Federal Judiciary - History

Federal Judiciary - History

Federal judiciary - consists of the nine justices of the US Supreme Court and hundreds of federal judges, all of whom are appointed by the President and approved by the Senate. Federal judges preside over constitutional courts, which include 94 district courts and 12 courts of appeal; and legislative courts, which consists of special courts like tax and military courts.

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From the beginning, it seemed that the judicial branch was destined to take somewhat of a backseat to the other two branches of government.

The Articles of Confederation, the forerunner of the U.S. Constitution that set up the first national government after the Revolutionary War, failed even to mention judicial power or a federal court system.

In Philadelphia in 1787, the members of the Constitutional Convention drafted Article III of the Constitution, which stated that: “[t]he judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.”

The framers of the Constitution didn’t elaborate the Supreme Court’s powers in that document, or specify how the judicial branch should be organized—they left all that up to Congress.


A major change was made only after the expansion of the country across the continent and the unrest of the Civil War. In 1891, Congress created a separate tier of appellate circuit courts which eliminated the necessity of Supreme Court justices traveling to hear cases in different circuits, which was called circuit riding. Since 1891, the structure of the federal courts has remained relatively unchanged.

The modern-day Supreme Court is composed of the Chief Justice of the United States and eight associate justices. Congress also has created 13 courts of appeals and 94 district courts.


The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets, defends, and applies the law in the name of the state. The judiciary can also be thought of as the mechanism for the resolution of disputes. Under the doctrine of the separation of powers, the judiciary generally does not make statutory law (which is the responsibility of the legislature) or enforce law (which is the responsibility of the executive), but rather interprets, defends, and applies the law to the facts of each case. However, in some countries the judiciary does make common law.

In many jurisdictions the judicial branch has the power to change laws through the process of judicial review. Courts with judicial review power may annul the laws and rules of the state when it finds them incompatible with a higher norm, such as primary legislation, the provisions of the constitution, treaties or international law. Judges constitute a critical force for interpretation and implementation of a constitution, thus in common law countries creating the body of constitutional law.

This is a more general overview of the development of the judiciary and judicial systems over the course of history.

Roman judiciary Edit

Archaic Roman Law (650–264 BC) Edit

The most important part was Ius Civile (Latin for "civil law"). This consisted of Mos Maiorum (Latin for "way of the ancestors") and Leges (Latin for "laws"). Mos Maiorum was the rules of conduct based on social norms created over the years by predecessors. In 451–449 BC, the Mos Maiorum was written down in the Twelve Tables. [1] [2] [3] Leges were rules set by the leaders, first the kings, later the popular assembly during the Republic. In these early years, the legal process consisted of two phases. The first phase, In Iure, was the judicial process. One would go to the head of the judicial system (at first the priests as law was part of religion) who would look at the applicable rules to the case. Parties in the case could be assisted by jurists. [4] Then the second phase would start, the Apud Iudicem. The case would be put before the judges, which were normal Roman citizens in an uneven number. No experience was required as the applicable rules were already selected. They would merely have to judge the case. [5]

Pre-classical Roman Law (264–27 BC) Edit

The most important change in this period was the shift from priest to praetor as the head of the judicial system. The praetor would also make an edict in which he would declare new laws or principles for the year he was elected. This edict is also known as praetorian law. [6] [7]

Principate (27 BC–284 AD) Edit

The Principate is the first part of the Roman Empire, which started with the reign of Augustus. This time period is also known as the "classical era of Roman Law" In this era, the praetor's edict was now known as edictum perpetuum, which were all the edicts collected in one edict by Hadrian. Also, a new judicial process came up: cognitio extraordinaria (Latin for "extraordinary process"). [8] [9] This came into being due to the largess of the empire. This process only had one phase, where the case was presented to a professional judge who was a representative of the emperor. Appeal was possible to the immediate superior.

During this time period, legal experts started to come up. They studied the law and were advisors to the emperor. They also were allowed to give legal advise on behalf of the emperor. [10]

Dominate (284–565 AD) Edit

This era is also known as the "post-classical era of roman law". The most important legal event during this era was the Codification by Justinianus: the Corpus Iuris Civilis. [11] This contained all Roman Law. It was both a collection of the work of the legal experts and commentary on it, and a collection of new laws. The Corpus Iuris Civilis consisted of four parts:

  1. Institutiones: This was an introduction and a summary of roman law.
  2. Digesta/Pandectae: This was the collection of the edicts.
  3. Codex: This contained all the laws of the emperors.
  4. Novellae: This contained all new laws created.

