Nguyen v. United States, 539 U.S. 69, 6 (2003)

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Opinion of the Court

the Court of Appeals had "so far departed from the accepted and usual course of judicial proceedings as to call for an exercise of this Court's supervisory powers." Pet. for Cert. in No. 01-10873, p. 6; Pet. for Cert. in No. 02-5034, p. 5. For the following reasons, we find these to be appropriate cases for the exercise of that power.


We begin with the congressional grant of authority permitting, in certain circumstances, the designation of district judges to serve on the courts of appeals. In relevant part, the designation statute authorizes the chief judge of a circuit to assign "one or more district judges within the circuit" to sit on the court of appeals "whenever the business of that court so requires." 28 U. S. C. 292(a). Section 292(a) itself does not explicitly define the "district judges" who may be assigned to the court of appeals. However, as other provisions of law make perfectly clear, judges of the District Court for the Northern Mariana Islands are not "district judges" within the meaning of 292(a).

Outside of 292(a), Title 28 contains several particularly instructive provisions. The term "district court" as used throughout Title 28 is defined to mean a " 'court of the United States' " that is "constituted by chapter 5 of this title." 451. Chapter 5 of Title 28 in turn creates a "United States District Court" for each judicial district. 132(a) ("There shall be in each judicial district a district court which shall be a court of record known as the United States District Court for the district"). And "district judge[s]" are established as the members of those courts. 132(b) ("Each district court shall consist of the district judge or judges for the district in regular active service"). The judicial districts constituted by Chapter 5 are then exhaustively enumerated. 133(a) ("The President shall appoint, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, district judges for the several ju-

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