2THE DISTRICT COURTS US District courts are the federal trial courts 677 judges handle more than 300,000 cases per year (80% of the federal case load)These courts created by the Judiciary Act of There are currently 94 (96) districtsFEDERAL JUDICIAL DISTRICTS50 states are divided into 89 judicial districtsAlso districts in Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana IslandsMost cases heard by a single judge but sometimes there is a 3-judge panel
3DISTRICT COURT JURISDICTION Original jurisdiction over most cases except those that start in the Supreme Court or the US Court for International TradeCriminal or civil casesCriminal—a defendant is tried for committing some crime as stated in federal lawCivil—involves noncriminal matters such as patent infringement or contract issuesMost district court decisions are final. Some rulings may be appealed to a different court.
4THE COURT OF APPEALS Created by Congress in 1891 Established as “gatekeepers” to relieve the Supreme Court of much of the burden of hearing appeals from district courtsDOCKET—list of cases to be heard by a court12 judicial circuitsAPPELLATE COURT JUDGES179 circuit judgesEach Supreme Court Justice is assigned to a circuit as well
5APPELLATE COURT JURISDICTION These courts hear only cases on appeal from district courts within their circuitThey also hear cases from other agencies such as Federal Trade Commission, etc.70,000 cases or more annually
6OTHER CONSTITUTIONAL COURTS THE COURT OF INTERNATIONAL TRADECreated in 18909 judgesHears civil cases related to tariffs, trade, etc.THE COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FEDERAL CIRCUITCreated in 1982Established to speed up handling of appeals in certain types of civil casesHears appeals from several types of courtsTHE END