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Understanding the Judicial System

Updated on December 28, 2011

Our judicial system in the United States is one of the best if not the best in the world. The structure was built on the premise that we as individuals have a right to seek restitution from others who may have harmed us including the government. While there are several levels involved in our system each has their own authority which the decisions made can be appealed to a higher level court. This is our right as citizens.

Each state has a level of courts which cases must flow through but certain cases fall under the jurisdiction of the federal court system. Others flow from state courts to federal courts leading the way to the Supreme Court. It is recognized to be the highest law of the land in relation to finalizing court decisions on cases before them. It was established under article III of the Constitution and the authority of the Judiciary Act of 1789. The power extends to all cases in Law and Equity arising from the Constitution. Part of the structure of our court system at this level involves what is called the Judicial Conference of the United States. It was created by the United States Congress in 1922. The members of this conference includes the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the chief judge of each court of appeals, a district judge from each regional judicial circuit and the chief judge of the Court of International Trade.

Many individuals may not even know of the existence of the Judicial Conference of the United States. The principal objective of this organization is framing policy guidelines for administration of judicial courts in the United States. In this respect it can have an impact of decisions made in judicial courts of the United States. In addition to judicial courts the system is comprised of bankruptcy courts, district courts, tax courts and the court of appeals for the Armed Forces and for veteran’s claims. Previously I mentioned that as citizens under the Constitution we have the right to seek restitution against the government. Individuals who have claims against the government have their cases heard within the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. It has been referred to as the “keeper of the nation’s conscience” and “the People’s Court”.

Today our courts are inundated with cases before them and the Supreme Court is not excluded in this situation. While there may be an ample quantity of cases that qualify for appeal to the Supreme Court there are many cases that would be considered frivolous. Any court should be able to reject a case based on its merits if it does not now have the authority to do so within the system. The current problem is not the amount of courts cases in the system but the need for tort reform. Frivolous cases need to be brought under control through tort reform. Individuals have a right to sue for restitution but those who bring frivolous lawsuits should be required to pay all court costs, theirs and the defendant if they were to lose their case. The definition of a frivolous lawsuit is one that would have a lack of legal merit and little to no chance of winning


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    • paoloumali profile image

      paoloumali 6 years ago from Philippines

      I guess most Supreme Courts will have their issues. Here in the Philippines, the current Chief Justice (head of the highest court) will undergo Impeachment proceedings next year.