Next Article: Trial Court Judge Duties
Back to: US COURT SYSTEM
What types of judges are part of the judiciary?
There are many types of judges in the legal system.
- Federal District Court Judges – Judges for the federal trial court.
- Federal Magistrate Judges – Special federal court judges who hear certain pre-trial and post-trial matters.
- Federal Circuit Court Judges – Appellate judges on the appellate courts for all of the district courts within its geographic jurisdiction (judicial circuit).
- US Supreme Court Justices – Justices (judges) who sit on the highest appellate court in the US legal system.
- Judges for Special Article I Courts:
- Federal Administrative Judges – Judges that preside over the various legislative (administrative) courts established by congress, such as the Tax Court.
- Specialty Court Judges – Judges that preside over the various special courts designed by Congress under Congress, such as bankruptcy courts and courts-martial.
- Municipal Court Judges – Judges presiding over municipal hearings to enforce city or municipal ordinances.
- State Magistrate Judges – Specialty court judges who preside over county or small claims courts. They also serve the function of granting warrants, holding probable cause hearings, and presiding over initial appearances.
- Intermediate State Court Trial Judges – Judges who preside over special trial courts of limited jurisdiction.
- Superior Court Judges – Judges who preside over trial courts of general jurisdiction.
- State Appellate Court Judges – Appellate judges who hear appeals from trial courts within its geographic jurisdiction.
- State Supreme Court Justices – Appellate judges (Justices) sitting in the highest appellate court in the state.
- State Administrative Judges – Judges presiding over the administrative agencies created by the state legislature.
- Specialty Court Judges – Judges presiding over special courts designated by the state constitution or legislature. Special court judges may include: family court judges, probate court judges, and masters in equity.
Some jurisdictions may have special names, designations, qualifications, etc., for judges presiding over a specific court.
Discussion: How do you feel about the distinct roles of judges in different courts? Do you think should be distinct qualifications (education and training) for judges presiding over a particular court?
- Many would argue that having judges with distinct roles in different courts is essential to ensuring that the courts are able to dispense justice effectively and efficiently. For the purpose of uniformity and consistency , there should probably be a consistent level of education, though the training may need to be distinct based upon the needs of the court.
Practice Question: Given what you know about the federal and state legal systems, what are the similarities and differences between the types of judges in the state and federal system?
- Differences – Federal judges are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate; whereas, state court judges are selected in a variety of ways like popular election, election through the state legislature, or appointment by the State Governor. Similarity – They both serve similar functions in different legal systems. The federal judges deal with matters that involve federal law; whereas, State court judges primarily deal with state law matters.