United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
|United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit|
|Location||E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse|
|Established||February 9, 1893|
|Circuit Justice||John Roberts|
|Chief Judge||Sri Srinivasan|
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. It meets at the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse, near Judiciary Square, Washington, D.C.
The D.C. Circuit is one of the most prominent and prestigious American courts—second only to the U.S. Supreme Court itself—because its jurisdiction contains the U.S. Congress and many of the U.S. government agencies, and therefore it is the main appellate court for many issues of American administrative law and constitutional law. Four of the current nine justices on the Supreme Court were previously judges on the D.C. Circuit: Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justices Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Brett Kavanaugh. Former justices Fred M. Vinson, Wiley Blount Rutledge, Warren E. Burger, and Antonin Scalia 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 February 11, 2020[update]:
|#||Title||Judge||Duty station||Born||Term of service||Appointed by|
|58||Chief Judge||Sri Srinivasan||Washington, D.C.||1967||2013–present||2020–present||—||Obama|
|49||Circuit Judge||Karen L. Henderson||Washington, D.C.||1944||1990–present||—||—||G.H.W. Bush|
|51||Circuit Judge||Judith W. Rogers||Washington, D.C.||1939||1994–present||—||—||Clinton|
|52||Circuit Judge||David S. Tatel||Washington, D.C.||1942||1994–present||—||—||Clinton|
|53||Circuit Judge||Merrick Garland||Washington, D.C.||1952||1997–present||2013–2020||—||Clinton|
|56||Circuit Judge||Thomas B. Griffith||Washington, D.C.||1954||2005–present||—||—||G.W. Bush|
|59||Circuit Judge||Patricia Millett||Washington, D.C.||1963||2013–present||—||—||Obama|
|60||Circuit Judge||Cornelia Pillard||Washington, D.C.||1961||2013–present||—||—||Obama|
|61||Circuit Judge||Robert L. Wilkins||Washington, D.C.||1963||2014–present||—||—||Obama|
|62||Circuit Judge||Gregory G. Katsas||Washington, D.C.||1964||2017–present||—||—||Trump|
|63||Circuit Judge||Neomi Rao||Washington, D.C.||1973||2019–present||—||—||Trump|
|38||Senior Circuit Judge||Harry T. Edwards||Washington, D.C.||1940||1980–2005||1994–2001||2005–present||Carter|
|43||Senior Circuit Judge||Laurence Silberman||Washington, D.C.||1935||1985–2000||—||2000–present||Reagan|
|44||Senior Circuit Judge||James L. Buckley||inactive||1923||1985–1996||—||1996–present||Reagan|
|45||Senior Circuit Judge||Stephen F. Williams||Washington, D.C.||1936||1986–2001||—||2001–present||Reagan|
|46||Senior Circuit Judge||Douglas H. Ginsburg||Washington, D.C.||1946||1986–2011||2001–2008||2011–present||Reagan|
|47||Senior Circuit Judge||David B. Sentelle||Washington, D.C.||1943||1987–2013||2008–2013||2013–present||Reagan|
|50||Senior Circuit Judge||A. Raymond Randolph||Washington, D.C.||1943||1990–2008||—||2008–present||G.H.W. Bush|
Vacancies and pending nominations
|Seat||Seat last held by||Vacancy reason||Date of vacancy||Nominee||Date of nomination|
|11||Thomas B. Griffith||Retirement||September 1, 2020||Justin R. Walker||May 4, 2020|
List of former judges
|#||Judge||State||Born–died||Active service||Chief Judge||Senior status||Appointed by||Reason for|
|1||Richard Henry Alvey||MD||1826–1906||1893–1905||1893–1905||—||Cleveland||retirement|
|2||Martin Ferdinand Morris||DC||1834–1909||1893–1905||—||—||Cleveland||retirement|
|3||Seth Shepard||TX||1847–1917||1893–1917||1905–1917||—|| Cleveland (associate);
T. Roosevelt (chief)
|4||Charles Holland Duell||NY||1850–1920||1905–1906||—||—||T. Roosevelt||resignation|
|5||Louis E. McComas||MD||1846–1907||1905–1907||—||—||T. Roosevelt||death|
|6||Charles Henry Robb||VT||1867–1939||1906–1937||—||1937–1939||T. Roosevelt||death|
|7||Josiah Alexander Van Orsdel||WY||1860–1937||1907–1937||—||—||T. Roosevelt||death|
|8||Constantine Joseph Smyth||NE||1859–1924||1917–1924||1917–1924||—||Wilson||death|
|9||George Ewing Martin||OH||1857–1948||1924–1937||1924–1937||1937–1948||Coolidge||death|
|11||Duncan Lawrence Groner||VA||1873–1957||1931–1948||1937–1948||1948–1957|| Hoover (associate);
