The Judiciary (Article III)

The Judiciary (Article III)
What was the importance of Marbury?
Why was the judiciary known as the “least
dangerous branch” to Founders?
What jurisdiction do the various courts have?
The Judiciary
 Hamilton in FP 78 called it “the least dangerous branch.”
 Federalists: little threat of tyranny; Anti-Feds: threat with life tenure, defining
“supreme law of the land”
 Little on the judiciary in the Constitution: “judicial Power…in one supreme
 Creates high Court, Congress establishes others.
 Judges have life tenure with good behavior.
 Congress can alter the Court’s jurisdiction—the authority to hear and
decide issues in a particular case
 Constitution is silent on judicial review—the ability to review acts of other
branches and the state
Judiciary Act of 1789
 Established three-tiered federal court system
 Can appeal through the system.
 Federal district courts at the bottom (one + in each state).
 Courts of appeals (appellate) in the middle.
 U.S. Supreme Court at the top.
 Originally 6 justices; became 9 in 1869
 Court had little power, few wanted to serve.
 Chisholm v. Georgia (1793) only case heard by Jay Court
 Question of whether a person could sue another state, whether the Court had power
over the states
John Marshall
 Chief Justice John Marshall gave Court prestige.
 Discontinued practice of seriatim, where justices
essentially act on their own rather than a body
 Established federal power over states in McCulloch v Maryland
(1819), which applied the “necessary and proper” clause broadly
 Established judicial review in Marbury v. Madison (1803)—over
national laws; Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee (1816)—over state laws
The American Legal System
 A court must have jurisdiction to hear a case.
Jurisdiction can be original or appellate
 Original: authority to hear disputes as a trial court
 Appellate: can hear cases of review (appeal) from lower court
Cases can be criminal or civil.
 Criminal: regulates individual conduct, enforced by state and national gov’t (case brought by
a state on behalf of the injured)
 Civil: regulates conduct/relationships between individuals and companies (VALUE)
 Most courts are constitutional courts: established by Article III
 Specialized legislative courts may also be created by Congress for special