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Article Three of the
United States Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation An organization, or orga ...

United States Constitution
establishes the
judicial branch The judiciary (also known as the judicial system, judicature, judicial branch, judiciative branch, and court or judiciary system) is the system of court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authori ...
of the
federal government A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, ...
. Under Article Three, the judicial branch consists of the
Supreme Court of the United States The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or Americ ...

Supreme Court of the United States
, as well as lower courts created by
Congress Congresses are formal meetings of the representatives of different countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, ...

Congress
. Article Three empowers the courts to handle cases or controversies arising under federal law, as well as other enumerated areas. Article Three also defines
treason Treason is the crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition,Farmer, Lindsay: "Cr ...
. Section 1 of Article Three vests the judicial power of the United States in the Supreme Court, as well as inferior courts established by Congress. Along with the
Vesting Clauses In United States constitutional law, the Vesting Clauses are three provisions in the United States Constitution which vest the United States' legislative power in the United States Congress, the executive power in the President, and judicial powe ...
of Article One and Article Two, Article Three's Vesting Clause establishes the
separation of powers Separation of powers refers to the division of a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' ...
between the three branches of government. Section 1 authorizes the creation of inferior courts, but does not require it; the first inferior federal courts were established shortly after the ratification of the Constitution with the
Judiciary Act of 1789 The Judiciary Act of 1789 (ch. 20, ) was a United States federal statute adopted on September 24, 1789, in the first session of the First United States Congress. It established the federal judiciary of the United States. Article Three of the Unit ...

Judiciary Act of 1789
. Section 1 also establishes that federal judges do not face term limits, and that an individual judge's salary may not be decreased. Article Three does not set the size of the Supreme Court or establish specific positions on the court, but Article One establishes the position of
chief justice The chief justice is the presiding member of a supreme court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes betwee ...
. Section 2 of Article Three delineates federal judicial power. The
Case or Controversy Clause The Supreme Court of the United States The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known ...
restricts the judiciary's power to actual cases and controversies, meaning that federal judicial power does not extend to cases which are hypothetical, or which are proscribed due to
standing Standing, also referred to as orthostasis, is a position in which the body is held in an ''erect'' ("orthostatic") position and supported only by the feet. Although seemingly static, the body rocks slightly back and forth from the ankle The a ...
,
mootness The terms moot and mootness are used in both in English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval Engla ...
, or
ripeness In Law of the United States, United States law, ripeness refers to the readiness of a case for litigation; "a claim is not ripe for adjudication if it rests upon contingent future events that may not occur as anticipated, or indeed may not occur at ...
issues. Section 2 states that federal judiciary's power extends to cases arising under the Constitution, federal laws, federal treaties, controversies involving multiple states or foreign powers, and other enumerated areas. Section 2 gives the Supreme Court
original jurisdiction In common law legal systems original jurisdiction of a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state Sta ...
when ambassadors, public officials, or the states are a party in the case, leaving the Supreme Court with
appellate jurisdiction Appellate jurisdiction is the power of an appellate court An appellate court, commonly called an ''appeals court'', ''court of appeals'' (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United State ...
in all other areas to which the federal judiciary's jurisdiction extends. Section 2 also gives Congress the power to strip the Supreme Court of appellate jurisdiction, and establishes that all federal crimes must be tried before a
jury A jury is a sworn body of people (the jurors) convened to render an impartial Impartiality (also called evenhandedness or fair-mindedness) is a principle of justice holding that decisions should be based on objectivity (philosophy), objective ...
. Section 2 does not expressly grant the federal judiciary the power of
judicial review Judicial review is a process under which executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administration of state bureaucracy * Executive, ...
, but the courts have exercised this power since the 1803 case of '' Marbury v. Madison''. Section 3 of Article Three defines treason and empowers Congress to punish treason. Section 3 requires that at least two witnesses testify to the treasonous act, or that the individual accused of treason confess in open court. It also limits the ways in which Congress can punish those convicted of treason.


