Presentation on theme: "American Constitutional Law LAW-210"— Presentation transcript:
1 American Constitutional Law LAW-210 Federal Judicial Power
2 Unit ObjectivesAt the completion of this unit, students should be able to:Explain the concept of jurisdictionList the types of cases over which the federal judicial branch has subject matter jurisdictionCompare the original and appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme CourtExplain the difference between a direct appeal and a petition for writ of certiorariDiscuss the concept of justiciability
3 Unit Objectives (Continued) Describe the effect of mootness, ripeness, lack of standing, and political questions on the power of the courts to hear casesExplain the doctrine of judicial reviewDiscuss the importance of the Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution to the federal judicial branchDescribe the relationship between federal courts and state courtsExplain the importance of the Supremacy Clause to court decisions
4 Types of Jurisdiction Subject Matter jurisdiction Power to hear the type of caseSupplemental/Pendent/Ancillary jurisdictionPower of federal court to hear a case within state jurisdiction if it is associated with a case within federal court subject matter jurisdictionOriginal jurisdictionPower of court to try a case or to be the first to resolve the disputeAppellate jurisdictionPower of a court to review a lower court decisionExclusive jurisdictionPower to hear a case is vested in only one courtConcurrent jurisdictionPower to hear a case is shared by different courts (i.e., both federal and state
5 Subject Matter Jurisdiction of Federal Courts Under Article III, federal courts have jurisdiction to hear controversiesarising under the Constitution, federal laws, or treatiesin cases affecting ambassadors, public ministers, and consulsin admiralty and maritime caseswhere the United States is a partybetween citizens of different states (diversity)
6 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)
7 Jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court (Continued) Appellate Jurisdiction (28 U.S.C. § )Cases from Federal courtsUnited States District CourtsUnited States Courts of AppealWrit of CertiorariCertification (exceptional cases only)Cases from highest state courts that present a Federal question
8 Supreme Court Jurisdiction OriginalJurisdictionExclusiveConcurrent (with District Courts)State v. StateCases involving ambassadors, public ministers, and consulsAppellateDirect appealWrit of certiorariReview of District Court case requiring a three-judge panelReview of state supreme court and federal appellate court cases
9 Selection of CasesThe vast majority of cases filed with the U.S. Supreme Court are via Petition for a Writ of Certiorari.A request for certiorari is similar to an appeal, but one that the higher court is not required to take for decision. It is literally a writ from the higher court asking the lower court for the record of the case.Each year, the Court receives more than 8,000 petitions, of which it typically grants only 100.
10 Selection of Cases (Continued) In selecting which cases it will hear, the Court uses the following criteria in addition to the usual ground rules for federal cases:The Rule of FourThe principle that at least four of the nine U.S. Supreme Court Justices vote to take a case, the Court will hear the case. The Court uses the Rule of Four for cases that reach the Court by certiorari.Compelling Reasonse.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.Justiciability Criteria
11 JusticiabilityThe doctrine of justiciability requires that there be an actual and current controversy brought by a person who incurs harm and that it not involve a political question.“Justiciable” means proper to be decided by a particular court. A “justiciable controversy” is a real, rather than a hypothetical, dispute.A “justiciable controversy” does not exist where:The issue is moot.The issue is not ripe.The plaintiff lacks standing.The case involves a political question.
12 Mootness Definition: Examples: A case is moot if it is no longer important or no longer needs a decision because the dispute has already been resolved.Examples:Mills v. Green, 159 U.S. 651 (1895)A challenge of voting requirements for a special election is moot once the election takes place.Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973)An issue will be heard even though it is moot as to the petitioner if it is not moot as to the others in a similar situation.
13 Ripeness Definition: Example: A case is ripe for selection and decision by the U.S. Supreme Court if the legal issues are clear enough and well enough evolved and presented so that a clear decision can come out of the case.Example:Poe v. Ullman, 367 U.S. 497 (1961)A statute that is never enforced is not ripe for hearing because it poses no real harm to the plaintiffs.
14 Standing Definition: Three Criteria: A person’s right to bring (start) or join a lawsuit because he or she is directly affected by the issues raised. The right is called “standing to sue.”Three Criteria:The plaintiff must suffer a specific and actual injury (injury is nor limited to physical harm).A causal relationship between the injury and the challenged conduct of the defendant must exist.There must be a likelihood that a favorable decision in the case will end the injury or compensate for it.
15 Standing (Continued) Examples: Sierra Club v. Morton, 405 U.S. 727 (1972)For a club to have standing, its members must be personally affected. Members of the Sierra Club were not personally affected by a business that interfered with the ecology; thus, the club lacked standing to sue.Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925)A group of nuns operating a private school had standing to sue over a state law requiring public school attendance because their business was adversely affected; thus, they were personally affected.Flast v. Cohen, 392 U.S. 83 (1968)Taxpayers have standing to sue over expenditure of tax money only when the tax is imposed pursuant to the taxing and spending power and the tax violates a specific provision of the U.S. Constitution.
