Court History and Purpose

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Court History and Purpose
May 17, 2012
Courteney Harris

Court History and Purpose
The court system in America has been around since the middle of the 1600’s and has played a crucial role in the development of how things are done when it comes to the criminal justice side. From today’s federal court and our typical state court, these dual court systems came about from a mutual agreement presented from our nation’s founders. In the last 200 years, states’ rights have gradually waned relative to the power of the federal government, but the dual-court system still exists. Even today, state courts do not hear cases involving alleged violations of federal law, nor do federal courts get involved in deciding issues of state law unless there is a conflict between local or state statutes (Schmalleger, Hall, & Dolatowski, 2010). The first state court system for the American colonies was established as early as 1629 in Massachusetts. They created what was known by as a general court system. This court was comprised of 118 elected officials, and 18 assistants. This in fact set off a chain reaction and a decade later county courts were developed and the general court took on the role of a higher court. As time progressed, so did the courts. By 1776, all of the American colonies had established fully functional court systems (Schmalleger, Hall, & Dolatowski, 2010). In was not until 1789 when congress gathered to discuss a judicial power for the United States. So on March 4th of that same year the Supreme Court was established as the higher court for America. President George Washing signed the Judiciary Act on September 24, 1789, and later that day nominated John Jay of New York to be Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. The justices changed a number of times throughout time, but after a time it was necessary and was determined that nine justices shall serve on the panel for the court. Even though the justices are nominated by the president, it still...
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