Cases from the district courts can then be appealed to the circuit courts of appeal, of which there are thirteen ( Figure 3.1 ). Each circuit oversees the work of the district courts in several states. For example, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit hears appeals from district courts in New York, Connecticut, and Vermont. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit hears appeals from district courts in California, Oregon, Nevada, Montana, Washington, Idaho, Arizona, Alaska, Hawaii, and Guam. The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit hears appeals from the district court in Washington, DC, as well as from numerous federal administrative agencies (see Administrative Law ). The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, also located in Washington, hears appeals in patent and customs cases. Appeals are usually heard by three-judge panels, but sometimes there will be a rehearing at the court of appeals level, in which case all judges sit to hear the case “en banc.”
There are also several specialized courts in the federal judicial system. These include the US Tax Court, the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals, and the Court of Claims.