United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

Last updated
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
(D.C. Cir.)
Seal of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.png
DC locator map with state names w usmap.png
Location E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse
Appeals from
EstablishedFebruary 9, 1893
Judges11
Circuit Justice John Roberts
Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan
cadc.uscourts.gov

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (in case citations, D.C. Cir.) is one of the thirteen United States Courts of Appeals. It has the smallest geographical jurisdiction of any of the U.S. federal appellate courts, and covers only one district court: the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. [lower-alpha 1] It meets at the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse, near Judiciary Square, Washington, D.C.

Contents

The D.C. Circuit's prominence and prestige among American federal courts is second only to the U.S. Supreme Court because its geographic jurisdiction contains the U.S. Capitol and the headquarters of many of the U.S. federal government's executive departments and government agencies, and therefore it is the main federal appellate court for many issues of American administrative law and constitutional law. [2] Four of the current nine justices on the Supreme Court were previously judges on the D.C. Circuit including Chief Justice John Roberts, along with associate justices Clarence Thomas, Brett Kavanaugh and Ketanji Brown Jackson. Former justices Fred M. Vinson, Wiley Blount Rutledge, Warren E. Burger, Antonin Scalia, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, also served as judges on the D.C. Circuit before their appointments to the Supreme Court.

Because the D.C. Circuit does not represent any state, confirmation of nominees can be procedurally and practically easier than for nominees to the Courts of Appeals for the other geographical districts, as home-state senators have historically been able to hold up confirmation through the "blue slip" process. However, in recent years, several nominees to the D.C. Circuit were stalled, and some were ultimately not confirmed because senators claimed that the court had become larger than necessary to handle its caseload.

Current composition of the court

As of September 26,2022:

#TitleJudgeDuty stationBornTerm of serviceAppointed by
Active Chief Senior
58Chief Judge Sri Srinivasan Washington, D.C. 19672013–present2020–present Obama
49Circuit Judge Karen L. Henderson Washington, D.C. 19441990–present G.H.W. Bush
59Circuit Judge Patricia Millett Washington, D.C. 19632013–present Obama
60Circuit Judge Cornelia Pillard Washington, D.C. 19612013–present Obama
61Circuit Judge Robert L. Wilkins Washington, D.C. 19632014–present Obama
62Circuit Judge Gregory G. Katsas Washington, D.C. 19642017–present Trump
63Circuit Judge Neomi Rao Washington, D.C. 19732019–present Trump
64Circuit Judge Justin R. Walker Washington, D.C. 19822020–present Trump
66Circuit Judge J. Michelle Childs Washington, D.C. 19662022–present Biden
67Circuit Judge Florence Y. Pan Washington, D.C. 19662022–present Biden
68Circuit Judgevacant Washington, D.C.
38Senior Circuit Judge Harry T. Edwards Washington, D.C. 19401980–20051994–20012005–present Carter
44Senior Circuit Judge James L. Buckley inactive19231985–19961996–present Reagan
46Senior Circuit Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg Washington, D.C. 19461986–20112001–20082011–present Reagan
47Senior Circuit Judge David B. Sentelle Washington, D.C. 19431987–20132008–20132013–present Reagan
50Senior Circuit Judge A. Raymond Randolph Washington, D.C. 19431990–20082008–present G.H.W. Bush
51Senior Circuit Judge Judith W. Rogers Washington, D.C. 19391994–20222022–present Clinton
52Senior Circuit Judge David S. Tatel Washington, D.C. 19421994–20222022–present Clinton

Vacancies and pending nominations

SeatSeat last held byVacancy reasonDate of vacancyNomineeDate of nomination
5 Judith W. Rogers Senior status September 1, 2022 Brad Garcia June 15, 2022

