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Article 3

Article 3

Article III of the United States Constitution details the judicial branch of the federal government. This article outlines the core principles of the courts, the types of cases they can hear, and the role of judges.

Introduction to Article III

Article III begins with the statement, “The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.” Simply put, this means that the power to interpret and apply the laws of the land is given to the federal courts.

The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land and is made up of nine justices who are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The Supreme Court has the final say on interpreting the Constitution and federal laws, and its decisions are binding on all other courts in the United States. The Court also has the power of judicial review, which allows it to strike down laws that violate the Constitution.

Inferior Courts

Article III also allows Congress to create lower, inferior federal courts as they see fit. These may include district courts, circuit courts, and courts of appeal, among others. These lower courts are tasked with hearing and deciding federal cases that fall outside the purview of the Supreme Court.


Article III specifies the types of cases that federal courts can hear. Specifically, the courts have jurisdiction over:

– Cases to which the United States is a party
– Cases that involve foreign ambassadors
– Cases involving laws and treaties of the United States
– Cases between citizens of different states
– Cases in which citizens sue the government of another state
– Cases that involve violations of federal law or the Constitution


Another important aspect of Article III is the right to a trial by jury in criminal cases. This means that a group of citizens, rather than a judge, decides the guilt or innocence of someone accused of a crime. However, if both parties agree, a trial by jury may be waived.


Finally, Article III outlines the qualifications, appointment, and compensation of federal judges. Federal judges must be appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. They hold their office for life, unless they are removed by impeachment. The compensation for judges cannot be reduced during their time in office to ensure their independence from political pressures.


In conclusion, Article III is incredibly important because it establishes the judicial branch of our government and outlines the role of the courts in interpreting and enforcing the law. It ensures that the power to interpret the law is separate from the political branches of government and held by independent judges. This helps protect the rights and freedoms of all people in the United States.

The first three Articles of the United States Constitution set up the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches of Government that comprise the structure of the United States governing body.

Article III of the Constitution deals specifically with the Judicial Branch of the United States, providing for the general architecture of the judicial system.

Section 1 of Article III states that there should be a sole high court, the Supreme Court, that shall have the vested judicial powers of the United States.

However, it also provides for inferior courts to help with the function of the judicial system and to allow for a better structure to delegate judicial power. It is of worthy note that the Constitution does not actually provide for an established number of judges to hold office in the Supreme Court.

Article III only requires that there be only one Federal court. However, the number of Supreme Court Justices would be established later through additional statutes, setting the number at nine. There is one Chief Justice and eight Associate Justices appointed to the Supreme Court.

Federal Judiciary Act of 1789:

The Federal Judiciary Act of 1789 was the landmark statute that was introduced in the first session of the United States Congress. The Judiciary Act established the United States Federal Judicial Branch. Article III of the United States Constitution states that one Supreme Court is to be vested with the nation’s judicial powers. Initially, this provision was met with dispute and opposition, for many feared that establishing all judicial powers into a single court would leave the door wide open for tyranny.

Many of the opponents suggested that the Supreme Court powers be delegated among local courts as well. However, Congress would establish the Supreme Court with the intention of having broader jurisdiction of the Federal power, which would allow for enforcement of national laws at the State level. The Act would give the Supreme Court jurisdiction over all civil matters between states, the states and the United States, and over matters dealing with ambassadors and diplomatic officials.

The Act would also state that there would be six Supreme Court Justices, one being a Chief Justice and the other five being Associate Justices. The Judiciary Act would also create both the Office of Attorney General and the United States Marshal’s Service that would serve each individual judicial district also created by the Act. These judicial districts were created in each of the eleven states that ratified the Constitution.

Each State would have one district, with the exception of Massachusetts and Virginia, each of which would have two. The Judiciary Act of 1789 would also allow for the power of the Supreme Court to issue writs of mandamus, but this would later be declared unconstitutional in the landmark case of Marbury v. Madison.