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United States District Court

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The United States district courts are the general trial courts of the United States federal courts. There are 94 such courts. Both civil and criminal cases are filed in the district court, which is a court of both law and equity. There is a United States bankruptcy court and a number of bankruptcy judges associated with each United States district court. Each federal judicial district has at least one courthouse, and most districts have more than one.

United States district courtUnited States court of appealsUnited States District Court for the Northern Mariana IslandsUnited States District Court for the Northern Mariana IslandsUnited States District Court for the District of GuamUnited States District Court for the District of GuamUnited States District Court for the District of HawaiiUnited States District Court for the District of HawaiiUnited States District Court for the District of HawaiiUnited States District Court for the District of HawaiiUnited States District Court for the District of HawaiiUnited States District Court for the District of HawaiiUnited States District Court for the District of HawaiiUnited States District Court for the District of HawaiiUnited States District Court for the District of HawaiiUnited States District Court for the District of AlaskaUnited States District Court for the District of ArizonaUnited States District Court for the District of NevadaUnited States Court of Appeals for the Ninth CircuitUnited States District Court for the District of IdahoUnited States District Court for the District of MontanaUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of WashingtonUnited States District Court for the Western District of WashingtonUnited States District Court for the District of OregonUnited States District Court for the Southern District of CaliforniaUnited States District Court for the Central District of CaliforniaUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of CaliforniaUnited States District Court for the Northern District of CaliforniaUnited States District Court for the Northern District of CaliforniaUnited States District Court for the District of New MexicoUnited States District Court for the District of UtahUnited States District Court for the District of ColoradoUnited States District Court for the District of WyomingUnited States Court of Appeals for the Tenth CircuitUnited States District Court for the District of KansasUnited States District Court for the Northern District of OklahomaUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of OklahomaUnited States District Court for the Western District of OklahomaUnited States District Court for the Northern District of TexasUnited States District Court for the Western District of TexasUnited States District Court for the Southern District of TexasUnited States Court of Appeals for the Fifth CircuitUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of TexasUnited States District Court for the Western District of LouisianaUnited States District Court for the Western District of LouisianaUnited States District Court for the Middle District of LouisianaUnited States District Court for the Middle District of LouisianaUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of LouisianaUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of LouisianaUnited States District Court for the Northern District of MississippiUnited States District Court for the Southern District of MississippiUnited States District Court for the District of North DakotaUnited States District Court for the District of South DakotaUnited States Court of Appeals for the Eighth CircuitUnited States District Court for the District of NebraskaUnited States District Court for the District of MinnesotaUnited States District Court for the Northern District of IowaUnited States District Court for the Southern District of IowaUnited States District Court for the Western District of MissouriUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of MissouriUnited States District Court for the Western District of ArkansasUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of ArkansasUnited States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh CircuitUnited States District Court for the Southern District of FloridaUnited States District Court for the Southern District of FloridaUnited States District Court for the Middle District of FloridaUnited States District Court for the Northern District of FloridaUnited States District Court for the Northern District of AlabamaUnited States District Court for the Middle District of AlabamaUnited States District Court for the Southern District of AlabamaUnited States District Court for the Southern District of AlabamaUnited States District Court for the Northern District of GeorgiaUnited States District Court for the Middle District of GeorgiaUnited States District Court for the Southern District of GeorgiaUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of TennesseeUnited States District Court for the Middle District of TennesseeUnited States District Court for the Western District of TennesseeUnited States District Court for the Western District of KentuckyUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of KentuckyUnited States Court of Appeals for the Sixth CircuitUnited States District Court for the Southern District of OhioUnited States District Court for the Northern District of OhioUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of MichiganUnited States District Court for the Western District of MichiganUnited States District Court for the Western District of MichiganUnited States Court of Appeals for the Seventh CircuitUnited States District Court for the Southern District of IndianaUnited States District Court for the Northern District of IndianaUnited States District Court for the Southern District of IllinoisUnited States District Court for the Central District of IllinoisUnited States District Court for the Northern District of IllinoisUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of WisconsinUnited States District Court for the Western District of WisconsinUnited States Court of Appeals for the Fourth CircuitUnited States District Court for the District of South CarolinaUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of North CarolinaUnited States District Court for the Middle District of North CarolinaUnited States District Court for the Western District of North CarolinaUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of VirginiaUnited States District Court for the Western District of VirginiaUnited States District Court for the Southern District of West VirginiaUnited States District Court for the Northern District of West VirginiaUnited States District Court for the District of MarylandUnited States District Court for the District of MarylandUnited States Court of Appeals for the Third CircuitUnited States District Court for the U.S. Virgin IslandsUnited States District Court for the U.S. Virgin IslandsUnited States District Court for the U.S. Virgin IslandsUnited States District Court for the U.S. Virgin IslandsUnited States District Court for the District of DelawareUnited States District Court for the District of DelawareUnited States District Court for the District of New JerseyUnited States District Court for the District of New JerseyUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of PennsylvaniaUnited States District Court for the Middle District of PennsylvaniaUnited States District Court for the Western District of PennsylvaniaUnited States Court of Appeals for the Second CircuitUnited States District Court for the District of ConnecticutUnited States District Court for the District of ConnecticutUnited States District Court for the District of VermontUnited States District Court for the District of VermontUnited States District Court for the Western District of New YorkUnited States District Court for the Northern District of New YorkUnited States District Court for the Southern District of New YorkUnited States District Court for the Southern District of New YorkUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of New YorkUnited States District Court for the Eastern District of New YorkUnited States Court of Appeals for the First CircuitUnited States District Court for the District of Puerto RicoUnited States District Court for the District of Puerto RicoUnited States District Court for the District of Puerto RicoUnited States District Court for the District of Rhode IslandUnited States District Court for the District of Rhode IslandUnited States District Court for the District of MassachusettsUnited States District Court for the District of MassachusettsUnited States District Court for the District of New HampshireUnited States District Court for the District of New HampshireUnited States District Court for the District of MaineUnited States District Court for the District of ColumbiaUnited States District Court for the District of Columbia
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U.S. Federal Courts
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General jurisdiction courts
Supreme Court of the United States
U.S. Courts of Appeal
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Subject-matter jurisdiction
Bankruptcy courts
Court of Federal Claims
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Tax Court
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Federal judges
Federal judiciary

