Under the United States Constitution, there are three branches of the federal government, legislative, executive and judicial, which operate within a constitutional system. The United States district courts are the trial courts of the federal system. Within limits set by Congress and the Constitution, the district courts have jurisdiction to hear nearly all categories of federal cases, including both civil and criminal matters.
There are currently 94 United States judicial districts organized into 12 regional circuits, each of which has a United States court of appeals. An appeal court hears appeals from the district courts located within its circuit, as well as appeals from decisions of federal administrative agencies. South Dakota is located in the Eighth Circuit. The United States Supreme Court is the highest federal court and consists of the Chief Justice of the United States and eight associate justices. The attorneys at HPS have experience with litigation at every level of the federal court system.