United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia
|United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia|
|Appeals to||Fourth Circuit|
|Established||February 4, 1819|
|Chief Judge||Michael F. Urbanski|
|Officers of the court|
|U.S. Attorney||Thomas T. Cullen|
Appeals from the Western District of Virginia 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 United States District Court for the District of Virginia was one of the original 13 courts established by the Judiciary Act of 1789, 1 Stat. 73, on September 24, 1789.
On February 13, 1801, the Judiciary Act of 1801, 2 Stat. 89, divided Virginia into three judicial districts: the District of Virginia, which included the counties west of the Tidewater and south of the Rappahannock River; the District of Norfolk, which included the Tidewater counties south of the Rappahannock; and the District of Potomac, which included the counties north and east of the Rappahannock as well as Maryland counties along the Potomac. Just over a year later, on March 8, 1802, the Judiciary Act of 1801 was repealed and Virginia became a single District again, 2 Stat. 132, effective July 1, 1802.
The District of Virginia was subdivided into Eastern and Western Districts on February 4, 1819, by 3 Stat. 478. At that time, West Virginia, was still part of Virginia, and was encompassed in Virginia's Western District, while the Eastern District essentially covered what is now the entire state of Virginia. With the division of West Virginia from Virginia during the American Civil War, the Western District of Virginia became the District of West Virginia, and those parts of the Western District that were not part of West Virginia were combined with the Eastern District to form again a single District of Virginia on June 11, 1864, by 13 Stat. 124. Congress again divided Virginia into Eastern and the Western Districts on February 3, 1871, by 16 Stat. 403.
Counties of jurisdiction
The Western District of Virginia covers the counties of Albemarle, Alleghany, Amherst, Appomattox, Augusta, Bath, Bedford, Bland, Botetourt, Buchanan, Buckingham, Campbell, Carroll, Charlotte, Clarke, Craig, Culpeper, Cumberland, Dickenson, Floyd, Fluvanna, Franklin, Frederick, Giles, Grayson, Greene, Halifax, Henry, Highland, Lee, Louisa, Madison, Montgomery, Nelson, Orange, Page, Patrick, Pittsylvania, Pulaski, Rappahannock, Roanoke, Rockbridge, Rockingham, Russell, Scott, Shenandoah, Smyth, Tazewell, Warren, Washington, Wise, and Wythe; and the independent cities of Bedford, Bristol, Buena Vista, Charlottesville, Covington, Danville, Galax, Harrisonburg, Lexington, Lynchburg, Martinsville, Norton, Radford, Roanoke, Salem, Staunton, Waynesboro, and Winchester.
As of December 11, 2017[update]:
|#||Title||Judge||Duty station||Born||Term of service||Appointed by|
|26||Chief Judge||Michael F. Urbanski||Roanoke||1956||2011–present||2017–present||—||Obama|
|23||District Judge||James Parker Jones||Abingdon||1940||1996–present||2004–2010||—||Clinton|
|27||District Judge||Elizabeth K. Dillon||Roanoke||1960||2014–present||—||—||Obama|
|21||Senior Judge||Jackson L. Kiser||Danville||1929||1981–1997||1993–1997||1997–present||Reagan|
|24||Senior Judge||Norman K. Moon||Lynchburg||1936||1997–2010||—||2010–present||Clinton|
|25||Senior Judge||Glen E. Conrad||Roanoke||1949||2003–2017||2010–2017||2017–present||G.W. Bush|
Vacancies and pending nominations
|Seat||Prior Judge's Duty Station||Seat last held by||Vacancy reason||Date of vacancy||Nominee||Date of nomination|
|4||Roanoke||Glen E. Conrad||Senior Status||December 11, 2017||–||–|
