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United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (in case citations, 3d Cir.) is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts for the following districts:

It also has appellate jurisdiction over the District Court of the Virgin Islands which, in spite of the name, is a territorial court and belongs to no federal judicial district.

The court is composed of 14 active judges and is based at the U.S. Courthouse in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is one of thirteen United States courts of appeals.


Current composition of the court

As of 2009, the judges on the court are:

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
44 Chief Judge Anthony Joseph Scirica Philadelphia, PA 1940 1987–present 2003–present Reagan
38 Circuit Judge Dolores Korman Sloviter Philadelphia, PA 1932 1979–present 1991–1998 Carter
50 Circuit Judge Theodore A. McKee Philadelphia, PA 1947 1994–present Clinton
52 Circuit Judge Marjorie O. Rendell Philadelphia, PA 1947 1997–present Clinton
53 Circuit Judge Maryanne Trump Barry Newark, NJ 1937 1999–present Clinton
54 Circuit Judge Thomas L. Ambro Wilmington, DE 1949 2000–present Clinton
55 Circuit Judge Julio M. Fuentes Newark, NJ 1946 2000–present Clinton
56 Circuit Judge D. Brooks Smith Duncansville, PA 1951 2002–present G.W. Bush
58 Circuit Judge D. Michael Fisher Pittsburgh, PA 1944 2003–present G.W. Bush
60 Circuit Judge Michael Chagares[1] Newark, NJ 1962 2006–present G.W. Bush
61 Circuit Judge Kent A. Jordan[2] Wilmington, DE 1957 2006–present G.W. Bush
62 Circuit Judge Thomas M. Hardiman Pittsburgh, PA 1965 2007–present G.W. Bush
Circuit Judge (vacant - seat 4) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a)
Circuit Judge (vacant - seat 9) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a)
28 Senior Circuit Judge Ruggero J. Aldisert Santa Barbara, CA 1919 1968–1986 1984–1986 1986–present L. Johnson
35 Senior Circuit Judge Joseph F. Weis Jr. Pittsburgh, PA 1923 1973–1988 (none) 1988–present Nixon
36 Senior Circuit Judge Leonard I. Garth Newark, NJ 1921 1973–1986 (none) 1986–present Nixon
41 Senior Circuit Judge Walter King Stapleton Wilmington, DE 1934 1985–1999 (none) 1999–present Reagan
42 Senior Circuit Judge Morton Ira Greenberg Trenton, NJ 1933 1987–2000 (none) 2000–present Reagan
45 Senior Circuit Judge Robert E. Cowen Trenton, NJ 1930 1987–1998 (none) 1998–present Reagan
46 Senior Circuit Judge Richard Lowell Nygaard Erie, PA 1940 1988–2005 (none) 2005–present Reagan
48 Senior Circuit Judge Jane Richards Roth Wilmington, DE 1935 1991–2006 (none) 2006–present G.H.W. Bush
59 Senior Circuit Judge Franklin Stuart Van Antwerpen Easton, PA 1941 2004–2006 (none) 2006–present G.W. Bush

Vacancies and pending nominations

On June 19, 2009, Barack Obama nominated Federal District Court Judge Joseph A. Greenaway, Jr. to the 3rd Circuit seat left vacant by the elevation of Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court.[3]

On August 6, 2009, Barack Obama nominated Federal District Court Judge Thomas I. Vanaskie to the 3rd Circuit seat left vacant by the decision by Judge Franklin Stuart Van Antwerpen to take senior status in 2006.[4]

