Chapter 14 The Federal Courts

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Chapter 14 The Federal Courts Powered By Docstoc
					Chapter 12
         Cases and the Law:
              Types of Law
•   Common law - Rule of Precedent
•   Constitutional law
•   Statutory law
•   Administrative law
•   Case law
       Cases and the Law: Terms
• Criminal cases
  — Misdemeanor and felony
  — Government
  — Defendant
  — Beyond a reasonable doubt
  — plea bargains
• Civil cases
  — Plaintiff
  — Defendant
  — Preponderance of the evidence
• Precedent or stare decisis
             Types of Courts
• Federal courts ( 1% )
  –   Trial (District) court ( 94 )
  –   Appellate (Circuit) court ( 13 )
  –   Specialized Courts (Claims, Tax) (5)
  –   Supreme court ( 1 )
• State courts ( 99% )
  –   Local court ( 1964 )
  –   County court ( 451 )
  –   District court ( 396 )
  –   Court of Appeals ( 13 )
  –   Supreme court ( 2 )
       Geographic Boundaries of Federal District Courts and Circuit Courts
       of Appeals
Federal Jurisdiction and Status
• Original versus Appellate
  – Jurisdiction is the authority of a court to
    hear a case.
• Diversity of citizenship - participants
  from different states.
• Standing to sue - sufficient “stake” in the
• Justifiable controversy
Litigation Flow
      The Lower Federal Courts

•   Courts of original jurisdiction
•   Ninety-four district courts
•   Over 300,000 cases
•   655 judges
       The Appellate Courts
• Appellate jurisdiction
• 51,000 cases annually
• 10% reviewed
• United States divided into twelve
  appellate circuits with 13 courts.
• Six to twenty judges per Court of
  Appeals - usually sit a panel of three.
         What the Courts Do
• Interpret Constitutionality of laws
• Interpret Statues - national and state for
  legislative intent.
• Fact Determination - District Courts
• Clarification of political boundaries
• Education and Value Application
• Legitimization of policy - civil rights
U.S. Supreme Court
        Supreme Court
      Original Jurisdiction
• Case between U.S. and a State
• Case between States
• Case involving a Foreign Ambassador
• Case between a State and Citizen of
  another State
• Case between a State and a Foreign
        The Supreme Court

• Original and appellate jurisdiction
• 7,000 - 8,000 cases reviewed annually
• One chief justice and eight associate
   The Number of Supreme Court Opinions

  How Judges Are Appointed
• Appointed by the president
• Confirmed by a simple majority of the
• Senatorial courtesy
Gender and Ethnicity or Race of Appointees to the
   U.S. Courts of Appeals, by Administration

        Judicial Review and
• The power of judicial review is used to
  define basic concepts as they apply to
  laws enacted by Congress and the
• The courts become lawmakers.
     Judicial Review of Acts of
• Judicial review is the power of the courts to
  review the constitutionality of
  governmental actions.
  — Chief Justice John Marshall
  — Marbury v. Madison (1803)
     Judicial Review of State
• Supremacy clause provides that the
  Constitution is the supreme law of the
• Supreme Courts uses supremacy clause
  to declare acts of the states
• For example,
  — Brown v. Board of Education (segregation)
  — Roe v. Wade (abortion statutes)
  — Loving v. Virginia (interracial marriages)
  — Lawrence v. Texas (same sex sodomy law)
  How Cases Reach the Supreme
• Constitutional jurisdiction
• Writ of habeas corpus
  – court order that requires an individual in
    custody be brought before the court
    showing reason for detention.
• Writ of certiorari
  – decision by at least four justices to review
    a lower court decision.
Controlling the Flow of Cases
• The Solicitor General
  – screen agency appeals before submission to
  – top government lawyer where government
    is involved
• The FBI
  – provides data support for cases
• Law clerks
  – research and assist justices in writing
        Lobbying the Court
• Specific case selection to achieve goal
• Bring multiple cases at appellate level in
  different districts
• Congressional legislation to facilitate
• Use of amicus curiae
Decision -Making Process
  Explaining Supreme Court
• Judicial activism
  – going beyond Constitution considering
    societal implications
• Judicial restraint
  – strict Constitutional interpretation
• Political ideology
  – liberals tend to be activists
  – conservatives tend to be restraintists
  – this is not absolutely true

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