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BLAW chapter 3

The judiciary has two primary roles:
1. courts adjudicate disputes.
2. certain higher courts are charged with the responsibility of judicial review.
Structure of the Judiciary
1. State Courts
2. Federal courts
State Courts
The majority of court cases filed in the United States are filed in state courts.
State Supreme Court
Court of Appeals
Circuit (general authority)
Federal Courts
-The principal trial courts are the U.S. district courts.
(U.S. Supreme Court (DC)
Supreme arbiter of the law
Circuits; complex; political)
Federal appellate courts
U.S. courts of appeal
U.S. Supreme Court
ultimate arbiter of federal law.
Civil Trials
Plaintiff vs Defendant
Rules of Civil Procedure
Contracts, Property, PI, Discrimination, etc.
Criminal Trials
State vs Defendant
Rules of Criminal Procedure
The US Attorney for the District of South Carolina represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the 4th Circuit
Jurisdiction is a court’s authority to decide a particular case based on:
1. who the parties are (personal jurisdiction).
2. the subject matter of the dispute (subject matter jurisdiction)
Subject Matter Jurisdiction
For Federal Courts
Authority over the dispute between the parties is based on:
Federal question (US Const., statute or federal common law) OR
Diversity of citizenship:
Parties from two different states AND
Amount in controversy more than $75,000
Personal Jurisdiction
In-state vs. Out-of-state defendants
If business or individual resides in the state and is served with a complaint
State long-arm statute
Personal Jurisdiction:
Out of State Defendant- (because of defendant’s conduct in the state by:
Transacting business in the state
Committing negligent or foreseeably injurious intentional act in the state
Owning property in the state
Venue is the legal concept that defines the most appropriate location for the trial within a jurisdiction.
Typically, state statutes provide that venue in a civil case is where the defendant resides or is headquartered. In a criminal case the venue is ordinarily where the crime is committed (unless high profile).
Jurisdiction with Internet Business
Businesses’ regular email communication submits them to jurisdiction in the state
Sliding scale to judge minimum contacts determines jurisdiction, from merely having a website to regularly shipping products into that state
International transactions are more difficult and jurisdiction should be determined by contract
a court may hear a case if it has jurisdiction over either the subject matter of the dispute or the parties in the case
if a state appellate court renders a decision on a new issue, the state decision will become precedent for any federal court decisions when the federal court is located within the state and the decided issue is one of state law
if Nevada sues the federal government over the constitutionality of a new federal statue. because the united states is a party, the suit may be brought either in the state’s highest court or in federal court
when a US company conducts business with a foreign company online, US law will automatically apple to the transaction should there be a dispute
a business entity considered a person in terms of assessing personal jurisdiction
U.S. district court
the principal federal trial court is the ___
forum selection clause
an Oregon corporation and a New Hampshire corporation have entered into a contract and agreed that any legal disputes will be conducted using NH law. this agreement is called___
the US supreme court
the ultimate arbiter of federal law is
nominated by the president and subject to senate confirmation
federal court judges are____
and a controversy of $75,000
diversity jurisdiction requires citizens of two different states and ___

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