p The Supreme Court of the United States

OOOEstablished by Article III of the Constitution, the The Court is the third branch of the Federal Government, a role underscored by its ability to overrule decisions of both Congress and the President which in the Court's opinion conflict with the requirements of the Constitution. Much of the site is directed either to attorneys practicing there (the "Guide for Counsel" is interesting) or people visiting. The site provides, however, texts of only recent decisions, and its essays on the Court's history and workings are brief.
OOO An extensive list of historical decisions can be found at the Legal Information Institute, and a discussion of the Court' s history and function can be found at The Supreme Court Historical Society.

U.S. Courts: The Federal Judiciary

Official site for the federal judiciary. Provides links to the courts and agencies as well as a lengthy essay on how the courts work.

Federal Judicial Center

Intended as an education and research agency for the federal courts, it provides a basic tutorial on the functioning of the courts, histories of individual courts and a list and analysis of legislation that created the federal court system.

p United States Courts of Appeal
The United States Courts of Appeal hear cases appealed from Federal District Courts in their circuit as well as appeals from decisions of federal administrative agencies.
The First Circuit
Maine | Massachusetts | New Hampshire | Puerto Rico | Rhode Island
The Second Circuit
Connecticut | New York | Vermont
The Third Circuit
Delaware | New Jersey | Pennsylvania | Virgin Islands
The Fourth Circuit
Maryland | North Carolina | South Carolina | Virginia | West Virginia
The Fifith Circuit
Louisiana | Mississippi | Texas
The Sixth Circuit
Kentucky | Michigan | Ohio | Tennessee
The Seventh Circuit
Illinois | Indiana | Wisconsin
The Eighth Circuit
Arkansas | Iowa | Minnesota | Missouri | Nebraska | North Dakota | South Dakota
The Ninth Circuit
Alaska | Arizona | California | Guam | Hawaii | Idaho | Montana | Nevada | Oregon | Washington
The Tenth Circuit
Colorado | Kansas | New Mexico | Oklahoma | Utah | Wyoming
The District of Coumbia Circuit
The District of Columbia
The Federal Circuit
Nationwide jurisdiction for certain cases and claims

p United States District Courts
The United States is divided into 94 federal judicial districts, each with its own court. These courts are empowered to hear all cases, civil and criminal, arising out of federal law.

p United States Bankruptcy Courts
The 94 Federal Bankruptcy Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over bankruptcy cases, which cannot be heard in state courts.

p Other Federal Courts
U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans' Claims
Has appellate jurisdiction for veterans over decisions of the Bureau of Veterans' Affairs.
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
Has appellate jurisdiction over cases arising out of courts-martial for the armed forces and the Coast Guard.
U.S. Court of Federal Claims
The courts hears cases involving monetary claims against the federal government.
U.S. Court of International Trade
Has exclusive jurisdictional authority to decide any civil action against the United States, its officers, or its agencies arising out of any law pertaining to international trade.
U.S. Tax Court
Hears tax disputes between individuals or corporations and the IRS prior to payment of the disputed tax.

p U.S. Judicial Agencies
Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation
Empowered to transfer pretrial hearings arising out of civil litigation from multiple districts to one district court except for anti-trust litigation wherein the federal government is a party.
U.S. Sentencing Commission
The Commission sets sentencing guidelines for federal courts, advises Congress on crime policy, and acts as a research body for federal crime and sentencing issues.

O0The date links below connect to landmark decisions of the court. The court links connect to discussions of the named court on the Supreme Court Historical Society web site.

1789 - 1795 | The Jay Court
1795 - 1921 | The Rutledge Court
1795 - 1800 | The Ellsworth Court
1801 - 1835 | The Marshall Court
1835 - 1864 | The Taney Court
1864 - 1873 | The Chase Court
1874 - 1888 | The Waite Court
1888 - 1910 | The Fuller Court
1910 - 1921 | The White Court
1921 - 1930 | The Taft Court
1930 - 1941 | The Hughes Court
1941 - 1946 | The Stone Court
1946 - 1953 | The Vinson Court
1953 - 1969 | The Warren Court
1969 - 1986 | The Burger Court
1986 - 2005 | The Rehnquist Court
2005 - pres. | The Roberts Court

O0 We have followed the convention of dividing the history of the court into the terms of its Chief Justices. While convenient, this often gives a false impression of the importance of the Chief Justice in general, and of certain Chief Justices in particular.
O0 The statutory powers of the Chief Justice, as opposed to those of the Associate Justices, are overwhelmingly administrative, not legal. The Chief is responsible for the operation of the Court, in fact, for the entire federal system; but his influence over cases brought before the court is limited to two functions. First, it is the Chief Justice who introduces and summarizes cases for the other Justices in conference (though it is the decision of all whether a case will be accepted and heard), and second, it is the Chief Justice's right to assign the writing of the majority opinion - so long as he is in the majority. If he is not, the Senior Associate in the majority does this.
O0 The Chief, therefore, is only "first among equals". His influence over the other Justices arises out of his stature as a leader. Some, like Marshall and Warren, have led the Court. Others, like Chase and Vinson, were either followers of or merely frustrated by the more talented Associate Justices who served with them.

American Judicature Society
Focused on public oversight of the judicial system and public education. Includes a downloadable high school curriculum.
A compendium of all things law with a substantial list of links. Lexus for the poor.
Legal Information Institute of Cornell Law School
A comprehensive collection of laws and legal information, as well as recent news from federal and state courts.
Government Printing Office: GPO Access
Though it sounds relatively mundane, GPO Access is an impressive window on government. For Congressional information, look under "Judicial Resources".
Justice Learning
From National Public Radio and the New York Time, and exploration of contemporary issues in the law along with a very good article by article Constitution Guide.
Understanding the Federal Courts [pdf]
The courts' own explanation of the workings of the federal judiciary.

FindLaw Legal News
Recent headlines plus categorized news topics. See also their extensive Document Archive.
From the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, news and legal information.
Legal news from ALM.
Current, pending and historical cases - the latter listed by subject (though unfortunately not by date).
Supreme Court Monitor from Law.com
Current news and commentary on the Court and recent and impending cases.

The Founders' Constitution

A joint venture of the University of Chicago Press and the Liberty Fund, this is simply the most comprehensive and sophisticated resource we have found on the origins and significance of the Constitution. A wealth of original documents. We cannot say enough good about it.

The Supreme Court: A Journey Through Time
Court TV's multimedia tour of the Court's history.
The Supreme Court Historical Society
History, timeline, portraits, and an essay on how the Court works.