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Part B: Notes: Chapter 18 “The Federal Court System”

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1 Part B: Notes: Chapter 18 “The Federal Court System”
Section 18.1: “The National Judiciary”

2 Homework for tonight: READ PAGES 506-511

3 A. The United States represents a dual court system
The National Judiciary Courts (The Federal Courts): Court Systems of the National Government State 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 final 2. 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 decision 3. The U.S. Supreme Court: Highest court of the land whose decisions must be followed by both state and federal governments

5 United States Court System

6 Pennsylvania’s Federal Districts

7 The Court of Appeals: Thirteen total (two are in D.C.)

8 C. Federal Court Jurisdiction
1. Federal Courts hear cases that involve constitutional interpretation, state conflicts, matters pertaining to Federal officers, and matters pertaining to representatives of foreign governments 2. Federal Courts have exclusive jurisdiction, concurrent jurisdiction, original jurisdiction, and appellate jurisdiction.

9 The Federal District Courts and Healthcare

10 States in conflict and the Colorado River

11 D. Appointing Federal Judges: The President appoints Federal Judges with the Senate’s Consent
1. Judges of the Constitutional Courts are appointed for life a. 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 should always decide cases on the original content of the Constitution or written law and the precedents that already exist regarding a case a. 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 society a. When this is used, judges shape public policy more

18 How does the following cartoon depict judicial activism?

19 More Contemporary Judicial Activism

20 Judicial Activism: Citizens United v. FEC (2010)

21 F. Court Officers 1. Clerks of the Federal Courts: summarize cases, review appeals, and write the rough drafts of justices’ opinions a. Appointed by the Federal judges b. 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 jury b. Sets bail in Federal cases

23 3. U.S. Attorneys: One exists within each federal district
a. Prosecutes all persons charged with Federal Crimes b. 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

26 Section 18.2: The Inferior Courts

27 A. District Courts: 94 District Courts, 3 in Pennsylvania
1. Hear Both criminal cases and civil cases 2. Criminal Cases: Often use grand juries to issue indictments and trial juries to determine a defendant’s fate 3. Civil Case: Plaintiff files a suit against a defendant 4. Most District Court decisions are final 5. District courts usually exercise original jurisdiction

28 U.S. District Courts

29 Pennsylvania’s Federal Districts

30 B. Courts of Appeals 1. Exist to decrease the amount of cases that exist in the Supreme Court’s Docket 2. Have only appellate jurisdiction

31 Title of the 1885 Political Cartoon: “Our Overworked Supreme Court”

32 U.S. Court of Appeals

33 The Supreme Court

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 States Comprises of 8 Associate Justices and 1 Chief Justice (9 total justices) Chief Justice: John Roberts

35 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 judicial Ultimate 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 Court 10,000 cases are appealed to the Supreme Court each year approximately 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 May 1 Part One: The Supreme Court reads a series of briefs a. 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 Court Files 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 case a. Held in private b. 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 exist a. Majority opinions are important because they are used as precedents in future cases by the lower courts in both the state and federal government b. Majority opinions represent common law

44 How is the cartoonist critical of the Supreme Court?

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