August 30, 2006
Page 724 gives an example of how to brief a case. Use this to brief the 1
Structure of US court system:
First look at the Constitution:
Article 3, § 1—gives compensation information
Art. 3, § 2—Judicial power to extend to all cases- the Constitution never says what this
power is, so the Court has taken as much as possible.
In 1803 Marbury v. Madison
John Marshall (chief Justice) set the precedent for showing the Supreme Court
He took an expansionist view of the Constitution
This expansion is now called Judicial Review
This means SC is the one in the Constitution to determine what the Const.
actually says. This seems a little against the whole check and balances.
Art. 6 paragraph 2- The Constitution, treaties, and laws made by authority of the US are
supreme law of the land.
Federal Three Court Structure- Page 23
94 District Courts
14 U.S. Court of Appeals
US Supreme Court
- handle about 500,000 cases- the original court (where the action starts),
typically one judge and a jury if it goes to trial; life time job
Court of Appeals
- the next place for a loser in the DC’s it is known as a Circuit Court b/c
the judge must go around and visit each court at least once a year; the biggest is western
US, includes Guam and other places. It is only an appellate court, does not hear original
cases. About 75,000 cases a year, 3 judges, if you lose w/ three judges, you can appeal to
the whole court (en banc hearing) which is when all judges hear your case; lifetime
- both original and appellate, 9 justices, about 7,000 cases are filed each
year, only about 100 decisions are made each year. Lifetime appointment.
The case for today: Deals w/ the 2
Dr. in Abilene, at home, having problems w/ wife, he pulls gun out, it is empty and
unloaded, cops come out, settle the dispute,
Standard procedure- restraining order, and no contact w/ guns.
He claims they cannot take away his 2
amendment right, he was convicted and is now a
The Supreme Court interprets the word militia to mean the national guard, however
recent historical has found that the militia at the time of the Constitution was able bodied
US v. Miller
Amendment states that gun ownership is a state issue.
Morton Grove v. Illinois bans gun ownership in the city
Another place made it mandatory to own guns.
Judge Sam Cummings- Federal Dis. Court Judge- he ruled for the doctor and gave him
back his right to bear arms.