The Dual Court System

Of all the court cases in the United States, the majority are handled ________.

  1. by the U.S. Supreme Court
  2. at the state level
  3. by the circuit courts
  4. by the U.S. district courts

Both state and federal courts hear matters that involve ________.

  1. civil law only
  2. criminal law only
  3. both civil and criminal law
  4. neither civil nor criminal law



A state case is more likely to be heard by the federal courts when ________.

  1. it involves a federal question
  2. a governor requests a federal court hearing
  3. it involves a criminal matter
  4. the state courts are unable to come up with a decision

The existence of the dual court system is an unnecessary duplication to some but beneficial to others. Provide at least one positive and one negative characteristic of having overlapping court systems in the United States.


Overlapping court systems provide each individual with more than just one court to protect his or her rights. A person seeking a wrong to be righted may have alternate places to pursue his or her case. On the other hand, having overlapping court systems opens the door to the possibility of unequal or disparate administration of justice.

Which court would you consider to be closest to the people? Why?