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United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, known informally as the "D.C. Circuit," is the federal appellate court for the U.S. district court in Washington, DC. Appeals from the D.C. Circuit, as with all the U.S. Courts of Appeals, are heard on a discretionary basis by the Supreme Court. It should not be confused with the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, which is roughly equivalent to a state supreme court in the District of Columbia.

While it has the smallest geographic jurisdiction of any of the U.S. Courts of Appeals, the D.C. Circuit, with twelve active seats, is nonetheless one of the most important intermediate appellate courts. The court is given the responsibility of directly reviewing the decisions and rulemaking of many federal agencies, without prior hearing by a district court. Aside from the agencies whose statutes explicitly direct review by the D.C. Circuit, the court typically hears cases from other agencies under the more general jurisdiction granted to the Courts of Appeals under the Administrative Procedures Act. Given the broad areas over which federal agencies have power, this often gives the judges of the D.C. Circuit a central role in affecting national U.S. policy and law.

A judgeship on the D.C. Circuit is often thought of as a stepping stone for appointment to the Supreme Court. Circuit Judge John G. Roberts, Jr., who has served on the court since 2003, is President George W. Bush's nominee to replace outgoing Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. If confirmed, Roberts will be the fourth alumnus of the D.C. Circuit sitting on the current Supreme Court, joining Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, and Clarence Thomas. In addition, the Reagan administration put forth two failed nominees from the D.C. Circuit: former Judge Robert Bork, rejected by the Senate in 1987, and current Chief Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg who withdrew after it became known that he had used marijuana.

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit meets at the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse, near Judiciary Square in downtown Washington.

Contents

Current composition of the court

As of 2005, the judges on the court are:

Title Name Duty Station Born Term of
Active Service
Term of
Service
as Chief
Term of
Senior Service
Appointed by
Chief Judge Douglas Howard Ginsburg Washington, DC 1946 1986 – present 2001 – present Reagan
Circuit Judge Harry Thomas Edwards Washington, DC 1940 1980 – present 1994 – 2001 Carter
Circuit Judge David Bryan Sentelle Washington, DC 1943 1987 – present Reagan
Circuit Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson Washington, DC 1944 1990 – present G.H.W. Bush
Circuit Judge Arthur Raymond Randolph Washington, DC 1943 1990 – present G.H.W. Bush
Circuit Judge Judith Ann Wilson Rogers Washington, DC 1939 1994 – present Clinton
Circuit Judge David S. Tatel Washington, DC 1942 1994 – present Clinton
Circuit Judge Merrick B. Garland Washington, DC 1952 1997 – present Clinton
Circuit Judge John G. Roberts, Jr. Washington, DC 1955 2003 – present G.W. Bush
Circuit Judge Janice Rogers Brown(a) Washington, DC 1949 2005 – present G.W. Bush
Circuit Judge Thomas Beall Griffith(a) Washington, DC 1954 2005 – present G.W. Bush
Circuit Judge (vacant - seat 12) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a) (n/a)
Senior Circuit Judge Laurence Hirsch Silberman Washington, DC 1935 1985 – 2000 (none) 2000 – present Reagan
Senior Circuit Judge James Lane Buckley (inactive) 1923 1985 – 1996 (none) 1996 – present Reagan
Senior Circuit Judge Stephen Fain Williams Washington, DC 1936 1986 – 2001 (none) 2001 – present Reagan


(a) Although Brown and Griffith have been confirmed by the Senate and received their commissions, as of the time of writing, they have not yet taken the oath of office and thus are not yet eligible to perform judicial duties.