Section 1: Federal courts

Section 1 is one of the three
vesting clauses In United States constitutional law, the Vesting Clauses are three provisions in the United States Constitution which vest the United States' legislative power in the United States Congress, the executive power in the President, and judicial powe ...
of the
United States Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation An organization, or orga ...

United States Constitution
, which vests the judicial power of the United States in federal courts, requires a supreme court, allows inferior courts, requires good behavior tenure for judges, and prohibits decreasing the salaries of judges.


Number of courts

Article III authorizes one Supreme Court, but does not set the number of justices that must be appointed to it. Article I, Section 3, Clause 6 refers to a ''Chief Justice'' (who shall preside over the impeachment trial of the
President of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of ...

President of the United States
). Since 1869 the number of justices has been fixed at nine (by the
Judiciary Act of 1869 The Judiciary Act of 1869, sometimes called the Circuit Judges Act of 1869, a United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country in . It consists of 50 , ...
): one chief justice, and eight associate justices. Proposals have been made at various times for organizing the Supreme Court into separate panels; none garnered wide support, thus the
constitutionality Constitutionality is the condition of acting in accordance with an applicable constitution; the status of a law, a procedure, or an act's accordance with the laws or set forth in the applicable constitution. When laws, procedures, or acts dire ...
of such a division is unknown. However, in a 1937 letter (to Senator Burton Wheeler during the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill debate), Chief Justice
Charles Evans Hughes Charles Evans Hughes Sr. (April 11, 1862 – August 27, 1948) was an American statesman, politician and jurist who served as the 11th chief justice of the United States The chief justice of the United States is the chief judge A chief judg ...

Charles Evans Hughes
wrote, "the Constitution does not appear to authorize two or more Supreme Courts functioning in effect as separate courts." The Supreme Court is the only
federal court Federal court may refer to: United States * Federal judiciary of the United States ** United States district court, a particular federal court Elsewhere * Federal Court of Australia * Federal courts of Brazil * Federal Court (Canada) * Federal Cou ...
that is explicitly established by the Constitution. During the Constitutional Convention, a proposal was made for the Supreme Court to be the only federal court, having both original jurisdiction and appellate jurisdiction. This proposal was rejected in favor of the provision that exists today. Under this provision, the Congress may create inferior (i.e., lower) courts under both Article III, Section 1, and Article I, Section 8. The Article III courts, which are also known as "constitutional courts", were first created by the
Judiciary Act of 1789 The Judiciary Act of 1789 (ch. 20, ) was a United States federal statute adopted on September 24, 1789, in the first session of the First United States Congress. It established the federal judiciary of the United States. Article Three of the Unit ...

Judiciary Act of 1789
, and are the only courts with judicial power. Article I courts, which are also known as "legislative courts", consist of regulatory agencies, such as the
United States Tax Court The United States Tax Court (in case citation Case citation is a system used by legal professionals to identify past court case decisions, either in series of books called Reporter (law), reporters or law reports, or in a neutral style that ...
. In certain types of cases, Article III courts may exercise appellate jurisdiction over Article I courts. In '' Murray's Lessee v. Hoboken Land & Improvement Co.'' (), the Court held that "there are legal matters, involving public rights, which may be presented in such form that the judicial power is capable of acting on them," and which are susceptible to review by an Article III court. Later, in ''Ex parte Bakelite Corp.'' (), the Court declared that Article I courts "may be created as special tribunals to examine and determine various matters, arising between the government and others, which from their nature do not require judicial determination and yet are susceptible of it." Other cases, such as bankruptcy cases, have been held not to involve judicial determination, and may therefore go before Article I courts. Similarly, several courts in the District of Columbia, which is under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Congress, are Article I courts rather than Article III courts. This article was expressly extended to the
United States District Court#REDIRECT United States district court The United States district courts are the general trial court A trial court or court of first instance is a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the aut ...
for the District of Puerto Rico by the
U.S. Congress The United States Congress or U.S. Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States and consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Wa ...
through Federal Law 89-571, 80 Stat. 764, signed by President
Lyndon B. Johnson Lyndon Baines Johnson (; August 27, 1908January 22, 1973), often referred to by his initials LBJ, was the 36th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the ...

