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Federal subject-matter jurisdiction courts

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Subject-matter jurisdiction is the authority of a court to hear and determine cases of the general class to which the proceedings in question belong. There are seven subject-matter courts in the United States, six Article I and one Article III. These courts differ from federal courts with territorial jurisdiction, like the United States District Court that hears a wide range of cases that come from defined regional areas, in that they are given a defined type of case on which they can rule. It is possible for territorial jurisdiction to be waived and a case to be heard outside of the region it originated in, however subject-matter jurisdiction cannot be waived without nullifying the case.[1]

Article I courts

An Article I tribunal is a federal court organized under Article I of the United States Constitution. Article I courts are created by the United States Congress and have differing levels of independence from the executive and legislative branches. They can be Article I courts (also called legislative courts) set up by Congress to review agency decisions, ancillary courts with judges appointed by Article III appeals court judges, or administrative agencies.

The existence of Article I tribunals is controversial and has been the subject of cases before the Supreme Court. The court has ruled that Article I tribunals may exist, but that their power must be circumscribed and, when a potential deprivation of life, liberty, property, or property interest is involved, their decisions are subject to ultimate review in an Article III court.[2]

Article I judges

Article I federal judges are not subject to the same protections as Article III judges. Differences for Article I judges are:

  • They do not have life tenure.
  • Their salaries may be reduced by Congress.

United States Tax Court

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  • The United States Tax Court has jurisdiction over disputes that involve the federal income tax.
  • The court is authorized to have 19 federally appointed judges.
  • A judge's term is 15 years in length, not a lifetime appointment.
  • The court was created on December 30, 1969, by the Tax Reform Act of 1969.[3]

Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces

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  • The United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces has jurisdiction over all United States military appeals worldwide.
  • The court is authorized to have 5 federally appointed judges.
  • A judge's term is 15 years in length.
  • The court was created on May 31, 1951.
  • The court was originally called the United States Court of Military Appeals and was changed to its current name in 1994.[4]

Court of Military Commission Review

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  • The United States Court of Military Commission Review reviews military commission cases submitted to the court.
  • The court is comprised of panels of at least three appellate military judges.
  • The court was created in 2009 after Congress passed the Military Commissions Act of 2009, which allowed the rights of the accused in military commissions to be expanded.[5]

Court of Appeals for Veterans' Claims

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  • The United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims hears appeals of the Board of Veteran Appeals.
  • The court is authorized to have 7 judges.
  • Judges are appointed to 15-year terms, after which they may be called back to serve on senior status.
  • The court was created on November 18, 1988, in response to lack of judicial review of claims made by veterans after the Vietnam War.
  • The court was originally named the United States Court of Veterans Appeals and was changed to its current name in 1999.

Court of Federal Claims

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  • The United States Court of Federal Claims has congruent jurisdiction with the district courts over contractual monetary claims against the federal government under $10,000 and sole jurisdiction on cases over $10,000.[6]
  • The court is authorized to have 16 judges.
  • Judges of the court serve 15-year appointments.
  • The court was created in 1855 as the United States Court of Claims.

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

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  • The United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court hears requests for surveillance of foreign intelligence agents in the United States.
  • The court consists of 11 judges appointed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
  • Judges of the court serve 7-year non-renewable terms and must be from no less than seven judicial circuits.
  • The court was created in 1978 by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (92 Stat. 1783) and expanded by The USA Patriot Act of 2001 (115 Stat. 272)

Article III courts

Article III federal judges are appointed for life, during "good behavior." They are appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in accordance with Article III of the United States Constitution.

Article III judges, besides serving in the Supreme Court of the United States also serve in:

Justices and judges of these courts exercise what Article III calls "the judicial power of the United States."

Article III, Section I of the U.S. Constitution states:

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services, a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.[8]

Court of International Trade

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  • The United States Court of International Trade hears cases that involve international trade and customs laws.
  • The court consists of 9 judges appointed by the President.
  • The judges serve lifetime appointments.
  • The court was created in its current form by the Customs Courts Act of 1980.

See also

External links

References