United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit

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United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
(1st Cir.)
Seal of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
Location John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse
Boston, Massachusetts
Appeals from
Established June 16, 1891
Chief judge Jeffrey R. Howard
Active judges 6
Senior judges 6
Circuit justice David Souter
Official website

The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit is one of the 13 appeals courts in the United States's federal court system. In case citations, the Court's name is abbreviated "1st Cir."

The 1st Circuit[change | change source]

The Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit is the appeals court that has jurisdiction, or legal power, to review cases decided by less powerful courts in the 1st Circuit. These less powerful courts are called United States district courts. They are federal trial courts. If someone wants to appeal a decision that one of these courts made, they would have to appeal to the Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit.[1]

These are the United States District Courts that are in the 1st Circuit:[1]

About the Court[change | change source]

The Court is based at the John Joseph Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts.[2]

The First Circuit is the smallest of the thirteen United States courts of appeals.[3] As of 2016, the Court has six full-time judges and six judges on senior status. Senior status is like being partly retired. Three of the Senior Judges do not hear any cases. The others may hear cases if they choose to.[4]

Since he retired from the United States Supreme Court, Justice David Souter regularly sits on the First Circuit "by designation."[5][6][7] This means he is a visiting judge who comes to hear cases at the First Circuit, to add his knowledge and experience.[8]

Schedule[change | change source]

The Court usually "sits" (meets at the Courthouse and hears cases) for one week a month, eleven months per year. Court sittings are held in the mornings, usually between 9:30 AM and 1:00 PM (EST). For one month out of the year – either July or August – the Court takes a summer break and does not meet.[9]

This is the Court's normal schedule:[9]

  • In every month except September and the Court's summer break month: The Court sits for one week each month, starting on the first Monday of the month
  • In both March and November: The Court sits for an extra week at the Jose V. Toledo Federal Building and United States Courthouse in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • In September: The Court starts on the Wednesday after Labor Day, sits for the three days in that week, and sits for all five days the next week

History[change | change source]

On March 3, 1891, the United States Congress created the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Congress approved two judgeships for the Court (it allowed two judges to sit on the Court).[10]

On January 28, 1915, Congress passed a law that added the District of Puerto Rico to the First Circuit. The law said that the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit would hear appeals from Puerto Rico's district court.[10]

Over time, Congress approved more full-time judgeships for the Court:[10]

Date Approved Judgeships Approved Total Judgeships
March 3, 1891 2 2
January 21, 1905 1 3
October 20, 1978 1 4
July 10, 1984 2 6

Related pages[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "U.S. District and Bankruptcy Courts". United States Courts. Administrative Office of the United States Courts, Federal Judiciary. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  2. "United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit: Welcome". United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  3. "The U.S. Federal Judicial System". Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations. United States Food and Drug Administration. June 19, 2015. Retrieved March 30, 2016. U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals: … The smallest court is the First Circuit with six judgeships[.]
  4. "Judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit". History of the Federal Judiciary. Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  5. "United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit: Order of Court" (PDF). February 28, 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 6, 2014. Retrieved March 17, 2016. To be called Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 9:30 A.M., Court of Appeals Panel Courtroom, 7th Floor. Before: Judge Thompson, Justice Souter, Judge Stahl. [Docket Number] 13-9004…
  6. "United States of America, Appellee, v. Shawn Coughlin, Defendant-Appellant" (PDF). United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. May 7, 2015. Retrieved March 30, 2016. Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts … Before… Souter, Associate Justice….
  7. "Nicole Ponte, Plaintiff, Appellant, v. Steelcase Inc., Defendant, Appellee" (PDF). United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. January 31, 2014. Retrieved March 30, 2016. Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts … Before… Souter, Associate Justice….
  8. Stahl-Reisdorff, Nicholle (2001 [2006]). "The Use of Visiting Judges in the Federal District Courts: A Guide for Judges & Court Personnel" (PDF). Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved March 30, 2016. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Court Calendar". United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 "United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit: Legislative History". United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Retrieved March 30, 2016.