The US Legislative System Game - MCQ
The federal court systems are split into three levels: the district court (court of the first instance), the circuit court (first level of appeal), and the United States Supreme Court (last level of appeal). In the United States, there are 94 district courts, 13 circuit courts, and one Supreme Court.
Courts in the federal system differ from state courts in many ways. The main difference between civil cases (as opposed to criminal cases) is the types of cases that can be tried in the federal system. Any lawsuit originating under federal rules, the Constitution, or a treaty begins in the Federal District Court. The term "primitive jurisdiction" refers to this form of jurisdiction. State courts' jurisdiction often overlaps with federal courts' jurisdiction, which implies that some matters may be heard by both courts simultaneously. The plaintiff can choose to submit the case to a state court or a federal court. However, if the plaintiff chooses a state court, the defendant may sometimes decide to "transfer" to the federal court.
Cases based solely on state law can be submitted to federal courts based on the court's "diversified jurisdiction". Diversified jurisdiction allows a plaintiff in the state to file a lawsuit in a federal court when the defendant is located in a different form. For the same reason, the defendant can also seek "expulsion" from the state court. To file a state law claim in federal court, all plaintiffs must be located in a different state from all defendants, and the "disputed amount" must exceed $75,000. (Note: the rules of diversity jurisdiction are much more complicated than explained here.)
Criminal cases must not be conducted within a diversified jurisdiction. States can only initiate criminal proceedings in state courts, and the federal government can only initiate criminal proceedings in federal courts. It is also important to note that the dual hazard principle- which does not allow the defendant to be tried twice on the same charge- does not apply between the federal and state governments. For example, suppose the state filed a murder charge but was acquitted. In that case, the federal government may charge the defendant under certain circumstances if the action is also illegal under federal law.
Federal judges (and Supreme Court "judges") are elected by the President and confirmed "with the advice and consent of the Senate" and "should serve in a good performance." Judges may serve the rest of their lives, but many resign or retire early. They can also be removed from office through impeachment by the House of Representatives and conviction by the Senate. Throughout history, 15 federal judges have been impeached for alleged misconduct. The one exception to life appointments is the district judges, elected by district judges and appointed for a term.
In the federal court system, district courts are regular trial courts. At least one U.S. district judge is chosen by the President and approved by the Senate for a lifetime appointment to each district court. Within the federal court system, district courts hear civil and criminal cases. These are the exact locations of the U.S. Attorneys, who are the federal government's chief prosecutors in their respective districts.
Judges in district courts are in charge of running the court and supervising the personnel. They can continue to serve as long as they exhibit "good conduct," but they can be impeached and removed by Congress. There are over 670 district court judges in the United States.
The federal judge of the peace was given some of the duties of the district court. The district court appoints magistrates by a majority vote of the justices. They have an eight-year full-time term and a four-year part-time term; however, they can reappear when their period ends.
In criminal cases, the justice of the peace may supervise certain circumstances, issue search warrants and arrest warrants, conduct preliminary hearings, release bail, decide certain motions (such as motions to conceal evidence), and other similar actions. In civil cases, magistrates usually deal with various issues, such as pretrial motions and discoveries.
Federal trial courts had also been established for the specific subject area. Each federal district also has a bankruptcy court to handle these procedures. In addition, some courts have national jurisdiction over issues such as taxation (US Tax Court), claims against the federal government (US Federal Claims Court), and international trade (US International Trade Court).
The case can be appealed to the United States Court of Appeals once the Federal District Court has decided. The country is divided into twelve separate areas by the Federal Circuits. The Fifth Circuit, for example, encompasses Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Cases from these state district courts can be appealed to the Fifth Circuit United States Court of Appeals, based in New Orleans, Louisiana. Furthermore, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has national jurisdiction over extremely narrow issues such as patents.
The number of judges on each circuit court varies, ranging from six on the First Circuit to 29 on the Ninth Circuit. Circuit Court judges are appointed by the President for life and confirmed by the Senate.
Once the district court has made a final decision, any case can be appealed to the circuit court (some issues can be appealed through "intermediate appeals" before the final decision). A panel first hears the appeal to the circuit court of three circuit court judges. The parties submit a "summary" to the court, arguing about why the decision of the court of the first instance should be "confirmed" or "repeated". After the brief is submitted, the court will arrange an "oral argument" in which the lawyer will appear in court to state his opinions and answer the judge's questions.
Although this is rare, the entire circuit court may consider specific appeals in a process called a "full hearing." (The Ninth Circuit has a different full-seat procedure than other circuit courts.) A full-seat opinion often carries more weight and is usually only decided after the panel hears the case for the first time. Once the expert group has ruled on a particular issue and "expressed" its opinion, the future expert group cannot overturn the previous decision. However, the expert group can recommend touring the case to reconsider the conclusion of the first expert group.
In addition to the Federal Circuit, several courts have been established to handle appeals on specific subjects, such as veterans claims (US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims) and military matters (US Armed Forces Court of Appeals).
U.S. Supreme Court
The U.S. Supreme Court is the highest in the U.S. judicial system. It has the power to decide appeals against all cases filed in federal courts or cases filed in state courts that deal with federal laws. For example, if the First Amendment freedom of speech case is decided by the state Supreme Court (usually the state Supreme Court), the patient can be appealed to the Federal Supreme Court. However, if the same case were ruled entirely based on state laws similar to the First Amendment, the US Supreme Court would not hear the case.
After the circuit court or the state supreme court decides on the case, either party can appeal to the supreme court. However, unlike circuit court appeals, the Supreme Court usually does not need to hear appeals. The parties can submit a "file adjustment order" to the court to request them to listen to the case. If the writ is approved, the Supreme Court will hear the briefing and conduct oral arguments. If the writ is not granted, the opinion of the lower court is valid. Certiorari is usually not granted; less than 1% of appeals to the High Court are heard by it. The courts typically hear cases when there are conflicting decisions on specific issues or severe errors in the case across the country.
The court members are called "chancery justices," and like other federal judges, they are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for a lifetime. The court has nine justices-eight deputy justices and chief justice. The Constitution does not require any Supreme Court judges, although all current members of the courts are lawyers, and most of them have served as circuit court judges. The justices are also often former law professors. The Chief Justice is the chief executive of the court, elected by the President, and approved by Congress when the position is vacant. The Supreme Court meets in Washington, DC. The court's annual term is from the first Monday in October to the summer of each year, usually ending in late June.