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The Federal Court System

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1 The Federal Court System
Chapter 18

2 Under Articles of Confederation, no national Court System
Disputes between citizens of different States were decided in one of the States What problems could potentially arise from this? Court decisions from one State were frequently ignored by other States No way to interpret National Laws consistently

3 Article III, Section 1 “The Judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.”

4 National Judiciary Dual court system Two kinds of federal courts
National court system Individual State court systems Two kinds of federal courts Inferior courts (constitutional courts) Special courts

5 Types of Federal Courts
Article III Courts 94 District Courts 12 U.S. Courts of Appeals U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of International Trade Article I Courts U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Services U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims U.S. Court of Federal Claims U.S. Tax Court Territorial Courts Courts of the District of Columbia

6 Federal Court Jurisdiction
Authority of a court to hear or decide a case Subject Matter Parties involved

7 Federal Court Jurisdiction
Subject Matter The interpretation of a provision of the Constitution or any federal statute or treaty Involves an event that took place on the high seas or navigable U.S. waters Parties involved The United States or one of its officers or agencies An ambassador or other rep. from a foreign gov’t One of the 50 states is suing another state, a resident of another state, a foreign gov’t or one of its subjects A citizen from one state suing someone from a different state U.S. citizen suing a foreign gov’t or one of its subjects a citizen suing another citizen from the same state where both claim land under grants from different states

8 Types of Jurisdiction Exclusive jurisdiction Concurrent jurisdiction
Original jurisdiction Appellate jurisdiction

9 Appointment of Judges President nominates and Senate confirms
What type of experience do you think judges have before taking the bench? Attorneys, legal scholars and law professors, former members of Congress, judges from State courts What qualities and characteristics do Presidents look for in judges? Presidents frequently choose judges with views similar to theirs

10 Terms of Judges How long do judges on the constitutional courts serve?
Life – “in good behavior” - until they are either removed or resign, retire or die in office Judges on most of the special courts serve for 15 years

11 Pay and Benefits Pay Retirement Receive full salary after retirement
Age + years of service = 80 Must be at least 65 and served 15 years If 70 years old, must have served 10 years

12 Other Court Officers Magistrates Clerk Deputy Clerks Bailiffs
Warrants Hear evidence Set bail Try minor cases U.S. attorneys Try those accused of crimes Defend U.S. in suits brought against it Clerk Deputy Clerks Bailiffs Court Reporters Stenographers Probation Officers U.S. marshals

13 Inferior Courts The 94 District courts are the federal trial courts
First inferior courts created by Congress in Judiciary Act of 1789 Hear both criminal and civil cases

14 District Courts Criminal case – defendant is tried for committing some action that Congress has declared by law to be a federal crime Bank robbery, mail fraud, counterfeiting, tax evasion Civil case – noncriminal matter, such as a dispute over the terms of a contract or a claim of patent infringement Bankruptcy, labor, public lands, civil rights


16 Courts of Appeals Established in 1891 to ease burden on SCOTUS
Only appeal cases from lower courts Most come from district courts can appeal Tax Court and territorial courts Also, FTC, National Labor Relations Board, Nuclear Regulatory Commission

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