United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

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

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
(4th Cir.)
Seal of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.svg
Location Lewis F. Powell Jr. United States Courthouse, Richmond, Virginia
Appeals from
Established June 16, 1891
Chief Judge Roger Gregory
Active judges 15
Senior judges 3
Circuit justice John Roberts
Official website

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (in case citations, 4th Cir.) 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. United States Courthouse in Richmond, Virginia. With 15 authorized judgeships, it is mid-sized among the 13 United States Courts of Appeals.

Current composition of the court[edit]

As of January 30, 2018, the active and senior judges on the court are as follows:[1][2]

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
40 Chief Judge Roger Gregory Richmond, VA 1953 2000–present 2016–present Clinton /
G.W. Bush[Note 1]
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 G.H.W. Bush
37 Circuit Judge Diana Gribbon Motz Baltimore, MD 1943 1994–present Clinton
38 Circuit Judge William Byrd Traxler Jr. Greenville, SC 1948 1998–present 2009–2016 Clinton
39 Circuit Judge Robert Bruce King Charleston, WV 1940 1998–present Clinton
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
45 Circuit Judge Barbara Milano Keenan Alexandria, VA 1950 2010–present Obama
46 Circuit Judge James A. Wynn Jr. Raleigh, NC 1954 2010–present Obama
47 Circuit Judge Albert Diaz Charlotte, NC 1960 2010–present Obama
48 Circuit Judge Henry Franklin Floyd Spartanburg, SC 1947 2011–present Obama
49 Circuit Judge Stephanie Thacker Charleston, WV 1965 2012–present Obama
50 Circuit Judge Pamela Harris Bethesda, MD 1962 2014–present Obama
51 Circuit Judge vacant
28 Senior Circuit Judge Robert F. Chapman inactive 1926 1981–1991 1991–present Reagan
33 Senior Circuit Judge Clyde H. Hamilton Columbia, SC 1934 1991–1999 1999–present G.H.W. Bush
41 Senior Circuit Judge Dennis Shedd Columbia, SC 1953 2002–2018 2018–present G.W. Bush
  1. ^ Recess appointment by Bill Clinton, re-appointed by George W. Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate at a later date.

Vacancies and pending nominations[edit]

Seat Prior Judge's Duty Station Seat Last Held By Vacancy Reason Date of Vacancy Nominee Date of Nomination
12 Columbia, SC Dennis Shedd Senior status January 30, 2018
1 Greenville, SC William Byrd Traxler Jr. August 31, 2018[3]

List of former judges[edit]

