Skip to main content

Long Description - Structure of the Federal Courts

The graphic shows a half-pyramid, divided into three sections from top to bottom. The top section represents the Supreme Court, with a graphic showing the Supreme Court building. The middle section represents the federal Courts of Appeal, with a graphic showing an empty courtroom. The bottom section represents the federal district courts, with a graphic showing a historic courthouse. The following text appears in the graphic:

  • Supreme Court

    • Highest court in the federal system

    • Nine Justices, meeting in Washington, D.C.

    • Appeals jurisdiction through certiorari process

    • Limited original jurisdiction over some cases

  • Courts of Appeal

    • Intermediate level in the federal system

    • 12 regional "circuit" courts, including D.C. Circuit

    • No original jurisdiction; strictly appellate

  • District Courts

    • Lowest level in the federal system

    • 94 judicial districts in 50 states, Puerto Rico, territories

    • No appellate jurisdiction

    • Original jurisdiction over most cases

< Return to Structure of the Federal Courts