The paper focuses on the various court organizations and the corresponding function of every court organization as a whole as well as the various functions of its internal elements. Among the court organizations that the paper aims to analyze are appellate courts and trial courts. By looking into the corresponding jurisdiction of each court organization, the paper further completes the analysis by juxtaposing the jurisdiction of one against the other.
With the idea of jurisdiction, the paper also elucidates on the types of cases that each court organization handles and the legal manners in which such cases are decided. Court Organization The system of courts that comprise the totality of the American federal courts are organized essentially by the U. S. Constitution and the laws legislated by the American federal government. Among these courts that function in the American judicial branch are trial courts and appellate courts.
For the most part, federal trial courts are referred to as Federal District Courts which has the authority to hear appeals from lower bodies such as the administrative law judges. On the other hand, the intermediate appellate courts are referred to as the Federal Court of Appeals which functions under a mandatory review process that amounts to the task of hearing all appeals from the lower court bodies. The organization of these two judicial bodies, generally speaking, is more parallel in contrast to being different.
In essence, the differences between the federal trial courts and the appellate courts can be observed from their respective internal organizational composition. While much of the similarities between the two courts can be obtained from their general task of deciding on legal cases, their distinctive features on how they are to specifically function substantiates their individual characteristics and separates their roles despite their apparent overlapping similarities as we shall see later.
What is important to note at this point is to bear in mind that appellate courts and trial courts, specifically in a federal government, have separate functions amidst the parallel characteristics that one may observe from the two. The conception of these two distinct but seemingly parallel courts can be traced from the evolution of the judicial system of the United States. Much of the written historical basis for establishing a judicial system can be extracted from the Constitution of the United States of America.
The history of the American judiciary includes the Judiciary Act of 1789 which created a Supreme Court composed of one chief justice as well as five associate justices. In essence, the Act established the judiciary arm of the American government which also defined the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction. Among these jurisdictions include, but is not limited to, the appellate jurisdiction over larger civil cases as well as cases wherein state courts ruled over federal statutes.
The Act also provided the composition of the lower district courts, which amounted to thirteen back then, as well as the proposition that the Supreme Court can resolve conflicts between states and that the judgment of the Supreme Court is final (“The Judiciary Act of 1789,” 1999). From the Judiciary Act of 1789, District Courts were established which had judicial responsibility over their respective districts. As these district courts were divided into circuits, the jurisdictions of these courts were divided as well according to the circuits they belong.
Federal District Courts Being the general courts of the court system of America, federal district courts are the courts where both criminal and civil cases are filed. This can also be taken from the fact that federal district courts were conceived as a court both of equity and of law. Each of these courts spread across the various judicial districts unique for every state are formally named after the district where the court has jurisdiction such as the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York for instance.
United States district judges are judges of the district courts of the federal government where their total numbers for every district court are defined by Congress in connection with the Judicial Code. Under Article 3, federal district judges are appointed throughout their life in their position where they can be removed involuntarily from their position in factual instances where they breach the standard of ‘good behavior’. This involuntary removal from office can be obtained through an impeachment process initiated by the House of Representatives proceeded by a trial in the Senate.
After a two-thirds vote to convict is established in the Senate, only then is the federal district judge removed from his or her office. Moreover, in order for an individual to file a case in the federal district court, the individual must be able to provide a substantial justification as to why a federal court instead of a state court should decide on the case. This in turn leads to the observation that not all cases can be admitted by the federal district courts under its adjudicatory powers.
Since not all legal cases can be litigated in federal courts, it is an imperative for the individual to be able to make certain that the case being filed is a federal case if the individual is after a federal case against an individual for instance. State laws are oftentimes the basis for the claims for federal district courts as in most cases the claims under state laws were pleaded and that the sole and primary source for federal jurisdiction is the variety of citizenship. There are also instances wherein the plaintiff has pleaded claims under the state law even if the case is under a federal question.
In such cases, the federal district courts must decide state law claims through the application of the substantial or relevant state law in which they preside even if federal court judges apparently employ federal law for the corresponding procedure. Ironically, the opinions set forth by the state courts supersede the opinions given by federal courts and that, further, a federal court must give way to a state supreme court in matters that involve the interpretation of state laws.
In essence, a final court ruling by any district court in criminal or civil cases can be appealed towards the Court of Appeals of the United States with respect to the corresponding federal judicial circuit under which the district court is situated. One exception to this is that some rulings from federal district courts which involves patents and several other matters that are specialized must be appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. In several rare occasions, the cases may be directly forwarded and appealed immediately to the Supreme Court of the United States.