Lyndon B. Johnson
in 1966. This transformed the article IV
United States territorial court The United States territorial courts are tribunals established in territories of the United States by the United States Congress The United States Congress or U.S. Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government o ...
in
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico (; abbreviated PR; tnq, Boriken, ''Borinquen''), officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico ( es, link=yes, Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, lit=Free Associated State of Puerto Rico) is a Caribbean island and Unincorporated ...

Puerto Rico
, created in 1900, to an Article III federal judicial district court. The
Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937 The Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937, frequently called the "court-packing plan",Epstein, at 451. was a legislative initiative proposed by U.S. President The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state A ...
, frequently called the court-packing plan,Epstein, Lee; Walker, Thomas G. (2007). Constitutional Law for a Changing America: Institutional Powers and Constraints (6th ed.). Washington, D.C.: CQ Press. ., at 451. was a legislative initiative to add more justices to the Supreme Court proposed by President
Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin Delano Roosevelt (, ; January 30, 1882April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician who served as the 32nd president of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. A member of the De ...

Franklin D. Roosevelt
shortly after his victory in the 1936 presidential election. Although the bill aimed generally to overhaul and modernize the entire federal court system, its central and most controversial provision would have granted the President power to appoint an additional justice to the Supreme Court for every
incumbent The incumbent is the current holder of an office An office is a space where an Organization, organization's employees perform Business administration, administrative Work (human activity), work in order to support and realize objects an ...
justice over the age of 70, up to a maximum of six. The Constitution is silent when it comes to judges of courts which have been abolished. The
Judiciary Act of 1801The Midnight Judges Act (also known as the Judiciary Act of 1801; , and officially An act to provide for the more convenient organization of the Courts of the United States) represented an effort to solve an issue in the U.S. Supreme Court during the ...
increased the number of courts to permit the Federalist President
John Adams John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of ...

John Adams
to appoint a number of Federalist judges before
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were cr ...

Thomas Jefferson
took office. When Jefferson became President, the Congress abolished several of these courts and made no provision for the judges of those courts. The
Judicial Code of 1911 The Judicial Code of 1911 () abolished the United States circuit courts and transferred their trial jurisdiction to the U.S. district courts. In 1911, the United States Congress created a single code encompassing all statutes related to the judi ...
abolished circuit riding and transferred the circuit courts authority and jurisdiction to the district courts.


Tenure

The Constitution provides that judges "shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour." The term "good behaviour" is interpreted to mean that judges may serve for the remainder of their lives, although they may resign or retire voluntarily. A judge may also be removed by impeachment and conviction by congressional vote (hence the term good behaviour); this has occurred fourteen times. Three other judges, ,
George W. English George Washington English (May 9, 1866 – July 19, 1941) was a United States District Judge The United States district courts are the general trial court A trial court or court of first instance is a court A court is any person or ins ...
, and Samuel B. Kent, chose to resign rather than go through the impeachment process.


Salaries

The compensation of judges may not be decreased, but may be increased, during their continuance in office.


Section 2: Judicial power, jurisdiction, and trial by jury

Section 2 delineates federal judicial power, and brings that power into execution by conferring
original jurisdiction In common law legal systems original jurisdiction of a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state Sta ...
and also
appellate jurisdiction Appellate jurisdiction is the power of an appellate court An appellate court, commonly called an ''appeals court'', ''court of appeals'' (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United State ...
upon the Supreme Court. Additionally, this section requires
trial by jury A jury trial, or trial by jury, is a lawful proceeding in which a jury A jury is a sworn body of people (the jurors) convened to render an impartiality, impartial verdict (a Question of fact, finding of fact on a question) officially submit ...
in all criminal cases, except
impeachment Impeachment is the process by which a legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) ...
cases.


