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CHAPTER 5 : THE JUDICIARY

5.0 Introduction

The Judiciary is that branch of government that interprets law, settles disputes and imparts justice. In federal states, it also acts as the guardian of the Constitution.

The Articles of Confederation did not make any provision for a federal judiciary. However when the Constitutional Convention made plans for a federal government, it found it necessary to provide for a Judiciary. As Alexander Hamilton mentioned in No. XXII of íThe Federalistí

"A circumstance which crowns the defects of the Confederation remains yet to be mentioned, -- the want of a judiciary power. Laws are a dead letter without courts to expound and define their true meaning and operation."


The Constitution specifically provided for a Supreme Court, and also for "such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish." Though broad jurisdiction was given to these courts, the Congress was left to decide how much jurisdiction should be allocated to them.

Exhibit 5.1
The Supreme Court

In the United States of America there are two sets of courts:

(1) The Supreme Court and the lower federal courts and (2) the State Courts. The federal court usually settles disputes between the center and the units, while the state courts deal with subjects of state or local importance. Though these systems appear separate they function in a parallel manner. For instance, it is possible for the federal courts to receive appeals from the state courts. Further, the Supreme Court holds the final jurisdiction in case of constitutional matters.

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Index

5.0 Introduction
5.1 The State Court System

5.2 The Federal Court System
5.3 The Supreme Court in Operation

Chapter 6





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