Presentation on theme: "Federal Courts & Organization"— Presentation transcript:
1 Federal Courts & Organization The Judicial Branch
2 SSCG16 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the operation of the federal judiciary. a. Explain the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, federal courts and the state courts.c. Describe how the Supreme Court decides cases.d. Compare the philosophies of judicial activism and judicial restraint.SSCG4 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the organization and powers of the national government.a. Describe the structure and powers of the legislative, executive, and judicial branches.b. Analyze the relationship between the three branches in a system of checks and balances and separation of powers.
4 The Creation of a National Judiciary The federal court system was established by Article III of the ConstitutionArticle III Section 1There are two separate court systems in the United StatesThe United States has a national system of courtsEach State has its own court system that hears most of the cases brought in this country
5 Two Types of Federal Courts ConstitutionalCourtsLegislativeCourtsThe three-tiered system of Federal District courts, Courts of Appeal (originally circuit courts), and the Supreme Court.Article III of the Constitution provides for the creation of these courts.Judges serve for lifeVarious Administrative Courts and Tribunals that Congress establishesCreated by Congress as need arises by power established in Article I of the Constitution.Judges serve fixed terms14-1 Constitutional and Legislative Courts
6 Federal Court System (Article III) Three Tier Configuration Supreme CourtCourts of AppealsAppellant JurisdictionFederal District CourtsOriginal Jurisdiction
8 The Lower Federal Courts District Courts Created by Congress (based on Article III)Political appointment process (strong Congressional influence)District Courts (DC):Purpose & focus: establish the facts of the caseIn most cases => decide fate (end of trial or appeals)Most DC cases are civil cases (80+%) vs. criminal (mostly state)Statutory actions & Petitions from prisonersCivil rights complaints & Tax suitsBankruptcies & Contract enforcement & Liability claimsMain DC job: Apply the law as defined by CongressLittle flexibility (w/some limited opportunities)
9 Courts of Appeal Decide cases appealed from District courts Appellate Jurisdiction (aka: Appellate Courts)Focus: legal issues tried in district or state:Determine if trial was fairJudge applied law correctly(Do not determine facts of case => who does?)District CourtsResult: Appellate Courts have more flexibility to interpret & extend law
10 Jurisdiction in the Federal Courts Federal Courts have exclusive jurisdiction (authority to rule on cases) in all of the following cases:Cases involving United States laws, treaties with foreign nations, or interpreting the Constitution.Cases involving patent, copyright, and trademark casesCases involving antitrust lawCases involving bankruptcy, securities and banking regulationsCases involving law at seaCases involving disputes between statesCases involving ambassadors and other high-ranking public figureEQ 1Antitrust—The body of law designed to protect trade and commerce from restraining monopolies, price fixing, and price discrimination.
11 Jurisdiction in the Federal Courts All cases that do not fall under the jurisdiction of the federal courts are within the jurisdiction of the State courtsSome cases have exclusive (federal courts only) jurisdictionSome cases have concurrent (federal or state courts) jurisdictionEQ 2: Concurrent jurisdiction
12 Powers of the Supreme Court Judicial Review – power to declare laws and actions of local, state, and national governments unconstitutionalRules on appeals from state supreme courtsState Courts have jurisdiction in all cases involving state laws. Most cases are handled at the state level.
13 Judicial Review Judicial Activism Judicial review is the doctrine allowing the Supreme Court to review and overturn laws made by Congress and decisions made by the president.What happens when Judicial Review is taken to extreme?JudicialActivismEQ 3Judicial Activism is the vigorous use of judicial review to overturn laws and make public policy from the federal bench.
14 Judicial Activism v. Judicial Restraint Judicial activists believe that the federal courts must correct injustices that are perpetuated or ignored by the other branches.Judicial restraint is the belief that judges should base their court decisions on written laws and legal precedent, without considering their personal and political opinionsEQ 3
17 SSCG16 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the operation of the federal judiciary. b. Examine how John Marshall established the Supreme Court as an independent, coequal branch of government through his opinions in Marbury v. Madison.c. Describe how the Supreme Court decides cases.
