Video:What Is the Judicial Branch?with Robert Longley
Learn all about the Judicial branch of government and what falls under that category. Here, see helpful information about the Judicial branch.See Transcript
Transcript:What Is the Judicial Branch?
Information About the Judicial BranchThe only federal court provided for in the Constitution (Article III, Section 1) is the Supreme Court. All lower federal courts are created under the authority granted to Congress under Article 1, Section 8 to, "constitute Tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court.
Who Runs the Judicial Branch?"Supreme Court justices are appointed by the President of the United States and must be confirmed by a majority vote of the Senate. The nomination is typically based on the nominee's legal experience and competence, ethics and position in the political spectrum.
How Long Do Justices Serve in the Judicial Branch?Justices serve for life, barring retirement, resignation or impeachment. Since 1869, the Supreme Court has been comprised of 9 justices, including the Chief Justice of the United States. The Chief Justice of the United States presides over the Supreme Court and serves as the head of the judicial branch of the federal government. The duties of the Chief Justice include Assigning the writing of the courts opinions by the associate justices and serving as the Presiding Judge in Impeachment Trials held by the Senate. The other 8 justices are officially referred to as "Associate Justices of the Supreme Court."
What Does the Judicial Branch OverseeThe Supreme Court exercises jurisdiction over cases involving:
- The U.S. Constitution, federal laws, treaties and maritime affairs
- Matters concerning U.S. ambassadors, ministers or consuls
- Cases in which the U.S. government or a state government is a party
- Disputes between states and cases otherwise involving interstate relations
- Federal cases and some state cases in which the lower court's decision is appealed
Lower Federal CourtsThe very first bill considered by the U.S. Senate -- the Judiciary Act of 1789 -- divided the country into 12 judicial districts or "circuits." The federal court system is further divided into 94 eastern, central and southern "districts" geographically across the country. Within each district, one court of appeals, regional district courts and bankruptcy courts are established. Judges of all federal courts are appointed for life by the president of the United States, with the approval of the Senate. Federal judges can be removed from office only through impeachment and conviction by Congress.
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