F. Roosevelt (chief)
|12||Harold Montelle Stephens||UT||1886–1955||1935–1955||1948–1955||—||F. Roosevelt (associate);
|13||Justin Miller||CA||1888–1973||1937–1945||—||—||F. Roosevelt||resignation|
|14||Henry White Edgerton||DC||1888–1970||1937–1963||1955–1958||1963–1970||F. Roosevelt||death|
|15||Fred M. Vinson||KY||1890–1953||1938–1943||—||—||F. Roosevelt||resignation|
|16||Wiley Blount Rutledge||KY||1894–1949||1939–1943||—||—||F. Roosevelt||elevation to Supreme Court|
|17||Thurman Arnold||WY||1891–1969||1943–1945||—||—||F. Roosevelt||resignation|
|18||Bennett Champ Clark||MO||1890–1954||1945–1954||—||—||Truman||death|
|19||E. Barrett Prettyman||DC||1891–1971||1945–1962||1958–1960||1962–1971||Truman||death|
|20||Wilbur Kingsbury Miller||KY||1892–1976||1945–1964||1960–1962||1964–1976||Truman||death|
|21||James McPherson Proctor||DC||1882–1953||1948–1953||—||—||Truman||death|
|22||David L. Bazelon||IL||1909–1993||1949–1979||1962–1978||1979–1993||Truman||death|
|24||George Thomas Washington||OH||1908–1971||1949–1965||—||1965–1971||Truman||death|
|25||John A. Danaher||CT||1899–1990||1953–1969||—||1969–1990||Eisenhower||death|
|26||Walter Maximillian Bastian||DC||1891–1975||1954–1965||—||1965–1975||Eisenhower||death|
|27||Warren E. Burger||MN||1907–1995||1956–1969||—||—||Eisenhower||elevation to Supreme Court|
|28||James Skelly Wright||LA||1911–1988||1962–1986||1978–1981||1986–1988||Kennedy||death|
|29||Carl E. McGowan||IL||1911–1987||1963–1981||1981–1981||1981–1987||Kennedy||death|
|30||Edward Allen Tamm||DC||1906–1985||1965–1985||—||—||L. Johnson||death|
|31||Harold Leventhal||DC||1915–1979||1965–1979||—||—||L. Johnson||death|
|32||Spottswood William Robinson III||VA||1916–1998||1966–1989||1981–1986||1989–1998||L. Johnson||death|
|35||Malcolm Richard Wilkey||TX||1918–2009||1970–1984||—||1984–1985||Nixon||retirement|
|39||Ruth Bader Ginsburg||NY||1933–present||1980–1993||—||—||Carter||elevation to Supreme Court|
|41||Antonin Scalia||IL||1936–2016||1982–1986||—||—||Reagan||elevation to Supreme Court|
|48||Clarence Thomas||GA||1948–present||1990–1991||—||—||G.H.W. Bush||elevation to Supreme Court|
|54||John Roberts||MD||1955–present||2003–2005||—||—||G.W. Bush||elevation to Supreme Court|
|55||Janice Rogers Brown||CA||1949–present||2005–2017||—||—||G.W. Bush||retirement|
|57||Brett Kavanaugh||MD||1965–present||2006–2018||—||—||G.W. Bush||elevation to Supreme Court|
|as Chief Justice|
|as Chief Judge|
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 seven 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.
- Turner, Julia (7 February 2003). "Explainer: What's So Important About the Washington, D.C., Circuit Court of Appeals?". Slate Magazine. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
- Future Judicial Vacancies
- 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.
- Recess appointment, confirmed by the Senate at a later date.
- "Standard Search". Federal Law Clerk Information System. Archived from the original on 2005-10-21. Retrieved 2005-06-02.
- Source for the duty station for Judge Williams
- "Instructions for Judicial Directory". Website of the University of Texas Law School. Archived from the original on 2005-11-11. Retrieved 2005-07-04.
- Source for the duty station for Judges Silberman and Buckley
- Data is current to 2002
- "U. S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit". Official website of the Federal Judicial Center. Archived from the original on 2005-04-04. Retrieved 2005-05-26.
- Source for the state, lifetime, term of active judgeship, term of chief judgeship, term of senior judgeship, appointer, termination reason, and seat information
|Wikisource has original works on the topic: United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit|
- United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
- Recent opinions from FindLaw
- What Makes the DC Circuit so Different? A Historical View - Article by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.
- "District of Columbia", Caselaw Access Project, Harvard Law School, OCLC 1078785565,
Court decisions freely available to the public online, in a consistent format, digitized from the collection of the Harvard Law Library