2 Jurisdiction The right of a court to hear a case Types of Jurisdiction:Original – right to hear a case for the first time.Jurisdictional levels:FederalStateLocalAppellate – right to hear a case on appeal; law has been applied unfairly or incorrectlyExclusive – assigned by Constitution; only federal courts can hear; includes cases involving national laws, the federal government or other governments (State or Foreign)Concurrent – cases that can be decided in state or federal courts
3 The American Legal System Sources of LawConstitution of the United StatesStatutory laws – (statutes) laws that are written by state legislatures and other lawmaking bodiesCommon Law – origin of stare decisis; past rulings that are used to make decision (precedent)*Stare Decisis means “let the decision stand.”
4 Branches of Law (Civil and Criminal) Public Law – deals with the relationship between the government and citizensCriminal LawConstitutional LawAdministrative Law – rules and regulations of the government agenciesInternational Law – rules that guide relations w/other countries
5 Branches of Law (Civil and Criminal) Private Law – deals with disputes between individuals, businesses or other organizationsContractsPropertyTorts (wrongful act that injures a person or someone’s property)Domestic Relations
6 United States Supreme Court Judicial BranchUnited States Supreme CourtU.S. Court ofMilitary Appeals12 U.S. Courts ofAppealsU.S. Court of Appeals forthe Federal CircuitMilitaryCourtsU.S. TaxCourtsTerritorialCourts94 DistrictCourtsCourts of theDistrict ofColumbiaU.S. ClaimsCourtU.S. Court ofInternationalTradeU.S. Court ofVeteran’sAppealsAppeals fromFederal RegulatoryAgenciesAppeals fromHighest StateCourts
7 Federal District Courts federal trial courts; currently 94 courtsat least one per state plus D.C. and Puerto Rico2 judges per courthave original jurisdictionhear 80% of federal cases (about 300,000/yr.)
8 Court of Appealsset in 12 districts or circuits; usually 3 judge panels
10 Court of Appealsset in 12 districts or circuits; usually 3 judge panelshear appeals from district courtsset up to lessen workload of Supreme Courthave appellate jurisdictiondoes not always mean a trialabout 40,000 cases/yr.
11 Supreme Courtcourt of last resort most appeals come from the Court of Appealscurrently 8 associate justices and chief justicejudicial review - declare act unconstitutionalmeets on the first Monday of October each year and usually continues in session through June.cases are heard en banc, which means by all the justices sitting together in open court.about 6,000 cases apply/yr., only about 100 get full decision
12 Other Federal Courts Territorial Courts set up like federal district courts in U.S. territoriesD.C. Courthandles all cases for the nation’s capitalCourt of International Tradecivil cases (involve money or property)foreign business dealings covered hereU.S. Tax Courtdisputes between taxpayers and the IRSCourt of Military Appealstrials of service persons (court martial)Court of Appeals for Federal Circuitnationwide jurisdictioncivil cases mostlypatents, trademarks, copyrightsU.S. Claims Courtpublic officials can be sued hereGovernment can be sued in some cases approved by Congress
13 Process to the Supreme Court Federal IndictmentFederal Grand Jury HearingTrue Bill of IndictmentTrial in Federal District CourtVerdict by Trial (Petit) JuryAppeal to Courts of Appeals (Circuit Courts)3 panel court decides to uphold or overturn the verdictAppeal to United States Supreme Court
14 Process of Hearing Cases by the U.S. Supreme Court Submit Appeal - In most cases lawyers write an appeal for the court to issue a writ of certiorari. (forces lower courts to send documents from the case to be reviewed)Appeal Granted - (Rule of Four) 4 of 9 justices agree to put case on docket (schedule).Submit Brief - Merit Briefs are written legal arguments by lawyers to support one side of a case.*Amicus Curaie Briefs – friend of the court (interest groups file)
15 Process of Hearing Cases by the U.S. Supreme Court Oral Arguments - the lawyers have the opportunity to give their arguments and ask questions about the case. It is almost always limited to 7 sittings at 30 minutes for each side. (2 weeks long)Conference - justices discuss and vote on cases. (Wednesday morning and on Friday)Write Opinions – after voting on the case, each justice may write their opinions.The Decision is Final
16 Making DecisionsJudicial Restraint – the Court limits itself to matters of law and justice as they are brought before them.Judicial Activism – the Court does not refrain from making policy with its decisions.Write Opinions –majority – the decision of the courtconcurring – agrees with the decision but wants to explaindissenting – disagrees and wants to explain whyPrecedents – decisions of the Court become the standard or rule for future cases.
17 The United States Supreme Court Supreme Court JusticesPresident appoints; Senate approvesTheir term is for LifeImpeached like any other officeCurrently they make around $192,600Pay cannot be lessened during their termIf retire after 65 and have served 15 yrs. they get full pay for life