Last modified on 15 April 2015, at 14:18

List of courts of the United States

The courts of the United States are closely linked hierarchical systems of courts at the federal and state levels. The federal courts form the judicial branch of the Federal government of the United States and operate under the authority of the United States Constitution and federal law. The state and territorial courts of the individual U.S. states and territories operate under the authority of the state and territorial constitutions and state and territorial law.

Federal statutes that refer to the "courts of the United States" are referring only to the courts of the federal government, and not the courts of the individual states and counties. Because of the federalist underpinnings of the division between sovereign federal and state governments, the various state court systems are free to operate in ways that vary widely from those of the federal government, and from one another. In practice, however, every state has adopted a division of its judiciary into at least two levels, and almost every state has three levels, with trial courts hearing cases which may be reviewed by appellate courts, and finally by a state supreme court. A few states have two separate supreme courts, with one having authority over civil matters and the other reviewing criminal cases. 47 states and the federal government allow at least one appeal of right from a final judgment on the merits, meaning that the court receiving the appeal must decide the appeal after it is briefed and argued properly. Three states do not provide a right to a first appeal. Rather, they give litigants only a right to petition for the right to have an appeal heard.

State courts often have diverse names and structures, as illustrated below. State courts hear about 98% of litigation; most states have courts of special jurisdiction, which typically handle minor disputes such as traffic citations, and courts of general jurisdiction responsible for more serious disputes.[1]

The U.S. federal court system hears cases involving litigants from two or more states, violations of federal laws, treaties, and the Constitution, admiralty, bankruptcy, and related issues.[2] In practice, about 80% of the cases are civil and 20% criminal.[1] The civil cases often involve civil rights, patents, and Social Security while the criminal cases involve tax fraud, robbery, counterfeiting, and drug crimes.[1] The trial courts are U.S. district courts, followed by United States courts of appeals and then the Supreme Court of the United States. The judicial system, whether state or federal, begins with a court of first instance, whose work may be reviewed by an appellate court, and then ends at the court of last resort, which may review the work of the lower courts.[3]

Institutions which may be considered courts of the United States are listed below.

United States federal courtsEdit

The geographical boundary of the 12 United States Courts of Appeals

Geographic based jurisdictionEdit

Specific subject-matter jurisdictionEdit

  • United States federal courts with Original Jurisdiction over specific subject matter:

Former United States CourtsEdit

Courts by state of the United StatesEdit


AlabamaEdit

Main article: Courts of Alabama
State courts of Alabama

Federal courts located in Alabama

(All United States District Courts in Alabama may be appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia)

Former federal courts of Alabama


AlaskaEdit

Main article: Courts of Alaska
State courts of Alaska

Federal courts located in Alaska


ArizonaEdit

Main article: Courts of Arizona
State courts of Arizona

Federal courts located in Arizona


ArkansasEdit

Main article: Courts of Arkansas
State courts of Arkansas

Federal courts located in Arkansas

Former federal courts of Arkansas


CaliforniaEdit

Main article: Courts of California
Headquarters of the Supreme Court of California, in San Francisco.
State courts of California

Federal courts located in California

Former federal courts of California


ColoradoEdit

Main article: Courts of Colorado
State courts of Colorado

Federal courts located in Colorado


ConnecticutEdit

Main article: Courts of Connecticut
State courts of Connecticut

Federal court located in Connecticut:


DelawareEdit

Main article: Courts of Delaware
State courts of Delaware

Federal courts located in Delaware


FloridaEdit

Main article: Courts of Florida
Headquarters of the Florida Supreme Court in Tallahassee.
State courts of Florida

Federal courts located in Florida

Former federal courts of Florida


GeorgiaEdit

State courts of Georgia

Federal courts located in Georgia

Former federal courts of Georgia


HawaiiEdit

Main article: Courts of Hawaii
Aliʻiōlani Hale, in Honolulu, the building where the Hawaiʻi State Supreme Court meets
State courts of Hawaii