Federal Court of Appeals The Federal Courts of Appeals of America are considered as the mid-level appellate courts under the system of federal courts of America. It is the court that adjudicates the appeals for cases previously decided by the federal district courts of the United States which is under the corresponding federal judicial circuit. In essence, the total number of thirteen Courts of Appeals in the United States is positioned between the Supreme Court and the District Courts of the United States although there are cases where a case can be appealed directly to the Supreme Court.
As every particular state in the United States has its own structure of appellate courts, it leads to the variations on how cases are to be handled. For instance, the Court of Appeals in the state of New York is considered as the highest court within the state inasmuch as it is the court of ultimate resort within the legal confines and jurisdiction of the state. One exception, however, are cases that pose questions concerning the federal law where they can be appealed from the respective court of appeals to the Supreme Court. What differentiates a federal district court from a federal court of appeals?
The answer to this question rests on the legal presumption that the court of appeals can reevaluate and overturn any previous decision from federal district courts. This is essentially initiated by the instance when the accused who was previously given a ‘guilty’ verdict files an appeal to the federal court of appeals. This can be observed from what has been termed under the ‘due process of the law. ’ The term itself implies the administration of equal laws according to established rules, not violating the fundamental principles of private right, by a competent tribunal having jurisdiction of the case and proceeding upon notice and hearing.
Nevertheless, one must not fail to recognize that certain lower court decisions can be overturned which then presents the idea that these lower court decisions are not yet final. For one, the decisions upheld by federal district court justices can be overturned by a higher court. However, the higher courts cannot instantaneously initiate a thorough reconsideration and cannot simply arrive at a decision—either the court will uphold the decision of the lower court or overturn the judgment—without a ‘formal’ appeal from the accused. For instance, the case of Pell v.
E. I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. Inc. gives us a brief sketch on how accused parties can resort to a reconsideration of a previous district court decision. In the case, the district court of Delaware earlier denied the request of the plaintiff for restitution for unduly payments for pension that are deemed low. In consequence the plaintiff resorted to a motion for reconsideration for the district court which, in the end, the court denied for the reason that the plaintiff failed to discharge the high burden necessary to prevail on the motion filed by the plaintiff.
In essence, the case and the plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration emphasize the ideas: that the district court can look into a motion for reconsideration from the plaintiff once filed and, conversely, that the district court can either deny or grant the motion. In contrast to the function of federal district courts to hold trial and determine the punishment for criminal cases or damages which will be awarded, the appellate courts of the federal government do not essentially hold trials as part of their innate legal function.
On the other hand, these courts merely serve the legal function of reviewing the decisions of federal trial courts for the existence of any errors of law. This conversely relates the idea that these courts merely have appellate jurisdiction. Moreover, federal appellate courts do not accept anything else other than the records from the federal trial courts such as the papers that both legal parties have filed as well as the exhibits and transcripts relating to the trial. The federal appellate courts also consider the legal arguments of the involved parties in the case.
With these ideas in hand, one can note the essential differences which separate one court from the other. More importantly, the scheme in which court hearings and legal cases flow signify that there is a formal system being strictly followed. That is, an individual cannot originally file a legal complaint against another individual or entity in the appellate courts for such an instance is not the definitive function of federal appellate courts. Moreover, a plaintiff can still resort to an appeal to the federal court of appeals once the verdict of the lower courts, or the federal district courts for instance, do not favor their side.
All of this information leads us towards the larger understanding that there is indeed what we call a ‘court organization’ which gives a formal and rigid structure to the entire legal system especially in a federal government. The hierarchy in courts or the court organization in general limits certain legal actions while sustaining the due process of law. While the organization of courts gives certain limitations, it can be seen as a legal tool for securing the systematic approach for meticulously arriving at crucial decisions.
Let us now look into the advantages and disadvantages that come along with the very nature and structure of the organization of courts, specifically between federal district courts and federal appellate courts, in a federal system of government. Advantages and disadvantages It is an established fact that appellate courts cannot simply address a legal appeal without the parties requesting for one. Moreover, appellate courts do not have the legal jurisdiction of hearing trials and providing punishments and damages to individuals and other entities.
Conversely, these things suggest the ideas that there must first be an appeal and that, second, there must be previous court decisions on which the appellate courts will derive their corresponding decision. Hence, an appealing party has the advantage of going through a rigorous examination of their case which ensures that the decisions made until it reaches the Supreme Court are carefully brought into proper attention. On the other hand, the very organization of the court makes it a disadvantage for the appealing party at least in terms of resources.