Clause 1: Cases and controversies

Clause 1 of Section 2 authorizes the federal courts to hear actual cases and controversies only. Their judicial power does not extend to cases which are hypothetical, or which are proscribed due to
standing Standing, also referred to as orthostasis, is a position in which the body is held in an ''erect'' ("orthostatic") position and supported only by the feet. Although seemingly static, the body rocks slightly back and forth from the ankle The a ...
,
mootness The terms moot and mootness are used in both in English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval Engla ...
, or
ripeness In Law of the United States, United States law, ripeness refers to the readiness of a case for litigation; "a claim is not ripe for adjudication if it rests upon contingent future events that may not occur as anticipated, or indeed may not occur at ...
issues. Generally, a case or controversy requires the presence of adverse parties who have a genuine interest at stake in the case. In '' Muskrat v. United States'', , the Supreme Court denied jurisdiction to cases brought under a statute permitting certain Native Americans to bring suit against the United States to determine the constitutionality of a law allocating tribal lands. Counsel for both sides were to be paid from the federal Treasury. The Supreme Court held that, though the United States was a defendant, the case in question was not an actual controversy; rather, the statute was merely devised to test the constitutionality of a certain type of legislation. Thus the Court's ruling would be nothing more than an advisory opinion; therefore, the court dismissed the suit for failing to present a "case or controversy." A significant omission is that although Clause 1 provides that federal judicial power shall extend to "the laws of the United States," it does not also provide that it shall extend to the laws of the ''several'' or individual states. In turn, the
Judiciary Act of 1789 The Judiciary Act of 1789 (ch. 20, ) was a United States federal statute adopted on September 24, 1789, in the first session of the First United States Congress. It established the federal judiciary of the United States. Article Three of the Unit ...

Judiciary Act of 1789
and subsequent acts never granted the U.S. Supreme Court the power to review decisions of state supreme courts on pure issues of state law. It is this silence which tacitly made state supreme courts the final expositors of the common law in their respective states. They were free to diverge from English precedents and from each other on the vast majority of legal issues which had never been made part of federal law by the Constitution, and the U.S. Supreme Court could do nothing, as it would ultimately concede in ''
Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins ''Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins'', 304 U.S. 64 (1938), is a landmark decision by the Supreme Court of the United States The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the Supreme court, highest court in the Federal judiciary of the Unite ...
'' (1938). By way of contrast, other English-speaking federations like
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
and
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...

Canada
never adopted the ''Erie'' doctrine. That is, their highest courts have always possessed plenary power to impose a uniform nationwide common law upon all lower courts and never adopted the strong American distinction between federal and state common law.


Eleventh Amendment and state sovereign immunity

In '' Chisholm v. Georgia'', , the Supreme Court ruled that Article III, Section 2
abrogated Abrogation may refer to: * ''Abrogatio'', the Latin term for legal annulment under Roman law * Abrogation of Old Covenant laws, the ending or setting aside of Old Testament stipulations for the New Testament * Abrogation doctrine, a doctrine in Unit ...
the States' sovereign immunity and
authorized Authorization is the function of specifying access rights/privileges to resources, which is related to general information security Information security, sometimes shortened to infosec, is the practice of protecting information by mitigating in ...
federal courts to hear disputes between private citizens and States. This decision was overturned by the Eleventh Amendment, which was passed by the
Congress Congresses are formal meetings of the representatives of different countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, ...
on March 4, 1794 and ratified by the
states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
on February 7, 1795. It prohibits the federal courts from hearing "any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State".


