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Intellectual Property 

Mondaq - Oct 08 6:35 AM
It is clear from recent decisions of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that courts are now taking a much tougher line on how to draft specifications and how to draft claims than has previously been the case.

Rights abuse victims: Scrap PCGG 
The Manila Times - Oct 08 6:36 AM
ROD C. Domingo Jr., the Filipino lawyer who acts as counsel for 9,539 human-rights abuse victims of the Marcos martial-law regime, won for his clients a $2-billion judgment in the United States District Court of Hawaii, is for abolishing the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG). But the first lady during the martial-law years, Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos, does not.

Suspect fighting return to U.S. 
Whittier Daily news - 1 hour, 36 minutes ago
The suspect who created a national furor after shooting a sheriff's deputy in 2002 and fled to Mexico is still fighting attempts to send him back to the United States.

Nation/World Briefs 
Detroit News - Oct 05 11:08 PM
SAN FRANCISCO -- A state appeals court upheld California's ban on gay marriage Thursday, a critical defeat for a movement hungry for a win after similar losses in two other states. In reversing the March 2005 ruling of a San Francisco trial judge, the 1st District Court of Appeal agreed with the state's attorney general, who argued it is up to the Legislature, not the courts, to change the

united states district court

 

 

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Map of the boundaries of the United States Courts of Appeals and United States District Courts

The United States district united states district court courts are the united states district courts general trial courts of the United States federal court system. Both civil and criminal cases are filed in the district court, which is a court of both law and equity. There is a United States bankruptcy court in each United States district court. Each federal judicial district has at least one courthouse, and some large districts have more than one. The formal name of a district court is, for example, United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

There is at least one judicial district for each state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. District courts in insular areas other than Puerto Rico (and Palmyra Island, which is included in the District of Hawaii) "exercise the same jurisdiction as U.S. district courts," although judges on these territorial courts serve ten year terms rather than for life.

See also federal judge.

Contents

  • 1 Other federal trial courts
  • 2 United States district judge
  • 3 Jurisdiction
  • 4 Attorneys
  • 5 Appeals
  • 6 Busiest district courts
  • 7 List of United States district courts
  • 8 Extinct district courts
  • 9 External links

Other federal trial courts

There are other federal trial courts that have nationwide jurisdiction over certain types of cases, but the district court also has concurrent jurisdiction over many of those cases, and the district court is the only one with jurisdiction over criminal cases. The Court of International Trade addresses cases involving international trade and customs issues. The United States Court of Federal Claims has exclusive jurisdiction over most claims for money damages against the United States, including disputes over federal contracts, unlawful takings of private property by the federal government, and suits for injury on federal property or by a federal employee. The United States Tax Court has jurisdiction over contested assessments of taxes.

United States district judge

A judge of a United States District Court is officially titled a “United States District Judge”. Other federal judges, including circuit judges and Supreme Court justices, can also sit in a district court upon assignment by the chief judge of the circuit or by the Chief Justice of the United States. The number of judges in each District Court (and the structure of the judicial system generally) is set by Congress. The President appoints all judges (subject to the approval of the Senate), so the nominees often share at least some of his convictions. In states represented by a senator of the president's party, the senator (or the more senior of them if both senators are of the president's party) has substantial input into the nominating process, and through a tradition known as “senatorial courtesy”, can exercise an unofficial veto over a nominee obnoxious to the senator.

With the exception of Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands, federal district judges are Article III judges appointed for life, and can be removed involuntarily only when they violate the standard of “good behavior”. The sole method of involuntary removal of a judge is through impeachment by the United States House of Representatives followed by a trial in the United States Senate, which requires a two-thirds vote to convict. Otherwise, a judge, even if he or she is convicted of a felony criminal offense by a jury, is entitled to hold office until he (or she) dies or retires. In the history of the United States, only twelve judges have been impeached by the House, and only seven have been removed following conviction in the Senate. (For a table that includes the twelve impeached judges, see Impeachment in the United States.)

A judge who has reached the age of 65 (or has become disabled) may retire or elect to go on “senior status” and keep working. Such “senior” judges are not counted in the quota of active judges for the district and do only whatever work they are assigned by the chief judge of the district, but they keep their offices (called “chambers”) and staff, and many of them work full-time. A federal judge is addressed in writing as “The Honorable Jane Doe” or “Hon. Jane Doe” and in speech as “Judge” or “Judge Doe” or, when presiding in court, “Your Honor”.

