Judicial Power in the US
The judicial power in the US is held by the Supreme Court, which was the only court created specifically by the Constitution. In addition, Congress has established 13 federal courts of appeals which dominate 95 federal district courts.
US Supreme Court
The Supreme Court is located in Washington, while the other federal courts are located in all the cities of the United States. Judges are appointed for life and retire voluntarily. To dismiss them, it is necessary to engage in a long process before Congress.
The Supreme Court deals with cases that go beyond the Constitution, as well as federal laws, treaties, which involve foreign citizens or governments, and in which the United States government itself represents one of the parties present. It is organized around a “Chief Justice”, the President of the Supreme Court and 8 deputy judges. In general, lawsuits come from federal or state courts.
Most of these lawsuits are about disputes over the constitutionality and interpretation of actions taken by the executive branch or laws passed by Congress or the states (such as federal laws, state laws must conform to the Constitution). Even if the three powers are supposed to be equal, the Supreme Court therefore often has the last word on a subject. The courts can declare a law unconstitutional and reject it to take the case to the Supreme Court. This is the last arbiter representing the texts of the Constitution.
How does the American legal system work?
The United States has a central federal government and individual governments for each of the 50 states. Thus, the American legal system is composed on the one hand of the federal order whose highest jurisdiction is the Supreme Court, and on the other hand of the law specific to each federated State.
List of 13 Federal Courts of Appeal
The list below sets out the states or territories under each of the Federal Courts of Appeals. The respective administrative offices are specified in parentheses. The number of U.S. District Courts by state or territory is also specified in parentheses opposite the names of each. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (or Federal Circuit) is responsible for generally administrative or commercial matters involving federal law.
1. Federal District (Seat: Washington, DC)
2. DC District (Headquarters: Washington, DC)
District of Columbia
3. 1st District (Seat: Boston)
4. 2nd District (seat: New York City)
5. 3rd District (Seat: Philadelphia)
US Virgin Islands
6. 4th District (Headquarters: Richmond (Virginia)
7. 5th Ward (seat: New Orleans )
8. 6th District (Seat: Cincinnati)
9. 7th District (Seat: Chicago)
Interior view of the Wisconsin Supreme Court courtroom, inside the Wisconsin State Capitol building, Madison, Wisconsin, USA. Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
10. 8th District (Seat: St. Louis )
11. 9th District (seat: San Francisco)
Northern Mariana Islands
12. 10th District (seat: Denver)
13. 11th District (Seat: Atlanta)
Photo description: Photo of the west facade of United States Supreme Court Building at dusk in Washington, D.C., USA.