3 Origin of law Case law: Court decisions that inform judicial ruling Constitution: outline the structure of the American government (or state)Statutes: laws made by the national or state governmentCase lawCollection of past rulings, interpretations and decisions on cases that other judges can use as referencePrecedent: a court ruling from the pass similar to the current caseWhen judges make decisions that look to similar cases for precedent.Example of overturning precedentBrown v. Board of Education overturned the precedent of Plessey v. Ferguson of separate but equalStatutesLaws passed by Congress and State legislatures.
4 JurisdictionThe authority to hear certain cases is called jurisdiction of the court.Concurrent jurisdiction is when both federal and state courts have jurisdiction.Appellate Jurisdiction: The power to review cases already decided in lower courtLimited Jurisdiction: The power to hear only certain kinds of cases (tax cases)
5 Types of Courts Federal (Supreme Court & inferior federal courts) established by Congress.StatesEach state has it’s own courts system whose power comes from state constitution and laws.
7 The Federal CourtsThree layers of authority in the federal court system:The Supreme CourtThirteen Courts of Appeals and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.U.S. District Courts and Specialized Federal Courts
8 District Courts 94 courts Lowest level of the federal judicial system Federal Court SystemDistrict Courts94 courtsLowest level of the federal judicial systemTrial courts for both criminal/civil federal casesDistrict Courts has original jurisdiction to hear cases involvingConstitutional lawCases Involving citizens of different statesCivil casesHear most federal casesEach district court hears cases within a particular district.There are 94 districts.Every state has at least one district courtHave original jurisdictionMust follow Supreme Court president as much as possible
10 Federal Court SystemAppealsIf a person who loses a case in a trial court wishes to appeal a decision, they may take the case to a court with appellate jurisdiction.Meaning a party may appeal a case from a district court to a court of appeals
11 Court of Appeals 13 US Courts of Appeals Each covers a circuit-a geographic area containing several district courtsThe Appeals court reviews the details of the case. DOES NOT HOLD TRIALS!If an mistake was found the case will be send back to the district court for a new trialCases only get reviewed for a good reason, such if the ruling discarded precedent
16 Federal Court Jurisdiction Federal Courts SystemFederal Court JurisdictionThe Constitution gave federal courts jurisdiction in cases that involve United States laws, treaties with foreign nations.
17 Federal Courts Jurisdiction Cont. Federal Courts SystemFederal Courts Jurisdiction Cont.Ambassadors and other representatives of foreign governmentsTwo or more states governmentUnited States government or one of it offices or agenciesCitizens who are resident of different statesCitizens who are residents of the same state but claim land under grants of different states
19 Federal Courts SystemSupreme CourtCourt of AppealsDistrict Courts
20 Special Federal Courts Congress has created a series of courts referred to as legislative Courts.Legislative courts help Congress exercise its power.U.S. Court of federal ClaimsU.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed ForcesU.S. Tax CourtTerritorial CourtsUS Court of Military AppealsForeign Intelligence Surveillance CourtFederal Claims CourtA person who believes that the government has not pad a bill for goods or service may sue in this courtAppeals for the Armed ForcesArmed forces highest appeals court.“GI” supreme courtThe Supreme court however has jurisdiction to review this court’s decisionU.S. Tax CourtCases usually involve citizens who disagree with the IRS or other treasury department agencies ruling about federal taxesBased in DC. Federal court of appeals handles cases appealed from the tax courtTerritorial CourtsCongress created courts in the Virgin Islands, Guam, the northern Mariana Islands and Puerto Rico. The appellate court for this system are the United states court of appealsCourt of the district of ColumbiaBecause DC is a federal district Congress developed a judicial system for the nation’s capitalWith federal district court and a court of appeals, various local courts handle cases in DCCourt of Veteran’s AppealsHe cabinet- level department was created to deal with veterans problems. This court handles cases arising from unsettled claimsForeign Intelligence Surveillance CourtThe court was authorized to secretly wire tap people suspected of sping against the United StatesFISA search warrants do not have to be made public and can be issued without probable cause- which is not the case with most criminal cases
22 Special Federal Courts Federal Courts SystemSpecial Federal CourtsU.S. of Federal Claims CourtU.S. Court of International TradeU.S. Tax CourtU.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
23 The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Federal Courts SystemThe Court of Appeals for the Federal CircuitCourt of appeals for the federal circuitNational jurisdiction over certain cases, such as those in which the U.S. government is a defendant
25 Qualifications No specific requirements in the constitution Federal Courts SystemQualificationsNo specific requirements in the constitutionMost have prior experience ( lower or state courts)
26 Selection of Federal Judges Federal Courts SystemSelection of Federal JudgesAll federal judges are appointed by the president and approved by the senate.Senatorial courtesy -allows senators from the president party to have a say in the appointment of judges in their stateHold position for life (must be in good standing)Senatorial courtesy started in the 1840’sOnce on the bench a federal judge keeps the position for a term of “good behavior”Alexander Hamilton argued in the Federalist papers No 78 (1787), keeping judges in office for life gives them independence they need to serve as a proper check on the executive and legislative branches