|Established June 16, 1891|
Active judges 14
|Chief judge D. Brooks Smith|
Senior judges 11
|Location James A. Byrne United States Courthouse Philadelphia, Pennsylvania|
Appeals from District of Delaware District of New Jersey Eastern District of Pennsylvania Middle District of Pennsylvania Western District of Pennsylvania District of the Virgin Islands
The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (in case citations, 3d Cir.) is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts for the following districts:
It also has appellate jurisdiction over the District Court of the Virgin Islands which is a court created under Article IV of the U.S. Constitution, rather than Article III under which the other district courts in the Circuit were created.
The court is composed of 14 active judges and is based at the James A. Byrne Courthouse in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The court also conducts sittings in other venues, including the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is one of thirteen United States courts of appeals. Due to the court's appellate jurisdiction over Delaware (where more than half of publicly traded companies in the United States incorporate), the court handles a significant number of influential commercial cases in the United States.
Current composition of the court
As of February 1, 2017, the judges on the court are as follows:
Chief judges have administrative responsibilities with respect to their circuits, and preside over any panel on which they serve unless the circuit justice (i.e., the Supreme Court justice responsible for the circuit) is also on the panel. Unlike the Supreme Court, where one justice is specifically nominated to be chief, the office of chief judge rotates among the circuit judges. To be chief, a judge must have been in active service on the court for at least one year, be under the age of 65, and have not previously served as chief judge. A vacancy is filled by the judge highest in seniority among the group of qualified judges. The chief judge serves for a term of seven years or until age 70, whichever occurs first. The age restrictions are waived if no members of the court would otherwise be qualified for the position.
When the office was created in 1948, the chief judge was the longest-serving judge who had not elected to retire on what has since 1958 been known as senior status or declined to serve as chief judge. After August 6, 1959, judges could not become chief after turning 70 years old. The current rules have been in operation since October 1, 1982.
Succession of seats
The court has fourteen seats for active judges, numbered in the order in which they were filled. Judges who retire into senior status remain on the bench but leave their seat vacant. That seat is filled by the next circuit judge appointed by the president.