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Other Federal Courts

Since the nation’s founding, the United States Congress has created a wide variety of federal courts. These courts have differed in the scope and subject matter of their assigned duties as well as the method of appointment and term of office of their judges. Some of these courts, for example the U.S. Court of International Trade, have had judges appointed by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve during good behavior pursuant to Article III of the U.S. Constitution. Others, like the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, have had judges appointed in the same manner but to a limited term of years. Still other courts, including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, have been staffed with existing judges of the U.S. district courts and U.S. courts of appeals, designated by the Chief Justice of the United States to serve for limited terms. The territorial courts of the United States have had judges appointed by the president as well as judges appointed by territorial governors, and the terms of service of their judges have varied as well. While the territorial courts and the courts of the District of Columbia have had jurisdiction based primarily on geography, many other federal courts have had duties defined by subject matter. The subjects of such jurisdiction have covered a wide range, including, to name only a few examples, monetary claims against the U.S. government, international trade, customs and tariffs, military discipline, taxation, and work related to the functions of various executive branch agencies. The list of federal courts presented here is not exhaustive, but is intended to provide a brief overview of the various types of courts that have existed throughout the nation’s history and the duties they have performed.