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Apart from specialized courts, the federal court system comprises the following:
The Supreme Court of the United States
Most cases are appeals from lower courts. In addition to cases from lower federal courts, cases from state supreme courts which involve a point of federal law may be heard. The court has discretion to decide which cases will be considered.
U.S. Courts of Appeals (also called Circuit Courts of Appeals)
Appellate courts which deal with appeals from the district courts in their circuit.
U.S. District Courts
Trial courts which deal with violations of federal criminal law, disputes regarding federal laws or treaties, and some cases between residents of different states.
Court Locator - Maps showing jurisdicitons of the various federal courts
HeinOnline Academic is a full-text research collection offering U.S. federal publications such as the U.S. Code, Federal Register, treaties and agreements, U.S. and state appellate court opinions, federal legislative histories, presidential documents; a collection of legal classics; and constitutions of the world
United States Reports is a series of bound case reporters that are the official reports of decisions for the United States Supreme Court. A citation to a United States Supreme Court decisions includes three elements that are needed to retrieve a case. For example, Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837 (1984). 467 indicates the volume in which the case is reported, U.S. indicates the abbreviation for U.S. Reports, 837 indicates the initial page number of the case, and 1984 indicates the year the case was decided.
Oyez (pronounced OH-yay)—a free law project from Cornell’s Legal Information Institute (LII), Justia, and Chicago-Kent College of Law—is a multimedia archive devoted to making the Supreme Court of the United States accessible to everyone.
It is the most complete and authoritative source for all of the Court’s audio since the installation of a recording system in October 1955. Oyez offers transcript-synchronized and searchable audio, plain-English case summaries, illustrated decision information, and full-text Supreme Court opinions (through Justia). Oyez also provides detailed information on every justice throughout the Court’s history and offers a panoramic tour of the Supreme Court building, including the chambers of several justices.
The decisions in this collection have all been gathered into topical groups. (Many have been listed under several headings.) Clicking on any listed topic will retrieve all opinions classified under it. Instead of or in addition to using these topical groups you can search the entire collection for decisions using particular key words or phrases.