The Federal Court System

The functions and works of our Judicial Court System!

Federal Court Roles

U.S. Marshall

The U.S. Marshall make arrests, collect fines, and take convicted people to prison. They also protect jurors, keep order in the court, and serve subpoenas ordering people to appeal in the court.

U.S. Attorney

The U.S. Attorney is a government lawyer who prosecutes people accused of breaking federal laws. They also look into charges and present the evidence in court.

Magistrate Judge

The Magistrate Judge decides whether the accused people should be held in prison or released on bail. They do much of the judge's routine work. They also hear preliminary evidence and determine whether the case should go to trial.

Judicial Court Terms

Life Terms

This refers to how long a federal court judge wants to stay in their job. They are appointed by the President with Senate approval. Only the Supreme Court Justices serve for life.


Precedents are models for other judges to follow in making their own decisions on similar cases.


Opinions explain the legal thinking behind the court's decisions in cases.


Remands are where decisions are sent back to the lower court to be tried again.


Circuits are particular geographic areas that the 12 U.S. US Court of Appeals covers.

Appellate Jurisdiction

The appellate jurisdiction is the authority to hear a case appealed from the lower court.

Original Jurisdiction

The district courts have the authority to hear the case for the first time.

District Courts

The district courts are the federal courts where trials are held and lawsuits are begun.

Court of Appeals

The Court of Appeals have nationwide jurisdiction. People who lose in a district court often appeal to the Court of Appeals. They review decisions made in lower disctrict courts.