Federal courts located in Hawaii


IdahoEdit

Main article: Courts of Idaho
State courts of Idaho

Federal courts located in Idaho


IllinoisEdit

Main article: Courts of Illinois
State courts of Illinois

Federal courts located in Illinois

Former federal courts of Illinois


IndianaEdit

Main article: Courts of Indiana
State courts of Indiana
The E. Ross Adair Federal Building, seat of the Fort Wayne division of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana

Federal courts located in Indiana

Former federal courts of Indiana


IowaEdit

Main article: Courts of Iowa
State courts of Iowa

Federal courts located in Iowa

Former federal courts of Iowa


KansasEdit

Main article: Courts of Kansas
State courts of Kansas

Federal courts located in Kansas


KentuckyEdit

Main article: Courts of Kentucky
Kentucky Court of Justice

Under an amendment to the Kentucky Constitution passed by the state's voters in 1975,[127] judicial power in Kentucky is "vested exclusively in one Court of Justice", divided into the following:[128]

Federal courts located in this state

Former federal courts of Kentucky


LouisianaEdit

Main article: Courts of Louisiana
State courts of Louisiana

Federal courts located in Louisiana

Former federal courts of Louisiana


MaineEdit

Main article: Courts of Maine
State courts of Maine

Federal courts located in Maine


MarylandEdit

Main article: Courts of Maryland
Maryland judicial circuit map
State courts of Maryland

Federal courts located in Maryland

Former federal courts of Maryland


MassachusettsEdit

State courts of Massachusetts
Judicial courts
Administrative courts

Federal courts located in Massachusetts


MichiganEdit

Main article: Courts of Michigan
Judicial circuits map
State courts of Michigan

The Supreme Court is Michigan's court of last resort, consisting of seven justices. Each year, the Supreme Court receives over 2,000 applications for leave to appeal from litigants primarily seeking review of decisions by the Michigan Court of Appeals.

The Supreme Court's authority to hear cases is discretionary. The Court grants leave to those cases of greatest complexity and public import, where additional briefing and oral argument are essential to reaching a just outcome.

Each justice is responsible for reviewing each case to determine whether leave should be granted. Cases that are accepted for oral argument may be decided by an order, with or without an opinion. These orders may affirm or reverse the Michigan Court of Appeals, may remand a case to the trial court, or may adopt a correct Court of Appeals opinion.

Cases come before the Court during a term that starts August 1 and runs through July 31 of the following year. The Court hears oral arguments in Lansing beginning in October of each term. Decisions are released throughout the term, following oral arguments.

In addition to its judicial duties, the Supreme Court is responsible for the general administrative supervision of all courts in the state.

The Supreme Court also establishes rules for practice and procedure in all courts.


The Michigan Court of Appeals is one of the highest volume intermediate appellate courts in the country. It was created by the 1963 Michigan Constitution and heard its first cases in January 1965. Generally, decisions from final orders of a circuit court, as well as some probate court and agency orders, may be appealed to the court as a matter of right. Other lower court or tribunal decisions may be appealed only by application for leave to appeal, i.e., with permission of the court. The court also has jurisdiction to hear some original actions, such as complaints for mandamus or superintending control against government officers or actions alleging that state law has imposed an unfunded or inadequately funded mandate on local units of government.

