the courts american legal system

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question: in a 2 page essay, please explain the impact that the supreme court has on american democracy

i would need to do this essay for wednesday match 18th




1. what is jurisdiction? the legal authority or power of a court to hear specific kinds of cases.


2. what are the three types of jurisdiction? a.) subject matter jurisdiction which refers to the type of case the court has authority to hear. (usually misdemeanors and preliminary hearings are processed or conducted by courts of limited jurisdiction-more minor cases/infractions; cases of smaller amounts…$499. a case of $500. or more will be heard in general jurisdiction.)
b.) geographic jurisdiction is determined by the political boundaries where the crime was committed. criminal courts hear more serious criminal cases. c.) hierarchical jurisdiction highlights the distinctions between trial and appellate courts. trial courts are usually referred to as courts of fact, whereas appellate courts are referred to as courts of law. appellate courts determine if the law was applied correctly and trial courts here evidence presented by both sides, and determine guilt or innocence, and hand out sentences.


3. what is the jurisdiction of federal courts? federal district courts were given jurisdiction in all civil and criminal cases. (circuit courts review decisions of federal district courts, and had limited jurisdiction; supreme court was given jurisdiction that included the interpretation of federal legislation and balancing the interests between the state and the nation through the maintenance of the rights of duties of citizens.)


4. what is the u.s. magistrate court? the lowest court of limited jurisdiction at the federal level. created in 1968 to alleviate the workload of the circuit courts. united states magistrates are appointed by district judges and are either full time or part time.


5. what are u.s. district courts? these are courts of general jurisdiction at the federal level. almost 85% of all federal court cases are civil, and 15% are criminal. each state has at least 1 federal district court and there are a total of 94 district courts.


6. what kinds of cases are tried in federal district courts? all violations of federal criminal laws are tried in the district court. matters exceeding $10,000.; citizenship matters; bankruptcy matters; third party complaints; bankruptcy matters; commerce issues; interstate commerce commission orders; patents, copyright, trademark issues; irs issues; tax matters; civil rights cases; hear cases where the united states is the plaintiff or defendant. there are 13 circuits and 179 judges within those circuits; this includes the courts of appeal at the federal level.


chapter 2 cont.
chapter 2 cont.

7. how do circuit courts work? circuit courts hear cases with three-judge panels and on rare occasions may be heard in en banc-the entire aggregate of judges hears and decides the case appeal. next- the us supreme court.


8. what is the united states supreme court? the highest court in the land, the highest appellate court in the land, is the only court mentioned in the constitution of the united states of america. it has original and exclusive jurisdiction over 1.) all actions or proceedings against ambassadors or public ministers of foreign states; 2.) all controversies between two or more states. original jurisdiction refers to the courts ability to recognize a case at its inception, hear the case, and try it without consultation with other courts or authorities. exclusive jurisdiction means that no other court can decide certain kinds of cases except the court having exclusive jurisdiction. (for example juvenile courts have exclusive jurisdiction over juvenile matters.) most cases heard are on appeal.


9. discuss marbury v. madison (1803). the supreme court is the ultimate reviewing body regarding decisions made by lower appellate courts or state supreme courts.


10. when are cases heard by the supreme court? in order for all of the justices to hear a particular appeal, the case must pass a screening, which is known as the rule of four. this means that at least four of the nine justices must agree that the case has constitutional merit or national importance and that it should be heard by the entire court. if a case receives four or more votes from the justices, it is placed on the docket and scheduled to be heard. roughly 150 cases pass the rule of four and are placed on the docket for an opinion per year.


11. what is a writ of certiorari? cases reach the supreme court through a petition known as a writ of certiorari which is an order issued by the supreme court to the lower court to send the record for review. briefs filed for the court to hear on behalf of other parties (sometimes organizations) are called amicus curiae.


12. courts of limited jurisdiction have the greatest variability among states. they hear cases involving minor offenses such as tr
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