United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
|United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas
|Appeals to||Fifth Circuit|
|Established||March 11, 1902|
|Chief judge||Ricardo H. Hinojosa|
The United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas (in case citations, S.D. Tex.) is the Federal district court with jurisdiction over the southern part of Texas. The court's headquarters is in Houston, Texas and has six additional offices in the district.
Appeals from cases brought in the Southern District of Texas are taken to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).
Since its foundation, the Southern District of Texas has been served by forty-one District Judges and six Clerks of Court. The first federal judge in Texas was John C. Watrous, who was appointed on May 26, 1846, and had previously served as Attorney General of the Republic of Texas. He was assigned to hold court in Galveston, at the time, the largest city in the state. As seat of the Texas Judicial District, the Galveston court had jurisdiction over the whole state. On February 21, 1857, the state was divided into two districts, Eastern and Western, with Judge Watrous continuing in the Eastern district. Judge Watrous and Judge Thomas H. DuVal, of the Western District of Texas, left the state on the secession of Texas from the Union, the only two United States Judges not to resign their posts in states that seceded. When Texas was restored to the Union, Watrous and DuVal resumed their duties and served until 1870. Judge Amos Morrill served in the Eastern District of Texas from 1872 to 1884. He was succeeded by Chauncy B. Sabin (1884 to 1890) and David E. Bryant (1890 to 1902). In 1902, when the Southern District was created by Act of Congress, Judge Bryant continued to serve in the Eastern District of Texas.
In 1917 the General Services Administration added courtrooms and judicial offices to the second floor of the 1861 U.S. Customs House in Galveston, and it became the new federal courthouse for the Southern District of Texas. This location would later become the seat of the Galveston Division, after congress added a second judgeship in the 1930s.
The Southern District of Texas started with one judge, Waller T. Burns, and a Clerk of Court, Christopher Dart, seated in Galveston. Since that time, the court has grown to nineteen district judgeships, six bankruptcy judgeships, fourteen magistrate judgeships, and over 200 deputy clerks.
Galveston Division 
In 2007 criminal charges were filed against Judge Samuel B. Kent, the only District judge in the Galveston Division, who sat at the Federal Courthouse in Galveston, the oldest federal judgeship in the state. Due to the litigation, Chief Judge Hayden Head transferred Kent and his staff to the Houston Division. Judge Kent subsequently pled guilty, in February 2009, to obstruction of justice and, after being impeached by the House of Representatives, resigned in June 2009. The next month, it was announced that a Judge Kent's would remain vacant for the time being, and a replacement judge would be assigned to McAllen, due to the increase in cases in the Texas border area concerning subjects such as drugs and immigration. In April 2012 the U.S. Senate confirmed Gregg Costa as a federal judge and assigned him to fill the vacant judicial seat in Galveston.
The jurisdiction of the Southern District of Texas is divided as follows:
- The Brownsville Division covers Cameron and Willacy Counties.
- The Corpus Christi Division covers Aransas, Bee, Brooks, Duval, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kleberg, Live Oak, Nueces, and San Patricio Counties.
- The Galveston Division covers Brazoria, Chambers, Galveston, and Matagorda Counties.
- The Houston Division covers Austin, Brazos, Colorado, Fayette, Fort Bend, Grimes, Harris, Madison, Montgomery, San Jacinto, Walker, Waller, and Wharton Counties.
- The Laredo Division covers Jim Hogg, La Salle, McMullen, Webb, and Zapata Counties.
- The McAllen Division covers Hidalgo and Starr Counties.
- The Victoria Division covers Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Jackson, Lavaca, Refugio, and Victoria Counties.
Current judges 
- As of June 1, 2011, a vacancy exists due to Judge Janis Graham Jack's decision to assume senior status. No replacement nomination is pending.
- As of December 31, 2012, a second vacancy exists due to Judge Hilda G. Tagle's decision to assume senior status. No replacement nomination is pending.
- As of March 2, 2013, a third vacancy exists due to Judge Kenneth M. Hoyt's decision to assume senior status. No replacement nomination is pending.
|#||Title||Judge||Duty station||Born||Term of service||Appointed by|
|25||Chief Judge||Ricardo Hinojosa||McAllen||1950||1983–present||2009–present||—||Reagan|
|26||District Judge||Lynn Nettleton Hughes||Houston||1941||1985–present||—||—||Reagan|
|29||District Judge||Sim Lake||Houston||1944||1988–present||—||—||Reagan|
|30||District Judge||Melinda Harmon||Houston||1946||1989–present||—||—||G.H.W. Bush|
|34||District Judge||Lee Hyman Rosenthal||Houston||1952||1992–present||—||—||G.H.W. Bush|
|36||District Judge||Vanessa Gilmore||Houston||1956||1994–present||—||—||Clinton|
|37||District Judge||Nancy Friedman Atlas||Houston||1949||1995–present||—||—||Clinton|
|39||District Judge||Keith P. Ellison||Houston||1950||1999–present||—||—||Clinton|
|40||District Judge||Randy Crane||McAllen||1965||2002–present||—||—||G.W. Bush|
|41||District Judge||Andrew S. Hanen||Brownsville||1953||2002–present||—||—||G.W. Bush|