Specifically, financial resources must be present o as to sustain a continuous appeal for the appealing parties as the case ascends higher into the hierarchy of courts. Financial resources, for the most part, applies very well for the funding of legal battles which come in the form of payments for legal services rendered and other related expenses. In essence, appellate courts, being the courts between the trial courts and the Supreme Court, stand in the way for appellants to go directly to the Supreme Court for a final appeal.
Nevertheless, these appellate courts were not essentially established to hinder individuals from going directly to the higher court but to see to it that lower court rulings are kept in accordance to the law while giving the Supreme Court a lesser task to attend to so that the Court can focus on larger issues that need large amounts of careful analysis. On the other hand, it appears that federal district courts can also legally entertain motions for reconsideration which barely amounts to an appeal to the appellate courts.
Hence, plaintiffs, for instance, have the option to file a motion for reconsideration in federal district courts before filing an appeal to the appellate court once the motion for reconsideration is denied by the district court. One disadvantage to this scheme is that it takes a considerable length of time assuming that the plaintiff is willing to take all legal paths so as to attain the desired court decision. The value that must be noted here is that a seemingly justified and rightful decision comes as several expenses. These expenses, for the most part, come in the form of time and financial resources.
These two elements are exhaustible which presents the idea that either an individual can spend a considerable fraction of his or her life fighting a legal case for the rightful decision or a certain court, the appellate court for instance, can hinder the individual’s attempt inasmuch as the court sees fit. On a deeper analysis, one can observe that if a certain federal district court grants the motion for reconsideration filed by a plaintiff, it translates into the acceptance that, at some point in time, the court has failed to see all the angles in the case and provide the necessary, justified, and rightful decision.
For instance, a federal district court can decide to grant the motion for reconsideration filed. However doing so leaves us the assumption that the trial court accepts its failure to formally account and resolve the legal case. While the courts are essentially expected o arrive at firm decisions bounded within the confines of the law, these courts are not essentially assumed to commit to error either deliberately or unintentionally.
In any case, federal district courts are at the helm or core of the case since these are the courts that primarily decide on verdicts and that the role of the higher courts, in essence, can be seen as something more of a reviewing body that realigns the decisions of the lower courts in accordance to the law. The need for court organization Is it possible to arrive at a substantial decision from among courts if they re not linked in one way or another?
For instance, if the federal district courts and federal appellate courts function entirely separate without having a schematic purpose or correlation, would it lead to a substantial advantage to the people they serve? Interestingly, it can be seen that one of the primary reasons why court organization has been established is to give an ample room for reviewing and realigning previous court decisions in a lawful manner. Although federal trial courts are the primary courts where legal cases are filed and decided, it can be noted, however, that federal district courts are not the penultimate courts where no appeal can be filed.
Quite on the contrary, the fact that these courts allow individuals to file a motion for reconsideration of court rulings brings us towards the perception that these courts may not be entirely devoid of committing to either partially or totally erroneous court decisions. Since federal courts, and perhaps any other courts, are still open to unintentionally committing errors in judgment, there must be at least a scheme that addresses such a situation. Otherwise, any court would hardly be able to correct its own misjudgments or the misjudgments of other lower courts.
Given this observation, court organization—specifically the manners in which federal district courts are lower than appellate courts at least in terms of the scope of jurisdiction—can help resolve the underlying problems that may substantially arise over the course of time. How can court organization be able to help resolve the underlying problems in erroneous court rulings? The answer to this question rests on the premise that, by placing a certain hierarchy among courts and by limiting and specifying the jurisdiction for every court, certain decision can be reviewed and be realigned in accordance to the proper dictates of the law.
By having a form of checking the decisions of the lower courts—for instance, the case between federal district courts and federal appellate courts—higher courts such as appellate courts can see or reiterate that the decision of the lower courts is fitting. On the other hand, appellate courts can also reverse the previous decision of the lower courts. What is important to note here is that the organization of courts, specifically the jurisdiction under which they operate, allows for a ‘refining’ of previous court decisions given the instances where there is an appeal from the concerned party.
Although federal district courts can entertain motions for reconsideration from the concerned party, it does not necessarily translate to the idea that the party can resort to an infinite number of motions for reconsideration until the court has decided favorably to the side of the party. The very idea of court organization gives due importance of an appeal from individuals. This it does by allowing the individual to file for a motion or an appeal yet in a planned scheme.
