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Federal Districts

January 3, 2020
The Federal Districts

There are more than ninety total federal districts throughout the United States. They tend to be broken up more strongly around populated urban areas. For example, in New York state, there are four total districts that each cover several million people. But immediately to the north and south of New York, Connecticut and New Jersey each only have one federal district for the entire state. The divide of federal districts is based much more on geography than population. By keeping the populations in each district relatively consistent, there’s no one district that’s overwhelmed by federal prosecutions.

Federal districts are where federal court cases are conducted. Each is overseen by federal judges who have been appointed by the President of the United States. Under them are magistrate judges who help run different procedures.

Eastern District of New York

This is one of the four federal districts that encompasses New York state. It is a federal judicial district covering about eight million people who live in Queens, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Nassau, and Suffolk counties. The district is commonly abbreviated EDNY, and it has two federal courthouses. One is in Brooklyn, and the other is in Central Islip.

Currently, the EDNY is presided over by 26 presidentially appointed federal judges and 15 magistrate judges who serve under them.

Southern District of New York

Commonly abbreviated SDNY, the Southern District of New York covers about three million people who live in the south of New York state. That includes individuals residing in the Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Orange, Sullivan, and Duchess counties.

There are 49 presidentially appointed federal judges who preside over the SDNY, and there are also 15 magistrate judges who report to them. The SDNY contains two federal courthouses. One is in Manhattan, and the other is in White Plains.

Northern District of New York

The Northern District of New York, otherwise known as the NDNY, stretches to encompass a whopping thirty-two total counties in upstate New York. The district stretches to the uppermost border of New York and shares an international border with Canada. In addition to the other areas of upstate New York, this is the federal district that encompasses the state capital, Albany.

Upstate New York is much more sparsely populated than the rest of the state. As such, this district only has eight presidentally appointed judges and six magistrate judges presiding. However, it takes up the most geographical space of any of the New York districts. Because of this, it has offices in Albany, Binghamton, Plattsburgh, Syracuse, and Utica. This helps people to be within travel distance of a courthouse should they need to appear.

Western District of New York

The final cardinal direction in New York’s four split federal districts, the WDNY is the district covering the western area of upstate New York. It has jurisdiction over seventeen total state counties, and it also encompasses the cities of Elmira, Rochester, and Buffalo. Eight presidentally appointed federal judges and six magistrate judges preside over the courts.

The WDNY has just two federal courthouses. One is located in Buffalo, and the other can be found in Rochester.

District of New Jersey

The District of New Jersey, commonly called the DNJ, is a federal judicial district covering the nine million people living in New Jersey. Since New Jersey is a much smaller state than New York in terms of both geography and population, there isn’t the same need to divide up federal districts. Every citizen of New Jersey in any of the state’s twenty-one counties is represented by this federal district.

The DNJ currently has 23 presidentially appointed judges and about twelve magistrate judges working under them. Three federal courthouses can be found in the DNJ. One is in Newark, one is in Trenton, and the other is in Camden. The placing of these courthouses by the most populous areas of the state ensures that most people are within travel distance of one of them.

District of Connecticut

The District of Connecticut is typically abbreviated as the DCONN. It is a federal judicial district covering the 3.6 million people who reside in Connecticut. This means everybody across all eight of the state’s counties: Windham, Middlesex, New London, Tolland, New Haven, Litchfield, Hartford, and Fairfield.

The DCONN is presided over by thirteen presidentially appointed federal judges and five magistrate judges who report to them. The DCONN also has three federal courthouses despite serving a smaller population than many areas with fewer courthouses. One is located in New Haven, one is in Hartford, and one is in Bridgeport. New Haven is home to Yale University and college life, Hartford is the business capital of the city, and Bridgeport is a populous tourist location. Placing a federal courthouse in each of these places makes sense.



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