United States district court

United States district court

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The United States district courts are the general trial court
Trial court
A trial court or court of first instance is a court in which trials take place. Such courts are said to have original jurisdiction.- In the United States :...

s of the United States federal court system. Both civil
Civil law (common law)
Civil law, as opposed to criminal law, is the branch of law dealing with disputes between individuals or organizations, in which compensation may be awarded to the victim...

 and criminal
Criminal law
Criminal law, is the body of law that relates to crime. It might be defined as the body of rules that defines conduct that is not allowed because it is held to threaten, harm or endanger the safety and welfare of people, and that sets out the punishment to be imposed on people who do not obey...

 cases are filed in the district court, which is a court of law, equity
Court of equity
A chancery court, equity court or court of equity is a court that is authorized to apply principles of equity, as opposed to law, to cases brought before it.These courts began with petitions to the Lord Chancellor of England...

, and admiralty
Admiralty court
Admiralty courts, also known as maritime courts, are courts exercising jurisdiction over all maritime contracts, torts, injuries and offences.- Admiralty Courts in England and Wales :...

. There is a United States bankruptcy court
United States bankruptcy court
United States bankruptcy courts are courts created under Article I of the United States Constitution. They function as units of the district courts and have subject-matter jurisdiction over bankruptcy cases. The federal district courts have original and exclusive jurisdiction over all cases arising...

 associated with each United States district court. Each federal judicial district
United States federal judicial district
For purposes of the federal judicial system, Congress has divided the United States into judicial districts. There are 94 federal judicial districts, including at least one district in each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico...

 has at least one courthouse
Courthouse
A courthouse is a building that is home to a local court of law and often the regional county government as well, although this is not the case in some larger cities. The term is common in North America. In most other English speaking countries, buildings which house courts of law are simply...

, and many districts have more than one. The formal name of a district court is "the United States District Court for" the name of the district—for example, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri is a trial level federal district court based in St. Louis, Missouri, with jurisdiction over fifty counties in the eastern half of Missouri. The court is one of ninety-four district-level courts which make up the first tier of...

.

In contrast to the Supreme Court, which was established by Article III of the Constitution
Article Three of the United States Constitution
Article Three of the United States Constitution establishes the judicial branch of the federal government. The judicial branch comprises the Supreme Court of the United States and lower courts as created by Congress.-Section 1: Federal courts:...

, the district courts were established by Congress.Article III of the Constitution provides that the "judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in . . . such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish." There is no constitutional requirement that district courts exist at all. Indeed, after the ratification of the Constitution, some opponents of a strong federal judiciary urged that the federal court system be limited to the Supreme Court, which would hear appeals from state courts. This view did not prevail, however, and the first Congress created the district court system that is still in place today.

There is at least one judicial district for each state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

. District courts in three insular area
Insular area
An insular area is a United States territory, that is neither a part of one of the fifty U.S. states nor the District of Columbia, the federal district of the United States...

s—the United States Virgin Islands
United States Virgin Islands
The Virgin Islands of the United States are a group of islands in the Caribbean that are an insular area of the United States. The islands are geographically part of the Virgin Islands archipelago and are located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles.The U.S...

, Guam
Guam
Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States located in the western Pacific Ocean. It is one of five U.S. territories with an established civilian government. Guam is listed as one of 16 Non-Self-Governing Territories by the Special Committee on Decolonization of the United...

, and the Northern Mariana Islands
Northern Mariana Islands
The Northern Mariana Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands , is a commonwealth in political union with the United States, occupying a strategic region of the western Pacific Ocean. It consists of 15 islands about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to the Philippines...

—exercise the same jurisdiction as Article III
Article Three of the United States Constitution
Article Three of the United States Constitution establishes the judicial branch of the federal government. The judicial branch comprises the Supreme Court of the United States and lower courts as created by Congress.-Section 1: Federal courts:...

