Presentation on theme: "The Federal Court System According to the Constitution, Congress has the power to create inferior courts (all federal courts, other than the Supreme Court.)"— Presentation transcript:
The Federal Court System According to the Constitution, Congress has the power to create inferior courts (all federal courts, other than the Supreme Court.) There are two kinds of federal courts(inferior courts) Constitutional courts – federal courts formed by Congress under power of the Constitution to exercise the judicial power of the U.S. District courts, courts of appeals, U.S. Court of International Trade Special courts – created by Congress to hear cases arising out of some of the expressed powers given to Congress. U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Territorial Courts, Courts of the District of Columbia, Tax Court, Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
Federal Court Jurisdiction Jurisdiction – the authority of a court to hear a case. Federal courts may hear a case because: of its subject matter It applies to the Constitution of the parties involved in the case Involves the U.S. or one of its officers An ambassador of a foreign government State vs. state
Types of Jurisdiction Original jurisdiction – the power of a court to hear a case first, before any other court. Appellate jurisdiction – the authority of a court to review decisions of inferior courts.
Appointment of Judges The President nominates all federal judges for office (including Supreme Court justices,) however they must be confirmed by the Senate. Judges of the constitutional courts are appointed for life. Judges on special courts serve either 15, 8, or 4-year terms.
District Courts Currently 642 judges serve on U.S, district courts throughout the country. These courts were created by the Judiciary Act of 1789, and there are currently 94. They hear both civil and criminal cases. Civil cases – a case involving a noncriminal matter such as a contract dispute or a claim on patent infringement Criminal cases – a case in which a defendant is tried for committing a crime as defined by law
The Courts of Appeals The courts of appeals were created in 1891. Currently there are 12 courts of appeals in the U.S. judicial system. 179 circuit judges sit on these 12 courts. These courts may only hear cases on appeal from lower courts.
Other Constitutional Courts Court of International Trade Created in 1890. Has 9 judges Hears civil cases arising out of tariff and other trade-related laws. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Created in 1982. Has 12 judges Has a nationwide jurisdiction. Created to speed up the process for handling appeals in certain kinds of civil cases.
The Supreme Court Judicial review is the court’s most important power, it gives the Supreme Court the power to declare laws unconstitutional. This power was given in the court case, Marbury v. Madison. The Supreme Court has both original and appellate jurisdiction. It is the highest appellate court in the land. The court also holds original jurisdiction in cases where a state is a party or those affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, and consuls.
How Cases Reach the Court 8000 cases are petitioned to the court each year. Of these, only a few hundred are actually heard. It takes the approval of 4 of the 9 judges for a case to be heard. This is called “the rule of four.” Most cases reach the Supreme Court by writ of certiorari An order by the Court directing a lower court to send up the record in a given cases for its review. Either side can petition for cert If cert is denied, the decision of the lower court stands.
How the Court Operates The Supreme Court’s term runs from the first Monday in October to sometime the following June or July. The court operates in two-week cycles. They hear oral arguments for several cases for two weeks, then recess for two weeks to rule on those cases. Briefs are written documents filed with the Court before oral arguments begin. These briefs can be hundreds of pages long, and often help the justices in their decision-making process.
Opinions The court delivers their decision in the form of written opinions. Majority Opinion – officially called the Opinion of the Court; announces the Court’s decision in a case and sets out the reasoning upon which it is based. Concurring Opinion – written explanation of the views of one or more judges who support a decision reached by the majority of the court, but wish to add or emphasize a point that was not made in the majority opinion. Dissenting Opinion – written explanation of the views of one or more judges who disagree with a decision reached by the majority of the court.
The Court of Federal Claims The Court of Federal Claims is composed of 16 judges appointed by the President and approved by the Senate for 15-year terms. The court hears claims for damages against the Federal Government because the Federal Government cannot be sued in regular court.
The Territorial Courts These courts serve the same purpose in the U.S. territories as district courts do inside the U.S. These courts exist in the Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Marianas
The District of Columbia Courts Because Washington, D.C. does not belong to any state, Congress has the power to create local courts in D.C. that serve the same purpose as state and local courts in other areas.
The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces In 1789 Congress created a system of military courts for each branch of the nation’s armed forces. These courts have the power of court-martial. A court composed of military personnel for the trial of those accused of violating military law. Appeals from a court-martial are heard in the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. This court is a civilian tribunal. A court operating as part of the judicial branch, entirely separate from the military establishment.
The Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Has the power to hear appeals from the decisions of the Board of Veterans Appeals in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Hears cases in which individuals claim that the VA has denied or otherwise mishandled valid claims for veterans’ benefits.
U.S. Tax Courts The Tax Court has 19 judges that serve for 15-year terms. Hears civil but not criminal cases involving disputes over the application of the tax laws.