United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama

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United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama
(N.D. Ala.)
NDAla seal.gif
Appeals to Eleventh Circuit
Established March 10, 1824
Judges assigned 8
Chief Judge Karon O. Bowdre
U.S. Attorney Jay Town

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama (in case citations, N.D. Ala.) is a federal court in the Eleventh Circuit (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).

The District was established on March 10, 1824 with the division of the state into a Northern and Southern district. The circuit court itself was established on June 22, 1874.[1]

The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Alabama represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The current United States Attorney is Jay Town, who took office in August 2017.

Organization of the court[edit]

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama is one of three federal judicial districts in Alabama.[2] Court for the District is held at Anniston, Birmingham, Decatur, Florence, Gadsden, Huntsville, and Tuscaloosa.

Eastern Division comprises the following counties: Calhoun, Clay, Cleburne, and Talladega.

Jasper Division comprises the following counties: Fayette, Lamar, Marion, Walker, and Winston.

Middle Division comprises the following counties: Cherokee, DeKalb, Etowah, Marshall, and St. Clair.

Northeastern Division comprises the following counties: Cullman, Jackson, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, and Morgan.

Northwestern Division comprises the following counties: Colbert, Franklin, and Lauderdale.

Southern Division comprises the following counties: Blount, Jefferson, and Shelby.

Western Division comprises the following counties: Bibb, Greene, Pickens, Sumter, and Tuscaloosa.

Current judges[edit]

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
32 Chief Judge Karon O. Bowdre Birmingham 1955 2001–present 2013–present G.W. Bush
33 District Judge L. Scott Coogler Tuscaloosa 1959 2003–present G.W. Bush
34 District Judge R. David Proctor Birmingham 1960 2003–present G.W. Bush
35 District Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins Birmingham 1952 2004–present G.W. Bush
36 District Judge Abdul Kallon Birmingham 1969 2010–present Obama
37 District Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala Birmingham 1964 2013–present Obama
38 District Judge Annemarie Carney Axon Birmingham 1973 2018–present Trump
39 District Judge vacant
21 Senior Judge James Hughes Hancock inactive 1931 1973–1996 1996–present Nixon
24 Senior Judge Robert Bruce Propst inactive 1931 1980–1996 1996–present Carter
26 Senior Judge William Marsh Acker Jr. inactive 1927 1982–1996 1996–present Reagan
28 Senior Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn Birmingham 1950 1991–2015 2006–2013 2015–present G.H.W. Bush
29 Senior Judge Charles Lynwood Smith Jr. Huntsville 1943 1995–2013 2013–present Clinton
31 Senior Judge Inge Prytz Johnson inactive 1945 1998–2012 2012–present Clinton

Vacancies and pending nominations[edit]

# Seat last held by Vacancy reason Date of vacancy Nominee Date of nomination
7 Smith Jr., Charles LynwoodCharles Lynwood Smith Jr. Senior Status August 31, 2013 Liles C. Burke January 8, 2018
5 Virginia Emerson Hopkins June 22, 2018[3] Corey L. Maze May 15, 2018

Former judges[edit]