Middle Ages Edit

During the late Middle Ages, education started to grow. First education was limited to the monasteries and abbies, but expanded to cathedrals and schools in the city in the 11th century, eventually creating universities. [12] The universities had five faculties: arts, medicine, theology, canon law and Ius Civile, or civil law. Canon law, or ecclesiastical law are laws created by the Pope, head of the Roman Catholic Church. The last form was also called secular law, or Roman law. It was mainly based on the Corpus Iuris Civilis, which had been rediscovered in 1070. Roman law was mainly used for "worldly" affairs, while canon law was used for questions related to the church. [13]

The period starting in the 11th century with the discovery of the Corpus Iuris Civilis is also called the Scholastics, which can be divided in the early and late scholastics. It is characterised with the renewed interest in the old texts.

Ius Civile Edit

Early scholastics (1070–1263) Edit

The rediscovery of the Digesta from the Corpus Iuris Civilis led the university of Bologna to start teaching Roman law. [14] Professors at the university were asked to research the Roman laws and advise the Emperor and the Pope with regards to the old laws. This led to the Glossators to start translating and recreating the Corpus Iuris Civilis and create literature around it:

  • Glossae: translations of the old Roman laws
  • Summae: summaries
  • Brocardica: short sentences that made the old laws easier to remember, a sort of mnemonic
  • Quaestio Disputata (sic et non): a dialectic method of seeking the argument and refute it. [15]

Accursius wrote the Glossa Ordinaria in 1263, ending the early scholastics. [16]

Late scholastics (1263–1453) Edit

The successors of the Glossators were the Post-Glossators or Commentators. They looked at a subject in a logical and systematic way by writing comments with the texts, treatises and consilia, which are advises given according to the old Roman law. [17] [18]

Canon Law Edit

Early Scholastics (1070–1234) Edit

Canon law knows a few forms of laws: the canones, decisions made by Councils, and the decreta, decisions made by the Popes. The monk Gratian, one of the well-known decretists, started to organise all of the church law, which is now known as the Decretum Gratiani, or simply as Decretum. It forms the first part of the collection of six legal texts, which together became known as the Corpus Juris Canonici. It was used by canonists of the Roman Catholic Church until Pentecost (19 May) 1918, when a revised Code of Canon Law (Codex Iuris Canonici) promulgated by Pope Benedict XV on 27 May 1917 obtained legal force. [19] [20] [21]

Late Scholastics (1234–1453) Edit

The Decretalists, like the post-glossators for Ius Civile, started to write treatises, comments and advises with the texts. [22] [23]

Ius Commune Edit

Around the 15th century, a process of reception and acculturation started with both laws. The final product was known as Ius Commune. It was a combination of canon law, which represented the common norms and principles, and Roman law, which were the actual rules and terms. It meant the creation of more legal texts and books and a more systematic way of going through the legal process. [24] In the new legal process, appeal was possible. The process would be partially inquisitorial, where the judge would actively investigate all the evidence before him, but also partially adversarial, where both parties are responsible for finding the evidence to convince the judge. [25]

After the French Revolution, lawmakers stopped interpretation of law by judges, and the legislature was the only body permitted to interpret the law this prohibition was later overturned by the Napoleonic Code. [28]

In common law jurisdictions, courts interpret law this includes constitutions, statutes, and regulations. They also make law (but in a limited sense, limited to the facts of particular cases) based upon prior case law in areas where the legislature has not made law. For instance, the tort of negligence is not derived from statute law in most common law jurisdictions. The term common law refers to this kind of law. Common law decisions set precedent for all courts to follow. This is sometimes called stare decisis.

Country-specific functions Edit

In the United States court system, the Supreme Court is the final authority on the interpretation of the federal Constitution and all statutes and regulations created pursuant to it, as well as the constitutionality of the various state laws in the US federal court system, federal cases are tried in trial courts, known as the US district courts, followed by appellate courts and then the Supreme Court. State courts, which try 98% of litigation, [29] may have different names and organization trial courts may be called "courts of common plea", appellate courts "superior courts" or "commonwealth courts". [30] The judicial system, whether state or federal, begins with a court of first instance, is appealed to an appellate court, and then ends at the court of last resort. [31]

In France, the final authority on the interpretation of the law is the Council of State for administrative cases, and the Court of Cassation for civil and criminal cases.

In the People's Republic of China, the final authority on the interpretation of the law is the National People's Congress.

Other countries such as Argentina have mixed systems that include lower courts, appeals courts, a cassation court (for criminal law) and a Supreme Court. In this system the Supreme Court is always the final authority, but criminal cases have four stages, one more than civil law does. On the court sits a total of nine justices. This number has been changed several times.

