Ch 13: The Federal Judicial Branch: Lesson Plans

About This Chapter

The Federal Judicial Branch chapter of this course is designed to help you plan and teach the structure and function of the federal justice system in your classroom. The video lessons, quizzes and transcripts can easily be adapted to provide your lesson plans with engaging and dynamic educational content. Make planning your course easier by using our syllabus as a guide.

Weekly Syllabus

Below is a sample breakdown of the Federal Judicial Branch chapter into a 5-day school week. Based on the pace of your course, you may need to adapt the lesson plan to fit your needs.

DayTopicsKey Terms and Concepts Covered
Monday The court system;
Structure and organization of the federal court system
Three levels of the federal court system and what they do;
Examples of cases heard at each of the three levels of the federal justice system
TuesdayState court system;
Power of the federal judiciary
General structure of the state court systems, jurisdiction;
Powers granted by the Constitution, judicial review, judicial interpretation, judicial activism
WednesdayTypes of federal courts;
How the Supreme Court makes decisions
How state and federal courts are related, types of federal courts, including U.S. Courts of Appeals and U.S. Court of International Trade;
How the U.S. Supreme Court decides what cases to hear and how it issues decisions
Thursday Checks on Supreme Court power;
Original and appellate jurisdictions
How the Constitution limits the power of the Supreme Court, with examples;
Definition of original and appellate jurisdiction, how they differ
Friday How Supreme Court justices and federal judges are appointed;
How interest groups use litigation
The process of appointing and confirming justices and federal judges, why the terms are for life;
Ways that interest groups can utilize the legal system, either through litigation or by filing a friend of the court brief

10 Lessons in Chapter 13: The Federal Judicial Branch: Lesson Plans
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
The Court System: Trial, Appellate & Supreme Court

1. The Court System: Trial, Appellate & Supreme Court

There are three separate levels of courts in our legal system, each serving a different function. Trial courts settle disputes as the first court of instance, appellate courts review cases moved up from trial courts and supreme courts hear cases of national importance or those appealed in the court of appeals.

The 3 Levels of the Federal Court System: Structure and Organization

2. The 3 Levels of the Federal Court System: Structure and Organization

The federal court system has three main levels: U.S. District Court, U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. Each level of court serves a different legal function for both civil and criminal cases.

The State Court System of the United States: Definition & Structure

3. The State Court System of the United States: Definition & Structure

The United States has two separate court systems: the federal and the state. Each state has its own set of state courts. This lesson explains state courts, including the structure and jurisdiction of state court systems.

The Power of the Federal Judiciary: Sources & Consequences

4. The Power of the Federal Judiciary: Sources & Consequences

Federal judges and Supreme Court justices make their decisions using different rationales and theories. This lesson explores the power of the federal judiciary, including a discussion of judicial review and judicial activism.

The Federal Court System of the United States: Definition, Structure & Levels

5. The Federal Court System of the United States: Definition, Structure & Levels

The United States has two separate court systems: the federal and the state. This lesson explores the federal court system of the Unites States, including its structure and jurisdiction.

Judicial Decision Making: Steps & Participants

6. Judicial Decision Making: Steps & Participants

A case will go through several steps before it can reach the U.S. Supreme Court. This lesson explains the participants, steps, and decision making involved in the appellate process. We will examine how a case can end up in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Constitutional Checks & Balances on the Power of the Supreme Court: Definition & Examples

7. Constitutional Checks & Balances on the Power of the Supreme Court: Definition & Examples

Our federal government is divided into three branches. Each of the three branches holds certain checks and balances on the other two branches. This lesson explores the major checks and balances on the power of the United States Supreme Court.

Original Versus Appellate Jurisdiction: Definition & Differences

8. Original Versus Appellate Jurisdiction: Definition & Differences

Federal courts can have either original jurisdiction or appellate jurisdiction. Some courts have both types of jurisdiction. This lesson explains the difference between original jurisdiction and appellate jurisdiction in the federal court system.

The Selection of Supreme Court Justices and Federal Judges: Process & Tenure

9. The Selection of Supreme Court Justices and Federal Judges: Process & Tenure

All federal judges are appointed by the United States President, and must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, including the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. This lesson explains the process of selecting federal judges and their tenure once selected.

Interest-Group Litigation Strategies: Ways to Influence Policy

10. Interest-Group Litigation Strategies: Ways to Influence Policy

Interest groups achieve their goals through a number of different ways. One strategy uses litigation in order to influence policy. This lesson explains the use of litigation by interest groups.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
Not Taken
Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
Not Taken

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