United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan
The United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan (in case citations, W.D. Mich.) is the federal district court with jurisdiction over of the western portion of the state of Michigan, including the entire Upper Peninsula.
|United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan|
|Appeals to||Sixth Circuit|
|Established||February 24, 1863|
|Chief Judge||Robert James Jonker|
Appeals from the Western District of Michigan are taken to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (except for patent claims and claims against the U.S. government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the Federal Circuit).
The current Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Michigan is Andrew B. Birge, who was appointed on January 20, 2017.
The United States District Court for the District of Michigan was established on July 1, 1836, by 5 Stat. 61, with a single judgeship. The district court was not assigned to a judicial circuit, but was granted the same jurisdiction as United States circuit courts, except in appeals and writs of error, which were the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. Due to the Toledo War, a boundary dispute with Ohio, Michigan did not become a state of the union until January 26, 1837. On March 3, 1837, Congress passed an act that repealed the circuit court jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court for the District of Michigan, assigned the District of Michigan to the Seventh Circuit, and established a U.S. circuit court for the district, 5 Stat. 176.
On July 15, 1862, Congress reorganized the circuits and assigned Michigan to the Eighth Circuit by 12 Stat. 576, and on January 28, 1863, the Congress again reorganized Seventh and Eight Circuits and assigned Michigan to the Seventh Circuit, by 12 Stat. 637. On February 24, 1863, Congress divided the District of Michigan into the Eastern and the Western districts, with one judgeship authorized for each district, by 12 Stat. 660. The Western District was later further divided into a Southern Division and a Northern Division.
The District Court is based in Grand Rapids, courthouses also located in Kalamazoo, Lansing, and Marquette in the Upper Peninsula. The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has appellate jurisdiction over the court.
The Southern Division comprises the counties of Allegan, Antrim, Barry, Benzie, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Charlevoix, Clinton, Eaton, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Hillsdale, Ingham, Ionia, Kalamazoo, Kalkaska, Kent, Lake, Leelanau, Manistee, Mason, Mecosta, Missaukee, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Osceola, Ottawa, Saint Joseph, Van Buren, and Wexford.
Court for the Southern Division can be held in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, and Traverse City.
Some of the notable cases that have come before the United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan include:
- Bogaert v. Land
- Singapore Dunes LLC v. Saugatuck Township
As of January 31, 2017:
|#||Title||Judge||Duty station||Born||Term of service||Appointed by|
|20||Chief Judge||Robert James Jonker||Grand Rapids||1960||2007–present||2015–present||—||G.W. Bush|
|19||District Judge||Paul Lewis Maloney||Kalamazoo||1949||2007–present||2008–2015||—||G.W. Bush|
|21||District Judge||Janet T. Neff||Grand Rapids||1945||2007–present||—||—||G.W. Bush|
|16||Senior Judge||Robert Holmes Bell||inactive||1944||1987–2017||2001–2008||2017–present||Reagan|
|18||Senior Judge||Gordon Jay Quist||Grand Rapids||1937||1992–2006||—||2006–present||G.H.W. Bush|
Vacancies and pending nominations
|Seat||Seat last held by||Vacancy reason||Date of vacancy||Nominee||Date of nomination|
|3||Robert Holmes Bell||Senior Status||January 31, 2017||–||–|
|#||Judge||State||Born–died||Active service||Chief Judge||Senior status||Appointed by||Reason for|
|1||Solomon Lewis Withey||MI||1820–1886||1863–1886||—||—||Lincoln||death|
|2||Henry Franklin Severens||MI||1835–1923||1886–1900||—||—||Cleveland||elevation to 6th Cir.|
|3||George P. Wanty||MI||1856–1906||1900–1906||—||—||McKinley||death|
|4||Loyal Edwin Knappen||MI||1854–1930||1906–1910||—||—||T. Roosevelt||elevation to 6th Cir.|
|5||Arthur Carter Denison||MI||1861–1942||1910–1911||—||—||Taft||elevation to 6th Cir.|
|6||Clarence W. Sessions||MI||1859–1931||1911–1931||—||—||Taft||death|
|7||Fred Morton Raymond||MI||1876–1946||1925–1946||—||—||Coolidge||death|
|8||Raymond Wesley Starr||MI||1888–1968||1946–1961||1954–1961||1961–1968||Truman||death|
|9||W. Wallace Kent||MI||1916–1973||1954–1971||1961–1971||—||Eisenhower||elevation to 6th Cir.|
|10||Noel Peter Fox||MI||1910–1987||1962–1979||1971–1979||1979–1987||Kennedy||death|
|11||Albert J. Engel Jr.||MI||1924–2013||1970–1974||—||—||Nixon||elevation to 6th Cir.|
|12||Wendell Alverson Miles||MI||1916–2013||1974–1986||1979–1986||1986–2013||Nixon||death|
|13||Douglas Woodruff Hillman||MI||1922–2007||1979–1991||1986–1991||1991–2002||Carter||retirement|
|14||Benjamin F. Gibson||MI||1931–present||1979–1996||1991–1995||1996–1999||Carter||retirement|
|15||Richard Alan Enslen||MI||1931–2015||1979–2005||1995–2001||2005–2015||Carter||death|
|17||David McKeague||MI||1946–present||1992–2005||—||—||G.H.W. Bush||elevation to 6th Cir.|
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