Today the federal judiciary has a three-tiered structure. At the top is the Supreme Court, which currently has nine members (a chief justice and eight associate justices). For purposes of the two lower tiers, the judiciary is organized into several "circuits", each of which is in turn divided into several "districts". The United States District Courts are the trial courts, and the United States Courts of Appeals for the several circuits exercise appellate jurisdiction. Federal judges are appointed for life (or, more accurately, "good behavior") by the President, whose judicial nominees must, however, be approved by the Senate.
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