Japan Edit

Japan's process for selecting judges is longer and more stringent than in various countries, like the United States and in Mexico. [32] Assistant judges are appointed from those who have completed their training at the Legal Training and Research Institute located in Wako. Once appointed, assistant judges still may not qualify to sit alone until they have served for five years, and have been appointed by the Supreme Court of Japan. Judges require ten years of experience in practical affairs, as a public prosecutor or practicing attorney. In the Japanese judicial branch there is the Supreme Court, eight high courts, fifty district courts, fifty family courts, and 438 summary courts. [33] [34]

Mexico Edit

Justices of the Mexican Supreme Court are appointed by the President of Mexico, and then are approved by the Mexican Senate to serve for a life term. Other justices are appointed by the Supreme Court and serve for six years. Federal courts consist of the 11 ministers of the Supreme Court, 32 circuit tribunals and 98 district courts. The Supreme Court of Mexico is located in Mexico City. Supreme Court Judges must be of ages 35 to 65 and hold a law degree during the five years preceding their nomination. [35]

United States Edit

United States Supreme Court justices are appointed by the President of the United States and approved by the United States Senate. The Supreme Court justices serve for a life term or until retirement. The Supreme Court is located in Washington, D.C. The United States federal court system consists of 94 federal judicial districts. The 94 districts are then divided up into twelve regional circuits. The United States has five different types of courts that are considered subordinate to the Supreme Court: United States bankruptcy courts, United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, United States Court of International Trade, United States courts of appeals, and United States district courts. [36] [37]

Immigration courts are not part of the judicial branch immigration judges are employees of the Executive Office for Immigration Review, part of the United States Department of Justice in the executive branch.

Each state, district and inhabited territory also has its own court system operating within the legal framework of the respective jurisdiction, responsible for hearing cases regarding state and territorial law. All these jurisdictions also have their own supreme courts (or equivalent) which serve as the highest courts of law within their respective jurisdictions.


Supreme Court of the United States

The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the American judicial system, and has the power to decide appeals on all cases brought in federal court or those brought in state court but dealing with federal law. For example, if a First Amendment freedom of speech case was decided by the highest court of a state (usually the state supreme court), the case could be appealed to the federal Supreme Court. However, if that same case were decided entirely on a state law similar to the First Amendment, the Supreme Court of the United States would not be able to consider the case.

After the circuit court or state supreme court has ruled on a case, either party may choose to appeal to the Supreme Court. Unlike circuit court appeals, however, the Supreme Court is usually not required to hear the appeal. Parties may file a “writ of certiorari” to the court, asking it to hear the case. If the writ is granted, the Supreme Court will take briefs and conduct oral argument. If the writ is not granted, the lower court’s opinion stands. Certiorari is not often granted less than 1% of appeals to the high court are actually heard by it. The Court typically hears cases when there are conflicting decisions across the country on a particular issue or when there is an egregious error in a case.

The members of the Court are referred to as “justices” and, like other federal judges, they are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate for a life term. There are nine justices on the court – eight associate justices and one chief justice. The Constitution sets no requirements for Supreme Court justices, though all current members of the court are lawyers and most have served as circuit court judges. Justices are also often former law professors. The chief justice acts as the administrator of the court and is chosen by the President and approved by the Congress when the position is vacant.


History of Cameras in Courts

The new policy stated:
"A Judge may authorize broadcasting, televising, recording, or taking photographs in the courtroom and in adjacent areas during investitive, naturalization, or other ceremonial proceedings. A judge may authorize such activities in the courtroom or adjacent areas during other proceedings, or recesses between such other proceedings, only:

(a) for the presentation of evidence
(b) for the perpetuation of the record of the proceedings
(c) for security purposes
(d) for other purposes of judicial administration or
(e) in accordance with pilot programs approved by the Judicial Conference of the United States."

At its March 15, 2016 session, the Judicial Conference received the report of its Committee on Court Administration and Casement Management (CACM), which agreed not to recommend any changes to the Conference policy at that time. the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council, in cooperation with the Judicial Conference authorized the three districts in the Ninth Circuit that participated in the cameras pilot (California Northern, Washington Western, and Guam) to continue the pilot program under the same terms and conditions to provide longer term data and information to CACM. The following is the current policy for cameras in trial courts:

A judge may authorize broadcasting, televising, recording, or taking photographs in the courtroom and in adjacent areas during investitive, naturalization, or other ceremonial proceedings. A judge may authorize such activities in the courtroom or adjacent areas during other proceedings, or recesses between such other proceedings, only:

1) for the presentation of evidence
2) for the perpetuation of the record of the proceedings
3) for security purposes
4) for other purposes of judicial administration
5) for the photographing, recording, or broadcasting of appellate arguments or
6) in accordance with pilot programs approved by the Judicial Conference.

