In the United States, judicial power is divided between the federal and state governments; within each court system, a tiered structure of original and appellate jurisdiction is in place. Both the executive and legislative bodies of government exert checks over the power of the judiciary. Judicial power is outlined in Article III of the Constitution.
States and the federal government have their own court systems. The federal court system tries cases involving disputes between states, admiralty law, bankruptcy, ambassadors and public ministers, the constitutionality of a law and the laws and treaties of the United States. The Constitution grants the federal judiciary charge over these matters. Jurisdiction over all other issues are reserved to the states, including most criminal cases, wills and estates, personal injuries and family law.
Within both the federal and state court systems, there are differing levels of jurisdiction. Citizens normally initiate trials in a district court, bankruptcy court, tax court or the Court of Veterans Appeals. Disputes over the decision in one of these courts may be appealed to a U.S. Court of Appeal. The highest court of appeal is the U.S. Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court is not obligated to hear all appeals made to it.
State courts are also dedicated to specific cases, including juvenile courts, family courts and probate courts. Like their federal counterparts, state court systems have supreme courts that serve as the ultimate court of appeal.Learn More
The judicial branch helps to set and clarify rules to maintain a balance in power and control between the executive branch and legislative branch, which are the other two branches of United States government. The federal government contains three main branches of government, which perform separate but complementary and equally important roles. The U.S. Constitution lays out the specific duties and obligations held by the three branches of government and within the judicial branch lies the power to use judicial review to interpret rules, particularly in the areas of criminal and civil law.Full Answer >
Judicial review is controversial because an unelected group is charged with interpreting the Constitution and thereby the validity of laws affecting the populous.Judicial review should be void of all political bias, however, the power granted to a body that is not accountable to the public can be seen as an imbalance in the checks and balances intended by the three branch system of democracy in the United States.Full Answer >
The Constitution requires that a federal judge exercise the judicial power of the United States. According to Article III of the Constitution, a federal judge is to interpret the law free from the fear of loss of employment or diminished pay.Full Answer >
The role of the judicial branch in the United States government is that of fulfilling Article IIl of the U.S. Constitution, which invests power in the Supreme Court. Congress may also see fit to establish other inferior courts. Federal judges are judges for life or until retirement, unless there is an incident of impeachment.Full Answer >