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Judicial Branch

The Judicial Branch is the third branch of the Federal government. It interprets Federal laws in case of dispute or misunderstanding.

There are four court systems on the Federal level:

  • U.S. Bankruptcy Courts: These courts decide all bankruptcy cases in the U.S. Their mission is to settle cases to appease both the debtors and the creditors.

  • The three other courts, U.S. District Courts, U.S. Court of Appeals and The Supreme Court work in a hierarchically system.

  • Cases are first brought to the U.S. District Courts. If the case is appealed, it goes up to the U.S. Courts of Appeals. Then, the last resort for the case is to appeal to The Supreme Court. However, this court can decide to hear the case or not. If it does not hear the case, then the Court of Appeals' decision is final. If the case is decided by The Supreme Court, then this is the final word on this case. Its decision becomes the definitive ruling of this law.

  • All Federal court decisions can be found through LexisNexis.
Appeals System

The Supreme Court


U.S. Court of Appeals


U.S. District Courts


See more information about this resource and how to access information on court decisions.


The Supreme Court bases its decisions on the interpretation of the Constitution.

Access to Information

Digital Information

Paper Information

OTHER RESOURCES A comprehensive site for more than 5,000 cases and links to other court sites is available.

Oyez: A Supreme Court WWW Source: A legal analysis and oral arguments (RealAudio) from Supreme Court cases.