 U.S. district courts. Despite their name, these courts are technically not "District Courts of the United States." Judges on these Article IV
Article Four of the United States Constitution
Article Four of the United States Constitution relates to the states. The article outlines the duties states have to each other, as well as those the federal government has to the states...

 territorial courts
United States territorial court
The United States territorial courts are tribunals established in territories of the United States by the United States Congress, pursuant to its power under Article Four of the United States Constitution, the Territorial Clause...

 do not enjoy the protections of Article Three of the Constitution
Article Three of the United States Constitution
Article Three of the United States Constitution establishes the judicial branch of the federal government. The judicial branch comprises the Supreme Court of the United States and lower courts as created by Congress.-Section 1: Federal courts:...

, and serve terms of ten years rather than for life.

There are 89 districts in the 50 States, with a total of 94 districts including territories.

Other federal trial courts


There are other federal trial courts that have nationwide jurisdiction
Jurisdiction
Jurisdiction is the practical authority granted to a formally constituted legal body or to a political leader to deal with and make pronouncements on legal matters and, by implication, to administer justice within a defined area of responsibility...

 over certain types of cases, but the district court also has concurrent jurisdiction
Concurrent jurisdiction
Concurrent jurisdiction exists where two or more courts from different systems simultaneously have jurisdiction over a specific case. This situation leads to forum shopping, as parties will try to have their civil or criminal case heard in the court that they perceive will be most favorable to...

 over many of those cases, and the district court is the only one with jurisdiction over criminal cases. The United States Court of International Trade
United States Court of International Trade
The United States Court of International Trade is an Article III court, with full powers in law and equity. The Customs Court Act of 1980 replaced the old United States Customs Court with the United States Court of International Trade. The Court has nine sitting Judges, as well as Senior Judges...

 addresses cases involving international trade and customs issues. The United States Court of Federal Claims
United States Court of Federal Claims
The United States Court of Federal Claims is a United States federal court that hears monetary claims against the U.S. government. The court is established pursuant to Congress's authority under Article One of the United States Constitution...

 has exclusive jurisdiction
Exclusive jurisdiction
In civil procedure, exclusive jurisdiction exists where one court has the power to adjudicate a case to the exclusion of all other courts. It is the opposite situation from concurrent jurisdiction, in which more than one court may take jurisdiction over the case.Exclusive jurisdiction is typically...

 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
United States Tax Court
The United States Tax Court is a federal trial court of record established by Congress under Article I of the U.S. Constitution, section 8 of which provides that the Congress has the power to "constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court"...

 has jurisdiction over contested pre-assessment determinations of taxes
Taxation in the United States
The United States is a federal republic with autonomous state and local governments. Taxes are imposed in the United States at each of these levels. These include taxes on income, property, sales, imports, payroll, estates and gifts, as well as various fees.Taxes are imposed on net income of...

.

United States district judges


A judge of a United States district court is officially titled a “United States District Judge”. Other federal judge
Federal judge
Federal judges are judges appointed by a federal level of government as opposed to the state / provincial / local level.-Brazil:In Brazil, federal judges of first instance are chosen exclusively by public contest...

s, including circuit judges
United States court of appeals
The United States courts of appeals are the intermediate appellate courts of the United States federal court system...

 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
Chief Justice of the United States
The Chief Justice of the United States is the head of the United States federal court system and the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Chief Justice is one of nine Supreme Court justices; the other eight are the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States...

. The number of judges in each district court (and the structure of the judicial system generally) is set by Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 in the United States Code
United States Code
The Code of Laws of the United States of America is a compilation and codification of the general and permanent federal laws of the United States...

. The President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 appoints the federal judges for terms of good behavior (subject to the advice and consent of the Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

), 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
Senatorial courtesy
Senatorial courtesy is an unwritten political custom in the United States whereby the president consults the senior U.S. Senator of his political party of a given state before nominating any person to a federal vacancy within that Senator's state. It is strictly observed in connection with the...

 can exercise an unofficial veto over a nominee unacceptable to the senator.

With the exception of the territorial courts
United States territorial court
The United States territorial courts are tribunals established in territories of the United States by the United States Congress, pursuant to its power under Article Four of the United States Constitution, the Territorial Clause...

