2 The Federal Court System (8-1) Equal Justice for All
3 I. Equal Justice for AllA. Courts settle civil disputes between private parties, a private party and the government or the United States and a state or local government. Each side presents its position. The Court applies the laws and decides in favor of one or the otherB. Courts also hold criminal trials for people accused of crimes. Witnesses present evidence and a jury or a judge delivers a verdict of guilt or innocence.
4 I. Equal Justice for AllC. all accused people have the right to a public trial and a lawyer. If they cannot afford a lawyer, the court will appoint and pay for one. Accused people are considered innocent until proven guilty. They may ask for a review of their case if they think the court has made a mistakeD. The goal of the legal system is equal justice under the law. The goal is difficult to achieve
5 Federal Court SystemA. Article III Established a national Supreme Court and Congress the power to establish lower federal courts
6 Federal Court SystemB. Over the years, Congress set up 3-levels in the federal courts system.District courts at the bottomAppeals courts in the middleSupreme Court at the TopEach state also has its own laws and court system
7 The Federal Court System C. Jurisdiction is a court’s authority to hear and decide cases. The Constitution gives federal courts jurisdiction over 8 kinds of cases1. If the law in question applies to the U.S. Constitution, a federal court hears the case2. Federal courts hear cases involving violations of federal law.
8 The Federal Court System 3. Any disagreement between state governments winds up in federal court.4. Federal courts hear lawsuits between citizens of different states.5. If the U.S. Government sues someone or someone sues the U.S. Government, a federal court hears the case.
9 The Federal Court System 6. Federal courts hear disputes between a foreign government and either the U.S. government or an America private party7. Admiralty and maritime laws concern accidents or crimes of the high seas. Federal courts hear cases involving these laws.
10 The Federal Court System 8. Federal courts hear cases involving U.S. DiplomatsMost of these 8 areas, federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction – only they may hear and decide such cases. Most U.S. court cases involve state law and are tried in state courts
11 The Federal Court System In a few circumstances the state and federal courts may have concurrent jurisdiction – they share jurisdiction and either may hear the case.
12 How Federal Courts Are Organized (8-2) AT THE BOTTOM = U.S. District CourtsMIDDLE = U.S. Courts OF AppealAT THE TOP= U.S. Supreme Court
13 U.S. District CourtsA. District Courts are the federal courts where trials are held and lawsuits are begun.All states have at least one U.S. District CourtB. For all federal cases, district courts have original jurisdiction, the authority to hear the case for the 1st time. District courts hear both civil and criminal cases. They are the only federal courts that involve witnesses and juries.
14 U.S. Courts of AppealsA. people who lose in a district court often appeal to the next highest level – a U.S. court of appeals. Appeals courts review decisions made in lower district courts. This is appellate jurisdiction – the authority to hear a case appealed from a lower court
15 U.S. Courts of AppealB. Each of the 12 U.S. courts of appeal covers a particular geographic area called a circuit.A 13 appeals court, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, has nationwide jurisdictionC. Appeals courts do not hold trials. Instead, a panel of judges reviews the case records and listens to arguments form lawyers on both sides.
16 U.S. Courts of Appeals D. The judges may decide in one of three ways. Uphold the original decisionReverse the decisionRemand the case – send it back to the lower court to be tried again
17 U.S. Courts of AppealE. Appeals courts do not decide guilt or innocence or which side should win a suit. They rule only on whether the original trial was fair and protected the person’s rights. Most appeals court decisions are final. A few cases are appealed to the Supreme Court.
18 U.S. Court of AppealsOne appellate judge writes an opinion that explains the legal thinking behind the court’s decision in the case. The opinion set a precedent or model for other judges to follow in making their own decisions on similar cases
19 Federal Judges Each district has at least 2 judges. Each appeals court has 6 to 27 judgesThe Supreme Court has 9 justices
20 Federal JudgesPresidents appoint federal judges, with Senate approval.The usually appoint federal judges who share their views. Because judges serve for life, presidents view their appointments as an opportunity to affect the country after they leave office
21 Federal JudgesEvery federal judicial district also has a U.S. attorney – a government lawyer who prosecutes people accused of breaking federal laws.U.S. attorneys look into the charges and present the evidence in court. They also represent the United States in civil cases involving the government
22 Federal JudgesOnce appointed a judge can be removed only through impeachmentEach district court has magistrate judges who do much of the judge’s routine work.They hear preliminary evidence and determine whether the case should go to trial.They decide whether accused people should be held in jail or released on bail
23 Federal JudgesAs a senatorial courtesy, presidents submit their nominations for judge to the senators from the nominee’s home state. If either Senator objects, the president withdraws the name and nominates someone else.
