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On Becoming a Justice, and Judging Judges… ature=related

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2 On Becoming a Justice, and Judging Judges… ature=related ature=related

3 AP Government and Politics Wilson: Chapter 14 Homework: Read Wilson, Chapter 14 ( ) Read Woll, Chapter 3, “Roe vs. Wade” ( ) and “Constitutional Liberty/the Right to an Abortion” ( )

4 Structure of the Judicial Branch

5 The Original District and Circuits Created by the Judiciary Act of SC Justices 13 Districts 3 Circuits “Riding the Circuit”

6 How do cases get to federal court? The federal courts only have jurisdiction over certain subjects, or only when certain parties are involved in the case Congress has enlarged and diminished this jurisdiction over time Treaties, federal law, the Constitution Federal officers, foreign diplomats, or states Original vs. Appellate jurisdiction State courts hear cases related to state laws; federal courts hear cases related to federal laws Exclusive vs. Concurrent jurisdiction Certain situations may present the ability to be heard in either state or federal court. Typically, the prosecutors will consider the jurisdiction with harshest penalty, or more likely victory.

7 How do cases get to the Supreme Court? Usually begin in federal district court. Could be decision appealed from a state court, or could be an original jurisdiction case If appealed from state court, a Constitutional or federal issue must be involved. District courts are the trial courts of the federal court system. Within limits set by Congress and the Constitution, the district courts have jurisdiction to hear nearly all categories of federal cases, including both civil and criminal matters. Every day hundreds of people across the nation are selected for jury duty and help decide some of these cases. There are 94 federal judicial districts, including at least one district in each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Each district includes a United States bankruptcy court as a unit of the district court.

8 PA has 3 of the 94 federal judicial districts Each district can have a different number of justices and magistrates. The western district of PA has 19 total justices… 13 district justices and 6 magistrates There are 13 district justices, and 6 district magistrates Both can hear “non-prisoner civil cases” The justices hear death penalty, bankruptcy and other specific, more important matters Magistrates hear prisoner civil cases, and non-death penalty cases

9 Step 2: Circuit Courts of Appeal Most federal district court opinions are the final word in the cases…. But…if a side feels that the decision was incorrect, or feels it did not receive a fair hearing, it may appeal the case to the next level of the federal judiciary Courts of Appeal Created as a separate level, with their own justices, in the late 1800s The 94 judicial districts are organized into 12 regional circuits, each of which has a United States court of appeals. A court of appeals hears appeals from the district courts located within its circuit, as well as appeals from decisions of federal administrative agencies. If a party loses in Circuit court, they may appeal their case to the Supreme Court

10 There are 23 circuit court judges in the 3 rd circuit court of appeals Typically, a panel of judges will hear appeals and make their decision.

11 The US Court System – Legislative and Constitutional (judicial) courts

12 Appealing to the Supreme Court If a party loses in Circuit court, they may appeal their case to the Supreme Court Most cases reach the Supreme Court on appeal from the Circuit Courts How many justices does it take to decide to hear a case? Why is this number unusual? If the justices decide to hear a case, they will issue a “writ of certiorari” Out of the thousands of petitions for certiorari that are submitted every year, roughly 10% are granted. How does the court “decide to decide”? What criteria would you use?


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