List of former judges

# Judge State Born/Died Active service Term as Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 Acheson, Marcus WilsonMarcus Wilson Acheson PA 1828–1906 1891–1906 (none) (none) [5] death
2 Dallas, George M.George M. Dallas PA 1839–1917 1892–1909 (none) (none) Harrison, B.B. Harrison retirement
3 Gray, GeorgeGeorge Gray DE 1840–1925 1899[6]–1914 (none) (none) McKinley, McKinley retirement
4 Buffington, JosephJoseph Buffington PA 1855–1947 1906[6]–1938 (none) 1938–1947 Roosevelt, T.T. Roosevelt death
5 Lanning, William MershonWilliam Mershon Lanning NJ 1849–1912 1909–1912 (none) (none) Taft, Taft death
Archbald, Robert W.Robert W. Archbald PA 1848–1926 1911–1913 (none) (none) [7] impeachment and conviction
6 McPherson, John BayardJohn Bayard McPherson PA 1846–1919 1912–1919 (none) (none) Taft, Taft death
7 Woolley, Victor BaynardVictor Baynard Woolley DE 1867–1945 1914–1938 (none) 1938–1945 Wilson, Wilson death
8 Haight, Thomas GriffithThomas Griffith Haight NJ 1879–1942 1919[6]–1920 (none) (none) Wilson, Wilson resignation
9 Davis, John WarrenJohn Warren Davis NJ 1867–1945 1920–1939 (none) 1939–1941 Wilson, Wilson resignation
10 Thompson, Joseph WhitakerJoseph Whitaker Thompson PA 1861–1946 1931–1938 (none) 1938–1946 Hoover, Hoover death
11 Biggs, Jr., JohnJohn Biggs, Jr. DE 1895–1979 1937–1965 1948–1965 1965–1979 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
12 Maris, Albert BransonAlbert Branson Maris PA 1893–1989 1938–1958 (none) 1958–1989 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
13 Clark, WilliamWilliam Clark NJ 1891–1957 1938–1943 (none) (none) Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt resignation
14 Biddle, FrancisFrancis Biddle PA 1886–1968 1939–1940 (none) (none) Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt resignation
15 Jones, Charles AlvinCharles Alvin Jones PA 1887–1966 1939–1944 (none) (none) Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt resignation
16 Goodrich, Herbert FunkHerbert Funk Goodrich PA 1889–1962 1940–1962 (none) (none) Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
17 McLaughlin, GeraldGerald McLaughlin NJ 1893–1977 1943–1968 (none) 1968–1977 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
18 O'Connell, John JosephJohn Joseph O'Connell PA 1894–1949 1945–1949 (none) (none) Truman, Truman death
19 Kalodner, Harry EllisHarry Ellis Kalodner PA 1896–1977 1946–1969 1965–1966 1969–1977 Truman, Truman death
20 Hastie, William HenryWilliam Henry Hastie VI 1904–1976 1949[6]–1971 1968–1971 1971–1976 Truman, Truman death
21 Staley, Austin LeanderAustin Leander Staley PA 1902–1978 1950–1967 1966–1967 1967–1978 Truman, Truman death
22 Forman, PhillipPhillip Forman NJ 1895–1978 1959–1961 (none) 1961–1978 Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
23 Ganey, James CullenJames Cullen Ganey PA 1899–1972 1961–1966 (none) 1966–1972 Kennedy, Kennedy death
24 Smith, William FrancisWilliam Francis Smith NJ 1903–1968 1961–1968 (none) (none) Kennedy, Kennedy death
25 Freedman, Abraham LincolnAbraham Lincoln Freedman PA 1904–1971 1964–1971 (none) (none) Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
26 Seitz, Collins JacquesCollins Jacques Seitz DE 1914–1998 1966–1989 1971–1984 1989–1998 Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
27 Van Dusen, Francis LundFrancis Lund Van Dusen PA 1912–1993 1967–1977 (none) 1977–1993 Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
29 Stahl, David HenryDavid Henry Stahl PA 1920–1970 1968–1970 (none) (none) Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
30 Adams, Arlin M.Arlin M. Adams PA 1921–present 1969–1987 (none) (none) Nixon, Nixon retirement
31 Gibbons, John JosephJohn Joseph Gibbons NJ 1924–present 1969–1990 1987–1990 (none) Nixon, Nixon retirement
32 Rosenn, MaxMax Rosenn PA 1910-2006[8] 1970–1981 (none) 1981–2006 Nixon, Nixon death
33 Rosen, JamesJames Rosen NJ 1909–1972 1971–1972 (none) (none) Nixon, Nixon death
34 Hunter III, JamesJames Hunter III NJ 1916–1989 1971–1986 (none) 1986–1989 Nixon, Nixon death
37 Higginbotham, Jr., Aloyisus LeonAloyisus Leon Higginbotham, Jr. PA 1928–1998 1977–1991 1990–1991 1991–1993 Carter, Carter retirement
39 Becker, Edward RoyEdward Roy Becker[9] PA 1933–2006 1981–2003 1998–2003 2003–2006 Reagan, Reagan death
40 Mansmann, Carol LosCarol Los Mansmann PA 1942–2002 1985–2002 (none) (none) Reagan, Reagan death
43 Hutchinson, William D.William D. Hutchinson PA 1932–1995 1987–1995 (none) (none) Reagan, Reagan death
47 Alito, Jr., Samuel A.Samuel A. Alito, Jr. NJ 1950–present 1990–2006 (none) (none) Bush, G.H.W.G.H.W. Bush elevation to Supreme Court
49 Lewis, Timothy K.Timothy K. Lewis PA 1954–present 1992–1999 (none) (none) Bush, G.H.W.G.H.W. Bush resignation
51 Sarokin, H. LeeH. Lee Sarokin NJ 1928–present 1994–1996 (none) (none) Clinton, Clinton retirement
57 Chertoff, MichaelMichael Chertoff NJ 1953–present 2003–2005 (none) (none) Bush, G.W.G.W. Bush resignation to become United States
Secretary of Homeland Security