List of former judges

#JudgeStateBorn–diedActive service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed byReason for
termination
1 Richard Henry Alvey MD 1826–19061893–19051893–1905 Cleveland retirement
2 Martin Ferdinand Morris DC 1834–19091893–1905 Cleveland retirement
3 Seth Shepard TX 1847–19171893–19171905–1917 Cleveland (associate);
T. Roosevelt (chief) [lower-alpha 2]
retirement
4 Charles Holland Duell NY 1850–19201905–1906 T. Roosevelt resignation
5 Louis E. McComas MD 1846–19071905–1907 T. Roosevelt death
6 Charles Henry Robb VT 1867–19391906 [lower-alpha 3] –19371937–1939 T. Roosevelt death
7 Josiah Alexander Van Orsdel WY 1860–19371907 [lower-alpha 3] –1937 T. Roosevelt death
8 Constantine Joseph Smyth NE 1859–19241917–19241917–1924 Wilson death
9 George Ewing Martin OH 1857–19481924–19371924–19371937–1948 Coolidge death
10 William Hitz DC 1872–19351931–1935 Hoover death
11 Duncan Lawrence Groner VA 1873–19571931–19481937–19481948–1957 Hoover (associate);
F. Roosevelt (chief) [lower-alpha 2]
death
12 Harold Montelle Stephens UT 1886–19551935–19551948–1955 F. Roosevelt (associate);
Truman (chief) [lower-alpha 2]
death
13 Justin Miller CA 1888–19731937–1945 F. Roosevelt resignation
14 Henry White Edgerton DC 1888–19701937–19631955–19581963–1970 F. Roosevelt death
15 Fred M. Vinson KY 1890–19531938–1943 F. Roosevelt resignation
16 Wiley Blount Rutledge KY 1894–19491939–1943 F. Roosevelt elevation to Supreme Court
17 Thurman Arnold WY 1891–19691943–1945 F. Roosevelt resignation
18 Bennett Champ Clark MO 1890–19541945–1954 Truman death
19 E. Barrett Prettyman DC 1891–19711945–19621958–19601962–1971 Truman death
20 Wilbur Kingsbury Miller KY 1892–19761945–19641960–19621964–1976 Truman death
21 James McPherson Proctor DC 1882–19531948–1953 Truman death
22 David L. Bazelon IL 1909–19931949 [lower-alpha 3] –19791962–19781979–1993 Truman death
23 Charles Fahy GA 1892–19791949 [lower-alpha 3] –19671967–1979 Truman death
24 George Thomas Washington OH 1908–19711949 [lower-alpha 3] –19651965–1971 Truman death
25 John A. Danaher CT 1899–19901953 [lower-alpha 3] –19691969–1990 Eisenhower death
26 Walter Maximillian Bastian DC 1891–19751954 [lower-alpha 3] –19651965–1975 Eisenhower death
27 Warren E. Burger MN 1907–19951956–1969 Eisenhower elevation to Supreme Court
28 James Skelly Wright LA 1911–19881962–19861978–19811986–1988 Kennedy death
29 Carl E. McGowan IL 1911–19871963–198119811981–1987 Kennedy death
30 Edward Allen Tamm DC 1906–19851965–1985 L. Johnson death
31 Harold Leventhal DC 1915–19791965–1979 L. Johnson death
32 Spottswood William Robinson III VA 1916–19981966–19891981–19861989–1998 L. Johnson death
33 George MacKinnon MN 1906–19951969–19831983–1995 Nixon death
34 Roger Robb DC 1907–19851969–19821982–1985 Nixon death
35 Malcolm Richard Wilkey TX 1918–20091970–19841984–1985 Nixon retirement
36 Patricia Wald DC 1928–20191979–19991986–1991 Carter retirement
37 Abner Mikva IL 1926–20161979–19941991–1994 Carter resignation
39 Ruth Bader Ginsburg NY 1933–20201980–1993 Carter elevation to Supreme Court
40 Robert Bork CT 1927–20121982–1988 Reagan resignation
41 Antonin Scalia IL 1936–20161982–1986 Reagan elevation to Supreme Court
42 Kenneth Starr VA 1946–20221983–1989 Reagan resignation
43 Laurence Silberman 1935–20221985–20002000–2022 Reagan death
45 Stephen F. Williams CO 1936–20201986–20012001–2020 Reagan death
48 Clarence Thomas GA 1948–present1990–1991 G.H.W. Bush elevation to Supreme Court
53 Merrick Garland IL 1952–present1997–20212013–2020 Clinton retirement
54 John Roberts MD 1955–present2003–2005 G.W. Bush elevation to Supreme Court
55 Janice Rogers Brown CA 1949–present2005–2017 G.W. Bush retirement
56 Thomas B. Griffith UT 1954–present2005–2020 G.W. Bush retirement
57 Brett Kavanaugh MD 1965–present2006–2018 G.W. Bush elevation to Supreme Court
65 Ketanji Brown Jackson DC 1970–present2021–2022 Biden elevation to Supreme Court

Chiefs

Chief
as Chief Justice
Alvey 1893–1905
Shepard 1905–1917
Smyth 1917–1924
Martin 1924–1937
Groner 1937–1948
Stephens 1948
as Chief Judge
Stephens 1948–1955
Edgerton 1955–1958
Prettyman 1958–1960
W. Miller 1960–1962
Bazelon 1962–1978
Wright 1978–1981
McGowan 1981–1981
Robinson 1981–1986
Wald 1986–1991
Mikva 1991–1994
Edwards 1994–2001
D. Ginsburg 2001–2008
Sentelle 2008–2013
Garland 2013–2020
Srinivasan 2020–present

When Congress established this court in 1893 as the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia, it had a chief justice, and the other judges were called associate justices, which was similar to the structure of the Supreme Court. The chief justiceship was a separate seat: the president would appoint the chief justice, and that person would stay chief justice until he left the court.

On June 25, 1948, 62 Stat. 869 and 62 Stat. 985 became law. These acts made the chief justice a chief judge. In 1954, another law, 68 Stat. 1245, clarified what was implicit in those laws: that the chief judgeship was not a mere renaming of the position but a change in its status that made it the same as the chief judge of other inferior courts.

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

The court has eleven seats for active judges after the elimination of Seat 8 under the Court Security Improvement Act of 2007. The seat that was originally the chief justiceship is numbered as Seat 1; the other seats are numbered in order of their creation. If seats were established simultaneously, they are 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.

See also

Notes

  1. In some circumstances, it may also handle appeals that originate in American Samoa, which has no local federal district court or territorial court, by way of the D.C. District court; the Ninth Circuit may also handle such cases by the District of Hawaii. [1]
  2. 1 2 3 Prior to 1948, the court consisted of a Chief Justice and up to five Associate Justices. Much like with the Supreme Court of the United States, the Chief Justice would be separately nominated and subject to a separate confirmation process, regardless of whether or not he was elevated from an associate justice position. In 1948, the positions of Chief Justice and Associate Justice were reassigned to Circuit Judge positions and the position of Chief Judge was assigned based on seniority.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Recess appointment, confirmed by the Senate at a later date.

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References

  1. https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-08-1124T Archived 2019-10-16 at the Wayback Machine GAO (U.S. Government Accountability Office. AMERICAN SAMOA: Issues Associated with Some Federal Court Options. September 18, 2008. Retrieved September 7, 2019.
  2. Turner, Julia (7 February 2003). "Explainer: What's So Important About the Washington, D.C., Circuit Court of Appeals?". Slate Magazine. Archived from the original on 12 February 2021. Retrieved 24 July 2019.