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The Lower Federal Courts & Federal Judges

District courts

-Federal courts in which trials are held and lawsuits are begun

District courts

-94 district courts, at least one in every state

District courts

-the only federal courts where witnesses testify and juries hear cases and reach verdicts

Original jurisdiction

The authority to hear cases for the first time

Appeals courts

-Review decisions made in lower district courts
-12 US courts of appeal
-do not hold trials

Appellate jurisdiction

The authority of a court to hear a case appealed from a lower court

3 ways to appeal

1. upholding the original decision
2. reversing that decision
3. remanding the case


Sending the case back to the lower court to be tried again


Offers a detailed explanation of the legal thinking behind the court's decision


Gives guidance to other judges by offering a model upon which to base their own decisions on similar cases.

Federal Judges

-Interpret the law and protect the rights the Constitution guarantees

Federal Judges

-650 with at least 2 in every state's district court and 6 to 28 in appeals court; Supreme Court has 9 justices


Once appointed by the President, federal judges may have their job for life and only moved through impeachment


-Officials that take care of a judge's routine work: issue court orders, hear preliminary evidence to determine if a case should go to trial, determine whether arrested people should be held in jail or released on bail, hear minor cases

U.S. Attorneys

-Government lawyers who prosecute people accused of breaking federal laws; look into complaints of crime, prepare formal charges, and present evidence in court

U.S. Attorneys

-duty to represent the United States in civil cases in which the government is involved

U.S. Attorneys

-appointed to 4 year terms by the President

U.S. Marshals

Make arrests, collect fines, and take convicted person to prison; protect jurors, keep order in federal courts, and serve legal papers(subpoenas)

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