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 I – Article I of the Constitution creates the legislative branch of the Federal Government. Pursuant to the authorization of Article I, Congress has the authority to create inferior courts under the US Supreme Court. Also, Congress has the authority to create legislative courts and a limited ability to delegate law-making authority to other branches. The Supreme Court has ruled that Congress has the latitude to delegate regulatory powers to executive agencies as long as it provides an “intelligible principle” to govern the agency’s exercise of the delegated authority. As such, Congress delegates to the administrative agencies the responsibility for formulating regulations to effectuate and expand upon the statutes passed by Congress. These agencies, under the supervision of the executive branch, establish administrative courts to adjudicate disputes arising pursuant to agency regulations.
⁃ Discussion: How do you feel about Congress’ ability to delegate law-making authority? Have you ever thought about who drafts regulations surrounding a statute?
⁃ Practice Question: Congress passes a federal act easing the restrictions on the sale of securities by private companies. Congress outlines the specific purposes of the Act, but fails to provide any procedural mechanisms for carrying out its function. Congress, in the Act, direct the Securities and Exchange Commission (an Independent Federal Agency), to create regulations sufficient to carry out the statutory provisions. Where does Congress receive the authority to make this delegation and what statutory level of guidance is required to make this delegation constitutional?