Ch 10: The Federal Judicial Branch of Government

About This Chapter

Watch online video lessons to learn about the federal judiciary, state court systems, appellate jurisdiction and more. Each lesson is accompanied by a short multiple-choice quiz you can use to check your understanding of these topics.

The Federal Judicial Branch of Government - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

If you'd like some help sorting out the differences between federal and state courts, this chapter is for you. In addition to the structure of the federal judicial branch, instructors discuss landmark court decisions to familiarize you with the types of cases that can make their way from state courts and the U.S. Court of Appeals all the way up to the Supreme Court. You might also find these lessons useful if you're looking to assess the effect of court decisions on public policy. Listed below are just some of the topics covered in this chapter:

  • Structure of the federal court system
  • Powers granted to the Supreme Court
  • Appointment processes for federal judges
  • Supreme Court decision-making procedures
  • The use of litigation as a political strategy
  • Jurisdiction of the state court system

Video Objectives
The Court System: Trial, Appellate & Supreme Court Differentiate between the functions of criminal and civil trial courts, the appellate court and the Supreme Court.
The 3 Levels of the Federal Court System: Structure and Organization Examine sample court cases to learn about functions of the U.S. District Court, the intermediate U.S. Court of Appeals and the court of last resort, the Supreme Court.
The State Court System of the United States: Definition & Structure Describe the jurisdiction and structure of the state court system. Examine its politics.
The Power of the Federal Judiciary: Sources & Consequences Analyze sources and outcomes of powers granted to the federal judiciary. Compare and contrast approaches to constitutional interpretation.
The Federal Court System of the United States: Definition, Structure & Levels Describe the relationship between state and federal courts. Learn about the structure of special courts, including the U.S. Court of International Trade and the U.S. Court of Military Appeals.
Judicial Decision Making: Steps & Participants Identify participants in the Supreme Court's decision-making process. Investigate procedures for selecting cases, deciding cases and issuing decisions or opinions. Differentiate between constraints of the fact and constraints of the law.
Constitutional Checks & Balances on the Power of the Supreme Court: Definition & Examples Identify the major checks on Supreme Court power, as outlined in the Constitution.
Original Versus Appellate Jurisdiction: Definition & Differences Learn the differences between original and appellate jurisdiction.
The Selection of Supreme Court Justices and Federal Judges: Process, Lesson & Quiz Discuss the processes by which Supreme Court justices and federal judges are selected. Explain why federal judges serve for life.
Interest-Group Litigation Strategies: Ways to Influence Policy Explain interest groups' use of litigation as a political strategy.

10 Lessons in Chapter 10: The Federal Judicial Branch of Government
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.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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