United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina

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United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina
Appeals to Fourth Circuit
Established March 2, 1927
Judges assigned 4
Chief Judge Thomas D. Schroeder
U.S. Attorney Matthew Martin
U.S. Marshal Steven L. Gladden
Official court website

The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina (in case citations, M.D.N.C.) is a United States district court with jurisdiction over 24 counties in the center of North Carolina. It consists of five divisions with a headquarters in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Appeals from the Middle District of North Carolina are taken to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).


The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina has undivided jurisdiction over 24 counties: Alamance, Cabarrus, Caswell, Chatham, Davidson, Davie, Durham, Forsyth, Guilford, Hoke, Lee, Montgomery, Moore, Orange, Person, Randolph, Richmond, Rockingham, Rowan, Scotland, Stanly, Stokes, Surry, and Yadkin.[1]


The United States District Court for the District of North Carolina was established on June 4, 1790, by 1 Stat. 126.[2][3] On June 9, 1794 it was subdivided into three districts by 1 Stat. 395,[3] but on March 3, 1797, the three districts were abolished and the single District restored by 1 Stat. 517,[3] until April 29, 1802, when the state was again subdivided into three different districts by 2 Stat. 156.[2][3]

In both instances, these districts, unlike those with geographic designations that existed in other states, were titled by the names of the cities in which the courts sat. After the first division, they were styled the District of Edenton, the District of New Bern, and the District of Wilmington; after the second division, they were styled the District of Albemarle, the District of Cape Fear, and the District of Pamptico. However, in both instances, only one judge was authorized to serve all three districts, causing them to effectively operate as a single district.[3] The latter combination was occasionally referred to by the cumbersome title of the United States District Court for the Albemarle, Cape Fear & Pamptico Districts of North Carolina.

On June 4, 1872, North Carolina was re-divided into two Districts, Eastern and Western, by 17 Stat. 215.[3] The Middle District was created from portions of the Eastern and Western Districts on March 2, 1927, by 44 Stat. 1339.[3] Shortly thereafter, President Calvin Coolidge appointed Johnson Jay Hayes by recess appointment to be the first judge of the Middle District of North Carolina.

Current judges[edit]

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
12 Chief Judge Thomas D. Schroeder Winston-Salem 1959 2008–present 2017–present G.W. Bush
11 District Judge William Lindsay Osteen Jr. Greensboro 1960 2007–present 2012–2017 G.W. Bush
13 District Judge Catherine Eagles Greensboro 1958 2010–present Obama
14 District Judge Loretta Copeland Biggs Winston-Salem 1954 2014–present Obama
8 Senior Judge Norwood Carlton Tilley Jr. Greensboro 1943 1988–2008 1999–2006 2008–present Reagan

Former judges[edit]

# Judge State Born–died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 Hayes, Johnson JayJohnson Jay Hayes NC 1886–1970 1927–1957[4] 1957–1970 Coolidge, Coolidge death
2 Stanley, Edwin MonroeEdwin Monroe Stanley NC 1909–1971 1957–1971[5] 1961–1971 Eisenhower, Eisenhower death
3 Preyer, L. RichardsonL. Richardson Preyer NC 1919–2001 1961–1963[6] Kennedy, Kennedy resignation
4 Gordon, Eugene AndrewEugene Andrew Gordon NC 1917–2002 1964–1982 1971–1982 1982–2002 Johnson, L.L. Johnson death
5 Ward, Hiram HamiltonHiram Hamilton Ward NC 1923–2002 1972–1988 1982–1988 1988–2002 Nixon, Nixon death
6 Erwin, RichardRichard Erwin NC 1923–2006 1980–1992 1988–1992 1992–2006 Carter, Carter death
7 Bullock Jr., Frank WilliamFrank William Bullock Jr. NC 1938–present 1982–2005 1992–1999 2005–2006 Reagan, Reagan retirement
9 Osteen, Sr., William LindsayWilliam Lindsay Osteen, Sr. NC 1930–2009 1991–2006 2006–2007 Bush, G.H.W.G.H.W. Bush retirement
10 Beaty Jr., James A.James A. Beaty Jr. NC 1949–present 1994–2014 2006–2012 2014–2018 Clinton, Clinton retirement

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.

Succession of seats[edit]

U.S. Attorneys for the Middle District[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ [http://www.ncmd.uscourts.gov/ncmd-counties "NCMD Counties," http://www.ncmd.uscourts.gov/ncmd-counties.
  2. ^ a b Asbury Dickens, A Synoptical Index to the Laws and Treaties of the United States of America (1852), p. 389.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g U.S. District Courts of North Carolina, Legislative history, Federal Judicial Center.
  4. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 6, 1927, confirmed by the United States Senate on January 9, 1928, and received commission on January 9, 1928.
  5. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 13, 1958, confirmed by the United States Senate on February 25, 1958, and received commission on February 27, 1958.
  6. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 15, 1962, confirmed by the United States Senate on February 7, 1962, and received commission on February 17, 1962.

External links[edit]