Federal tribunals in the United States

Federal tribunals in the United States are those tribunals established by the federal government of the United States for the purpose of deciding the constitutionality of federal laws and for resolving other disputes about federal laws. They include both Article III tribunals (federal courts) as well as adjudicative entities which are classified as Article I or Article IV tribunals. Some of the latter entities are also formally denominated as courts, but they do not enjoy certain protections afforded to Article III courts. These tribunals are described in reference to the article of the United States Constitution from which the tribunal's authority stems. The use of the term "tribunal" in this context as a blanket term to encompass both courts and other adjudicative entities comes from section 8 of Article I of the Constitution, which expressly grants Congress the power to constitute tribunals inferior to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Article III courts

Article III courts (also called Article III tribunals) are the U.S. Supreme Court and the inferior courts of the United States established by the Congress, which currently are the 13 United States courts of appeals, the 91 United States district courts (including the districts of D.C. and Puerto Rico, but excluding three other territorial district courts), and the U.S. Court of International Trade. They constitute the judicial branch of the federal government (which is defined by Article III of the Constitution).

Pursuant to the Appointments Clause in Article II, all members of Article III tribunals are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. These courts are protected against undue influence by the other branches of government. Judges may not have their salaries reduced during their tenure in office, and their appointment is for life—barring removal from office "on impeachment for, and conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors".[1]

Under the Constitution, Congress can vest these courts with jurisdiction to hear cases involving the Constitution or federal law and certain cases involving disputes between citizens of different states or countries. Among the matters susceptible of judicial determination, but not requiring it, are: claims against the United States, the disposal of public lands and related claims, questions concerning membership in Indian tribes, and questions arising out of the administration of customs laws and the Internal Revenue Code.[2]

Other Languages