Welcome to the Clerk’s office of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa.
There are two court systems in the United States - state courts and federal courts. State courts (and other local courts established by states) have broad jurisdiction over cases involving violations of state and local laws, contract and other civil disputes, and family matters such as inheritance, divorce, and child custody. Federal courts are established under the U.S. Constitution and have limited jurisdiction to decide cases involving parties from different states or foreign countries, violations of laws and treaties passed by Congress, disputes between states, and violations of the U.S. Constitution.
The United States is divided into 94 different district courts, each with their own courthouse(s), District Judge(s), and support staff. District Judges are appointed for life by the President and approved by the Senate.
The primary administrative officer of each district court is the Clerk of Court. The Clerk manages the Court's non-judicial functions including:
- maintaining the records and dockets of the Court;
- paying all fees, fines, costs and other monies collected into the U.S. Treasury;
- administering the Court's jury system;
- providing interpreters and court reporters;
- sending official court noticies and summons;
- providing courtroom support services,
- and preparing budgetary and spending plans to meet the Court's goals.
With few exceptions, each step of the federal judicial process is open to the public. Many federal courthouses are historic buildings, and all are designed to inspire in the public a respect for the tradition and purpose of the American judicial process.