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The Court System

Judiciary Act of 1789

How many federal district courts and federal appeals courts are there?

The federal district courts are the trial courts in the federal system. There are 94 federal judicial districts in the United States. There are multiple judicial districts in most states, one in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Marinara Islands. Federal district courts hear both civil and criminal cases before juries. Federal district courts also have separate bankruptcy courts. The vast majority of cases before a federal district court are held before a single judge.

The federal appeals courts are divided into 13 circuits—11 numbered circuits, the D.C. Circuit, and the Federal Circuit. Most cases at the federal appellate court level are heard by panels of three judges. The Circuit Courts are organized as follows:

1st Circuit federal cases from the states of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Puerto Rico
2nd Circuit federal cases from the states of New York, Vermont, and Connecticut
3rd Circuit federal cases from the states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware
4th Circuit federal cases from the states of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina
5th Circuit federal cases from the states of Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi
6th Circuit federal cases from the states of Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan
7th Circuit federal cases from the states of Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin
8th Circuit federal cases from the states of Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska
9th Circuit federal cases from the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington
10th Circuit federal cases from the states of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming
11th Circuit federal cases from the states of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida


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