The lectures on the American Judiciary leave one with a strong impression of its sheer complexity. The American Judicial system is believed to be the most complex and dynamic legal system in the world.
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This complexity is further heightened by the fact that the United States is a large country with several minor state judicial systems, which work independently and co-dependently at the same time (O’Connor and Sabato 16). The whole system is organized in the form of a hierarchy.
Each State has its own federal courts that deal with the various federal law issues. One of the interesting aspects of the American Judicial system is its adversarial nature. This is whereby litigants and their lawyers present their sides of a case to a neutral party. The information is then presented to court for a trial. Attorneys can either be hired by litigants or provided for by the court.
Other interesting aspects of the judiciary include the criteria followed in the selection of chief judges and the senior judges. These particular selections are primarily based on seniority. Such is the case also for the circuit and district chiefs. For the chief judge, they must be over the age of 64.
For the senior judge, the age is much higher, at 70, with a minimum service period of 10 years. Another interesting aspect of the American Judiciary learnt from the class readings was the fact that the American Constitution grants Congress the power to create and abolish federal courts. The exception is the Supreme Court which cannot be abolished.
Another interesting aspect of the Judiciary is the different types of Jurisdictions that exist. There are basically two main types of jurisdictions, the subject matter and the personal jurisdiction. Subject matter jurisdictions concern legal matters that the court has authority over.
They include examples like diversity and federal question jurisdiction. Personal jurisdiction on the other hand refers to whether or not a court has authority over an individual or a business entity (O’Connor and Sabato 56).
The dynamic and diverse nature of the American Judiciary has been further heightened when President Barak Obama came into power. A year after coming into office, he made some drastic changes in the general composition of the federal courts.
He has been able to make historical judicial decisions such as the appointment of the first Hispanic woman to the Supreme Court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor. The Obama administration has also seen an increase in minority representation in the judicial system in the form of women and the African-American.
The main reason for such dynamism, as was learnt in the classroom, is the importance of objectivity in the American Judicial System. It is essential that the people in the jury and panel of judges resemble those coming in through the main door of the courtroom.
Finally, the greatest point of contention in the present day Judiciary concerns the role played by the executive in the Judiciary. Currently, the Judiciary budget is handled by the executive. The president also holds the power to nominate the federal judges who, of course, are approved by the senate.
The American Judiciary is indeed a diverse and equally challenging structure of the legal system. Its successes in cases that would otherwise be deemed impossible continue to intrigue the rest of the world’s legal systems.
O’Connor, Karen J. and Larry J. Sabato. American Government: Roots and Reform, 2011 Alternate Edition. New York, NY: Longman Publishers, 2011. Print.