courts settle civil disputes between private parties, a party and the government, or the united states and a state or local government, by applying the law and deciding in favor of one or the other after they present their sides.
prosecuting the accused
witnesses present evidence and a jury or a judge delivers a verdict of guilt or innocence
US federal system
federal courts where trials are held and lawsuits begin, and all states have one.
hearing the case for the first time
review decisions made in lower district courts
the authority to hear a case appealed from a lower court
send it back to the lower courts
the court chooses two cases it hears through:
writ of certiorari
current supreme court
8 associate justices and, one chief justice
the power to say whether any law or government action goes against the constitution
marbury v. madison
the constitution does not give the supreme court the power of the judicial review
power of judicial review
1. constitution is the supreme law of the land
2. if a law conflicts with the const. the const. rules
3. judicial branch must be able to determine when a law conflicts with the const. and nullify that law
limits on the courts' power
1. court usually depends on executive branch and state/local officials to enforce its decisions
2. court can amend the constitution
3. president has power to appoint justices and impeach them
4. court cannot that decide law is unconstitutional unless case comes on appeal (only deals with federal questions)
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