United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas
(N.D. Tex.)
NDTX Seal.png
LocationEarle Cabell Federal Building and Courthouse
More locations
Appeals toFifth Circuit
EstablishedFebruary 24, 1879
Chief JudgeDavid C. Godbey
Officers of the court
U.S. AttorneyLeigha Simonton

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas (in case citations, N.D. Tex.) is a United States district court. Its first judge, Andrew Phelps McCormick, was appointed to the court on April 10, 1879. The court convenes in Dallas, Texas with divisions in Fort Worth, Amarillo, Abilene, Lubbock, San Angelo, and Wichita Falls. It has jurisdiction over 100 counties in the northern and central parts of the U.S. state of Texas.

The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Texas represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. As of December 10, 2022, the United States Attorney is Leigha Simonton.

Appeals from this court are heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which includes Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).


The Northern District of Texas has seven court divisions, covering the following counties:

The Abilene Division, covering Callahan, Eastland, Fisher, Haskell, Howard, Jones, Mitchell, Nolan, Shackelford, Stephens, Stonewall, Taylor, and Throckmorton counties.

The Amarillo Division, covering Armstrong, Briscoe, Carson, Castro, Childress, Collingsworth, Dallam, Deaf Smith, Donley, Gray, Hall, Hansford, Hartley, Hemphill, Hutchinson, Lipscomb, Moore, Ochiltree, Oldham, Parmer, Potter, Randall, Roberts, Sherman, Swisher, and Wheeler counties.

The Dallas Division, covering Dallas, Ellis, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Navarro, and Rockwall counties.

The Fort Worth Division, covering Comanche, Erath, Hood, Jack, Palo Pinto, Parker, Tarrant, and Wise counties.

The Lubbock Division, covering Bailey, Borden, Cochran, Crosby, Dawson, Dickens, Floyd, Gaines, Garza, Hale, Hockley, Kent, Lamb, Lubbock, Lynn, Motley, Scurry, Terry, and Yoakum counties.

The San Angelo Division, covering Brown, Coke, Coleman, Concho, Crockett, Glasscock, Irion, Menard, Mills, Reagan, Runnels, Schleicher, Sterling, Sutton, and Tom Green counties.

The Wichita Falls Division, covering Archer, Baylor, Clay, Cottle, Foard, Hardeman, King, Knox, Montague, Wichita, Wilbarger, and Young counties.


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 United States District Court for the District of Texas, the Galveston court had jurisdiction over the whole state.[1] On February 21, 1857, the state was divided into two districts, Eastern and Western, with Judge Watrous continuing in the Eastern district.[2] Judge Watrous and Judge Thomas Howard 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.

In 1879, Texas was further subdivided with the creation of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, using territory taken from both the Eastern and Western districts.[3]

Current judges[edit]

As of December 25, 2022:

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
31 Chief Judge David C. Godbey Dallas 1957 2002–present 2022–present G.W. Bush
29 District Judge Sam A. Lindsay Dallas 1951 1998–present Clinton
30 District Judge Barbara M. Lynn Dallas 1952 1999–present 2016–2022 Clinton
32 District Judge James E. Kinkeade Dallas 1951 2002–present G.W. Bush
33 District Judge Jane J. Boyle Dallas 1954 2004–present G.W. Bush
34 District Judge Reed O'Connor Fort Worth 1965 2007–present G.W. Bush
35 District Judge Karen Gren Scholer Dallas 1957 2018–present Trump
36 District Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk Amarillo 1977 2019–present Trump
37 District Judge Mark T. Pittman Fort Worth 1975 2019–present Trump
38 District Judge Brantley Starr Dallas 1979 2019–present Trump
39 District Judge James Wesley Hendrix Lubbock 1977 2019–present Trump
40 District Judge Ada E. Brown Dallas 1974 2019–present Trump
21 Senior Judge A. Joe Fish Dallas 1942 1983–2007 2002–2007 2007–present Reagan
22 Senior Judge Robert B. Maloney inactive 1933 1985–2000 2000–present Reagan
23 Senior Judge Sidney A. Fitzwater Dallas 1953 1986–2018 2007–2014 2018–present Reagan
24 Senior Judge Samuel Ray Cummings Lubbock 1944 1987–2014 2014–present Reagan
27 Senior Judge Terry R. Means Fort Worth 1948 1991–2013 2013–present G.H.W. Bush

Former judges[edit]

# Judge State Born–died Active service Chief Judge Senior status Appointed by Reason for
1 Andrew Phelps McCormick TX 1832–1916 1879–1892 Hayes elevation to 5th Cir.
2 John B. Rector TX 1837–1898 1892–1898 B. Harrison death
3 Edward Roscoe Meek TX 1865–1939 1899[4]–1935 1935–1939 McKinley death
4 James Clifton Wilson TX 1874–1951 1919[5]–1951 Wilson retirement
5 William Hawley Atwell TX 1869–1961 1923–1954 1948–1954 1954–1961 Harding death
6 Thomas Whitfield Davidson TX 1876–1974 1936–1965 1954–1959 1965–1974 F. Roosevelt death
7 Joseph Brannon Dooley TX 1889–1967 1947–1966 1959 1966–1967 Truman death
8 Joe Ewing Estes TX 1903–1989 1955–1972 1959–1972 1972–1989 Eisenhower death
9 Leo Brewster TX 1903–1979 1961[6]–1973 1972–1973 1973–1979 Kennedy death
10 Sarah T. Hughes TX 1896–1985 1961[6]–1975 1975–1985 Kennedy death
11 William McLaughlin Taylor Jr. TX 1909–1985 1966–1979 1973–1977 1979–1985 L. Johnson death
12 Halbert Owen Woodward TX 1918–2000 1968–1986 1977–1986 1986–2000 L. Johnson death
13 Robert Madden Hill TX 1928–1987 1970–1984 Nixon elevation to 5th Cir.
14 Eldon Brooks Mahon TX 1918–2005 1972–1989 1989–2005 Nixon death
15 Robert William Porter TX 1926–1991 1974–1990 1986–1989 1990–1991 Nixon death
16 Patrick Higginbotham TX 1938–present 1975–1982 Ford elevation to 5th Cir.
17 David Owen Belew Jr. TX 1920–2001 1979–1990 1990–2001 Carter death
18 Mary Lou Robinson TX 1926–2019 1979–2016 2016–2019 Carter death
19 Harold Barefoot Sanders Jr. TX 1925–2008 1979–1996 1989–1995 1996–2008 Carter death
20 Jerry Buchmeyer TX 1933–2009 1979–2003 1995–2001 2003–2009 Carter death
25 John H. McBryde TX 1931–2022 1990–2018 2018–2022 G.H.W. Bush death
26 Jorge Antonio Solis TX 1951–2021 1991–2016 2014–2016 G.H.W. Bush retirement
28 Elton Joe Kendall TX 1954–present 1992–2002 G.H.W. Bush 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.

Succession of seats[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "U.S. Department of Justice: 2002 Centennial Report, pgs. 1, 10" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on June 1, 2009. Retrieved May 24, 2010.
  2. ^ "Southern District of Texas: History of the District". Archived from the original on September 17, 2009.
  3. ^ U.S. District Courts of Texas, Legislative history, Federal Judicial Center.
  4. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 13, 1898, confirmed by the United States Senate on February 15, 1899, and received commission the same day.
  5. ^ Recess appointment; formally nominated on May 23, 1919, confirmed by the Senate on June 24, 1919, and received commission the same day.
  6. ^ a b Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 15, 1962, confirmed by the Senate on March 16, 1962, and received commission on March 17, 1962.

External links[edit]