District judges usually concentrate on managing their court's overall caseload, supervising trials, and writing opinions in response to important motions like the motion for summary judgment. Since the 1960s, routine tasks like resolving discovery disputes can, in the district judge's discretion, be referred to magistrate judges. Magistrate judges can also be requested to prepare reports and recommendations on contested matters for the district judge's consideration or, with the consent of all parties, to assume complete jurisdiction over a case including conducting the trial.

Federal magistrate judges are not Article III judges with guaranteed lifetime employment. Rather, they are hired and supervised by district judges like any other court employee, and they can be fired at any time for any rational reason (for example, if Congress cuts the judiciary's budget). Occasionally a capable magistrate judge will be nominated by the President to become a district judge, but magistrate judge is just one of the possible “stepping stones” to such an appointment.

Jurisdiction

To file a civil case (that is, “sue someone”) in federal district court, a person must have a reason why a federal court, instead of a state court, should adjudicate the dispute. By law, the bases for federal jurisdiction (the power to hear and decide a case) are:

  • United States as a plaintiff;
  • United States (or in certain cases a federal officer or employee) as a defendant;
  • “Federal question jurisdiction”, which means the complaint is based on a federal law (which may be the Constitution or a statute);
  • “Admiralty” or “maritime” jurisidiction, which, very generally, applies to and governs disputes which arise out of acts occurring at sea or in other “navigable waters” within the United States.
  • “Diversity of citizenship”, which means the plaintiff, or person suing, and defendant (person being sued) live in different states and the “amount in controversy” is more than the statutory minimum, which is currently $75,000.00; and
  • “Alienage”, which is a variant of diversity of citizenship, wherein one party is a United States citizen and the other is a foreign national who does not reside in any state - alien residents of the United States are treated as citizens for purposes of diversity and alienage jurisdiction - and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.00.

Thus, not every legal dispute can be litigated in federal court, hence the expression “make a federal case out of it.”

Federal district courts often decide claims based on state law. Sometimes this is because only state law claims were pleaded and the only basis for federal jurisdiction is diversity of citizenship or alienage. Other times, even though there is a federal question in the case, the plaintiff has also pleaded state law claims as well, which the federal courts have the discretion to hear through supplemental jurisdiction. Either way, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that in such situations, the district courts must resolve state law claims by applying the law of the state in which they sit. They cannot make up and apply general federal common law (which was the old rule).

Although in matters of civil law there are often parallel federal and state laws, providing an aggrieved party with a choice of venue, there are some matters which may only be adjudicated in the Federal courts; these include most intellectual property questions and matters related to international relations. In some situations, Federal law provides both for the exclusive jurisdiction of Federal courts and for the immunity of the defendant from the power of those courts. One example of this is patent-infringement claims against a state government: only the Federal courts may hear patent cases, but the states have sovereign immunity from such suits under the Eleventh Amendment. Although a state may choose to waive its immunity in such a case and allow it to proceed to trial, if it does not do so, the plaintiff has no recourse. This doctrine was reaffirmed in a United States Supreme Court case, Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Education Expense Board v. College Savings Bank, 527 U.S. 627 (1999).

District courts also have limited jurisdiction as an appellate court, reviewing decisions of the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board and of United States bankruptcy courts (except in those circuits that have created a specialized Bankruptcy Appellate Panel to do so).

Attorneys

In order to represent a party in a case in a district court, a person must be an attorney at law and generally must be admitted to the bar of that particular court. The United States does not have a separate bar examination for federal practice (except with respect to patent law). Admission to the bar of a district court is generally granted as a matter of course to any attorney who is admitted to practice law in the state where the district court sits. The attorney submits his application with a fee and takes the oath of admission. Local practice varies as to whether the oath is given in writing or in open court before a judge of the district.

Appeals

Generally, a final ruling by a district court in either a civil or a criminal case can be appealed to the United States court of appeals in the federal judicial circuit in which the district court is located, except that some district court rulings involving patents and certain other specialized matters must be appealed instead to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and in a very few cases the appeal may be taken directly to the United States Supreme Court.

Busiest district courts

Not surprisingly, the busiest and largest district courts are the ones that serve the three largest cities in the United States: New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Respectively, they are the district courts for the Southern District of New York, the Central District of California, and the Northern District of Illinois.

Together, these three courts have the most judges, personnel, and facilities, and publish a large portion of the opinions reported in the Federal Supplement.

