Other Federal Courts

Other Federal Courts in the United States federal judicial system are the United States Court of International Trade, the United States Court of Federal Claims, the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, the United States Tax Court, the United States Bankruptcy Courts, and the United States Territorial Courts.

Congress has created a number of courts in the federal system that have specialized jurisdiction.  Unlike constitutional courts, judges appointed to legislative courts do not enjoy lifetime tenure, unless Congress specifically authorized a life term.  Moreover, judges in legislative courts do not enjoy the Constitutional prohibition against salary reductions of judges. A summary of these courts is as follows:

  • The United States Court of International Trade has jurisdiction to hear cases involving customs, unfair import practices, and other issues regarding international trade.  This court is a constitutional court, so its judges have lifetime tenure and protection against salary reduction.
  • The United States Court of Federal Claims has jurisdiction to hear a broad range of claims brought against the United States.  The court was called the United States Claims Court from 1982 to 1992.  Many cases brought before this tribunal are tax cases, though the court also hears cases involving litigants who were federal employees and other parties with monetary claims against the United States. Judges sitting on this court enjoy neither life tenure nor protection against salary reduction.  An adverse decision in this court is appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
  • The United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces reviews court martial convictions from the armed forces.  Only the Supreme Court of the United States can review its cases.  Judges sitting on this court enjoy neither life tenure nor protection against salary reduction.
  • The United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims reviews decisions of the Board of Veteran Appeals.  Appointments of judges last 15 years.  An adverse decision in this court is appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
  • The United States Tax Court is a legislative court that resolves disputes between citizens and the Internal Revenue Service.  Appointments of judges last 15 years. Adverse decisions are appealed to a court of appeals in an appropriate regional circuit.
  • The United States Bankruptcy Courts are federal courts that have jurisdiction over all bankruptcy cases.  Bankruptcy cases are not filed in state courts.  All of the 94 federal judicial district courts handle the bankruptcy matters.  In 1979, the United States Congress created the separate system of bankruptcy courts.
  • The United States Territorial Courts are courts with similar jurisdictional power that of US federal district courts.  These courts are formed by the U.S. Congress under Article I and established in territories of the United States.  The United States territorial courts are District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands, United States District Court for the District of Guam, and United States District Court for the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Inside Other Federal Courts