# Judge State Born–died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 Tait, CharlesCharles Tait AL 1768–1835 1824[4]–1826 Monroe, Monroe resignation
2 Crawford, WilliamWilliam Crawford AL 1784–1849 1826–1849 Adams, J.Q.J.Q. Adams death
3 Gayle, JohnJohn Gayle AL 1792–1859 1849–1859 Taylor, Taylor death
4 Jones, William GilesWilliam Giles Jones AL 1808–1883 1859[5]–1861 Buchanan, Buchanan resignation
5 Lane, George WashingtonGeorge Washington Lane AL 1806–1863 1861–1863 Lincoln, Lincoln death
6 Busteed, RichardRichard Busteed AL 1822–1898 1863[6]–1874 Lincoln, Lincoln resignation
7 Bruce, JohnJohn Bruce AL 1832–1901 1875–1901 Grant, Grant death
8 Jones, Thomas G.Thomas G. Jones AL 1844–1914 1901–1914 Roosevelt, T.T. Roosevelt death
9 Hundley, Oscar RichardOscar Richard Hundley AL 1855–1921 1907–1908
Roosevelt, T.T. Roosevelt
Roosevelt, T.T. Roosevelt
Taft, Taft
not confirmed[7]
10 Grubb, William IrwinWilliam Irwin Grubb AL 1862–1935 1909–1935 Taft, Taft death
11 Clayton Jr., Henry De LamarHenry De Lamar Clayton Jr. AL 1857–1929 1914–1929 Wilson, Wilson death
12 Kennamer, Charles BrentsCharles Brents Kennamer AL 1874–1955 1931–1936 Hoover, Hoover reassignment to M.D. Ala.
13 Davis, David JacksonDavid Jackson Davis AL 1878–1938 1935[8]–1938 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
14 Murphree, Thomas AlexanderThomas Alexander Murphree AL 1883–1945 1938–1945 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
15 Mullins, Clarence H.Clarence H. Mullins AL 1895–1957 1943–1953 1948–1953 1953–1957 Roosevelt, F.F. Roosevelt death
16 Lynne, Seybourn HarrisSeybourn Harris Lynne AL 1907–2000 1946–1973 1953–1973 1973–2000 Truman, Truman death
17 Grooms, Harlan HobartHarlan Hobart Grooms AL 1900–1991 1953–1969 1969–1991 Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
18 Allgood, Clarence W.Clarence W. Allgood AL 1902–1991 1961[9]–1973 1973–1991 Kennedy, Kennedy death
19 McFadden, Frank HamptonFrank Hampton McFadden AL 1925–present 1969–1982 1973–1982 Nixon, Nixon resignation
20 Pointer Jr., Sam C.Sam C. Pointer Jr. AL 1934–2008 1970–1999 1982–1999 1999–2000 Nixon, Nixon retirement
22 Guin Jr., Junius FoyJunius Foy Guin Jr. AL 1924–2016 1973–1989 1989–2016 Nixon, Nixon death
23 Haltom Jr., Elbert BertramElbert Bertram Haltom Jr. AL 1922–2003 1980–1991 1991–2003 Carter, Carter death
25 Clemon, U. W.U. W. Clemon AL 1943–present 1980–2009 1999–2006 Carter, Carter retirement
27 Nelson, Edwin L.Edwin L. Nelson AL 1940–2003 1990–2003 Bush, G.H.W.G.H.W. Bush death
30 Buttram Jr., H. DeanH. Dean Buttram Jr. AL 1950–present 1998–2002 Clinton, Clinton resignation

Chief judges[edit]

Chief judges have administrative responsibilities with respect to their district court. Unlike the Supreme Court, where one justice is specifically nominated to be chief, the office of chief judge rotates among the district court 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.

Court Decisions[edit]

Lucy v. Adams (1955) – A court ruling which affirmed the right of all citizens to be accepted at the University of Alabama. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ruling.

Armstrong v. Birmingham Board of Education (1963) – The court dismissed the plaintiff's complaint. On appeal, the Fifth Circuit reversed and ordered the desegregation of Birmingham public schools.[10]

United States v. Wallace (1963) – The court exercised its ruling in Lucy v. Adams and ordered that colored students be permitted to enroll at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The court order led to the infamous Stand in the Schoolhouse Door incident with Governor George C. Wallace.[11]

Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education (2002) – A reversal of the decision rendered by the district and Eleventh Circuit. The U.S. Supreme Court held that retaliation against a person on the basis of a sexual complaint is a form of sexual discrimination under Title IX.

Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. (2003) – The U.S. Supreme Court reversed the decision of the district court, stating that employers cannot be sued under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act over race or gender discrimination if the claims are based on decisions over 180 days. The decision of the court led Congress to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009.

United States v. Alabama (2011) – The court upheld most parts of Alabama HB 56, an anti-illegal immigration bill signed by Governor Robert J. Bentley. The Eleventh Circuit reversed, invalidating much of Alabama HB 56.[12]

Succession of seats[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.fjc.gov/history/home.nsf/page/courts_district_al.html U.S. District Courts of Alabama, Legislative history, Federal Judicial Center
  2. ^ "28 U.S.C. § 81 - U.S. Code Title 28. Judiciary and Judicial Procedure § 81 - FindLaw". findlaw.com. Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  3. ^ "Future Judicial Vacancies". uscourts.gov. Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  4. ^ Initially appointed to the District of Alabama in 1820 by James Monroe; reassigned to both the Northern District of Alabama and the Southern District of Alabama in 1824.
  5. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 23, 1860, confirmed by the United States Senate on January 30, 1860, and received commission on January 30, 1860.
  6. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 5, 1864, confirmed by the United States Senate on January 20, 1864, and received commission on January 20, 1864.
  7. ^ Recess appointment; the United States Senate later rejected the appointment; received a second recess appointment and was again rejected by the Senate; received a third recess appointment but resigned prior to consideration.
  8. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 6, 1936, confirmed by the United States Senate on January 22, 1936, and received commission on January 28, 1936.
  9. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 15, 1962, confirmed by the United States Senate on February 5, 1962, and received commission on February 9, 1962.
  10. ^ http://www.leagle.com/decision/1963437220FSupp217_1398 Armstrong v. Birmingham Board of Education
  11. ^ http://digital.archives.alabama.gov/cdm/ref/collection/voices/id/5665 United States v. Wallace
  12. ^ http://www.ca11.uscourts.gov/opinions/ops/201114532.pdf United States v. Alabama

External links[edit]