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U.S. CODE
TITLE 28
JUDICIARY AND JUDICIAL PROCEDURE

Version 2010-02-01


  • ORGANIZATION OF COURTS
    • SUPREME COURT
    • COURTS OF APPEALS
    • DISTRICT COURTS
    • BANKRUPTCY JUDGES
    • UNITED STATES COURT OF FEDERAL CLAIMS
    • REPEALED
    • COURT OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE
    • ASSIGNMENT OF JUDGES TO OTHER COURTS
    • CONFERENCES AND COUNCILS OF JUDGES
    • COMPLAINTS AGAINST JUDGES AND JUDICIAL DISCIPLINE
    • RESIGNATION AND RETIREMENT OF JUSTICES AND JUDGES
    • DISTRIBUTION OF REPORTS AND DIGESTS
    • GENERAL PROVISIONS APPLICABLE TO COURTS AND JUDGES
    • CIVIL JUSTICE EXPENSE AND DELAY REDUCTION PLANS
  • DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
    • THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
    • FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION
    • UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS
    • UNITED STATES MARSHALS SERVICE
    • UNITED STATES TRUSTEES
    • INDEPENDENT COUNSEL
    • BUREAU OF ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, FIREARMS, AND EXPLOSIVES
  • COURT OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES
    • ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF UNITED STATES COURTS
    • FEDERAL JUDICIAL CENTER
    • UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGES
    • ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
    • SUPREME COURT
    • COURTS OF APPEALS
    • DISTRICT COURTS
    • UNITED STATES COURT OF FEDERAL CLAIMS
    • REPEALED
    • COURT OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE
    • GENERAL PROVISIONS APPLICABLE TO COURT OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES
    • UNITED STATES SENTENCING COMMISSION
  • JURISDICTION AND VENUE
    • SUPREME COURT
    • COURTS OF APPEALS
    • DISTRICT COURTS; JURISDICTION
    • DISTRICT COURTS; VENUE
    • DISTRICT COURTS; REMOVAL OF CASES FROM STATE COURTS
    • UNITED STATES COURT OF FEDERAL CLAIMS
    • REPEALED
    • COURT OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE
    • JURISDICTIONAL IMMUNITIES OF FOREIGN STATES
    • GENERAL PROVISIONS
  • PROCEDURE
    • GENERAL PROVISIONS
    • PROCESS
    • CLASS ACTIONS
    • EVIDENCE; DOCUMENTARY
    • EVIDENCE; DEPOSITIONS
    • EVIDENCE; WITNESSES
    • JURIES; TRIAL BY JURY
    • FEES AND COSTS
    • PENDING ACTIONS AND JUDGMENTS
    • EXECUTIONS AND JUDICIAL SALES
    • MONEYS PAID INTO COURT
    • RULES OF COURTS
    • REVIEWMISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
  • PARTICULAR PROCEEDINGS
    • DECLARATORY JUDGMENTS
    • HABEAS CORPUS
    • SPECIAL HABEAS CORPUS PROCEDURES IN CAPITAL CASES
    • INJUNCTIONS; THREE-JUDGE COURTS
    • SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD ORDERS; ENFORCEMENT AND REVIEW
    • ORDERS OF FEDERAL AGENCIES; REVIEW
    • INTERPLEADER
    • UNITED STATES AS PARTY GENERALLY
    • FINES, PENALTIES AND FORFEITURES
    • UNITED STATES COURT OF FEDERAL CLAIMS PROCEDURE
    • REPEALED
    • COURT OF INTERNATIONAL TRADE PROCEDURE
    • TORT CLAIMS PROCEDURE
    • ATTACHMENT IN POSTAL SUITS
    • REPEALED
    • FEDERAL DEBT COLLECTION PROCEDURE
      • DEFINITIONS AND GENERAL PROVISIONS
      • PREJUDGMENT REMEDIES
      • POSTJUDGMENT REMEDIES
      • FRAUDULENT TRANSFERS INVOLVING DEBTS
    • PROFESSIONAL AND AMATEUR SPORTS PROTECTION
    • JUDICIAL REVIEW OF CERTAIN ACTIONS BY PRESIDENTIAL OFFICES
    • ASSUMPTION OF CERTAIN CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATIONS
  • Version 2010-02-01

PART I

ORGANIZATION OF COURTS

I - CHAPTER 1

SUPREME COURT

Number of justices; quorum

The Supreme Court of the United States shall consist of a Chief Justice of the United States and eight associate justices, any six of whom shall constitute a quorum.



