The United States federal court system is a hierarchical structure consisting of three levels: the district courts, the courts of appeals, and the Supreme Court. District courts are trial-level courts who have jurisdiction over a wide range of federal cases, including criminal cases, civil cases involving federal law, and cases involving federal agencies. The courts of appeals are intermediate appellate courts, who hear appeals from the district courts and other federal agencies within their geographic jurisdiction. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the United States, and has the final say on all cases involving federal law and the United States Constitution.
The federal court system was established by the Constitution, which gives Congress the power to create and regulate federal courts. Our first federal courts were created by the Judiciary Act of 1789, which only established district courts and the Supreme Court. The Act also created the office of Attorney General and provided for the appointment of federal judges by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate.
Over time, the federal court system has evolved and expanded to meet our country’s changing needs. The number of federal district courts and judges has increased while new courts of appeals have been established.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has appellate jurisdiction over the following federal districts: District of Minnesota, District of North Dakota, District of South Dakota, Eastern District of Arkansas, Western District of Arkansas, Northern District of Iowa, Southern District of Iowa, Eastern District of Missouri, Western District of Missouri, District of Nebraska, and the Eastern District of Wisconsin.
The Eighth Circuit was established on March 3, 1891, by the Evarts Act, which also created the Ninth and Tenth Circuits. It is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, and it consists of 12 judges, who are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.
Throughout its history, the Eighth Circuit has played a significant role in the development of federal law, particularly in the areas of criminal law and civil rights. Some notable cases from the court’s history include United States v. Miller (8th Cir. 1939), which established the constitutional basis for federal firearms regulation, and Horton v. Goose Creek Independent School District (8th Cir. 1969), which expanded the scope of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.