The Judicial System

Module 6 Lesson 1 Mastery Assignment

Federal Courts

District Courts are the lowest level of federal court, where trials are held and lawsuits are begun. These have Original Jurisdiction, or the authority to hear a case for the first time.


Court of Appeals is the level above District Courts; it reviews decisions made in the District Courts. This has Appellate Jurisdiction, or the authority to hear a case appealed from a lower court.

Justice Department Positions

Magistrate Judges decide whether the accused should be held in jail or released on bail.


US Attorneys are government lawyers who prosecute people accused of breaking Federal Laws.


US Marshalls make arrests, collect fines, and take convicted people to prison.

Commonly Used Vocabulary

Circuit- the geographical area of a US Court of Appeals


Remand- sending the case back to the lower court to be tried again


Life Terms- when someone can hold office for as long as they would like


Precedent- model in other judges to follow in making their own decisions on similar cases


Opinion- explains the legal thinking behind the court's decision in the case