The Central District of California is the largest federal district by population, since it encompasses practically all of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, while the City of New York is divided between the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, and many New York suburbs are covered by district courts in New Jersey and Connecticut.

List of United States district courts

  1. United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama (M.D.Ala.)
  2. United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama (N.D.Ala.)
  3. United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama (S.D.Ala..)
  4. United States District Court for the District of Alaska (D.Aka.)
  5. United States District Court for the District of Arizona (D.Ariz.)
  6. United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas (E.D.Ark.)
  7. United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas (W.D.Ark.)
  8. United States District Court for the Central District of California (C.D.Cal.)
  9. United States District Court for the Eastern District of California (E.D.Cal.)
  10. United States District Court for the Northern District of California (N.D.Cal.)
  11. United States District Court for the Southern District of California (S.D.Cal.)
  12. United States District Court for the District of Colorado (D.Col.)
  13. United States District Court for the District of Connecticut (D.Conn.)
  14. United States District Court for the District of Delaware (D.Del.)
  15. United States District Court for the District of Columbia (D.D.C.)
  16. United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida (M.D.Fla.)
  17. United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida (N.D.Fla.)
  18. United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida (S.D.Fla.)
  19. United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia (M.D.Ga.)
  20. United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia (N.D.Ga.)
  21. United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia (S.D.Ga.)
  22. United States District Court for the District of Hawaii (D.Haw.)
  23. United States District Court for the District of Idaho (D.Ida.)
  24. United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois (C.D.Ill.)
  25. United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (N.D.Ill.)
  26. United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois (S.D.Ill.)
  27. United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana (N.D.Ind.)
  28. United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana (S.D.Ind.)
  29. United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa (N.D.Iowa)
  30. United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa (S.D.Iowa)
  31. United States District Court for the District of Kansas (D.Kan.)
  32. United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky (E.D.Ky.)
  33. United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky (W.D.Ky.)
  34. United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana (E.D.La.)
  35. United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana (M.D.La.)
  36. United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana (W.D.La.)
  37. United States District Court for the District of Maine (D.Maine)
  38. United States District Court for the District of Maryland (D.Md.)
  39. United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts (D.Mass.)
  40. United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan (E.D.Mich.)
  41. United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan (W.D.Mich.)
  42. United States District Court for the District of Minnesota (D.Minn.)
  43. United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi (N.D.Miss.)
  44. United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi (S.D.Miss.)
  45. United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri (E.D.Mo.)
  46. United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri (W.D.Mo.)
  47. United States District Court for the District of Montana (D.Mont.)
  48. United States District Court for the District of Nebraska (D.Neb.)
  49. United States District Court for the District of Nevada (D.Nev.)
  50. United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire (D.N.H.)
  51. United States District Court for the District of New Jersey (D.N.J.)
  52. United States District Court for the District of New Mexico (D.N.M.)
  53. United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (E.D.N.Y.)
  54. United States District Court for the Northern District of New York (N.D.N.Y.)
  55. United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (S.D.N.Y.)
  56. United States District Court for the Western District of New York (W.D.N.Y.)
  57. United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina (E.D.N.C.)
  58. United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina (M.D.N.C.)
  59. United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina (W.D.N.C.)
  60. United States District Court for the District of North Dakota (D.N.D.)
  61. United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio (N.D.Ohio)
  62. United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio (S.D.Ohio)
  63. United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma (E.D.Ok.)
  64. United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma (N.D.Ok.)
  65. United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma (W.D.Ok.)
  66. United States District Court for the District of Oregon (D.Ore.)
  67. United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (E.D.Penn.)
  68. United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania (M.D.Penn.)
  69. United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (W.D.Penn.)
  70. United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico (D.P.R.)
  71. United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island (D.R.I.)
  72. United States District Court for the District of South Carolina (D.S.C.)
  73. United States District Court for the District of South Dakota (D.S.Dak.)
  74. United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee (E.D.Tenn.)
  75. United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee (M.D.Tenn.)
  76. United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee (W.D.Tenn.)
  77. United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (E.D.Tex.)
  78. United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas (N.D.Tex.)
  79. United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas (S.D.Tex.)
  80. United States District Court for the Western District of Texas (W.D.Tex.)
  81. United States District Court for the District of Utah (D.Utah)
  82. United States District Court for the District of Vermont (D.Vt.)
  83. United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (E.D.Va.)
  84. United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia (W.D.Va.)
  85. United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington (E.D.Wash.)
  86. United States District Court for the Western District of Washington (W.D.Wash.)
  87. United States District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia (N.D.W.Va.)
  88. United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia (S.D.W.Va.)
  89. United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin (E.D.Wis.)
  90. United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin (W.D.Wis.)
  91. United States District Court for the District of Wyoming (D.Wyo.)

