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the authority to hear and decide a case

exclusive jurisdiction

only the federal courts may hear and decide cases

original jurisdiction

the authority to hear cases for the first time

concurrent jurisdiction

either court (federal or state) may try crimes that violate both state and federal law

appellate jurisdiction

the authority of a court to hear a case appealed from a lower court


districts Congress serves

district court

federal courts in which trials are held and lawsuits are begun


when the case is sent back to the lower court to be tried again


one who gives guidance to other judges by offering a model upon which to base their own decisions on similar cases


something that offers a detailed explanation of the legal thinking behind the court's decision.


a public official authorized to decide questions bought before a court of justice

U.S. attorneys

Government lawyers who prosecute people accused of breaking federal laws.

U.S. marshals

security at courthouses, transport federal prisoners, protect witnesses, and pursue fugitives within the U.S. for domestic crimes or foreign crimes.

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