Explain what is meant by a dual court system, and describe the effects it has on how cases are handled and appealed.
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The US has a dual court system in that it has state courts and federal courts. The state courts handle cases that involve state laws, such as those with divorce, contracts, custody cases, real estate, etc. The federal courts handle only cases that involve federal law (such as immigration, use of federal property, eminent domain for federal lands, etc.) and cases between people who live in different states sometimes.
State court cases are heard first in trial courts, then state appelate courts, then state supreme courts. The state supreme court is the last court for a state law case. Federal courts begin at the District Court level, then move to the federal courts of appeal in the circuits, and then, if the US Supreme Court agrees, they are heard by the Supreme Court. A state case can never be heard by a Federal Court unless a federal law issue is also involved and a state court can never hear a federal court issue.
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