Clause 2: Original and appellate jurisdiction

Clause 2 of Section 2 provides that the Supreme Court has
original jurisdiction In common law legal systems original jurisdiction of a court A court is any person or institution, often as a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state Sta ...
in cases affecting ambassadors, ministers and consuls, and also in those controversies which are subject to federal judicial power because at least one state is a party; the Court has held that the latter requirement is met if the United States has a controversy with a state.''United States v. Texas''
143 U.S. 621
(1892). A factor in ''United States v. Texas'' was that there had been an "act of congress requiring the institution of this suit". With a few narrow exceptions, courts have held that Congress controls access to the courts by the United States and its agencies and officials. See, e.g., ''Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co.'', 514 U.S. 122 ("Agencies do not automatically have standing to sue for actions that frustrate the purposes of their statutes"). Also see ''United States v. Mattson''
600 F. 2d 1295
(9th Cir. 1979).
In other cases, the Supreme Court has only
appellate jurisdiction Appellate jurisdiction is the power of an appellate court An appellate court, commonly called an ''appeals court'', ''court of appeals'' (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United State ...
, which may be regulated by the Congress. The Congress may not, however, amend the Court's original jurisdiction, as was found in '' Marbury v. Madison'', (the same decision which established the principle of
judicial review Judicial review is a process under which executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administration of state bureaucracy * Executive, ...
). ''Marbury'' held that Congress can neither expand nor restrict the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. However, the appellate jurisdiction of the Court is different. The Court's appellate jurisdiction is given "with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make." Often a court will assert a modest degree of power over a case for the threshold purpose of determining whether it has jurisdiction, and so the word "power" is not necessarily synonymous with the word "jurisdiction".


Judicial review

The power of the federal judiciary to review the
constitutionality Constitutionality is the condition of acting in accordance with an applicable constitution; the status of a law, a procedure, or an act's accordance with the laws or set forth in the applicable constitution. When laws, procedures, or acts dire ...
of a
statute A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) ...

statute
or
treaty A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relat ...

treaty
, or to review an administrative regulation for consistency with either a statute, a treaty, or the Constitution itself, is an implied power derived in part from Clause 2 of Section 2. Though the Constitution does not expressly provide that the federal judiciary has the power of judicial review, many of the Constitution's Framers viewed such a power as an appropriate power for the federal judiciary to possess. In ''Federalist No. 78'',
Alexander Hamilton Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757July 12, 1804) was an American statesman, politician, legal scholar, military commander, lawyer, banker, and economist. He was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States The Founding Fa ...

Alexander Hamilton
wrote, Hamilton goes on to counterbalance the tone of "judicial supremacists," those demanding that both Congress and the Executive are compelled by the Constitution to enforce all court decisions, including those that, in their eyes, or those of the People, violate fundamental American principles: '' Marbury v. Madison'' involved a highly partisan set of circumstances. Though Congressional elections were held in November 1800, the newly elected officers did not take power until March. The
Federalist Party The Federalist Party was the first political party in the United States American electoral politics has been dominated by two major political parties since shortly after the founding of the republic. Since the 1850s, they have been the Histo ...
had lost the elections. In the words of President
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were cr ...

Thomas Jefferson
, the Federalists "retired into the judiciary as a stronghold". In the four months following the elections, the outgoing Congress created several new judgeships, which were filled by President
John Adams John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of ...

John Adams
. In the last-minute rush, however, Federalist Secretary of State
John Marshall John Marshall (September 24, 1755July 6, 1835) was an American politician and lawyer who served as the fourth chief justice of the United States The chief justice of the United States is the chief judge A chief judge (also known as chief ...

John Marshall
had neglected to deliver 17 of the commissions to their respective appointees. When
James Madison James Madison Jr. (March 16, 1751June 28, 1836) was an American statesman, diplomat, expansionist, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited wi ...

James Madison
took office as Secretary of State, several commissions remained undelivered. Bringing their claims under the
Judiciary Act of 1789 The Judiciary Act of 1789 (ch. 20, ) was a United States federal statute adopted on September 24, 1789, in the first session of the First United States Congress. It established the federal judiciary of the United States. Article Three of the Unit ...

