Court decisions that may be guidelines for later decisions.
- Cases are appealed to them from trial courts.
- Appellate cases are decided by judges alone, unassisted by a jury- both in state and federal level.
- Responsible for deciding factual issues.
- Guilt or Innocence of a person accused of a crime.
- Sets no precedents.
U.S. District courts
- they handle federal civil and criminal matters.
- civil disputes over copyrights, to people accused of terrorism.
- appeal to U.S. circuit courts.
U.S. Courts of Appeals
Circuit Courts (12*)
- Hear appeals from Federal Regulatory Agencies, special-purpose courts and the District Courts.
- Their decisions produce precedents, they are second to the decisions of the Supreme Court.
U.S. Supreme Court
- Highest court.
- 9 justices- 4 must agree on a case for it to be heard by the court.
- Majority rule
- Sets precedents.
- Original jurisdiction.
- hear appeals from highest state courts and lower federal courts when federal questions arise.
Supreme court has original jurisdiction...
- They are the first to hear certain cases.
- example cases: involving international ambassadors, disputes between states and when lower federal courts or highest court in a state rules an Act of Congress unconstitutional.
S.C. Process when cases are not chosen for review but may raise important cases.
- Writ of certiorari:
- -an order from the Supreme court to a lower court to send up the records of the case.
- -agreed to hear the case
- -denied to hear the case.
- Each state has one.
- Larger states have more than one state appellate courts and various trial courts.
- Handle smaller cases, have various courts.
State courts of appeals
hear cases that the state supreme courts have no time to consider.
State Supreme Courts
Hear only the most important cases from states appeals courts in larger states and sometimes straight from trial courts.
State courts have residual jurisdiction...
- they have the authority over all legal matters that are not specifically placed under federal control. Anything that is not in federal question.
- - Federal courts intervene if the state court ruling conflicts with the constitution.
Diversity of Citizenship
Diversity of Jurisdiction
- -when a citizen of one state sues a citizen of another state.
- - federal courts right's to hear the case. May still be heard in the state but at a federal level.