The Judicial Branch

The Federal System

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Different levels of the Federal Court System

There are three main levels in the federal court system:

District court- lowest level in the federal system.

  • There are 94 District courts.

  • All states have at least 1 but some smaller states have 2 or 3.

  • Has at least 2 judges

Appeal court- intermediate level in the federal system

  • Each of the 12 US Courts of Appeals covers a particular geographic area called a circuit

  • They do not hold trials

  • Has between 6 and 27 judges

Supreme court- the highest court in the federal system

  • Has 9 justices

Types of Jurisdiction

  • Original Jurisdiction- court has the authority to hear the court for the first time
  • Appellate Jurisdiction- court has the authority to hear a case appealed from a lower court
  • Concurrent Jurisdiction- two or more courts can hear and decide on similar cases
  • Exclusive Jurisdiction- Only federal courts have the authority to hear, state courts cannot

Federal Court System Responsibilities At Each Level

District court

  • Trials are held and lawsuits are begun
  • Hears both civil and criminal cases

Appeal court

  • Review decisions made in lower district courts
  • There are 3 decisions used by the Appeals Court: uphold the original decision, reverse the decision, or remand the decision

Supreme court

  • Has the ultimate power
  • Enforces laws
  • Can tell the Presidents whether his actions are allowed or not by the Constitution
  • Leads the federal judiciary