judiciary

judiciary - 10/3/11 The Supreme Court in Politics The...

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10/3/11 1 Judiciary Chapter 9 The Supreme Court in Politics } The Court’s primary duty is to interpret the laws that Congress enacts. } This means they have the power of judicial review: the power to strike down laws that they consider unconstitutional. The Supreme Court in Politics } The Supreme court is largely insulated from politics: } Lifetime tenure } Court of last resort } Restricted interest group activity } Chooses its own docket } But court decisions are generally very political. They often decide important policy matters, and justices are heavily influenced by their own opinions. Court Structure } 94 federal district courts } No appellate jurisdiction } All original jurisdiction } 12 courts of appeals (plus DC court of appeals) } No original jurisdiction } All appellate jurisdiction } Supreme Court } Original – ambassadors and disputes between the states } Appellate } Legislative Courts } Bankruptcy courts, Tax Court, Court of Military Appeals
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10/3/11 2 Jurisdiction } Federal courts have jurisdiction over “federal questions,” which include all matters of constitutional law. } They also have jurisdiction over cases involving citizens of different states. } You can move between state courts and federal courts if it appears that your constitutional rights have been violated in some way and you have exhausted options at the state level. The Court of Appeals map
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judiciary - 10/3/11 The Supreme Court in Politics The...

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