|#||Judge||State||Born–died||Active service||Chief Judge||Senior status||Appointed by||Reason for|
|1||John G. Jackson||VA||1777–1825||1819–1825||—||—||Monroe||death|
|2||Philip C. Pendleton||VA||1779–1863||1825–1825[Note 1]||—||—||J.Q. Adams||resignation|
|3||Alexander Caldwell||VA||1774–1839||1825–1839[Note 2]||—||—||J.Q. Adams||death|
|4||Isaac S. Pennybacker||VA||1805–1847||1839–1845[Note 3]||—||—||Van Buren||death|
|5||John White Brockenbrough||VA||1806–1877||1846–1861||—||—||Polk||resignation|
|6||John Jay Jackson Jr.||VA||1824–1907||1861–1864||—||—||Lincoln||reassignment to D. W.Va.|
|9||Henry C. McDowell, Jr.||VA||1861–1933||1901–1931[Note 4]||—||1931–1933||T. Roosevelt||death|
|10||John Paul Jr.||VA||1883–1964||1932–1958||1948–1958||1958–1964||Hoover||death|
|11||Floyd H. Roberts||VA||1879–1967||1938–1939[Note 5]||—||—||F. Roosevelt||not confirmed|
|12||Armistead Mason Dobie||VA||1881–1962||1939–1940||—||—||F. Roosevelt||elevation to 4th Cir.|
|13||Alfred D. Barksdale||VA||1892–1972||1939–1957[Note 6]||—||1957–1972||F. Roosevelt||death|
|14||Roby C. Thompson||VA||1898–1960||1957–1960||1958–1960||—||Eisenhower||death|
|15||Theodore Roosevelt Dalton||VA||1901–1989||1959–1976||1960–1971||1976–1989||Eisenhower||death|
|16||Thomas J. Michie||VA||1896–1973||1961–1973||—||—||Kennedy||death|
|17||Hiram Emory Widener Jr.||VA||1923–2007||1969–1972||1971–1972||—||Nixon||elevation to 4th Cir.|
|18||James Clinton Turk||VA||1923–2014||1972–2002||1973–1993||2002–2014||Nixon||death|
|19||Glen Morgan Williams||VA||1920–2012||1976–1988||—||1988–2012||Ford||death|
|20||James Harry Michael Jr.||VA||1918–2005||1980–1995||—||1995–2005||Carter||death|
|22||Samuel Grayson Wilson||VA||1949–present||1990–2014||1997–2004||—||G.H.W. Bush||retirement|
- Recess appointment; the United States Senate later rejected the appointment
- Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 13, 1825, confirmed by the Senate on January 3, 1826, and received commission the same day
- Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 29, 1840, confirmed by the Senate on February 17, 1840, and received commission the same day
- Recess appointment; formally nominated on December 5, 1901, confirmed by the Senate on December 18, 1901, and received commission the same day
- Recess appointment; the Senate later rejected the appointment
- Recess appointment; formally nominated on January 11, 1940, confirmed by the United States Senate on February 1, 1940, and received commission on February 5, 1940
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. Attorney and U.S. Marshal
Former U.S. Attorneys
- Thomas B. Mason (1961–1969)
- Leigh B. Hanes (1969-1976)
- Paul R. Thomson Jr. (1976-1980)
- John S. Edwards (1980–1981)
- John P. Alderman (1981–1990)
- E. Montgomery Tucker (1990–1993)
- Robert P. Crouch, Jr. (1993–2001)
- John L. Brownlee (2001–2008)
- Timothy J. Heaphy (2009–2015)
- John P. Fishwick Jr. (2015–2017)
- Thomas T. Cullen (2018–present)
- Courts of Virginia
- List of current United States District Judges
- List of United States federal courthouses in Virginia
- Asbury Dickens, A Synoptical Index to the Laws and Treaties of the United States of America (1852), p. 388.
- U.S. District Courts of Virginia, Legislative history, Federal Judicial Center.
- United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia Official Website
- United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia Official Website
- Federal Judicial Center Website - Judges of the W.D. Va.
- History of Marshals for the Western District of Virginia[permanent dead link]