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Chapter 10: The Judicial Branch

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1 Chapter 10: The Judicial Branch

2 Role of Courts Judicial Branch – Supreme Court and Federal Courts
Solve disputes about laws Interpret the law & decide how it applies to specific situations Two types of cases Criminal – broken laws Civil – disagreements and violations of constitutional rights

3 Role of Courts, cont. Civil cases Criminal cases
Plaintiff – brings complaint Defendant – defends against complaint Ex. Edwards v. Mercy Medical Edwards – plaintiff; Mercy Medical – defendant Criminal cases Prosecution – brings criminal charges Defendant – accused of breaking the law People of the State of Alabama v. Smith People of the State of Alabama – prosecution Smith - defendant

4 Role of Courts, cont. Judge – interprets the law
Jury – decides the facts in the case

5 Role of Courts, cont. State Courts & Federal Courts
Different levels and types of courts (traffic court, divorce/family court, etc.) Original Jurisdiction – court’s authority to hear a case first. Courts with original jurisdiction are called trial courts

6 Role of Courts, cont. The outcome can be appealed & a higher court can review the decision Appeals courts hear the cases & have appellate jurisdiction Appeals courts don’t hear trials or decide facts, just reviews case & decide if laws were applied fairly Can affirm (keep) lower court’s decision Or reverse the court’s decision & demand another trial

7 Role of Courts, cont. Federal Courts hear:
Cases involving federal laws Cases appealed from state supreme courts; these cases must involve a federal law or constitutional issue (Supreme Court hears these cases)

8 Organization of the Federal Courts
Judiciary Act of 1789 – created district courts & courts of appeals District Courts Workhorses of the federal court system Each state has at least one district court Trials with witnesses, juries and a judge

9 Organization of the Federal Courts, cont.
Courts of Appeals, also Circuit Courts Handle appeals from district courts 12 courts of appeals District courts within a geographic area are grouped together into a circuit No witnesses, no jury, doesn’t look at evidence – only decide if original trial was fair & if law was interpreted correctly

10 Organization of the Federal Courts, cont.
Supreme Court Highest court in federal system Final court of appeals for state & federal systems Other Special Courts Court of Claims, Court of Customs and Patent Appeals & Tax Court

11 The Supreme Court Has the final say in the interpretation of the Constitution Judicial Review – power to overturn any law that the Court decides is in conflict with the Constitution Marbury v. Madison (1803) – Chief Justice John Marshall argued that Court can declare a law unconstitutional; established judicial review

12 The Supreme Court, cont. Justices
Nominated by the President, but must be confirmed by the Senate Serve for life or until retire 9 Supreme Court Justices

13 The Supreme Court, cont. Work of the Supreme Court Hear arguments
Choose what cases are heard Choose cases dealing with Constitutional issues Hear arguments Briefs (written arguments) are submitted by the lawyers Each lawyer presents arguments and justices ask them questions

14 The Supreme Court, cont. Make a Decision Write Opinions
Justices discuss case and vote Majority wins Write Opinions Statement explaining the reason for the decision Shows how to apply the law & interpret the Constitution Majority opinion Dissenting opinion

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