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Congress’ Authority To Limit Federal Court Jurisdiction

The Constitution specifically prescribes the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction. Congress may not add to or take away from that jurisdiction. The Supreme Court exercises its appellate jurisdiction, however, at Congress’ discretion. Ex Parte McCardle. Although Congress can alter the scope of that appellate jurisdiction, it may not prescribe the rules by which the Court arrives at its decisions. United States v. Klein.


Article III, Section: 1 established the federal court system by providing that judicial power “shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.”


Article III, Section: 2 states that the Supreme Court’s and the lower federal courts’ appellate jurisdiction is subject to congressional exceptions and regulations.

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