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Archived updates for Sunday, January 21, 2007

What is the Federal Circuit?

The "United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit" is unique among the thirteen Circuit Courts of Appeals. It has nationwide jurisdiction in a variety of subject areas, including international trade, government contracts, patents, trademarks, certain money claims against the United States government, federal personnel, and veterans' benefits. Appeals to the court come from all federal district courts, the United States Court of Federal Claims, the United States Court of International Trade, and the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. The court also takes appeals of certain administrative agencies' decisions, including the United States Merit Systems Protection Board, the Boards of Contract Appeals, the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences, and the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board. Decisions of the United States International Trade Commission, the Office of Compliance of the United States Congress and the Government Accountability Office Personnel Appeals Board are also reviewed by the court.

The court consists of twelve judges who are appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate. Judges are appointed to the court for life under Article III of the Constitution of the United States. When eligible, judges may elect to take senior status, which allows them to continue to serve on the court while handling fewer cases than a judge in active service. Each judge in active service employs a judicial assistant and three law clerks, while each judge in senior status employs a judicial assistant and one law clerk.

The court meets in Washington, D.C., and occupies the Howard T. Markey National Courts Building, the Tayloe House, the former Cosmos Club, and the Dolley Madison House.
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 44, all judges of the Federal Circuit are required to reside within 50 miles (80 km) of the District of Columbia while sitting on the court.

More on the Federal Circuit
1 Current composition of the court
2 Pending nominations
3 List of former judges
4 Chief judges
5 Succession of seats
6 Further reading
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