Judiciary Act of 1789
, the appointees, including
William Marbury William Marbury (November 7, 1762 – March 13, 1835) was a highly successful United States of America, American businessman and one of the "Midnight Judges" appointed by United States President John Adams the day before he left office. He was the ...
, petitioned the Supreme Court for the issue of a
writ of mandamus (; ) is a judicial remedy in the form of an order from a court to any government, subordinate court, corporation A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company—authorized by the state to act as a single ent ...
, which in English law had been used to force public officials to fulfill their ministerial duties. Here, Madison would be required to deliver the commissions. ''Marbury'' posed a difficult problem for the court, which was then led by Chief Justice John Marshall, the same person who had neglected to deliver the commissions when he was the Secretary of State. If Marshall's court commanded James Madison to deliver the commissions, Madison might ignore the order, thereby indicating the weakness of the court. Similarly, if the court denied William Marbury's request, the court would be seen as weak. Marshall held that appointee Marbury was indeed entitled to his commission. However, Justice Marshall contended that the
Judiciary Act of 1789 The Judiciary Act of 1789 (ch. 20, ) was a United States federal statute adopted on September 24, 1789, in the first session of the First United States Congress. It established the federal judiciary of the United States. Article Three of the Unit ...

Judiciary Act of 1789
was unconstitutional, since it purported to grant original jurisdiction to the Supreme Court in cases not involving the States or
ambassador An ambassador is an official envoy, especially a high-ranking diplomat A diplomat (from grc, δίπλωμα; romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A langua ...

ambassador
s. The ruling thereby established that the federal courts could exercise judicial review over the actions of Congress or the executive branch. However, Alexander Hamilton, in ''Federalist No. 78'', expressed the view that the Courts hold only the power of words, and not the power of compulsion upon those other two branches of government, upon which the Supreme Court is itself dependent. Then in 1820,
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were cr ...

Thomas Jefferson
expressed his deep reservations about the doctrine of judicial review:


Clause 3: Federal trials

Clause 3 of Section 2 provides that Federal crimes, except
impeachment Impeachment is the process by which a legislative body A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) ...
cases, must be tried before a jury, unless the defendant waives their right. Also, the trial must be held in the state where the crime was committed. If the crime was not committed in any particular state, then the trial is held in such a place as set forth by the Congress. The United States Senate has the sole power to try impeachment cases. Two of the Constitutional Amendments that comprise the
Bill of Rights A bill of rights, sometimes called a declaration of rights or a charter of rights, is a list of the most important rights to the citizens of a country. The purpose is to protect those rights against Civil and political rights, infringement fr ...

Bill of Rights
contain related provisions. The Sixth Amendment enumerates the rights of individuals when facing criminal prosecution and the Seventh Amendment establishes an individual's right to a
jury trial A jury trial, or trial by jury, is a lawful proceeding in which a jury A jury is a sworn body of people (the jurors) convened to render an impartiality, impartial verdict (a Question of fact, finding of fact on a question) officially submit ...
in certain
civil Civil may refer to: *Civic virtue, or civility *Civil action, or lawsuit *Civil affairs *Civil and political rights *Civil disobedience *Civil engineering *Civil (journalism), a platform for independent journalism *Civilian, someone not a member ...
cases. It also inhibits courts from overturning a jury's findings of fact. The Supreme Court has extended the protections of these amendments to individuals facing trial in state courts through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.