Chief judges

Chief Judge
Biggs 1948–1965
Kalodner 1965–1966
Hastie 1968–1971
Staley 1966–1967
Seitz 1971–1984
Aldisert 1984–1986
Gibbons 1987–1990
Higginbotham 1990–1991
Sloviter 1991–1998
Becker 1998–2003
Scirica 2003–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 fourteen 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 Third Circuit
Reassigned on June 16, 1891 to the newly formed United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit by the Judiciary Act of 1891
Acheson PA 1891–1906
Buffington PA 1906–1938
Biddle PA 1939–1940
Goodrich PA 1940–1962
Freedman PA 1964–1971
Weis PA 1973–1988
Nygaard PA 1988–2005
Hardiman PA 2007–present
Seat 2
Established on June 16, 1891 by the Judiciary Act of 1891
Dallas PA 1892–1909
Lanning NJ 1909–1912
McPherson PA 1912–1919
Haight NJ 1919–1920
Davis NJ 1920–1939
Jones PA 1939–1944
Kalodner PA 1946–1969
Adams PA 1969–1987
Hutchinson PA 1987–1995
Rendell PA 1997–present
Seat 3
Established on February 23, 1899 by 30 Stat. 846
Gray DE 1899–1914
Woolley DE 1914–1938
Maris PA 1938–1958
Forman NJ 1959–1961
W. Smith NJ 1961–1968
Hunter NJ 1971–1986
Cowen NJ 1987–1998
Fuentes NJ 2000–present
Seat 4
Established on June 10, 1930 by 46 Stat. 538
Thompson PA 1931–1938
Clark NJ 1938–1943
McLaughlin NJ 1943–1968
Gibbons NJ 1969–1990
Alito NJ 1990–2006
(vacant) (n/a) 2006–present
Seat 5
Established as a temporary judgeship on June 24, 1936 by 49 Stat. 1903
Made permanent on May 31, 1938 by 52 Stat. 584
Biggs DE 1937–1965
Seitz DE 1966–1989
Roth DE 1991–2006
Jordan DE 2006–present
Seat 6
Established on December 7, 1944 by 58 Stat. 796
O'Connell PA 1945–1949
Staley PA 1950–1967
Aldisert PA 1968–1986
Scirica PA 1987–present
Seat 7
Established on August 3, 1949 by 63 Stat. 493
Hastie VI 1949–1971
Rosen NJ 1971–1972
Garth NJ 1973–1986
Greenberg NJ 1987–2000
Chertoff NJ 2003–2005
Chagares NJ 2006–present
Seat 8
Established on May 19, 1961 by 75 Stat. 80
Ganey PA 1961–1966
Van Dusen PA 1967–1977
Higginbotham PA 1977–1991
McKee PA 1994–present
Seat 9
Established on June 18, 1968 by 82 Stat. 184
Stahl PA 1968–1970
Rosenn PA 1970–1981
Becker PA 1981–2003
Van Antwerpen PA 2004–2006
(vacant) (n/a) 2006–present
Seat 10
Established on October 20, 1978 by 92 Stat. 1629
Sloviter PA 1979–present
Seat 11
Established on July 10, 1984 by 98 Stat. 333
Mansmann PA 1985–2002
Fisher PA 2003–present
Seat 12
Established on July 10, 1984 by 98 Stat. 333
Stapleton DE 1985–1999
Ambro DE 2000–present
Seat 13
Established on December 1, 1990 by 104 Stat. 5089
Lewis PA 1992–1999
B. Smith PA 2002–present
Seat 14
Established on December 1, 1990 by 104 Stat. 5089
Sarokin NJ 1994–1996
Barry NJ 1999–present


Following the confirmation of Thomas Hardiman, the Third Circuit is the only of the Federal Courts of Appeals to be split evenly between Republican and Democratic-appointed judges.

See Federal judicial appointment history.

See also


  1. ^ de la Cruz, Donna (April 4, 2006). "Senate confirms New Jersey lawyer to 3rd U.S. Circuit". Newsday (Newsday, Inc.).,0,5658051.story?coll=ny-region-apnewjersey. Retrieved 2006-04-04.  
  2. ^ Bennett, Elizabeth (December 11, 2006). "Senate Confirms Jordan to 3rd Circuit Replacing Senior Judge Jane Roth". Retrieved 2006-12-09.  
  3. ^ White House Press Release - Joseph Greenaway Nomination
  4. ^ White House Press Release - Thomas Vanaskie Nomination
  5. ^ Acheson was appointed as a circuit judge for the Third Circuit in 1891 by Benjamin Harrison. The Judiciary Act of 1891 reassigned his seat to what is now the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
  6. ^ a b c d Recess appointment, confirmed by the United States Senate at a later date.
  7. ^ Archbald did not have a permanent seat on this court. Instead, he was appointed to the ill-fated United States Commerce Court in 1911 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. Archbald was assigned to the Third Circuit upon his commission.
  8. ^ "Judge Rosenn dies". Wilkes-Barre Time-Leader. Retrieved 2006-02-07.  
  9. ^ Weiner, Tim (2006-05-20). "Edward R. Becker, 73, Judge on Federal Court of Appeals, Dies". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Retrieved 2006-05-21.  


External links




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