Possibility of a National Court of Appeals

It is quite not possible to have a national court of appeals to hear the cases of civil appeals from the highest courts of states due to the following reasons: The major reason is that federalism functions in a haphazard manner in the United States. It shields state legislature from most direct interference by the federal government. bur does not protect them from against the preemption of federal intervention of matters traditionally reserved for administration by the states. The federal also does not allow them to violate federal constitutional rights or regulate interstate or foreign commerce.

While it is the case that state executive branches cannot be forced to enforce federal law they are subject to some federal control such as when they are acting as employers or when affecting the federal constitutional rights. State judiciaries unlike state executive officers must enforce federal law directly provided the law is constitutional. For the existence of the federal structure in the United States several reasons and explanations have been offered the important of which being the distribution of powers among the federal and the states and also to control monopoly on governmental power to avoid tyranny, caprice and oppression.

Experimentation is also cited as a reason for the federalism. Yet another justification for federalism is the ‘plurality’ which involves an appreciation for differing regional legislation that reflects various social, political and other phenomenon. Another reason attributed is the democratic involvement which can be considered as more practical at the local or even at the state level rather than on the federal level. Finally it is the overlapping jurisdictions among federal and states are expected to encourage competition between the federal and state officials for the approval of the majority of the people.

An analysis of the above basic reasons for the existence of federalism may lead towards the point that the formation of a national court of appeals to hear the civil issues from the highest courts in the states would seriously hamper the whole fundamentals of federalism when it affects the jurisdictional issues among the states and the federal. For instance when such a court exists there may not be any enthusiasm among the apex courts in the states to go deeper in to the issues and decide them in a fair way as there will always be a tendency to pass on the  cases to the national court of appeal.

Apart from the ‘federalism’ there is the judicial procedural aspects which also would hinder the formation of a national appeal court. The Supreme Court has a great deal of discretion as to which cases it wants to hear. The appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is decided by the section 2 of Article III of the Constitution which allows the Supreme Court to use its discretionary powers with regard to its appellate jurisdiction. The appellate review jurisdiction of the Supreme Court is established by the Congress through statute.

The first one is ‘appeal’ which is mandatory. There may not be much of these cases as an appeal in the Supreme Court lies only when a judgment is passed by a three-judge district court panel grants or denies injunctive relief. This is very rare to happen. All other reviews on appeal by Supreme Court is on the basis of the discretion exercised by the Supreme Court. Normally the appeals take the form of writs. The writs of certiorari are heard purely at the discretion of the Supreme Court.

However the Supreme Court will not grant and hear the writs unless there are ‘special and important reasons’ such as conflicts in the decisions of the various appellate courts or when an important federal issue has not yet been decided. Because of these procedural issues also there can be no national court of appeals to hear the issues from the highest courts of states. If there is going to be a national court of civil appeals normally this court might not  be able to dispose off the cases simply because of the large number of them being presented to such court.