The courts that make up the national federal court system includes the Supreme Court of the United States, the U.S. district courts, the U.S. courts of appeals, the U.S. bankruptcy courts and the U.S. courts of special jurisdiction. The U.S. Supreme Court is the highest court in the country.Continue Reading
The U.S. courts of special jurisdiction include several special courts that have specific purposes. These include the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, the U.S. Court of International Trade, the U.S. Tax Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. The U.S. bankruptcy courts are units of the district courts and facilitate bankruptcy cases for individuals, businesses and organizations.
The U.S. district courts are the federal court system's trial courts. These courts hear all kinds of federal cases, including criminal cases. There are 94 federal judicial districts spread among 12 regional circuits. Each state has at least one district court. The U.S. Court of Appeals takes appeals from the U.S. district courts. The U.S. Supreme Court takes only a very few special cases a year, primarily dealing with cases that test constitutionality. The Supreme Court bench consists of a chief justice and eight other associate justices, appointed by the president. Justices serve for life or until they choose to step down.Learn more about Branches of Government
Once passed by the legislature and signed into law by the president, the people of the United States can challenge any law in the courts under the authority of the judicial branch. Laws deemed unconstitutional by the judiciary are considered void. In this way, justices of the courts become the final arbiters of the fairness and legality of a law's provisions.Full Answer >
Judicial review is controversial because an unelected group is charged with interpreting the Constitution and thereby the validity of laws affecting the populous.Judicial review should be void of all political bias, however, the power granted to a body that is not accountable to the public can be seen as an imbalance in the checks and balances intended by the three branch system of democracy in the United States.Full Answer >
Two of the most important powers the federal courts have are both the power of judicial review, and the power of the Supreme Court to overrule itself. These two powers allow the Judicial Branch to keep both itself and the Executive Branch in check, in theory providing a greater level of transparency and democracy.Full Answer >
The Cohens vs. Virginia 1821 decision of the Supreme Court ordered that the Supreme Court has the jurisdiction and power to review decisions of state courts. Ultimately, in this case, the Supreme Court ruled that the decision of the state of Virginia was correct and upheld the verdict.Full Answer >