Week 3 - Lecture Date: Monday, September 11, 2006...

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Lecture Date: Monday, September 11, 2006 Announcements: -Reading for Wednesday -Text, 115-135 -Please hand in student info sheets, waiver and partnership forms I. U.S. Courts a. Federal System i. District Court – the first federal court (trial) to hear a case A. Court of Federal Claims – located in Washington D.C., this is where you sue the federal government B. Tax Court and Bankruptcy Court – these are specialty courts with expert judges C. Administrative Agencies – examples include the IRS, treasury department, they deal with rule making D. How many district courts are in a given state depends on its size (geographic and population). For example, while Rhode Island and Delaware have one, NY has four but they are not spaced out exactly according to geography ii. Circuit Court of Appeals – appeals from district court comes here A. There can be up to 23 judges on a circuit court but a case will probably only be presided by three, unless it is deemed to deal with a more important issue. In this case it can have more judges, like 9 or 15. Such a case is said to have been heard “ en banc ” and the decision of this panel of judges will usually carry more weight iii. United States Supreme Court – the last, highest step of appeals A. Must file a writ of certiorari to get the Supreme Court to hear your case. About 9000 cases appear on the docket each year, but only about 100 cases make it through to oral argument iv. All federal judges are appointed by the President and ratified by the Senate. They serve for life and thus are believe not to be subject to political pressure. A. Earl Warren – Supreme court justice who was best known for authorizing Japanese Internment camps while acting as governor of California. Many people thought he would be very politically conservative justice given his history, but Warren is considered one of the most liberal justices of all time. II. Federal Court Jurisdiction – when does it have jurisdiction? a. Civil cases involving federal statutes – ex: bankruptcy, copyright b. Federal criminal prosecutions – when prosecutions involve breaking federal law like kidnapping across state lines, mail fraud, terrorism
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c. Where the federal government is a party – for example when the government is being sued d. Diversity Jurisdiction – must satisfy these two conditions: i. At least $75,000 amount in controversy – usually pretty clear unless your injuries heal up and you can’t allege loss of wages ii. Diversity of citizenship – means that of the two sides in a case (there may be more than one defendant and/or more than one plaintiff) no plaintiff may be from the same state as a defendant. But all defendants (or plaintiffs) collectively may be from the same state A. Why would you decide to bring a lawsuit in federal court rather than state court? The state laws of a certain jurisdiction will still apply. The court will decide which state’s law has a bigger stake in the outcome of the case. There might be other reasons a lawyer would want to bring
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Week 3 - Lecture Date: Monday, September 11, 2006...

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