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Federal Courts and the Federal System
Villanova University School of Law
Samahon, Tuan N.

Federal Courts Outline Fall 2013
Professor Samahon
I.                    Thematic Overview
a.       Separation of Powers – relationship between judiciary and other branches of government
b.      Federalism & Parity – State courts willingness to uphold federal rights?
II.                 History of the US Courts
a.       Declaration of Independence, followed by articles of confederation, US Constitution
b.      Debtor Creditor relations important in the period
c.       Federalists Favored representative institutions in which enlightened leaders would be at least partially insulated from and reasonably asked to rise above the play of passions and factional interests that characterized state and local politics. 
                                                              i.      6 categories of decisions RE federal courts
1.      should be a federal judicial power operating like the legislative and executive powers upon both states and individuals
2.      power should be vested in supreme court and such inferior federal courts as the congress might establish
3.      the judiciary should be independent as the lot of humanity will admit
4.      its power should be judicial only but should include power to pass upon constitutionality of both state and federal legislation
5.      that power should extend to nine specified classes of cases
6.      in certain cases, SCOTUS should have original jurisdiction, remainder appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact.
                                                            ii.      Rejection of extra-judicial functions for judges (such as a council for revision to review legislation)
                                                          iii.      Judicial review assumed
                                                          iv.      Scope of jurisdiction: §2,
1.      Federal Question, disputes relating to foreign affairs, disputes between states, diversity jurisdiction
III.               Structure of Article III
a.       Text: §1: ““The 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 judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their officers during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office”
1.       §2: Jurisdiction (see below): Text: “The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority – to all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consults; to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction; to controversies to which the United States shall be a party; to controversies between two or more states; between a state and citizens of another state; between citizens of different states; between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states, and between a state, or the citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens or subjects . . . “
a)      Scope of judicial power
(1)  Extends to cases and controversies
(a)   Traditional view that text is enumerated grants of power – sources of potential jurisdiction that Congress could authorize
(b)  Nine grounds of SMJ, but there are others (e.g. supplemental jurisdiction)
(2)  Enumerated grounds are ceilings for federal SMJ – Congress cannot authorize jurisdiction unless explicitly given in Art. III
b.      Appointment – President with advice and consent of senate
                                                              i.      Senate less numerous and more select
c.       Safeguards of Judges
                                                              i.      Salary Protection
1.      Compensation received from congress
2.      Cannot be decreased (but no mention of increase)
                                                            ii.      Tenure during good behavior
1.      Traditional view is that it’s a cross reference for grounds of impeachment
2.      3 interpretations
a.       Impeachment is the exclusive means of removal – machinery & grounds (treason, high crimes)
b.      Use machinery of impeachment but different grounds (need to show not good behavior)
c.       Good behavior and impeachment have nothing to do with each other – good behavior refers to revocation of tenure at English Common Law
d.      Vesting Clause
                                                              i.      Judicial Power of the United States shall be vested – language presumptive
                                                            ii.      Supreme court and inferior courts – madisonian compromise
e.       The Supreme Court
                                                              i.      Constitution doesn’t require 9 justices
1.      Have been since 1869, defined by congress
2.      Chief Justice only officer specifically name
3.      “supreme” relating to inferior courts
                                                            ii.      Jurisdiction
1.      Original jurisdiction
2.      Appellate jurisdiction
f.       Controlling the Federal Courts
                                                              i.      Refusal to raise pay
                                                            ii.      Jurisdiction stripping
                                                          iii.      Pass statutes regarding certain issues as to limit court’s ability of interpretation
                                                          iv.      Creating specialty courts to hear types of cases
                                                            v.      Appointments
                                                          vi.      Impeachment
                                                        vii.      Amendments
                                                      viii.      Public opinion
IV.              Judiciary Act of 1789
a.       Created scotus with chief and 5 associate justices
