Street Law: A Course in Practical Law

Chapter 5: The Court System

Cases and Resources

Trial Courts
Appeals Courts
Federal and State Court Systems
Tribal Courts
The U.S. Supreme Court
International Courts

Trial Courts
Famous Trials
To understand more about trial courts, read about famous cases from recent history with which you may already be familiar. Who is the defendant in these trials? What is the plaintiff or prosecutor trying to prove?

The Federal Prosecutor
Learn about the U.S. Attorneys who enforce federal laws throughout the country.

European Legal System
Read about the legal system in Europe. How are trial courts different in the European Union than here in the United States?

The Jury System
Learn about the background and significance of the U.S. Constitution's guarantee to a trial by jury. Explore different lesson plans about the role of the jury in the U.S. court system.

Fully Informed Jury Association
If you are summoned for jury duty in the future, it is important that you know your rights and responsibilities as a juror. The guidelines and discussions on this site are helpful in understanding the role of a juror.

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Appeals Courts
Court of Appeals
Read this short description of the appeals courts in the judicial system.

Plessy v. Ferguson
Browse the full text of the Supreme Court's opinion in Plessy v. Ferguson.

Brown v. Board of Education
Read the full text of the Supreme Court's opinion in Brown v. Board of Education.

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Federal and State Court Systems
Federal Court System
Learn about the courts, judges, and jurors in the federal court system. Explore a brief description and access a list of commonly asked questions about the judicial process.

State Court Web Sites
State courts are separate from the federal court system. Find information about your state court by clicking on the name of your state.

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Tribal Courts
Native American Law
Learn about Native American law and how tribal courts are part of our judicial system. Why do tribes have sovereign status? Why are tribes allowed to operate casinos?

Native American Criminal Justice Resources
This site links you to information regarding different Native American groups and criminal justice resources. Read through information about tribes in your region of the country and compare criminal justice activities in different regions.

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The U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Supreme Court Web site
This is the official site for the Court. Here you can learn about the history of the Court, its members, and its procedures. You can also read the Court's rules and some of their latest decisions.

Legal Information Institute Supreme Court Center
The Legal Information Institute's Supreme Court site provides current news stories and a history of the Supreme Court, including an explanation of how the Court chooses the cases and makes decisions. Keep up with the cases currently on the Supreme Court's docket and review the calendar for the current term.

Listen to audio recordings of oral arguments and take a virtual tour of the Supreme Court building. Also take the time to learn the names of the justices. Which justices tend to agree with each other in most decisions? When a new justice must be appointed to replace one of the existing justices, what qualifications and characteristics should the new justice possess?

Alliance for Justice
This organization focuses on judicial selection. When a judge is chosen to preside over a federal court, many groups advocate for independent and nonpartisan judges. Check out the special section for students and learn about nominations to federal courts.

The Committee for Justice
This organization has a more conservative position on judicial nominations and an independent judiciary. How does this organization want judicial nominations in the United States to change?

Gideon v. Wainwright
Learn about Clarence Gideon's road to the Supreme Court and view his original petition for certiorari.

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International Courts
International Court of Justice
Explore this site about the International Court of Justice. What types of cases are being decided? What decisions have already been handed down?

International Criminal Court
Explore information about the International Criminal Court. Why was this court organized? What types of cases does it handle?

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