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Vi judicial power a the structure of the federal

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VI. Judicial Power A. The Structure of the Federal Judicial System The only court established by the Constitution is the Supreme Court. Congress was left to establish all lower courts. The Judiciary Act of 1789 created the constitutional courts. These include U.S. District Courts and U.S. Courts of Appeal. Courts have original jurisdiction – the first time a case is heard (trial) or appellate jurisdiction – when the court reviews the legal issues of a case appealed from a lower court. The courts also have the power of judicial review – the power to declare federal or state laws unconstitutional. 1. District Courts 12
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ISS 225 – Power, Authority, Exchange Politics/Government They are the only federal courts in which trials are held. 576 district court judges. Each district court includes a U.S. marshal to protect the judicial process and serve writs. Federal magistrates issue warrants for arrest, set bail, determine whether to hold arrested persons for grand jury, hear motions subject to review by district judge, and preside over some trials. U.S. attorneys prosecute violations of federal law and represent the U.S. government in civil cases. They are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. 2. Courts of Appeal They can review final decisions of district courts and have the authority to review and enforce orders of many federal regulatory agencies. There are 12 judicial circuits; 90% of their cases come from district courts. Decisions are made by majority vote of the participating judges. There are no juries, normally three judges. 3. The Supreme Court The Supreme Court consists of nine justices (8 associate, 1 chief). Size is not set in the Constitution and has been changed several times. Functions: 1. Resolving conflicts among the states. 2. Maintaining national supremacy in the law. 3. Ensuring uniformity in the interpretation of national laws. The Supreme Court has both original and appellate jurisdiction although very few cases are heard under original jurisdiction (cases involving ambassadors and diplomats and cases in between two or more states, the federal government and a state, and a state and a citizen from another state). Most cases come from the federal courts. The number of cases appealed to the Supreme Court has increased dramatically since the 1920s. Cases appealed from state courts must involve a substantial federal question. The Court cannot settle matters of state law or determine guilt or innocence in state criminal proceedings. Important Terms: Government Democracy Politics Power Pluralism Elite/class theory Hyperpluralism Republicanism Federalism Separation of powers Checks and balances 13
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ISS 225 – Power, Authority, Exchange Politics/Government Supremacy clause Enumerated powers Implied powers Reserved powers Concurrent powers Denied powers Grants-in-aid Chief executive Chief legislator Chief diplomat Commander-in-chief Electoral college District courts Courts of Appeal Supreme Court Judicial restraint Judicial activism Political efficacy 14
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