The judges of the Court of Appeals sit state-wide, although they are elected or appointed from one of four districts. The districts and their office locations are as follows: District I is based in Detroit, District II is based in Troy, District III is based in Grand Rapids, and District IV is based in Lansing. Hearings are held year-round before three-judge panels in Detroit, Lansing, and Grand Rapids. There is no courtroom at the Troy location. Hearings are also scheduled in Marquette and in a northern Lower Peninsula location in the spring and fall of each year for the convenience of the parties and their attorneys in those areas. Judges are randomly assigned to panels to sit in all courtroom locations so that a variety of judicial viewpoints are considered. At least two of the three judges on a panel must agree on the ruling in a case for it to be binding. Like most appellate courts, the Court of Appeals observes the principle of stare decisis so that the holding in an earlier decision serves as binding precedent in a later appeal. When a panel expresses its disagreement with a prior opinion, the court rules provide a mechanism by which a special seven-judge “conflict panel” may be convened to resolve the conflict between the earlier opinion and the later decision. MCR 7.215(J). Decisions of the court may generally be appealed by leave application to the Michigan Supreme Court.

The Court of Appeals started with only nine judges originally. The number of judgeships steadily increased through legislation over the years to accommodate the court's growing caseload—to 12 in 1969, to 18 in 1974, to 24 in 1988, and to 28 in 1993. Due to decreased filings in recent years, the size of the court was reduced in 2012 to 24 judges, which is to be achieved through attrition over time.


In Michigan, the Circuit Court is the trial court with the broadest powers in Michigan. In general, the Circuit Court handles all civil cases with claims of more than $25,000 and all felony criminal cases (cases where the accused, if found guilty, could be sent to prison). The family division of Circuit Court handles all cases regarding divorce, paternity, adoptions, personal protection actions, emancipation of minors, treatment and testing of infectious disease, safe delivery of newborns, name changes, juvenile offenses and delinquency, juvenile guardianship, and child abuse and neglect. In addition, the Circuit Court hears cases appealed from the other trial courts or from administrative agencies. The friend of the court office is part of the family division of the Circuit Court and handles domestic relations cases where minor children are involved.

There are 57 Circuit Courts in Michigan. Circuit Court judges are elected for six-year terms.


Michigan District Courts are often called the people's court. More people have contact with the District Courts than any other court. The District Courts handles most traffic violations, all civil cases with claims up to $25,000, landlord-tenant matters, most traffic tickets, and all misdemeanor criminal cases (generally, cases where the accused, if found guilty, cannot be sentenced to more than one year in jail). In addition, small claims cases are heard by a division of the District Courts. In Michigan, a few municipalities have chosen to retain a municipal court rather than create a District Courts. The municipal courts have limited powers and are located in Grosse Pointe, Grosse Pointe Farms, Grosse Pointe Park, and Grosse Point Shores/Grosse Pointe Woods.

There are approximately 100 district courts in Michigan. District court judges are elected for six-year terms.


The Probate Court handles wills, administers estates and trusts, appoints guardians and conservators, and orders treatment for mentally ill and developmentally disabled persons.

There are 78 Probate Courts in Michigan; probate judges are elected for six-year terms.


Michigan also has a Court of Claims for filing cases against the State of Michigan in which a claim for money damages is made. As of November 12, 2013, the Court of Claims is part of the Michigan Court of Appeals. The Court of Claims is a specialized court that handles only claims over $1,000 filed against the State of Michigan or one of its departments.

Federal courts located in Michigan

Former federal courts of Michigan


MinnesotaEdit

Main article: Courts of Minnesota
Supreme Court Chamber of the Minnesota Supreme Court in the Minnesota State Capitol in Saint Paul.
State courts of Minnesota

Federal courts located in Minnesota


MississippiEdit

Main article: Courts of Mississippi
State courts of Mississippi

Federal courts located in Mississippi

Former federal courts of Mississippi


MissouriEdit

Main article: Courts of Missouri
State courts of Missouri
Missouri State Supreme Court building across from state capitol in Jefferson City.

Federal courts located in Missouri

Former federal courts of Missouri


MontanaEdit

Main article: Courts of Montana
State courts of Montana

Federal courts located in Montana


NebraskaEdit

Main article: Courts of Nebraska
State courts of Nebraska

Federal courts located in Nebraska


NevadaEdit

Main article: Courts of Nevada
State courts of Nevada
The headquarters of the Supreme Court of Nevada in Carson City.

