Chapter 11: The Federal Court System
The Supreme Court was created by
the Constitution as a way of balancing the power between the
other two branches of government. Chapter 11 explores the
powers and responsibilities of the federal courts.
Section 1 deals with the
differences in jurisdiction of the federal and state courts.
Jurisdiction is the ability to hear certain cases. Federal
courts are able to hear cases involving federal laws, treaties,
and interpretation of the Constitution. State courts have
jurisdiction over cases involving state laws. When cases involve
laws from two or more states, then both state and federal
courts may hear the case.
Section 2 discusses the
organization of the lower federal court system and the duties
these courts have. Congress created a network of lower federal
courts through the Judiciary Act of 1789. These courts are
divided into either constitutional federal courts or legislative
federal courts. Key terms introduced include grand jury, indictment,
petit jury, judicial circuit, and senatorial courtesy.
Section 3 introduces the
Supreme Court, including its powers and the selection process
for justices. The Supreme Court stands as one of three equal
branches of government and has the final word on all cases
involving federal law. There are a total of nine justices
on the Supreme Courtone chief justice and eight associate
justices. Each justice must be appointed to the Court by the
president with Senate approval.