By ‘planned scheme’, what is being contended is that, from the lower courts to the Supreme Court, the right of the party to file for an appeal or a motion is met by dispersing the jurisdiction of courts to hear the appeal or motion sequentially. That is, the party must follow the sequences or procedures established by the law when appealing. For the most part and in most cases, an ordinary individual cannot go directly straight to the Supreme Court to file for an appeal without having first to pass through the lower appellate courts.
Like in most organizational scheme, a hierarchy of the divisions of the organization permits a systematic approach in handling the tasks innate to the function of the organization. Since the court system of a federal government is an essential and significant portion of the government’s functioning, it is an imperative that the court system must be given due attention. One way to achieve this end is to provide a scheme in which the entire court system will be able to effectively handle its multifarious tasks from the bottom level to the larger degree.
This ‘scheme’ is parallel to a court organization whereby there is a level of court divisions handling specific functions. As we have seen, federal district courts are the courts which receive the cases filed by individuals. On the other hand, federal appellate courts are the courts which receive appeals from individuals seeking a decision that legally favors them. Conclusion The system of courts that comprise the totality of the American federal courts are organized essentially by the U. S. Constitution and the laws legislated by the American federal government.
Federal District Courts and Appellate Courts are two of the courts in the federal government that serve the identical functions of bringing justified and lawful decisions to legal cases. On the other hand, these two court systems also have varying functions. In essence, the differences they have rest on their respective jurisdictions. References Courts. Appellate Jurisdiction of Supreme Court. Suit against United States. (1919). The Yale Law Journal, 28(5), 513. Appellate Practice: Power to Amend Judgments. (1927). Michigan Law Review, 25(7), 789. Constitutional Law. Construction, Operation, and Enforcement of Constitutions.
Constitutionality of an Appellate Court with Final Jurisdiction. (1931). Harvard Law Review 25(2), 187. Federal Courts. State Rule Holding Payment of Federal Judgment Attached in State Court a Valid Satisfaction of the Judgment Not Controlling on Federal Court. (1940). Virginia Law Review, 27(2), 231. Constitutional Law. Judicial Powers. Statute Authorizing Appellate Court to Pass on Motion for New Trial Undisposed of by Trial Court Held Unconstitutional. (1941). Harvard Law Review, 54(8), 1391. Federal Courts. Relations of Federal and State Courts. Federal Interpretation of State Legislation. (1954). Harvard Law Review, 37(8), 1140.
Collins, M. G. (2005). The Federal Courts, the First Congress, and the Non-Settlement of 1789. Virginia Law Review, 91(7), 1515. Fair, D. R. (1971). State Intermediate Appellate Courts: An Introduction. The Western Political Quarterly, 24(3), 415. Grunbaum, W. F. , & Wenner, L. M. (1980). Comparing Environmental Litigation in State and Federal Courts. Publius, 10(3), 129. Haas, K. C. (1982). The Comparative Study of State and Federal Judicial Behavior Revisited. The Journal of Politics, 44(3), 721. J. , G. (1929). Courts: Appellate Courts: Review of Findings. California Law Review, 18(1), 84. Newman, J. O. (1989).
Restructuring Federal Jurisdiction: Proposals to Preserve the Federal Judicial System. The University of Chicago Law Review, 56(2), 761. O’Neill, M. E. (1990). A Two-Pronged Standard of Appellate Review for Pretrial Bail Determinations. The Yale Law Journal, 99(4), 885. Richardson, R. J. , & Vines, K. N. (1967). Review, Dissent and the Appellate Process: A Political Interpretation. The Journal of Politics, 2(3), 597. The Judiciary Act of 1789. (1999). Retrieved September 5, 2007, from http://usinfo. state. gov/usa/infousa/facts/democrac/8. htm Yuhas, G. (1976). Statewide Public Defender Organizations: An Appealing Alternative.
Stanford Law Review, 29(1), 157. Outline Introduction The paper will initially provide the substantial facts and accounts to court organizations as a whole, including a brief sketch of its history and evolution as well as its current state. The introductory part will conclude with a brief overview of the trial courts and appellate courts. Body The paper will further substantiate on the essential attributes for the trial courts and appellate courts correspondingly which will then be used as a basis for the varying approaches trial and appellate courts handle and decide cases as well as the jurisdictions of every court organization.
By introducing these various factors, the paper will then attempt to establish an account of the jurisdiction, including the possibility of overlap in jurisdiction as well as restrictions thereof, for every court organization. The body of the paper will conclude with a paragraph restating the differences and similarities between the two court organizations. Conclusion In conclusion, the paper shall provide a brief rerun of what has previously been discussed to be followed by an account of each court’s jurisdiction as well as the unique roles of every internal element of trial and appellate courts.