Supreme Court For Dummies

Branches of the U.S. Government
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Arizona — The Court ruled that police must inform criminal suspects of their rights before questioning them. Connecticut protected by the 14th Amendment.

The U.S. Supreme Court

Bush winning the election over Vice President Al Gore. The Judicial Branch, WhiteHouse. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! Subscribe for fascinating stories connecting the past to the present. The legislative branch of the federal government, composed primarily of the U. The members of the two houses of Congress—the House of Representatives and the Senate—are elected by the citizens of the United States. The executive branch is one of three primary parts of the U.

The president of the United States is the chief of the executive branch, which also The three branches of the U. According to the doctrine of separation of powers, the U.

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Constitution distributed the power of the federal government among these three branches, and built a system of checks and The system of checks and balances in government was developed to ensure that no one branch of government would become too powerful. The framers of the U. Constitution built a system that divides power between the three branches of the U. First established in , the FBI has often been criticized for violating the civil rights of Established by the U. Constitution, the Supreme Court has the ultimate jurisdiction over all laws within the United States and is The national debt is the total amount of money that the U.

An executive order is an official directive from the U. Throughout history, executive orders have been one way that the power of the president and the executive branch of government has expanded—to FOIA plays an important role in keeping government transparent and accountable, and has been used to expose a This Day In History.

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What Does the Judicial Branch Do? Judiciary Act of With the first bill introduced in the U.

Selection of Federal Judges The U. Supreme Court Cases Over the years, the Supreme Court has issued controversial verdicts in a number of milestone cases, including: McCulloch v. The Judicial Branch. The Executive Branch. The Legislative Branch. Supreme Court.

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Legislative Branch The legislative branch of the federal government, composed primarily of the U. Executive Branch The executive branch is one of three primary parts of the U. Magistrates are appointed by the district court by a majority vote of the judges and serve for a term of eight years if full-time and four years if part-time, but they can be reappointed after completion of their term. In criminal matters, magistrate judges may oversee certain cases, issue search warrants and arrest warrants, conduct inital hearings, set bail, decide certain motions such as a motion to suppress evidence , and other similar actions.

In civil cases, magistrates often handle a variety of issues such as pre-trial motions and discovery.

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Federal trial courts have also been established for a few subject-specific areas. Each federal district also has a bankruptcy court for those proceedings.

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Once the federal district court has decided a case, the case can be appealed to a United States court of appeal. There are twelve federal circuits that divide the country into different regions. Cases from the district courts of those states are appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which is headquartered in New Orleans, Louisiana. Additionally, the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has a nationwide jurisdiction over very specific issues such as patents. Each circuit court has multiple judges, ranging from six on the First Circuit to twenty-nine on the Ninth Circuit.

Circuit court judges are appointed for life by the president and confirmed by the Senate. Appeals to circuit courts are first heard by a panel, consisting of three circuit court judges.

En banc opinions tend to carry more weight and are usually decided only after a panel has first heard the case. Beyond the Federal Circuit, a few courts have been established to deal with appeals on specific subjects such as veterans claims United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and military matters United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.

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The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the American judicial system, and has the power to decide appeals on all cases brought in federal court or those brought in state court but dealing with federal law. For example, if a First Amendment freedom of speech case was decided by the highest court of a state usually the state supreme court , the case could be appealed to the federal Supreme Court. However, if that same case were decided entirely on a state law similar to the First Amendment, the Supreme Court of the United States would not be able to consider the case.

After the circuit court or state supreme court has ruled on a case, either party may choose to appeal to the Supreme Court. Unlike circuit court appeals, however, the Supreme Court is usually not required to hear the appeal. If the writ is granted, the Supreme Court will take briefs and conduct oral argument. The Court typically hears cases when there are conflicting decisions across the country on a particular issue or when there is an egregious error in a case. There are nine justices on the court — eight associate justices and one chief justice.

The Constitution sets no requirements for Supreme Court justices, though all current members of the court are lawyers and most have served as circuit court judges. Justices are also often former law professors. The chief justice acts as the administrator of the court and is chosen by the President and approved by the Congress when the position is vacant. The Supreme Court meets in Washington, D. The court conducts its annual term from the first Monday of October until each summer, usually ending in late June.

You are here U. Introduction To The Federal Court System The federal court system has three main levels: district courts the trial court , circuit courts which are the first level of appeal, and the Supreme Court of the United States, the final level of appeal in the federal system.