Federal district courts for U.S. territories:

  1. District Court of Guam (D.Gu.)
  2. District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands (D.M.P.)
  3. District Court of the Virgin Islands (D.V.I.)


United States district courts
Alabama (M, N, S) • Alaska • Arizona • Arkansas (E, W) • California (C, E, N, S) • Colorado • Connecticut • Delaware • District of Columbia • Florida (M, N, S) • Georgia (M, N, S) • Hawaii • Idaho • Illinois (C, N, S) • Indiana (N, S) • Iowa (N, S) • Kansas • Kentucky (E, W) • Louisiana (E, M, W) • Maine • Maryland • Massachusetts • Michigan (E, W) • Minnesota • Mississippi (N, S) • Missouri (E, W) • Montana • Nebraska • Nevada • New Hampshire • New Jersey • New Mexico • New York (E, N, S, W) • North Carolina (E, M, W) • North Dakota • Ohio (N, S) • Oklahoma (E, N, W) • Oregon • Pennsylvania (E, M, W) • Puerto Rico • Rhode Island • South Carolina • South Dakota • Tennessee (E, M, W) • Texas (E, N, S, W) • Utah • Vermont • Virginia (E, W) • Washington (E, W) • West Virginia (N, S) • Wisconsin (E, W) • Wyoming

Territorial courts
Guam • Northern Mariana Islands • Virgin Islands


Extinct district courts

Most extinct district courts have disappeared by being divided into smaller districts. The following courts were subdivided out of existence:

  • United States District Court for the District of Alabama
  • United States District Court for the District of Arkansas
  • United States District Court for the District of California
  • United States District Court for the District of Florida
  • United States District Court for the District of Georgia
  • United States District Court for the District of Illinois
  • United States District Court for the District of Indiana
  • United States District Court for the District of Iowa
  • United States District Court for the District of Kentucky
  • United States District Court for the District of Louisiana
  • United States District Court for the District of Michigan
  • United States District Court for the District of Mississippi
  • United States District Court for the District of Missouri
  • United States District Court for the District of New York
  • United States District Court for the District of North Carolina
  • United States District Court for the District of Ohio
  • United States District Court for the District of Pennsylvania
  • United States District Court for the District of Texas
  • United States District Court for the District of Virginia
  • United States District Court for the District of Washington
  • United States District Court for the District of West Virginia
  • United States District Court for the District of Wisconsin

On rare occasions, an extinct district court was extinguished by merging it with other district courts. In every case, this has restored a district court which had been subdivided:

  • Between 1801 and 1802, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey was divided into the United States District Courts for the Districts of East Jersey and West Jersey.
  • Between 1794 and 1797, the United States District Court for the District of North Carolina was divided into the United States District Courts for the Districts of Edenton, New Bern, and Wilmington.
  • Between 1911 and 1961, the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina was divided into the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Western District of South Carolina.

There are a few additional extinct district courts which don't fall into either of the above two patterns.

  • From 1801 to 1802, the District of Columbia and pieces of Maryland and Virginia formed the United States District Court for the District of Potomac, which was the first United States district court to cross state lines. During the same period, the United States District Court for the District of Norfolk was carved out of another piece of Virginia. The United States District Courts for the Districts of Maryland and Virginia remained during this brief period.
  • From 1801 to 1802, and again from 1802 to 1872, the state of North Carolina was subdivided into the United States District Courts for the Districts of Albemarle, Cape Fear, and Pamptico. These courts were extinguished when the state was reorganized into the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of North Carolina.
  • The United States District Court for the District of Orleans was renamed the United States District Court for the District of Louisiana when the Territory of Orleans became the State of Louisiana.
  • The United States District Court for the Canal Zone was abolished, effective March 31, 1982, as part of the process of returning the Canal Zone to Panama. Cases then pending in the Canal Zone court were transferred to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans.

External links

  • United States District Courts Official Website
  • Federal Court Concepts, Georgia Tech
  • National Archives: Records of District Courts of the United States (Record Group 21) 1685-1993
  • Territorial Courts at Federal Judicial Center
  • United States District Courts at Federal Judicial Center
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