|42||District Judge||Micaela Alvarez||McAllen||1958||2004–present||—||—||G.W. Bush|
|43||District Judge||Gray Hampton Miller||Houston||1948||2006–present||—||—||G.W. Bush|
|44||District Judge||Diana Saldaña||Laredo||1971||2011–present||—||—||Obama|
|45||District Judge||Nelva Gonzales Ramos||Corpus Christi||1965||2011–present||—||—||Obama|
|46||District Judge||Marina Marmolejo||Laredo||1971||2011–present||—||—||Obama|
|47||District Judge||Gregg Costa||Galveston||1972||2012–present||—||—||Obama|
|12||Senior District Judge||Carl Olaf Bue Jr.||inactive||1922||1970–1987||—||1987–present||Nixon|
|20||Senior District Judge||George P. Kazen||Laredo||1940||1979–2009||1996–2003||2009–present||Carter|
|24||Senior District Judge||Hayden Wilson Head, Jr.||Corpus Christi||1944||1981–2009||2003–2009||2009–present||Reagan|
|27||Senior District Judge||David Hittner||Houston||1939||1986–2004||—||2004–present||Reagan|
|28||Senior District Judge||Kenneth M. Hoyt||Houston/Galveston||1948||1988–2013||—||2013–present||Reagan|
|31||Senior District Judge||John David Rainey||Victoria||1945||1990–2010||—||2010–present||G.H.W. Bush|
|33||Senior District Judge||Ewing Werlein, Jr.||Houston||1936||1992–2006||—||2006–present||G.H.W. Bush|
|35||Senior District Judge||Janis Graham Jack||Corpus Christi||1946||1994–2011||—||2011–present||Clinton|
|38||Senior District Judge||Hilda G. Tagle||Brownsville||1946||1998–2012||—||2012–present||Clinton|
Former judges 
|Judge||Appointed by||Began active
|James Allred||Franklin D. Roosevelt||February 23, 1939||May 15, 1942||–||resignation|
|James Allred||Harry S. Truman||October 13, 1949||September 24, 1959||–||death|
|Norman William Black||Jimmy Carter||May 11, 1979||December 6, 1996||July 23, 1997||death|
|Waller Thomas Burns||Theodore Roosevelt||April 22, 1902||November 17, 1917||–||death|
|George Edward Cire||Jimmy Carter||May 11, 1979||May 5, 1985||–||death|
|Ben Clarkson Connally||Harry S. Truman||October 13, 1949||December 28, 1974||December 2, 1975||death|
|Finis E. Cowan||Jimmy Carter||June 14, 1977||June 30, 1979||–||resignation|
|Owen DeVol Cox||Richard Nixon||December 1, 1970||March 20, 1981||July 21, 1990||death|
|James DeAnda||Jimmy Carter||May 11, 1979||October 1, 1992||–||retirement|
|Reynaldo Guerra Garza||John F. Kennedy||April 14, 1961||August 1, 1979||–||reappointment|
|Hugh Gibson||Jimmy Carter||October 5, 1979||November 1, 1989||June 18, 1998||death|
|Allen Burroughs Hannay||Franklin D. Roosevelt||August 12, 1942||August 6, 1975||October 22, 1983||death|
|Joseph Chappell Hutcheson, Jr.||Woodrow Wilson||April 6, 1918||January 26, 1931||–||reappointment|
|Joe McDonald Ingraham||Dwight D. Eisenhower||August 6, 1954||December 31, 1969||–||reappointment|
|Thomas Martin Kennerly||Herbert Hoover||February 7, 1931||August 29, 1954||July 29, 1962||death|
|Samuel B. Kent||George H. W. Bush||October 1, 1990||February 23, 2009||–||resigned effective June 30, 2009 after being impeached|
|Gabrielle Kirk McDonald||Jimmy Carter||May 11, 1979||August 14, 1988||–||resignation|
|James Latane Noel, Jr.||John F. Kennedy||October 5, 1961||December 15, 1976||August 29, 1997||death|
|Robert J. O'Conor, Jr.||Gerald Ford||April 25, 1975||September 30, 1984||–||resignation|
|Woodrow Bradley Seals||Lyndon B. Johnson||July 23, 1966||December 25, 1982||October 27, 1990||death|
|John Virgil Singleton, Jr.||Lyndon B. Johnson||July 22, 1966||April 1, 1988||June 1, 1992||retirement|
|Ross N. Sterling||Gerald Ford||May 7, 1976||January 14, 1988||–||death|
|Filemon Bartolome Vela||Jimmy Carter||June 18, 1980||May 1, 2000||April 13, 2004||death|
On Thursday, May 17, 2012, President Barack Obama nominated Gary Blankinship, of Pasadena, Texas, a former Vice President for the National Association of Police Organizations, to be United States Marshal for the Southern District of Texas for the term of four years, to succeed Ruben Monzon, who had resigned. Formerly, he had been a Senior Police Officer with the Houston Police Department, working there from 1982 until 2012. Prior to that, he had served with the Harris County Sheriff's Department.
See also 
- National Park Service Archaeological Field Inspection
- U.S. Department of Justice: 2002 Centennial Report, pgs. 1, 10
- Southern District of Texas: History of the District
- General Services Administration: U.S. Custom House, Galveston, Texas
- Galveston Historical Foundation: More About the Custom House
- Paschenko, Chris (2012-04-27). "Senate confirms Costa for isle federal judgeship". Galveston County Daily News. Retrieved 2012-04-27.
- http://www.txs.uscourts.gov/district/genord/2007/2007-17.pdf Southern District of Texas General Order 2007–17
- Flood, Marry (2009-02-23). "Judge Kent accepts plea deal and retires from bench". Retrieved 2009-02-23.
- Rice, Harvey (2009-07-09). "Kent's judgeship in Galveston moving to McAllen". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-07-22. "The Galveston federal courthouse where disgraced former U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent presided for 18 years will remain vacant and his replacement moved to McAllen, the chief judge of the Southern District said Thursday. [...] The decision to move the post from Galveston to McAllen was made because few cases are heard in Galveston while immigration and drug cases are swamping judges in courts near the border, Chief Judge Hayden Head said."(Archived by WebCite at http://www.webcitation.org/5iS6Y7PYp)
- Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 15, 1962, confirmed by the United States Senate on March 16, 1962, and received commission on March 17, 1962.