18 Supreme Court of the U. S. Highest Court in the United States: Composed of 8 Associate Justices and 1 Chief JusticeAppointed for life terms by the President, with Senate confirmationHas original jurisdiction (authority of a trial court to be first to hear a case) in the following types of cases:Disputes between statesDisputes involving diplomats and foreign governmentsHas appellate jurisdiction (authority of a trial court to hear a case on appeal from a lower court) from lower federal courts and state supreme courts
20 Establishment of Judicial Review Established by Marbury v. MadisonChief Justice John Marshall ruled that the Supreme Court had the power to review acts of Congress - Judicial Review.The Supreme Court ruled that a Congressional law was unconstitutional, and thus expanded the power of the Court.EQ: 1
21 How Cases Reach the Court Over 6,000 cases are appealed to the Supreme Court each yearThe Court will select only a few hundred to be heardUnder the “Rule of Four,” at least four justices must agree that the Court should hear a case before the case is selected for the Court’s docket
22 How Cases Reach the Court The Court will dispose of half of the cases with a simple, brief, written statementThe Court decides, with full opinions, only about 100 cases per yearMost cases reach the Court by writ of certiorari – an order to a lower court to send the record in a given case to the Supreme Court for its review
23 How Cases Reach the Court “Cert” (writ of certiorari) is granted in only a limited number of casesConstitutional questionWhen “Cert” is denied, the lower court ruling standsA few cases reach the Court by “certificate”Not clear about a rule of law
24 How Cases Reach the Court Most cases reach the Supreme Court through the State Supreme Courts and the Federal Courts of Appeal
26 The Supreme Court at Work The court term begins at 10:00 am on the first Monday in OctoberThe term will usually end in June or JulyJustices hear cases in two-week cyclesUsually will hear oral arguments on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and sometimes Thursday
27 The Supreme Court at Work Written ArgumentsEach attorney must submit a brief.Briefs are the main way that information is provided to the Justices.Briefs, written documents supporting one side of a case, are submitted before oral arguments are heardMay run into the hundreds of pagesAmicus curiae (friend of the court briefs), these are written by people interested in the case but not directly involvedCan only be filed with court’s permission
28 The Supreme Court at Work Oral ArgumentsEach lawyer must be on the approved list to argue cases before the Supreme CourtEach side receives thirty minutes to argue their caseJustices can interrupt a lawyer at any time to ask questions about the caseWhen the red light goes on, the period is over
29 The Supreme Court at Work The Solicitor General represents the United States whenever the US is a party to a caseHe or she decides which cases to appeal to the Supreme CourtThe present Solicitor General is Donald B. Verrilli, Jr.
30 The Supreme Court at Work The Conference:Done behind closed doors and no written records are kept of the proceedings (deliberate in secret)Chief Justice speaks first about the case and lays out his reasoning about the rule of law and how the case should be decidedThe Chief Justice will vote last giving him the opportunity to break a tie, if necessaryQuorum for the Court is sixMajority is necessary for a decision to be rendered4 of 6; 4 of 7; 5 of 8; 5 of 9
31 The Supreme Court at Work Opinion writingIf the vote ends in a tie, the decision of the court that heard the case last, standsIf the Chief Justice is in the majority, he will write the opinion of the court or will assign this to one of the majority votersIf Chief Justice is in the minority, the senior Justice in the majority will serve in this role
32 The Supreme Court at Work Majority OpinionConcurring OpinionDissenting OpinionThe document announcing and usually explaining the Supreme Court's decision in a case.A statement from one or more Supreme Court justices agreeing with a decision in a case, but giving an alternative explanation for it.A statement from one or more Supreme Court justices explaining why they disagree with a decision in a case.14-4 Supreme Court OpinionsVoting Patterns:Predictable positions of Supreme Court justices“5-4” Decisions & the role of Kennedy & Roberts
33 The Supreme Court at Work Stare decisis – let the decision standCreates the rule of precedentDissenting Opinion could be used to overturn some future case
34 The Supreme Court at Work AnnouncementOnce the majority and dissenting opinions are completed, the Court announces its decision and publishes its opinions. These opinions are then used to guide courts across the country. These are judicial precedents.