Constitution: Article 3 Section 2

Article 3.

Section. 2.

The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;–to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;–to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;–to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;–to Controversies between two or more States;– between a State and Citizens of another State,–between Citizens of different States,–between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.


Paragraph 1 of Section 2 identifies the jurisdictional boundaries of the Courts of the Federal Government.  Allow me to comment briefly on the last of the jurisdictional descriptions, “between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.”  Notice that this is not talking about the Federal Courts presiding over controversies between the States and their own citizens, but only between a State OR it’s citizens and foreigners.  All issues internal to a particular state was given no jurisdiction by the Federal Court to intervene.

Paragraph 2 further explains a few specific jursdictions and then gives an interesting check to Congress allowing them to make exemptions or regulations over this particular portion of the Constitution.  This is another example of where the Founders placed the most significant amount of power.  It was not with the President, but with the Congress.  And it is interesting to see that Congress usually allows the Supreme Court to function without the restrictions of the Checks and Balances system.

Paragraph 3 identifies some of the specific due process for the Court to follow showing that trials in the Federal courts were to be by Jury with the exception of Impeachment, because that has already had due process described in Article 1.  Finally, the location requirement is established so that favoratism is not shown in cases where travel would restrict witnesses from testifying.

Until next time, this is Joel with Dunetos K-9 helping sharpen your world…one dog at a time.

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