#
Judge
State
Born/Died
Active
Chief
Senior
Appointed by
Reason for
termination
1 Bond, Hugh LennoxHugh Lennox Bond MD 1828–1893 1891–1893 Grant, Grant[4] death
2 Goff Jr., NathanNathan Goff Jr. WV 1843–1920 1892–1913 Harrison, B.B. Harrison resignation
3 Simonton, Charles HenryCharles Henry Simonton SC 1829–1904 1893–1904 Cleveland, Cleveland death
4 Pritchard, Jeter ConnellyJeter Connelly Pritchard NC/DC 1857–1921 1904–1921 Roosevelt, T.T. Roosevelt death
5 Woods, Charles AlbertCharles Albert Woods SC 1852–1925 1913–1925 Wilson, Wilson death
6 Waddill Jr., EdmundEdmund Waddill Jr. VA 1855–1931 1921–1931 Harding, Harding death
7 Rose, John CarterJohn Carter Rose MD 1861–1927 1922–1927 Harding, Harding death
8 Parker, John J.John J. Parker NC 1885–1958 1925–1958 1948–1958 Coolidge, Coolidge death
9 Northcott, ElliottElliott Northcott WV 1869–1946 1927–1939 1939–1946 Coolidge, Coolidge death
10 Soper, Morris AmesMorris Ames Soper[5] MD 1873–1963 1931–1955 1955–1963 Hoover, Hoover death
11 Dobie, Armistead MasonArmistead Mason Dobie[5] VA 1881–1962 1939–1956 1956–1962 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
12 Sobeloff, SimonSimon Sobeloff MD 1894–1973 1956–1970 1958–1964 1970–1973 Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
13 Haynsworth, ClementClement Haynsworth SC 1912–1989 1957–1981 1964–1981 1981–1989 Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
14 Boreman, Herbert StephensonHerbert Stephenson Boreman WV 1897–1982 1959–1971 1971–1982 Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
15 Bryan, Albert VickersAlbert Vickers Bryan VA 1899–1984 1961–1972 1972–1984 Kennedy, Kennedy death
16 Bell, J. SpencerJ. Spencer Bell NC 1906–1967 1961–1967 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 Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
19 Butzner Jr., John D.John D. Butzner Jr. VA 1917–2006 1967–1982 1982–2006 Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
20 Russell, Donald S.Donald S. Russell SC 1906–1998 1971–1998 Nixon, Nixon death
21 Field Jr., John A.John A. Field Jr. WV 1910–1995 1971–1976 1976–1995 Nixon, Nixon death
22 Widener Jr., Hiram EmoryHiram Emory Widener Jr. VA 1923–2007 1972–2007 2007 Nixon, Nixon death
23 Hall, Kenneth KellerKenneth Keller Hall WV 1918–1999 1976–1998 1998–1999 Ford, Ford death
24 Phillips Jr., James DicksonJames Dickson Phillips Jr. NC 1922–2017 1978–1994 1994–2017 Carter, Carter death
25 Murnaghan Jr., Francis DominicFrancis Dominic Murnaghan Jr. MD 1920–2000 1979–2000 Carter, Carter death
26 Sprouse, James MarshallJames Marshall Sprouse WV 1923–2004 1979–1992 1992–1995 Carter, Carter retirement
27 Ervin III, Samuel JamesSamuel James Ervin III NC 1926–1999 1980–1999 1989–1996 Carter, Carter death
30 Sneeden, Emory M.Emory M. Sneeden DC 1927–1987 1984–1986 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 Bush, G.H.W.G.H.W. Bush resignation
35 Williams, Karen J.Karen J. Williams SC 1951–2013 1992–2009 2007–2009 2009–2013 Bush, G.H.W.G.H.W. Bush death
36 Michael, M. BlaneM. Blane Michael WV 1943–2011 1993–2011 Clinton, Clinton death
44 Davis, Andre M.Andre M. Davis MD 1949–present 2009–2014 2014–2017 Obama Obama retirement

Chief judges[edit]

Chief Judge
Parker 1948–1958
Sobeloff 1958–1964
Haynsworth 1964–1981
Winter 1981–1989
Ervin III 1989–1996
Wilkinson III 1996–2003
Wilkins 2003–2007
Williams 2007–2009
Traxler, Jr. 2009–2016
Gregory 2016–present

Chief judges have administrative responsibilities with respect to their circuits, and preside over any panel on which they serve unless the circuit justice (i.e., the Supreme Court justice responsible for the circuit) is also on the panel. Unlike the Supreme Court, where one justice is specifically nominated to be chief, the office of chief judge rotates among the circuit judges. To be chief, 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 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.

When the office was created in 1948, the chief judge was 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. After August 6, 1959, judges could not become or remain chief after turning 70 years old. The current rules have been in operation since October 1, 1982.

Succession of seats[edit]

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.

Practice in the 4th Circuit[edit]

The Fourth is the most efficient circuit, taking an average of just over seven months to resolve each appeal.[clarification needed][citation needed] From 2000 to 2008, the Court had the highest rate of non-publication (92%) on the Federal Circuit.[6]

The Chief Justice is always assigned to the Fourth Circuit as the circuit advisory justice, due to Richmond's close proximity to Washington, D.C.

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.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit". Official website of the Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved February 27, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Fourth Circuit Judges". Official website of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Retrieved February 27, 2017. 
  3. ^ Future Judicial Vacancies
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ a b Recess appointment, confirmed by the United States Senate at a later date.
  6. ^ Aaron S. Bayer (August 24, 2009), Unpublished Appellate Opinions Are Still Commonplace, The National Law Journal 
  7. ^ "Inside the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals: How Collegiality Works | University of Chicago Law School". www.law.uchicago.edu. Retrieved 2017-02-27. 

External links[edit]