Ch 6: U.S. Judicial Branch Overview

About This Chapter

This political science chapter covers essential information related to the U.S. judicial branch. Lessons cover topics including the structure of the court system, the Supreme Court, Marbury v. Madison and the power of the judicial branch.

U.S. Judicial Branch Overview - Chapter Summary

These comprehensive political science lessons provide a high-level overview of the U.S. judicial system. As you move through the chapter, you'll outline the structure of federal and state court systems and review the process of electing Supreme Court justices. You'll also take a look at concepts such as jurisdiction, judicial review and constitutional checks and balances. After finishing the lessons in this chapter, you'll be able to:

  • Assess the role and power of the judicial branch
  • Outline the structure and levels of the U.S. federal court system
  • Recognize the structure of the state court system
  • Identify types of courts, including trial, appellate and Supreme Court
  • Describe the U.S. Supreme Court
  • Explain the power of the federal judiciary
  • Understand the process of selecting Supreme Court justices
  • Contextualize the jurisdiction of original and appellate court functions
  • Summarize the judicial review of Marbury v. Madison
  • Define the procedures of a judicial review
  • Analyze the power of the Supreme Court in terms of constitutional checks and balances

Our expert political science instructors crafted each lesson to be simple, straightforward and memorable so you can review judicial concepts as quickly as possible. To supplement the studying process, we've included self-assessment quizzes and printable lesson transcripts. You can access the material at any time that fits your schedule and study on any computer or mobile device.

12 Lessons in Chapter 6: U.S. Judicial Branch Overview
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Judicial Branch of Government: Definition, Role & Power

1. Judicial Branch of Government: Definition, Role & Power

In this lesson we examine the judicial branch of the government, including the Supreme Court and its power of judicial review. You will learn how the Supreme Court can rule laws unconstitutional.

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

2. 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.

State Court System: Structure & Overview

3. 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.

The Court System: Trial, Appellate & Supreme Court

4. 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.

Overview of the US Supreme Court

5. 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.

The Power of the Federal Judiciary: Sources & Consequences

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

7. 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.

Court Functions: Original and Appellate Jurisdiction

8. 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.

What is the Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court?

9. 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.

U.S. Constitution: Definition and the Judicial Review of Marbury v. Madison

10. U.S. Constitution: Definition and the Judicial Review of Marbury v. Madison

Our United States Constitution is known as the 'Supreme Law of the Land.' The United States Supreme Court determines when other laws are in conflict with the Constitution. This lesson explains the concepts of supremacy and judicial review.

What is a Judicial Review? - Procedure & Definition

11. What is a Judicial Review? - Procedure & Definition

In this lesson, we will define judicial review, learn about its historical background, examine the procedure involved in using judicial review and look at examples of how the Supreme Court has used judicial review.

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

12. 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.

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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