The Dual Court System

Summary

The U.S. judicial system features a dual court model, with courts at both the federal and state levels, and the U.S. Supreme Court at the top. While cases may sometimes be eligible for both state and federal review, each level has its own distinct jurisdiction. There are trial and appellate courts at both levels, but there are also remarkable differences among the states in their laws, politics, and culture, meaning that no two state court systems are exactly alike. The diversity of courts across the nation can have both positive and negative effects for citizens, depending on their situation. While it provides for various opportunities for an issue or interest to be heard, it may also lead to case-by-case treatment of individuals, groups, or issues that is not always the same or even-handed across the nation.