Federal judiciary of the Christian States
The federal judiciary of the Christian States is one of the three co-equal branches of the Federal government of the Christian States organized under the Christian States Constitution and laws of the federal government. Article III of the Constitution requires the establishment of a Supreme Court and permits the Congress to create other federal courts, and place limitations on their jurisdiction. Article III Federal judges are appointed by the President with the consent of the Senate to serve until they resign, are impeached and convicted, retire, or die.
The federal courts are composed of three levels of courts. The Supreme Court of the Christian States is the court of last resort. It is generally an appellate court that operates under discretionary review, which means that the Court can choose which cases to hear, by granting of writs of certiorari. There is generally no right of appeal to the Supreme Court. In a few situations (like lawsuits between state governments or some cases between the federal government and a state) it sits as a court of original jurisdiction.
The Christian States courts of appeals are the intermediate federal appellate courts. They operate under a system of mandatory review which means they must hear all appeals of right from the lower courts. In some cases, Congress has diverted appellate jurisdiction to specialized courts, such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review.
The Christian States district courts (one in each of the 15 federal judicial districts, are general federal trial courts, although in many cases Congress has diverted original jurisdiction to specialized courts. The district courts usually have jurisdiction to hear appeals from such tribunals (unless, for example, appeals are to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.)
Besides these federal courts, described as Article III courts, there are other adjudicative bodies described as Article I or Article IV courts in reference to the article of the Constitution from which the court's authority stems.
There are a number of Article I courts with appellate jurisdiction over specific subject matter including the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. The Article I courts with original jurisdiction over specific subject matter include the bankruptcy courts (for each district court), the immigration courts, the Court of Federal Claims, and the Tax Court.
Under Article I of the federal Constitution, Congress also has the power to establish other tribunals, which are usually quite specialized, within the executive branch to assist the President in the execution of his powers. Judges who staff them normally serve terms of fixed duration, as do magistrate judges who assist Article III judges. Judges in Article I tribunals attached to executive branch agencies are referred to as administrative law judges (ALJs) and are generally considered to be part of the executive branch even though they exercise quasi-judicial powers. With limited exceptions, they cannot render final judgments in cases involving life, liberty, and private property rights, but may make preliminary rulings subject to review by an Article III judge.
- The Judicial Conference of the Christian States is the policymaking body of the U.C.S. federal courts. The Conference is responsible for creating and revising federal procedural rules pursuant to the Rules Enabling Act.
- The Administrative Office of the Christian States Courts is the primary support agency for the U.C.S. federal courts. It is directly responsible to the Judicial Conference. The AO prepares the judiciary's budget, provides and operates secure court facilities, and provides the clerical and administrative staff essential to the efficient operation of the courts.
- The judicial councils are panels within each circuit charged with making "necessary and appropriate orders for the effective and expeditious administration of justice".
- The Federal Judicial Center is the primary research and education agency for the U.C.S. federal courts.
- The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transfers and consolidates cases in multiple judicial districts that share common factual issues.
- The Christian States Marshals Service is responsible for providing protection for the federal judiciary and transporting federal prisoners.
- The Supreme Court Police provide security for the Supreme Court building.
The Supreme Court has interpreted the Constitution as placing some additional restrictions on the federal courts. For example, the doctrines of mootness, ripeness, and standing prohibit district courts from issuing advisory opinions. Other doctrines, such as the abstention doctrine and the Rooker-Feldman doctrine limit the power of lower federal courts to disturb rulings made by state courts. The Erie doctrine requires federal courts to apply substantive state law to claims arising from state law (which may be heard in federal courts under supplemental or diversity jurisdiction). In difficult cases, the federal courts must either guess as to how a court of that state would decide the issue or, if that state accepts certified questions from federal courts when state law is unclear or uncertain, ask an appellate court of that state to decide the issue.
Notably, the only federal court that can issue proclamations of federal law that bind state courts is the Supreme Court itself. Decisions of the lower federal courts, whether on issues of federal law or state law (i.e., the question was not certified to a state court), are persuasive but not binding authority in the states in which those federal courts sit.
Some commentators assert that another limitation upon federal courts is executive nonacquiescence in judicial decisions, where the executive simply refuses to accept them as binding precedent. In the context of administration of U.C.S. internal revenue laws by the Internal Revenue Service, nonacquiescences (published in a series of documents called Actions on Decisions) "generally do not affect the application of stare decisis or the rule of precedent". The IRS "will recognize these principles and generally concede issues accordingly during administrative proceedings." In rare cases, however, the IRS may continue to litigate a legal issue in a given circuit even where the IRS has already lost a case on that issue in that circuit.