Section 3: Treason

Section 3 defines
treason Treason is the crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition,Farmer, Lindsay: "Cr ...
and limits its punishment. The Constitution defines treason as specific acts, namely "levying War against he United States or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort." A contrast is therefore maintained with the English law, whereby crimes including conspiring to kill the King or "violating" the Queen, were punishable as treason. In '' Ex Parte Bollman'', , the Supreme Court ruled that "there must be an actual assembling of men, for the treasonable purpose, to constitute a levying of war." Under English law effective during the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, there were several species of treason. Of these, the Constitution adopted only two: levying war and adhering to enemies. Omitted were species of treason involving encompassing (or imagining) the death of the king, certain types of counterfeiting, and finally fornication with women in the royal family of the sort which could call into question the parentage of royal successors.
James WilsonJames Wilson may refer to: Politicians and government officials Canada *James Wilson (Upper Canada politician) (1770–1847), English-born farmer and political figure in Upper Canada *James Crocket Wilson (1841–1899), Canadian MP from Quebec ...
wrote the original draft of this section, and he was involved as a defense attorney for some accused of treason against the Patriot cause. The two forms of treason adopted were both derived from the English
Treason Act 1351 The Treason Act 1351 is an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of England which codified and curtailed the common law offence of treason. No new offences were created by the statute. It is one of the earliest English statutes still in force, ...
.
Joseph Story Joseph Story (September 18, 1779 – September 10, 1845) was an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, serving from 1812 to 1845. He is most remembered for his opinions in ''Martin v. Hunter's Lessee'' and ''United States v. ...

Joseph Story
wrote in his ''
Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States ''Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States'' is a three-volume work written by Associate Justice Associate justice or associate judge is the title for a member of a judicial panel who is not the chief justice in some jurisdictions. ...
'' of the authors of the Constitution that: In ''Federalist'' No. 43
James Madison James Madison Jr. (March 16, 1751June 28, 1836) was an American statesman, diplomat, expansionist, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited wi ...

James Madison
wrote regarding the Treason Clause: Based on the above quotation, it was noted by the lawyer William J. Olson in an ''
amicus curiae An ''amicus curiae'' (literally, "friend of the court"; plural: ''amici curiae'') is someone who is not a party 300px, '' Hip, Hip, Hurrah!'' (1888) by Peder Severin Krøyer, a painting portraying an artists' party in 19th century Denmark ...
'' in the case '' Hedges v. Obama'' that the Treason Clause was one of the
enumerated powers The enumerated powers (also called expressed powers, explicit powers or delegated powers) of the United States Congress are the powers granted to the federal government of the United States. Most of these powers are listed in Article One of the Uni ...
of the federal government. He also stated that by defining treason in the U.S. Constitution and placing it in Article III " the founders intended the power to be checked by the judiciary, ruling out trials by military commissions. As James Madison noted, the Treason Clause also was designed to limit the power of the federal government to punish its citizens for 'adhering to enemies f the United States by giving them aid and comfort.'" Section 3 also requires the testimony of two different witnesses on the same
overt act In criminal law Criminal law is the body of law that relates to crime. It proscribes conduct perceived as threatening, harmful, or otherwise endangering to the property Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the Abstract and concrete, abstra ...
, or a confession by the accused
in open court In open court is a legal term in the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 5 ...
, to convict for treason. This rule was derived from another English statute, the Treason Act 1695. The English law did not require both witnesses to have witnessed the same overt act; this requirement, supported by
Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin ( April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States The Founding Fathers of the United States, or simply the Founding Fathers or Founders, were a group of American revolutionary Patriots (also ...

Benjamin Franklin
, was added to the draft Constitution by a vote of 8 states to 3. In '' Cramer v. United States'', , the Supreme Court ruled that "[e]very act, movement, deed, and word of the defendant charged to constitute treason must be supported by the testimony of two witnesses."''Cramer'', at 34 In ''Haupt v. United States'', , however, the Supreme Court found that two witnesses are not required to prove intent, nor are two witnesses required to prove that an overt act is treasonable. The two witnesses, according to the decision, are required to prove only that the overt act occurred (Witness, eyewitnesses and federal government, federal agents investigating the crime, for example). Punishment for treason may not "work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person" so convicted. The descendants of someone convicted for treason could not, as they were under English law, be considered "tainted" by the treason of their ancestor.


See also

* United States constitutional criminal procedure * List of current United States Circuit Judges


References


Bibliography

*


External links


CRS Annotated Constitution: Article 3
law.cornell.edu {{USArticleIII Article Three of the United States Constitution, Articles of the United States Constitution, 3 Federal judiciary of the United States