What Are Some Duties of Circuit Court Judges?


Quick Answer

A circuit court judge presides as a judge on one of the 13 circuits in the U.S. Federal Appellate Court and is responsible for writing precedent-setting rulings on cases that have been appealed. The circuit judge shares the responsibility of writing these rulings, called opinions, with two other judges in a three-judge panel.

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Full Answer

A circuit court judge is appointed for life and is permanently assigned to one of 13 geographically based circuits of the U.S. Court of Appeals, also known as Circuit Court. Circuit judges are responsible for reiterating or overturning verdicts that have been sent up for appeal from the lower-ranked 94 U.S. District Courts, and must write detailed opinions which are legally correct. Circuit judges evaluate the legal legitimacy of district court rulings and must decide whether to keep rulings in place or write overturning opinions.

Circuit judges hear cases involving patent disputes or proprietary claims in scientific and industrial enterprises and also serve on bankruptcy panels. The three circuit judges on a panel must come to a majority agreement. The circuit judges' decisions to keep or overturn rulings set legal precedent for subsequent rulings. The circuit judges' written opinions become U.S. federal law and must be overturned by a Supreme Court in order to be reversed or altered.

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