Federal Courts

The U.S. District Courts are the courts of general jurisdiction consisting of 670 district courts throughout the country. District Courts hear cases within the federal court system for both civil and criminal. The President appoints at least one United States District Judge for each district court with the consent and approval of the Senate for a life term. The same applies to the U.S. Attorneys wherein the U.S. Attorney is the primary prosecutor for the federal government in his or her respective district.

The appointment of magistrates is made by the district court by a majority vote of all judges and serve for a term of eight-year if full-time and four years if part-time and may be subject to reappointment after their term. Federal magistrate judges are tasked to perform some duties given by the district court and may decide certain motions such as a motion to suppress evidence and resolve certain cases, including the issuance of search warrants and warrants of arrest, conduct an initial hearing, set bail, and other similar actions for criminal cases and magistrates handle pre-trial motions and discovery and some other issues for civil cases.

District court judges may continue to serve as long as they maintain their good behavior while holding their office and can be impeached and removed only by Congress. They are responsible for managing the court and supervise the court’s employees.

Federal trial courts are also established for certain areas and each federal district also has a bankruptcy court for proceedings alike. Moreover, some courts have nationwide jurisdiction for issues corresponding controversies such as tax cases which are tried by the United States Tax Court, claims against the government, tried by the United States Court of Federal Claims, and international trade, tried by the United States Court of International Trade