Federal Court Systems

Learn more about federal court systems

Some vocabulary you need to know

US Marshall- makes arrests, collect fines, and take convicted people to prison

US Attorney- a government lawyer who prosecutes people accused of breaking federal laws

Magistrate Judge- they decide whether the accused should be held in jail or release on bail

Life Terms- When someone can hold office for as long as they would like

Precedent- Model for other judges to follow in making their own decisions on similar


Opinion- explains the legal thinking behind the courts decision in the case

Remand- sending the case back to the lower court to be tried again

Circuit- The geographic area of a US Court of Appeals

Appellate Jurisdiction- The authority to hear a case appealed from a lower court

Original Jurisdiction- the authority to hear a case for the first time

District Courts- federal courts where trials are held and lawsuits are begun

Court of Appeals- the Federal court that reviews decisions made in the district courts

Inside the court room

Overview of the Federal Court system

Federal courts are split into U.S. District courts, U.S. Court of Appeals, the thirteenth appeals court, and the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Cases can be sent to the higher and lower levels of the court system in a split second.

Each district court has 2 or more federal judges. Each court appeal has 6 to 27 judges and the Supreme Court has 9 judges.