3The Federal Courts Federal District Courts: Have original jurisdiction in most federal criminal & civil cases.94 districts, at least one per state.Nearest courthouse is Elizabeth City.Are “work horses of the federal system.” Most cases heard here.Only federal court where a jury trial is held. All others have bench trials.
4The Federal Courts US Court of Appeals: 12 regular circuits, including 1 in D.C.Judges sit in panels of 3.Hear only appeals.NC in Circuit 4, centered in Richmond, VA.The 13th circuit or “Federal Circuit” was created in 1982 in Washington, DC to hear civil appeals from several courts & the Patent Office.
6The Federal CourtsLegislative Courts: Help Congress exercise its power:US Claims Ct.: Hear money suits vs. US (Civil Court)US Tax Ct.: Hear civil disputes with IRS (Civil Court)Ct. of Military Appeals: Also called GI’s Supreme Court (Criminal Appeals)Ct. of Veteran Appeals: Hear disputes over benefits with the Dept. of VA (Civil Court)Territorial Courts: Run like state courts. Territories are US Virgin Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, N. Marianas Islands. (Criminal, Civil, Territorial Constitutional)DC Courts: Run like municipal courts in most large cities. (Civil & Criminal Courts)
7Appointments to the Federal Bench Review process.What is senatorial courtesy & when is it used?Counter to Constitution?When is this practice irrelevant?Why is appointing a Justice so scrutinized today?
8Political Cartoon A Title: The Supreme Court Location Mike Keefe, The Denver Post, Oct. 6, 2004
10Political Cartoon C Title: Supreme Court - 31 Flavors Robert Ariail, The State, Aug. 10, 2005
11Political Cartoon D Title: The Confirmation Process
12Political Cartoon E Title: Go My Pretties! Henry Payne, The Detroit News, Aug. 11, 2005
13Political Cartoon F Title: Supreme Court Exam Jimmy Margulies, New Jersey -- The Record, Aug. 11, 2005
14Factors That Influence Supreme Court Nominations
15Factors That Influence Supreme Court Nominations Party affiliation (80% or higher)Judicial Philosophy“Litmus Test” - where nominees stand on controversial issues like abortionBackground of nominee (education, experience, race, gender, ethnicity, etc.)Cultivating political supportPolitical favorsInterest group inputAmerican Bar Association certificationSecuring a “safe” nominee
16The U.S. Constitution and the Appointment of Supreme Court Justices Article II, Section 2 describes the appointment powers of the President:“He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate …to… nominate Judges of the Supreme Court….”
17The U.S. Constitution and the Supreme Court Article III describes the judicial power of the Supreme Court:“The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress May …establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior…”
18U.S. Supreme Court Confirmation Process Stage 1: Presidential NominationWHITE HOUSEREVIEWFBIInvestigationCertificationStage 2: Senate Judiciary Committee HearingINTERESTGROUPInfluenceMEDIAInfluenceStage 3: Full Senate VoteStage 4: Oath of Office?
19U.S. Supreme Court Confirmation Process White House staff reviews candidates and submits a short list to presidentFBI background investigationCandidates submit financial disclosure formsABA grades candidatesInterest groups weigh in on candidatesPresident selects nomineeStage 1Presidential Nomination
20U.S. Supreme Court Confirmation Process Stage 2Senate Judiciary Committee HearingsSenate Judiciary members and their staffs review candidate’s background (may conduct own investigation)Interest groups may conduct campaigns for or against nominee (including TV ads)Intense media attention to Senate hearingsSenate Judiciary Committee questions candidate on judicial philosophy, stands on key issues, etc.Judiciary Committee votes up or down on nominee and sends recommendation to full Senate
21U.S. Supreme Court Confirmation Process Stage 3Full Senate VoteFloor debate on nomineeConfirmation vote by full Senate
22U.S. Supreme Court Confirmation Process Stage 4Oath of OfficeIf confirmed by the Senate, nominee sworn in, usually by Chief JusticeOnce on the Court, justices often make decisions on the bench very different from what the nominating President had anticipatedindependentjudiciary