United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit: Wikis


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Coordinates: 37°32′16″N 77°26′05″W / 37.53769°N 77.43481°W / 37.53769; -77.43481

Seal of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit is a federal court located in Richmond, Virginia with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in the following districts:

Lewis F. Powell, Jr. Courthouse

The court is based at the Lewis F. Powell, Jr. U.S. Courthouse in Richmond, Virginia. With 15 authorized judgeships (currently there are 11 active judges, one senior judge who continues to hear cases part-time, and two retired judges who no longer hear cases) it is mid-sized among the 13 United States courts of appeals.


Current composition of the court

As of the confirmation of Judge Andre Davis on November 9, 2009, the judges on the court are:

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
38 Chief Judge William Byrd Traxler, Jr. Greenville, SC 1948 1998–present 2009–present Clinton
29 Circuit Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III Charlottesville, VA 1944 1984–present 1996–2003 Reagan
32 Circuit Judge Paul V. Niemeyer Baltimore, MD 1941 1990–present (none)(b) G.H.W. Bush
36 Circuit Judge M. Blane Michael Charleston, WV 1943 1993–present (none)(b) Clinton
37 Circuit Judge Diana Gribbon Motz Baltimore, MD 1943 1994–present (none)(b) Clinton
39 Circuit Judge Robert Bruce King Charleston, WV 1940 1998–present (none)(b) Clinton
40 Circuit Judge Roger Gregory Richmond, VA 1953 2000(a)–present Clinton/G.W. Bush
41 Circuit Judge Dennis Shedd Columbia, SC 1953 2002–present G.W. Bush
42 Circuit Judge Allyson Kay Duncan Raleigh, NC 1951 2003–present G.W. Bush
43 Circuit Judge G. Steven Agee Salem, VA 1952 2008–present G.W. Bush
44 Circuit Judge Andre M. Davis Baltimore, MD 1949 2009–present Obama
Circuit Judge (vacant - seat 3) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a)
Circuit Judge (vacant - seat 4) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a)
Circuit Judge (vacant - seat 7) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a)
Circuit Judge (vacant - seat 11) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a)
24 Senior Circuit Judge James Dickson Phillips, Jr. (inactive) 1922 1978–1994 (none) 1994–present Carter
28 Senior Circuit Judge Robert Foster Chapman (inactive) 1926 1981–1991 (none) 1991–present Reagan
33 Senior Circuit Judge Clyde H. Hamilton Columbia, SC 1934 1991–1999 (none) 1999–present G.H.W. Bush

(a) Recess appointment by Bill Clinton, re-appointed by George W. Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate at a later date.

(b) Judges 65 and older are ineligible to serve as Chief Judge.

Vacancies and pending nominations

On September 14, 2009, President Obama nominated Virginia Supreme Court judge Barbara Milano Keenan to the Fourth Circuit seat left vacant by the death of Judge H. Emory Widener, Jr.[1]

On November 4, 2009, Obama made two nominations to the court: Albert Diaz, a special judge of the North Carolina Superior Court and James Wynn, who currently sits on the North Carolina Court of Appeals and previously served on the North Carolina Supreme Court. Diaz was nominated to the seat left vacant by William W. Wilkins, Jr. in 2007 and Wynn to that left vacant by James Dickson Phillips in 1994.

One other seat remains vacant with no pending nominee.

