2 Essential Questions Why do we need a court system in America? Do State and Federal courts do the same thing?What is the intent of civil law?What is the intent of criminal law?Why is the concept of judicial review critical to the way we interpret laws?
3 The Court SystemJudges are the most important members of the Judicial Branch.Basic Functions of Courts:Apply the law to an actual situationInterpret the law, and determine how to apply itResolve 2 Kinds of conflict seen by courtsCivil – settles disagreementsCriminal – decides guilt, innocence, and punishment
4 Parties: Specified Names Key Terms:Plaintiff – an individual or group of people who bring a complaint against another partyDefendant – the party who answers a complaint and defends against itProsecution – a government body that brings criminal charges against a defendant who is accused of breaking one of its laws (The People)Civil Cases: Listed Plaintiff, DefendantEX: Edwards vs. Techno CorporationCriminal Cases: Listed Prosecution, DefendantEX: The People of the State of Ohio vs. Ashley
5 InterpretationDue to different interpretations of the law, a decision of the court can be known as a precedentPrecedent – a guideline for how all similar cases should be decided in the futureBroad precedents are made in the highest federal courtsMost cases start in State courts because most of the laws that govern our everyday actions are state and local laws.
6 State & Federal CourtsOriginal Jurisdiction – the authority to hear a case firstDetermines the facts in the caseIf one side of the case believes it was a wrong decision, they have the right to appeal it.Appeal – to ask a higher court to review the decision and determine if justice was done.Each state has appeals courtsAppellate Jurisdiction – the authority to hear an appealReviews legal issues ONLYCan uphold or reverse the lower court’s decision
7 State Court Levels 1. Trial Court 2. Appeals Court 3. A court of final appealsFederal Court Cases:Involve federal law (original jurisdiction)Appeals from state supreme courts (goes to the SUPREME COURT)
8 District Courts “Workhorses” of the federal court system Handle 80% of the federal caseloadEach state has at least one district courtOriginal jurisdiction on cases involving kidnapping or a city’s failure to obey federal air pollution standards
9 Court of Appeals Total of 12 in the United States Handle appeals from the federal district courtsNo jury, witnesses, or examining of evidenceLawyers make arguments in front of a panel of 3 judges.Was the law fair and interpreted correctly
10 The Supreme Court Final court for both state and federal court systems Highest Law of The Land9 Supreme Court justicesJudges must be impartialAll federal judges are appointed by the President and confirmed by the SenateServe life terms and cannot be removed unless through the impeachment process
11 The Supreme Court The most important power: Judicial Review – the power to overturn any law that the Court decides is in conflict with the Constitution*Has to be in relation to a specific caseCourt Case: Marbury vs. Madison (1803)
12 JusticesChosen from judges, lawyers, and legal scholars in the countryChief Justice and 8 other justices (Established in the Constitution)Chief Justice earns $198,600/yearOther Justices earn $190,100/year108 Justices have served the court (only 4 were not white men)1. Thurgood Marshall2. Clarence Thomas3. Sandra Day O’Connor4. Ruth Bader Ginsberg
13 Hearing ArgumentsThey hear arguments for and write full opinions on about 100 cases per year (on the most important constitutional issues)The Process:Each side submits written argumentsJustices study the arguments and records of the caseAttorneys of each side present oral arguments (in 30 minutes)Justices have many questions for the attorneys.Decision Time:Take a majority voteOpinions – a written statement explaining the reason for the decision. (Written by the majority)Concurring opinion (agrees for different reasons)Dissenting (does not agree with the majority opinion)