Relations between the Federal and State Courts

By Mitchell Wendell | Go to book overview

PART VI
CONCLUSION

AN APPRAISAL

So long as our dual judicial system continues to operate, there will probably be a certain amount of friction in the area where federal and state jurisdictions meet. It is unlikely that any scheme for the allotment of judicial tasks among our present judiciaries can insure anywhere near a complete segregation of questions relating to local and national law and thereby avoid the need for coordinating the day-by-day administration of justice in all our courts. It may be, however, that advantages flowing from the present system outweigh the difficulties inherent in the existing structure of our judicial establishment, and if this be so, there is good reason to preserve the main features of our dual court system, even though we recognize its limitations. But before we can either justify or condemn the existing structure, there are two questions that should be answered: 1. Does the federal structure of the United States require or make it advisable that substantially independent systems of national and state courts exist, and 2. If the present system is to continue, what should be the division of jurisdiction between federal and state judiciaries?


IS A DUAL JUDICIARY NECESSARY OR ADVISABLE?

The propriety of having state courts has not been seriously challenged during the entire period from Independence to the present day. The states had their judiciaries before the adoption of the Constitution and it seems to have been taken for granted that local courts would continue to function after the new form of government was adopted. On the other hand, an extensive network of federal courts might never have been developed. The Constitution mentions only the Supreme Court by name and leaves the creation of inferior tribunals to the discretion of Congress. But one of the first enactments of the

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