 (Guam
District Court of Guam
The District Court of Guam is a United States territorial court with jurisdiction over the Territory of Guam. It sits in the capital, Hagåtña....

, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands
District Court of the Virgin Islands
The District Court of the United States Virgin Islands is a United States territorial court with jurisdiction over the United States Virgin Islands, a United States territory and more specifically an insular area that is an unincorporated organized territory. The court sits in both St. Croix and...

), 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
Impeachment in the United States
Impeachment in the United States is an expressed power of the legislature that allows for formal charges against a civil officer of government for crimes committed in office...

 by the United States House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 followed by a trial in the United States Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 and a conviction by a two-thirds vote. Otherwise, a judge, even if convicted of a felony
Felony
A felony is a serious crime in the common law countries. The term originates from English common law where felonies were originally crimes which involved the confiscation of a convicted person's land and goods; other crimes were called misdemeanors...

 criminal offense by a jury, is entitled to hold office until retirement or death. 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
Senior status
Senior status is a form of semi-retirement for United States federal judges, and judges in some state court systems. After federal judges have reached a certain combination of age and years of service on the federal courts, they are allowed to assume 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 John/Jane Doe" or "Hon. John/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
Summary judgment
In law, a summary judgment is a determination made by a court without a full trial. Such a judgment may be issued as to the merits of an entire case, or of specific issues in that case....

. Since the 1960s, routine tasks like resolving discovery disputes can, in the district judge's discretion, be referred to magistrate judges
United States magistrate judge
In the United States federal courts, magistrate judges are appointed to assist United States district court judges in the performance of their duties...

. 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 appointed by each district court pursuant to statute. They are appointed for an 8-year term and may be reappointed for additional 8-year terms. A magistrate judge may be removed "for incompetency, misconduct, neglect of duty, or physical or mental disability." A magistrate judgeship may be a stepping stone to a district judgeship nomination.

As of 2010, there were 678 authorized district court judgeships.

Jurisdiction



Unlike some state courts, the power of federal courts to hear cases and controversies is strictly limited. Federal courts may not decide every case that happens to come before them. In order for a district court to entertain a lawsuit, Congress must first grant the court subject matter jurisdiction over the type of dispute in question. Though Congress may theoretically extend the federal courts' subject matter jurisdiction to the outer limits described in Article III of the Constitution, it has always chosen to give the courts a somewhat narrower power.

The district courts exercise original jurisdiction over—that is, they are empowered to conduct trials in—the following types of cases:
  • Civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, and treaties of the United States;
  • Certain civil actions between citizens of different states;
  • Civil actions within the admiralty or maritime jurisdiction of the United States;
  • Criminal prosecutions brought by the United States;
  • Civil actions in which the United States is a party; and
  • Many other types of cases and controversies


For most of these cases, the jurisdiction of the federal district courts is concurrent with that of the state courts. In other words, a plaintiff can choose to bring these cases in either a federal district court or a state court. Congress has established a procedure whereby a party, typically the defendant, can "remove" a case from state court to federal court, provided that the federal court also has original jurisdiction over the matter. For certain matters, such as intellectual property disputes and prosecutions for federal crimes, the jurisdiction of the district courts is exclusive of that of the state courts.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
Patent
A patent is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention....

-infringement claims against a state government: only the federal courts may hear patent cases, but the states have sovereign immunity
Sovereign immunity
Sovereign immunity, or crown immunity, is a legal doctrine by which the sovereign or state cannot commit a legal wrong and is immune from civil suit or criminal prosecution....

 from such suits under the Eleventh Amendment
Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution, which was passed by the Congress on March 4, 1794, and was ratified on February 7, 1795, deals with each state's sovereign immunity. This amendment was adopted in order to overrule the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Chisholm v...

. 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 by the Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 in Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Education Expense Board v. College Savings Bank
Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Education Expense Board v. College Savings Bank
Florida Prepaid Postsecondary Education Expense Board v. College Savings Bank, 527 U.S. 627 , was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States relating to the doctrine of sovereign immunity....

, 527 U.S. 627 (1999).


