The Federal Court System

U.S. Supreme Court,Federal Appeals Court,U.S.District Court

There are THREE types of federal courts.

1 - U.S. Supreme Court - Justices

The U.S. Supreme Court is located in Washington D.C and is the highest court. The U.S. Supreme Court judges are called Justices. There are 9 Justices including 1 Chief Justice and 8 Associate Justices. The Justices are appointed by the President but the Senate has to approve. When a person becomes a Supreme Court Justice, they have life terms, which means they can serve for life. That means that they have to quit or be impeached; there's no term limit.

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The U.S. Supreme Court (cont.)

There is no jury in a Supreme Court, just the Justices, and they lawyers answer the questions from the Justices. Majority vote of the Justices is needed to win. The Supreme Court usually has appellate jurisdiction which means they handle cases that they have already been looked over and appealed.

2 - U.S. Courts of Appeals - Federal Appeals Court

The Federal Appeals Court or Court of Appeals is a lot like the U.S Supreme Court. There is no jury, there needs to be a majority vote from the judges, and they also use appellate jurisdiction. They also can remand a case. That is when they send it back to the trial or a lower court. The Federal Appeals court is under the Supreme Court. Also there are usually 3 judges and there is also circuit which is "a geographic area of US Court of Appeals."

3 - U.S. District Court

There are 94 district courts, so each state has at least one. They always have original jurisdiction which means they are the first to hear the case. Unlike the other courts, they actually have a jury and witnesses to testify. The District court is also the lowest court.

There's More!

There's more to the Federal Court System than just the courts.

Magistrates, Attorneys, and Marshals, OH MY!

Magistrate judges are important in that they decide if accused people should be held or released on bail. They also decide if a case should go to trial due to preliminary evidence. There are US Attorneys who prosecute people who are accused of breaking federal laws. There are also U.S. Marshal's who make arrests, collect fines, take convicted people to prison, protect jurors, keeps order in court, and serve subpoenas.


There are other things like opinion which is the reason behind a court ruling. It can turn into precedence when other courts use the court ruling as an example for their case.

- Ma'Kara Hardy