Territorial Courts

There are federal courts located in the districts of Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands. In most instances, these courts function as U.S. district courts, yet they were created under Article I of the Constitution. These courts, called legislative courts to distinguish them from Constitutional courts, function similarly to state and local courts as well as performing their federal role. The legislative courts have jurisdiction over local cases and also those arising under federal law. These courts may also be given duties by Congress that are not strictly judicial in nature. Unlike the other federal courts, they were created by Congress under the article of the Constitution that grants Congress authority over the territories and other fields of federal power.

The judges of the legislative courts are appointed for a term of 10 years. They are not protected under the Constitution against salary reduction during their terms of office.