24 Federal JudgesEvery federal judicial district also has a U.S. Marshall.Make arrests, collect fines, and take convicted people to prison.They protect jurors, keep order in the courtroom, and serve subpoenas ordering people to appear in court
26 The Supreme Court Justices The Main job of the nation’s top court is to decide whether laws are allowable under the ConstitutionThe Supreme Court has original jurisdiction only in cases involving foreign diplomats or a state.All other cases come to the Court in appeal
27 The United States Supreme Court The Court chooses the cases it hears.In cases the Court refuses to hear, the decision of the lower court stands.The Court has final authority on cases involving the Constitution, act of Congress, and treaties.8 Associate justices and one chief justice make up the supreme court.After deciding a case, the justices issue a written explanation, called the Court’s opinion.
28 The United States Supreme Court The President appoints Supreme Court justices, with Senate approval.The decision may be influenced by the Department of Justice, American Bar Association, interest groups, and other Supreme Court judges.Supreme Court justices are always lawyers.A successful law career, political support, and agreement with the president’s ideas are factors in whom gets appointed
29 Power of the CourtThe Legislative and Executive branches must follow Supreme Court rulings.Because the Court is removed from politics and the influences of special-interest groups, the parties involved in a case are likely to get a fair hearing.
30 Powers of the CourtThe Court’s main job is to decide whether laws and government actions are constitutional.The Court does this through JUDICIAL REVIEWJUDICIAL REVIEWThe power to say whether any law or government action goes against the Constitution.
31 Judicial ReviewThe Constitution does not give the Supreme Court the power of Judicial ReviewThe Court claimed the power when it decided the case Marbury V. Madison
32 Marbury V. MadisonAs President John Adams was leaving office, hi signed an order making William Marbury a justice of the peace.The incoming president, Thomas Jefferson, refused to carry out the order.William Marbury took his case to the Supreme Court.
33 Marbury V. MadisonIn the Court Opinion, Chief Justice John Marshall set forth three principles of JUDICIAL REVIEW1. The Constitution is the supreme law of the land2. If a law conflicts with the constitution, the constitution rules3. The judicial branch has a duty to uphold the constitution. Thus, it must be able to determine when a law conflicts with the Constitution and nullify that law
35 Limits on the Court’s Power The Court depends on the executive branch and state and local officials to enforce is decisions.Congress can get around a Court ruling by passing a new law, changing a law ruled unconstitutional, or amending the Constitution.
36 Limits on the Court’s Power The President’s power to appoint justices and Congress’s power to approve appointments and to impeach and remove justices serve to check the power of the courts
37 Limits on the Court’s Power The Court cannot decide that a law is unconstitutional unless the law has been challenged in a lower court and the case comes to it on appeal. The Court accepts only cases that involve a federal question. It usually stays out of political questions
38 Deciding Cases @ the Supreme Court Quick FactsConduct business each year from October until June or JulyTwo weeks listening to oral arguments on cases and two weeks wiring opinions and studying new casesThe Court receive most cases on appeal from a lower court,Of the more than 7,000 applications each year, the Court agrees to hear fewer the 200The Court accepts cases that four of the nine justice agree that the Court should review. Select on important constitutional issues and cases that affect the entire nationAccepted Cases go on the court docket
39 Steps in Decision Making Each accepted case goes through five steps: Written Arguments, Oral Arguments, Conference, Opinion Writing, and Announcement1. The lawyers first prepare a written brief that explains their side of the case. The justices study the briefs.2. Next each side gets 30 min to present its case orally. Then the justices ask tough ?’s
40 Steps in Decision Making 3. On Fridays, the justices meet privately to discuss the case. A majority vote decides the case.4. After the court reaches a decision, one justice writes a majority opinion.It presents the views of the majority of justices. The opinion states the facts, announces the ruling, and explains the Courts reasoning in reaching the decision
41 Steps in Decision Making The Court may also write a unanimous opinion when all the justice vote the same way.One or more justices who disagree with the majority may write dissenting opinionsA justice who votes with the majority, but for different reasons, may write a concurring opinion.Finally, the Court announces its decision. Printed copies of the opinion of the news reporters. A copy is posted in the Court’s Web site