Terms of court

The Supreme Court shall hold at the seat of government a term of court commencing on the first Monday in October of each year and may hold such adjourned or special terms as may be necessary.



Vacancy in office of Chief Justice; disability

Whenever the Chief Justice is unable to perform the duties of his office or the office is vacant, his powers and duties shall devolve upon the associate justice next in precedence who is able to act, until such disability is removed or another Chief Justice is appointed and duly qualified.



Precedence of associate justices

Associate justices shall have precedence according to the seniority of their commissions. Justices whose commissions bear the same date shall have precedence according to seniority in age.



Salaries of justices

The Chief Justice and each associate justice shall each receive a salary at annual rates determined under section 225 of the Federal Salary Act of 1967 (2 U.S.C. 351-361), as adjusted by section 461 of this title.



Records of former court of appeals

The records and proceedings of the court of appeals, appointed previous to the adoption of the Constitution, shall be kept until deposited with the National Archives of the United States in the office of the clerk of the Supreme Court, who shall furnish copies thereof to any person requiring and paying for them, in the manner provided by law for giving copies of the records and proceedings of the Supreme Court. Such copies shall have the same faith and credit as proceedings of the Supreme Court.



I - CHAPTER 3

COURTS OF APPEALS

Number and composition of circuits

The thirteen judicial circuits of the United States are constituted as follows:

Circuits Composition District of Columbia District of Columbia. First Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island. Second Connecticut, New York, Vermont. Third Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virgin Islands. Fourth Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia. Fifth District of the Canal Zone, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas. Sixth Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee. Seventh Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin. Eighth Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota. Ninth Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Guam, Hawaii. Tenth Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming. Eleventh Alabama, Florida, Georgia. Federal All Federal judicial districts.



Allotment of Supreme Court justices to circuits

The Chief Justice of the United States and the associate justices of the Supreme Court shall from time to time be allotted as circuit justices among the circuits by order of the Supreme Court. The Chief Justice may make such allotments in vacation.

A justice may be assigned to more than one circuit, and two or more justices may be assigned to the same circuit.



Creation and composition of courts

(a) There shall be in each circuit a court of appeals, which shall be a court of record, known as the United States Court of Appeals for the circuit.

(b) Each court of appeals shall consist of the circuit judges of the circuit in regular active service. The circuit justice and justices or judges designated or assigned shall be competent to sit as judges of the court.



Appointment, tenure, residence and salary of circuit judges

(a) The President shall appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, circuit judges for the several circuits as follows: Circuits Number of Judges District of Columbia 11 First 6 Second 13 Third 14 Fourth 15 Fifth 17 Sixth 16 Seventh 11 Eighth 11 Ninth 29 Tenth 12 Eleventh 12 Federal 12.

(b) Circuit judges shall hold office during good behavior.

(c) Except in the District of Columbia, each circuit judge shall be a resident of the circuit for which appointed at the time of his appointment and thereafter while in active service. While in active service, each circuit judge of the Federal judicial circuit appointed after the effective date of the Federal Courts Improvement Act of 1982, and the chief judge of the Federal judicial circuit, whenever appointed, shall reside within fifty miles of the District of Columbia. In each circuit (other than the Federal judicial circuit) there shall be at least one circuit judge in regular active service appointed from the residents of each state in that circuit.

