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Why do we have separate state and federal courts?

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  • Why do we have separate state and federal courts?

    Some of the most important debates surrounding the founding of the United States and the drafting of the Constitution revolved around the role of a centralized (or federal) government. Even today, there are not always clear boundaries where a state's power to govern itself ends and the federal government's ability to force one standard on all fifty states begins.

    Each state has is it own laws and its own courts. A state must also generally recognize and enforce federal laws and the decisions of federal courts.

    Federal courts exist in large part to solve disputes arising over issues of federal law (for example, federal laws governing patents and copyrights), but also as a forum where parties from different states can try disputes with less fear of "hometown bias" on the part of the party who is not a resident of the state where the case is being heard. Of course, federal courts also hear criminal matters where the crimes involved breaking federal criminal laws.

    A whole body of law exists to help parties determine whether their dispute belongs in a state or federal court, as well as how federal courts should handle "mixed" issues implicating both federal laws and state laws.
    Last edited by Charlotte; 05-05-2014, 10:20 AM.