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September 12, 2023

Learn About the Different Types of Federal Judges and the Cases They Hear

Judges work to ensure justice for all. Learn about the different types of federal judges and the cases they hear.

Congress has established thirteen courts of appeals and ninety four district courts in the United States, each with their own rules for appointment, tenure and payment. Those rules derive from Article III of the Constitution.

Those courts hear appeals from decisions of the district court, or sometimes original proceedings filed directly with that court, as well as some original criminal cases. The courts decide whether the law was applied correctly in the district court, or decide if there is sufficient evidence for the case to be sent back for another trial. They also may rule on motions for summary judgment, or grant a party permission to sue without paying a fee in forma pauperis. The judges can be removed from office by impeachment in the House of Representatives and conviction by the Senate.

Modern complexities call for a constant infusion of new blood in the courts, just as it is needed in executive functions of the Government and in private business. Men of declining mental or physical vigor avoid examination of complicated and changing conditions; they assume that old facts will be the same in the future as they were in the past, and cease to discover new ones. It is therefore important that the President should have a power to appoint additional district and circuit judges in all cases where incumbents over seventy are refusing to retire or resign.