4 Judicial PowerArticle III of the U.S. Constitution creates the Supreme Court and permits Congress to create lower federal courts.Federal courts have two key functions:Adjudication -- Federal courts hear civil and criminal cases within their jurisdiction.Judicial Review -- Federal courts can declare a statute or governmental action unconstitutional.
5 Ground Rules for CasesThe “cases and controversies” clause in Article III of the U.S. Constitution limits Federal courts to the resolution of actual controversies:Mootness – The Federal courts will not consider issues that are already resolved.Advisory Opinions – The Federal courts will not give advice to the executive or legislative branches.Standing – The Federal courts will not hear a case where the Plaintiff himself has not been adversely affected by some conduct of the Defendant.
6 Federal JurisdictionFederal Question Jurisdiction: Any case that arises under the United States Constitution, a United States law, or any treaty to which the United States is a party.Diversity Jurisdiction: Federal courts may hear cases in civil actions between (1) citizens of different states where the amount in question is >$75,000, and (2) citizens of a state and citizens of a foreign nation.
7 Federal JurisdictionExclusive Jurisdiction: Where by Federal law, no courts other than the Federal courts have jurisdiction over a subject – e.g., bankruptcy, maritime, copyright and patent infringement.Concurrent Jurisdiction: Where both the Federal and state courts have the power to deal with the same case – e.g., where the Defendant’s actions have violated both a Federal and a state law.
8 Federal JurisdictionRemoval: In cases of concurrent jurisdiction, a case originally filed in a state court may be removed to Federal District Court by the Defendant. (28 U.S.C. § 1441)Remand: If it appears that a Federal District Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction, the case must b e remanded or returned to the state court. (28 U.S.C. § 1447)
9 The Federal Court System Trial CourtsUnited States District Courts are the primary trial courts in the federal system.The nation is divided into about 94 districts (based on population), each with its own District Court.There are also specialized trial courts, such as Bankruptcy Court and Tax Court.Appellate CourtsUnited States Courts of Appeals are the intermediate courts of appeals. The nation is divided into circuits.The highest appeals court is the United States Supreme Court.
10 U.S. Court of Appeals for the The Federal Court SystemHighestAppealsCourtNine Justices; appointed for life; may refuse to hear a case; final authorityUnited StatesSupreme CourtU.S. Court of Appeals for theFederal CircuitU.S. CourtOf Appeals(12 Circuits)Lower Appeals CourtsThree judges hear each case, brought up from the District Courts.Hears appeals from specialized trial courts.U.S. DistrictCourts(94 Districts)U.S.BankruptcyCourtsU.S.TaxCourtsU.S. Court ofInternationalTradeU.S. Court ofFederal ClaimsU.S.C.A. forthe Armed ForcesPrimary Trial CourtTrial Courts of Limited (Specific) JurisdictionTrial Courts of Limited (Specific) JurisdictionVariousFederalAgencies
11 Geographic Boundaries of United States Courts of Appeals and United States District Courts DCFed
12 Federal Forums of Limited (Specific) Jurisdiction Bankruptcy Courts, Tax Courts, Court of International Trade, Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces - These trial courts in the federal system hear cases appropriate to their names (tax cases in the Tax Court, etc.) Appeals from the Bankruptcy and Tax Courts are heard by the Court of Appeals in the appropriate circuit. Appeals from the Court of International Trade and the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces are heard by the Court of Appeals in the Federal Circuit.U.S. Court of Federal Claims - Hears cases brought against the United States, typically on contract disputes.Various Federal Agencies - Though not actually a part of the Judicial Branch of the Federal government, many Federal agencies have the power to create and enforce appropriate regulations.
14 Jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court Original Jurisdiction (28 U.S.C. § 1251)Controversies between two or more states (exclusive jurisdiction)Actions in which ambassadors or other public ministers of foreign states are parties (non-exclusive jurisdiction)Controversies between the United States and a state (non-exclusive jurisdiction)Actions by a state against the citizens of another state (non-exclusive jurisdiction)
15 Jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court Appellate Jurisdiction (28 U.S.C. § )Cases from Federal courtsUnited States District CourtsUnited States Courts of AppealCertioriCertification (exceptional cases only)Cases from highest state courts that present a Federal question
16 Selection of CasesThe vast majority of cases filed with the U.S. Supreme Court are via Petition for a Writ of Certiorari.Each year, the Court receives more than 8,000 petitions, of which it typically grants only 100.Full written opinions are issued in only about 75 cases per year; the remainder are disposed of without oral argument or full written opinions.
17 Selection of CasesIn selecting which cases it will hear, the Court uses several “justiciability” criteria in addition to the usual ground rules for Federal cases:The Rule of Four – At least four of the nine Justices must vote to accept a case.Compelling Reasons – e.g., where lower Federal Courts of Appeal have issued contradictory opinions on a certain issue, where a case is of general importance, or where a state court has decided an important Federal question in a way that conflicts with the decisions of another court.Ripeness – Where the legal issues involved are clear enough and well enough evolved and presented so that a clear decision can result.Political Questions – The Court will not address issues where it deems the subject matter unfit for judicial resolution.
19 State Court Systems Trial Courts Appellate Courts Almost all cases begin in trial courts, with a judge and usually a jury.Trial courts determine the facts of a particular dispute and apply the law to those facts.Courts can only hear cases under their jurisdiction.Appellate CourtsAppeal courts generally accept the facts given to them by trial courts and just review the trial record to see if the court made any errors of law.The highest appeals court in a state is the state Supreme Court.
20 The Massachusetts Court System Trial CourtsDistrict Courts and the Boston Municipal Courts are the primary trial courts that handle civil cases <$25,000 and criminal cases where the penalty is <5 years.Superior Courts are the primary trial courts that handle civil cases >$25,000 and criminal cases where the penalty is >5 years. There are 14 Superior Courts whose jurisdictions are divided by county.There are also specialized trial courts, such as Small Claims Courts and Traffic Courts.Appellate CourtsThe Massachusetts Appeals Court is the intermediate court of appeals.The highest appeals court is the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
21 The Massachusetts Court System HighestAppealsCourtSupremeJudicialCourtFive Justices sit en banc; may refuse to hear a case; final authorityLowerAppealsCourtMassachusettsAppealsCourtThree Justices sit en banc; never a jurySuperiorCourtsDistrictBostonMunicipalCourtProbate& FamilyHousingLandJuvenileTrafficCourtsSmallClaimsTrial Courts of General JurisdictionOne judge; may have juryTrial Courts of Limited (Specific) Jurisdiction
22 Massachusetts Trial Courts of Limited (Specific) Jurisdiction Small Claims Courts – Hear only civil suits under $2,000Traffic Courts – Hear only traffic casesJuvenile Courts – Hear only cases involving minorsLand Courts – Hear land and real property disputesProbate Courts – Settle estates of deceased personsFamily Courts – Handle marital and child custody issuesHousing Courts – Handle landlord/tenant disputes
23 The Federal and State Court Systems End ofThe Federal and State Court Systems
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