3 A. The United States represents a dual court system The National Judiciary Courts (The Federal Courts): Court Systems of the National GovernmentState Court System: most cases are heard in the State Court System (50 state systems exist)
4 B. Types of Federal Courts (see diagram on page 507) The District Courts: 94 Districts Courts: Usually is where a federal court case is heard first; Most district court decisions are final2. U.S. Court of Appeals: (The Appellate Courts or the Circuit Courts): 13 Total Appellate Courts: Hear cases that were appealed after the district court ‘s decision3. The U.S. Supreme Court: Highest court of the land whose decisions must be followed by both state and federal governments
7 The Court of Appeals: Thirteen total (two are in D.C.)
8 C. Federal Court Jurisdiction 1. Federal Courts hear cases that involveconstitutional interpretation, state conflicts,matters pertaining to Federal officers, andmatters pertaining to representatives offoreign governments2. Federal Courts have exclusive jurisdiction,concurrent jurisdiction, original jurisdiction,and appellate jurisdiction.
11 D. Appointing Federal Judges: The President appoints Federal Judges with the Senate’s Consent 1. Judges of the Constitutional Courts areappointed for lifea. Reason: so the judiciary is not influenced by outsiders
12 What is the following cartoon saying about appointing judges?
13 What does the following political cartoon imply about Supreme Court Justices?
14 2. Removing federal judges: The House of Representatives can impeach a judge and the Senate can remove a judge (the same is true for impeaching and removing the President)
15 E. Judicial Restraint vs. Judicial Activism: Used by Federal Judges 1. Judicial Restraint: Belief that judges shouldalways decide cases on the originalcontent of the Constitution or written lawand the precedents that already exist regardinga casea. when this is used, judges shape public policy less
16 How does the following cartoon represent judicial restraint?
17 2. Judicial Activism: Belief that the law should be interpreted and applied in the light of ongoing changes, conditions, and values in societya. When this is used, judges shape public policy more
18 How does the following cartoon depict judicial activism?
20 Judicial Activism: Citizens United v. FEC (2010)
21 F. Court Officers1. Clerks of the Federal Courts:summarize cases, review appeals, andwrite the rough drafts of justices’opinionsa. Appointed by the Federal judgesb. Recommend what cases Federal judges should hear
22 2. U.S. Magistrates: At least one exists in the 94 Federal District Courts a. Issues warrants of arrest and hears evidence to decide whether or not a person who has been arrested for a federal crime should be held for action by a grand juryb. Sets bail in Federal cases
23 3. U.S. Attorneys: One exists within each federal district a. Prosecutes all persons charged with Federal Crimesb. Represent the United States in all civil action brought by or against the Federal Government in their district
24 4. U.S. Marshals: one exists within each federal district a. Makes arrests in federal criminal cases, keep accused people in custody and execute court orders and decisions
25 **** N.B: U.S. Attorneys and Federal Marshals both answer to the Attorney General (who is head of the Justice Department)++++ U.S. Attorneys and Federal Marshals are members of the Justice Department
27 A. District Courts: 94 District Courts, 3 in Pennsylvania 1. Hear Both criminal cases and civil cases2. Criminal Cases: Often use grand juriesto issue indictments and trial juries todetermine a defendant’s fate3. Civil Case: Plaintiff files a suit against adefendant4. Most District Court decisions are final5. District courts usually exercise original jurisdiction
34 Section 18.3: The Supreme Court The Supreme Court is the final authority in any case involving a question of Constitutional interpretation, an act of Congress, and action of the President, or a treaty of the United StatesComprises of 8 Associate Justices and 1 Chief Justice (9 total justices)Chief Justice: John Roberts
36 A. Judicial Review: The Supreme Court has ultimate exercise of judicial review Judicial Review: the power to decide the constitutionality of an act of government, whether executive, legislative, or judicialUltimate exercise of judicial review exists because of the precedent set in Marbury vs. Madison (1803)The Court also decides how a law should be interpreted
37 B. Supreme Court Jurisdiction: The Supreme Court has exclusive, original, and appellate jurisdiction Most cases are heard on appeal in The Supreme Court10,000 cases are appealed to the Supreme Court each yearapproximately 100 are actually heard by The Court‘ Rule of Four’ is used to determine if the Supreme Court hears a case: At least four of the nine Supreme Court Justices agree that a case should be put heard
38 3. Most cases heard reach The Court through the use of a writ of cert a. Writ of cert: a party in a court case requests the Supreme Court to answer a Constitutional question or a serious problem of statutory interpretation.
39 C. How the Court Operates -- The Supreme Court hears cases in two-week cycles from October to early May1 Part One: The Supreme Court reads a series of briefsa. Briefs: written documents given to the Supreme Court in support of one side of a case: provided before oral arguments are given:
40 b. Amicus curiae briefs: ‘friend of the court briefs’: briefs filed by persons or groups who are not actual parties to a case but who, nonetheless, have a substantial interest in its outcome.c. The Solicitor General: officer of the Justice Department: often called the Federal Government’s chief lawyer because he or she represents the National Government in the U.S. Supreme CourtFiles amicus curiae briefs: on behalf of the President: provides the Executive Branch’s views in different cases
41 2. Part 2: Oral Arguments: Each litigant (side) of a case gets 30 minutes to address their perspective to the Supreme Court
42 3. Part 3: The Conference: The Chief Justice presides over the conference – Justices share their viewpoints and develop decisions for a particular casea. Held in privateb. Approximately one-third of the Court’s decisions are unanimous: most decisions of the Court are divided(1) Reasons why most cases are not unanimous: all cases are very controversial
43 4. Part 4: The Delivery of Opinions: majority opinions, concurring opinions, and dissenting opinions exista. Majority opinions are important because they are used as precedents in future cases by the lower courts in both the state and federal governmentb. Majority opinions represent common law
44 How is the cartoonist critical of the Supreme Court?