Pending nominations

List of former judges


Name State Born/Died Term of
Active Service
Term of
Service
as Chief
Term of
Senior Service
Appointed by Reason
Appointment
Terminated
Richard Henry Alvey MD 1826 – 1906 1893 – 1905 1893 – 1905 (none) Cleveland retirement
Martin Ferdinand Morris DC 1834 – 1909 1893 – 1905 (none) (none) Cleveland retirement
Seth Shepard TX 1847 – 1917 1893 – 1917 1905 – 1917 (none) Cleveland (associate);
T. Roosevelt (chief)(b)
retirement
Charles Holland Duell NY 1850 – 1920 1905 – 1906 (none) (none) Cleveland resignation
Louis Emory McComas MD 1846 – 1907 1905 – 1907 (none) (none) T.Roosevelt death
Charles Henry Robb VT 1867 – 1939 1906(c) – 1937 (none) 1937 – 1939 T. Roosevelt death
Josiah Alexander Van Orsdel WY 1860 – 1937 1907(c) – 1937 (none) (none) T. Roosevelt death
Constantine Joseph Smyth NE 1859 – 1924 1917 – 1924 1917 – 1924 (none) Wilson death
George Ewing Martin OH 1857 – 1948 1924 – 1937 1924 – 1937 1937 – 1948 Coolidge death
William Hitz DC 1872 – 1935 1931 – 1935 (none) (none) Hoover death
Duncan Lawrence Groner VA 1873 – 1957 1931 – 1948 1937 – 1948 1948 – 1957 Hoover (associate);
F. Roosevelt (chief)(b)
death
Harold Montelle Stephens UT 1886 – 1955 1935 – 1955 1948 – 1955 (none) F. Roosevelt (associate);
Truman (chief)(b)
death
Justin Miller CA 1888 – 1973 1937 – 1945 (none) (none) F. Roosevelt resignation
Henry White Edgerton 1888 – 1970 1937 – 1963 1955 – 1958 1963 – 1970 F. Roosevelt death
Frederick Moore Vinson KY 1890 – 1953 1937 – 1943 (none) (none) F. Roosevelt resignation to become Director of
the Office of Economic Stabilization
Wiley Blount Rutledge 1894 – 1949 1939 – 1943 (none) (none) F. Roosevelt elevation to Supreme Court
Thurman Wesley Arnold WY 1891 – 1969 1943 – 1945 (none) (none) F. Roosevelt resignation
Bennett Champ Clark MO 1890 – 1954 1945 – 1954 (none) (none) Truman death
Wilbur Kingsbury Miller KY 1892 – 1976 1945 – 1964 1960 – 1962 1964 – 1976 Truman death
Elijah Barrett Prettyman DC 1891 – 1971 1945 – 1962 1958 – 1960 1962 – 1971 Truman death
James McPherson Proctor DC 1882 – 1953 1948 – 1953 (none) (none) Truman death
David L. Bazelon IL 1909 – 1993 1949(c) – 1979 1962 – 1978 1979 – 1993 Truman death
Charles Fahy 1892 – 1979 1949(c) – 1967 (none) 1967 – 1979 Truman death
George Thomas Washington 1908 – 1971 1949(c) – 1965 (none) 1965 – 1971 Truman death
John Anthony Danaher CT 1899 – 1990 1953(c) – 1969 (none) 1969 – 1990 Eisenhower death
Walter Maximillian Bastian DC 1891 – 1975 1954(c) – 1965 (none) 1965 – 1975 Eisenhower death
Warren Earl Burger MN 1907 – 1995 1956 – 1969 (none) (none) Eisenhower elevation to Supreme Court
James Skelly Wright LA 1911 – 1988 1962 – 1986 1978 – 1981 1986 – 1988 Kennedy death
Carl E. McGowan IL 1911 – 1987 1963 – 1981 1981 – 1981 1981 – 1987 Kennedy death
Edward Allen Tamm DC 1906 – 1985 1965 – 1985 (none) (none) L. Johnson death
Harold Leventhal DC 1915 – 1979 1965 – 1979 (none) (none) L. Johnson death
Spottswood William Robinson III VA 1916 – 1998 1966 – 1989 1981 – 1986 1989 – 1998 L. Johnson death
George Edward MacKinnon MN 1906 – 1995 1969 – 1983 (none) 1983 – 1995 Nixon death
Roger Robb DC 1907 – 1985 1969 – 1982 (none) 1982 – 1985 Nixon death
Malcolm Richard Wilkey TX 1918 – 1970 – 1984 (none) 1984 – 1985 Nixon retirement
Patricia McGowan Wald DC 1928 – 1979 – 1999 1986 – 1991 (none) Carter retirement
Abner Joseph Mikva IL 1926 – 1979 – 1994 1991 – 1994 (none) Carter retirement
Ruth Bader Ginsburg NY 1933 – 1980 – 1993 (none) (none) Carter elevation to Supreme Court
Robert Bork 1927 – 1982 – 1988 (none) (none) Reagan resignation
Antonin Scalia 1936 – 1982 – 1986 (none) (none) Reagan elevation to Supreme Court
Kenneth W. Starr 1946 – 1983 – 1989 (none) (none) Reagan resignation to become Solicitor General
Clarence Thomas 1948 – 1990 – 1991 (none) (none) G.H.W. Bush elevation to Supreme Court


(b) Prior to 1948, the court consisted of a Chief Justice and up to five Associate Justices. Much like in the United States Supreme Court, the Chief Justice would be separately nominated and subject to a separate confirmation process, regardless of whether or not he was elevated from an associate justice position. In 1948, the positions of Chief Justice and Associate Justice were reassigned to Circuit Judge positions and the position of Chief Judge was assigned based on seniority.

(c) Recess appointment, confirmed by the Senate at a later date.

Chiefs

Chief
as Chief Justice
Alvey 1893 – 1905
Shepard 1905 – 1917
Smyth 1917 – 1924
Martin 1924 – 1937
Groner 1937 – 1948
Stephens 1948 – 1948
as Chief Judge
Stephens 1948 – 1955
Edgerton 1955 – 1958
Prettyman 1958 – 1960
W. Miller 1960 – 1962
Bazelon 1962 – 1978
Wright 1978 – 1981
McGowan 1981 – 1981
Robinson 1981 – 1986
Wald 1986 – 1991
Mikva 1991 – 1994
Edwards 1994 – 2001
D. Ginsburg 2001 – present

When Congress established this court in 1893 as the Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia, it had a Chief Justice, and the other judges were called Associate Justices, just like the Supreme Court. Just like the Supreme Court, the Chief Justiceship was a separate seat: the President would appoint the Chief Justice, and that person would stay Chief Justice until they left the court.

