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America’s Courts

America’s Courts

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America’s Courts

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  1. America’s Courts Important Terms

  2. Constitution and the Courts • Article III of the Constitution established the Supreme Court (to interpret laws) and gave Congress power to establish lower courts – • Originally the Constitution does not give Supreme Court Power to declare laws unconstitutional • Judiciary Act – 1789 Congress created Federal District Courts which includes three levels: • Supreme Court • Appeals Courts (Circuit Courts) • District Courts

  3. Two Court System State Courts Federal Courts Hear both criminal and civil cases Criminal Case: Juries decide whether individuals have committed crimes Civil Case: Two sides disagree over an issue (land, money, divorce, child custody, etc) One person files suit against another Have jurisdiction (authority to hear and decide cases) in specific areas: Constitutional right being violated Controversies between states Controversies between foreign governments Controversies between individuals of different states Controversies where government is involved

  4. Federal Court System Supreme Court United States Court Of Appeals United States Tax Court U.S. Court of Federal Claims District Courts Central Regulatory Agencies U. S. Court of Military Appeals Interna- national Trade Court of Veterans Appeals

  5. Federal District Courts • Lowest level of courts – trial and jury • Original jurisdiction – authority to hear cases for first time • Hear both criminal and civil cases • Jurisdiction over specific geographic area • Each state has at least one District Court • More populated states have 3 or 4 District Courts • District Court Judges appointed by President (with approval by Congress)– appointed for life

  6. Special Federal Courts United States Tax Court United States Court of Federal Claims United States Court of Military Appeals United States Court of International Trade

  7. United State Court of Appeals • Referred to by many names: • Federal Appeals Courts • Circuit Court of Appeals • Appellate Courts • Appellate jurisdiction- do not hear original cases, only cases on appeal from lower courts • There are 12 U.S. Court of Appeals that have jurisdiction over specific geographic areas • Do not hear trials or have jury – panel of judges deciding whether trial in lower court was fair (do not rehear case) • Judges are appointed by President for life (with approval by Congress)

  8. Supreme Court • Highest court in United States • Has appellate jurisdiction (hears cases from lower courts on appeal) EXCEPT in two circumstances: • Cases involving foreign diplomats original jurisdiction • Cases where states are involved • Hears only cases that question significant Constitutional practices • Judicial Review– the court can review any federal or state case to see if it is in agreement with the Constitution (power was not originally granted to Supreme Court by Constitution, added in 1803 after Marbury v Madison) • Has final authority on Constitution and laws of United States

  9. Supreme Court’s Power of Judicial Review • Judicial Review (power to declare laws unconstitutional ) not established in Constitution • Established in 1803 after Marbury v Madison case • John Marbury appointed by President John Adams as a judge on his last night in office. • Thomas Jefferson does not give Marbury judge position • Marbury takes his case directly to Supreme Court claiming they have jurisdiction according to Judicial Review • Marbury denied having case heard at Supreme Court based on following principles:

  10. Marbury v Madison Outcome 3 Basic Principles of Judicial Review Established: • Constitution is the supreme law of land • When conflict arises between Constitution and another law, Constitution must be followed • Judicial Branch has a duty to uphold the Constitution and to cancel unconstitutional laws. • Gives Supreme Court power to declare laws unconstitutional. • Judicial Review is an important check on the legislative and executive branches. It makes sure both branches are following the Constitution.

  11. The Supreme Court Justices, 2014

  12. Brown v Board of Education, 1954Landmark Case of Supreme Court using Judicial Review In the early 1950s, many students went to different schools because of their race. White children went to one school and black children went to a different school. This system was called segregation. Under segregation, all-white and all-black schools sometimes had similar buildings, busses, and teachers.. In Topeka, Kansas, a black student named Linda Brown had to walk through a dangerous railroad to get to her all-black school. Her family believed that segregated schools should beillegal.

  13. Brown v Education, 1954 The Brown family sued the school system (Board of Education of Topeka). The district court said that segregation hurt black children. However, thedistrict court also said the schools were equal. Therefore, the segregation was legal. The Browns disagreed with the decision. They believed that the segregated school system did violate the Constitution. They thought that the system violated the Fourteenth Amendment guaranteeing that people will be treated equally under the law. They took their case to the Supreme Court.

  14. Supreme Court Decision In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Brown.  The Court found the practice of segregation unconstitutional. The Supreme Court used its power of Judicial Review to declare segregation unconstitutional

  15. Two Types of Cases Law is broken Lawsuit

  16. Heritage Middle School Court Room

  17. Important Terms Defense/Defendant: The accused party Prosecution: In a criminal trial, the accuser. Usually the state or federal government Plaintiff: In a civil trial, the accuser.

  18. More Important Terms Burden of Proof: The duty placed upon a party to prove or disprove a disputed fact Preponderance of Evidence: the greater weight of the evidence Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: the prosecution must be proven to the extent that there could be no "reasonable doubt" in the mind of a "reasonable person" that the defendant is guilty