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US Courts of Appeals

The United States Courts of Appeals are the intermediate appellate courts of the United States Federal Court system.  The 12 regional circuits are organized from the 94 U.S. judicial districts.  Each of these regional circuits, along with the Federal Circuit, has a United States Court of Appeals.  A Court of Appeals hears and decides on appeals from the District Courts located within its Federal Judicial Circuit as well as appeals from decisions of federal administrative agencies and other designated federal courts.  The decisions of the Court of Appeals are binding on the District Courts located within its Circuit. 

There are currently thirteen United States Courts of Appeals.  There are other tribunals such as the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces which hear appeals in court martial cases that are also designated as Court of Appeals.  The First Circuit to the Eleventh circuit and the District of Columbia Circuit are geographically defined.  The

Thirteenth Court of Appeals is the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which has nationwide jurisdiction over certain appeals based on a variety of subject matters,  including international trade, government contracts, patents, trademarks, certain money claims against the United States government, federal personnel, and veterans’ benefits.  Appeals to this Court come from all Federal District Courts, the United States Court of Federal Claims, the United States Court of International Trade, and the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.  The Court also takes appeals of certain administrative agencies’ decisions, including the United States Merit Systems Protection Board, the Boards of Contract Appeals, the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences, and the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board.  Decisions of the United States International Trade Commission, the Office of Compliance of the United States Congress and the Government Accountability Office Personnel Appeals Board are also reviewed by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

The other Courts of Appeals also hear appeals from some administrative agency decisions and rulemaking. 

28 USC § 48 (a) provides that the Courts of Appeals shall hold regular sessions at the places listed below: 



District of ColumbiaWashington
First CircuitBoston
Second CircuitNew York
Third CircuitPhiladelphia
Fourth CircuitRichmond, Asheville
Fifth CircuitNew Orleans, Fort Worth, Jackson
Sixth CircuitCincinnati
Seventh CircuitChicago
Eighth CircuitSt. Louis, Kansas City, Omaha, St. Paul
Ninth CircuitSan Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle
Tenth CircuitDenver, Wichita, Oklahoma City
Eleventh CircuitAtlanta, Jacksonville, Montgomery
Federal CircuitDistrict of Columbia and in any other place listed above as the court by rule directs. 

 28 USCS § 43 (a) provides that there shall be a Court of Appeals in each circuit.  Such Court of Appeals shall be a court of record, known as the United States Court of Appeals for the Circuit.

Inside US Courts of Appeals