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.
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. Article III includes provisions to protect the courts against 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 impeachment).
The Supreme Court has ruled that only Article III courts may render final judgments in cases involving life, liberty, and private property rights, with limited exceptions, as discussed below.