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Article IV Territorial Courts

1. What is the authority for the federal and state judicial systems in the United States?

The authority for the federal and state judicial systems is found in the US and state Constitutions. Below is a breakdown of the courts as authorized under Articles I, II, and III of the US Constitution. State constitutions are modeled after the US Constitution and generally establish a similar state-court structure.

•    Article IV – Article IV courts are US Territorial Courts, such as those of Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and the US Virgin Islands, established under the Territory Clause of Article IV.

⁃    Discussion: Think about the formation of courts in these jurisdictions. These are not states and, therefore, Congress must act to establish courts with jurisdiction over these protectorates. How do you feel about territories of the United States that are not represented in the Federal Government, but are subject to federal jurisdiction?

⁃    Practice Question: In the US Territory of Guam, Hanna is the victim of a crime when someone steals her automobile. What laws would be effected in this scenario and how would this situation differ from a similar occurrence in California?

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