Federal Court

The Federal Court System also has a presence in Minnesota, just as it does in every state. The federal courts are separate from the state courts. They hear different kinds of cases, including cases that involve:

  • A federal law, such as the federal kidnapping law, firearms laws, assassination cases, bankruptcy, civil rights protections or banking laws.
  • A question of interpreting the United States Constitution, such as free speech, racial discrimination or other constitutional freedoms.
  • A lawsuit between citizens of two states that involves more than $50,000.

In the federal system, the federal district court-which in Minnesota operates in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Duluth-is the trial court where people file their federal claims. Seven judges, all appointed for life by the president, serve on the federal district court bench.


Much like the state trial court, the federal district court is the place where trials are conducted. Decisions may be appealed to 1 of the 11 federal circuit courts of appeal. Minnesota appeals go to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Paul. Appeals from the circuit court may be made to the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

  • United States Court of Appeals
    Eighth Circuit
    500 Warren E. Burger Federal Building
    United States Court of Appeals
    316 N. Robert St.
    St. Paul, MN 55101
    Phone: 651-848-1330
  • United States Supreme Court
    One First Street NE
    Washington, DC 20543

Bankruptcy Court

Also in the federal system, the bankruptcy court-which has offices in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth and Fergus Falls-is the court where people file their bankruptcy petitions and where disputes regarding their property and debts are resolved. Four judges, all appointed to terms of 14 years, serve on the federal bankruptcy bench.

  • United States Bankruptcy Court
    District of Minnesota - 3rd Division
    200 Warren E. Burger Federal Building
    316 N. Robert St.
    St. Paul, MN 55101
    Phone: 651-848-1000