The Circuit Courts since the act of 1891 creating the Circuit Courts of Appeal have had only original jurisdiction. This jurisdiction is, however, very wide, including, subject to a pecuniary limitation, most of the subjects which in Article III, Section II, Clause 1, of the Constitution are enumerated as falling within federal judicial cognizance. Thus, in general, any one can sue in a Circuit Court to enforce a right arising under the Constitution and laws of the United States when the matter in controversy is more than $2,000, exclusive of interest and costs. Any suit involving this amount may be brought in the same tribunal if between citizens of different States or citizens of a State and subjects of a foreign State, or citizens of the same State claiming land under grants from different States; and all criminal violations of federal law are there cognizable. This criminal jurisdiction, except as to capital crimes, is concurrently possessed by the District Courts.

Where the United States is plaintiff or petitioner, and where the controversy is between citizens of the same State claiming land under grants from different States, the money limit does not apply. In those cases where the limit does apply it is not necessary that two thousand dollars or more shall be recovered, but that this amount shall be claimed in good faith by the plaintiff.23

23 "§ 1. That the circuit courts of the United States shall have original cognizance, concurrent with the courts of the several States, of all suits of a civil nature, at common law or in equity, where the matter in dispute exceeds, exclusive of interests and costs, the sum or value of two thousand dollars, and arising under the Constitution or laws of the United States, or treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority, upon torts involving offenses against the law of nations; suits against consuls and vice-consuls; suits to enforce liens of the United States upon real estate for internal revenue taxes; ana civil causes of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, "saving to suitors in all cases the right of a common-law remedy, where the common law is competent to give it, and of all seizures on land and on waters not within the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction," and of proceedings to condemn property taken as prize. This admiralty jurisdiction is exclusive.25a