Q: Where is “Statutory Jurisdiction” in Constitution?

I appeared for a traffic violation. I told the Judge that I didn’t understand the criminal charge and asked under what jurisdiction the Court was operating in. When I heard “statutory jurisdiction”, I asked where that is located in the Constitution since the Constitution only mentions Common Law and the other deals with International Maritime contracts under an Admiralty Jurisdiction. I also asked that a prosecutor prove with facts that there is any jurisdiction over me when there is no corpus delicti. He tried to avoid my questions, but I reminded him that the 6th Amendment gives me the right to request the Court explain the nature of any action against me and has the duty to answer. I was told to get a licensed attorney, but then I asked how only a licensed attorney and the Court would know of this secret jurisdiction he is referring to and how I can properly defend myself.

The case is postponed. Where is this “statutory jurisdiction” located in the Constitution?

2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: There is no specific mention of "statutory jurisdiction" in the U.S. Constitution. However, the concept of statutory jurisdiction falls under Congress' authority to establish federal courts and prescribe their jurisdiction under Article III, Section 1 and Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.


- Article III, Section 1 states that "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."

- Article I, Section 8 states that Congress has the power "To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court."

So while the term "statutory jurisdiction" itself is not used, the Constitution does grant Congress the power to create federal courts and specify their jurisdiction through legislative statutes. This is where the authority for defining jurisdiction by statute comes from.

State courts' jurisdiction is often defined by state constitutions and statutes as well. The Constitution and Supreme Court precedent uphold states' ability to establish courts and prescribe their jurisdictional bounds through legislation.

So in short, statutory jurisdiction is constitutional and authorized under Congress' power to create courts and regulate their jurisdiction. Requiring a specific constitutional reference to the term itself is likely unnecessarily formulaic. The essence of the concept is grounded in Article I and Article III.

1 user found this answer helpful

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
  • Maritime Law Lawyer
  • Little Neck, NY

A: The U.S. Constitution grants powers to courts under Article III. I'm not certain if uses the term "statutory jurisdiction," but it outlines the extent of judicial powers in Section 2, " ...to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction; to controversies to which the United States shall be a party; to controversies between two or more states... , " etc. Good luck

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