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What types of cases are tried in federal court?

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The federal court's jurisdiction is limited to specific cases listed in the Constitution and specifically provided for by Congress. Generally, federal courts only hear cases in which the United States is a party, cases involving violations of the Constitution or federal laws, and cases between citizens of different states. Some cases are such that only federal courts have jurisdiction over them. In other cases, the parties can choose whether to go to state court or to federal court. In most cases, however, they can only go to state court. Although the federal courts hear significantly fewer cases than the state courts, the cases they do hear tend more often to be of national importance, because of the federal laws they enforce and the federal rights they protect. Most cases in federal courts are civil rather than criminal. One type of federal case might involve a claim by a private citizen that a company failed to carry out its duty under the law - for example, that the company ... more
nhd.uscourts.gov
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