Some federal courts and adjudicative bodies are not part of the judicial branch. These courts are served by judges who do not have the Article III protections of service during good behavior or exemption from salary reductions. The administration of these courts is not governed by the policies of the Judicial Conference of the United States. Most of the federal courts outside the judiciary were established by the Congress to carry out a legislative power, such as the determination of taxes or the governance of the armed forces.
The U.S. Tax Court was established by the Congress in 1969 (83 Stat. 730) as successor to the Tax Court, originally known as the Board of Tax Appeals. The court considers disputes about tax deficiencies determined by the Internal Revenue Service prior to payment. Judges are appointed by the President for a term of fifteen years. Decisions of the U.S. Tax Court may be appealed to a U.S. court of appeals.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces is a court composed of civilian judges who review decisions of the armed forces’ Court of Criminal Appeals. The court was established in 1950 (64 Stat. 107, 129) and originally was called the Court of Military Appeals. In 1968 Congress changed the name of the court to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Services, and in 1994 Congress changed the name to its current title. Review by the court is limited to capital cases, to cases referred by the Judge Advocate General of one of the branches, and to cases in which the court grants a defendant’s petition for review. Judges are appointed by the President for a term of fifteen years. Decisions of the court (but not denials of petitions for review) are subject to review by the Supreme Court by writ of certiorari.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims is served by between three and seven judges appointed by the President for terms of fifteen years. The court was established in 1988 (102 Stat. 4105) to review decisions of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals upon the request of a claimant. Parties may appeal decisions of this court to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
More than 1,300 administrative law judges serve in the executive branch departments. These judges conduct hearings, issue or recommend decisions, and enforce agency regulations. More than 1,100 of the federal administrative law judges work for the Social Security Administration.
Federal Courts Outside the Judicial Branch