Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Article III - The Judicial Branch

Section 1 - Judicial powers

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 Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

Section 2 - Trial by Jury, Original Jurisdiction, Jury Trials

(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 Consuls; 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.) (This section in parentheses is modified by the 11th Amendment.)

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

Section 3 - Treason Note

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

1 comment:

pamjrp said...

The Judiciary
The duty of the interpretation of the law rests in the Judiciary. The highest court in the United States, above all others, with the final say in the what laws are Constitutional and which aren't, is the Supreme Court.

There is actually very little said in the Constitution about the Supreme Court or any of the courts. Article 3 is the shortest of the first three articles, and only the first two of the three sections have anything to do with the structure of the Judiciary. The Chief Justice is only mentioned in Article 2, concerning presidential impeachment. Judges have no Constitutionally mandated age, residency, or citizenship requirements.

Judges appointed to the bench under Article 3 courts serve their terms for as long as they wish, while in "good Behavior." Judges can be impeached by the Legislative branch.

Currently, there are nine justices of the Supreme Court. Since the Constitution does not specify the number, it has fluctuated, from as few as five to as many as ten. The Supreme Court is the highest appellate court, meaning that cases normally only come to the Court by way of appeal after appeal of the losing party. The Supreme Court does have original jurisdiction of a few types of cases, spelled out in Section 2.

The Constitution also specifies that there will be courts inferior to the Supreme Court. These courts are federal in scope and are separate from similar court setups in each state. This dual-scope judicial system is quite uncommon through other governments in the world, but reflects the historical power of the states.

In addition the Article 3 courts, there are special Article 1 courts which help carry out the duties of the Legislative branch, such as bankruptcy courts and military courts of appeal. Judges serving in Article 1 courts do not serve for life, but have set terms (such as 14 years for bankruptcy court, and 15 for military appeals court).