Jurisdiction can refer to a geographic area that is subject to governance by a governmental unit or court. It can also refer to the legal competency of the court to decide the matter before it. Jurisdiction of a court is conferred by statute, except in the case of the United States Supreme Court, whose jurisdiction is conferred by Article III of the Constitution.
To establish competency to hear a case, a court must possess both “personal” and “subject matter” jurisdiction. Personal jurisdiction means legal authority to determine the rights and responsibilities of the parties before the court. Subject matter jurisdiction means legal competency to hear the type of case before it. For example, federal district courts have subject matter jurisdiction over cases that arise under federal law and over cases between citizens of different states where the amount in controversy is $75,000 or more.