b.      Created trial and circuit courts,
c.       Circuits staffed by 1 district judge and 2 supreme court justices
d.      Jurisdiction of Districts was entirely original
                                                              i.      Jurisdiction based on subject matter
1.      Cases arising under the constitution, laws, and treaties of the united states
2.      Cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers, or counsels
3.      Admiralty and Maritime Cases
                                                            ii.      Jurisdiction based on party status
1.      United States a part
2.      Controversies between two or more states
3.      A state and a citizen of another state
4.      Citizens of Different states
5.      Citizens of the Same State, Land Grants under different
6.      States, or citizens thereof, and foreign states, citizens, or subjects
e.       Jurisdiction of Supreme Court
                                                              i.      Original Jurisdiction
1.      All controversies of a civil nature where a state is a party except between a state and its citizens
2.      Jurisdiction as a court of alaw can have or can exercise with law of nations of suits against ambassadors public ministers, demestics
3.      Suits by ambassadors or public ministers
                                                            ii.      Appellate jurisdiction
1.      Issue is validity of a treaty or statute of, or an authority exercised under united states
2.      Where is drawn in question the validity of a statute  under any state on the grounds of being repugnant to the constitution
3.      Where drawn in question the construction of any clause of the constitution, treaty, statute, commission
I.                    Marbury v. Madison (1803)
a.       Early Marshall Court
b.      Jefferson won presidency, Adams appointed a bunch of federalist judges
c.       Commissions signed and sealed but not delivered by Secretary of State Madison
d.      Marbury brought suit under Section 13 of Judiciary Act seeking writ of mandamus to force Madison to deliver commission
e.       HOLDING: Court could not hear case as a matter of original jurisdiction – Judiciary act authorizing such jurisdiction was unconstitutional
                                                              i.      Article III enumerated SCOTUS original jurisdiction, congress could not enlarge it

                                                            v.      U.S. v. Ferreira (1851)
1.      Congress directed judges of the territorial court to receive examine and adjudge claims for losses by Spanish citizens in Florida
2.      SCOTUS dismissed appeal – judge acting administratively, not judicially
                                                          vi.      U.S. v. Klein (1871)
1.      Court invalidated a statute directing courts to dismiss certain otherwise actionable claims against the united states when claimant relied on presidential pardon as proof of loyalty
2.      Court had previously treated presidential pardons as evidence of loyalty/person must be treated as loyal.
3.      Questioned “power of congress to prescribe rules of decision to the Judicial Department of the government in cases pending before it.”
                                                        vii.      Miller v. French (2000)
1.      Prison Lit Reform Act of 1995 – in any civil action with respect to prison conditions, a defendant shall be entitled to immediate termination of any prospective relief If the relief was approved or granted in the absence of a finding by the court that the relief extends no further than necessary to correct the violation of the federal right…
2.      RULE: (5-4) nothing in plaut or hayburn’s case restricted congress’s authority to alter the prospective effect of previously entered injunctions.  Rather, where bast cases established where congress validly alters the substantive law on which an injunction was predicated, entitlement to the injunction lapses without congress’ having impermissibly revised a final judgment.
b.      Collusion:
                                                              i.      Attempt to have court use its judicial power in the absence of an actual case or controversy
                                                            ii.      United States v. Johnson
1.      Landloard wanted to challenge emergency price stabilization act, so paid renter to sue him
2.      Such a suit is not in any sense adversarial
3.      Requires “honest and antagonistic assertion of rights”
4.      Whenever in the course of litigation such a defect in the proceedings is brought to the court’s attention, it may set aside any adjudication thus procured and dismiss the cause without entering judgment on the merits.
                                                          iii.      Doesn’t prohibit test cases (evers v. dweyer: black guy got on a bus only once ever, refused to sit in the rear, got off, brought a class action suit for a declaratory judgment.  SCOTUS held justiciable)
                                                          iv.      Test cases framed by congress
1.      Muskrat v. United States: Congress specifically authorized suit of party against government
2.      HOLDING: This attempt to obtain a judicial declaration of the validaty of the act of Congress is not presented in a case or controversy to which judicial power extends
3.      RULE: Right to declare a law unconstitutional arises because an act of congress relied upon by one or the other of such parties in determining their rights is in conflict with the fundamental law.
                                                            v.      Parties in agreement
1.      Moore v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Bd. Of Educ. (1971)
a.       Both parties wanted an anti-busing statute held constitutional
b.      RULE when parties desire same remedy: no Article III case or controversy