Crash Course: The U.S. Court System


If you have been tuned into the news lately,
well, then you’ve been hearing a lot about courts. Almost every hot-button issue—from
immigration to reproductive rights—ends up becoming someone’s day in court. But
how does a legal dispute actually play out? The court system isn’t only complicated,
it can be seriously intimidating. But don’t worry. I promise, we can help
you make sense of it. Hi, I’m Gia from FindLaw.com and today we
are going to break down the basics of the U.S. court system. Why are federal courts often in the news?
First, it’s important to understand that state courts handle issues dealing with state
laws, and federal courts handle issues dealing with federal laws, the Constitution and treaties. Laws about immigration, bankruptcy, copyrights,
and many laws against discrimination are federal laws. On the other hand, state laws often
cover family issues, criminal matters, real estate laws, and personal injury claims. But
one more thing, if a person is suing a person from another state for more than $75k, they
can sue in federal court. Federal lawsuits often make the news because
changes in federal law can impact everyone in the United States. How is the federal court system set up?
District Courts: Cases are ALWAYS filed in the district court
first. This is the lowest level of courts in the federal system. It is also the part
of the litigation process where a trial happens. Circuit Courts:
Let’s say you’re involved in a lawsuit and the district court rules against you.
Does that mean you lose, end of story? Nope, you still have the chance to appeal your case
to a higher court. When you do that, your case gets heard by the federal circuit court. Circuit
courts have a large panel of judges that hear federal cases coming from multiple states. Circuit courts has jurisdiction over groups of states. For example, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals
hears cases from New York, Vermont, and Connecticut. The largest of the appeals courts is the Ninth
Circuit, which hears cases from all West Coast states including California, Alaska, and Hawaii. Supreme Court:
Now, let’s say you lose your case in the circuit court, what happens next? You still
have the opportunity to appeal your case once again, this time to the Supreme Court. However, only about 1% of cases appealed to
the Supreme Court are actually heard by the Supreme Court. So more than likely you will be out
of luck. The Supreme Court generally only hears cases
where there are important legal questions to be considered. For example, when there
is a split between circuits on a major legal question such as same sex marriage or gun
ownership, that is a good reason for the Supreme Court to agree to hear the case. And that’s it for our crash course on the
legal system. You can find more information on federal courts
such as Caselaw
                Case summaries Statutes and
codes – More articles explaining the courts on findlaw.com
I’m Gia and thanks for tuning in.

10 Responses

  1. Ron Lunan says:

    Nice Job! Clear and simple. Keep these short and clear presentations coming. Thanks

  2. Daniel Stoker says:

    Enjoyable review of our court system, thanks Gia! Would love to hear your review of major changes to patent law in the 21st century (and maybe software patents more specifically).

  3. Victor Manuel Esperanza romero says:

    please help I am being victim of discrimination and administrative abuse and abusive corruption by a group of abusive Marin County workers courthouse they have a mess

  4. Victor Manuel Esperanza romero says:

    They have put a lot of case in the air many numbers which the commissioner who is taking the case is giving me too much pressure and because of them I am with mental, emotional and psychological problems.

  5. Victor Manuel Esperanza romero says:

    And economic problems that they know and more are attacking me with a lot of evil for a case of child support Which from the beginning and noticed that I have been in the hands of the worst group of corrupt abusive social workers please can not stand it anymore I need help to stop and clean up my case.

  6. Victor Manuel Esperanza romero says:

    The child support department has violated my human rights and those of my children they are also affected emotionally and mentally by the mental evils as a proceeding in my life.

  7. Victor Manuel Esperanza romero says:

    Because I am very concerned is why in all the audiences that I attended only the rats of child support of an focused on fuck me life to pay but at the same time the abusive ignorant

  8. Victor Manuel Esperanza romero says:

    I do not even realize that their stupidities are grabbing a mess and a system maze and putting the abusive mental retard commissioned as an illiteracy today do not know which one in reality

  9. Victor Manuel Esperanza romero says:

    Supposedly I should only have a single case but I have like 5 different case numbers which is part of the manipulation of child support pay corruption abusive administration this is too much

  10. Victor Manuel Esperanza romero says:

    Estoy 100% que un grupo de family law y child support pay esta descrminando a pobres padres inmigrantes en silencio eso es verdadera corrupcion y delincuencia administrativa mas cuando controlan un gran grupo de abogados dentro y fuera de las juridisciones de civic center marin county por favor limpiar y stop de abusiva maldad.

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