Category: The Constitution

Introduction to Federal & State Court Systems Part II: Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction Choosing Federal or State Court Go To Diversity Jurisdiction Go to Federal Question Jurisdiction Selecting a Court in Civil Cases When starting a lawsuit, the plaintiff in the United States must make a choice whether to sue in federal or state court.   In many instances the choice will be made for him.  Because federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, federal courts can only hear certain types of cases. As a general rule, federal courts have jurisdiction to hear cases between parties from different states (diversity jurisdiction) and cases arising from a federal law or the Constitution (federal question...

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Introduction to Federal and State Court Systems: Part I

Introduction to Federal & State Court Systems Take me to the video Federal and State Courts in the United States Because of federalism, which provides power to both the federal and state governments, there are federal and state court systems in the United States.  For example, if you took a walk in New York City you could see federal and state courts in lower Manhattan standing side-by-side.  But although these courts may be geographically close to each other, state courts and federal courts are separate and independent.  This short introduction will help you understand both court systems.     e>...

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Constitution and the Distribution of Power Part III: The Supremacy Clause

The Supremacy Clause Why no law is above the Constitution The Constitution and Compromise Back to Part II The Constitution and the Distribution of Power Back to Part I Why the Constitution Trumps other Laws In the prior sections, we discussed how the Constitution replaced the Articles of Confederation to create a stronger national government. The Constitution organizes the federal government by: dividing power between the national government and state governments (federalism); establishing the three branches of the federal government and dividing power among the three branches (separation of powers); and providing each branch of government with powers to limit the powers of the other branches (checks and balances). The Constitution also establishes itself as the Supreme Law of the Land. Specifically, Article VI, paragraph 2 of the Constitution (the Supremacy Clause) provides: This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding. The Supremacy Clause establishes the principle of preemption.  Preemption provides that if there is a conflict between the Constitution and any other law, the Constitution takes precedence.   The Constitution, as well any...

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Constitution and the Distribution of Power Part II: The Constitution and Compromise

The Constitution and Compromise Go to Key Compromises Go to The Supremacy Clause Go to Part III Go to The Constitution and the Distribution of Power Back to Part I Controversy over the Constitution We will look briefly at two controversies that challenged the framers of the Constitution.   Americans disagreed over (i) how much power to grant the national government; and (ii) how many representatives each state would send to Congress. ; Go to the Conflict between Federalists and Anti-Federalists ; Skip to Checks and Balances ; Go to the Conflict over Representation in Congress ; Skip to...

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