In addition to their original jurisdiction, the district courts have appellate jurisdiction over a very limited class of judgments, orders, and decrees.

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 usually does not have a separate bar examination
Bar examination
A bar examination is an examination conducted at regular intervals to determine whether a candidate is qualified to practice law in a given jurisdiction.-Brazil:...

 for federal practice (except with respect to patent practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office
United States Patent and Trademark Office
The United States Patent and Trademark Office is an agency in the United States Department of Commerce that issues patents to inventors and businesses for their inventions, and trademark registration for product and intellectual property identification.The USPTO is based in Alexandria, Virginia,...

). Admission to the bar
Admission to the bar in the United States
In the United States, admission to the bar is the granting of permission by a particular court system to a lawyer to practice law in that system. Each U.S. state and similar jurisdiction has its own court system and sets its own rules for bar admission , which can lead to different admission...

 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.Nearly all district courts have a Local Rule 11.1 or 83.1 that describes the appropriate state judicial institution which admits attorneys to practice (either the state bar association or an office or committee of the state supreme court). Many district courts also allow an attorney who has been admitted and remains an active member in good standing of any state, territory or the District of Columbia bar to become a member. 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.

Several district courts require attorneys seeking admission to their bars to take an additional bar examination on federal law, including the following: the Southern District of Ohio, the Northern and Southern Districts of Florida, and the District of Puerto Rico.

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
United States court of appeals
The United States courts of appeals are the intermediate appellate courts of the United States federal court system...

 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
United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
-Vacancies and pending nominations:-List of former judges:-Chief judges:Notwithstanding the foregoing, when the court was initially created, Congress had to resolve which chief judge of the predecessor courts would become the first chief judge...

, and in a very few cases the appeal may be taken directly to the United States Supreme Court.

Busiest district courts


The Central District of California
United States District Court for the Central District of California
The United States District Court for the Central District of California serves over 18 million people in southern and central California, making it the largest federal judicial district by population...

 is the largest federal district by population; it includes much of the Greater Los Angeles Area
Greater Los Angeles Area
The Greater Los Angeles Area, or the Southland, is a term used for the Combined Statistical Area sprawled over five counties in the southern part of California, namely Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County and Ventura County...

. By contrast, New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 and the surrounding metropolitan area
New York metropolitan area
The New York metropolitan area, also known as Greater New York, or the Tri-State area, is the region that composes of New York City and the surrounding region...

 are divided between the Southern District of New York
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York is a federal district court. Appeals from the Southern District of New York are taken to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (in case...

 (which includes Manhattan
Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

 and The Bronx
The Bronx
The Bronx is the northernmost of the five boroughs of New York City. It is also known as Bronx County, the last of the 62 counties of New York State to be incorporated...

) and the Eastern District of New York
United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York is the federal district court whose jurisdiction comprises the entirety of Long Island and Staten Island...

 (which includes Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

, Queens
Queens
Queens is the easternmost of the five boroughs of New York City. The largest borough in area and the second-largest in population, it is coextensive with Queens County, an administrative division of New York state, in the United States....

, and Staten Island
Staten Island
Staten Island is a borough of New York City, New York, United States, located in the southwest part of the city. Staten Island is separated from New Jersey by the Arthur Kill and the Kill Van Kull, and from the rest of New York by New York Bay...

). New York suburbs in Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

 and New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

 are covered by the District of Connecticut
United States District Court for the District of Connecticut
The United States District Court for the District of Connecticut is the Federal district court whose jurisdiction is the state of Connecticut. The court has offices in Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven. Appeals from the court are heard by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit...

 and District of New Jersey
United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey is the federal district court whose jurisdiction is the state of New Jersey....

 respectively.

The Southern District of New York and the Central District of California are the largest federal districts by number of judges, with 28 and 27, respectively.

In 2007, the busiest district courts in terms of criminal federal felony filings were the District of New Mexico
United States District Court for the District of New Mexico
The United States District Court for the District of New Mexico is the federal district court whose jurisdiction comprises the state of New Mexico...

