Federal Courts What is the structure and function of the Federal Courts Federal Courts: General Info Three main levels of federal courts (LOWEST TO HIGHEST) U.S. District Courts (Trial Courts: Civil and Criminal Cases) 94 U.S. Courts of Appeals (Appellate) 11 U.S. Supreme Court 1 Original Jurisdiction Very few cases Appellate Jurisdiction Majority True About All Federal Courts Only Supreme Court is mentioned in the Constitution, but structure and power was virtually undefined All federal judges are APPOINTED by the President and must be CONFIRMED by the U.S. Senate All federal judges serve for an unlimited term, subject to good behavior Role of federal courts have evolved over time Marbury v. Madison: Supreme Court under John Marshall rules act of Congress unconstitutional, establishing PRECEDENT of JUDICIAL REVIEW Over time federal courts have reviewed presidential actions as well MODERN JUDICIAL ROLE Doctrine of Incorporation: Role of 14th Amendment [Does Federal Bill of Rights apply to the states? Barron v. Baltimore- Gitlow v. New York- “SUBSTANTIVE DUE PROCESS” FUNDAMENTAL FAIRNESS IMPACT: QUESTIONS FOR US TO PONDER IN NEXT FEW CLASSES How do cases make it to the Supreme Court? How does the court hear and decide a case? What are the various judicial philosophies used to develop decisions? What are the impact of court decisions on public policy? Why has the federal courts, especially the Supreme Court, become surrounded with controversy? Why has the nomination process become so politicized and controversial?
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