On June 25, 1948, 62 Stat. 869 and 62 Stat. 985 became law. These acts made the Chief Justice a Chief Judge. In 1954, another law, 68 Stat. 1245, clarified what was implicit in those laws: that the Chief Judgeship was not a mere renaming of the position but a change in its status that made it the same as the Chief Judge of other inferior courts.

In order to qualify for the office of Chief Judge, 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 in the office of Chief Judge 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. Unlike the Chief Justice of the United States, a Chief Judge returns to active service after the expiration of his or her term and does not create a vacancy on the bench by the fact of his or her promotion. See 28 U.S.C. § 45.

Succession of seats

The court has twelve seats for active judges. The seat that was originally the Chief Justiceship is numbered as Seat 1; the other seats are numbered in order of their creation. If seats were established simultaneously, they are numbered in the order in which they were filled. Judges who retire into senior status remain on the bench but leave their seat vacant. That seat is filled by the next circuit judge appointed by the President.

Seat 1
Established on February 9, 1893 as Chief Justice by 27 Stat. 434
Alvey 1893 – 1905
Shepard 1905 – 1917
Smyth 1917 – 1924
Martin 1924 – 1937
Groner 1937 – 1948
Stephens 1948 – 1948
Seat redesignated on June 25, 1948 as Circuit Judge persuant to 62 Stat. 869, 62 Stat. 985, and 68 Stat. 1245
Stephens 1948 – 1955
Burger 1956 – 1969
Wilkey 1970 – 1984
Williams 1986 – 2001
Brown 2005 –
Seat 2
Established on February 9, 1893 as Associate Justice by 27 Stat. 434
Morris 1893 – 1905
McComas 1905 – 1907
Van Orsdel 1907 – 1937
J. Miller 1937 – 1945
Prettyman 1945 – 1948
Redesignated on June 25, 1948 as Circuit Judge by 62 Stat. 869, 985
Prettyman 1948 – 1962
Wright 1962 – 1986
D. Ginsburg 1986 –
Seat 3
Established on February 9, 1893 as Associate Justice by 27 Stat. 434
Shepard 1893 – 1905
Duell 1905 – 1906
C. Robb 1906 – 1937
Vinson 1937 – 1943
W. Miller 1945 – 1948
Redesignated on June 25, 1948 as Circuit Judge by 62 Stat. 869, 985
W. Miller 1948 – 1964
Leventhal 1965 – 1979
R. Ginsburg 1980 – 1993
Tatel 1994 –
Seat 4
Established on June 19, 1930 as Associate Justice by 46 Stat. 785
Hitz 1931 – 1935
Stephens 1935 – 1948
Redesignated on June 25, 1948 as Circuit Judge by 62 Stat. 869, 985
Proctor 1948 – 1953
Danaher 1953 – 1969
R. Robb 1969 – 1982
Scalia 1982 – 1986
Sentelle 1987 –
Seat 5
Established on June 19, 1930 as Associate Justice by 46 Stat. 785
Groner 1931 – 1937
Edgerton 1937 – 1948
Redesignated on June 25, 1948 as Circuit Judge by 62 Stat. 869, 985
Edgerton 1948 – 1963
McGowan 1963 – 1981
Bork 1982 – 1988
Thomas 1990 – 1991
Rogers 1994 –
Seat 6
Established on May 31, 1938 as Associate Justice by 52 Stat. 584
Rutledge 1939 – 1943
Clark 1945 – 1948
Redesignated on June 25, 1948 as Circuit Judge by 62 Stat. 869, 985
Clark 1948 – 1954
Bastian 1954 – 1965
Tamm 1965 – 1985
Buckley 1985 – 1996
Roberts 2003 –
Seat 7
Established on August 3, 1949 by 63 Stat. 493
Bazelon 1949 – 1979
Edwards 1980 –
Seat 8
Established on August 3, 1949 by 63 Stat. 493
Fahy 1949 – 1967
MacKinnon 1969 – 1983
Starr 1983 – 1989
Henderson 1990 –
Seat 9
Established on August 3, 1949 by 63 Stat. 493
Washington 1949 – 1965
Robinson 1966 – 1989
Randolph 1990 –
Seat 10
Established on October 20, 1978 by 92 Stat. 1629
Wald 1979 – 1999
Griffith 2005 –
Seat 11
Established on October 20, 1978 by 92 Stat. 1629
Mikva 1979 – 1994
Garland 1994 –
Seat 12
Established on July 10, 1984 by 98 Stat. 333
Silberman 1985 – 2000
(vacant) 2000 –

See also


United States Courts of Appeals

1st Circuit | 2nd Circuit | 3rd Circuit | 4th Circuit | 5th Circuit | 6th Circuit | 7th Circuit
8th Circuit | 9th Circuit | 10th Circuit | 11th Circuit | DC Circuit | Federal Circuit | Armed Forces


References

External links

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