If anyone is accused of breaking a federal law or a law, or a treaty, or anything in the US Constitution for that matter. First of all, woah. Second, he / she goes directly to the federal court. You can start in the district courts, aka general trial courts. There are 94 districts in the country. Some states, such as the state of Kansas, have only one district. Other states like Texas have four. Even some territories in the United States have district courts.
Each district has at least one judge, appointed by the president and confirmed by the United States Senate. They can serve for life, unless they misbehave, of course. One of the judges in their district, a dude named Sam Crow, has literally been a district court judge for many years. He is 93 years old, but he is joined by ten others. Crow would be considered a youngin’ compared to this guy. Wesley Brown, who died in 2012 at the age of 104, was also actively hearing cases in the Kansas district until a month before his death. He was the oldest federal judge in American history.
Anyway, at the district level there are also specialized courts, courts specializing in certain areas such as taxes, claims against the federal government and international trade. In addition, each district also has its own bankruptcy court. So let’s say they find anyone guilty in the district court. No worries, he / she can appeal to the circuit courts. Also called the United States Court of Appeals, they primarily hear appeals from district courts in a designated area. Each circuit court has multiple judges, ranging from six in the First Circuit to 29 in the North Circuit, all appointed by the President and confirmed by the United States Senate and they can serve for life until they misbehave. Some circuit courts also deal with specific topics such as veterans claims and military affairs, so if someone is found guilty by a circuit court, no worries, it’s not over yet. He / she can appeal again, this time to the highest court in the land, as they say the United States Supreme Court, which meets in the capital, Washington, D.C. Get a petition for them. Basically, suck them up so they hear the case. The fancy expression for this is Writ of Certiorari.
Unfortunately, less than one percent of all appeals actually go to the Supreme Court. It is made up of nine judges, again appointed by the president and confirmed by the US Senate. They can serve for life until they misbehave, but who are we kidding here, no justice has ever been kicked out of the Supreme Court. Of all 112 judges in American history, only one has ever been impeached for, being political with his decisions. It was Samuel Chase, and while Congress abused him in 1804, they later acquitted him and he was able to stay in court. The Supreme Court hears between 100 and 150 cases each year. They meet from the first Monday in October and, depending on their level of activity, meet regularly until the following summer, usually until the end of June. Sometimes the Supreme Court will combine appeals from lower courts into one case, and sometimes cases even start in the Supreme Court. This is called the original jurisdiction and an example of what usually happens is when there is a dispute between two states as in the 1998 New Jersey v New York case. If the Supreme Court rules against someone, then he / she is done. However, the Supreme Court does have a regular habit of overruling itself every so often., For example, they said segregated public facilities were ok in Plessey vs Ferguson, but later overruled themselves with the Brown vs the Board of Education decision.