United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit

Current composition of the court

As of July 30, 2019:[1][2]

# Title Judge Duty station Born Term of service Appointed by
Active Chief Senior
40 Chief Judge Roger Gregory Richmond, VA 1953 2000–present 2016–present Clinton /
G.W. Bush[Note 1]
29 Circuit Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III Charlottesville, VA 1944 1984–present 1996–2003 Reagan
32 Circuit Judge Paul V. Niemeyer Baltimore, MD 1941 1990–present G.H.W. Bush
37 Circuit Judge Diana Gribbon Motz Baltimore, MD 1943 1994–present Clinton
39 Circuit Judge Robert Bruce King Charleston, WV 1940 1998–present Clinton
43 Circuit Judge G. Steven Agee Salem, VA 1952 2008–present G.W. Bush
45 Circuit Judge Barbara Milano Keenan Alexandria, VA 1950 2010–present Obama
46 Circuit Judge James A. Wynn Jr. Raleigh, NC 1954 2010–present Obama
47 Circuit Judge Albert Diaz Charlotte, NC 1960 2010–present Obama
48 Circuit Judge Henry Franklin Floyd Spartanburg, SC 1947 2011–present Obama
49 Circuit Judge Stephanie Thacker Charleston, WV 1965 2012–present Obama
50 Circuit Judge Pamela Harris Bethesda, MD 1962 2014–present Obama
51 Circuit Judge Julius N. Richardson Columbia, SC 1976 2018–present Trump
52 Circuit Judge A. Marvin Quattlebaum Jr. Greenville, SC 1964 2018–present Trump
53 Circuit Judge Allison Jones Rushing Asheville, NC 1982 2019–present Trump
33 Senior Circuit Judge Clyde H. Hamilton Columbia, SC 1934 1991–1999 1999–present G.H.W. Bush
38 Senior Circuit Judge William Byrd Traxler Jr. Greenville, SC 1948 1998–2018 2009–2016 2018–present Clinton
41 Senior Circuit Judge Dennis Shedd Columbia, SC 1953 2002–2018 2018–present G.W. Bush
  1. Recess appointment by Bill Clinton, re-appointed by George W. Bush after being confirmed by the United States Senate at a later date.

List of former judges

Appointed by
Reason for
1 Hugh Lennox Bond MD 1828–1893 1891–1893 Grant[3] death
2 Nathan Goff Jr. WV 1843–1920 1892–1913 B. Harrison resignation
3 Charles Henry Simonton SC 1829–1904 1893–1904 Cleveland death
4 Jeter Connelly Pritchard NC 1857–1921 1904–1921 T. Roosevelt death
5 Charles Albert Woods SC 1852–1925 1913–1925 Wilson death
6 Edmund Waddill Jr. VA 1855–1931 1921–1931 Harding death
7 John Carter Rose MD 1861–1927 1922–1927 Harding death
8 John J. Parker NC 1885–1958 1925–1958 1948–1958 Coolidge death
9 Elliott Northcott WV 1869–1946 1927–1939 1939–1946 Coolidge death
10 Morris Ames Soper[4] MD 1873–1963 1931–1955 1955–1963 Hoover death
11 Armistead Mason Dobie[4] VA 1881–1962 1939–1956 1956–1962 F. Roosevelt death
12 Simon Sobeloff MD 1894–1973 1956–1970 1958–1964 1970–1973 Eisenhower death
13 Clement Haynsworth SC 1912–1989 1957–1981 1964–1981 1981–1989 Eisenhower death
14 Herbert Stephenson Boreman WV 1897–1982 1959–1971 1971–1982 Eisenhower death
15 Albert Vickers Bryan VA 1899–1984 1961–1972 1972–1984 Kennedy death
16 J. Spencer Bell NC 1906–1967 1961–1967 Kennedy death
17 Harrison Lee Winter MD 1921–1990 1966–1990 1981–1989 1990–1990 L. Johnson death
18 James Braxton Craven Jr. NC 1918–1977 1966–1977 L. Johnson death
19 John D. Butzner Jr. VA 1917–2006 1967–1982 1982–2006 L. Johnson death
20 Donald S. Russell SC 1906–1998 1971–1998 Nixon death
21 John A. Field Jr. WV 1910–1995 1971–1976 1976–1995 Nixon death
22 Hiram Emory Widener Jr. VA 1923–2007 1972–2007 2007 Nixon death
23 Kenneth Keller Hall WV 1918–1999 1976–1998 1998–1999 Ford death
24 James Dickson Phillips Jr. NC 1922–2017 1978–1994 1994–2017 Carter death
25 Francis Dominic Murnaghan Jr. MD 1920–2000 1979–2000 Carter death
26 James Marshall Sprouse WV 1923–2004 1979–1992 1992–1995 Carter retirement
27 Samuel James Ervin III NC 1926–1999 1980–1999 1989–1996 Carter death
28 Robert F. Chapman SC 1926–2018 1981–1991 1991–2018 Reagan death
30 Emory M. Sneeden NC 1927–1987 1984–1986 Reagan resignation
31 William Walter Wilkins SC 1942–present 1986–2007 2003–2007 2007–2008 Reagan retirement
34 J. Michael Luttig VA 1954–present 1991–2006 G.H.W. Bush resignation
35 Karen J. Williams SC 1951–2013 1992–2009 2007–2009 2009–2013 G.H.W. Bush death
36 M. Blane Michael WV 1943–2011 1993–2011 Clinton death
42 Allyson Kay Duncan NC 1951–present 2003–2019 2019 G.W. Bush retirement
44 Andre M. Davis MD 1949–present 2009–2014 2014–2017 Obama retirement

Chief judges

Chief Judge
Ervin III1989–1996
Wilkinson III1996–2003
Traxler, Jr.2009–2016

Chief judges have administrative responsibilities with respect to their circuits, and preside over any panel on which they serve unless the circuit justice (i.e., the Supreme Court justice responsible for the circuit) is also on the panel. Unlike the Supreme Court, where one justice is specifically nominated to be chief, the office of chief judge rotates among the circuit 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

The court has fifteen seats for active judges, numbered in the order in which they were initially filled. Judges who retire into senior status remain on the bench but leave their seats vacant, allowing the president to appoint new judges to fill their seats.

Practice in the 4th Circuit

From 2000 to 2008, the Court had the highest rate of non-publication (92%) on the Federal Circuit.[5]

The Chief Justice is always assigned to the Fourth Circuit as the circuit advisory justice, due to Richmond's close proximity to Washington, D.C.

The Fourth Circuit is considered an extremely collegial court. By tradition, the Judges of the Fourth Circuit come down from the bench following each oral argument to greet the lawyers.[6]

See also


  1. "U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit". Official website of the Federal Judicial Center. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  2. "Fourth Circuit Judges". Official website of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  3. Bond was appointed as a circuit judge for the Fourth Circuit in 1870 by Ulysses S. Grant. The Judiciary Act of 1891 reassigned his seat to what is now the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
  4. Recess appointment, confirmed by the United States Senate at a later date.
  5. Aaron S. Bayer (August 24, 2009), Unpublished Appellate Opinions Are Still Commonplace, The National Law Journal
  6. "Inside the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals: How Collegiality Works | University of Chicago Law School". www.law.uchicago.edu. Retrieved 2017-02-27.
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