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Chapter 8 Notes: Judicial Branch

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1 Chapter 8 Notes: Judicial Branch

2 Section 1: The Federal Court System
Article III- est. a national Supreme Court & gave Congress power to est. lower federal courts. -Congress created 2 kinds of lower courts -1789 passed the *Judiciary Act- est. federal districts. *Circuit court of appeals. *1891 congress est. federal appeals court.

3 The fed court system has 3 levels:
-District courts at the bottom. -Appeals courts in the middle. -Supreme courts at the top.

4 -Each state has its own laws and courts.
*Jurisdiction- a court authority to hear and decide cases. -Fed courts have jurisdiction over 8 kinds of cases. *Exclusive jurisdiction- cases in which only fed court can hear, states courts have jurisdiction over all other matters. *Concurrent jurisdiction-cases in which state and fed courts share jurisdiction.

5 Section 2: How Federal Courts are Organized
US District Courts -Most federal cases are handled in the 94 US District courts. *District Courts- are federal courts where trials are held and lawsuits are begun. -All federal cases must begin in a district court, b/c district courts have *original jurisdiction- the authority to hear cases for the first time. -District courts are the only federal courts in which witnesses testify and juries hear cases and reach verdicts.

6 -US Courts of Appeals- also referred to as federal appeals courts, circuit courts of appeals, or appellate courts. *Appeals Court- reviews decisions made in lower district courts. Referred to as *Appellate Jurisdiction- the authority of a court to hear a case appealed from a lower court. -There are 12 US courts of appeals. -Each covers a particular geographic are called a *circuit. -A 13th appeals court- the *Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, has nationwide jurisdiction to hear special cases.

7 -Appeals courts do not hold trials.
-They may decide an appeal in one of three ways: 1. Uphold the original decision. 2. Reverse the Decision. 3. *Remand the case- sending the case back to the lower court to be tried again.

8 -A panel of at least 3 judges reviews the record and listens to lawyers for each side.
-Make decision by majority vote, for most cases, the decision of the appeals court in final, but lawyer can appeal to the Supreme Court. -When the appeals court makes a decision, one judge writes an opinion for the court. *Opinion- offers a detailed explanation of the legal thinking behind the decision. -The opinion sets a precedent for all courts and agencies within the district. *Precedent- gives guidance to other judges by offering a model upon which to base their own decisions on similar cases.

9 Federal Judges -More than 550 who preside over the district courts. -Each appeals court has 6 to 27 judges. -Supreme Court has 9. -When naming judges, the Pres. usually follows a practice called *senatorial courtesy- where the Pres. first gives the names to the Senators of the judges home state before he asks all of Congress to approve them.

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