There is at least one judicial district for each state, and one each for Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. District courts in three insular areas - the United States Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands -"exercise the same jurisdiction as U.S. district courts." Despite their name, these courts are technically not "District Courts of the United States." Judges on these territorial courts do not enjoy the protections of Article Three of the Constitution, and serve terms of ten years rather than for life.

District courts and associated circuit courts

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Alabama

Alaska

Arizona

Arkansas

California

Colorado

District of Columbia

Connecticut

Delaware

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

Minnesota

Mississippi

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Puerto Rico

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming

District court judges

There are currently 677 U.S. District Court judgeships.[1][2]

The number of federal district judge positions is set by the U.S. Congress in Title 28 of the U.S. Code, Section 133, which authorizes a set number of judge positions, or judgeships, making changes and adjustments in these numbers from time-to-time.

In order to relieve the pressure of trying the hundreds of thousands of cases brought before the federal district courts each year, many trials are tried by juries, along with a presiding judge.[3]

Judicial selection

The district courts are served by Article III federal judges who are appointed for life, during "good behavior". They are usually first recommended by senators (or members of the House, occasionally). The President of the United States of America makes the appointments, which must then be confirmed by the U.S. Senate in accordance with Article III of the United States Constitution.[4]

Step ApprovedA Candidacy Proceeds DefeatedD Candidacy Halts
1. Recommendation made by Congress Member to the President President Nominates to Senate Judiciary Committee President Declines Nomination
2. Senate Judiciary Committee interviews Candidate Sends candidate to Senate for confirmation Returns candidate to President, who may re-nominate to Committee
3. Senate votes on candidate confirmation Candidate becomes federal judge Candidate does not receive judgeship

Magistrate judges

The district courts are also served by magistrate judges. Congress created the judicial office of "federal magistrate" in 1968. In 1990, the position title was changed to "magistrate judge". The Chief Judge of each district appoints one or more magistrate judges, who discharge many of the ancillary duties of district judges so judges can handle more trials. There are both full-time and part-time magistrate judge positions, and these positions are assigned to the district courts according to caseload criteria (subject to funding by Congress). A full-time magistrate judge serves a term of eight years; a part-time magistrate judge's term of office is four years.[5]

Caseloads

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Federal Court Caseload Statistics*
YearStarting case load:Cases filed:Total cases:Cases terminated:Remaining cases:Median time(Criminal)**:Median time(Civil)**:3 Year Civil cases#:Vacant posts:## Trials/Post
2013 365760391652757412362228 3951847.38.527087784.119
2012 366740386664753404382837 3705677.27.830309(11.0%)76820
2011 377952402885780837414739 36609877.340439(14.9%)947.120
2010 397943394345792288419178 3731106.97.645010(15.8%)964.120
2009 386347384902771249369801 40144878.935282(11.7%)602.520
2008 352278371155723433337761 3856727.18.121820(7.3%)397.920
20073090063563116653173374353278827.58.617446(6.6%)424.620
*All statistics are taken from the Official Federal Courts' Website and reflect the calendar year through September.    **Time in months from filing to completion.
#This statistic includes cases which have been appealed in higher courts.    ##This is the total number of months that any judicial posts had spent vacant that year.

History

For information about when specific federal courts were formed, see United States court reorganization legislation.

Key Dates
1789 - The Judiciary Act of 1789. Congress divided the nation into 13 judicial districts, with each of these U.S. District Courts serving as the federal trial court for admiralty, maritime and some minor civil and criminal cases.
1790s - Some states began to be divided into multiple judicial districts.
1889 - A circuit court was established for every judicial district.
1891 - Congress established a uniform salary for district court judges.
1911 - The "Judicial Code of 1911" abolished the U.S. circuit courts, making the U.S. district courts the only general jurisdiction trial courts in the federal judicial system.[6]
1968 - The judicial office of the "federal magistrate" was created.[5]

See also

External links

References