Federal Courts Ch. 14 Federal District Courts Trial courts At least one in every state Total of 94 Federal District Courts in VA Federal Circuit Courts Appellate Courts 11 Circuits + one in D.C. Plus a Federal Circuit So, that would be….13 US Supreme Court Only court called for in the Constitution Usually an appellate court Jurisdiction of Federal Courts FEDERAL QUESTION JURISDICTION Constitutional issue or question of federal law involved Ex: counterfeiting, violation of a freedom, suit against government Jurisdiction of Federal Courts DIVERSITY JURISDICTION Parties of lawsuit are from different states Must be more than $75,000 in damages Jurisdiction of Federal Courts SUPPLEMENTAL JURISDICTION Add on a case (not within federal jurisdiction) to cases that are already filed in federal court Ex.—federal court can hear a claim that falls under state jurisdiction if it is tied to current federal case—for convenience since you’re already in court! Reaching the Supreme Court ORIGINAL JURISDICTION Case begins in the Supreme Court (Art. III Sec. 2) RARE! Reaching the Supreme Court APPELLATE JURISDICTION Federal District Federal Circuit US Supreme Court This is the most common way cases reach the SC! Reaching the Supreme Court APPELLATE JURISDICTION State Courts State Supreme Courts US Supreme Courts Procedures of the Supreme Court Term: First Monday in October through end of June Sitting: Hear arguments & consider opinions Recess: Consider cases and write opinions Over 7,000 petitions are filed in the Supreme Court, but only about 150 are heard each term! Procedures of the Supreme Court Writ of Certiorari written briefs (+ amicus briefs) Oral arguments (sitting) conference circulate/change Recess—> opinions cases handed down Procedures of the Supreme Court Writ of Certiorari—4 justices have to agree to hear a case Briefs—short summary of arguments in favor of legal positions Amicus (Curiae) briefs—”friend of the court” briefs written by parties outside of case with interest in outcome Procedures of the Supreme Court Oral Arguments—each side gets 30 minutes to present its legal arguments before the court Conference—Justices meet in seclusion to discuss case and vote Procedures of the Supreme Court Opinions: Majority (Opinion of the Court) Concurring—a justice agrees with opinion but for a different reason Dissenting—opinion of justices in the minority Per Curium—brief and unsigned opinion Solicitor General of the US The job of the Office of the Solicitor General is to supervise and conduct government litigation in the United States Supreme Court. Litigation: the process of taking a case through the court The US Attorney General also may appear before the Supreme Court if the case is important enough The Current Court! What is their ideology? JUDGES 4 LYF BABY!