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Judicial Branch Chapter 8.

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Presentation on theme: "Judicial Branch Chapter 8."— Presentation transcript:

1 Judicial Branch Chapter 8

2 The Federal Court System
Chapter 8 Section 1

3 What is the Judicial Branch?
Federal Courts & the Supreme Court Works alongside the state’s court systems Only hears certain types of cases (all others go through state courts)

4 Purpose of Courts Use the law to settle civil disputes (disagreements) and decide on guilt or innocence of people accused of crimes “Equal justice for all”: main purpose of the legal system is to treat every person the same

5 Federal Court System Created in Article III of Constitution
Made up of three parts: Supreme Court Appeals Courts District Courts Most cases are heard in the state courts

6 Jurisdiction Court’s authority to hear and decide a case
The Federal Court System has jurisdiction to hear 8 kinds of cases.

7 Cases heard in Federal Courts
Cases involving the Constitution Violations of federal law Controversies between states Disputes between parties from different states Suits involving the federal government Cases involving foreign governments & treaties Cases based on admiralty & maritime laws Cases involving US Diplomats

8 Working with the State Courts
In most of these areas, federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction Exclusive Jurisdiction: only these courts may hear & decide certain cases In some cases, the state and federal courts have concurrent jurisdiction Concurrent Jurisdiction: both states and federal courts may hear & decide cases

9 Concurrent Jurisdiction
Examples of cases with Concurrent Jurisdiction: Cases that violate both state and federal laws Cases involving citizens from different states

10 How Federal Courts are Organized
Chapter 8 Section 2


12 U.S. District Courts District Courts
All federal trials begin in the district courts because they have original jurisdiction original jurisdiction: authority to hear a case the first time Each state has at least one district court District courts are the only federal courts in which witnesses testify & juries hear & decide cases

13 U.S. Court of Appeals (also called Federal Appeals Court, Circuit Court of Appeals & Appellate Court) Appeals Court If a person loses his/her case in the District Court, he/she can have the case reviewed by the Appeals Court because it has appellate jurisdiction Appellate Jurisdiction: court’s authority to hear a case appealed from a lower court There are 13 US courts of appeals called circuits The 13th appeals court has nationwide jurisdiction, meaning it can hear special cases

14 12th Circuit 13th Federal Circuit

15 Types of Decisions in Appeals Courts
Appeals Courts trials have only a judge, no juries They may make one of three possible decisions: Uphold original decision Reverse the original decision Remand (send back) to lower court to be retried

16 Announcing the Decision
When the court decides, one judge writes the court opinion, or decision This sets a precedent for other courts in the future to look at if a similar situation happens

17 Federal Judges 550+ federal judges
President appoints judges & Senate must approve Senatorial Courtesy: president submits name to senators from candidate’s state to make sure they approve Judges are appointed for life Only removed through impeachment

18 Other Court Officers Magistrate Judges: handle routine work
Example: search & arrest warrants U.S. Attorneys: government lawyers Represent US government in civil cases Appointed to 4-year terms by Pres. (approval by Senate) Report to U.S. Attorney General (Head of Justice Department) U.S. Marshal Make arrests, collect fines, protect jurors, serve papers (such as subpoenas: order requiring someone to appear in court), etc. Appointed by Pres. (approval of Senate)

19 The United States Supreme Court
Chapter 8 Section 3

20 Supreme Court Jurisdiction
SC has original jurisdiction in only 2 cases Cases involving diplomats from foreign countries Cases involving states All other cases begin in the District Courts.

21 SC Justices 9 Justices (one is the “Chief Justice”)
Choose cases to hear from many thousands each year Appointed by Pres & Confirmed by Senate All former lawyers

22 SC Justices John Roberts (Chief Justice)
Elena Kagan (confirmed in May 2010) Stephen Breyer Antonin Scalia Clarence Thomas Anthony Kennedy Ruth Bader Ginsburg Samuel Alito Sonia Sotomayor (confirmed in May 09)

23 Milestones in Justice History
First African American Justice: Thurgood Marshall (1967) First Female Justice: Sandra Day O’Connor (1981) First Hispanic Justice: Sonia Sotomayor (2009)



26 Powers of the SC Judicial Review: decide whether any federal, state or local law or government action is constitutional, or allowed by the Constitution SC gained this power after Marbury v. Madison Main job of courts is to interpret laws, or decide what laws actually mean

27 Marbury v. Madison Established power of judicial review
Also, established that Constitution is supreme law of the land In a conflict between Constitution and other law, Constitution rules (“Supremacy Clause”) Judicial Branch can nullify, or cancel, laws that conflict with Constitution. They will declare the law unconstitutional.

28 Checks & Balances Judicial Branch can check and be checked by the other two branches of government Examples: President appoints justices, SC can nullify law, etc.

29 Turn to Page 205 How does the number of cases heard compare to the number of cases that are decided by the Supreme Court?

30 Deciding Cases at the Supreme Court
Chapter 8 Section 4

31 How Cases Reach the Court
Supreme Court conducts business from October-June/July Each month they spend: 2 weeks listening to oral arguments 2 weeks writing opinions/studying other cases 200 cases heard each year (out of 7,000 submitted)

32 Steps in Decision Making
Written Argument: Each lawyer writes a brief Oral Argument: Each lawyer presents his side for 30 min. Conference: Judges meet to decide case. Majority opinion: explains the court’s final decision or ruling Dissenting opinion: written by justice/justices who disagree with majority opinion & explains their opinion on the case Concurring opinion: agree with majority Announcement of decision

33 Influences on the Judge
The law should be the most important influence in a judge’s decision! Stare Decisis: “let the decision stand” means decisions in previous cases should be used as precedent for future cases. The laws should be interpreted the same way by judges. Judges should rely on precedent, but they must also change with the times. Ex. Segregation was acceptable to society in the 1950s, but not in the 1960s.

34 Criminal v. Civil Cases Criminal: person/people commit crime & are prosecuted by the government Prosecution: government proving a crime was committed Defendant: person accused of crime who is being prosecuted Civil: one party suing another party Plaintiff: party that is suing Defendant: party being sued **There are both criminal and civil cases in both the state and federal court systems.


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