Ch 6: The U.S. Court System

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons to learn more about the U.S. court system, including its origins and duties. These learning materials also include online self-assessments that can help you determine how well you understood the materials.

The U.S. Court System - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

An instructor will lead you through the primary components of the U.S. court system in this series of video lessons. Your lessons will include an exploration of the different kinds of court systems, key ideas in law, and duties of courtroom attendees, depending on their role. At the end of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Describe the history of the U.S. court system
  • Define the dual-court system
  • Define the federal court system
  • Discuss differences among the state and federal court systems
  • Explain key concepts, like long arm statutes and appellate jurisdiction

Video Objective
American Courts: History, Development & the Dual-Court System Outline the history of the U.S. court system, including the dual-court system
The Court System: Trial, Appellate & Supreme Court Describe the three types of courts; identify similarities and differences among them
The 3 Levels of the Federal Court System: Structure and Organization Describe federal court system levels and how they operate
Overview of the U.S. Supreme Court Describe the duties and responsibilities of the Supreme Court; define the concept of 'writ of certiorari', and explain why there are nine justices
State Court System: Structure & Overview Discuss how and why state courts differ from each other, and how and why each state's court system is similar to the federal court system
Long Arm Statute: Definition & Example Explain what a long arm statute is, and discuss its role within the context of a real-world legal case
Court Functions: Original and Appellate Jurisdiction Explain the concepts of original jurisdiction and appellate jurisdiction
Subject Matter Jurisdiction: Federal, State and Concurrent Differentiate among three kinds of subject matter jurisdiction and illustrate points with real-world examples
Jurisdiction over Property: Definition & Lesson Discuss this legal concept
What is the Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court? Describe original jurisdiction and limits on the Supreme Court
How Venue is Determined for a Court Case Explain how it's decided where court cases are heard
Courtroom Participants: Roles of Legal Members, Non-Legal Members & Interested Parties Identify and explain the presence of people typically found in the courtroom while a case is being heard

12 Lessons in Chapter 6: The U.S. Court System
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
American Courts: History, Development & The Dual-Court System

1. American Courts: History, Development & The Dual-Court System

In this lesson, you'll consider the history of the court system in the United States and how two distinct parts developed in the early years of the country. You'll learn about debates among legislators and the significant laws they established.

The Court System: Trial, Appellate & Supreme Court

2. 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

3. 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.

Overview of the US Supreme Court

4. Overview of the US Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court justices reside over cases involving original jurisdiction under certain circumstances and appellate jurisdiction when a decision from a lower court involving constitutional law is at issue. Appellate cases require a writ of certiorari requesting permission to address this court.

State Court System: Structure & Overview

5. State Court System: Structure & Overview

There is no uniform structure to the State Court System. Each state has its own system but most states operate similarly to the Federal Court System in that there are several levels of courts including trial courts, intermediate appellate courts and supreme courts.

Long Arm Statute: Definition & Example

6. Long Arm Statute: Definition & Example

Long-arm statute refers to the jurisdiction a court has over out-of-state defendant corporations. International Shoe v. State of Washington was a landmark case that set precedent for establishing the right for government to use the long-arm statute to bring an action against a defendant corporation.

Court Functions: Original and Appellate Jurisdiction

7. Court Functions: Original and Appellate Jurisdiction

Courts exercise two types of jurisdiction over cases: original jurisdiction and appellate jurisdiction for cases previously heard in a lower court. Judges have the option, when hearing an appeals case, to reverse or remand a decision based on a violation of law like abuse of discretion.

Subject Matter Jurisdiction: Federal, State and Concurrent

8. Subject Matter Jurisdiction: Federal, State and Concurrent

One of the ways a court determines whether a case will be heard is based on subject matter jurisdiction. We will explore several factors that determine subject matter jurisdiction in state and federal courts, including concurrent subject matter jurisdiction.

Jurisdiction over Property: Definition & Types

9. Jurisdiction over Property: Definition & Types

In rem and quasi in rem jurisdiction give a court power over property. The court's power over the property can be used as leverage or as a means of satisfying a civil action against a defendant. The conditions that are required determine the court's ability to exercise both types of jurisdiction of property.

What is the Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court?

10. What is the Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court?

The U.S. Supreme Court exercises a right to preside over specific cases and is considered the court of original jurisdiction based on subject-matter jurisdiction. It is considered an appellate court for cases involving constitutional law under certain circumstances.

How Venue is Determined for a Court Case

11. How Venue is Determined for a Court Case

Venue is the location where a civil or criminal case is decided. The venue is decided similarly in civil and criminal trials. However, the venue is decided differently in state and federal courts.

Courtroom Participants: Professional & Non-Professional Members

12. Courtroom Participants: Professional & Non-Professional Members

Learn the roles of the many different people present at a trial who may be part of the courtroom work group. Find out who is considered a professional participant and who are known as the outsiders.

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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