The term federal judge includes Supreme Court justices, court of appeals judges, and district court judges. These judges make up the federal court system, which litigates all U.S. federal charges, upholding the rights and liberties contained within the Constitution. The selection process for these judges is laid out in Article II of the U.S. Constitution, while their powers can be found in Article III. (For this reason, federal judges are also called Article III judges.)
Since the passage of the Judiciary Act of 1789, the federal judicial system has maintained 12 district circuits, each with its own court of appeals, regional district courts, and bankruptcy courts.
Some judges are referred to as "federal judges", but are part of a separate category. The selection process for Magistrate and bankruptcy judges is separate from Supreme Court justices, court of appeals judges, and district court judges. A list of their powers and their selection process can be found in Article I.