United States District Court for the Western District of Texas
|United States District Court for the Western District of Texas|
|Appeals to||Fifth Circuit|
|Established||February 21, 1857|
|Chief Judge||Orlando Luis Garcia|
|Officers of the court|
|U.S. Attorney||John Bash|
|U.S. Marshal||Susan Pamerleau|
The United States District Court for the Western District of Texas (in case citations, W.D. Tex.) is a federal district court. The court convenes in San Antonio with divisions in Austin, Del Rio, El Paso, Midland, Pecos, and Waco. It has jurisdiction in over 50 Trans-Pecos, Permian Basin, and Hill Country counties of the U.S. state of Texas. This district covers over 92,000 square miles (240,000 km2) and seven divisions.
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 federal 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.
Appeals from cases brought in the Western 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).
The divisions of the Western District of Texas are:
- Austin Division
- Del Rio Division
- El Paso Division
- Midland-Odessa Division
- Pecos Division
- San Antonio Division
- Waco Division
Judge Orlando Luis Garcia is the Chief Judge of the Western District of Texas District Court.
The United States Attorney's Office for the Western District of Texas represents the United States in civil and criminal litigation in the court. The office is currently occupied by John Bash.
As of September 18, 2018
|#||Title||Judge||Duty station||Born||Term of service||Appointed by|
|29||Chief Judge||Orlando Luis Garcia||San Antonio||1952||1994–present||2016–present||—||Clinton|
|27||District Judge||Samuel Frederick Biery Jr.||San Antonio||1947||1994–present||2010–2015||—||Clinton|
|31||District Judge||Philip Ray Martinez||El Paso||1957||2002–present||—||—||G.W. Bush|
|32||District Judge||Alia Moses||Del Rio||1962||2002–present||—||—||G.W. Bush|
|34||District Judge||Kathleen Cardone||El Paso||1953||2003–present||—||—||G.W. Bush|
|35||District Judge||Earl Leroy Yeakel III||Austin||1945||2003–present||—||—||G.W. Bush|
|36||District Judge||Frank Montalvo||El Paso||1956||2003–present||—||—||G.W. Bush|
|37||District Judge||Xavier Rodriguez||San Antonio||1961||2003–present||—||—||G.W. Bush|
|38||District Judge||David Campos Guaderrama||El Paso||1954||2012–present||—||—||Obama|
|39||District Judge||Robert L. Pitman||Austin||1962||2014–present||—||—||Obama|
|40||District Judge||Walter David Counts III||Midland||1961||2018–present||—||—||Trump|
|41||District Judge||Alan D. Albright||Waco||1959||2018–present||—||—||Trump|
|22||Senior Judge||James Robertson Nowlin||Austin||1937||1981–2003||1999–2003||2003–present||Reagan|
|26||Senior Judge||Sam Sparks||Austin||1939||1991–2017||—||2017–present||G.H.W. Bush|
|30||Senior Judge||David Briones||El Paso||1943||1994–2009||—||2009–present||Clinton|
|33||Senior Judge||Robert A. Junell||Midland||1947||2003–2015||—||2015–present||G.W. Bush|
Vacancies and pending nominations
|Seat||Seat last held by||Vacancy reason||Date of vacancy||Nominee||Date of nomination|
|8||Sam Sparks||Senior Status||December 31, 2017||Jason K. Pulliam||March 5, 2019|
|#||Judge||State||Born–died||Active service||Chief Judge||Senior status||Appointed by||Reason for|
|1||Thomas Howard DuVal||TX||1813–1880||1857–1880||—||—||Pierce||death|
|2||Ezekiel B. Turner||TX||1825–1888||1880–1888[Note 1]||—||—||Hayes||death|
|3||Thomas Sheldon Maxey||TX||1846–1921||1888–1916||—||—||Cleveland||retirement|
|5||William Robert Smith||TX||1863–1924||1917–1924||—||—||Wilson||death|
|6||Charles Albert Boynton||TX||1867–1954||1924–1947||—||1947–1954||Coolidge||death|
|7||Robert Johnston McMillan||TX||1885–1941||1932–1941||—||—||Hoover||death|
|8||Walter Angus Keeling||TX||1873–1945||1942–1945||—||—||F. Roosevelt||death|
|9||Ben Herbert Rice Jr.||TX||1889–1964||1945–1964||1948–1962||—||Truman||death|
|10||R. Ewing Thomason||TX||1879–1973||1947–1963||—||1963–1973||Truman||death|
|11||Adrian Anthony Spears||TX||1910–1991||1961–1979[Note 2]||1962–1979||1979–1982||Kennedy||retirement|
|12||Homer Thornberry||TX||1909–1995||1963–1965||—||—||L. Johnson||appointment to 5th Cir.|
|13||Dorwin Wallace Suttle||TX||1906–2001||1964–1979||—||1979–2001||L. Johnson||death|
|14||Jack Roberts||TX||1910–1988||1966–1980||1979–1980||1980–1988||L. Johnson||death|
|15||Ernest Allen Guinn||TX||1905–1974||1966–1974||—||—||L. Johnson||death|
|16||John H. Wood Jr.||TX||1916–1979||1970–1979||—||—||Nixon||assassination|
|17||William S. Sessions||TX||1930–present||1974–1987||1980–1987||—||Ford||resignation|
|18||Lucius Desha Bunton III||TX||1924–2001||1979–1992||1987–1992||1992–2001||Carter||death|
|19||Harry Lee Hudspeth||TX||1935–present||1979–2001||1992–1999||2001–2016||Carter||retirement|
|20||Clyde Frederick Shannon Jr.||TX||1942–present||1980–1984||—||—||Carter||resignation|
|21||Hipolito Frank Garcia||TX||1925–2002||1980–2002||—||—||Carter||death|
|23||Edward C. Prado||TX||1947–present||1984–2003||—||—||Reagan||appointment to 5th Cir.|
|24||Walter Scott Smith Jr.||TX||1940–present||1984–2016||2003–2010||—||Reagan||retirement|
|25||Emilio M. Garza||TX||1947–present||1988–1991||—||—||Reagan||appointment to 5th Cir.|
|28||William Royal Furgeson Jr.||TX||1941–present||1994–2008||—||2008–2013||Clinton||retirement|
- Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 14, 1880, confirmed by the United States Senate on December 20, 1880, and received commission on December 20, 1880.
- 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.
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
- "U.S. Department of Justice: 2002 Centennial Report, pgs. 1, 10" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-06-01. Retrieved 2010-05-24.
- Southern District of Texas: History of the District Archived 2009-09-17 at the Wayback Machine
- Thornberry was nominated for a seat on the W.D. Tex. by President Kennedy, but he was confirmed after Kennedy's assassination and was appointed to the Court by (i.e., received his commission from) President Johnson.