List of former judges

# Judge State Born/Died Active service Term as Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 Bond, Hugh LennoxHugh Lennox Bond MD 1828–1893 1891–1893 (none) (none) [2] death
2 Goff, Jr., NathanNathan Goff, Jr. WV 1843–1920 1892–1913 (none) (none) Harrison, B.B. Harrison resignation
3 Simonton, Charles HenryCharles Henry Simonton SC 1829–1904 1893–1904 (none) (none) Cleveland, Cleveland death
4 Pritchard, Jeter ConnellyJeter Connelly Pritchard NC/Washington, D.C. 1857–1921 1904–1921 (none) (none) Roosevelt, T.T. Roosevelt death
5 Woods, Charles AlbertCharles Albert Woods SC 1852–1925 1913–1925 (none) (none) Wilson, Wilson death
Knapp, Martin AugustineMartin Augustine Knapp NY 1843–1923 1916–1923 (none) (none) [3] death
6 Waddill, Jr., EdmundEdmund Waddill, Jr. VA 1855–1931 1921–1931 (none) (none) Harding, Harding death
7 Rose, John CarterJohn Carter Rose MD 1861–1927 1922–1927 (none) (none) Harding, Harding death
8 Parker, John J.John J. Parker NC 1885–1958 1925[4]–1958 1948–1958 (none) Coolidge, Coolidge death
9 Northcott, ElliottElliott Northcott WV 1869–1946 1927[4]–1939 (none) 1939–1946 Coolidge, Coolidge death
10 Soper, Morris AmesMorris Ames Soper MD 1873–1963 1931[4]–1955 (none) 1955–1963 Hoover, Hoover death
11 Dobie, Armistead MasonArmistead Mason Dobie VA 1881–1962 1939[4]–1956 (none) 1956–1962 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
12 Sobeloff, Simon E.Simon E. Sobeloff MD 1894–1973 1956–1970 1958–1964 1970–1973 Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
13 Haynsworth, Jr., Clement FurmanClement Furman Haynsworth, Jr. SC 1912–1989 1957–1981 1964–1981 1981–1989 Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
14 Boreman, Herbert StephensonHerbert Stephenson Boreman WV 1897–1982 1959–1971 (none) 1971–1982 Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
15 Bryan Jr., Albert V.Albert V. Bryan Jr. VA 1899–1984 1961–1972 (none) 1972–1984 Kennedy, Kennedy death
16 Bell, J. SpencerJ. Spencer Bell NC 1906–1967 1961–1967 (none) (none) Kennedy, Kennedy death
17 Winter, Harrison LeeHarrison Lee Winter MD 1921–1990 1966–1990 1981–1989 1990–1990 Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
18 Craven, Jr., James BraxtonJames Braxton Craven, Jr. NC 1918–1977 1966–1977 (none) (none) Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
19 Butzner, Jr., John D.John D. Butzner, Jr. VA 1917–2006 1967–1982 (none) 1982–2006 Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
20 Russell, Donald StuartDonald Stuart Russell SC 1906–1998 1971–1998 (none) (none) Nixon, Nixon death
21 Field, Jr., John A.John A. Field, Jr. WV 1910–1995 1971–1976 (none) 1976–1995 Nixon, Nixon death
22 Widener, Jr., H. EmoryH. Emory Widener, Jr. VA 1923–2007 1972–2007 (none) 2007 Nixon, Nixon death
23 Hall, Kenneth KellerKenneth Keller Hall WV 1918–1999 1976–1998 (none) 1998–1999 Ford, Ford death
25 Murnaghan, Jr., Francis DominicFrancis Dominic Murnaghan, Jr. MD 1920–2000 1979–2000 (none) (none) Carter, Carter death
26 Sprouse, James MarshallJames Marshall Sprouse WV 1923–2004 1979–1992 (none) 1992–1995 Carter, Carter retirement
27 Ervin III, Samuel JamesSamuel James Ervin III NC 1926–1999 1980–1999 1989–1996 (none) Carter, Carter death
30 Sneeden, Emory M.Emory M. Sneeden Washington, D.C. 1927–1987 1984–1986 (none) (none) Reagan, Reagan resignation
31 Wilkins, William WalterWilliam Walter Wilkins SC 1942–present 1986–2007 2003–2007 2007–2008 Reagan, Reagan retirement
34 Luttig, J. MichaelJ. Michael Luttig VA 1954–present 1991–2006[5] (none) (none) Bush, G.H.W.G.H.W. Bush resignation
35 Williams, Karen J.Karen J. Williams SC 1951–present 1992–2009[6] 2007–2009 (none) Bush, G.H.W.G.H.W. Bush retirement

Chief judges

Chief Judge
Parker 1948–1958
Sobeloff 1958–1964
Haynsworth 1964–1981
Winter 1981–1989
Ervin 1989–1996
Wilkinson 1996–2003
Wilkins 2003–2007
Williams 2007–2009
Traxler 2009–present

In order to qualify for the office of Chief Judge, a judge must have been in active service on the court for at least one year, be under the age of 65, and have not previously served as Chief Judge. A vacancy in the office of Chief Judge is filled by the judge highest in seniority among the group of qualified judges. The Chief Judge serves for a term of seven years or until age 70, whichever occurs first. The age restrictions are waived if no members of the court would otherwise be qualified for the position. Unlike the Chief Justice of the United States, a Chief Judge returns to active service after the expiration of his or her term and does not create a vacancy on the bench by the fact of his or her promotion. See 28 U.S.C. § 45.

The above rules have applied since October 1, 1982. The office of Chief Judge was created in 1948 and until August 6, 1959 was filled by the longest-serving judge who had not elected to retire on what has since 1958 been known as senior status or declined to serve as Chief Judge. From then until 1982 it was filled by the senior such judge who had not turned 70.

