The US Court System

America has a dual court system, a state and local system existing side by side with a federal court system. There are two main differences between the two systems. One has to do with jurisdiction, the type of case a court has the right to hear. In general, federal courts have jurisdiction over cases involving:

1) the Constitution and federal laws and treaties;

2) admiralty and maritime law (the law of the sea);

3) land disputes between two or more states;

4) the United States as a party;

5) citizens of different states as litigants;

6) diplomats.

State and local courts have jurisdiction over all other The US Court System types of legal controversies arising under the state law.

The federal judicial system also differs from most state systems in the method of judicial selection and judicial tenure. Federal judges are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. They have lifetime tenure during good behavior. These features of the federal judiciary are meant to free judges from political battles.

In the states judges are generally appointed or elected for fixed terms. The limited tenure and the need to take reelection or reappointment at regular intervals are features intended to make judges more responsive to public opinion.

The The US Court System American judicial system, including federal, state, and local courts; attorneys; police; and other parts of the system, is regularly criticized for a variety of reasons. Some charge that it is too powerful. Others say it is too slow. Still others contend that it protects the interests of the rich over those of the poor. Many complain that the judiciary (especially the Supreme Court) has usurped legislative and executive functions. Some think that judges are unrepresentative of the general public and therefore unlikely to render decisions fairly. These and other criticisms raise a crucial question: Is the judicial system really democratic?

6. Read The US Court System the text one more time and say whether the following statements are true or false:

1) The USA has a dual court system. 2) Federal judges are nominated by the Congress and confirmed by the President. 3) In the states judges are usually appointed for life during their good behavior. 4) Jurisdiction is the type of case a court has the right to hear. 5) The American judicial system is warmly supported and admired by every American. 6) Very few Americans complain that the judicial system is too weak to be effective. 7) Many people complain that the Supreme Court has usurped legislative and executive functions The US Court System. 8) Americans are sure that their judicial system is really democratic.

7. Match the following English and Russian equivalents:

1) appointment 2) judicial tenure 3) dual court system 4) treaty 5) maritime law 6) land dispute 7) litigants 8) judicial selection 9) to confirm 10) political battles a) международный договор b) двухуровневая система судов c) выбор судей d) участники судебного спора e) земельный спор f) морское право g) срок пребывания на посту судьи h) утверждать, подтверждать i) политические баталии j) назначение на должность

8. Answer the following questions:

1. What type of a court system does America have?

2. What do the two judicial systems differ in?

3. What does the term The US Court System “jurisdiction” mean?

4. What cases do the federal courts have the right to hear?

5. What jurisdiction do the state courts have?

6. What is the method of judicial selection in the federal court system?

7. What is the method of judicial selection in the state court system?

8. What judicial tenure do federal judges have?

9.What judicial tenure do state judges have?

10.What are the features of the federal judiciary meant to do?

11.What are the features of the state judiciary intended to do?

12.Why is the American judicial system regularly criticized?

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