, Western District of Texas
United States District Court for the Western District of Texas
The United States District Court For the Western District Of Texas is a Federal district court. The court convenes in San Antonio with divisions in Austin, Del Rio, El Paso, Midland, Pecos, and Waco. It has jurisdiction in over 50 Trans-Pecos, Permian Basin and Hill Country counties of the U.S....

, Southern District of Texas
United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
The United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas is the Federal district court with jurisdiction over the southern part of Texas...

, and the District of Arizona
United States District Court for the District of Arizona
The United States District Court for the District of Arizona is the federal district court whose jurisdiction is the state of Arizona. Court is held in the cities of Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, Yuma, and Prescott. The district was created on June 20, 1910, by 36 Stat. 557...

. These four districts all share the border with Mexico. A crackdown on illegal immigration resulted in 75 percent of the criminal cases filed in the 94 district courts in 2007 being filed in these four districts and the other district that borders Mexico, the Southern District of California.

Subdivided district courts



Most extinct district courts have disappeared by being divided into smaller districts. The following courts were subdivided out of existence: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin.

Other abolished district courts


On rare occasions, an extinct district court was extinguished by merging it with other district courts. In every case except one, this has restored a district court that had been subdivided:
  • 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 1801 and 1802, the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
    United States District Court for the District of New Jersey
    The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey is the federal district court whose jurisdiction is the state of New Jersey....

     was divided into the United States District Courts for the Districts of East Jersey and West Jersey.
  • When California was admitted as a state in 1850, it was initially divided into two districts, the Northern and the Southern. The Southern District of California was abolished on July 27, 1866, and the State made to constitute one district, the statute providing that the Judge of the Northern District exercise the powers of the United States District Court for the District of California, and that all records of the Southern District Court be delivered to the Clerk of the Northern District Court. Twenty years later, on August 5, 1886, Congress re-created the Southern District of California.
  • Between 1911 and 1961, the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina
    United States District Court for the District of South Carolina
    The United States District Court for the District of South Carolina is the federal district court whose jurisdiction is the state of South Carolina...

     was divided into the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Western District of South Carolina.
  • The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Illinois
    United States District Court for the Eastern District of Illinois
    The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Illinois is a former federal district court for the state of Illinois. The court was established March 3, 1905, by 33 Stat. 992. The Northern and Southern Districts had been established February 13, 1855...

     was eliminated and a new United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois
    United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois
    The U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois serves the residents of forty-six counties from its four courthouses...

     was created in its place on October 2, 1978.


There are a few additional extinct district courts that fall into neither 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
    United States District Court for the District of Potomac
    The United States District Court for the District of Potomac was a short-lived United States federal court. Named for the Potomac River, it had jurisdiction over the District of Columbia and pieces of Maryland and Virginia, making it the first United States district court to cross state lines...

    , 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
    United States District Court for the District of Orleans
    The United States District Court for the District of Orleans was a United States district court created on March 26, 1804, by 2 Stat. 283, to resolve disputes in the Territory of Orleans, the portion of the Louisiana Purchase south of the 33rd parallel....

     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
    United States District Court for the Canal Zone
    The United States District Court for the Canal Zone is an extinct United States District Court. The District was abolished, effective March 31, 1982, as part of the process of returning the Canal Zone to Panama...

     was abolished, effective March 31, 1982, as part of the process of returning the Canal Zone
    Panama Canal Zone
    The Panama Canal Zone was a unorganized U.S. territory located within the Republic of Panama, consisting of the Panama Canal and an area generally extending 5 miles on each side of the centerline, but excluding Panama City and Colón, which otherwise would have been partly within the limits of...

      to Panama
    Panama
    Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

    . Cases then pending in the Canal Zone court were transferred to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
    United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
    The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana is a federal trial court based in New Orleans. Like all U.S...

     in New Orleans.
  • Between 1906 and 1943, there existed a United States Court for China
    United States Court for China
    The United States Court for China was a United States District Court that had extraterritorial jurisdiction over U.S. citizens in China. It existed from 1906 to 1943 and had jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters, with appeals taken to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San...

    that functioned as a district court with jurisdiction over American citizens in China.

External links