When broadcasting, televising, recording, or photographing in the courtroom or adjacent areas is permitted, a judge should ensure that it is done in a manner that will:

1) be consistent with the rights of the parties,
2) not unduly distract participants in the proceeding, and
3) not otherwise interfere with the administration of justice.


Introduction

The Judiciary Act of 1789, officially titled "An Act to Establish the Judicial Courts of the United States," was signed into law by President George Washington on September 24, 1789. Article III of the Constitution established a Supreme Court, but left to Congress the authority to create lower federal courts as needed. Principally authored by Senator Oliver Ellsworth of Connecticut, the Judiciary Act of 1789 established the structure and jurisdiction of the federal court system and created the position of attorney general. Although amended throughout the years by Congress, the basic outline of the federal court system established by the First Congress remains largely intact today.


Federal Judiciary - History

  • Dick Durbin (IL)
  • Patrick Leahy (VT)
  • Dianne Feinstein (CA)
  • Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)
  • Amy Klobuchar (MN)
  • Christopher A. Coons (DE)
  • Richard Blumenthal (CT)
  • Mazie Hirono (HI)
  • Cory Booker (NJ)
  • Alex Padilla (CA)
  • Jon Ossoff (GA)

Chuck Grassley

Republican members

  • Chuck Grassley (IA)
  • Lindsey Graham (SC)
  • John Cornyn (TX)
  • Michael S. Lee (UT)
  • Ted Cruz (TX)
  • Ben Sasse (NE)
  • Joshua D. Hawley (MO)
  • Tom Cotton (AR)
  • John Kennedy (LA)
  • Thom Tillis (NC)
  • Marsha Blackburn (TN)

Notes

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Federal Judiciary - History

George Washington Appoints First Marshals - 1789

The offices of U.S. Marshal and Deputy Marshals were created more than 200 years ago by the first Congress in the Judiciary Act of 1789, the same legislation that established the federal judicial system. The Marshals were given extensive authority to support the federal courts within their judicial districts and to carry out all lawful orders issued by judges, Congress, or the President.

The Marshals and their Deputies served the subpoenas, summonses, writs, warrants, and other process issued by the courts, made all the arrests, and handled all the prisoners. They also disbursed the money.

The Marshals paid the fees and expenses of the court clerks, U.S. Attorneys, jurors, and witnesses. They rented the courtrooms and jail space and hired the bailiffs, criers, and janitors. They made sure the prisoners were present, the jurors were available, and the witnesses were on time.

But this was only a part of what the Marshals did. When George Washington set up his first administration and the first Congress began passing laws, both quickly discovered an inconvenient gap in the constitutional design of the government. It had no provision for a regional administrative structure stretching throughout the country. Both the Congress and the executive branch were housed at the national capitol. No agency was established or designated to represent the federal government's interests at the local level. The need for a regional organization quickly became apparent. Congress and the President solved part of the problem by creating specialized agencies, such as customs and revenue collectors, to levy the tariffs and taxes. Yet, there were numerous other jobs that needed to be done. The only officers available to do them were the Marshals and their Deputies.

Thus, the Marshals also provided local representation for the federal government within their districts. They took the national census every 10 years through 1870. They distributed Presidential proclamations, collected a variety of statistical information on commerce and manufacturing, supplied the names of government employees for the national register, and performed other routine tasks needed for the central government to function effectively. Over the past 200 years, Congress and the President also have called on the Marshals to carry out unusual or extraordinary missions, such as registering enemy aliens in time of war, capturing fugitive slaves, sealing the American border against armed expeditions from foreign countries, and swapping spies with the former Soviet Union.

The Modern Marshals Service - Changing with the Times

Just as America has changed over the past two centuries, so has its federal justice system-from the original 13 judicial districts to 94 districts spanning the continent and beyond, and with tens of thousands of federal judges, prosecutors, jurors, witnesses, and defendants involved in the judicial process. So, too, the Marshals Service has changed dramatically! Not in its underlying responsibility to enforce the law and execute the orders issued by the court, but in the breadth of its functions, the professionalism of its personnel, and the sophistication of the technologies employed. These changes are made apparent by an examination of the contemporary duties of the modern Marshals Service.


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