Federal courts located in Nevada


New HampshireEdit

State courts of New Hampshire

Federal courts located in New Hampshire


New JerseyEdit

Main article: Courts of New Jersey
State courts of New Jersey
Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex, Trenton, New Jersey: The seat of the New Jersey Supreme Court and the central administrative offices of all statewide courts in New Jersey.

Federal courts located in New Jersey

Former federal courts of New Jersey


New MexicoEdit

Main article: Courts of New Mexico
State courts of New Mexico

Federal courts located in New Mexico


New YorkEdit

Main article: Courts of New York
State courts of New York
The 1842 courthouse of the New York Court of Appeals in Albany.

Federal courts located in New York

Former federal courts of New York


North CarolinaEdit

State courts of North Carolina

Federal courts located in North Carolina

Former federal courts of North Carolina


North DakotaEdit

State courts of North Dakota

Federal courts located in North Dakota


OhioEdit

Main article: Courts of Ohio
State courts of Ohio
The Thomas J. Moyer Ohio Judicial Center, current headquarters of the Supreme Court of Ohio.

Federal courts located in this state

Former federal courts of Ohio


OklahomaEdit

Main article: Courts of Oklahoma
State courts of Oklahoma

Federal courts located in Oklahoma


OregonEdit

Main article: Courts of Oregon
State courts of Oregon
Courtroom of the Oregon Supreme Court.

Federal courts located in Oregon


PennsylvaniaEdit

State courts of Pennsylvania

Federal courts located in Pennsylvania

Former federal courts of Pennsylvania


Rhode IslandEdit

State courts of Rhode Island

Federal courts located in Rhode Island


South CarolinaEdit

State courts of South Carolina

Federal courts located in South Carolina


South DakotaEdit

State courts of South Dakota

Federal courts located in South Dakota


TennesseeEdit

Main article: Courts of Tennessee
State courts of Tennessee

Federal courts located in Tennessee

Former federal courts of Tennessee


TexasEdit

Main article: Courts of Texas
State courts of Texas

Federal courts located in Texas

Former federal courts of Texas


UtahEdit

Main article: Courts of Utah
The Utah Supreme Court meets in the Scott M. Matheson Courthouse.
State courts of Utah

Federal courts located in Utah


VermontEdit

Main article: Courts of Vermont
State courts of Vermont

Federal courts located in Vermont


VirginiaEdit

Main article: Courts of Virginia
State courts of Virginia

Federal courts located in Virginia

Former federal courts of Virginia


WashingtonEdit

State courts of Washington
The headquarters of the Washington Supreme Court in Olympia.

Federal courts located in Washington

Former federal courts of Washington


West VirginiaEdit

State courts of West Virginia

Federal courts located in West Virginia

Former federal courts of West Virginia


WisconsinEdit

Main article: Courts of Wisconsin
State courts of Wisconsin

Federal courts located in Wisconsin

Former federal courts of Wisconsin


WyomingEdit

Main article: Courts of Wyoming
State courts of Wyoming

Federal courts located in Wyoming


Courts in the District of ColumbiaEdit

Federal courts located in the District of Columbia

Former federal courts in the District of Columbia


Courts of the Territories of the United StatesEdit

American SamoaEdit

GuamEdit

United States territorial courtEdit

Northern Mariana IslandsEdit

United States territorial courtEdit

Panama Canal ZoneEdit

Puerto RicoEdit

Federal courts located in Puerto Rico:

United States Virgin IslandsEdit

United States territorial courtEdit


Extraterritorial courts of the United StatesEdit

U.S. judicial system in popular cultureEdit

Due to its involvement in the resolution of crimes and conflicts, which are an intricate part of drama, the U.S. judicial system is often portrayed in American literature and films.

Several Hollywood films such as A Few Good Men (1992) and Runaway Jury (2003) are set around its courts.

External linksEdit

ReferencesEdit

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