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The Court is officially located in Washington, D.C., but it hears cases all over the country. This Court handles most cases in which the United States or any of its branches, departments, or agencies is named the defendant. The court has jurisdiction over suits involving a monetary claim against the United States based on the U.S. Constitution, federal laws, executive regulations, or express or implied contract with the government.

The typical cases handled by the Court are those involving: compensation for confiscated property, refunds of federal taxes, military and civilian pay and allowance, damages due to breach of government contracts, or alleged governmental infringement or misinterpretation of private patents, trademarks, copyrights, or licenses. The Court also has jurisdiction over certain Indian suits and cases transferred from the Indian Claims Commission. Congress can also send private bills to the Court to determine whether or not an issue has a genuine legal or equitable claim for relief (e.g., reparations for Japanese Internment). However, the Court does not have jurisdiction over monetary claims made by pension funds or claims based on foreign treaties.

The Court’s 16 judges are appointed by the President and confirmation by the Senate to serve a term of 15 years. All of the Court’s judgments are final on both the claimant and the United States, but each party retains the right to appeal the ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

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