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Q UINCY COLLEGE Paralegal Studies Program Paralegal Studies Program American Constitutional Law LAW-210 Federal Judicial Power.

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Presentation on theme: "Q UINCY COLLEGE Paralegal Studies Program Paralegal Studies Program American Constitutional Law LAW-210 Federal Judicial Power."— Presentation transcript:

1 Q UINCY COLLEGE Paralegal Studies Program Paralegal Studies Program American Constitutional Law LAW-210 Federal Judicial Power

2 Unit Objectives At the completion of this unit, students should be able to: 1. Explain the concept of jurisdiction 2. List the types of cases over which the federal judicial branch has subject matter jurisdiction 3. Compare the original and appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court 4. Explain the difference between a direct appeal and a petition for writ of certiorari 5. Discuss the concept of justiciability

3 Unit Objectives (Continued) 6. Describe the effect of mootness, ripeness, lack of standing, and political questions on the power of the courts to hear cases 7. Explain the doctrine of judicial review 8. Discuss the importance of the Eleventh Amendment to the Constitution to the federal judicial branch 9. Describe the relationship between federal courts and state courts 10. Explain the importance of the Supremacy Clause to court decisions

4 Types of Jurisdiction Subject Matter jurisdiction Power to hear the type of case Supplemental/Pendent/ Ancillary jurisdiction Power of federal court to hear a case within state jurisdiction if it is associated with a case within federal court subject matter jurisdiction Original jurisdictionPower of court to try a case or to be the first to resolve the dispute Appellate jurisdictionPower of a court to review a lower court decision Exclusive jurisdictionPower to hear a case is vested in only one court Concurrent jurisdictionPower to hear a case is shared by different courts (i.e., both federal and state

5 Courts Subject Matter Jurisdiction of Federal Courts Under Article III, federal courts have jurisdiction to hear controversies - arising under the Constitution, federal laws, or treaties - in cases affecting ambassadors, public ministers, and consuls - in admiralty and maritime cases - where the United States is a party - between citizens of different states (diversity)

6 Jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court Original Jurisdiction (28 U.S.C. § 1251) A.Controversies between two or more states (exclusive jurisdiction) B.Actions in which ambassadors or other public ministers of foreign states are parties (non- exclusive jurisdiction) C.Controversies between the United States and a state (non-exclusive jurisdiction) D.Actions by a state against the citizens of another state (non-exclusive jurisdiction)

7 Jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court (Continued Jurisdiction of the U.S. Supreme Court (Continued) Appellate Jurisdiction (28 U.S.C. § ) A.Cases from Federal courts 1.United States District Courts 2.United States Courts of Appeal a)Writ of Certiorari b)Certification (exceptional cases only) B.Cases from highest state courts that present a Federal question

8 Supreme Court Jurisdiction Original Jurisdiction Exclusive Concurrent (with District Courts) State v. State Cases involving ambassadors, public ministers, and consuls Appellate Jurisdiction Direct appeal Writ of certiorari Review of District Court case requiring a three- judge panel Review of state supreme court and federal appellate court cases

9 Selection of Cases The vast majority of cases filed with the U.S. Supreme Court are via Petition for a Writ of Certiorari. The 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. 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. 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: 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 Four The Rule of Four The 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 Reasons 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. Justiciability Criteria Justiciability Criteria

11 Justiciability The 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. The 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. “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: A “justiciable controversy” does not exist where: The issue is moot. The issue is moot. The issue is not ripe. The issue is not ripe. The plaintiff lacks standing. The plaintiff lacks standing. The case involves a political question. The case involves a political question.

12 Mootness Definition: Definition: A case is moot if it is no longer important or no longer needs a decision because the dispute has already been resolved. Examples: Examples: Mills v. Green, 159 U.S. 651 (1895) 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) 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: Definition: 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: Example: Poe v. Ullman, 367 U.S. 497 (1961) 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: Definition: 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: Three Criteria: 1. The plaintiff must suffer a specific and actual injury (injury is nor limited to physical harm). 2. A causal relationship between the injury and the challenged conduct of the defendant must exist. 3. There must be a likelihood that a favorable decision in the case will end the injury or compensate for it.

15 Standing (Continued) Examples: Examples: Sierra Club v. Morton, 405 U.S. 727 (1972) 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) 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) 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: Definition: 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: Types of Cases: 1. Foreign relations (such as whether a treaty was terminated or whether to recognize a foreign government) 2. Validity of enactments (e.g., how long a constitutional amendment remains open for ratification) 3. Status of an Indian tribe

17 Political Question (Continued) Examples: Examples: Nixon v. United States, 206 U.S. 224 (1993) 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) 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. City of Jacksonville 508 U.S. 656 (1993) Casenotes Casenotes Casenotes Issues: Mootness and Standing Issues: Mootness and Standing Decision: Decision: A case is not moot when a challenged law has been repealed because it can be reenacted. 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. 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 parties Power to determine liability in civil cases and grant monetary remedies to the prevailing parties Right to grant equitable relief (e.g., injunctions) Right to grant equitable relief (e.g., injunctions) Right to determine guilt or innocence in criminal cases and to impose a sentence Right to determine guilt or innocence in criminal cases and to impose a sentence Power to issue writs Power to issue writs

20 Writs Definition: Definition: 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: Common Types: Writ of Mandamus Writ of Mandamus A 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 Corpus Writ of Habeas Corpus A 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 Writ of Certiorari

21 Judicial Review The courts have the power of judicial review. That is the power to review state and federal laws for constitutionality. The 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. 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 Casenotes Casenotes Issue: Court’s power to declare a statute unconstitutional and to interpret laws (judicial review) Issue: Court’s power to declare a statute unconstitutional and to interpret laws (judicial review) Decision: Decision: The U.S. Constitution is the “fundamental and paramount law of the nation.” The U.S. Constitution is the “fundamental and paramount law of the nation.” An act of the legislature “repugnant to the Constitution” is void. 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 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 Thus, the Supreme Court had the right to invalidate the Act and hear the case. 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. 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. 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. 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: The following types of suits are not prohibited under the Eleventh Amendment: Suits brought by the federal government rather than a citizen Suits brought by the federal government rather than a citizen Suits 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 violations Suits 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 violations Supreme Court review of state court decisions Supreme Court review of state court decisions Suits brought against a city or county Suits brought against a city or county Suits brought against state officials for violating the U.S. Constitution where money damages from the state are not sought Suits brought against state officials for violating the U.S. Constitution where money damages from the state are not sought Suits originally filed in state court and removed to federal court at the state’s request Suits originally filed in state court and removed to federal court at the state’s request

25 Relationship between Federal and State Courts Concurrent Jurisdiction Concurrent Jurisdiction Federal subject matter jurisdiction includes several types of cases where such jurisdiction is not exclusive, but rather concurrent with state courts. Federal 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. 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 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. 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 Doctrine Abstention Doctrine In 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 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. 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 Decisions Supreme Court Review of State Court Decisions The Supreme Court has the right to review state court decisions when the state decision involves: The Supreme Court has the right to review state court decisions when the state decision involves: 1. The validity of a treaty or U.S. statute. 2. A state statute claimed to be in violation of the U.S. Constitution, treaties, or U.S. statutes. 3. A Claim based on any right under the U.S. Constitution, treaties, or U.S. statutes. The Supremacy Clause The Supremacy Clause Pursuant to Article VI, § 2, any Supreme Court cases involving interpretation of the Constitution are binding on the states. Pursuant to Article VI, § 2, any Supreme Court cases involving interpretation of the Constitution are binding on the states.


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