Federal Court System

Apart of the Judiciary Branch

The U.S. Court System

The court system consists of district courts, court of appeals, and U.S. Supreme Court.
  • District Court: They are the trial courts of the federal court system.
  • Court of Appeals: It has 94 U.S. judicial districts that are organized into 12 regional circuits. The court of appeals hears appeals from the district courts that are located in its circuit, and appeals from the decisions of federal administrative agencies.
  • U.S. Supreme Court: The U.S. Supreme Court consists of the Chief Justice and its eight associate justices. The U.S. Supreme Court justices serve life terms on the bench. The Supreme Court each year hears a limited number of the cases. Those cases may begin in the federal or state courts, and usually involve important questions about the Constitution or federal law.

Federal Court System Parts

In the district courts
  • The U.S. Marshall keeps order in trials, make arrests, collect fines, they take convicted people to prison, protect the jurors and serve papers.
  • District Courts have original jurisdiction which means they are able to see the case in question for the first time.
  • A magistrate judge is a judge for district courts. They are certain number of magistrate judges in each district they serve an eight year terms. Their duties vary from state to state.
In the Court of Appeal
  • There are 13 judicial circuits for the court of appeals. A circuit is the judicial district of the U.S. Court of Appeals.
  • The Court of Appeals has nationwide jurisdiction to hear appeals in specialized cases, like patent laws.
  • The Court of Appeals has appellate jurisdiction or the power to reverse or modify the the lower court's decision.
  • The Court of Appeals can uphold the decision from the lower court which means agree with decision from the lower court or they can remand or disagree that the decision was not fair.
In the U.S. Supreme Court:
  • The U.S. Supreme Court has original and appellate jurisdiction over all the cases that go up to it.
  • The Supreme Court is the highest level of judicial interpretation
  • U.S. attorneys represent the federal government in cases against the United States.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court usually sets precedents for cases so future judges can learn from them
  • An opinion is a written explanation by a judge or group of judges that comes from a ruling in a case.