16 Political Question Definition: Types of Cases: An issue that a court may refuse to decide because it concerns a decision properly made by the executive or legislative branch of government and because the court has no adequate standards of review or no adequate way to enforce the court’s judgment.Types of Cases:Foreign relations (such as whether a treaty was terminated or whether to recognize a foreign government)Validity of enactments (e.g., how long a constitutional amendment remains open for ratification)Status of an Indian tribe
17 Political Question (Continued) Examples:Nixon v. United States, 206 U.S. 224 (1993)A case challenging a Senate impeachment proceeding will not be heard by the Court because an impeachment trial is the responsibility of the Senate, making it a political question.Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186 (1962)The constitutionality of a state reapportionment law is not a political question; thus, the Court will hear such cases.Note: Reapportionment is changing the boundaries of legislative districts to reflect changes in population and ensure that each person’s vote for representatives carries roughly equal weight.
18 Northeastern Fla. Chapter of Assoc. Gen. Contrs. Of Am. V Northeastern Fla. Chapter of Assoc. Gen. Contrs. Of Am. V. City of Jacksonville 508 U.S. 656 (1993)CasenotesIssues: Mootness and StandingDecision:A case is not moot when a challenged law has been repealed because it can be reenacted.Members of a group need not prove actual harm from a law, only that a discriminatory policy personally affects them.
19 The Nature of Judicial Power Power to determine liability in civil cases and grant monetary remedies to the prevailing partiesRight to grant equitable relief (e.g., injunctions)Right to determine guilt or innocence in criminal cases and to impose a sentencePower to issue writs
20 Writs Definition: Common Types: Writ of Mandamus Writ of Habeas Corpus A judge’s order directed to a lower court, government official or government agency requiring that something be done outside the courtroom or authorizing it to be done.Common Types:Writ of MandamusA court order that directs a public official or government department to do something. It may be sent to the executive branch, the legislative branch, or a lower court.Writ of Habeas CorpusA judicial order to someone holding a person to bring that person to court. It is most often used toi get a person out of unlawful imprisonment by forcing the captor and captive to come to court for a decision on the legality of the imprisonment.Writ of Certiorari
21 Judicial ReviewThe courts have the power of judicial review. That is the power to review state and federal laws for constitutionality.The power was first affirmed in 1803 in the landmark case of Marbury v. Madison.
22 Marbury v. Madison 5 U.S. 137 (1803) Casenotes Issue: Court’s power to declare a statute unconstitutional and to interpret laws (judicial review)Decision:The U.S. Constitution is the “fundamental and paramount law of the nation.”An act of the legislature “repugnant to the Constitution” is void.The original jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court was established in Article III of the Constitution, and could not be regulated by Congress by the passage of the Judiciary Act of 1789.Thus, the Supreme Court had the right to invalidate the Act and hear the case.
23 Sovereign Immunity and the Eleventh Amendment Under the doctrine of sovereign immunity, suits against federal and state governments are not allowed without the consent of the government.The Eleventh Amendment reaffirmed this doctrine and limits the right of parties to sue states in federal court.Suits brought against a state by a citizen of that same state are prohibited.
24 Sovereign Immunity and the Eleventh Amendment (Continued) The following types of suits are not prohibited under the Eleventh Amendment:Suits brought by the federal government rather than a citizenSuits brought against a state for violating a statute enacted pursuant to the Fourteenth Amendment where there is a history of due process or equal protection violationsSupreme Court review of state court decisionsSuits brought against a city or countySuits brought against state officials for violating the U.S. Constitution where money damages from the state are not soughtSuits originally filed in state court and removed to federal court at the state’s request
25 Relationship between Federal and State Courts Concurrent JurisdictionFederal subject matter jurisdiction includes several types of cases where such jurisdiction is not exclusive, but rather concurrent with state courts.In such cases, a plaintiff may choose to file in either federal or state court.If the case is filed in state court, the defendant has the right to have the case removed to federal court.If the case is filed in federal court, then it cannot be removed to state court.
26 Relationship between Federal and State Courts (Continued) Abstention DoctrineIn cases where the issues involve matters that are traditionally handled in state court (e.g., divorce) or where the interpretation of state law is in question, federal courts abstain from hearing the case.In criminal cases, federal courts are not to enjoin state criminal proceedings unless great irreparable harm is shown.
27 The Relationship between Federal and State Courts (Continued) Supreme Court Review of State Court DecisionsThe Supreme Court has the right to review state court decisions when the state decision involves:The validity of a treaty or U.S. statute.A state statute claimed to be in violation of the U.S. Constitution, treaties, or U.S. statutes.A Claim based on any right under the U.S. Constitution, treaties, or U.S. statutes.The Supremacy ClausePursuant to Article VI, § 2, any Supreme Court cases involving interpretation of the Constitution are binding on the states.