(d) Each circuit judge shall receive a salary at an annual rate determined under section 225 of the Federal Salary Act of 1967 (2 U.S.C. 351-361), as adjusted by section 461 of this title.

Chief judges; precedence of judges

(a)
  • (1) The chief judge of the circuit shall be the circuit judge in regular active service who is senior in commission of those judges who—
    • (A) are sixty-four years of age or under;

    • (B) have served for one year or more as a circuit judge; and

    • (C) have not served previously as chief judge.

  • (2)
    • (A) In any case in which no circuit judge meets the qualifications of paragraph (1), the youngest circuit judge in regular active service who is sixty-five years of age or over and who has served as circuit judge for one year or more shall act as the chief judge.

    • (B) In any case under subparagraph (A) in which there is no circuit judge in regular active service who has served as a circuit judge for one year or more, the circuit judge in regular active service who is senior in commission and who has not served previously as chief judge shall act as the chief judge.

  • (3)
    • (A) Except as provided in subparagraph (C), the chief judge of the circuit appointed under paragraph (1) shall serve for a term of seven years and shall serve after expiration of such term until another judge is eligible under paragraph (1) to serve as chief judge of the circuit.

    • (B) Except as provided in subparagraph (C), a circuit judge acting as chief judge under subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (2) shall serve until a judge has been appointed who meets the qualifications under paragraph (1).

    • (C) No circuit judge may serve or act as chief judge of the circuit after attaining the age of seventy years unless no other circuit judge is qualified to serve as chief judge of the circuit under paragraph (1) or is qualified to act as chief judge under paragraph (2).

(b) The chief judge shall have precedence and preside at any session of the court which he attends. Other circuit judges of the court in regular active service shall have precedence and preside according to the seniority of their commissions. Judges whose commissions bear the same date shall have precedence according to seniority in age. The circuit justice, however, shall have precedence over all the circuit judges and shall preside at any session which he attends.

(c) If the chief judge desires to be relieved of his duties as chief judge while retaining his active status as circuit judge, he may so certify to the Chief Justice of the United States, and thereafter the chief judge of the circuit shall be such other circuit judge who is qualified to serve or act as chief judge under subsection (a).

(d) If a chief judge is temporarily unable to perform his duties as such, they shall be performed by the circuit judge in active service, present in the circuit and able and qualified to act, who is next in precedence.



Assignment of judges; panels; hearings; quorum

(a) Circuit judges shall sit on the court and its panels in such order and at such times as the court directs.

(b) In each circuit the court may authorize the hearing and determination of cases and controversies by separate panels, each consisting of three judges, at least a majority of whom shall be judges of that court, unless such judges cannot sit because recused or disqualified, or unless the chief judge of that court certifies that there is an emergency including, but not limited to, the unavailability of a judge of the court because of illness. Such panels shall sit at the times and places and hear the cases and controversies assigned as the court directs. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit shall determine by rule a procedure for the rotation of judges from panel to panel to ensure that all of the judges sit on a representative cross section of the cases heard and, notwithstanding the first sentence of this subsection, may determine by rule the number of judges, not less than three, who constitute a panel.

(c) Cases and controversies shall be heard and determined by a court or panel of not more than three judges (except that the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit may sit in panels of more than three judges if its rules so provide), unless a hearing or rehearing before the court in banc is ordered by a majority of the circuit judges of the circuit who are in regular active service. A court in banc shall consist of all circuit judges in regular active service, or such number of judges as may be prescribed in accordance with section 6 of Public Law 95-486 (92 Stat. 1633), except that any senior circuit judge of the circuit shall be eligible
  • (1) to participate, at his election and upon designation and assignment pursuant to section 294 (c) of this title and the rules of the circuit, as a member of an in banc court reviewing a decision of a panel of which such judge was a member, or

  • (2) to continue to participate in the decision of a case or controversy that was heard or reheard by the court in banc at a time when such judge was in regular active service.

(d) A majority of the number of judges authorized to constitute a court or panel thereof, as provided in paragraph (c), shall constitute a quorum.