Federal Court System
A term to know.
The term federal court can actually refer to one of two types of courts. The first type of court is what is known as an Article III court. These courts get their name from the fact that they derive their power from Article III of the Constitution. These courts include (1) the U.S. District Courts, (2) the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal, and (3) the U.S. Supreme Court. They also include two special courts: (a) the U.S. Court of Claims and (b) the U.S. Court of International Trade. These courts are special because, unlike the other courts, they are not courts of general jurisdiction. Courts of general jurisdiction can hear almost any case. All judges of Article III courts are appointed by the President of the United States with the advice and consent of the Senate and hold office during good behavior.
The second type of court also is established by Congress. These courts are (1) magistrate courts, (2) bankruptcy courts, (3) the U.S. Court of Military Appeals, (4) the U.S. Tax Court, and (5) the U.S. Court of Veterans' Appeals. The judges of these courts are appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. They hold office for a set number of years, usually about 15. Magistrate and bankruptcy courts are attached to each U.S. District Court. The U.S. Court of Military Appeals, U.S. Tax Court, and U.S. Court of Veterans' Appeals are called Article I or legislative courts.