Succession of seats

The court has fifteen seats for active judges, numbered in the order in which they were filled. Judges who retire into senior status remain on the bench but leave their seat vacant. That seat is filled by the next circuit judge appointed by the President.

Seat 1
Established on December 10, 1869 by the Judiciary Act of 1869 as a circuit judgeship for the Fourth Circuit
Reassigned on June 16, 1891 to the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit by the Judiciary Act of 1891
Bond MD 1891–1893
Simonton SC 1893–1904
Pritchard DC 1904–1921
Waddill VA 1921–1931
Soper MD 1931–1955
Sobeloff MD 1956–1970
Russell SC 1971–1998
Traxler SC 1998–present
Seat 2
Established on June 16, 1891 by the Judiciary Act of 1891
Goff WV 1892–1913
Woods SC 1913–1925
Parker NC 1925–1958
Boreman WV 1959–1971
Field WV 1971–1976
Hall WV 1976–1998
King WV 1998–present
Seat 3
Established on September 14, 1922 by 42 Stat. 837
Rose MD 1922–1927
Northcott WV 1927–1939
Dobie VA 1939–1956
Haynsworth SC 1957–1981
Chapman SC 1981–1991
Williams SC 1992–2009
(vacant) (n/a) 2009–present
Seat 4
Established on May 19, 1961 by 75 Stat. 80
Bryan VA 1961–1972
Widener VA 1972–2007
(vacant) (n/a) 2007–present
Seat 5
Established on May 19, 1961 by 75 Stat. 80
Bell NC 1961–1967
Butzner VA 1967–1982
Wilkinson VA 1984–present
Seat 6
Established on March 18, 1966 by 80 Stat. 75
Winter MD 1966–1990
Niemeyer MD 1990–present
Seat 7
Established on March 18, 1966 by 80 Stat. 75
Craven NC 1966–1977
Phillips NC 1978–1994
(vacant) (n/a) 1994–present
Seat 8
Established on October 20, 1978 by 92 Stat. 1629
Murnaghan MD 1979–2000
Davis MD 2009–present
Seat 9
Established on October 20, 1978 by 92 Stat. 1629
Sprouse WV 1979–1992
Michael WV 1993–present
Seat 10
Established on October 20, 1978 by 92 Stat. 1629
Ervin NC 1980–1999
Duncan NC 2003–present
Seat 11
Established on July 10, 1984 by 98 Stat. 333
Sneeden DC 1984–1986
Wilkins SC 1986–2007
(vacant) (n/a) 2007–present
Seat 12
Established on December 1, 1990 by 104 Stat. 5089
Hamilton SC 1991–1999
Shedd SC 2002–present
Seat 13
Established on December 1, 1990 by 104 Stat. 5089
Luttig VA 1991–2006
Agee VA 2008–present
Seat 14
Established on December 1, 1990 by 104 Stat. 5089
Motz MD 1994–present
Seat 15
Established on December 1, 1990 by 104 Stat. 5089
Gregory VA 2000–present

Practice in the 4th Circuit

The Fourth has, until recently, been regarded as the most ideologically conservative court in the federal appellate system.[7] It is also the most efficient circuit, taking an average of just over seven months to resolve each appeal.

The Fourth Circuit is considered an extremely collegial court. By tradition, the Judges of the Fourth Circuit come down from the bench following each oral argument to greet the lawyers. [1]

See also


  1. ^ White House Press Release - Barbara Milano Keenan Nomination
  2. ^ Bond was appointed as a circuit judge for the Fourth Circuit in 1870 by Ulysses S. Grant. The Judiciary Act of 1891 reassigned his seat to what is now the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
  3. ^ Knapp did not have a permanent seat on this court. Instead, he was appointed to the ill-fated United States Commerce Court in 1910 by William Howard Taft. Aside from their duties on the Commerce Court, the judges of the Commerce Court also acted as at-large appellate judges, able to be assigned by the Chief Justice of the United States to whichever circuit most needed help. Knapp was assigned to the Second Circuit immediately prior to his assignment to the Fourth Circuit.
  4. ^ a b c d Recess appointment, confirmed by the United States Senate at a later date.
  5. ^ Markon, Jerry (2006-05-11). "Appeals Court Judge Leaves Life Appointment for Boeing". Washington Post (The Washington Post Company): p. A11. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/10/AR2006051000929.html. Retrieved 2006-05-21.  
  6. ^ Markon, Jerry (2009-07-09). "Federal Appeals Court Judge Karen Williams Resigning". Washington Post (The Washington Post Company). http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/09/AR2009070901983.html?hpid=topnews. Retrieved 2009-07-09.  
  7. ^ Washington Post article


External links




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