The Hierarchical Structure Of The Federal Court System

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Judicial Systems A. Hierarchical Structure The Federal Court System The Federal Court system in the United States consists of The Supreme Court, The Circuit Courts of Appeals, and The District Courts. Article III, Section I of The United States Constitution created The Supreme Court and granted congress the authority to create the lower federal courts. The Supreme Court is the highest court in The United States and is often referred to as the “court of last resort”, because no court can overrule their decisions. They have the power to decide appeals on all brought forth in federal court or those brought forth in a state court that deal with federal law (Hogan, 2010). The primary role of The Supreme Court is to maintain judicial consistency…show more content…
Another difference between the two are their jurisdictions, or their extent of power to make legal decisions or judgements. For example, there are certain types of disputes between states, legal issues that span multiple states like large class action lawsuits, or Interstate crimes like kidnapping or sex trafficking, that would not be amenable to the state courts and must be handled in the federal courts. The caseloads between to two are also different, federal courts have fewer cases, when compared to the much heavier case load found in the state courts. The penalties that are imposed between the two also differ in that, at the federal level they impose much stiffer penalties, than the penalties found at the state level. Having all these differences is ok and is important because it allows for checks and balances to occur, in which in many cases provides for judicial consistency and fairness. It also benefits both systems because it helps them be more efficient in deciding law. The lower courts can focus on the heavier caseloads, and the cases that give them the ability to shape laws, decisions, and resources that can impact their local communities. The higher courts can focus on the more complex issues and cases, such as those that deal with…show more content…
The circuit courts are the trial courts and have general jurisdiction, and handle major criminal cases like rape, murder, and other serious crimes, but also hear cases that tend to be family matters like divorce, and child custody disputes. The district courts are the appellate courts and have appellate jurisdiction, to affirm, modify, reverse or send back a ruling for retrial. The state supreme court is the state’s highest court and has appellate jurisdiction in matter concerning capital cases, discretionary review on district court decisions, determines validity of statues, reviews bond validations, and reviews public utility cases regrading rates. They also have original jurisdiction for state constitutional questions, advisory opinions to the governor, setting rules regarding practice of law, and regulating the admission and discipline of lawyers. The impact subject matter jurisdiction has on the efficiency of the court systems is that it allows the legal process to flow smoothly. In either level federal or state, it allows for the lower courts to handle the “in/out” cases, so that the higher courts can focus on the more important decisions in the bigger cases regarding constitutional or State

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