Courts 94 U.S. District Courts Every state has at least one Have between two and 28 judges TRIAL COURTS—courts of original jurisdiction Vast majority of federal cases begin in district courts Hear both civil and criminal cases

10 Federal Court System U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal 13 U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal Any party who is dissatisfied with the judgment of a U.S. District Court (unless a criminal case where the defendant is found not guilty) may appeal to the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal in his/her geographical district Only examine the trial for mistakes of law Usually sit in panels of three judges

11 Federal Court System U.S. Supreme Court Composed of nine judges (justices) Presided over by the chief justice Parties who are not satisfied with the decision of a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal, or a state supreme court can petition the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their case WRIT OF CERTIORARI-- Order to a lower court to produce the record of a case for the Supreme Court to review The court has the discretion to decide whether or not to accept such cases Four justices must agree to hear the case Court does have ORIGINAL JURISDICTION over cases involving ambassadors and two or more states

12 Federal Court System Special Courts created under Article III U.S. Court of Claims—suits against the government U.S. Court of International Trade—cases involving tariffs and international trade disputes

13 Federal Court System Special Courts created by Congress Magistrate Judges—handle certain criminal and civil matters with the consent of the parties Bankruptcy Courts—bankruptcy code U.S. Court of Military Appeals—final appellate court for cases arising under the Uniform Code of Military Justice U.S. Tax Court—tax deficiencies U.S. Court of Veterans’ Appeals—cases involving the denial of veterans’ benefits

14 Federal Court System Why were the special courts created? Lessen the case load of the Supreme Court Specialized courts deal with specific segments of the law As our country grew and continues to grow, new legal issues arise and these courts are designed to deal with them

15 State Court System Trial Courts of Limited Jurisdiction Courts that only deal with specific types of cases Located in/near the county courthouse and are usually presided over by a single judge Most cases are heard without a jury Types: Probate court—administering the estate of a deceased person Family court—adoption, annulments, divorce, alimony, custody, child- support, etc. Traffic court—traffic violations Juvenile court—delinquent youth Small claims court—disputes between private persons of a low dollar amount $5,000 or less Municipal court—cases involving offenses against city ordinances

16 State Court System Trial Courts of General Jurisdiction main trial courts in the state system hear cases outside the jurisdiction of trial courts of limited jurisdiction both civil and criminal judge decides rules of law jury decides issues of facts Names: circuit courts, superior courts, courts of common pleas (NY—Supreme Court)

17 State Court System Intermediate Appellate Courts Between trial courts of general jurisdiction and the highest court of the state Any party (except a defendant in a criminal case found not guilty) who is not satisfied with the judgment of a state trial court may appeal the matter to an appropriate intermediate court Appeals are a matter of right (court must hear them) Courts only address procedural mistakes and errors of law Usually panels of two or three judges

18 State Court System Highest State Courts Have discretionary review as to whether or not to accept a case if there is an intermediate appellate court Must take cases as a matter of right in states with no intermediate appellate court Appeals taken allege a mistake of law not fact In some state have original jurisdiction over controversies involving elections and reapportionment of legislative districts Sit in panels of three, five, seven, or nine judges

19 How does the 14 th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution allow the federal courts to be involved in cases arising in the state courts? “…No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privilege or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” When a federal issue is involved When states interpret the U.S. Constitution they are subject to federal review

20 History 14 th Amendment was ratified in 1868 shortly after the Civil War Created primarily to ensure that the rights of former slaves would be protected throughout the nation Bill of Rights was not enforceable against state governments until the 14 th Amendment (prior to the Amendment, the Supreme Court held that “privileges and immunities” clause did not automatically apply all of the provisions of the Bill of Rights to the state) Court began using the “due process” clause of the 14 th Amendment

21 Why was the 14 th Amendment necessary? It defined citizenship All citizens are equal under the law Forbid states to deny someone the chance at life, liberty, or property without due process of the law and equal protection of the law


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